Tag Archives: family gathering

Scotland trip – May 2017 – day 8 – and the big family gathering

I’m aiming to write and post a little bit each day about the family history research I’m doing, and what I find, during a week staying​ in Edinburgh. But for personal privacy, the posting of these travels on AFamilyHistoryBlog will be delayed by a few days, and will not necessarily be in day by day order! Some of these posts may be given later tweaks, with added photos, etc.

(Note; Sorry! This post was drafted at the time, but was not properly scheduled for posting like the previous posts. And when I got home I got busy catching up with many other things. So this slipped! Hence the big delay in posting!)

Update; You can now see all the posts from my May 2017 Scotland trip, here;
Day 1day 2day 3day 4day 5day 6day 7 – & day 8 & the big family gathering.

I had a final half day in Edinburgh, so I went back to the National Archives of Scotland, at the General Register House. Security had been visibly stepped up since my previous visit to the archives, due to the terrorist attack in Manchester. So there were now bag checks at the front entrance of the General Register House.

General Register House, from North Bridge, Edinburgh.

I spent a couple of hours in the search room using the archive’s “virtual vault”. It took a while just to work out the system. Then I used the virtual vault to look up old maps of the Carlowrie estate, at Kirkliston, West Lothian; which includes Puncheonlaw, where the WALKER family are first recorded to have lived. I did my best to draw my own copy of the plan.

At lunchtime I was picked up from the flat where I had been staying, by an uncle and aunt who had been staying in Edinburgh for a couple of days, and headed for our big HUTCHISON family gathering in South Ayrshire.

We all had a fun week together. During the week the family group included;

  • my gran,
  • her 5 children & 4 spouses,
  • 8 (out of 10) grandchildren (including me), & 4 (of 6) spouses/partners, and
  • 9 (out of 14) of my gran’s Great-grandchildren.
A view of the main house on the site where we were staying, with the hilltops across the valley in the background.

We spent time together around the site (which was nice, and worked well for the group of us that was there, but might have been a squeeze if the whole family had been able to come!), and on trips out around Ayrshire. On the first whole day there, 9 of us (half of the adults there at the time) climbed up the hill (283 meters high) just behind the site. Here we are at the top (I’m behind the camera!).

Some of the family, on top of the hill.

On the last full day of the holiday we had a “Circus” themed party, and I got a fun photo of my gran and all 5 of her children standing together, all dressed up.

The Hutchison family in circus costumes 😉
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HUTCHISON family gathering – May 2015

During the May half-term week, 2015, the Hutchison family had a great time on our regular “big family holiday”. This has typically been held every two years in recent times. But this time was the second consecutive year that we’ve been to stay at a site in the Teifi Valley, south Wales (on the border between Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion). Finding places to stay that can accommodate such a large family group is very challenging, and this site fitted us very well.

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The extended HUTCHISON family (4 generations) – whole group photo, dressed up as “pirates”, on the BIG family holiday, May 2015

The family group this time totaled 39 people; 4 generations; 27 adults, plus 2 teenagers, and 10 aged 10 or under. The young second cousins all had a great time running around together. A theme of “Pirates”  had been set for the week, and one evening we all dressed up for a “Pirate party” – partly as a birthday party for one of my cousins, who’s birthday it was that day, and also for the 4 other family members with birthdays in May. This is when we had a whole group photo.

During the week my gran gave little St John’s Gospels to various family members. These gospels are replicas of ones given to soldiers in the First World War, which were produced last year to mark the 100th anniversary of the war.

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These replica gospels were being given away through local churches and my gran had picked up 10 copies with the idea of giving one to each grandchild, with some details added about their Great-grandfathers who had served in the First World War. And she had tasked me with compiling those details to add to the gospels.

It was a challenge working out what to fit into such a small page space – the booklets are 11.5 cm (4 ½”) high x 7 cm (2 ¾”) wide! The details I was able to include – on a single extra page stuck inside the front of the booklets – were as follows;

  • William Oliphant HUTCHISON; b. 2/7/1889, Kirkcaldy, Fife. d. 5/2/1970, Kensington, London. Family were Corn Merchants in Kirkcaldy. He studied art at Edinburgh College of Art; 1909 – 1912. Served in the Royal Garrison Artillery during WW1, in Malta and in France, where he was severely wounded.
  • Ernest Garfield SWAIN; b. 20/8/1881, Leicester. d. 26/3/1968 (aged 86). Shoe and boot maker “E.G.Swain & Co.”, then Wholesale Confectionary for Clarnico & Co. Enlisted in the Leicester Regiment (TA) circa 1915. Appointed an officer; Second Lieutenant, Territorial Force, 4th Battalion (1/4th Battalion) The Leicestershire Regiment, on 21/11/1915. Deployed to France, where he suffered shrapnel injuries to his left leg and eye.

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Currently we’re not sure of the whereabouts of any of the medals that either of these two Great-grandfathers had (possibly somewhere in the wider families)! But I’ve had a search of the British Army medal index cards, on-line at the National Archives (UK), where I believe I’ve identified both their records, which I could order digital images of to gain some more details of their war service.

WALKER family gathering – Jan 2014

We had a good time in the Cotswolds at the weekend. On Saturday we had a party with about 35 relatives from the WALKER and ELLIOTT families – the biggest gathering that I can think of, on that side of my family, in quite some time – both in size and breadth.

Gathering of the extended WALKER and ELLIOTT family, in the Cotswolds in January 2014.
Gathering of the extended WALKER and ELLIOTT family, in the Cotswolds in January 2014.
Family looking through old WALKER family documents, photos, etc.
Family looking through old WALKER family documents, photos, etc.

I spent a lot of time looking through family documents, after my aunt handed me an old wooden box stuffed full of old papers, including the ones I mentioned in an earlier post, that I previously had transcriptions of. I’ve brought that box home to have the time to really go through it, and I hope to be posting images and transcriptions of many interesting family documents from that box onto this site in due course.

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The wooden box from my aunt, full of WALKER family papers. The green book on top contains writings by members of the FRY family (also from my aunt).
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WALKER family papers, inside the box.

Discussing family history with others in the WALKER family, it was clear that there is a great deal of interest in a couple of particular individuals in the WALKER family tree.

  • James Hope WALKER (my great-uncle) was a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), no. 38 (Reserve) Squadron, who died in a flying accident at Rendcomb airfield, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, aboard a Bristol Fighter – F2A A3311, on 16th March 1917.
  • John Johnston WALKER (one generation further back) went out to New Zealand in 1869 where he was manager of a large sheep station at Edendale, near the southern tip of South Island. In 1877 he decided to start on his own and took up a virgin block on the Otamakapua Block, North Island. In 1891 he went to Feilding for treatment of a severe attack of fever, and died at Feilding, on 19th November 1891.

So these might be the subjects of some future blog posts here, either by me, or by other family members. We certainly have quite a few photos of James Hope WALKER, and of what appears to be his crashed plane, which I plan to scan and add to this site.