Monday, 27 February 2012

Overseas delivery

Earlier in the week an order of books I put through the Scottish Genealogy Society site arrived. The week was so crazy busy at work though, I didn't have a chance to crack them until this morning. 

For most of you, titles like The Forgotten Tombstones of Moray or Tracing Your Shipbuilding Ancestors aren't lying on your bedside table as light reading! For me though it was a fun few hours this morning reading through the hard work of the Moray Burial Ground Research Group who have transcribed many of the tombstones in Morayshire churchyards, old and new and even buried. 

Many of the surnames carved into the stones are unfamiliar to me and the stories sad. A few more are immediately recognisable and filled gaps in far-removed branches of the tree. And others are worth exploring...    I will keep you up to date!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Happy Birthday dear Alexander...

Pretend that I wrote this yesterday, in commemoration of Alexander Cameron’s birthday. Which Alexander Cameron’s birth, you ask?

Given that the tradition of naming sons after fathers and/or fathers’ fathers is a favoured practice in our family, there are quite a few so you’re forgiven any confusion!

The Alexander Cameron I refer to, who was born yesterday, the 15th February but back in 1825 was the second child (and first son) of Alexander Cameron born 1793 and Janet Cramond born 1800. [1]

This makes him our Robert’s older brother as well as John, James, Jessy and Elspet’s and younger brother to Jane and my 3rd great grand uncle. 

On 27 February 1825 [1], at just over a week old, Alexander was baptised in the parish Speymouth (aka Urquhart), the same parish where  his parents married [2]. Witnesses to the baptism were an Alexander Anderson, connection unknown, and Alexander Cameron Snr, his grandfather and namesake (I presume). 

Between this date and the Census in 1841 I have no other documentation about Alexander – at the moment!

The census was conducted on the night of 6 June 1841 by which time 16 year old Alexander was a shipwright apprentice, following in the footsteps of his dad Alexander (who had died in 1840) who was also a ship carpenter. It was an occupation he continued with and which took him to Aberdeen within a decade [3]. Like Garmouth, Aberdeen was also a major port for shipbuilding in the mid to late 1800s.

Alexander returned to Urquhart parish and on 31 July 1852 “after regular proclamation” married Ann McDonald, a local of the parish who was born in Elgin about 1825. She returned with him to St Nicholas in Aberdeen where their first child, a son they named  (can you guess? that’s right…) Alexander was born almost a year later on 24 July 1853. Another son, James, followed on 2 July 1856 and then two daughters. The elder daughter Margaret was born on 14 June 1860, at which time the family were living at 2 Fish Street in St Nicholas [4]. It’s possible that their second daughter and youngest Janet Ann was born there too on 15 August 1863 but by 1871 [5] the family had moved to Bannermill Street.  Alexander lived there until his death at age 62 of apoplexy [6].

Alexander followed in his father Alexander’s footsteps as a ship carpenter (as did our Robert) but this family tradition ended with him. Based on the various census records, all of his kids went to school: his Alexander became composite printer, James a teacher (I think!) and Janet a milliner. I’m still hunting down Margaret.

I’m not sure how much contact Alexander would have had with his brother (our Robert) after Robert emigrated to Australia but I imagine the caught up on his return to Scotland for his wedding to Betsy in 1862. By this time our Robert was an uncle at least three times over thanks to Alexander and Ann and I can only hope got to meet some of his extended family before returning to Australia for good.

[1] 1825 Baptism records for Speymouth, Morayshire, Scotland.

[2] I'm guessing a little at this because I can't find the wedding reference but given this is where they lived, it makes sense.

[3] I think this is the case because at the time of the next census was in 1851, it appears Alexander was not still living with the rest of the clan, who were still based in Garmouth and at the time of his wedding in 1852 he is described as being part of the parish of Old Machar, which is in Aberdeenshire.

[4] 1861 Scotland Census

[5] 1871 Scotland Census

[6] Apoplexy is a rather outdated medical term for a stroke

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Love is in the air...

Harold & Edith on their wedding day
On this Valentine's Day it seems appropriate to post something love-related cos we really wouldn't be here without it! 

Below is one of a few postcards I found amongst Uncle Brian's photos that he treasured. It's written by his father, Harold Verney Cameron, to his mum, Edith Florence Wadley. It's not dated or addressed but based on similar postcards Harold wrote I believe it was written during World War I and sent to his "dearest Ede" (as he addressed her) with other letters. 

A bit of background for you (I will cover this in more detail later): Great Grandfather Harold enlisted in the army in 1915. He and great Grandmother Edith married in 1916 and shortly thereafter he was deployed to Egypt. Based on his military records he remained overseas, in various places, for the following two years and returned to Australia in June of 1918 after being discharged due to illness. Pa joined with world about 18 months later!

The post card reads:

"have my doubts but back in the game. The sooner I'm there the quicker I'll be back. 

Cheer up old darling, 

Heaps of love and kisses

Monday, 13 February 2012

El' of a good find

After introducing you all to our Robert's immediate family last night I wanted to see if I could find more information about them - perhaps find a sibling's spouse, a marriage date or even confirm a date of death. Add more leaves to the tree, so to speak...

What I wasn't expecting to find was another sibling: confirmed evidence of the elusive "Elizabeth" recorded as a member of the Cramond / Cameron household in the 1841 Census but none following (I referred to my inability to find more about her in an earlier post).

Entering Cramond and Cameron into the "name of parent" box on, a new site in my arsenal, among the random offspring of other Cameron / Cramond pairings (of which there are quite a few!) and the already identified siblings of our Robert, lay an "Elspet Cameron"  - born 10th December 1829, smack between Robert's birth in 1827 and John's in 1831.

My heart beat a little faster and I put off going to sleep a few more minutes as I sought out even more evidence because, just like chocolate, one piece is never enough...

Back to Scotland's People I went, the site that introduced me to Alex and Janet and provided the birth dates and baptism records for all the other Camerons listed on the census above. But now I was searching for an Elspet rather than an Elizabeth, imagining that when Janet answered his questions as to who was home that night of the 6th June back in 1841, the Census collector thought she was giving him pet names for her daughters. As a result he wrote them as they could have been, not as they were - confusion caused by the fact that, just as Jessie was often short for Janet, Elspet is often the diminutive of Elizabeth.

And EUREKA - there she was 'Elspet, lawful daughter to Alexander Cameron & Janet Cramond in Garmouth'!

Welcome to the Family, Elsie...

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Let me introduce you...

You'll see the tab above is now UPDATED! I have finally been able to work out the technology to put 5 generations of Cam's Fam on the one, mostly readable, image. 

This means there are a few more people for you to meet. 

Having introduced you to the newest member of the family (the gorgeous Lily), let me introduce you to the oldest being my (and yours too, cousins) 5th Great Grandfather Alexander Cameron (DOB unknown). 

He married Margaret Grant (born about. 1761) in Speymouth, Morayshire on 29 January 1785.  

They had 6 children:
John Cameron (born 1 Apr 1785) - can anyone say "Shotgun wedding"?
James Cameron (born 22 Aug 1787)
Peter Cameron (born 14 Dec 1789)
Alexander Cameron (born 2 Apr 1793) - remember him, folks. He's important! 
William Cameron (born 1 Mar 1797)
Jean Cameron (born 3 nov 1799)

Of these six kids, the one named after his father is the most important one for our purposes. We've met him briefly before because he is our Robert's father. You remember Robert - he's the reason we're Aussies!

As mentioned before, I met Alexander Cameron (born 1793) (let's call him Alex) on our Robert's wedding certificate. Before this he was a stranger to us but I also met his lovely wife Janet Cramond (born 17 Jun 1800) (or Jannet Crammond as she is sometimes known) the same day and am getting to know them pretty well. I don't know exactly when they got married but I do know that it was before 15 Oct 1823. How? Their first child, a daughter Jane born on this date, is described in the Old Parish Records on her baptism as "the lawful daughter to Alexr Cameron and Janet Cramond" so it seems that they met, fell in love, married and had kids all in the right order! Sadly though, Alex died young aged 47 on 19 Apr 1840, which was just after Jessy's birth and before he had to mourn her death at such a young age. 

Beyond this though, I don't know much more. I wish I did. 

I know that both Alex and Janet lived in Garmouth.  Being the relatively small town that it is, I imagine they probably knew each other from when they were little. Alex was the same age as Janet's older sister Jean Cramond (born 30 Jun 1793) so perhaps Jean and Alex were at school together? As they got older, Janet had a crush on this older cute boy and then, one day he stopped seeing her as his friend's bratty sister and they dated and fell in love. He got down on one knee and proposed by the river, their wedding was the best day of her life and together they raised this gorgeous family which he supported as a ship carpenter until his sudden death at 47. As her beloved husband, when he died she swore she'd never love again. And didn't, remaining a widow until she died at 83. Maybe?

Or, maybe I'm getting mushy with Valentine's Day around the corner.

Anyway, after Jane was born, came another Alexander (born 15 Feb 1825) and soon thereafter our Robert on 11 Apr 1827

After Jane, Alexander and Robert were:
John Cameron (born 18 Sep 1831)
James Cameron (born 24 Oct 1833)
and little Jessy Cameron (born 11 Jan 1839) who you've also already met. 

I might stop the introductions there because there are a lot of people to remember and I don't know about you, but I'm terrible with names. It's easier when they're all the same but also easier to confuse! 

As always, more details to be added...

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Pretty in pink

A big welcome to the newest member of the family, Lily Grace!

Lily is the first child for my cousin Rich and his wife Jane, and the first granddaughter for my Aunty Tine and Uncle Pete after 5 boys!

Welcome to Cam's Fam!