Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The goal is to 'find' Charlie Ross but in the meantime.......

I am still waiting to hear back from the Gladstone Historical Society who were going to look through the newspapers between 1890 and 1908 to see if there was anything more about Charlie Ross other than his obituary.

It is a slow process and moves at country speed and I was told in response to an email weeks ago that something would be coming before too long! I am beginning to think 'before too long' means sometime in the next year or so. But, given that I cannot get to Gladstone for the moment to do the work there really is no choice but to remain patient.

In the meantime I have taken another 'fork' in the ever-turning road which is ancestry research and found out a little bit more about my paternal Scottish ancestors. While the Scottish researcher did not manage to find out just who my male G7's parents were, (we can follow his wife's line back two more generations) she did come across his military records which  in terms of ancestry research are quite a find indeed.

Livingston(e) Muirhead it seems, after serving his time with the Lanarkshire Militia, joined the Coldstream Guards, Second Foot,  and served some 20 years with them, including fighting at the Battle of Waterloo and receiving a medal for his part in the defence of Houghounot Chateau, the pivotal point of the battle to defeat Napoleon.

He was born in 1785 in the parish of Barony, Glasgow and joined the Coldstream Guards in 1813 at the age of twenty-eight. He is listed as a weaver and one assumes, given the times and place where he was born, that he worked in the cotton mills as a child, as another more famous Livingstone - David Hunter did. Given that Livingston Muirhead and David Hunter Livingstone were born in the same area and given that Livingston is likely to be a maternal surname, there is a good chance the families were connected at some point.

Livingston and his wife Helen (Storie) called their youngest son, my G6, Robert Hunter Muirhead. He was born  in1812, a year earlier than David Livingstone, and the Hunter looks to have come from her grandmother, Marion Hunter. While Marion was born and died in Tranent, East Lothian, where Livingston Muirhead lived after marrying Helen (Storie), who had been born in Haddington, East Lothian, a few miles outside Edinburgh,  the distances between Glasgow and Edinburgh are not great and the population of Scotland at the time a mere 1.5million people, with less than 40,000 of them living in Glasgow, means that shared family names mean shared family relations at some point in history.

Helen Storie or Storrie was born November 5, 1783 in Tranent, East Lothian, Scotland. Tranent is some 18 kilometres east of Edinburgh and one of Scotland's oldest towns. She was the daughter of  Thomas Storie (Storrie) and Agnes Blair(e). Both Thomas and Agnes were born in Tranent. Thomas in 1740, with his christening recorded for August 28 of that year and Agnes in 1744 with her christening recorded on November 9. One presumes Thomas was born in late August and Agnes in early November.

Thomas's grandparents were George Storie born in 1714 in Tranent and his wife, Marion Hunter and Agnes's grandparents were James Blair(e) and Helen Forsyth. They married in Tranent, East Lothian on July 6, 1739 and it is a reasonable guess that they were all born in Tranent as well.          


 Photo: Coldstream Guards from the Battle of Waterloo. This would have been Livingston Muirhead's uniform.

Livingston was illiterate, signing his military records with a cross and this explains why his name is often registered as Levingston and he is recorded as a winner of a Waterloo Military Medal under the name Lev, which I probably would have missed but the researcher did not. He served a couple of years in Paris after Waterloo and would have been often based in London.

Livingston resigned from the army in 1834 for health reasons. The surgeon recorded that he had difficulty breathing and this was a condition caused by his service but not through indulgence or lack of care. One presumes a childhood spent working in a cotton mill may have contributed to the condition.

He died in 1851 on December 2 at Musselburgh, near Edinburgh. Livingston and Helen had three children: James born 1808, Agnes born 1810 and Robert Hunter born 1812. Four years after his father's death Robert, a bootmaker and his wife Christina (Mitchell) and their seven children, James, Francis, Alison, Robert, Florenia, Helen and Anne along with James's wife, Euphemia (McLean) and their two children, Mary and Robert, would set sail for South Australia. All would arrive safely at Port Adelaide in 1855 but seventeen-year-old Francis would die before the first year was out.  Helen Storie Muirhead would die in 1858, never to see her youngest son or his family again.

Robert's grand-daughter Florena, born in Adelaide in 1873 to James and Euphemia, the 11th of their 12 children, would be my paternal great-grandmother, marrying Robert Jones (Jonas) in 1891 and producing another dozen children herself. No shortage of relatives on my father's side.

I shall put together a more concise history of the Muirhead family in the coming weeks.

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