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Re: [Peterhead] James Milne /19th C. working class/ Industry vs. Environment

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  • jsethomson@aol.com
    Hi Hester: I have just read your long e-mail. I very much appreciate your efforts. I have always wondered about our James Milne . What you have further
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 12 2:25 PM
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      Hi Hester: I have just read your long e-mail. I very much appreciate
      your efforts.
      I have always wondered about our "James Milne". What you have
      further indicated does not rule out that yours James, and mi ne, were not the same
      person. I could never figure out who the 'James" was that my ggrandmother
      named her first born son, James, after. She had 13 sons and 2 daughters. Her
      first three,all boys were born in Scotland...James at Rannieston in Logie
      Buchan parish, and Rob and George at Birness, also in Logie Buchan parish. Birness
      is very near the Tolls of Birness, which place is just southwest of Peterhead
      and is shown today on most good maps. It may that my grandfather was named
      after a James Milne.

      If you knew about when James Milne died, and that he died in Scotland, it is
      a good chance that his death certificate might have the information to solve
      the question. Fortunately, the webside, Scotlandspeople, can generally provide
      a subscriber with a printed image (copy) of a Scots death certificate on the
      Internet. If you can get even close to his date of death, let me know.

      If he is a relative, I can provide you with some interesting history of his
      grandfather, William McWilliam, and his career in the North Gordon Fencibles
      from 1778-83. He met Jane Ranie in Peterhead, and on September 2, 1782, they
      were married in a military wedding at Williams headquarters in Aberdeen. After
      service he relocated to Kinmundy in Longside Parish. He worked with the
      initial wool received. The Kilgours that were his employers were truly very fine
      and decent for the times. It has been suggested that is why they failed. The
      Longside minister in the First Statistical abstract so highly praises them
      that Maisie Stevens in her book on Eighteenth Century Scotland quotes him. Their
      second plant on the north side of Longside was located at Auchlee, just
      north of Longside village, today. Much of the help prior to its closing, for
      that plant, came from cottars places in the very boggy and swampy areas to the
      North. In 1823, one could have worked there, and have lived on the south west
      part of St. Fergus. I have photos of Wm McWilliams home in the highland -like
      area, just two miles south of Dufftown in Mortlach parish. The church
      records show the McWilliams were living on the Duke of Gordon's land there from
      the early 1700's. The McWilliams area is now owned by the Crown Estates, and
      since 1937. I also have beautiful colored plates of the various Highland
      uniformed North Gordon Fencibles including their pipers...the English reluctantly
      let Scots have their pipes if they served in their military units. I even
      have copies of some of Williams military records from the National Archives(Wade
      Buchan also furnished me William's service records). Williams brother,
      Robert, also served in the unit. The plates give any wall a brilliant spot of
      red for an interior decorator.

      I recall that 45 Kirk Street was very close to John and Margaret Milnes
      address. These were not fancy quarters, but were still much better than most
      farm servant cottages. Those were often small, one, or possibly two rooms,
      with thatched roofs, dirt or clay floors and one small window, two, if lucky. I
      have an enormous collection of materials on the situation that farm servants,
      married or single, experienced, and it covers most of the 19th century and
      particularly Aberdeenshire.

      I have been to Scotland four times. The first time I visited Peterhead was
      in April of 1946...enormous changes since then. The nineteenth century was a
      very difficult time for one-third of the Scottish population...Rosalind
      Mitchison says that for them them they were always on the verge of needing poor
      relief....a situation that was not very pretty. Many of the descendants became
      part of the Scottish diaspora...Scotland was a bittersweet experience for them
      but I find its social dynamics fascinating nevertheless, and more so than other
      countries social histories that I have studied. It was the most closely
      owned country in Europe both then and now.

      Please let me know if you find anything on your James Milne"s final days.

      Sincerely, Jim Thomson


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Hester NicEilidh
      ... small, one, or possibly two rooms, with thatched roofs, dirt or clay floors and one small window, two, if lucky. I have an enormous collection of
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 13 6:33 AM
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        Jim Thomson wrote:

        >>>much better than most farm servant cottages. Those were often
        small, one, or possibly two rooms, with thatched roofs, dirt or clay
        floors and one small window, two, if lucky. I have an enormous
        collection of materials on the situation that farm servants,
        married or single, experienced, and it covers most of the 19th
        century and particularly Aberdeenshire.<<<

        Hi, Jim:

        I read your post with great interest.

        I was particularly intrigued by your mention of "farm servants".
        This is not a term I've come across before, but you've obviously
        done a lot of research on the topic and I'd like to learn more.

        At the time of her marriage in 1863, my GG GM Helen Mitchell was
        a "domestic servant" at Artrochie in Logie Buchan. I visited
        Artrochie in 2004, and it was quite a small farm. I spoke with the
        current tenant of the house, a diver on the North Sea oil rigs, and
        he suggested that it was unlikely that such a small place would have
        had "servants", but rather that my ancestor may have lived at
        Artrochie and worked as a maid at the nearby estate of Auchmacoy,
        either at the Laird's house or on the Home Farm.

        Since then, I've come across a 1881 census entry that showed that
        Helen was not originally from Logie Buchan, but had been born in Old
        Deer. That suggests to me that she moved to Artrochie looking for
        work.

        Also, I've just recently come across this description in Walter
        Gregor's _Notes on the Folk-lore of the North-East of Scotland_,
        written in 1881:

        >>>At the one corner of the hearth sat the father, and at the other
        the mother. Between the two sat the family, and it might be a
        servant or two, for all were on a footing of equality, the servant
        being a neighbour's son or daughter of exactly the same rank and
        means.<<<

        [Source: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/nes/nes13.htm ]

        Gregor seems to be describing a small, humble farm not unlike
        Artrochie would have been.

        So, do you think my GG GM was a "farm servant" then? Would this
        status have been described as "domestic servant" on a marriage
        certificate? Or was my ancestor more likely "daily help" at the
        Laird's house next door?

        Looking forward to your insights into this aspect of the social
        history of the area.

        Cheers, Hester
      • Allan Harrop
        Hi Hester, I have just read your message and realised that our ancestors were neighbours, and possibly knew each other. My gr grandmother, Elizabeth Clark,
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 14 3:19 PM
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          Hi Hester,
          I have just read your message and realised that our ancestors were
          neighbours, and possibly knew each other.
          My gr grandmother, Elizabeth Clark, dau. of George Clark and Helen Geddes ,
          was a domestic servant at South Artrochie,
          Logie Buchan, when she married Alexander Kinghorn( from Peterhead) in 1868
          She had had an illegitimate son Alexander Sangster Clark at Bilbopark a
          few years previously and did not name the father.
          Her sister Bathia also had an illegitimate child and then later married an
          Alexander Sangster, Artrochie.
          Sounds like quite a love triangle, but I probably will never know the facts
          !!
          Wouldn't you just love to go back in time to see what their lives were like?
          Eileen
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Hester NicEilidh" <hesternic@...>
          To: <Peterhead@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, February 13, 2006 2:33 PM
          Subject: [Peterhead] Farm Servants


          > Jim Thomson wrote:
          >
          >>>>much better than most farm servant cottages. Those were often
          > small, one, or possibly two rooms, with thatched roofs, dirt or clay
          > floors and one small window, two, if lucky. I have an enormous
          > collection of materials on the situation that farm servants,
          > married or single, experienced, and it covers most of the 19th
          > century and particularly Aberdeenshire.<<<
          >
          > Hi, Jim:
          >
          > I read your post with great interest.
          >
          > I was particularly intrigued by your mention of "farm servants".
          > This is not a term I've come across before, but you've obviously
          > done a lot of research on the topic and I'd like to learn more.
          >
          > At the time of her marriage in 1863, my GG GM Helen Mitchell was
          > a "domestic servant" at Artrochie in Logie Buchan. I visited
          > Artrochie in 2004, and it was quite a small farm. I spoke with the
          > current tenant of the house, a diver on the North Sea oil rigs, and
          > he suggested that it was unlikely that such a small place would have
          > had "servants", but rather that my ancestor may have lived at
          > Artrochie and worked as a maid at the nearby estate of Auchmacoy,
          > either at the Laird's house or on the Home Farm.
          >
          > Since then, I've come across a 1881 census entry that showed that
          > Helen was not originally from Logie Buchan, but had been born in Old
          > Deer. That suggests to me that she moved to Artrochie looking for
          > work.
          >
          > Also, I've just recently come across this description in Walter
          > Gregor's _Notes on the Folk-lore of the North-East of Scotland_,
          > written in 1881:
          >
          >>>>At the one corner of the hearth sat the father, and at the other
          > the mother. Between the two sat the family, and it might be a
          > servant or two, for all were on a footing of equality, the servant
          > being a neighbour's son or daughter of exactly the same rank and
          > means.<<<
          >
          > [Source: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/nes/nes13.htm ]
          >
          > Gregor seems to be describing a small, humble farm not unlike
          > Artrochie would have been.
          >
          > So, do you think my GG GM was a "farm servant" then? Would this
          > status have been described as "domestic servant" on a marriage
          > certificate? Or was my ancestor more likely "daily help" at the
          > Laird's house next door?
          >
          > Looking forward to your insights into this aspect of the social
          > history of the area.
          >
          > Cheers, Hester
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Peterhead Genealogy at http://users.bigpond.net.au/phdgen/
          >
          > To unsubscribe send a messaged to: Peterhead-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • Hester NicEilidh
          ... Helen Geddes ,was a domestic servant at South Artrochie, Logie Buchan, when she married Alexander Kinghorn( from Peterhead) in 1868 She had had an
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 15 5:37 AM
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            Eileen wrote:

            >>> My gr grandmother, Elizabeth Clark, dau. of George Clark and
            Helen Geddes ,was a domestic servant at South Artrochie,
            Logie Buchan, when she married Alexander Kinghorn( from Peterhead)
            in 1868 She had had an illegitimate son Alexander Sangster Clark at
            Bilbopark a few years previously and did not name the father.
            Her sister Bathia also had an illegitimate child and then later
            married an Alexander Sangster, Artrochie. Sounds like quite a love
            triangle, but I probably will never know the facts !! Wouldn't you
            just love to go back in time to see what their lives were like?<<<


            Hi, Eileen:

            Yes, indeed, their lives do sound intriguing! Artrochie sounds like
            the mid-19th c. Scottish version of "Wisteria Lane"! [Now, there's
            an idea for a new TV soap opera!]

            I think for those of us who expected dour, repressed Presbyterians
            as our ancestors, that we're a bit bemused to find that they
            apparently had rather swinging sex lives, even by modern standards.

            Jim and Ray have emphasized that our ancestors, especially the farm
            servants and domestic servants, worked very hard. But obviously,
            with so many illegitimate births among the young servants, they also
            played very hard too.

            I'm wondering what the social life was like for the young servants
            on the farms. The young female domestic servants and male farm
            servants obviously "mixed", even if their duties were sharply
            delineated between inside and outside. And servants from
            neighbouring farms apparently had "contact" with each other too.
            What sort of social activities did they engage in together?

            Away from home and their parents' scrutiny, these farm servants seem
            to have had as much 'fun' as modern university students.

            I'm currently taking a course in Scottish Country Dancing. One of
            the instructors, to keep us looking at our partners instead of our
            feet, keeps emphasizing that SCD is all about flirting (continually
            shifting partners, holding hands, etc.). Would young servants on NE
            Scottish farms have had a place/time to dance like this?

            And where would the love affairs that led to the illeg. bairns have
            taken place? To quote the English folk song, "Underneath Her
            Apron":

            "Oh, was it in the kitchen got, or was it in the hall?
            Was it in the cow-shed or up again the wall?

            Whole song:

            http://tinyurl.com/8yan5

            [BTW, Anne Brigg does a wonderful version of this song!]

            Cheers, Hester
          • Phoebe
            ... I was really excited when I saw this posting ( as only a genealogist can be)My 3rd Gt Grandfather was John McWilliam from Peterhead area, born abt. 1790,
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 17 3:51 AM
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              --- In Peterhead@yahoogroups.com, jsethomson@... wrote:
              >
              > Hi Jim,
              I was really excited when I saw this posting ( as only a genealogist
              can be)My 3rd Gt Grandfather was John McWilliam from Peterhead area,
              born abt. 1790, he certainly was married to Elizabeth Robb 17 Aug
              1813 at Peterhead, as a potential father to him I had William
              McWilliam and Janet Rainie.
              As I have no death of John, I am presuming he was drowned at sea as
              he was a mariner, I only have one piece of evidence that his parents
              were William and Janet Rainie and that is from the OPR.
              I have his sister Margaret marrying a John Milne.
              Does any of this ring bells, I have come to a dead end here as
              nobody wants to appear on a census or die in a place I can find them.
              Regards,
              Fiona Poulton


              I can provide you with some interesting history of his
              > grandfather, William McWilliam, and his career in the North Gordon
              Fencibles
              > from 1778-83. He met Jane Ranie in Peterhead, and on September 2,
              1782, they
              > were married in a military wedding at Williams headquarters in
              Aberdeen. After
              > service he relocated to Kinmundy in Longside Parish. He worked
              with the
              > initial wool received. The Kilgours that were his employers were
              truly very fine
              > and decent for the times. It has been suggested that is why they
              failed. The
              > Longside minister in the First Statistical abstract so highly
              praises them
              > that Maisie Stevens in her book on Eighteenth Century Scotland
              quotes him. Their
              > second plant on the north side of Longside was located at
              Auchlee, just
              > north of Longside village, today. Much of the help prior to its
              closing, for
              > that plant, came from cottars places in the very boggy and swampy
              areas to the
              > North. In 1823, one could have worked there, and have lived on
              the south west
              > part of St. Fergus. I have photos of Wm McWilliams home in the
              highland -like
              > area, just two miles south of Dufftown in Mortlach parish. The
              church
              > records show the McWilliams were living on the Duke of Gordon's
              land there from
              > the early 1700's. The McWilliams area is now owned by the Crown
              Estates, and
              > since 1937. I also have beautiful colored plates of the various
              Highland
              > uniformed North Gordon Fencibles including their pipers...the
              English reluctantly
              > let Scots have their pipes if they served in their military
              units. I even
              > have copies of some of Williams military records from the
              National Archives(Wade
              > Buchan also furnished me William's service records). Williams
              brother,
              > Robert, also served in the unit. The plates give any wall a
              brilliant spot of
              > red for an interior decorator.
              >
              > I recall that 45 Kirk Street was very close to John and Margaret
              Milnes
              > address. These were not fancy quarters, but were still much
              better than most
              > farm servant cottages. Those were often small, one, or possibly
              two rooms,
              > with thatched roofs, dirt or clay floors and one small window,
              two, if lucky. I
              > have an enormous collection of materials on the situation that
              farm servants,
              > married or single, experienced, and it covers most of the 19th
              century and
              > particularly Aberdeenshire.
              >
              > I have been to Scotland four times. The first time I visited
              Peterhead was
              > in April of 1946...enormous changes since then. The nineteenth
              century was a
              > very difficult time for one-third of the Scottish
              population...Rosalind
              > Mitchison says that for them them they were always on the verge of
              needing poor
              > relief....a situation that was not very pretty. Many of the
              descendants became
              > part of the Scottish diaspora...Scotland was a bittersweet
              experience for them
              > but I find its social dynamics fascinating nevertheless, and more
              so than other
              > countries social histories that I have studied. It was the most
              closely
              > owned country in Europe both then and now.
              >
              > Please let me know if you find anything on your James Milne"s
              final days.
              >
              > Sincerely, Jim Thomson
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • Hester NicEilidh
              ... ancestors were neighbours, and possibly knew each other. My gr grandmother, Elizabeth Clark, dau. of George Clark and Helen Geddes , was a domestic servant
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 19 12:03 PM
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                Eileen wrote:

                >>> Hi Hester, I have just read your message and realised that our
                ancestors were neighbours, and possibly knew each other. My gr
                grandmother, Elizabeth Clark, dau. of George Clark and Helen
                Geddes , was a domestic servant at South Artrochie, Logie Buchan,
                when she married Alexander Kinghorn( from Peterhead) in 1868. She
                had had an illegitimate son Alexander Sangster Clark at Bilbopark a
                few years previously and did not name the father. Her sister Bathia
                also had an illegitimate child and then later married an Alexander
                Sangster, Artrochie. Sounds like quite a love triangle, but I
                probably will never know the facts!! Wouldn't you just love to go
                back in time to see what their lives were like?<<<

                Hi, Eileen:

                That's a terrific story! Artrochie sounds like the 19th century
                Scottish version of "Wisteria Lane"!

                I'm sorry for the delay in my response. I did respond to your
                message off-list, but I suspect my reply did not get through to your
                e-mail account. Since my previous post, I have found some more
                information about my ancestor at Artrochie. I also have pictures of
                Artrochie farm and surrounding area from my visit in 2004 that I
                could scan and e-mail to you.

                If you're interested, please contact me directly by e-mail at

                hesternic@...

                Cheers, Hester
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