Scots in Sri Lanka.....

Looking for Scottish Ancestors

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Scots in Sri Lanka.....

Post by AnneM » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:13 am

Hi from the tropics where I am hiding from the heat and the mosquitos. The former does not like me very much and the latter like me only too well!

A couple of weeks ago we were taken on a trip to Galle in the South of the country. This area was very badly affected by the tsunami and it is so sad to see, even now, some of the devastation that that terrible event caused.

Galle is a very interesting old town, some of which dates from the period when the Dutch were the main power in the country. There is in particular a very attractive Dutch Reformed Church. Actually inside the church only two people are buried and one of those is a Scotsman by the name of George Hay Boyd, who died in I think it was 1842 and is stated to be a native of Crimond, Aberdeenshire.

I did not take a note of the details and tried to discipline myself to ignore the existence of George but as Crimond is part of my 'patch' I got more interested and decided that I had to find out who he was, what family he had etc. Go on admit it, you would not have been able to resist either.

Having had a quick shifty and got together a certain amount of info I thought I would just put it here in case anyone was looking for George or his family. I seriously feel that someone out there should be looking for him.

George Hay Boyd was born in either Turriff or Aberdeen in June 1796, the son of Rev.William Boyd and Janet Mackie who were married in Turriff or Aberdeen in 1791. William was a minister who became the minister of Crimond where the two other children on the IGI, Alexander and William were born.

Alexander also became minister of Crimond and later married Christian Fraser. His and her wills and their marriage contract are on SP but I wasn't feeling that flush! Christian died on 27/11/1884 in Sydenham, near London.

George married Mary Tower (born in St Thomas, West Indes) in 1823 in Aberdeen. They seem to have had 4 children all born in Colombo, George Hay Boyd born around 1833, James Tower Boyd, born 1834, Robert Alexander Boyd born around 1836 and Mary Boyd born around 1837. George appears on certificates as a coffee planter.

After the death of George senior the family returned to Aberdeen and in 1851 are to be found in North Silver Street, living next door to the Free Church Minister of Melville Church, who I am convinced because of his unusual name has to be an ancestor of a friend of mine. They have exactly the same name.

In 1861 Mary junior marries Alexander Cumming another Free Church Minister and they later end up in Forfar where Mary senior dies in 1875. Funnily enough the doctor certifying her death has the same surname as my own GP. It is not a NE name and indeed is more of a border name so I wonder if this is yet another ancestor of someone I know.

In 1865 Robert who is training for the Free Church ministry dies of consumption. His death is reported by a cousin by marriage.

The odd thing is that George junior and James disappear altogether after 1851 when George is a student at Marischal College and James is an apprentice solicitor. I can't find hide nor hair of them after that but I guess if they were mine I would try harder!! It would seem like very bad luck to lose all of one's sons in young adulthood. Where did they go, now there's the question?

Anyway, I've rattled on for long enough. I just felt that George wanted a bit of recognition, buried all these miles away from home in hot Ceylon. He now has it.

Researching M(a)cKenzie, McCammond, McLachlan, Kerr, Assur, Renton, Redpath, Ferguson, Shedden, Also Oswald, Le/assels/Lascelles, Bonning just for starters

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Re: Scots in Sri Lanka

Post by SarahND » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:36 am

AnneM wrote: I just felt that George wanted a bit of recognition, buried all these miles away from home in hot Ceylon. He now has it.
Wonderful, Anne! I would have done the same. It's nice to know someone got his details together for his descendants if they are out there somewhere?


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Re: Scots in Sri Lanka.....

Post by RobinHowarth » Sat Feb 08, 2020 4:14 pm

Dear AnneM -
My name is Rob Howarth, and I live in Toronto, Canada. I was searching for some family history links and came across your post on George Hay Boyd. I believe I am a relative of this person.
At the end of your post you mention that his son "James" disappears altogether. I think this is James Tower Boyd, who is my great, great grandfather. He is buried in Toronto, in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. I think the dates on the grave are 1833-1881 and it states he was born in Ceylon. He had a son, also named James Tower Boyd 1862-1940, who was my great grandfather.
You can see some reference to him here - ... to&f=false
His son, Norman Boyd, was my Grandfather. Norman had 3 daughters, Norma-jane (my mother), Selby and Heather. Norma-jane just died a year and a half ago now. So... this part of the Boyd name ends here.
I can try and provide more details if you wish. But I think this might be one part of the story you set in motion.

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