Monthly Archives: January 2016

Old WALKER papers – I, James Walker

This is my sixth blog post in a series about some old papers of the WALKER family, from Kirkliston, West Lothian, Scotland. See a list of these papers HERE.

IMG_7620-edBelow is one of several documents from an envelope labeled “Old Wills etc. of the Walker family”, which is part of a box full of family papers that I received from my aunt at a family gathering in January 2014. The contents of this envelope all date from the 1700’s.

This letter is from James Walker, b.1769. He is the nephew of the James Walker mentioned in several other documents that I’ve posted. He’s the son of Thomas Walker (b.1735), and grandson of William Walker & Elizabeth Barron (m.1728).

IMG_9490-croppedPlease click on the images to see the scans at full resolution. Transcribed text appears in a Maroon colour below each scanned image. At the bottom I’ve made some notes of my own about the document.

Letter; I-James-Walker_1789_300dpiTranscription;

I, James Wallker, being in a laguishine Condition #
and going twenty one years, called Lues Alexandr #
tenant in Murend and David Fortune tenant #
in Birds mill to bear witness what my #
wills is which I declare befor them to be #
as follows. I would have my uncel James #
Walker if Providen should take me #
away to pay all my just debts to give my #
sister Elizabeth five pounds hir husband #
five pounds my cusion John Walker five #
pounds the first term after my decease #
and my Mother to Lifereant what remains #
which will be more than one hundred #
pounds sterling and then at her death to #
be divided equally among my survive- #
-ng sistors leaving the management of all #
to my three uncles James Broun, Peller #
Broun and James Walker this [I atest] #
Before thes as above Hiddlefolds twenty #
fourth of subtember 1789

Witnes Lewis Alexander
David Fortuna, witness

James Walker

Notes;

  • “Murend”; Muirend lays southwest of Hiddlefaulds, across the Union Canal.
  • “Birds Mill”; lays southeast of Hiddlefaulds, on the River Almond.

Lewis Alexander, tenant in Muirend; There is a gravestone in St Nicholas churchyard, Uphall, EH52 6JP, West Lothian, which from the dates on it, could be recording the parents and siblings of the witness to the document above. See grave no.60, here; http://www.uphall.org/downloads/stnicholas-gravestones.pdf

Family;

“James Broun” and “Peller Broun” (possibly “Peter” Broun) appear to be the brothers of Janet Broun (or Brown), who married Thomas Walker, at Kirkliston on 16/10/1761. Thomas and Janet had 8 children christened at Kirknewton, Mid Lothian;

  • Mary, chr. 5/9/1762
  • Janet, chr. 3/11/1763
  • Elizabeth, chr. 17/1/1764, (married bef.1789, according to the letter above)
  • Marion, chr. 31/5/1767
  • James, chr. 14/5/1769 (writer of the letter, above)
  • Isobel, chr. 28/9/1771
  • Margaret, chr. 9/5/1773
  • Jean, chr. 10/5/1776 (source; IGI).

Thomas Walker’s brother, James Walker (b.1731) married Janet Flint and had 3 children;

  • Mary, b. 23/6/1767
  • Elizabeth, b. 1/10/1769
  • John, b. 13/1/1772 (he “irregularly” married Isabel Neil, in May 1816)

Note that the girls here share the same names as their cousins, which could cause confusion when we search the parish registers!

There is a marriage in the Kirkliston parish registers between an “Elizabeth Walker” and James Cunningham on 11/6/1785. I once found a tree on-line which had assumed that this Elizabeth was the daughter of James W & Janet Flint! But she would have been only 16 years old at that time (unusual, but not impossible!). However the evidence in the document above, which says that Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas W & Janet Broun, was married before 1789, leads me to believe that she is the wife of James Cunningham. She would have been 21 at the time of that marriage.

I would be interested to find any other evidence that could confirm which “Elizabeth” married James Cunningham, or that could help to solve any similar confusions that might occur. If you have (or know of) such evidence please use the Contact Form. Thanks.

Advertisements

A new user’s review of FindMyPast

FindMyPast-free-weekendI was tempted last week by the offer of a weekend of free on-line access to “billions of historical records” at FindMyPast.co.uk. And after a great talk at my local Family History Society meeting, by Myko Clelland from FindMyPast, I decided to sign up, give it a go, and see what new things I could find. So I registered, and uploaded a GEDCOM file, with nearly 4,500 people in it. Then I had an initial explore of the site, and waited for the free access weekend to start.FindMyPast-logo

The FindMyPast website was not as good as I had hoped! I’ll explain how I got on as a new user, and in particular the things that frustrated me about the site.

The first thing I found disappointing with the site was that the “Hints” system which FindMyPast advertises as a great way to find new, relevant records to help build up your family tree, only works (currently) when you edit entries, or manually enter new ones. It doesn’t provide hints for the people that you’ve added from a GEDCOM file! FindMyPast should make it clearer before you start that when uploading a GEDCOM file you won’t get “hints” for the individuals in that file.

FindMyPast-hints-imageMy next frustration was that when I did start getting “Hints” (after adding details from paper notes that were missing from the GEDCOM file) – although at first sight many hinted records looked to be relevant, digging deeper revealed that they really weren’t relevant to my tree. A couple of times I added facts to my tree using the hints provided by FindMyPast, but then deleted them again after looking much more closely and checking back on my paper notes of details I’ve previously found! (this largely related to parish registers from the 1700’s).

It appears to me that FindMyPast‘s threshold for matching the information to provide its “Hints” may be set too low! Many of its hints can be very quickly screened out. But the difficulty comes with the ones that you have to dig into much more deeply to detect the inconsistencies. It is so easy to see something that seems to match, and add it to your tree. This could so easily lead to many false paths in numerous family trees.

All known surnames in Matt's ancestry upto his 6x Gt Grandparents

AFamilyHistoryBlog is (in part) my attempt to counter some of these “false” trees that appear on-line, where people have assumed connections to exist between separate records, but without any clear evidence for the connection. I hope that by posting the real evidence that I have from original family documents and other reliable sources, I can help to challenge and correct some of those “false” trees which can so easily develop. I also hope that if and when I follow a false path, my blog will allow others to contact me with any evidence they have, to put me back on the right path.

I had hoped to find many more images of original documents to be available to view on the FindMyPast website. But while it does have images of things like census records (which is useful), it doesn’t seem to have images of the parish registers which I had hoped for! Only the transcriptions of them!

Very often seeing images of the original parish registers (which I have done in the past on microfilm) provides additional clues/evidence that is too often missing from the transcriptions; for instance names of witnesses (who often may have been relatives), or names of places (houses/farms) where the people lived, which can confirm a continuity between different records. Without establishing such continuity between records you often can’t be certain if the name appearing several times in a parish register relates to one person, or to several different people with the same name. It was very common in the past, when extended families often lived geographically close together, to find cousins or second cousins, or uncles/aunts & nephews/nieces, who shared the same names, living in the same parish. So in the records (and more-so in their partial transcriptions) it can be very difficult to tell these individuals apart!

After these initial frustrations with the FindMyPast system, where I was largely trying to find more about earlier ancestors through parish registers, etc – largely the Walkers of Kirkliston (whom I’m currently posting documents about), I decided to change track. I began to have a look at the lines of my ancestry that I can trace least far back. From my 3x Gt-grandparents back, some gaps begin to appear. So I began looking to see if FindMyPast could help fill any of these gaps.

That generation of my tree typically features individuals born in the late 1700’s and particularly the early 1800’s – people who often had their families at the time of the early censuses. So it proved easy to find out some more about some of these ancestors from the UK censuses. In one case I have been able to obtain the maiden name of a 3x Gt-grandmother, where before I only had her married surname.

census-picElsewhere I was able to work out sideways, adding children and other details in the next generation. But this also produced one more frustration with the FindMyPast system. FindMyPast would try to use the census data about a household to identify everyone in the family and use that to update or add individuals in your family tree. But too often it risked duplicating individuals because slight differences in name spelling meant that it didn’t link the person in the census to the person in your tree! And you couldn’t easily compare the full household list in the census with the whole family group in your tree, to check who was there and who was missing.

In one case I added a “son-in-law” from the census to my tree. I already had the son-in-law in my tree, but FindMyPast didn’t connect the two together, or connect the son-in-law from the census to his wife in my tree (who was also in that census entry), but only to his parents-in-law! So “Henry” then appeared twice in my tree – a duplicate! I tried to find out how I could merge the two entries into one! But I couldn’t!

The best help I could find was on a blog by Phil Moir, who is “technical lead for the Family Tree team” at FindMyPast. That helped a little, but wasn’t exactly what I wanted! In the end I had to resort to copying the new details provided by the census, from the “new” Henry, and pasting them into the profile of the “old” Henry, then delete the “new” Henry from my tree. Not very satisfactory! It should be much easier to merge two “profiles” into one.

FindMyPast-screen-print2Another example of the problem with FindMyPast‘s handling of census records is where a child in a family had died. Then a new child was given the same name, which was common when child mortality was high – in this example “William”. The 1891 census records the younger William (b.1886). But the FindMyPast system picks up on the older “William” in the family tree (b.1867), who had died (1871) before the 1891 census, and attempts to persuade you to change his date of birth to that of the younger James, who is in the census and on your tree. If you were to follow through on FindMyPast‘s advice and update “William’s” details based on the census record, then you would have two “William”s with the same approximate date of birth in the family group. This would then look like a duplicate of one individual (similar to what I described above), when in fact they were two different individuals, with a wide gap between dates of birth.

You really need to be able to compare the census records, and what FindMyPast is hinting you to change in your tree, side-by-side with the WHOLE family group that you currently have in your tree. You need to be better able to see the context of the wider family into which you’re being prompted to add new details of an individual. As far as I can see at the moment the best that you can do is to switch between the “merge” page and the “family view”, in separate browser tabs. This isn’t satisfactory. You should be able to view them side-by-side, in the same tab, in order to fully check how the details in the hinted record compare to the family group that you already have in your tree.

So, to summerise my experience; while FindMyPast could be very useful as a research tool, the frustrations that I’ve had as a new user trying it out for the first time, mean that I can only give it 2 stars! ★★☆☆☆

The free Family Tree Builder app is great and I’ll probably continue to play with it, adding material that I’ve got elsewhere. It looks great. I just wish it was a bit easier to navigate between different branches of my tree. A tab at the top of the “family view” that would let you get quickly to an index of all the individuals in your tree would be great for that.

The available records that you can search is also good. But I think that the systems of “Hinting” records, and of merging record details into your own family tree needs improvement (I realise that this is sure to be a very technically challenging thing to get right!).

So I think that I am unlikely to take out any kind of subscription to FindMyPast until I can see them ironing out many of the frustrations that I’ve mentioned above. Once they do, it’ll be a really great tool.

 

Old WALKER papers – letter from James Gray, to James Walker in Hiddlefaulds

This is my fifth blog post in a series about some old papers of the WALKER family, from Kirkliston, West Lothian, Scotland. See a list of these papers HERE.

IMG_7620-edBelow is one of several documents from an envelope labeled “Old Wills etc. of the Walker family”, which is part of a box full of family papers that I received from my aunt at a family gathering in January 2014. The contents of this envelope all date from the 1700’s.

This letter is from a James Gray, to James Walker, tenant in Hiddlefaulds, in Kirkliston, West Lothian, regarding the farm at Overtoun, Kirknewton, which had previously been occupied by James’ brother Thomas Walker. (James Walker was my 4x Great-grandfather).

IMG_9490-croppedPlease click on the images to see the scans at full resolution. Transcribed text appears in a Maroon colour below each scanned image. At the bottom I’ve made some notes of my own about the document.

Letter; letter-from-James-Gray_to-James-Walker_300dpiTranscription;

[Ed.] 7th [December] [1785]

[Sir]
I remember to have got from you some #
Considerable time ago an obligation by Mr [David] #
Wauch of Easter Newton to pay to you Two hundred #
pounds [Sterling] at the first term after you [the cold] #
put Mr Wauch in possession of the farm of Over- #
-toun [lately] possessed by the deceased Thomas #
Walker your Brother And which #
obligation is just now falen by so that I #
cannot presently lay my hand upon it #
And I am [Sir]
your obed. Servant
James Gray

To My James Walker }
tenant in Hiddlefaulds }

Notes;

David Wauch; I suspect that “Wauch” could be a mis-spelling of “Waugh”.

The farm of Easter Newton lays just to the east of Kirknewton village, Mid Lothian.

Family;

I believe that Thomas Walker (b. 1735) married Janet Brown (or Broun), in Kirkliston, West Lothian, on 16/10/1761. They had 8 children christened at Kirknewton, Mid Lothian, between 1762 and 1776. So Thomas Walker must have died at some time between 1776 and the date of this letter (1785). Following Thomas’ death the tenancy of Overtoun of Kirknewton was (according to this letter) transferred to a David Wauch (or Waugh).

Old WALKER papers – Lease of Hiddlefaulds to James Walker – 1775

This is my forth blog post in a series about some old papers of the WALKER family, from Kirkliston, West Lothian, Scotland. See a list of these papers HERE.

IMG_7620-edBelow is one of several documents from an envelope labeled “Old Wills etc. of the Walker family”, which is part of a box full of family papers that I received from my aunt at a family gathering in January 2014. The contents of this envelope all date from the 1700’s.

This letter is from the Earl of Hopetoun, agreeing to lease the farm of Hiddlefaulds, in Kirkliston, West Lothian, to James Walker (my 4x Great-grandfather) from 1775, for two further terms of 19 years each. Family notes say that the Walker family (under James’ father, William) first moved to Hiddlefaulds in 1745.

IMG_9490-croppedPlease click on the images to see the scans at full resolution. Transcribed text appears in a Maroon colour below each scanned image. At the bottom I’ve made some notes of my own about the document.

Lease; lease-of-Hiddlefaulds_1775_300dpiTranscription of lease;

Hope house, 19th Sept 1775

James
I hereby agree ^ {[.] for the Earl of Hopetoun} to give you a lease of the #
farm of Hiddlefaulds, which you presently #
possess for Nineteen years from [Mart next] #
Seventeen Hundred and Seventy five for your offer #
of the following rent and upon the following #
Conditions [viz] you are to pay a yearly rent #
of Twenty three Bolls Barley and Twenty three #
Bolls of Oat meal with Nineteen pound sterl[ing] #
of Money rent at the usual terms, and you are #
to Inclose the whole farm during the lease #
into Six Inclosures, none of them to exceed fifteen #
acres, and your lease is to contain all the #
clauses in ^ {the Earls} other Leases. If you have #
Inclosed and dived the farm as above said #
during the above lease and the fences in a #
sufficient fencable condition ^ {The Earl} shall renew your #
lease for nineteen years more upon your #
demanding it, at the above [actual] rent [viz] [twenty] #
three Bolls Barley and Twenty three Bolls meal #
and Twenty Six pound sterl[ing] of money rent and #
you become bound to uphold and maintain the #
fences during the second lease and to leave #
them in a sufficient fencable condition at the #
end thereof –
For the Earl of Hopetoun
Hope

To Jas Walker Tennant
in Hiddlefaulds of Kinpunt

Notes;

Term used in the text;

On the reverse of this letter are written a series of numbers, being added up. I am unsure of the meaning/significance of these (if any)!;

520
 220
 140
 200
 212
 210
——
1502

Family;

James Walker (named above) married Janet Flint in May 1766 (recorded in the parish registers in both Kirkliston and Mid Calder). They had 2 daughters; Mary (b. June 1767), and Elizabeth (b. Oct. 1769), and one son; John (b. Jan. 1772). John would continue farming at Hiddlefaulds after the deaths of James & Janet (who both died in 1817). I don’t have any more information about the daughters, beyond their birth/christening dates!

Names of Interest update

In June last year (2015) I joined my local Family History Society in Norfolk for the first time. I had been to a number of their monthly meetings before, and joined expecting to attend several more meetings that looked to be of interest in the 2015 program (entrance to meetings being much cheaper for members than for visitors).

You can find your local Family History Society through the Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) website.

As it turned out, I didn’t make any more of their meetings during 2015 (for various reasons!). But I have just renewed my membership and been to the first meeting of 2016. I have also written an article for the Society’s newsletter – all about starting this family history blog. I intend to post a copy of that article onto the blog here, once the newsletter is published (which I think is due at the end of February).

I have spent a while working out what to submit as “Names of Interest” to the local Family History Society’s “Member’s Directory”. I have just submitted my list along with my membership renewal, and I thought that I should also post that list here.

I have previously posted my “Names of Interest” onto AFamilyHistoryBlog and created a “Surnames” page which gives some additional details about some of the surnames, and includes some names that are not in the lists below. But the Family History Society has a specific format for the Members’ Interests, which I thought I should reproduce in this post.

I should say that none of my ancestry is very local to the area where I live. So it may be useful at some point for me to join Family History Societies in some of the areas where my ancestors did come from. There are links to some of these societies in the right-hand column of this website, and on the Resources page.

I have come up with two lists;

  • a “short list ” – of the names of greatest interest to me, arranged roughly in order of interest; the greatest interest first (though this is flexible – it’ll change depending on what I’m particularly researching at any given time). Most of these surnames can also be found in “Categories” list, in the right-hand column of the website.
  • a “long list” – including most of the surnames in my ancestry, which I arrange alphabetically for ease of searching.

Each entry in the list gives the SURNAME (in capitals), any spelling variations in brackets, then the location(s) – parish & county (using “Chapman Codes“), and finally the time period of interest. I will hyperlink each surname in the list to its relevant tag/category on AFamilyHistoryBlog so that you can quickly find all my blog posts relating to that surname.

Short list (greatest interest first);

Surname Location Period
WALKER Kirkliston, WLN 1680 – 1900
HUTCHISON Kirkcaldy, FIF 1700 – 1900
ELLIOTT (ELLETT) HRT 1750 – 1900
SWAIN Bristol/ Birmingham/ STS/ LEI 1800 +
CADZOW (CAGOW / KADZOW) LKS 1750 1900
EYRE LND 19th C.
WALTON Fallowfield, LAN Pre 1850
TWITE Bath, SOM/ LND 1750 – 1900
JOHNSTON Bathgate, WLN 1650 – 1900
FRY Bristol/ WIL All
BUCKNALL Stroud, GLS 1750 – 1900
HENDERSON REW 1750 – 1900
MAWER Sibsey, LIN 1790 – 1900
OLIPHANT Kirkcaldy, FIF 1600 – 1900
BARKER Kirkcaldy, FIF 1650 – 1800
BARRON (BARON) Corstorphine, MLN 1650 – 1800

Long list (arranged alphabetically);

Surname Location Period
BARKER Kirkcaldy, FIF 1650 – 1800
BARRON (BARON) Corstorphine, MLN 1650 – 1800
BELL (BETT/ BUTT) Kirkcaldy, FIF 1700 – 1800
BINNIE Cramond, MLN 1700 – 1800
BLACK Lanark, LKS 1800 – 1850
BUCKNALL Stroud, GLS 1750 – 1900
CADZOW (CAGOW / KADZOW) LKS 1750 – 1900
CLARENCE Stampford, ESS 1700 – 1800
ELLIOTT (ELLETT) HRT 1750 – 1900
EYRE LND 19th C.
FLINT WLN 1700 – 1800
FRY Bristol/ WIL All
GANDY Fallowfield, LAN Pre 1850
GEDDES MLN 1700 – 1800
HART (HEART) STS 1800 – 1900
HENDERSON REW 1750 – 1900
HENDERSON Lesmahagow, LKS 1700 – 1800
HUTCHISON Kirkcaldy, FIF 1700 – 1900
JOHNSON Birmingham 1750 – 1900
JOHNSTON Bathgate, WLN 1650 – 1900
KEY ? WLN 1800 – 1900 ?
MAIR WLN 1700 – 1850
MAWER Sibsey, LIN 1790 – 1900
MUIR Lesmahagow, LKS 1750 – 1800
NEIL Uphall, WLN 1750 – 1850
NICHOLSON Forfar, ANS Pre 1850
OLIPHANT Kirkcaldy, FIF 1600 – 1900
SMEAL West Hempstead, LND 1800 – 1850
SMITH Muiravonside, STI 1700 – 1800
SWAIN Bristol/ Birmingham/ STS/ LEI 1800 +
THOMAS PEM 1750 – 1900
TWITE Bath, SOM/ LND 1750 – 1900
URIE REW 1750 – 1900
WALKER Kirkliston, WLN 1680 – 1900
WALTON Fallowfield, LAN Pre 1850
WEIR WLN 1700 – 1800
WHITE ? WLN ? 19th C.
YOUNG Ecclesmachan, WLN 1700 – 1800

If you wish to contact me about any of the names listed above, please use the Contact Form. Thanks.

Old WALKER papers – Discharge from Thomas to James Walker – 1766

This is my third blog post in a series about some old papers of the WALKER family, from Kirkliston, West Lothian, Scotland. I will compile a list of these papers HERE.

IMG_7620-edBelow is one of several documents from an envelope labeled “Old Wills etc. of the Walker family”, which is part of a box full of family papers that I received from my aunt at a family gathering in January 2014. The contents of this envelope all date from the 1700’s. This one is the “Discharge” from Thomas Walker to his older brother James. This is in response to the “Disposition” (Will) of their father, William Walker (dated 1763) which I have previously posted -> HERE.

IMG_9490-croppedPlease click on the images to see the scans at full resolution. Transcribed text appears in a Maroon colour below each scanned image. At the bottom I’ve made some notes of my own about the document.

Cover; Discharge_Thomas-to-James-Walker_cover_300dpi

Transcription of cover;

Discharge from
Thomas to
James Walker ___

Inside; Discharge_Thomas-to-James-Walker_page-1-ed_300dpiTranscription of inside;

I Thomas Walker tennent in Overtown and second son of #
William Walker tennent in Hiddelfolds whereas my said #
father by his latter will Dated one thousand seven hundred and #
sixty three years did verbely give to me and put me in possesion #
of the whole stocking Corns Cattle and utincels belonging to the #
said farm of Overtown as also the household plenishing as the whole #
of the above was then possesed by himself and that in Lieu and in #
full of my Receipt Declaration or Discharge for the same and my #
said father and my Brother James Walker Being now [Desir-] #
[-cous] that in Consideration of the premises I should give them the #
Discharge underwritten.

I therefor by these presents Exoner and discharg the said William #
Walker my father and the said James Walker my brother and #
there hairs Executors and successors of all further Claim or Dema- #
nd that is or may be Compelant to me against them or either #
of them Either in my said father’s lifetime or att his Death as #
portion natural Excutor or any other manner of way.

And consents to the Regestration hereof in the Books of #
Council and session or any other juges book Competant therein #
to Remain for preservation and thereto I Constitute —

My […] in witness #
whereof I have written and subscribed ther presents on stamped #
paper att Muristown the fourtenth day of June one thousand seven #
hundred and sixty sis years before these witnesses William Flint #
tennant in Muristown and James Bachon Wiright in Elestermure #
-house

Thomas Walker

William Flint, witness
James Bachon, witness

Notes;

Locations;

I’m not sure where Muristown or Elestermure are! The spellings are doubtful! I suspect that the “mure” in each name might actually be “muir” (which is common in the area). “Muristown” might perhaps be “Murieston”, laying south of Livingston, between Mid & West Calder! It anyone can help to decipher these names, please get in touch. Leave a comment below, or use the Contact Page to get in touch.

Family;

James Walker (named above) married Janet Flint in May 1766 (one month before the date of the document above). Might the “William Flint”, named as a witness above, be a relation of Thomas Walker’s sister-in-law? (I don’t know!)

 

 

Old WALKER papers – Disposition of William Walker, tenant in Hiddlefolds, 1763

This is the second blog post in a series about some old papers of the WALKER family, from Kirkliston, West Lothian, Scotland. I will compile a list of these papers HERE.

IMG_7620-ed

Below is one of several documents from an envelope labeled “Old Wills etc. of the Walker family”, which is part of a box full of family papers that I received from my aunt at a family gathering in January 2014. The contents of this envelope all date from the 1700’s. This one is the “Disposition” (Will) of William Walker, whose marriage contract (from 1728) I have already posted -> HERE.

IMG_9490-croppedPlease click on the images to see the scans at full resolution. Transcribed text appears in a Maroon colour below each scanned image. At the bottom I’ve made some notes of my own about the document.

Cover; Wm-Walker-Disposition-cover_300dpiPage 1; William Walker - Disposition - 1763 - page-1-ed_300dpiTranscription of Page 1;

Be it known to all men by #
these presant me William Walker tennant Hiddelfold #
and also tennant in Overtoun of Kirkneuton for the love favour #
and afection that I have and bear to my Children James #
and Thomas, Jannet and Isobel Walker and to the Effect #
ther may be no Despute or Devision betuixt them at or after #
my Decease when the same in Providance shall happen therefor #
[wit] ye me to have [asigned] and disponed as I [Do] hearby asign and #
and make over and dispond to in favours of my said sons James and #
Thomas Walkers first I asigne and make over and dispond to James #
my oldest son his heirs and asigness all and sundrey my whole stocking #
Corns Cattle hors nout sheep labouring Instruments out sight and #
insight houshold plenishing and furniter of whosoever quality #
sort or Denomination that pertain and belong to me this presant #
day and date Janury the twenty eight one thousand sevin hun- #
-dred sixty three in or about Hiddlefolds and to fulfill the premices #
of the Tack together with [all] sundrie debts and sums of money #
reasting and adebted unto me this time aforesaid by whatever per- #
-son or persons upon whatsoever acoumpt – and second – #
I dispone and mak over to Thomas my youngest son his heirs #
and asigness the whole Stocking Corns Cattle hors nout sheep #
labouring Instrumints out sight and insight houshold plenishing #
whatsoever quality sort or denomination that is in or about #
the farm Overtoun of Kirkneuton and likwise he binds and #
obledg himself to pay the yearly rent and Tack Duty of Overtoun #
for this year and [crop] one thousand seven hundred and sixty two #
and every year during the tack and also he binds and oblidges #
himself to give me his father and his two sisters an equall half along #
with his brother James which shall be after mentioned. James #
and Thomas Walkers binds and obliges themselves to pay to their #
father each of them for themselves [fiftinth] pound sterling #

William Lin, witness
James Brown, witness

William Walker
James Walker
Thomas Walker

Page 2; William Walker - Disposition - 1763 - page-2-ed_300dpiTranscription of Page 2;

which is thirty pound to both and if our father require #
not the moniey nou mentoned in his life the one half #
shall be to Thomas and the other to James after his Decease #
and likwise I bind and oblige my sons James and Thomas #
with ther own consent therto to give to ther two sisters Isoble and Jannet #
Walkers portions as followeth – [Vis] to Isoble twenty five pounds #
sterling James and Thomas each one for himself paying twelve pounds #
ten shillings sterling and likwise to Jannet twenty five pounds sterling #
James for himself paying twelve pounds ten shillings sterling and #
Thomas for himself paying twelve pounds ten shillings and in case #
any of them should marrye it shall be given unto them upon Demand #
but if otherwayes they remain unmaried ther portions shall not be #
due to them or the first term martimess or whitsundy after ther fathers #
Decease and if any of them dye ther portion shall be equaly divided #
among the survivors – – I heirby have resigned given up and #
made over in favours of my two sons as is afore mentioned to James #
the farm of Hiddlefolds and all goods and effects in or about #
that farm with full pour to dispone or dispose thereof at [plisoure] #
and also with pour to him to receive the debts generaly asigned and #
to discharge the same and if need be pursue therfore as accords and #
every thing Compelant in law —-
and als[o] to Thomas the farm of Overtoun of Kirkneuton as is afore #
mentioned and all goods and effects in or about that farm or any #
ways beloning therto with full poure to dispon or dispose thereon #
at plesure and also with power to him to receive and discharge the #
debts generaly asigned and if need be pursue therefor as accords #
every thing Compelant in law —-
and we bind and oblige ourselves James for himself and Thomas #
for himself not Conjunctly but [sveraly] to fullfile our oblegations #
to our Father and sisters as is above mentioned —-
[we] all Conjunctly and unanimasly agree to what is hear insear- #
-ted in this and the other preceding page of stampt papper and willingly #
consent to the Regerstration herof in the boks of Council and Session #
or other Competant therin to remain and Constitute —-

William Lin, witness
James Brown, witness

William Walker
James Walker
Thomas Walker

Page 3; William Walker - Disposition - 1763 - page-3_bk-of-cover_300dpiTranscription of Page 3;

 – – – in witness thereof written upon stamped #
papper by James Walker I have subscribed ther presance #
at Hiddlefolds the twenty eight day of January one thousand #
seven hundred and sixty three years before these witness #
William Lin of Lins millin and James Brown #
tennant in Bromfilet

William Lin, witness
James Brown, witness

William Walker
James Walker
Thomas Walker

Notes;

Terms used in the text;

Locations;

Hiddlefold (or Hiddlefaulds) lay S.E. of Kilpunt, between Kilpunt and Birds Mill.

I believe that “Bromfilet” is Broomflat, and “Lins millin” is Lin’s Mill (which is the place where the Union Canal crosses the River Almond). Both sites lay to the south of Hiddlefaulds, on opposite sides of the River Almond.

Walker family;

0608-06_William-WALKER-tombstone_at-Kirkliston_W-Lothian
“Here lies the dust of William Walker late Tennant in Hiddle-fold… who died Jan~ 1st 1768 aged 73 years”

William Walker’s tombstone, in the churchyard of Kirkliston Parish Church, records that “William Walker, late tennant in Hiddle-fold … died Jan.1st 1768, aged 73 years“.

Note; GravestonePhotos.com has mis-transcribed William’s age as “75”! Having seen and photographed the stone myself, I am certain that it reads “aged 73”, and  other publications of “Monumental Inscriptions” that I’ve seen, agree.

Notes written by my Grandfather in the late 1950’s say that the Walkers moved from Puncheonlaw (N.E. of Kirkliston) to Hiddlefolds in 1745, and that William had inherited the tenancy at “Overtoun of Kirknewton … from his brother, David Walker, who had died, it seems, without issue“. I have not yet confirmed either of these statements from original sources!

From Kirkliston parish records I know that William Walker, and his wife Elizabeth Barron, had 5 children; “Isabell” and Janet were twins, christened on 24th August 1729, James was christened on 8th August 1731, and Thomas on 26th October 1735 (all named in William’s Disposition, above).

A third son, “William” is recorded; christened on 2nd February 1739. I have seen trees posted on-line which claim to link this christening to a marriage at Kirkliston in 1774, between another “William Walker” and Catherine Muir (see HERE ). But I believe this connection to be wrong due to the details in the Disposition above which clearly mention only 2 sons; James and Thomas (also note in that link, the supposed birth year of the father; “1706”, which does not fit with the record on his tombstone!). It is my assumption that the third son “William” (b.1739) had died sometime in childhood; before his father wrote the Disposition above.

Also the lack of any mention of William’s wife, Elizabeth Barron, in this Disposition suggests to me that she had died before it was written. I have not yet found any record of Elizabeth’s death.

If anyone has evidence that can prove (or disprove) my assumptions here, I would be very interested to see it. If you do, please leave a comment below, or use the Contact Page to get in touch. Thanks.

Old WALKER papers – Contract of marriage betuext William Waacker and Elizabeth Barron

This is the first in a series of posts about old papers of the WALKER family, from Kirkliston, West Lothian, Scotland. I will compile a list of these papers HERE.

IMG_7620-edIn January 2014 (just after I began this blog), I came home from a family gathering with an old wooden box from my aunt, stuffed full of old WALKER family papers. Many of these papers date from the 1800’s and early 1900’s. But I’m going to start by posting the contents of one particular envelope – labeled “Old Wills etc. of the Walker family”. The contents of this envelope all date from the 1700’s, and I’m going to start with the oldest document of them all – probably the oldest of any document that I’ve yet handled. It’s a marriage contract is dated “17th May 1728”.

IMG_9490-croppedPlease click on the images to see the scans at full resolution. Transcribed text appears in a Maroon colour below each scanned image. Then there are some notes of my own at the end.

Cover; Marriage Contract cover_300dpiTranscription of cover;

Contract of mariage
betuext

Wiliam Waacker
and
Elizabeth Barron

Page 1; Marriage contract - William Walker & Elizabeth Barron - page 1 - 300dpiTranscription of Page 1;

At Carshall the seventeen day of may on[e] thousand seven hunder and #
tewentie eight years it is appointed matrimonially contracted —- — #
and finnally ended betuext the parties following they are to say William #
Waacker in Punchunla, he for himself
     and Elizabeth Barron, lafull daughter to the deceast Thomas #
Barron in Carshall with special advice and consent of her sd brother Thomas #
on the other part in manner following that is to say ye sd William Waacker #
and Elizabeth Barron have accepted & be their presents accepts and take each other #
to be their lawfull spous & faithfully promises to solemnieze the mariage with all #
conveninl speed & sollemneity requisit in Contemplation of the which #
mariage the sd William Waacker hereby binds & oblidges him his heirs execur- #
-or succors To provid and have in readiness of his oun proper means & effects all and #
haill the soume of four hundereth — — — merks scots money & [shail] #
betuext and the term of martimess next to come and to take and add the soum to #
the locher underwritten to be payed by the sd Thomas Barron taking the burden upon his #
for his sd sister Elizabeth the soum of three hundereth merks scots money making in hail #
the soume of seven hundereth merks money forsaid and to wear #
Imploy and bestow the same upon houses lands or @rent and to take the rights and #
securities therof in favers of himself and his fuller spoues the longest liver of them #
tuo in conjunct fie & and lifrent and to the children to be procreat be- #
-tuext them in fie whilk feleazeing on third part of the sd soum of #
Seven hundereth merks to be disposed of all the pleasur of the first decea- #
sser he or she and the other two pararts to the surviver their hairs #
exers or asigness and how oft the sd soum beis uplifted the sd William #
Waacker binds & and oblidges him his hair and successers aas oft #
of new again to Imploy the samen to the effect above writen and #
[..]ever lands heritages tenements good gear of oyers the sd #
William Waacker shall happen to conquise or suceed to dureing #

William Walker
Elizabeth Barron
Thomas Barron

Page 2; Marriage-contract_Wm-Walker-&-Eliz-Barron_P2_300dpiTranscription of Page 2;

And whatever lands heritages tenements goods gear or oyers the sd William #
Waacker shall happen to conquise or suceed to dureing the sd marriage #
He binds and oblidges him and his fore[sd] to take the rights and seccuriets yr of #
to himself and his fuller spous the longest lived of them two in lifrent #
and to the children of the marraige in fie whillks felleazeing on thrid #
part therof to the pleasure of the first deceaser & the other two #
to the surviver their hairs exer or asaigness.

For the which causes on the other part the sd Thomas Barron hereby binds #
and obledges himself to contend and pay to the sd William Waacker or Elizab- #
-eth his fuller spous the soum of three hundred merks scots money & that #
betuixt the date hereof and the term of martimess next to come in name #
of locher with his sister and for more seccurity both and all parties consents #
to the registration hearof in the books of counsell and sesion or any oyer #
Judges books comelent within this Kingdom to have the strength of ane #
decreet Enerponed thereto that letters of horning on six day warning #
and others needfull may pass hereon in form as effairs and constituts #

     Their presence in wittness hereof both the sd parties #
have subscrived their with their hands (writen by James Barron brother #
to [ye] sd Elizabeth upon stampt paeper befor both place day moneth and #
year of god above written befor these wittnesses, John Lieshman in #
Craigie, James Waacker in Corstorphin rige, Thomas Honis- #
-sun in Douphington, Thomas Harde in West Craiges, John #
Barron wright in Portsbrugh, James Barron writer hereof #

William Walker
Elizabeth Barron
Thomas Barron

John Lishman, witt
James Waker, witnes
Thomas Honison, witness
Tho Hardie, witness
John Barron, witness
James Barron, witness

Notes;

Terms used in the text;

  • solemnize;     http://www.thefreedictionary.com/solemnized
  • Scots Merk; =14 shillings (originally 13s 4d, or ⅔ of a Scottish pound). For more details, see Wikipedia, or TheReformation.info.
  • martimess = Martinmass; see Wikipedia
  • oyers ? (I’m not sure what is meant here!)
  • Waacker – the writer of the text clearly mis-spells the Walker surname repeatedly. It is “Walker” because that’s how William Walker signs himself on both pages.
  • wright; probably a carpenter, a worker of wood – Wikipedia.

Locations;

NLS - Armstrong map 1773 - Kershall & GogarI believe that “Carshall” (named at the beginning of the document) lay N.W. of Gogar Mains, on the south side of Gogar Burn – about where the carpark of Edinburgh airport now sits!). Old maps from the National Library of Scotland use several different spellings, including; Kersshall, Kershall, Claywalls, & Clay Was. Parish registers of the time record Thomas Barron as a “tenant in Clay-walls”.

NLS - Thomson Atlas 1832 - Puncheon-law & KirklistonLikewise “Punchunla” appears on these old maps with several different spellings – the most regular (I believe) being “Punchinlaw” or “Puncheonlaw”. It lay on the south side of the road which runs N.E. out of Kirkliston towards Cramond and Dalmeny. It appears to have been part of the Carlowrie estate.

“Douphington” (which I believe is Dolphington) and Craigie lay further up the same road as Puncheonlaw. On the maps they appear due north of Carshall/Kershall.

West Craiges (or West Craigs) lays East of Gogar, towards Corstorphine village.

“Corstorphin rige” (or Corstorphine Rigg”) lay north of East Craigs, and west of Clermiston.

Portsbrugh; probably Portsburgh – the area of central Edinburgh, south of the castle – Wikipedia.

Witnesses;

Thomas, James, & John Barron are Elizabeth Barron’s brothers. I’ve not found out anything else about James or John! But from Corstorphine parish registers (which I’ve viewed on microfilm, and from IGI transcriptions) I have details of Thomas Barron, “tenant in Claywalls”, marring Anne Bartholomew (or Bartleman) on 17th February 1727, and having 5 children christened between 1729 and 1744.

James Walker in Corstorphine – I don’t know where he fits in! He is presumably a relative of William Walker – most likely a brother! I am aware of a well recorded Walker family living in the Corstorphine area, dating back to the early 1600’s (I obtained details from a visit to the Corstorphine Heritage Centre in 2008). (Also see HERE). I suspect there is a link here somewhere! I have just found a transcribed record HERE of James Walker in Corstorphine Rigg, married to Isabel Dowie, with a son, John, chr.19/12/1730. A number of other records of these names appear to show their marriage in Cramond in Nov. 1729, and a number of children christened in several different parishes.

John Lieshman in Craigie – I don’t know if he’s a relative. The envelope labeled “Old Wills etc. of the Walker family” also contains the Disposition of John Lishman, and the “Discharges” by his heirs in response (which I will post to the site later). William Walker appears to have been John Lishman’s executor. The surname “Leshman” appears in a family tree of “Walkers in Corstorphine”, so John Lieshman might be a cousin of William Walker!

Thomas Harde in West Craiges – When I googled “Baron family Gogar” I found this publication in Google Books. Originally published in 1890, “Some Old Families”, by Hardy Bertram McCall contains a chapter on the Hardie family (p.51), including Thomas Hardie “tenant of West Craigs” (who is a witness in the document, above). Thomas Hardie grew up at Gogar Mains, and his mother was a “Janet Baron” (shown in a Baron family tree in Some Old Families, p.53). So although its not shown in McCall’s tree, it looks highly likely to me that Thomas Hardie would be a cousin of Elizabeth Barron.

Thomas Honison in Dolphington – I have no other details about him! The surname may be mis-spelt!

I would be really interested in any other information that anyone may have about the people mentioned above, particularly if it can prove (or disprove) any family relationships to William Walker and Elizabeth Barron. Please leave a comment below, or use the Contact Page to get in touch.

Currently William Walker is my earliest known ancestor in the direct male line (my 5x Great-Grandfather – see HERE ), and I’d love to have more evidence for my assumption that Elizabeth is related to the Baron family recorded by Hardy Bertram McCall in “Some Old Families”.

Blogging again in 2016!

I hadn’t done anything with AFamilyHistoryBlog for several months! But with Christmas 2015 fast approaching, I took another look at it – which got me going to finish off the first big project for the site; posting scans of a collection of OLIPHANT papers – about the Oliphant and Barker families of Kirkcaldy in the 1700’s and 1800’s. This is now finished, except for a few small tweeks and added notes (which I’m still working on!).

I have now created a static index page for the OLIPHANT and BARKER family papers.

In the next few months I hope to make contact on-line with people/groups who may be interested in the Oliphant papers, to let them know about what I’ve put up on this site. This includes people I’ve been in contact with before about the Oliphant family, and groups like the Kirkcaldy Civic Society and Fife Family History Society. I hope that this material will be of interest to them, and that in return they may have new information/documents for me and which I can perhaps share on AFamilyHostoryBlog for the benefit of others.

IMG_7620-edMy intention for 2016 is to move on to a second set of documents that I want to put onto AFamilyHistoryBlog; those of my WALKER family. I have a chest-full of documents, dating back to the early 1700’s, which I want to work through – scanning, transcribing, and posting up onto AFamilyHostoryBlog, with additional notes.

In looking back at AFamilyHostoryBlog over the 2 years (very nearly) since I started it, its clear that a pattern might be emerging – of working  on the blog over Christmas and into the new year,  then a long period of relatively little activity through the summer and autumn. But my current intention for 2016 is to try and work on AFamilyHostoryBlog a little more frequently – perhaps trying to establish a pattern of posting something once every couple of weeks, or once a month! I’ve got plenty of material that I want to post up (which could keep things going for a long time), and I should be able to make the time for it (if I want to!).

I also want to start promoting/advertising AFamilyHostoryBlog a lot more. Until now, while I’ve been developing the site and adding initial content, I’ve kept it very low profile – telling relatively few people, and using settings that keep it off search engine listings! But now I think the site is about ready for people to see, and my intention is that people should be able to find the documents that I’m posting onto the site through search engine searches. That, I hope, will help them with their family history research.