The man behind a family heirloom

The “Burmese gong” stood on a shelf at my parents’ house for as long as I can remember. I knew that “hid cam fae [it came from] Thistlebank” but little more. Perhaps it is not even Burmese.                                                      The man who brought  |  more…

Valentine – is Robert Gray my Mr Right?

Valentine card, from ?? There’s sometimes an air of mystery, someone who doesn’t want to identify themselves. I have a potential x5 great grandfather who married on 14 February 1769, but is he Mr Right? (Valentine is the theme for #52ancestors challenge this week) Robert Gray – working backwards The starting point is Janet or  |  more…

Oh my darling Clementina

James, John, Jean, Ann… my direct line is full of very common names. There are some more unusual ones too – Tomima, Walterina, Cecilia – but perhaps my favourite name is Clementina. Clementina Johnston (c1813-1855) Clementina Johnston, often called Clement in records, was my x3 great grandmother. She was born in either Lerwick or Weisdale,  |  more…

In the census, closing the web on Peter

Let me set the scene. I knew from my great aunts that their uncle Peter (my x2 great uncle) had gone to Dakota, married an American called Olivia and had an adopted daughter Maimie. Years later when I seriously got into family history I found that he was born on 9 August 1851, was a  |  more…

Who’s coming to dinner?

There are many ancestors that I’d like to quiz over a meal, but I feel my great grandmother Tomima Groundwater really deserves some spoiling as well as quizzing. So she’s the topic of this week’s #52ancestors challenge: invite to dinner.. Who was she? Tomima Groundwater was born on 16 February 1851 the second child and  |  more…