Monthly Archives: February 2012

Searching for cross-Border roots, and discovering a family wiped out by tuberculosis

My great-grandfather Michael Kerr’s origins were a bit of a mystery to me for a long time. Because he was born in England, but married in Scotland, I didn’t have a reliable birth place for him, and Scottish census returns … Continue reading

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Puzzling over an ancestor’s name

In my Scottish ancestry families tended to name children according to traditional Scottish naming patterns. So first son after father’s father, second after mother’s father, and so on, and a similar pattern for girls. Family surnames were often passed down … Continue reading

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Guy Fawkes celebrations in 1890s rural Somerset

My husband grew up in a tiny Somerset village, Maperton, near Wincanton. When I first accessed the British Newspaper Archive I looked up references to Maperton. Fortunately the online archive had good coverage of West Country newspapers, so I found … Continue reading

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Boys Lilias and Theresa in the family tree

Often Scottish families in the past named their children according to a simple pattern. So eldest son after father’s father, second after mother’s father, third after father. And for daughters the eldest was often named after the mother’s mother, second … Continue reading

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A household full of servant relatives

I first visited New Register House in Edinburgh, the home of the General Register Office for Scotland, aged about 12 in 1984 or 1985. Back in those days there were no computerised indexes for any records, and it was necessary … Continue reading

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Dandie Dinmont terriers in the family tree

Through the Dodds side I reach the Somner family, including my 4xg-grandfather Francis Somner (1803-1891). He was born in East Lothian, a farmer’s son, and moved as a young man to farm West Morriston near Earlston, before ultimately settling in … Continue reading

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