Helen Cheyne born Kintore 1886 ** birthday bumped post **

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Helen Cheyne born Kintore 1886 ** birthday bumped post **

Post by imlincs » Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:35 pm

This post is about my Grandmother born Helen Cheyne, June 26th, 1886 in Kintore. Her mother was Christina Simpson and her father was named as James Cheyne, the birth being registered as illegitimate. James Cheyne appears on the birth certificate as a ‘farm servant’ and Christina Simpson a ‘domestic servant’, both residing at ‘St John’s Wells, Fyvie. (Quite a way in those days from Kintore!)

Neither of them is listed at that address in either the 1881 or the 1891 census (in Christina’s case for obvious reasons!) and I have had limited success in tracking down a likely candidate for James Cheyne - see separate post on this board about James Cheyne.

Christina Simpson appears to have been born on July 27th 1871, the daughter of William and Ann Simpson (nee Rothnie), at the Mains of Schivas, Tarves. This means she would not yet have been 15 when Helen Cheyne was born.

Christina Simpson appears in the 1881 census living (aged 10) with her mother Ann and siblings William 7, James 5 and George 2 at Burnend Cottar House, Ellon. Her father William Simpson appears to have been away on census day but remained with the family. Indeed a further son John was born in 1883.

Having given birth to my Grandmother, Christina disappears from view until marrying John McLeod in Aberdeen in December 1894, with whom she went on to have at least 3 more children. She died in May 1952. There is a record of a Christina Simpson aged 19 employed as a housemaid in Fraserburgh in 1891 and since “my” Christina married in Aberdeen in 1894 and in 1901 was living in Peterhead she could be the same person but I have no confirmation.

Helen Cheyne apparently remained in Kintore at least until she was 4, appearing in the 1891 census as Hellen Cheye, a boarder with a family called Ramsay (curiously a household of mother, daughter and grandson on census day – presumably the middle one was a single parent). In 1901, Nellie Cheyne aged 14 was employed as a domestic servant to the Ewen family in Easter Logie Aulton, Aberdeenshire (close to Rothienorman which is the village that my grandmother told me she came from - it was some 50 years ago when she told me and I obviously didn’t ask the right supplementaries!). Having moved to England in her teens, she was married to James Bunyan at Wandsworth Registry Office on August 1st 1915 and the marriage certificate names her father as James Cheyne, Police Sergeant, so he would appear to have been alive and possibly still in contact at that time.

I am trying to piece together what happened to Helen Cheyne between June 1886 and 1901 and Christina Simpson between June 1886 and December 1894. I cannot trace any record of Helen (or Nellie) attending school during that period although she could certainly read and write. Obviously I should have asked her more when she was still alive but I was young and did not think of such things then. One question I ask myself is how and why Christina gave birth in Kintore which would have been a pretty arduous journey from St John's Wells in 1886 and also why Helen was still in Kintore 4 years later.

I would be grateful if any one out there (maybe other descendants of William and Ann Simpson or the Ramsay family from Kintore) could give me any pointers.

Thanks for reading this far!


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Post by SarahND » Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:38 pm

Hi Ian,
I'll begin the discussion by reposting the census information I put in on the other topic (after telling you to post a new one! [-X :oops: )
My excuse is that our internet connection has been very spotty today and I thought I'd better put up the information while I could!

Here are the Ramsays in 1891. Note that it looks like Maggie also had a child at age 14... so she would have been sympathetic!

So here is Helen in 1891 with the Ramsays:

Hill of Kintore, Kintore, Aberdeenshire
Margret Ramsay, 67, Head, born Auchterless, Aberdeenshire, Crofter
Maggie E Ramsay, 25, Daur, born Kintore, Aberdeenshire, General Servant (Domestic)
William A M Ramsay, 11, Grandson, born Kintore, Aberdeenshire, Scholar
Hellen Cheye, 4, Boarder, born Kintore, Aberdeenshire

Taking them back 10 years, here is the family:

Hill of Kintore, Kintore, Aberdeenshire
William Ramsay, 60, Head, born Kintore, Aberdeenshire, Crofter 10 Acres
Margaret Ramsay, 57, Wife, born Auchterless, Aberdeenshire, Crofter Wife
Alexander Ramsay, 23, Son, born Kintore, Aberdeenshire, Quarry Worker
Maggie Ramsay, 15, Daughter, born Kintore, Aberdeenshire
William Mc G Ramsay, 1, Son, born Kintore, Aberdeenshire

I checked Maggie's birth in the IGI:

Margaret Imlay Ramsay
Birth: 24 Nov 1865 Kintore, Aberdeen
Father: William Ramsay
Mother: Margaret Simpson

Could Maggie's mother be Christina's aunt?


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Post by imlincs » Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:56 am

Hello Sarah

I haven't been able to link Margaret Ramsay nee Simpson to Christina's father.

Christina's father William Simpson married Ann Rothnie in 1865. His parents were shown as Andrew Simpson and Isabella Findlay.

In 1851 William aged 10 was living with his parents in Ellon along with his siblings Elizabeth 12 and George 8. Andrew was then 65 and Isabel (as she appears in 1851) 49. It is therefore possible that they could have had an elder daughter Margaret who had flown the nest by 1851. However I have been unable to track any of this family back with certainty to 1841.

Also in 1851 William and Margaret Ramsay were down in Kincardineshire already with 2 children aged 5 and 3. William was a "saw miller". I found a 20 yr old William Ramsay "miller's apprentice" in Aboyne in 1841 who may be the same person but difficult to verify and anyway that's drifting off the main track for me.

Andrew Simpson was born in Udny "abt" 1786 and Isabel(la) Findlay in Foveran "abt" 1802.

Margaret Ramsay/Simpson was born in Auchterless about 1823 so was very much in the geographical heart of all these Simpsons but I haven't found a link yet.

That's as far as I've been able to get so far.

Best regards,


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Post by AnneM » Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:06 pm

Hi there

Can I ask a why you think that the Christina who gave birth to Helen was the daughter of William and Ann Rothnie. There are one or two Christina Simpsons about at that time. The one who was born in Methlick in 1866 gets married in 1885 so its probably not her. It seems to me unlikely that the father of the child of a 14 year old would hold his hands up to it and sign the birth certificate, though odd things do happen. I know there was not the age of consent then but can't imagine it would not be frowned upon none the less.

The Christina who is a servant in Fraserburgh in 1891 is the Christina born in New Pitsligo in 1871 and not the one born in Tarves.

Margaret Simpson Ramsay's parents seem to have been John Simpson and Margaret Ironside. I can't find a birth for a brother for her who could have been a father for Christina. There were another Simpson/Ironside pair having children in Fyvie in the early 1800s but none of their sons that I could track down seem to have a Christina.

However you're possibly sure that that is the right Christina for very good reason. If so pay no attention to my ramblings!!

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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Post by imlincs » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:59 pm

Hello Anne

Thank you for your posting.

Christina being the daughter of William and Ann was by a process of elimination - I simply couldn't find any other candidate who seemed to tick all the boxes. William and Ann appear to have lived and worked at various places on the Haddo estate and St John's Wells (where the dirty deed appears to have been done) was part of that estate so an obvious potential place of employment for the young Christina.

Collateral evidence comes from the fact that my grandmother (Helen/Nellie) had an Aunt Maggie, aka Mrs Simpson, and Christina's youngest brother John, born 1883 in Cookston, parish of Ellon, was married to Maggie Ann Robertson Wiseman in Aberdeen in 1911 in the presence of John's older brother James who also lived in Aberdeen by that time. I know that my mother and grandmother visited Aunt Maggie in Aberdeen before I was born (1947) possibly even in the 1930s. Christina herslelf was married in Aberdeen, where she was then living, in December1894. Also Ann Rothney had died in Old Aberdeen in March 1894. The Aberdeen connection is quite compelling for me.

I realise that this is not conclusive but it does seem to me a pretty strong case, particularly in the absence of another obvious candidate.

There is an angle I have been unable to explore as yet. I have a letter dated 1947 from a Margaret Kennedy in New Westminster, British Columbia to her cousin (my mother and Helen's daughter) referring to her mother (whose name I don't know) having news from Aunt Maggie concerning their mutual Aberdeen relations. Being new to this game I'm not quite sure how to start down that lane! Any advice would be appreciated.

I'm certainly open to the possibility that I'm barking up the wrong tree and would be grateful for any other suggestions.

As for the admission of paternity, there are a number of possiblities - none of them terribly savoury as I'm sure you will realise and being the reason I used the term putative in my original posting. My concern at the moment is that the only serious James Cheyne candidate I have found was definitely employed as a policeman in Glasgow at the relevant time. Either there is an as yet undiscovered James Cheyne involved or someone at the time was telling porkies.

Perhaps I'll never know!



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Post by Susan » Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:23 pm

Hi Ian

Like AnneM I do wonder if indeed we are looking at the right Christina Simpson at the moment.

But to check on something else, on Helen's birth certificate what is the actual address given for the place of birth in Kintore ?

Also regarding the address of St John's Wells, Fyvie, is this shown below James' signature, or is it shown as "domicile" in the previous column where the parent's names and occupations are given. If it is shown only after James' signature then that is his address and not Christina's. If it is shown as domicile in the previous column then that would be the usual address of both parents as oppoesed to the address where the birth actually took place.


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Post by imlincs » Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:24 pm

Hello Susan

Well Susan, between you, you and Anne have put the cat among my pigeons. I had more or less convinced myself that I had the right Christina - particularly with the "Aunt Maggie" angle tying in.

I have not been able to decipher reliably the address in Kintore. It looks like a single 6 or 7 letter word the end of which is very indistinct. Something like Rockhill or Corkhill or Rockside - but that's no more than a guess. I assume I'm not allowed to post an image of it on this board am I? I've seen a 1901 map of Kintore and although I've found the address at which Helen was living in 1901 (Hill of Kintore), I couldn't identify anywhere that resembled the address on the certificate.

The "Signature and Qualification of Informant, and Residence if out of the House in which the Birth occurred " column reads:-

Christina Simpson

James Cheyne

St John's Wells

Wouldn't that order of names indicate that Christina was the primary "Informant" and that her address was St John's Wells?

The previous column reads:-

James Cheyne
Farm Servant

Christina Simpson
Domestic Servant

No mention of Domicile anywhere.

The Kintore address appears under "When and Where Born"

Obviously if I'm allowed to I would post an image of the Kintore address for someone more skilled than I am to try and decipher.

Thanks everyone for your interest.


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Post by WilmaM » Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:32 pm

Ian, you can post an image onTalking Scot.

See the How To...? forum
Adding an image - Uploading an image to the gallery


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Post by imlincs » Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:53 pm

Thank you WilmaM

I've tried to do that.

When I got to step 5 I got the message "Upload file" rather than "Continue" so I clicked that and went straight to the end of step 8 "It will be visible after Admin approval" and then "Continue"d back to Gallery.

Does that sound right? Since I haven't added a message or any other identifier how will I find it ?

http://talkingscot.com/gallery/displayi ... ?pos=-1650
<image URL added. LesleyB>


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Post by LesleyB » Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:36 pm

Hi Ian
Grasping at straws here, but a combination of what I think the first letters are, and a look at a map made me wonder if it could be Cottown?

Best wishes

p.s. today Keirs coaches Ltd seem to be at "Hill of Cottown, Kintore" - could this be the same place as was "Hill of Kintore"?

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