Scottish Heritage

Scottish Heritage
Scottish Heritage

I’ve known from an early age that I had strong English roots on my mother’s side. Her mother’s father was from Kent, England and her mother’s grandmother was an orphan that came from England as a British Home Child. And up until 2 years ago, I assumed that Mason, my mother’s father’s name, was English too. I’ve always identified with my English heritage. I chose to go on a study-semester to London, England during my 3rd year in university to immerse myself in the world my ancestors walked. Although it was incredible and I could feel the energy of my forefathers amongst me, it was a weekend trip to Scotland that caught my attention. I felt connected to the people, the landscapes, the atmosphere.  I was drawn to Scotland.

Turns out, the Mason’s that my family’s ancestry comes from, is from Scotland.  I was a bit surprised but pleased.  Perhaps this could explain the strong connection I felt when visiting there.  From what I have uncovered through Ancestry.com, my 3 X great-grandfather, John Mason, came from Dunbar, Scotland.  There were several John Mason’s as one can imagine so I hope that I have the correct one.  The one that I have been following is listed in the 1841 Scottish census as having an address of Little Pinkerton, Dunbar, Scotland.  I’ve looked it up and it seems to be a small settlement close to the East Coast of Scotland and East of Edinburgh.  Records show that he married Mary Hislop in 1846 in Ancrum, Scotland and they had 4 children beginning in 1847 when John was 22.  Their first son was Charles, second Walter, a girl Christina and the youngest, William born in February, 1856.  It looks as though they began their trek to Canada only weeks after William was born.  The family shows up on the passenger list for the ship, Ontario, that departed from Liverpool and arrived in New York on May 21, 1856.  Sadly, William is indicated as having died during the journey.

John and his family settled in Perth County, Ontario in the Township of Elma.  He was a farmer.  Many of my ancestors were farmers.  He is buried in Donegal cemetery in Perth county having lived a short life of 40 years.  I wonder why his life was cut short?  I have travelled through Donegal in the past completely oblivious to the fact that I am a direct descendant of someone who used to breathe the air there.  I have got to get there to do some research and just be present.  I’d also like to be able to get further back into the lifeline of John Mason from Dunbar, Scotland because the Mason name has some rich history and I have a feeling there is more to learn.

 

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Alice Stone – A Mystery

John and Elizabeth Dowding (nee Stone) with Richard and Mary
John and Elizabeth Dowding (nee Stone) with Richard and Mary

As you may have noticed from my tagline, I love genealogy.  It has morphed from a simple hobby to an all-out obsession.  Years of research, making connections, emailing, travelling and documenting has led to the creation of one magnificent family tree.  One where each branch has its own characters and stories that would entertain even the most unenthused individual.

Currently, I am stuck on one particular branch; my maternal grandmother’s.  My mother’s mother’s mother’s mother or, for a better understanding, my 2X great grandmother, came over from England in 1871 as an orphan. She was, what we now call, a British Home Child.  I’ve had many of chats over tea with my mother about how she remembers her grandmother talking about the tormenting life her mother had had.  When she came to Canada, she travelled with her sister.  They only had each other and when they arrived, they were separated.  My gg grandmother was sent to live with a family as a servant and her sister went somewhere else.  My gg grandmother never saw her sister again.  The stories tell of a life of beatings and hard work for my gg grandmother and she longed for the companionship of her sister.  When she was 18 and no longer had to endure the life she had come to hate, she left the family she was with and married.

I have been able to track my gg grandmother back to her arrival upon the ship Prussian from Liverpool to Quebec in 1871.  There she is on the passenger list, named as Elizabeth Stone and just above is a listing for Alice Stone.  Both indicated as 8 years old.  Twins perhaps?  I’ve made some connections to find Alice but nothing has been successful thus far.  So, I find myself exploring a great mystery; one that has survived in my family for over 140 years.  What happened to Alice Stone?  I welcome any leads should someone read this and have clues that might lead to solving this mystery.