Mariners from Irvine, Ayrshire

Fisherman, Merchant vessels, Emigrant ships etc.

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Muriel
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Location: Edinburgh

Mariners from Irvine, Ayrshire

Post by Muriel » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:50 am

I recently discovered that my b-i-l’s great-uncle, John McGregor, married Elizabeth Jaffrey, a 1st cousin once removed of a friend of mine (Scotland can be a VERY small place!). Consequently, I’ve been looking back on both sides of the family & have come up with an interesting conundrum. As I’m not very good with marine records I though I’d post it.

John McGregor (father of the above & b-i-l's ggrandfather) was born about 1842 in Irvine, Ayrshire. In the 1871 census he is described as a mariner & in 1873 he is the informant of the birth of John, his youngest child. In the 1881 census his wife, Mary (Plenderleith), is a widow living with her mother & her 2 older sons. In 1882 she remarries. I can’t find young John on the census.

On the other side of the family William Jaffray/Jaffrey/Jeffrey is born about 1840, also in Irvine. In 1871 he is described as a mariner. In 1881 his 2nd wife, Agnes Hunter, also remarries.

Both women are shown as widows on their 2nd marriage certificates but I can find no death certificates for either John McGregor or William Jaffray. I am assuming from the description “mariner” that neither were fishermen, nor were they employed on inshore vessels. It is very tempting to think that they might have sailed together & perished together in some marine disaster but I have no idea how to find out. Or even a more prosaic explanation!

Sorry to be so long-winded but any advice gratefully received.

Muriel

Russell
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Re: Mariners from Irvine, Ayrshire

Post by Russell » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:07 pm

Hi Muriel

Back in 1840's there was a regular sailing from Leith to Wick in Caithness so shipping was often the transport of choice up and down the east coast. Irvine faces out to sea. Directly west is Ireland and there was already a long history of folk moving across between the two countries across a potentially stormy, dangerous sea so it would be mariners who would man ships making that crossing.
Set out due north and there is a plethora of islands along Scotlands West coast all needing supplies on a regular basis here was another opportunity to sail some very dangerous waters whether to the Inner Hebrides (the small islands) or to the Outer Hebrides of Lewis, Harris, Uist, Benbecula. These coastal sailings carried passengers as well as cargo.
Ships from Irvine also went much further afield. Many mariners lost their lives at sea and if they were outside Scottish waters their loss might not be included in the Scottish records.
I have a diary from a Scottish doctor who was ships surgeon on a trip to Australia. During the voyage a lad was lost falling from the rigging.Since they were halfway across the Indian Ocean at the time it was another week or two before they made landfall. They did not even slow down to look for him :shock: :( .I wonder where his death was recorded - if anywhere other than the ships log.

Russell
Working on: Oman, Brock, Miller/Millar, in Caithness.
Roan/Rowan, Hastings, Sharp, Lapraik in Ayr & Kirkcudbrightshire.
Johnston, Reside, Lyle all over the place !
McGilvray(spelt 26 different ways)
Watson, Morton, Anderson, Tawse, in Kilrenny

Muriel
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Re: Mariners from Irvine, Ayrshire

Post by Muriel » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:11 pm

Thanks Russell, I suspect something of the sort. John senior's father Andrew was born in Ireland & is missing from most of the censuses, while his wife is described as "seaman's wife". When he does finally appear he is shown as a retired pilot. Not surprising that his sons would follow him to sea or that they might well sail to & from Ireland. I thought I'd found a hopeful death for John in Fort William, but no.

I think a look at the local papers might be an idea when I can manage to make it to Ayrshire.

Muriel
Searching Ross - Lochwinnoch & Eaglesham, Renfrewshire; Glasgow; Glover - Paisley; Macadam - Glasgow.

Currie
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Re: Mariners from Irvine, Ayrshire

Post by Currie » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:56 am

Hello Muriel,

I’ve been having a look in the 19C newspapers (Glasgow, Aberdeen & Dundee) but haven’t found anything referring to the individuals named.

FMP have crew list indexes but only a fraction of those available have been transcribed.
http://www.findmypast.co.uk/clip-crew-l ... =C&redef=1

In Parliamentary Papers there’s “1880 [C.2625] Shipwrecks. Merchant ships--foundered and missing. 1st January 1873 to 16th May 1880”. A search within the document for Irvine gave only two results.

The “Jerome” was lost 20 October, 1876, on a voyage from Irvine to Larne?, co. Antrim. There were no lives lost. The other was the “Kathleen” No. 77407 not heard of since sailing on 27 September, 1878. She was a new wooden schooner, registered Padstow, to Dunstan of Cornwall, cargo of coal from Irvine to Penzance, five crew lost.

The Royal Cornwall Gazette, 18 October, reported the names of only three crew members, natives of Newquay, Henry House, Thomas Tinney, and Thomas Moyses.

Over the 8 years mentioned there were 1,965 vessels lost, totalling 729,194 tons, and 10,827 lives lost.

As regards the use of the word mariner I suppose local custom could have a lot to do with it, but here’s some information from a book of the period. (Hopefully they know what they're talking about.)

English Synonyms, 1850.
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=E6c ... 22&f=false

“Sailor. Seaman. Mariner. Waterman.
All these words denote persons occupied in navigation. Sailor is mostly applied to the common men, or, in the sea-phrase, to those before the mast. Seaman is mostly applied to the superior class of the crew, to the officers and pilot. Mariner is applied to those who gain their living at sea, but are their own masters, as fishermen. Waterman designates a fresh-water sailor, a man who, on rivers, lakes, or canals, exercises any department of the nautical profession.
Sailors are generally ignorant of scientific navigation, and are they who work the vessel by the direction of others; seamen are supposed to understand it, and are they who direct. Mariners work their own vessels, and adhere to their own coasts; they do not, like sailors and seamen, undertake long voyages. Watermen make use of the sail and oar; but still more of the quant, or long pole, with which in shallows they push their barges along.”

Much the same is said in this book from 1851. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=x2I ... 22&f=false

Hope that helps,
Alan

Muriel
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Re: Mariners from Irvine, Ayrshire

Post by Muriel » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:39 am

Alan

Thanks very much for that research. Larne is still a main ferry port in Antrim - it's where the ferries from Stranraer sail to. The definition of mariner would seem to apply to what little we know of John. My b-i-l knew that there was a "sea captain" ancestor & on his wife's d.c (death informant is 2nd husband) he is described as a master mariner. Agnes Hunter's (widow of Wiliam Jaffray) d.c doesn't even mention her first marriage &, of course, her m.c merely describes her as a widow so no help there.

If either or both men had been lost at sea & no bodies recovered I think that their wives would have had to wait for 7 years before they could be presumed dead. I'm not sure if this had to be done by a court. The fact that both women remarried in church ceremonies indicates that the church was happy that they were both "properly" widowed. If they had to be presumed dead before the marriages took place then they must both have died fairly early in the 1870s. I think they must both have d.cs somewhere, it's just a matter of finding them ](*,)

The search goes on.............

Muriel
Searching Ross - Lochwinnoch & Eaglesham, Renfrewshire; Glasgow; Glover - Paisley; Macadam - Glasgow.

Currie
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Re: Mariners from Irvine, Ayrshire

Post by Currie » Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:13 pm

That’s ok Muriel,

Here’s a previous discussion about missing people
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=13589&start=0

This downloadable pdf document from the Scottish Law Commission sets out in detail the provisions of the 1881 and 1891 Presumption of Life Acts that introduced the seven year rule. They were all to do with the disposal of property. http://www.google.com.au/webhp?complete ... 80&bih=809

It adds: “The operation of the 1891 Act was subject to several important limitations, but perhaps the most striking deficiency was its absence of effect in matters of status. Despite the existence of a decree under that act the spouse of a missing person could not enter into a marriage that was assuredly valid. If I fact the missing person was alive, any other marriage which his spouse might contract was ipso facto invalid. Even if there was no evidence that the missing person was alive, in the absence of affirmative evidence that he was dead the new spouse could resist claims for aliment on the ground that his marriage was void. The spouse of a missing person could not obtain a decree of divorce for desertion unless the circumstances pointed to the absent spouse’s intention to desert. These problems were not resolved until the passing of the Divorce (Scotland) Act 1938.

All the best,
Alan

nelmit
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Location: Scotland

Re: Mariners from Irvine, Ayrshire

Post by nelmit » Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:55 pm

Strangely enough there is a death indexed at SP of a William Jeffrey at Irvine in 1907 age 68.

Regards,
Annette

Muriel
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Re: Mariners from Irvine, Ayrshire

Post by Muriel » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:22 am

Annette

A number of people with trees on Ancestry have assumed that this William Jeffrey's death is that of William Jaffrey (they haven't picked up on Agnes Hunter's re-marriage!). it's not, I have checked it. He may well be some connection of the, fairly extensive, Jaffray/Jeffrey family in the Irvine area but he ain't mine! Thanks for the suggestion anyway.

Muriel
Searching Ross - Lochwinnoch & Eaglesham, Renfrewshire; Glasgow; Glover - Paisley; Macadam - Glasgow.

donnab
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Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:41 pm
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Re: Mariners from Irvine, Ayrshire

Post by donnab » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:36 am

I’m trying to help someone find out if there might have been a divorce filed in Scotland The couple were living in Canada and had a child together here, the husband Angus McArthur moved back to Scotland, they married in Greenock, Scotland so its possible that is where he came from and went back to he’s the one that started the Divorce so the thinking is that the Divorce was filed in Scotland. We have not yet found any record of a Divorce here in Canada. The story goes that he had been in contact with the ex-wife’s family wanting a address for her so he could send Divorce papers and they refused to provide that info to him. His wife was Eliza (aka Elizabeth, Liza) McGregor she was born Jan. 14, 1887 in Argyll, Scotland to Dugald McGregor and Margaret McMillan.

Eliza had her first daughter out wedlock in 1908 in Scotland her parents raised the child, Eliza married Angus in 1912 and about a year later they came to Canada and had a daughter together around 1914/1915 that daughter died at only 25 but by that time her father had returned to Scotland and had filed for Divorce from her mother. Angus would have returned to Scotland anywhere from 1918 and up.

What I’m looking for is to confirm if a Divorce did happen and if so how might we get a copy of the decree. Would anyone know how and if its possible to get a copy of a Divorce record.

Thank you in advance for you help.

Donna

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

Re: Mariners from Irvine, Ayrshire

Post by nelmit » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:19 am

jeannieb wrote:I’m trying to help someone find out if there might have been a divorce filed in Scotland The couple were living in Canada and had a child together here, the husband Angus McArthur moved back to Scotland, they married in Greenock, Scotland so its possible that is where he came from and went back to he’s the one that started the Divorce so the thinking is that the Divorce was filed in Scotland. We have not yet found any record of a Divorce here in Canada. The story goes that he had been in contact with the ex-wife’s family wanting a address for her so he could send Divorce papers and they refused to provide that info to him. His wife was Eliza (aka Elizabeth, Liza) McGregor she was born Jan. 14, 1887 in Argyll, Scotland to Dugald McGregor and Margaret McMillan.

Eliza had her first daughter out wedlock in 1908 in Scotland her parents raised the child, Eliza married Angus in 1912 and about a year later they came to Canada and had a daughter together around 1914/1915 that daughter died at only 25 but by that time her father had returned to Scotland and had filed for Divorce from her mother. Angus would have returned to Scotland anywhere from 1918 and up.

What I’m looking for is to confirm if a Divorce did happen and if so how might we get a copy of the decree. Would anyone know how and if its possible to get a copy of a Divorce record.

Thank you in advance for you help.

Donna
Hi Donna,

There is a divorce record catalogued at NAS between a Angus McArthur and Elizabeth McGregor but it is in 1950 so maybe just coincidence http://www.nas.gov.uk/onlineCatalogue/ search for Angus McArthur.

Regards,
Annette

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