Month: July 2017

Scottish Origins: of Monifieth, Monikie, Barry; and older times past

Baptism, marriage and death records show that during the period 1770 to 1800 our Wilson family were identified as living at Laws or Drumsturdy. Sometime after 1782 they moved just a couple of hundred metres along the Drumsturdy Road to a location and home known as Templehall, across the road from the Newbigging Toll. It was at Templehall where Margaret and shortly after, their daughter Matilda died in 1784. John and his family remained here apparently for many years; in 1788 John remarried to Margaret Ferrier and they continued living here with the children of the first marriage. These locations are all highlighted on the 1788 Survey map segment below. Prepared at Government initiative by surveyor John Ainslie in 1788 it was the equivalent of today’s Ordnance Survey Maps, recording every geographic and topographical detail. The little black boxes are homes and farm buildings – our Wilsons lived in one or more of these at that time, along the Drumsturdiemuir (Drumsturdy Moor) strip of households on either side of the road (the Arbroath Pike of that time), those on the south side known as Laws Cottages, all of these homes we are advised were tenanted by farm workers, both at the very large Laws Farm as well as farms on the north side of the roadway. John and Margaret Ferrier had two children, James b.1788, and Isobel b.1790 but...

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Margaret – looking better than we’ve ever seen

Thanks to Mike Wilson and Mike’s associate, artist Sue Hourigan, we are now able to see our forebear Margaret Wilson nee Williamson, so much clearer than ever before. Mike and Sue put their heads together and closely studied the two images we have of Margaret, the one here on the left believed to have been painted by her husband William when she was late forties, and the other a photograph taken much later when she was in her 70s (see below). William’s water-colour painting is unfortunately not as distinct today as it probably was originally. However Mike and Sue’s work has allowed an excellent and distinctive facial structure interpretation to be made of how she looked when about 50. Age 50 would date the painting to near 1846, about the time the family had moved from Sorrel to O’Brien’s Bridge. With Mike & Sue’s approval we are now able to present the results – a wonderful interpretation which we think you will agree gives a real life presence to her face. Margaret is said to have been of rather stern outlook in her later life and this image seems to capture that expression and maybe a touch of sadness in her eyes too. Perhaps a future step in this digital age will be to identify a programme which will allow us to ‘de-age’ her back to when she was in...

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Of Margaret Williamson – Spouse to Bonnie William

Our knowledge of William Hartley’s bride, Margaret Williamson, is fairly limited. The legend within the ranks of our Tassie cousins is that Margaret may have been a Governess; it goes on that William had a serious falling out with his family because he married below station in marrying a Governess, alternatively that it was because Margaret belonged to a different religious persuasion than William and his family, such as Church of Scotland, whereas William’s family were of the secessionist so called Associate Burgher Free Church Congregation of Newbigging. There existed quite strong religious tensions at that time between the several secessionist movements and the official Church of Scotland (a brief overview may be read here). The evidence we have indicates Margaret was born in Arbroath in Forfarshire (named Angus today) in 1796, and at the time William was courting her she was living or working at Carnoustie. Carnoustie such as it was then is located within Church and Civil Parishes of Barry – the church edifice for this region then was located at the tiny hamlet of Barry just 2 to 3 km from the Estate. It was at this church, now in ruin, that the banns were read in 1820 for Margaret’s impending marriage, concurrently being read at Monikie Kirk in respect to William. We know from two small bibles held today by our family in Tasmania that...

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Wedding Bells – William and Margaret June 4, 1820

The banns were read at Monikie Kirk (shown here and below) and at Margaret’s family church at Barry in the weeks preceding their wedding, and the happy couple were wed in Monikie Kirk on June 4th 1820 with Reverend William Maule officiating. Just two weeks later the newly wed couple embarked at Leith, Port of Edinburgh, on board the 260 ton sailing ship Skelton for the five month voyage to Van Diemens Land. Within our Tasmanian family today the story is told of Margaret’s capability with needle and thread – she prepared wedding clothes including a pearl studded bonnet...

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The Story of Agnes Smith and her daughter Agnes Eliza McDonald Smith

One of the several gaps in the lore of our Bonnie William’s family is that of the origin of Agnes Smith and her childhood family. Agnes was spouse (in defacto law) of our illustrious Captain William McDonald. Our earliest information based on publicly available records, essentially the pair’s death certificates and daughter Agnes Eliza’s marriage and death certificates, have long indicated Agnes Smith as being the (assumed) spouse of the Captain, and Agnes Eliza as having been born on board a British ship in Antwerp Harbour, Belgium. These documents indicated that Agnes Smith was born in Liverpool, England. That was about all we had about her. Unfortunately no images of either Agnes or the Captain have so far been discovered, and possibly none exist; the Captain died in 1846 in Hobart and Agnes died there in 1864, the Captain prior to the availability of the more accessible form of photographic process of that age. However from mid 1850s film based processes were more commonly in use so perhaps we might hope that one day an image of Agnes might be discovered. An image of Agnes Eliza is shown here. Our early research was published in a paper by Laurie Wilson initially for our 1995 family reunion at Hastings, subsequently updated about 2003 with new discoveries from the official Archives of the City of Antwerp. A copy of that paper...

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