26 January 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 6 - So Far Away

Week 6 of the 52 Ancestors Challenge already? I have been loving every minute of trying to meet the challenges.
This week's challenge: So Far Away. Which ancestor is the farthest from you, either in distance or in time/generations? Which ancestor have you had to go the farthest away to research?

Far Away? Far East? As far as the east is from the west?

First I thought about the Far East - and I knew I had a few Ancestors who had served in the military and been based in India for a time. But I have already written about two military ancestors for this challenge, so wanted something new.

Then I thought... India is west from me, what is east? The answer of course is New Zealand! I have one family in my tree that has a New Zealand connection - and when they were in New Zealand, they were also far away from home.

Let me introduce you to The McAinsh family.

The "Ancestor" of the McAinsh family who is my link is Annie McAinsh - she is the wife of Charles Ure McLuckie, a first cousin 3 times removed (so she is the wife of the nephew of my great great grandmother - an obsure link, but a link none the less) - keep an eye out for the McLuckies in my blogs, I'm sure you'll hear about them more than once.

Annie is one of at least 9 children - 5 of whom were born in New Zealand between 1865 and 1872. Annie was born in New Zealand in 1868 - this is pretty soon (from a nation's perspective) after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 when New Zealand became a British Colony.

Annie's parents were James McAinsh and Catherine Robertson. They were born in Dunbartonshire Scotland but married in New Zealand in 1864.

James is listed on the electoral rolls of New Zealand - this meant he was a property owner. He is listed as a Baker or Master Baker in Scottish records after his return "home".

I'm not sure whether this is co-incidence or not, and may mean a bit of research when I'm in Scotland at the end of the year, but there seems to have been a McAinsh bakery in Edinburgh. (And that's me travelling Far Away to research my family...)

James and Catherine and their 5 children travelled back to Scotland in either 1872 or 1873 as their next 4 children were born in Scotland between 1873 and 1880.

When he died in 1898, James, who seemed to be a careful planner (though without a will) left a number of assets including bank accounts and insurance policies. He did not own the property he lived in when he passed away though - the 1895 valuation roll on Scotland's People list him as being a tenant/occupier paying rent of £15 a year.

Part of the Sheriff's Court Inventory for James McAinsh - Scotland's People

Annie is listed as the informant for the deaths of both her parents (James in 1898 and Catherine in 1904). She remained single until her early 40s when she married Charles Ure McLuckie in 1910 (he was about 15 years her junior) and she died in 1943.

So how did this family get So Far Away? Shipping records don't really start until after they returned to Scotland, but I have been able to put a reasonable estimate of their travel dates to New Zealand from the following "lucky break" - 'cause you never know what you might find if you don't try "hey bro"? (Sorry, that's my kiwi "roots" showing)

A google search (mcainsh dunedin baker) threw up an interesting snippet - a seemingly unrelated query on Rootsweb provided the following information:
Intentions to Marry, National Archives Wellington NZ, 
1864 Ref BDM 20/9 page 368 No 173; RG 1864/1648:
James McAINSH, Bachelor, Baker, 25, Res Dunedin 3 mo
Catherine ROBERTSON, Spinster, - , 25, Res Dunedin 1½ yrs
Date of Notice/Certificate June 4
By Revd D Meiklejohn in the house of Mrs JACKSON, widow, Maitland St

This Rootsweb question on who Mrs Jackson was gives us a precious look at "my" family. James and Catherine obviously did not travel from Scotland to New Zealand together (which was the way I had been leaning), Catherine was there first. It also tells me what James did in new Zealand and also what he likely did in Scotland before he moved.

Of course that takes me to what is called, on the Genealogy Do-Over Website, a BSO (a bright and shiny object that distracts you from what you want to achieve). I went looking for Reverend Meiklejohn. And found him in the Otago Daily on April 19 1864 - involved in laying the foundation stone of the Hanover Street Baptist Church Dunedin just a few months before James and Catherine's marriage took place.

Not only were my family So Far Away from home, but their whole established world in Scotland had turned on its head - they were starting out as a new family in a country just starting to get on its feet.

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