With the release of the 1921 census I thought the mystery of Philip Harper would be solved. However it has raised more questions!
He is indexed as Philip Harfie ( the writing is
difficult to read). He is shown as 19, coal miner, born Dunfermline and adopted. He is with William Selkirk and family at 59 Waverly Street, Ballingry Fife.
William Selkirk married Helen Leslie 23rd February 1900 in Prestonpan, East Lothian. He was 18, she 19. He is a coal miner as he is in 1921.
William was born Cockpen, Midlothian and Helen in Dunfermline, Fife.
They had 8 children (2 have died soon after birth; one, Robert, in Ballingry January 1901) and 5 are still at home in 1921
George 16 born Haddington Pencaitland
Annie J H 14 born Haddington Ormiston
John H 11 born Dunfermline Fife
Agnes M 9 born Lochgelly Fife
Walter M 6 born Edinburgh Midlothian.
William Leslie 18 (born September 1902 Ormiston) is at Piershill Barracks.
I know this must be "my" Philip Harper as all the details fit and he named one of his sons William Selkirk Harper. However I cannot find the Selkirk family in 1911. William senior is with his father, Robert, in Ormiston in the house of his step brother Thomas Crichton & family but I can't find Helen or the 4 children- William Leslie Selkirk, George Hood Selkirk, Annie Johnson Hood Selkirk, John Hood Selkirk.
As John was born 31 July 1909 at 32 Brick Row, Kingseat, Dunfermline and Agnes 5 February 1912 at 29 Melville St Lochgelly, I'd have expected to find them in the Fife area or the Haddington area.
Both William and Helen seem to come from mining families. Did they adopt Philip a year after the death of their first child or was he with another family first? He did name another son George Black Harper! I feel like I'm going round in circles blindfolded