Lost ancestor William Walker Lyon.....

Looking for Scottish Ancestors

Moderator: Global Moderators

Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:08 am
Location: Cambridge UK

Lost ancestor William Walker Lyon.....

Post by puffin » Fri Jan 14, 2005 12:52 pm

For some time I have been trying to find out what happened to the following individuals for whom I can find nothing after the mid 1860’s :-

William Walker Lyon born 8th June 1844 St. Fergus, Aberdeenshire,
( IGI birth entry has error of spelling with Layon instead of Lyon )
Married to Elizabeth ( Betty ) Ross 24th October 1863 at Woodhead, Aberdour, Aberdeenshire, he then a journeyman blacksmith age 20, she from Coldhome, Tyrie, domestic servant and spinster.

Elizabeth ( Betty ) Lyon ( nee Ross ) born 31st July 1840 Aberdour, Aberdeenshire

Mary Ann McRitchie Ross born 31st May 1864 at Tyrie, Aberdeenshire and on whose birth certificate her mother Elizabeth Ross or Lyon, wife of William Lyon, blacksmith, declares that he is not the father of the child herewith registered.

It is, perhaps, worth mentioning that on the marriage certificate of 24/10/1863 for William Lyon and Elizabeth Ross one of the witmesses is a James McRitchie.

I have not been able to find anything on these persons after 1863/4.

So what has happened to William Walker Lyon after this date ?

If William has died there should be a death record, if he has lived then he should be on the 1881 census if still in Scotland or perhaps elsewhere.

If William has died what has happened to his widow Elizabeth ( Betty ) Lyon ? Would she revert to her maiden name in that situation or still be known as Elizabeth Lyon until she perhaps remarried ?

Thanks in advance if anyone is able to help.


Posts: 3979
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:49 pm
Location: Scotland

Post by nelmit » Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:44 pm


I know the age is slightly out but this lady might be worth investigating.

According to the IGI Margaret was born to Elizabeth CARTNEY or ROSS in 1871.
There is no sign of a marriage between CARTNEY and/or ROSS.

Of course she may have nothing to do with your Elizabeth Ross at all.

Dwelling: 24 High St
Census Place: Tyrie, Aberdeen, Scotland
Source: FHL Film 0203462 GRO Ref Volume 227B EnumDist 3 Page 7
Marr Age Sex Birthplace
Elizabeth ROSS W 42 F Aberdour, Aberdeen, Scotland
Rel: Head
Occ: Gen. Serv.Dom.
Margaret CARTNEY 10 F Tyrie, Aberdeen, Scotland
Rel: Daur
Occ: Scholar
James CARTNEY 2 M Tyrie, Aberdeen, Scotland
Rel: Nephew

Annette M

Posts: 496
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 11:40 pm
Location: Leominster, Herefordshire, UK

Re: vanishing trick

Post by sporran » Fri Jan 14, 2005 4:49 pm

Hello Richard,

nice try by Annette, but Elizabeth Cartney or Ross was the widow of Donald Ross.

Like you, I have found no trace of any of these people after 1864. I shall try again this evening.



Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:08 am
Location: Cambridge UK

Post by puffin » Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:42 pm

Thanks Annette and John,

I have previously spotted the Elizabeth Ross that Annette mentions, but have not been convinced that she is the same one.

I have the following on that Elizabeth Ross :-
at 1881 census there is an Elizabeth Ross living at 24, High St. Tyrie, age 42, widowed, head of household, born Aberdour, occupation general domestic servant.
In the household are James Cartney age 2 nephew, and Margaret Cartney age 10 daughter both born Tyrie.
Margaret Cartney, illegitimate, is born New Pitsligo on 13th February 1871, mother Elisabeth Cartney or Ross ( shown as widow of Donald Ross, general labourer. IGI has a marriage for this to an elizabeth Curtney 19/11/1859 at New Pitsligo)
James Cartney is born New Pitsligo in 1878.

at 1891 census there is an Elizabeth Ross at 32 High St. New Pitsligo, widow age 52, washerwoman, with William Ross son age 23 mason born Tyrie ( born 13/6/1867 New Pitsligo father Donald Ross mother Elisabeth Cartney ), Elizabeth Webster grandchild age 5 ,scholar b Tyrie, James Ross grandchild age 3, William Mackay, boarder age 1 born Tyrie.

at 1901 census there is an Elizabeth Ross at same address age 62, formerly outdoor working, born new Aberdour, with Elizabeth Ross granddaughter age 14 dom. serv. born New Pitsligo, James White boarder age 4 born New Pitsligo, and James Cartney boarder age 21 mason, born New Pitlsigo.

If this is her, then at 1881 she is described as widowed, but if so where then is the record of William Lyon's death, and why has she reverted to her maiden name ? Where also is her daughter Mary Ann Mcritchie Ross at 1881 when she would be age 16/17 ?
On the 1841 census I have found what I believe is the Elizabeth Ross who married William Lyon as follows :-

Piece: SCT1841/169 Place: Aberdour-Aberdeenshire Enumeration District: 4
Civil Parish: Aberdour Ecclesiastical Parish, Village or Island: -
Folio: 4 Page: 13
Address: Killyquharn
    Surname   First name(s)   Sex   Age   Occupation   Where Born   Remarks  
    ROSS   James   M   50   Crofter    Aberdeenshire      
    ROSS   Myns   F   45       Aberdeenshire    ?Forename  
    ROSS   Mary   F   14       Aberdeenshire      
    ROSS   James   M   7       Aberdeenshire      
    ROSS   Betty   F   10m       Aberdeenshire      
    ROSS   Anne   F   5       Aberdeenshire      
    MCKAY   James   M   25   Ag Lab    Aberdeenshire      
    BLAIK   Agnes   F   22   Female Servant    Aberdeenshire

So you may see why I remain puzzled by this.

I suppose it is possible that they have emigrated,  but do not know how to follow that trail.

If anyone has access to the 1871 census then that might throw up a clue or two.

Thanks for your interest and efforts.


Posts: 496
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 11:40 pm
Location: Leominster, Herefordshire, UK

Re: disappearing ancestors

Post by sporran » Mon Jan 17, 2005 6:24 pm

Hello Richard,

for a moment, I thought that I had found one of them, but the Eliza Ross who married Hutcheon Donald in 1870 was the daughter of William Ross, Elizabeth's eldest brother. Elizabeth's parents and siblings are easy to trace, and James McRitchie can be found in the 1881 census, but the main protagonists all vanish after 1864.

I tried the 1880 US and Canadian censuses as well as the rest of Britain on the LDS site, but nothing, and no joy with the death of James Lyon, William's father.

The 1871 census looks to be our last hope, and I shall add these people to my testing regime.



Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:08 am
Location: Cambridge UK

Lost ancestor William Walker lyon

Post by puffin » Mon Jan 17, 2005 6:44 pm

Thanks again John

You are finding the same results that I have struggled with, ie nothing after about 1864.

Given that his wife has had a child who she declares is not within a few months of the marriage one wonders if the marriage survived or not.

Don't worry about William's father - James Lyon - my 2G grandfather, I have his death at 14th May 1901 at the age of 77. His first wife was Elspet Walker, and his second ( my G grandmother )( from c 1848 ) was Ann Thom. What I do not have is much on his father James Lyon except I know he married Babara Legg 9/12/1822 at Pitsligo. She married again to George Finnie soon after that on 28/4/1828 again at Pitsligo nad her death cert of 1879 says " previously widow of James Lyon, farm servant ", so he is also one of my AWOL ancestors.

On a more positive note, although it took me a long time in 2004, I did manage to track William Walker Lyon's half brother George Chalmers Lyon ( 1849-1929 ) who moved to Hastings Sussex in around the 1870's, and also his two living grand-daughters aged 83 and 90 respectively together with his two living great grand-daughters one of whom I found living just 3 miles from where I live !

So it is still with optimism that I hope to find what happened to William Walker Lyon after 1864.

One thing I have wondered was if there was a disease outbreak - cholera or similar- in the area where they were ( Tyrie ) which perhaps took all three of them ?? Does anyone know if there are records of disease outbreaks where, perhaps, the records of whole families faded away with little for us now to find ?

I will try the 1871 census also when I have access to it.

Thanks again


Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:30 am

Re: Lost ancestor William Walker Lyon.....

Post by Starshine.no1 » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:23 am

I have been trying to track some of my ancestors, and one of them is William Walker Lyon
married to Elizabeth Pratt Ross, married in Aberdeenshire 1863 in the parish of new Aberdour.
A daughter Mary Ann Ross Lyon was born May 31 1864 in theparish of Tyrie.
They left Scotland in March 1866 and arrived in Australia 17th July 1866 on the
ship British Lion. This may be the people you are looking for, I have a family bible with this
information hand written inside. Mary Anne Ross Lyon was my grandmother, I have no information
on the McRitchie part of her name. Hope I have been of some help. =D>


Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:08 am
Location: Cambridge UK

Re: Lost ancestor William Walker Lyon.....

Post by puffin » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:32 pm

Thanks Starshine,

Looks like this is a match, which is excellent news.

I have sent you a pm.


Site Admin
Posts: 2418
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:56 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Lost ancestor William Walker Lyon.....

Post by paddyscar » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:23 pm

Hi Starshine.no1 and a warm welcome to TalkingScot [scotland-flag]

This is indeed good news for Puffin! Amazingly it is 5 1/2 years (plus a day) since he posted his first inquiry on his lost ancestor. Hope you and Puffin have great success in comparing your records!

John Kelly (b 22 Sep 1897) eldest child of John Kelly & Christina Lipsett Kelly of Glasgow

Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:08 am
Location: Cambridge UK

Re: Lost ancestor William Walker Lyon.....

Post by puffin » Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:14 pm

Yes, excellent news for Puffin, who has spent some time today firstly finding more on the ship details:

The British Lion, was built in Quebec in 1853 by P. Valin, also sailed from Liverpool, UK, to Adelaide again in 1866. she
became the property of either Leask or Moore & Co in Liverpool from whence she left on Sept 29th 1857 heading for
Adelaide, Geelong, Port Phillip (Melbourne, Victoria), Tasmania and then Sydney which took her 112 days total. Her skipper
was Frederick Francis HARRINGTON.

She also sailed from Liverpool, UK, to Adelaide again in 1866, arriving 14 Jul 1866 at Semaphore

On this occasion her skipper was Irishman Francis P. Reed.

Then, in 1876, she was sold to W. S. Lishman in Newcastle

The British Lion later ran aground and was lost at Long Point, Ontario in 1877.

Semaphore is a suburb of Adelaide, so I began looking into the South Australia records and
have now found a possible death record for William Walker Lyon in the era of 1885:

From the website:


Search Government Gazettes for william lyon.

Records 1-5 of 5

Surname: LYON
Given name(s): William Walker
Source date: ERA 1885

I have also been unable to find possible similar record on the same site for Elizabeth ( I am less certain this is William's wife but it is a possible) and nothing yet found for Mary Ann Ross Lyon.

Surname: LYON
Given name(s): Elizabeth
Source date: 1893

So in less than a day, after a long wait of five years, at last a wee bit of progress on William, prompted by Starline.no 1 earlier today.

Will hope to be able to share more data with Starline.no1 by PM.

Puffin :D

Post Reply