Friday, March 5, 2010

Researching an Illegitimate Line

My Grandmother's family line brings me to Scotland.  I have been having good luck in collecting the first few generations birth, marriage and death records from ScotlandsPeople.  But I am finding I have to figure out how to be a super sleuth in records I have little experience with.

My great-great-grandfather of the maternal side was John ANDERSON.  His birth record shows him as Illegitimate, his marriage record shows William Cameron being his father.  The first mystery to solve is to identify his mother, Margaret Anderson.
John Anderson's birth record reads as follows:

John Anderson, (present), Male, 1855 June Third, 4h 0m A.M.
Greystone, Parish of Monikie, Forfarshire
Margaret Anderson, Widow, Her 3rd Child, 29 years, Brechin

Margaret Anderson, her X mark, mother
John Sturrock, Witness
James Cowper Witness
1855, July 13th At Monikie
(Signed) W.M. Alexander, Registar

His Marriage Record:

1879 on the Twenty Seventh day of June at Laurel Bank, Dundee
After Banns, according to the forms of the Free Church of Scotland
(signed) John Anderson, Railway Pointsman, Bachelor; 24, Victoria Street Carnoustie
(signed) Elizabeth Spalding, Jute Winder, Spinster; 23, 24 Dallfield Walk
William Cameron, Ploughman; Margaret Anderson afterwards Nicoll
James Spalding, Yarn Bleacher (deceased); Elizabeth Spalding, M.S. Dewar (Deceased)

(signed) James Ewing, Officiating Minister
(Signed) William Lindsay Johnson, Witness; (Signed) Maria Spalding, Witness
1879 June 30 at Dundee; Dav(?) Scott, Registar

So, Margaret "should" be findable but I am having a hard time tracking her down.  The Marriage Register shows she was afterward Nicoll so she did re-marry after John was born?  Did she re-marry after John was grown and gone?  And as far as her name when John was born.  Is Anderson her maiden surname?  Would she have given her deceased husband name to another mans son's name?  I have her approximate birth date of 1826 as she was 29 when John was born but was she born an Anderson or another surname?  Searching a Margaret in Brechin comes up with a lot of Margaret's!  And how do I figure out for sure that William Cameron is truly his father?  I expect that is something I will never know.   I have been searching the 1861 census for her as Anderson with a 5-6 year old son named John and two older children.  I have been searching for her as Nicoll with three children, one being John Anderson.  I have been searching for a death record for Margaret Nicoll.  I feel like I have enough clues to crack the mystery but so far I am not having any luck.  In the last week I have burned through at least 60 credits at ScotslandsPeople and have birth records for a couple Margaret's and a death certificate that could almost be her but by the age 10 years off, and a few census' that are not even close to being her.  So tonight I have been poking around through Ancestry's Scottish census' looking for a clue in 1861 but I think I am going to move into 1871 and see if I can find her and her Nicoll's husband there!

It feels like it should be so easy.......

((Bloggers note:  And gosh, not even an hour later I found her in someone's family tree on Ancestry.  Major clues to identify her as my Margaret Anderson!  An ahhhh moment!  *and happy dance*.)) 

1 comment:

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Life is like that. Happy searching!

May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

Bill ;-)
Author of "Back to the Homeplace"