Re: [Peterhead] Duncan family tree
The name William Duncan sounded familiar to me, so I checked my data
and found that a William Duncan drowned off Peterhead in May 1877, at
the same time as my great-grandfather Matthew Nicol. I have no idea if
the is part of your family, but if he is, it would explain the absence
of one of the graves you were looking for. The three men were lost at
sea, and their bodies never found. I have copied below one of the
newspaper reports of the incident. Please let me know if you think
this William Duncan is related to you - if he is, I can send you more
newspaper reports, and the register entries of the three deaths.
Also, I checked the the St Peters Churchyard CD, and it lists 22
Duncans. I know the care taken by the people who do these
transcriptions. They transcribe as much as possible, even from very
worn gravestones. It is easy to miss inscriptions when searching by
walking around the graveyard, so it might be worth your while getting
hold of the CD and having a look there.
I too have been searching for the graves of several ancestors, and
have been puzzled by being unable to find them. I am told that many
poorer people (which could include some fisherfolk) could not afford a
stone. You need to look at the lair records to find out who was buried
where. I was told that I could find these at Arbuthnot House in
Peterhead, but you need to make an appointment in advance. In
September this year, I went there without an appointment, and they
were too busy to help me.
From the East Aberdeenshire Observer, Friday May 11, 1877.
Melancholy Boat Accident — Three Lives Lost.—A melancholy boat
accident, resulting in the loss of three lives, occurred on Monday
afternoon. The arrival of one or two vessels at Peterhead were
expected that day, and in order to get an earlier view of them as they
approached from the South, Matthew Nicol, pilot; William Duncan,
seaman; and John Suttar Strachan, son of Geo. Strachan, master of the
steam tug Pride o’ Scotland, proceeded in a boat to Boddam. Having
remained there for a short time and taken refreshments they again went
to sea to pilot any vessel to the harbour which might require their
services. They were never again seen alive, and in the evening a
Burnhaven crew who had been at the haddock fishing found the boat, in
which the unfortunate men had sailed, lying on its broadside and the
occupants nowhere to be seen. The boat was towed into Boddam. It is
supposed that it had been upset by a sudden squall as when found the
sail was set and the sheet fast. Several boats have since been out in
the vicinity where it is supposed that the boat has been swamped, but
none of the bodies have yet been seen, and there can be no doubt that
the tide has carried them southwards.
Matthew Nicol, who was 66 years of age, leaves a wife and nine of a
family, most of whom are grown up. He was a native of Berwick, but
for many years was master and part owner of several trading vessels,
and latterly he owned a herring curing establishment in Peterhead.
William Duncan, who was 58 years of age, was a seaman, and for many
years sailed in the schooner Jane of Peterhead. He leaves a wife and
four of a family. Strachan used to sail with his father, but on
Monday he chanced to stop on shore and by accident accompanied Nicol
and Duncan into the boat to Boddam. Much sympathy is felt for the
relations of the drowned men.
Strangely enough I was discussing the page with William Duncan
on it with the registrar on Thursday.Her opinion was that none of the
bodies had ever been found or if found could not be identified.This
was because there is no cause of death entered and no corrections
entered at the side or as corrective entry note (the script on the
left hand side is just the registrar initialling a small mistake).Do
you any proof from your side bodies were never found. William Duncan
is my ggg grandfather.I have the report below from the local library
but would be grateful for any other reports on the event.
Re lairs the registrar is certainly the key because in my own case I
have a mixture of 4 generations over 119 years in 1 lair (14 burials -
must be some sort of record).Gravestone inscription only covers 8 of
them.I got a copy of the lairs entries but had to photograph it as it
wont scan for D134,135 and D136 (which I think contains Donna
interests)All Duncan's or relatives of.
Have sent Donna an email as I cant post photo on here, Might try see
if I can post them on photo section
Rgds George Duncan