Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday

This week a gravestone from my Shields side. My grandparents Jessie Duncan & Matthew Shields and their son my Uncle Patrick Shields. The blacking in the lettering has worn away but is still readable close up. I'll need to investigate the cost of getting the lettering redone.
This stone is in the High Kirk graveyard in Rothesay, Bute.

Jessie Shields, 1910 - 1982
Patrick Shields, Born 29th Jan 1937 Died 28th Dec 1993
Matthew McGowan Shields born 1910 Died 1995

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Patrick Shields

Don't you just love Photoshop?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday

Another gravestone from my Cowie side of the family. My Grandad John William Cowie also on the stone is my Gran Hannah Smith and my Uncles George and Henry who died four months apart in 1998.
This was taken in Burnside Cemetery at Rathven outside Buckie in Banff.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Johnny Coupie

Banffshire Advertiser, Tuesday, May 25, 1999. Page 7

Promoted to Glory

Dearly loved and highly respected citizen of Buckie 'Johnny Coupie' has died aged 86.

Buckie residents old and young will remember him as the cheerful whistling baker and later road sweeper who made Buckie and the Salvation Army his life.

Born and brought up in the town, 'Coupie' (real name John Cowie) went to school at what is now Buckie High School.

During the war he served in the Home Guard in Buckie as Lieutenant. After the war he took up the trade of baker which he carried on for many years while working in bakeries in the town.

He and his wife also ran a grocery shop, for some years, from their home in Cluny Terrace which bordered also onto Seatown.

He married his wife Hannah nearly sixty five years ago. They had three daughters, Elma, Jackie and Iris May. His two sons George and Harry both died last year.

When adding up his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, the resulting number is 70!

He frequently used to joke about his large extended family saying: "They can all come to the house as long as they don't all come at once."

When his eyesight deteriorated he took up the post of road sweeper and was well known for whistling hymn tunes as he went merrily about his work.

He knew a lot of hymn tunes due to his many years spent in the Salvation Army which he joined after being converted in 1950.

Many people will remember seeing him in his uniform faithfully selling the 'War Cry' in pubs from Portgordon to Strathlene.

In his younger day he was a keen camper and cyclist and enjoyed taking his two sons with hi.

After his cycling days, the took up riding a motor scooter and would frequently be seen along the streets of Buckie in full uniform, including his Salvation Army bonnet, because helmets were not compulsory at the time.

He retired at the age of 60 due to his failing sight but he continued as a regular supporter of the Salvation Army up to the day of his death.

He insisted that because he had served the Lord in all weathers, his funeral should be conducted in the open-air. It took place on Monday, 24 May, outside his home. It was followed by a procession led by a band. He was buried at Burnside Cemetery, Rathven.

Coupie will be remembered as a dying breed, of great quality, by all who knew him.

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One correction to this is that he had only two daughters and three sons. My father, John William Cowie is known as Jackie, but is definitely male :)

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This is the second Obituary that I've found in my family research with errors. I would therefore classify Obituary's as Secondary Sources and always attempt to verify the facts that you find in them.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History.

Week 1: New Year’s. Did your family have any New Year’s traditions? How was the New Year celebrated during your childhood? Have you kept these traditions in the present day?

When I was younger Hogmanay was a time for family and friends. One tradition was the house had to be clean and tidy by midnight the plan being to start the year as you meant to go on so after the fun of Christmas it was a frantic couple of days tidying and organising before 'the bells' at midnight. We always saw in the bells at our own house, you had to have a drink to toast the new year and something to eat to ensure plenty of food for the rest of the year. Then we would visit my grandparents or friends as their first foot. You always took a bottle of something to the house and then it was a couple of hours chatting, sometimes singing, and telling stories, before walking home in the early hours of the morning.

New Year 2011

I've not been as regular at my family history research as I'd like and I've not used my blog as much as I planned so I was very pleased to see some help will be available this year from Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog (http://wetree.blogspot.com/) in the shape of weekly challenges entitled 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History and I hope to do these challenges each week on top of some of the other weekly topics.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Surname Saturday - Cowie

One of the family lines I'm researching is my Cowie line on my Dads side from Buckie in Banffshire, Scotland who are mainly fishermen.

The problem this time is not spelling as I've thankfully only come across a couple of options Cowie, Cowey, and possibly Coue or Couie. It's more a question of the number of different families in a small area sharing the same surname and profession but not necessarily related.

The electoral roll for Buckie has over 200 Cowies and searching the 1881 Census on Ancestry has 571 Cowies just for the Parish of Rathven although narrowing for fishermen gives a slightly more hopeful 139.

The answer in that part of the country to help them work out who they were talking about was to have 'tee names' or boat nicknames that can be passed down familes and often turn up in vital records and newspapers as found in a snippet from the Banffshire Advertiser of 1902 transcribed by Allan Fraser for Buckie Heritage.org

May 29
An article title -'An Aged Crew of Buckie Fishermen'
Buckie harbour all but deserted of herring boats apart from 2 or 3 of the old scaffies that are fast disappearing. The crews of these with up to date character of the boats but one of these, 7 the Margaret would if met on the high seas probably cause many a fish to rub their eyes a second time thinking that it was a phantom boat.
The crew of 8 has been got together by John Cowie 'Carrot' as skipper, who says, "We don’t go out but when we like".
The total age of the crew is 567 with and average age of 71. They are Messrs - John Cowie,'Carrot' 70, Alex Cowie, 'Dosie', 74, William Cowie, 'Dosie', 72, Alex Cowie, 'Dougal', 72, George Thomson, 'Law' 70, James Cowie, 'Carrot',70, George Cowie, 'Carrot', 65 and George Cowie, 'Cornal' 74.
That seven out of the 8 men are Cowies illustrates the necessity of tee names among fishermen.

My tee names (so far) - Cowie 'Coup', Cowie 'Rosie', Smith 'Peter',

Saturday, December 04, 2010

National Archives of Scotland

Back in June of 2006 I blogged about finding the web pages for The National Archives of Scotland. Searching their catalogue and finding the following entry about a Justiciary appeal by my GreatGrandfather Patrick Shields against the then Lord Bute!

Record: 1 of 1
RefNo Title Date
JC31 Justiciary Appeals Processes 1864-1994
JC31/1906 Justiciary appeals processes, 1906

CountryCode GB RepCode 234
RefNo JC31/1906/19
Repository National Archives of Scotland
Justiciary appeal by Patrick Shields, porter, North British Railway Company, Rothesay, and residing at Minister's Brae, Rothesay v The Most Honourable John Crichton Stuart, Marquis of Bute and Earl of Windsor etc.
Date 1906
Description Lodged 16 March 1906. Appeal dismissed.
AccessStatus: Open

I kept promising to arrange a visit to check out the record but life kept getting in the way.

I eventually made it up to Edinburgh to visit the National Archives in November of 2009. You need to register as a reader and show proof of address and photo id and you can then access the records free of charge. As I already had the record details it was quite straight forward to request the actual documents and they were shortly delivered to my desk as a bound wrap of legal documents tied in ribbon.

It was quite exciting to unwrap these and find the original documents from the court record where my grandfather was found guilty, the handwritten letter from my grandfathers lawyer lodging his appeal to the typewritten findings of the High Court of Justiciary.

I discovered my Great Grandfather had been found guilty of Day Poaching on land belonging to Lord Bute.

On the 26th November 1905, Patrick had been found in the grounds of Barone Park Farm near a rabbit burrow, in a turnip field, with rabbit nets, a ferret and a brown collie dog. When asked what he was doing by the gamewatcher a Mr John McGhee, he admitted he was looking for a rabbit.

You would think a straightforward case so why the appeal?

His lawyer, Mr J Scrymgeour Hepburn, lodged the appeal and argued the gamewatcher had not been asked who the owner of the land was and had not said himself who the owner was, so could you be convicted of poaching if no proof or evidence had been given that someone else owned the land. He put forward that as there had been no evidence of the ownership of the property and it could be in either of two parishes you could not impose a penalty. This despite it being common knowledge that the lands were part of Bute Estate.

Sounds like a legal technicality to me.

It did to the High Court as well. They repelled the procurators contentions and convicted my grandfather and charged a penalty of 20 shillings plus 10 shillings for expenses with the alternative of 14 days imprisonment.
My grandfather sensibly paid the fine.