Sepia Saturday 163: Snow deep and crisp and even

This week’s Sepia Saturday image fairly shouted “Kinsale” (Ireland) to me. In a surreptitious test I asked Mr Cassmob what it reminded him of….”snap” …he said the same thing! Why don’t you have a look at the professional image online here and see what you think…not only snow but a snowed-over barrel outside the pub! I have always loved this photo, which I bought it as a souvenir on one visit. Paradoxically it reminds me of a photo my daughter took from near here with a background of spring-blooming flowers.Sepia Saturday 9 Feb snow

Anyway, back to task. Snow isn’t exactly common in the tropical and sub-tropical areas where we have lived but somehow in our travels we’ve managed to come a long way since the days when we whispered to each other on a European train “is that snow falling?” Even our choices of major snow falls covered places from New Zealand to Switzerland and Scotland, Yorkshire to New England. However many seemed to be situated in a natural context and I wanted at least one photo with an urban perspective like the one featured.

The snow-sprinkled rooftops of Lucerne, Easter 1977. © Pauleen Cass 1977

The snow-sprinkled rooftops of Lucerne, Easter 1977. © Pauleen Cass 1977

We were in Lucerne for Easter way back in 1977 when there was a massive dump of snow overnight and then more the next night. With two little girls who lived in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea (not to mention the adults!) you can imagine the excitement! We were staying in a pension up on the hill so we had a lovely view over the rooftops of the town. Later in the day after a bout of snowman building and snowball throwing, we headed down to the Lake where the exquisite Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) over the lake was iced with snow.

The old Kapellbrücke over Lake Lucerne under snow, Easter 1977. © Pauleen Cass 1977

The old Kapellbrücke over Lake Lucerne under snow, Easter 1977. © Pauleen Cass 1977

And how could I resist including these “wilderness” images of the Rest and Be Thankful pass from Loch Lomond to Loch Fyne, and ancestor country.

Rest and Be Thankful Pass, Argyll, Scotland. © Pauleen Cass 2006

Rest and Be Thankful Pass, Argyll, Scotland. © Pauleen Cass 2006

A rest stop at Rest and Be Thankful, but perhaps not in the  snow.

A rest stop at Rest and Be Thankful, but perhaps not in the snow.

52 weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Week 18: Historical Books

Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog, in conjunction with Geneabloggers, has a new series of weekly blogging prompts for 2012 and the theme is 52 Weeks of Abundant GenealogyWeek 18: Historical books.  This week we’re going to shine the spotlight on other historical books that benefit the genealogy field. Do you have a favorite book that falls in this category? What makes this book special to you? How can other genealogists benefit from its content?

As usual I find it impossible to restrict myself to just one book because the history books you’ll find useful will differ depending on where your families come from. So here are some of my Irish, migration and Scottish references.

IRISH HISTORY REFERENCES

I’ve written about a couple of these before so I’ll also refer you to my previous posts.

Oceans of Consolation, Personal Accounts of Irish Migration to Australia, Fitzpatrick David

I regard this book as a truly unique insight into the Irish migration experience. Yes, it focuses on Australia but anyone with an interest in Irish migration generally would find it fascinating. Fitzpatrick uses a series of letters to/from Ireland by emigrants and their families. It gives us a unique perspective on these correspondents’ experience of their new life, the loss of family and mediated new loyalties against those of (Irish) home and family. A wide range of counties are represented among the letter-writers: West Clare, Down, Galway, Tipperary, Kerry, Cork, Meath, Kings, Armagh and Fermanagh. Sadly for me, nary a one from East Clare. If you didn’t already wish for a stash of emigrant letters, this book will certainly make you do so, and mourn their absence if they don’t exist. The spelling is often “exotic” but they managed to make their message very clear.

At last year’s Not Just Ned exhibition, extracts of these stories were available in the sound booths on iPads and in heavy demand. I could have sat there all day listening to them.

Biddy Burke from County Galway is one of my favourites. She ends one letter Queensland for ever and agus an baile beag go brâth (and the small town forever)[i]….pertinent in relation to Hidden Ireland (see below), and demonstrating her loyalty to both her old and new homes.

The End of Hidden Ireland, Robert James Scally

Unless you have Irish ancestors from the townland of Ballykilcline in Co Roscommon, you’d be wondering why I’m recommending this book. While it focuses on the events and people in this townland, it provides a valuable insight into the life of one townland in the midst of the Famine. What I find fascinating is how it informs us on the nuances of townland life, obligations and familial and social obligations. Scally talks of it as baile, a settlement and landholding together, with community links often with specific family links [ii] while we’re more accustomed to only associating the townland with the geographic space/land. I’m about a third through re-reading this book and finding even more subtleties than on the first reading…you can tell by the annotations and the flags.

Farewell my children: Irish migration to Australia 1848 to 1870, Richard Reid

Sure this book applies to the Irish coming to Australia, but Richard’s approach to understanding more about the process and the immigrants is, in my experience, somewhat unusual as he complements the general history with personalised grassroots examples. I’d be surprised if anyone with Irish ancestry couldn’t gain insights into how their own Irish immigrant fitted into the broader data.

Mapping the Great Irish Famine, Kennedy L, Ell P S,  Crawford, E M, Clarkson L, (eds)

I mentioned this book briefly last year in a post on the impact of the Famine. It is a book I used extensively when researching my East Clare migration data, and it certainly provided some startling comparisons. Most books on the Famine, easily found, focus more on data for all of Ireland or perhaps one county. What I think is so valuable about this book is that it compares the before and after data for baronies or poor law unions, meaning you can drill down and make valid comparisons with your own family’s experience, and to see how typical they were of their place in terms of education, occupation etc. This article tells a little more about the book and the project.

SCOTTISH HISTORY REFERENCE

There are innumerable general histories for Scotland, but I am going to focus on a region-specific history.

Argyll: 1730 -1850, McGeachy, R A A

This book explains the ways in which Argyll changed across the important years 1730 to 1850 and includes such important aspects as Jacobitism, clearances, industrialisation, cultural change, and fragmentation of families and society. He addresses occupational changes and how this affected people at a grassroots level and provides many examples drawn from across Argyll. My own copy is annotated throughout and post-it notes sticking from the edges.

In the introduction, James Hunter (himself a noted Scottish historian) remarks “universal themes can sometimes best be understood by studying their local impact”. This runs contrary to how history was perceived for many years, but is an approach that I personally identify with, and have been inspired by in Richard Reid’s historical writings.

Judging on the prices you will need to shop around if you want this book, and will probably need to buy it used (unless you’re up for $413 for a new book). I paid £25 from a bookshop in Scotland in 2006.

MIGRATION TO AUSTRALIA: HISTORY REFERENCES

Two books which provide valuable insights into the experience of Australia’s immigrants from recruitment to arrival are both by Robin Haines.

Emigration and the Labouring Poor: Australian Recruitment in Britain and Ireland 1831-1860

This book focus on the pre-departure experience of the potential immigrant and the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners’ (CLEC) approach to recruitment. If you want to know how your immigrants may have been recruited and how they fit into the broader migration data, this is the book for you.

Life and Death in the Age of Sail: the passage to Australia, Haines, R

This is a fantastic book for anyone who wants to learn more about the emigrants’ experience at sea. There is a broader overview into how the emigrants were provided for, and the care taken by the emigration commissioners in ensuring the voyage was as safe as possible. The book also discusses the migration experience in different decades, pertinent with the changes to medicine as well as type of shipping. It is interspersed with extracts of letters and individual examples which illustrate the experiences.

SUMMARY

Australian residents should be aware they can borrow these books from The National Library of Australia on inter-library loan to their local reference library, assuming it’s not already on the shelves there.

Another tip for genealogists everywhere is to see if your local university library has these books in its catalogue. You may not be able to borrow them, but you will be able to sit in the library and read them (yes, I know, no coffee or snacks!…I’m reminded of 84 Charing Cross Rd when I say that). You may also find some in your favourite online bookshop or real bookshop, new or used. I can see I also need to go into my blog and add these titles to my Reference Books tab.


[i] Oceans of Consolation, page 155

[ii] The End of Hidden Ireland, Scally, page 12

I investigates Ireland, Inishail, and Ipswich (Qld)

I am participating in the A to Z 2012 blog challenge throughout April. My theme is a genealogical travelogue or a travel genealogue (I’m not sure which) and today’s post explores interludes in Ireland, Inishail, and Ipswich (Qld, Australia).

I is for Ireland

As soon as I arrived in Dublin in the late 1980s there was a sense of recognition, a realisation of how much like the Irish we Australians are in so many ways…the sense of irony, mickey-taking, disregard for authority. At the same time it seemed unfamiliar because I’d expected the inflexibility and conformity learned from my life in an Australian Catholic school and church with Irish nuns and priests, and a stern Irish-born grandfather. It was a delight to discover that Ireland was full of joie de vivre and craic (good fun) as well as the darker, more morose side with which I was familiar.

Allihies, West Cork on the Beara Peninsula

Without the urge to learn more of my family history I may never have visited Ireland, and so would have missed out on far more than adding leaves to my family tree. Ireland fulfils so many stereotypes that you’ve heard about: the green patchwork fields, the distant blue hills, old stone cottages, the soft rain, and the quirky sayings and greetings that seem quintessential yet somehow difficult to remember when you leave. Coming from Australia with its wide open spaces and vast distances, it’s easy for a tourist to think “ah I’ll get there in no time” but everywhere there are those signposts that can all point to the same place, via twisty Irish roads that only change how much time it takes you to get to your destination. Despite the number of times I’ve visited I still make the mistake of not allowing enough time!

Beautiful Achill Island, Co Mayo. © P Cass 2006.

Over the years we’ve visited 20 counties and each has its own beauty. Despite my Clare ancestry I have to say my favourites are the rugged, more isolated areas: Achill Island (Mayo), Beara Peninsula (Cork), the wide-open spaces in south-west Donegal, tragic site of many evictions, and the steep cliffs near Dun Choin by Dingle (Kerry).

Over the decades as the Celtic Tiger stirred, and then roared, the social atmosphere has changed. There was cash to splash and everyone was busy, busy. There was a brashness to life, in Dublin especially, that I didn’t really like…it had turned into a typical big city (or perhaps I’d got used to living in a smaller city). In the rural areas people remained both friendly and reserved, much as always. The standard of living had improved which made life more comfortable for people…the decades and centuries of disadvantage were slowly being turned around. It’s sad to think that the Irish people are now going through such difficult times.

Wherever you go, there is that essential kindness and welcome that the Irish share with the visitor. It’s a grand place to visit and if you have the opportunity it’s well worth going. Even if the trip doesn’t uncover specific family history, you’ll get a much better sense of the place and its people, and, intuitively, the loss your ancestors experienced when they left it all behind.

I is for Inishail (Scotland)

Inishail is part of the combined parish of Glenorchy and Inishail in Argyll, Scotland. Inishail lies over the hills from Inveraray and borders the starkly beautiful Loch Awe. The MacArthurs and Campbells are powerful in this area, and history abounds. I’m not planning to talk about that here but if you want to investigate further you might find this linka helpful starting point.

Highland cattle near Cladich, Argyll. © P Cass 2006

My interest in Inishail parish arises because my 2xgreat grandparents, Duncan McCorquodale (various spellings) and his wife, Ann Campbell lived there for about 50 years, apparently having moved across the Loch from Kilchrenan parish. They both appear in the 1841 census, and Duncan in the 1851 census, living in Drimuirk. It took some work locating this little hamlet as it’s rarely indexed on maps. My starting point has been the village of Cladich which in its day, was on the drove road for cattle to Inveraray and points south and west. The long haired Highland cattle are still a feature of the area, and of a local estate. In the colder months, when we tend to visit, the clouds hang low, and the mist filters through trees draped in moss and lichen…dimly among the trees appears a woolly Highland cow. It can be kind of spooky.

Drimuirk by Cladich, Parish of Inishail, Argyll. © P Cass 2010

On previous trips I’d estimated from maps where Drimuirk was located, and taken photos, but this time I was given a great privilege…the opportunity to “walk the land” where my ancestors lived. At ground level, and with local help, I could see that what had seemed random rocks were actually the remains of the rude cottages of the long-ago residents of Drimuirk. Of course I have no idea which of the small handful of house foundations was theirs, but I like to imagine it was the one with the view over the loch and where the travellers could be seen coming over the hills. Afterwards I read the Kirk Session records for the parish, and found a reference to the “small house” of Duncan McCorquodale. The reiteration of “small house” suggests that even by the standards of the day it must have been tiny, yet there’d have been half a dozen people living there at times. You can read my post about it here. I’m forever grateful to have been given this chance to see what remains of this little settlement.

Dorothy Wordsworth passed through the area in 1803, around the time my family came to the area to live. She describes the children of the Macfarlane family thus: The children, after having collected fuel for our fire, began to play on the green hill where we stood, as heedless as if we had been trees or stones, and amused us exceedingly with their activity: they wrestled, rolled down the hill, pushing one another over and over again, laughing, screaming, and chattering Erse (Gaelic)…[i]Reading this it’s so easy to imagine my own great-grandfather playing with his siblings in this way.

Genie tip: when searching for Inishail, also try spelling it as Innishail, especially in archive searching, which will add to your results.

I is for Ipswich (Queensland, Australia)

View over Ipswich, March 2012, with St Mary's Catholic church prominent. © P Cass 2012

Ipswich is the place where my Melvin, Partridge, Kent and Kunkel families first settled in Australia. New immigrants would sign work contracts and then travel by boat up the river system to Ipswich from where they  would be dispersed to the most distant reaches of the Moreton Bay settlement, as happened with my Gavin family and most of the Dorfprozelten immigrants who came to Moreton Bay. No doubt the employers were keen to keep them on the move before the immigrants had any idea of just what they were taking on, and how very isolated many of them would be.

Those who came to Ipswich to live and work arrived in a small but bustling town with minimal, but developing, infrastructure. They quickly became part of the social fabric of the community and could, if they wished, make their mark there. William Partridge worked as a carpenter, George Kunkel ran a boarding house in Union Street with his wife Mary and also a pork butcher’s establishment, before they moved west with the railway construction. Richard Kent was an older man when he arrived and remained a labourer as far as I can tell, though he’d run a public house in England. Stephen Melvin arrived later, in the 1870s, and before long was establishing himself with a well-regarded confectionery shop(s) and factory.

My families were on opposite sides of the religious divide with the Kunkels attending St Mary’s, the Catholic church, and the others associated with the Anglican or Methodist churches at different times. Despite this it would have been difficult for the Kents, Partridges and Kunkels not to be aware of each other in such a small community through the 1850s and 1860s.

A well preserved Ipswich home.

One of the interesting things about doing family history from those early days of Moreton Bay/Queensland, is how often you come across someone whose ancestry lies in the same places as yours…not all that difficult when the European population was so small. I wonder from time to time, whether these distant links are part of why we instantly “click” with some people and others, without doing a thing, get our backs up. It intrigues me that much the same thing can happen with people whose names I find bobbing up in the overseas parish registers of my families…kind of weird really.

Ipswich for a long time was a coal mining town and continued to be a place where new immigrants could afford to settle. Ipswich suffered in the 2011 floods, a history which has repeated itself over the centuries. These days it’s throwing off its former social disadvantage and promoting its history, of which there’s a wealth. If you ever want to see fantastic examples of vernacular Queensland architecture, Ipswich is the place to go. Perhaps precisely because it was economically depressed for quite a while, there are wonderful examples of old Queensland homes with deep verandahs, mostly set on stilts to keep them above the flood waters.

I’m looking forward to having more time in the future to re-explore Ipswich and its historical treasures: the churches, the railway workshops, the architecture and the cemetery.

I ships for East Clare immigrants

Irene (1852) [7] + 7 from Ennis; Ironside (1863) [9] and Ida (1864) [9]

A to Z 2012 Challenge

My nod for today is Catherine Noble’s blog about writing. I especially liked “D for Dedication”.


[i] http://www.ourscotland.co.uk/ebooks/recollectionsweek3.htm. Recollections of a tour made in Scotland AD 1803 by Dorothy Wordsworth. August 31st, 1803.

A is for Ardkinglas in Argyll, and Alotau (Papua New Guinea).

 Let me explain my plan for the A-Z blogging theme for April. Given that family history is my focus generally, there are a number of paths I could have taken. I’ve opted to use each letter to highlight a place/places of some ancestral significance. Hopefully they’ll also be interesting from a travel point of view. I’ll try to keep them relatively short on words (good luck with that!), and where possible, illustrate them with photos. Where I’m defeated by a particular letter (eg X), I may write about a place I’ve visited. (X still has me stumped). I’m already behind the eight ball having just learned about the challenge so I’ll do two tomorrow to catch up.

A is for Ardkinglas in Argyll, and Alotau (Papua New Guinea).

Ardkinglas on Loch Fyne.

Ardkinglas is an estate in Argyllshire, Scotland. Technically Argyll is in the Highlands but very close, by sea, to the metropolis of Glasgow. In this way eastern Argyll bridged the cultural divide with the Lowlands as in the mid-19th century more and more Scots found their way to Glasgow to look for work as their traditional rural roles disappeared. My McCorkindale ancestors lived on the Ardkinglas estate for many years as evidenced by the census returns. However don’t begin to imagine my family offers a re-run of Monarch of the Glen, despite its physical similarity. Unfortunately my family, like most other Scottish emigrants, were labourers or workmen on the estate, not the laird.

The sixpenny gatehouse for Ardkinglas estate.

Not only that, the current “pile” is not the one that James McCorkindale knew when he worked as a sawyer on the estate in his younger years. As he aged he seems to have become more of a general labourer and in old age, the census reports him living in the sixpenny gate house at the entrance to the estate. Ardkinglas offers one of Scotland’s beautiful gardens with magnificent conifers from around the world and a fantastic array of Rhododendrons. It’s a delight to wander around even in chilly weather but absolutely gorgeous in spring. My husband has just learned to his peril that they now have accommodation available in the old butler’s quarters….he’s so in trouble now.

Alotau is the headquarters, albeit a small town, in the Milne Bay district of Papua New Guinea. It’s family history links are modern rather than historic, with three generations of our family having lived there. You can read about my in-laws’ contributions to Papua New Guinea here and here.

When I went to Alotau as a young bride it had only recently taken over the role of district headquarters from the island settlement of Samarai, another site of family history heritage of which my husband has many fond memories. We had radio telephones, slow combustion stoves, 18 hour power, and more red clay than you’d care to see in your washing. Most of our groceries came in from Samarai or Port Moresby, and the pilot’s success at landing depended on the weather. You can read about my 1st Papua New Guinea Christmas here.

The airstrip for Alotau is some miles away at Gurney, the site of a major World War II Australian base. The Battle of Milne Bay in 1942 was pivotal in turning the tide of the Japanese advance. While less well known than Kokoda it was arguably even more important in the overall scheme of the war’s outcome, as it was the first time the Japanese military had experienced defeat. Milne Bay is U-shaped, and in the Wet Season the cloud descends over the surrounding mountains obscuring everything until you can barely see further than 20 metres away and keeping aircraft from landing –very inconvenient.  It’s unforgiving flying country which challenges all a pilot’s skills. One plane crash, soon after I arrived, killed a young family who we knew, as well as others[i]. The sound of choppers and planes searching through the clouds and mist for a downed aircraft is an eerie and sobering one. My husband was the last person to see this plane take off and I had farewelled some who had stayed at Glyn Wort’s guesthouse (where I worked) that morning. It’s surprising that the incident was not more well-known among his colleagues.

My Alotau memories are quite shell-shocked, having come from a familiar urban environment to a very different environment, but within the year it felt like home. I’ve always wanted to revisit Milne Bay to refresh my memories.


[i] Also see http://asopa.typepad.com/asopa_people/the-kiaps-honour-roll.html. The plane had reportedly stalled the day before when another kiap (later murdered) was on the flight.  In PNG, we lived with the philosophy that “when your number’s up, your number’s up”.

Time for a new blog look

If you’ve previously logged into my page and are bewildered today, it’s because I’ve introduced a new look to my blog. For some time I’ve been feeling that my blog is a bit “squashed” and made it harder to read. Hopefully there’s not too much open space now.. Let me know what you think…is it easier to read?

The header takes up a bit more space than in my old-style blog but nearly all the images relate to my family history as I’ve used images of ancestral sites. I’d like to be able to link specific images with specific pages but that doesn’t appear to be possible. Happy for any tips if other WordPress people can offer some.

So what images will you be seeing:

The old red-roofed shed on my O’Brien family land in Ballykelly, Broadford, Parish Kilseily, Co Clare, Ireland.

Shore in Leith, Scotland, where my Melvin ancestors lived for many decades before emigrating: they could return now and be familiar with all these buildings.

Dorfprozelten, Bavaria from across the River Main, showing the village church, boats and vineyards: home of my Kunkel ancestor.

A beach scene from Achill in County Mayo because for me it typifies life on Ireland’s coast even though none of my rellies come from here.

A view over Dorfprozelten on the River Main, Bavaria. The river is a boundary and across the river is Baden.

Snow capped hills not far from near Drimuirk on south Loch Awe, Argyll, Scotland: McCorkindale country..

A view over Loch Awe from Kilchrenan parish: my McCorkindale ancestors moved from one side of the lake to the other but the north side (Kilchrenan) is where the McCorquodales came from in the long distant past.

A typical Irish scene in County Clare:patchwork fields.

Inveraray in Argyll, Scotland, home of Clan Campbell, and a focal point for families living in the area -they were inevitably influenced by this family. It is situated on Loch Fyne and my McCorkindales also lived at Ardkinglas at the top of Loch Fyne while my Morrisons lived across the loch from Inveraray.

Hmm, not sure all the images are scrolling randomly as intended, so please bear with me on that one..but at least you’ll get some.

I do hope you enjoy the new look.

Why order an LDS film of parish registers? Part 2: Edward Bethel Codrington

The death of Edward Bethel Codrington, aged nearly 8 years old

Against an entry in the Kilchrenan parish baptismal registers dated 25 August 1853, is the following:

William John Codrington 1855 from Wikipedia.

Edward Bethel Codrington son of William John Codrington of 110 Eaton Square London, Colonel Coldstream Guards and Mary his wife, born September 29th 1845, accidentally drowned in Lochawe at Sonachan (across the Loch) on Thursday August 18, 1853 and buried in the parish church of Kilchrenan August 22nd 1853, the burial service being performed by Revd F Sullivan, vicar of Kempton, Hertfordshire.

This entry naturally engaged my curiosity so I did some quick searching on Family Search, Ancestry, Findmypast, FreeBMD and Google. This is what I found along the way.

 

Wikipedia gives a synopsis of Edward’s father’s career in the Army and also as a Member of Parliament. It also refers to his career and also his position as Colonel in the Coldstream Guards and includes a photo of him in 1855, shortly after his son’s death. The wiki refers to his family, with data which has some inaccuracies, and states his “other two children died young” whereas in fact, only Edward appears to have died as a child while the other child assumed to die young was Jane who lived to marry. His wife was Mary Ames.

And what do we learn from the IGI in regard to young Edward?

WARD BETHEL CODRINGTON  
  Male    
       

 

       

Event(s):

  Birth: 
29 SEP 1845   Kilchrenan And Dalavich, Argyll, Scotland
  Christening:     
  Death: 
18 AUG 1853    
  Burial:     
       

Parents:

  Father:  WILLIAM JOHN CODRINGTON

Family

  Mother:  MARY

 

 The above birth entry has the date correct but not the location. The 1851 census clearly states that Edward was born in Northamptonshire. This is confirmed by the birth registration found on FreeBMD in the December quarter of 1845 in the district of Wellingborough on the border of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire.[i] At the time of the 1851 census Edward and his siblings, Jane and Mary, were living with a range of 9 servants at East Ashling, ?, in Sussex. Findmypast places this in Westbourne Sussex and indexes Edward with no surname while Ancestry lists it as in Funtington parish (which is part of Westbourne), Sussex. All the children are listed as sons/daughters even though no parents are present. Ancestry “solves” this problem by linking them to the widow in the previous household, Elizabeth Brinkworth and identifying Mary, aged 9, as a wife!

The children’s parents meanwhile were enumerated at their grandparents’ house in 110 Eaton Square in the parish of St George Hanover Square, possibly because former Admiral Edward Codrington, the children’s grandfather died on 28 April 1851, less than a month after the census was taken. Presumably William John and Mary Codrington had left the children with the governess and other servants. The family reappear in the census records of 1871 and 1881 but couldn’t be found in 1861, presumably because Sir William was then governor of Gibraltar.

And what of poor little Edward drowned in Scotland, possibly while the family were on holidays? Despite being the first son, and named for his august grandfather Admiral Sir Edward Codrington, his existence goes unremarked in the various official documentation of his parents’ lives including the Peerage lists. Similarly the public family trees on Ancestry make no reference to him either. Nevertheless we can assume that it was his family’s importance that led his death to be acknowledged in the Kilchrenan registers. If he had been the son of a poor cottager or crofter would it have even been entered in the books?

Ironically however his life is noted in the Scottish records of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS). Their item PA 186 refers to photograph albums, originally owned by the Revd J B Mackenzie, which include inter alia a photograph of family graves at Kilchrenan as follows:-

One erected by John Williams, Merchant in Campsie, in affectionate remembrance of Margaret Crawford Mackenzie who died at Kilchrenan manse, 10 August 1861 aged 22.
Beside it the grave of Elizabeth Mackenzie who died at Kilchrenan on 17 December 1864 aged 61.
Also the small grave of Edward Bethell Codrington, only son of Colonel Codrington, Coldstream Guards and Mary, his wife, born 29 September 1845, accidentally drowned in Loch Awe at Sonachan House, 15 August 1853.

Once again we encounter an anomaly with the tombstone stating a different date from that in the parish register. The minister notes the death on a Thursday which is correctly identified as 18 August so either the day was mistaken or there is an error on the tombstone.

How frustrating to have walked through the Kilchrenan kirk yard only six months ago, knowing nothing of this story.

Kilchrenan kirk

 


[i] Births Dec 1845

Codrington Edward Bethell Wellingboro’ 15 378

 

Why order an LDS film of parish registers?

Over the years I’ve encountered many instances of people being happy to settle for what they find out about their family via the IGI. Ignoring the variability of patron submissions which are now excluded from the new Family Search, there are still plenty of reasons why you should order in a microfilm for the princely sum of $7.50.

Kilchrenan Kirk in 2010. Where do the stairs go -its a mystery.

I’ve recently been reviewing the Kilchrenan parish registers on LDS microfilm 1041069. These registers include baptisms (1751-1824) and marriages (1755-1858). To my disappointment there are no burial records of any sort, not uncommon in Scotland. It must be said that I have only a peripheral interest in this parish – my main focus is the parish of Inishail (later Glenorchy & Inishail) which is adjacent to Kilchrenan and also across Loch Awe from it. I’m really just trying to untangle the various McCorquodale families in the area.

So what interesting snippets can be found?

Example: the baptism of Mary MacCorquodale in 1824 appears to show that she is the lawful (legitimate) child of Lachlan MacCorquodale and Mary Rowan as shown in the IGI entry below (apologies for the severely spaced formatting).

MARY MACCORQUODALE (Female)
Birth:
22 OCT 1823
Christening:
30 JUL 1824 Kilchrenan And Dalavich, Argyll, Scotland

Parents:

Father: LACHLAN MACCORQUODALE
Mother: MARY ROWAN

In contrast the microfilm tells us that Mary was the “illegitimate daughter of Lachlan MacCorquodale and Mary Rowan servants at Lowr Achachenny born 22 October 1823” and baptised by W F (Revd William Fraser) and “ afterwards legitimated by the marriage of her parents on 28 December 1826”.

So the film tells us additional details: she is illegitimate, her parents subsequently married, at the time of her baptism they were both servants at Lower Achachenny. (There should be further information on this child and the parents’ relationship in the Kirk Sessions which are not available on film or online).

Subsequently Lachlan MacCorquodale had three children baptised in a batch on 29 December 1850: Isabella (born 1836), Margaret (born 1846) and John (born 1848). The latter two children were born to Lachlan and his second wife, Janet Livingston.

Another example relates to the baptism of a child conceived in adultery, which I won’t detail here.  Fortunately I found none indexed with the Minister’s “I” for incestuous.

Other more mundane instances detail the occupation of the father and where the family lived, sometimes varying from baptism to baptism.

Kilchrenan kirk yard -the graves of John McDonald and his wife Elizabeth (Betsey) McCorquodale and their son Charles Blois McDonald and the churchyard chook.

There are two baptisms of children (Charles Blois and Euphemia) to John McDonald and his wife, Betsey McCorquodale who was sister to my ancestor James McCorquodale (later McCorkindale). From this I learned that John was then innkeeper at Kilchrenan although he was later a fisher (1841) and gamekeeper (1851+). One other child was baptised in Muckairn parish and another in Glenorchy & Inishail, proving that our ancestors didn’t just stay in one place: they also responded to economic circumstances and opportunities.

There are also instances of baptisms of children whose parents lived in the parish of Inishail. Quite probably this was because it was easier to cross the Loch by the ferry than take the longer route to the Inishail church, especially in some weathers.

There was also a rather more complex entry which I’ll post separately. I hope I’ve convinced you of the merits of actually looking at the microfilm whenever possible, even in adjacent parishes just in case your relations turn up there.

In part 2 of this post I’ll illustrate more details of a specific, and unexpected, event recorded in the Kilchrenan parish baptismal registers.

Kilchrenan Inn

Inishail Kirk Sessions -Scandal & Delinquency

I’ve recently been transcribing the copies of some pages I got on the Inishail Kirk Session records when I was in Scotland late last year. My focus was on trying to dig out a little more on my earliest ancestor in that area, Duncan McCorquodale. I had searched the fencible lists in the Argyll Archives at Lochgilphead without success so decided to switch my focus on whether there was anything in the records regarding his status as a pauper at the time of the 1851 census.

The Kirk Session Records include, inter alia, reports on Delinquency -all the ones I saw were illegitimacies; and Scandal -where there might have been an actual or perceived misbehaviour/breach of church rulings and the Poor’s Funds, which I’ll post on separately.

I was lucky in all these areas. I knew one of his daughters had had two illegitimate children & I found the brief report on one of these pregnancies: all dealt with fairly quickly and without a great deal of fuss, except for the £2 fine payable by the acknowledged father. On the down side it didn’t add much to what I’d already found out in the parish baptismal records.

A Delinquency report on the illegitimate birth of another McCorquodale girl from the northern side of Loch Awe involved various members of my own McCorquodale branch and their families. In the course of this very extensive Kirk Session Report various family connections were mentioned but so were many other residents from both sides of Loch Awe. So even though any given report on illegitimacy might not involve one’s own ancestry, the reports can be a gold-mine of information about other people from the area including their occupations, residences, places of employment. Sometimes people placed the timing of an event in terms of another event eg Mrs Walker late of Annat’s Roup (auction of belongings) or Angus Sinclair’s late at Barcheanvoir’s death, pinpointing years of death for people completely unrelated to the case in point.

The issue of Scandal was also something of a gold mine: the Session focused on a report of inappropriate behaviour by Sarah McCorquodale and a man from across Loch Awe who was visiting at Cladich.

Extract from the Inishail Kirk Session Records CH2/968/1 The National Archives of Scotland

What did I learn?

1. That my 3x great grandfather lived in a “small house” at Drimuirk near Cladich –I had known where he lived from the census but the repeated reference to his small house highlights that it must have been tiny even by the standards of the day.

2. That on the evening under discussion, the McCorquodale family had an Irish pedlar staying with them – having recently seen the surviving footprint of the house, it defies the imagination that three or more adults and one child could live there, let alone have a “visitor” staying there

3. There was a reference to my 3x great grandmother being present at the time, as well as Sarah’s small daughter

4. That my 2 great-grandfather was apparently also present at the Cladich Inn on the night in question

5. That people moved readily back & forward across the Loch for work or socialising, making me feel much more comfortable about the fact that Duncan & Ann’s first children were born on the north side & the last few on the southside. The Kirk Session ultimately exonerated Sarah McCorquodale and the man in question of wrong doing but advised them to be more circumspect in their behaviour in future.

About this point in my reading I thought of how my Scottish McCorkindale grandmother had a habit of watching the activities in the street from behind her curtains –shades of her family’s history in the Highlands perhaps?

These documents are only available at The National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh and are reference CH2/968/1.