Help with "Sailor Alice", please?

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alysone
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Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:35 am
Location: Canada

Help with "Sailor Alice", please?

Post by alysone » Sun Jun 10, 2007 7:26 pm

Hi Everyone,
Here is a tidy little puzzle that I might just have a chance of solving. (There seem a rather overwhelming number of which I cannot say that, at the moment. :?)
I am starting from the following quote from a memoir:
My fther has mentined the fact that his great grandmother or his grandmother (I have forgotten which) disguised as a man served before the mast for a number of years on a sailing vessel. When she married and settled down, she became known as "Sailor Alice”. Wm. Alexander Crookston
I can see that his father, James Crookston b. July 26, 1863 in Pathhead, Midlothian has Christian Herriot & Agnes Penman for grandmothers. I am fairly certain that 3 of his 4 great grandmothers are as follows:Catherine Hasty; Christian Finny; Eupham Black. That leaves us with one missing GGrandmother. Still with me? :lol:
I just ran a SP search for A* Penman birth 1780 to 1800. At this point I am unsure how to proceed.
I have 2 Alison Penmans born in the right time frame: (1) 7 20/11/1788 PENMAN ALISON JAMES PENMAN/MARGARET ARMER FR1188 F Liberton (Midlothian) EDINBURGH CITY/MIDLOTHIAN (2) 8 26/12/1793 PENMAN ALISON JOHN PENMAN/JANET LIVINGSTONE FR1097 F Tranent /EAST LOTHIAN and then (3) 1 26/09/1790 PENMAN AGNES THOMAS PENMAN/MARY SCOT FR713 F Newbattle /MIDLOTHIAN
Could his grandmother "Agnes" be the sailor or would I be better off trying to pin down who the missing Great grandmother was & if so how?
I have arrived at the point where I really feel my inexperience. Help, please! alysone

Russell
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Post by Russell » Sun Jun 10, 2007 7:50 pm

Hi Alysone

Having been born in that area before they built all the new roads, my feeling is that as Newbattle is just a mile or two down the road from Pathhead that birth would seem a better bet than either the Tranent one or the Edinburgh one. There are and were no direct roads from Pathhead over the hill to Tranent and Edinburgh would have been several hours walk back in the early 1800's.

Most family stories like this have more than a grain of truth in them. Have you Googled for 'Sailor Alice' to see if anything comes up ?
Women on board ship were not too uncommon although not as a Jack Tar.
I have a distant relative who shipped with Nelson and cared for him after he was wounded and died. Her husband was the ship's carpenter I think, but also served in a gun crew during battles.

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

paddyscar
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Post by paddyscar » Sun Jun 10, 2007 8:29 pm

Hi Alysone:

http://www.behindthename.com
The above site gives very different origins and meanings of Agnes and Alison. Alison and all its variant spellings is a derivation of Alice, while Agnes is not related to Alice. Based on that, I would say that you are best to try one of the Alisons.

http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/ ... search.asp
You might be able to narrow down which of the Alisons is most likely to be yours on IGI where there are several Alison Penmans of the right time and general location. Since some of these include family pedigrees, you might be able to bring their lives forward far enough to confirm or eliminate them entirely. You may even spot a trend of familiar first names used in your own family. It may save you a lot of credits on SP by at least narrowing things down.

Frances

pinkshoes
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Post by pinkshoes » Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:32 pm

Hi Alysone

I had a look at Agnes Selkirk ms Penman's death. Parents John Penman and Janet Livingstone. So either Agnes was Alice (could she have been Sailor Agnes with a touch of Chinese Whispers) or did James 1863 remember grandmother when it would have been great-aunt (however many greats are involved, I've lost the plot) :lol:

Just a thought.

Best wishes
Pinkshoes

alysone
Posts: 86
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:35 am
Location: Canada

More to ponder!

Post by alysone » Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:22 pm

Hi All,
Thanks for all the helpful ideas. I tried the the Google of "Sailor Alice" at the outset without success.
Having been born in that area before they built all the new roads, my feeling is that as Newbattle is just a mile or two down the road from Pathhead that birth would seem a better bet than either the Tranent one or the Edinburgh one. There are and were no direct roads from Pathhead over the hill to Tranent and Edinburgh would have been several hours walk back in the early 1800's.
There are so many times I feel the lack of knowledge of local Scottish geography. I have a map on the wall but having grown up in the area would have been really helpful.
pinkshoes, that is a very interesting theory, that it was a great aunt not a grandmother. Whilst weeding, I wondered if perhaps the simplest explanation might be that the young Wm. Alexander might have heard "Agnes" and remembered "Alice"? Both names would have been familiar to him?
I agree wholeheartedly with
Most family stories like this have more than a grain of truth in them.
Every one of my Grandpa's accounts that I have traced back has been accurate to an amazing degree.
Off to see what IGI records might shed light now. Great Sunday afternoon brain teaser. Thanks everyone! alysone

pinkshoes
Posts: 461
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:28 pm
Location: Yorkshire

Post by pinkshoes » Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:27 pm

Alysone

Proves nothing, but Alison Penman married John Marshall - her death cert gives parents John Penman and Janet Livingstone, so a sister of Agnes indeed. And we now know she didn't marry a Crookston (or did she :lol: :lol: )

So theories
a) Chinese Whispers and b) mistaken relationship
still hold?

Pinkshoes

alysone
Posts: 86
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:35 am
Location: Canada

Lisping is not such a dumb idea in this case!

Post by alysone » Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:43 pm

Hi pinkshoes,
Think of a little kid listening to grown ups... how different would "Agnes' & "Alice" sound? :wink: alysone

StewL
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Post by StewL » Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:02 am

Hi Alysone

As has been said there is probably a grain of truth about the family story.

Recently I saw a documentary on "Jack Tars" in the 1700/1800's and there was a strong thread about woman being on warships. With a number of references about such as being disguised as men or with their husbands and carrying out a number of roles, one of which was to do with either cooling the cannons or loading the powder, and one woman at Trafalgar I think who ended up as the surgeons assistant.

But sorry I cant for the life of me recall what it was called, except that it was a UK programme.
As an old matelot I was surprised that there were woman aboard during these times as I had never heard of it before.

There is a book available on Amazon:
Female Tars by Suzanne Stark.
Stewie

Searching for: Anderson, Balks, Barton, Courtney, Davidson, Downie, Dunlop, Edward, Flucker, Galloway, Graham, Guthrie, Higgins, Laurie, Mathieson, McLean, McLuckie, Miln, Nielson, Payne, Phillips, Porterfield, Stewart, Watson

alysone
Posts: 86
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:35 am
Location: Canada

Thanks for the encouragement.

Post by alysone » Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:55 am

Hi Stew,
That BBC programme sounds very interesting. I am convinced there is truth in it.
The same memoir writer said that the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk being a relation in that line. I checked into that enough to see that it certainly was possible. He came from the right area. The ship he ran away to sea on was the called the Cinque Ports and the family were in that area (Prestonpans) at that time. The person writing the memoir seemed entirely credible.
The trick is how does one nail these legends down? :?: I can't think of how to proceed on Sailor Alice. Certainly, the name "Allison" showed up in each generation. alysone
I'll keep an eye out for the book you mentioned.

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