McInOvingham on Family Tree Circles
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My McIntosh Family Tree - Spurious Branches Included.
In researching the McIntosh Family Tree I have been following 2/3 specific branches in Scotland and elsewhere only to have my hopes dashed after further research. Let me explain. It was my brother Douglas who started looking into our forebears in the 50’s when some of the previous generation were still around to question. He traced the family roots back to Scotland the hard way, via Parish Records etc. His searches also included sending letters to sympathetic recipients who would help you for ‘free’ in those days. He joined the N.D.F.H.S. and also the Scottish Genealogy Society. Much later on I became interested, especially with the advent of user friendly PC’s. Using the Family Search site I confirmed much of what Douglas had found and obtained additional information via the Internet
James McIntosh (1903 - 1974) was our father and he married Edith Curry Clement (1900 - 1958). James lived at Wylam, Northumberland, during his youth and was a stable lad at nearby Close House. He used to tell the story that he often met the late train from Newcastle at Wylam Station to transport Sir James Knott, by pony and trap, back to Close House. This affinity with horses led him later to become a Rington’s Tea Salesman, based in County Durham. Firstly at Crook, then Bishop Auckland and finally Spennymoor. My brother and I were both born in the ‘Company’ house at Crook. I recollect helping to sort and count the ‘divi’ coupons from the string tied tea packets, and also the distinctive smell of horses.
James’ father was John McIntosh (1877 - 1938 ) and he married Margaret Edwards (1874 - 1952) in 1900. Their other children were:- Gladys Margaret b. 1901, Jean Constance b. 1905, Grace b. 1907 and Eva Mary b. Wylam 1915. Our Grandfather John was an industrial rubber salesman and a Methodist preacher. He died in a traffic accident aged 62 on returning from a preaching engagement in Worksop. John McIntosh was the youngest of four children born to David and Constance (Paxton).
David(1841-1899) our Great Grandfather, was born in Edinburgh. He was initially a Brass Founder and later in life a Grocer. The other children of David and Constance were, David James b. 1871, Christina b. 1873 and Constance b. 1875. David James had an interesting life as he was in the Ship Salvage Business and died in occupied Holland during the War. I well remember the Red Cross letter arriving informing the family of his death. Rather ironically it had come via Auckland in New Zealand (See later). We lived in Bishop Auckland at the time. A good introduction to geography for his young great nephews.
This is where the McIntosh Family Tree starts to become more interesting/puzzling. David’s father and mother were William (1812 -1859) and Jessie (Janet) Hunter (1813 - 1861). They were married at St Cuthbert’s, Edinburgh, in 1842. William, my great great grandfather was a journeyman baker and strangely because of unemployment and subsequent depression he was committed to Morningside Asylum in Edinburgh, on the 8th September 1858, as a pauper, and died there soon afterwards (July 30th 1859). In the hope of shedding more light on his illness and forebears I have obtained his case notes, courtesy of the Lothian Health Service Archive, and his committal papers from the National Archives of Scotland. Neither of these documents provided any details of his parents. He was buried in an unmarked grave in East Preston Street Cemetery, Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh. Others buried in the same plot have the name Hunter, Jessie’s maiden name. His Notice of Death states mother and father dead and unknown.
So resourceful Jessie McIntosh with her family David (20 yrs) and Christina (15 yrs) next surfaced in Gallowgate Lane/Back Lane, Newcastle in the 1861 census. What prompted this move is a bit of a mystery. David was a Brass Founder and Christina was a book folder. This latter occupation is relevant as Christina later married a James Blair, a paper maker according to the 1881 census. They were both born in Scotland and had children Jessie b. 1879 and James b. 1880, both born on Tyneside.
So now to trace William and family in their earlier years. In the 1841 census there is a William McIntosh, Baker, working for and living with the family of James Flaig, Baker, in Colinton, a district of Edinburgh. I have tried to find William as an apprentice baker to no avail and the Flaig Bakery no longer exists. However it is interesting that the Hunter Family also lived in Colinton and they also occur in the 1841 census. The Hunter Family i.e. Jessie’s mother and father have a David ‘Hunter’ aged 1 year living with them. This seems to be William and Jessie’s child David McIntosh born out of wedlock.
William and Jessie actually married on the 25 November 1842 in the Parish of St Cuthbert’s Edinburgh. Jessie was living at Lynedoch Place in Edinburgh, whilst in service, and William, a Baker, residing in Thorny Bank, Edinburgh. This marriage is confirmed by an IGI entry. The 1851 census shows the complete family of William and Jessie and children: David aged 10 and Christina aged 5 living in Simon Square, Edinburgh. Little did they know, at that time, what was to transpire some 7 yrs later.
Tracing the McIntosh line now becomes increasingly difficult. According to the IGI, a William McIntosh was born 5 April 1812 and his parents were James McIntosh and Isabella Nisbet. Again, according to the IGI, James, my Gx3 Grandfather, and Isabella also had the following children, James b. 11 September 1807, David b. 20 September 1809 and Jean Brown b. 14 March 1816. All the children were born in the Parish of St. Cuthbert, Edinburgh and their father James was listed as a Gentleman’s servant.
However it is worrying that William appeared to die quite alone. (Apart from his immediate family). It makes one wonder if I have the correct William or perhaps the stigma of his illness distanced him from his brothers and sister. It is also not known why William’s sister, Jean was given the Brown middle name. But this middle name helped me trace her later.
James married Isabella whilst he was in the East Lothian Cavalry on the 14th December 1794. The marriage took place in Dunbar and Isabella is listed ‘of this Parish’. The ceremony was apparently repeated at St Cuthbert’s, Edinburgh on the 17th December 1794. The problem now was to confirm James’ service record which I have failed to do so far. I have visited the Haddington Local History Centre in East Lothian and exchanged emails with resident researcher Craig Statham, to no avail. I have also visited the National Archives of Scotland and have carried out fruitless searches there into the archives of the East Lothian Cavalry.
Whilst visiting the Scotland’s People Site I noticed a will of a James McIntosh, butler. Whilst a Butler is a bit of a leap from a Gentleman’s servant I decided to pursue the matter and obtained his will. However whilst this James was born and married at St. Cuthbert’s his wife was a Jean Falconer. He was butler to Francis, Earl of Moray. So a brief sojourn following the wrong James McIntosh and a branch of the tree to be pruned!
Whilst I was successful on the IGI for James and his family I decided to try the 1841 census records thinking that James senior might still be alive at that date. Lo and behold I found an Isabella McIntosh living with her son James and family at Craigleith Cottage, Edinburgh. As the dates seemed to fit and assuming James senior was dead I thought I was on a roll. In consulting my previous list of Scottish Wills for James McIntosh I was amazed to find one for the Quarry Master at Craigleith Quarry. I therefore obtained a copy of a very detailed will of James McIntosh, Quarry Manager of Craigleith Quarry in Edinburgh who had lived at Ramsay Cottage together with his wife and family. By this time his mother Isabella had presumably died. The will named his wife as Eliza Brown (Brown again!) McIntosh and also all his children were named. Eliza had also inherited property in Edinburgh from her father, Robert Brown. As the dates agreed with those of James the Cavalryman’s son and widowed mother, this had to be followed up.
Over a period of months I traced the Quarry Master’s family on the IGI which named all six children (as mentioned in the Will). I even traced his son John McIntosh’s marriage and his family, as they had used the name Eliza Brown McIntosh (i.e. they used McIntosh twice) for one of his daughters. This very detailed IGI record even gave the date of death of some of the individuals. The latest death being in 1955, with one family member dying in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania .
But did the Quarry and cottage still exist and surely a man in charge of a stone Quarry would have a gravestone? Via a search engine I learned that Craigleith Quarry had supplied the fine sandstone for many of the prestigious buildings in Edinburgh. The Quarry had been active for over 300 years and it took sixty years to fill the vast hole with inert material in readiness for it to converted to Craigleith Retail Park in 1993. Craigleith, I discovered, was a district to the west of Edinburgh City centre and lies between Comely Bank and Blackhall. I then found another web site dedicated to Craigleith Quarry and the preservation of the surrounding buildings. From the web master I learned that Ramsay Cottage was still in existence. You can imagine that this was a place I must visit.
To obtain definite proof that this was a relative of mine I needed to see the hoped for gravestone of James McIntosh. I learned via the excellent services of the librarian at the Scotsman Newspaper that James the Quarry Manager had died 4 April 1869, but there was no mention of a cemetery. It took quite a while to establish that James had in fact been buried at Dean Cemetery which is near Craigleith. Now Dean Cemetery is a very famous burial ground for the great and the good of Edinburgh. Some of the pictures I obtained via the Internet showed very impressive memorials indeed. I checked with the Superintendent who located the possible family gravestone for me. This was rather essential because the cemetery is so vast.
So a visit to Edinburgh needed to be scheduled. This was arranged for April 2007. I eventually found the Retail Park and parked in Sainsbury’s car park. I walked the boundary of the quarry as the quarry face is still visible in places. Then I found Ramsay Cottage in the middle of a row of Victorian houses. It would have overlooked the quarry. Rather than a cottage it was a substantial stone built house. One could imagine the Quarry Master’s children playing in the large garden - my relatives?
The next quest was to locate the burial plot in the vast necropolis of Dean Cemetery. Sure enough James McIntosh had an imposing obelisk type head stone. The stone was covered in inscriptions and many of his family mentioned in his will and the IGI records were there, one as far afield as Minneapolis. Then the devastating inscription, his mother was named as Isabella Wallace (not Nisbet). She had died 17 September 1848 aged 80 yrs. So unless Isabella had married again I had spent months researching a spurious branch of the family tree - severe pruning necessary!
After regrouping I decided to try and find Jean Brown McIntosh thinking that the Brown middle name would help. So using my favourite family search site I quickly found that Jean Brown McIntosh married Robert Roycroft on 19 May 1837. This particular entry also gave Robert’s death as 1875. In looking for Robert’s birth I found he had been born 28 August 1798 in Carlow, Ireland. This entry also surprisingly gave his death place as Auckland, New Zealand. I will repeat that, place of death , Auckland, New Zealand.
Suddenly things were getting interesting. I established that Jean and Robert had three children before surfacing in New Zealand. How, why and when they travelled to N.Z. I was not aware of at this stage. I quickly found more children born to Jean and Robert in N.Z. The family search records for N.Z. are excellent and links to many immigrant families were found. But why had the Roycrofts suddenly ‘upped sticks’ and travelled to New Zealand with their young family?
I thought it time to post an enquiry on the Clan Chattan website. Clan Chattan is a collection of Clans associated with the Mackintosh (or McIntosh) Clan. I am actually a Life Member of the Clan Chattan. Incidentally the 400th Anniversary of the signing of the Clan Chattan Bond of Union is being celebrated in Inverness from the 5th to 8th of August 2009, and my wife and I are attending. A brief description of my family tree and the connection with N.Z. brought an immediate and helpful response from the web site.
This ‘post’ to my query gave me a link to a Family Tree entered on the Roots Web World Connect Project. There were 746 entries on this 24 page Roycroft family tree. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw that No. 1 on the vast Roycroft Family Tree was James McIntosh. It stated he was a Gentleman’s Gentleman at Sandringham! Suddenly I was hopefully related to many Roycrofts and associated families in New Zealand
The situation was suddenly improving as the Roots site gave me email addresses of interested Roycroft researchers. The wonders of the web - I was soon exchanging information with living Roycrofts in New Zealand.
I quickly learned that Robert Roycroft; a retired soldier (42nd Foot), and a Waterloo Veteran to boot, had volunteered as a Member of the New Zealand Fencible Corps. He had travelled to New Zealand on board the sailing ship ‘Minerva’ with his wife Jean Brown McIntosh and 3 children. The voyage had taken 3 months. Imagine the hardship. What a brave family. The ‘Minerva’ arrived 8 October 1847 with 80 Fencibles, 67 Women and 145 children on board. N.B. some children were even born during the voyage.
Henry George Grey, 3rd Earl Grey, Viscount Howick of the U.K. Government was responsible for the formation of the Fencibles. Hence their settlement in Auckland, New Zealand was named Howick. The Governor of New Zealand had made the request for a military force, to his superiors in Britain, in 1846, as he was concerned about the unrest between the Maori and the early settlers in New Zealand.
So the Roycrofts obviously survived and prospered and the name continues to this day. I now have a photograph of that grand old lady, Jean Brown Roycroft nee McIntosh who died in 1895 after such an eventful life. What a story she could have told. A relative of mine? I am currently awaiting, with baited breath, for confirmation that there is any information surviving about her brothers, in particular William.
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