Today was our last day at the ScotlandsPeople research centre. I had a couple of goals today – one was to flesh out a more complete family tree for the Tainsh family; the other was to dig a little deeper into the Fraser family and see if I could figure out where Joseph got his money.
James and William Tainsh
So on the Tainsh family, I was able to identify the following children of James Tainsh and Betty Taylor:
|Betty*||12 Jan 1777|
|William*||2 Sep 1778|
|John*||3 Sep 1780|
|James||2 Nov 1783|
|David||16 Jul 1786|
|William||16 Nov 1788|
|John||17 Dec 1790|
|Janet||21 Apr 1793|
|Betty||12 Jul 1795|
|Anne||17 Jun 1798|
*presumed to have died as young children
You can see that several names are recycled – this suggests that children with important family names had died (I’ve marked them with an asterisk). It was important to preserve these names, so they were given to later children.
Therefore, I believe that the James and the William Tainsh who checked out books from the library were Elizabeth “Betty” Tainsh’s two brothers James (born 1783) and William (born 1788). They would have been about about 23 and 18, respectively. I’ll confirm exact dates and ages later, and expand some more on the books that they checked out, and what we might infer about their lives based on their book choices.
Fraser Family Chronology
So here’s what I’ve been wondering about the Fraser family over the course of this research: where did the money come from? The family legend is that Andrew Fraser’s younger brother Joseph gave him money so that he could purchase his discharge from the British Army. That was a hugely expensive proposition. Joseph later owned a house in Insch, employed a housekeeper, and rented a farm near Kennethmont. And when he died, he left money to his family. And yet, everything seems to point to a rather poor family scraping by, and having an especially difficult time after the father John Fraser dies in about 1830. What’s going on here?
I may have an answer. I tracked every family member through every available census – I’ll put together a spreadsheet later – to see where everyone was at each census cycle starting in 1841. And I tried to find all the extended family that I could – aunts, uncles, steps, half-siblings, etc.
I had a really hard time finding everyone in 1841. It seems like the family was very fractured, perhaps due to John Fraser’s untimely passing. By 1851, I can pretty much account for everyone. But everyone’s lot seems to have improved between 1851 and 1861. It is during this time that Andrew leaves for America. Margaret and Mary are no longer listed as “paupers”. Even flakey Alexander is working as a railway porter in nearby St. Nicholas.
What else happened during this period is that Margaret’s brother Joseph Beattie passed away. He was a schoolmaster in Leslie and in Cluny (a nearby village). He died in 1854 and his estate was inventoried and found to be worth about 450 pounds. He also had a wife and kids – but I wonder, did he leave a substantial sum to his nephew Joseph Fraser?
I also found that Joseph Beattie is mentioned in a court case that was tried in 1852. At this point, that’s all I know about it – I don’t know if he was a party to the case or just a witness. In any event, I’m going back to ScotlandsPeople in the morning to look at the documents (I found out about it too late in the day today to see it this afternoon).
I was also able to account for nearly everyone (died or emigrated) except Alexander – I think he may have emigrated to America but so far I have no evidence of that.
So wow, I feel like I had a really great week of success, genealogy-wise, and I’m hopeful tomorrow’s final visit will shed some more light on this mystery.
We ended the day with a trip to Prestonfield for their “Taste of Scotland” dinner and show. It was a lot of fun and I got up the nerve to taste haggis. It was…okay.
Tomorrow we leave Edinburgh and head south along the coast to begin the bike-tour portion of the trip. Not sure how much or if I’ll blog after that – maybe I’ll post a photo gallery at the end of that part of the trip.