Fife FHS Discussion Board

Post a message by clicking on the 'Leave Message' button, or reply to a message by clicking on the icon(3 dots) on the top right of the message box. If you wish someone to contact you directly you can put your email address in the body of your message. Remember to check back to see if anyone has replied to your message.

S Law - Saturday, 23 August 2014 16:01


I have some general questions and wonder if you can help -

1. Is it possible to trace the 'coal mines' or coal companies ancestors worked in/for in Fife, Hill of Beath and Kirkcaldy, in the late 1800's and early 1900's?

2. Are there any records to search for 'deserters' from WW1 (ancestor lived in Fife Kirkcaldy)

3. What are the names of 'local newspapers' in Fife, Kirkcaldy in late 1800's and early 1900's? and can these be searched

with thanks

George Clark - Thursday, 04 September 2014 13:38

I have done some research into relatives that were miners. 2 useful websites are:


On the following site, on Page 1 there is a Heading "Veterans Employees"


The List is split into 2 sections, Surnames A - L, and L - Z


It gives the Names, Addresses of employees who served 50 years with the Fife Coal Company.



Both sites have a lot of other sections that cover a lot of Scotland's mining history.


Good hunting.


George Clark

George Clark - Thursday, 04 September 2014 13:45

The List is split into 2 sections, Surnames A - L, and L - Z


It gives the Names, Addresses of employees who served 50 years with the Fife Coal Company.



Both sites have a lot of other sections that cover a lot of Scotland's mining history.


Good hunting.


George Clark

Hugh Hoffman - Sunday, 21 September 2014 16:12

Try this website  -  very good, lots of details on pits, disasters, coal companies, etc.

Hugh Hoffman - Sunday, 21 September 2014 16:18

Re deserters, the book Blindfold and Alone, by Cathryn Corns and John Hughes-Wilson is about military executions in WW1.  It includes a long list of servicemen executed for desertion etc.   ISBN  0-304-36449-5

charlespfeil - Wednesday, 20 August 2014 19:00

Looking for information on John Brown 1840-1905 who worked in the J Brown Ship yards on the Clyde

He married Margaret Boswell 1830 -1908 IN 1854 IN THE ANDERSTON DISTRICT IN Glasgow, they HAD 7 CHILDREN

Social Media Coordinator - Thursday, 28 August 2014 21:44

Hi, Can you tell me what connection they have to Fife please?



Eileen May - Wednesday, 20 August 2014 05:24

MAY ancestors go back to the May/Primrose family in Culross in 1600's, also Limekilns,  Dunfermline. McLean, Paterson and Fenton in Dunblane, Battergask. Great-grandfather buried in  Culross Abbey.I have entered several online

1)Are there records of the old West End Cemetery?

2)Is the Upper Cemetery on the main road called Upper Culross?  i found a few Mays there too.

Social Media Coordinator - Thursday, 28 August 2014 21:46

Try They have a very comprehensive list of Fife Monumental Inscriptions.

Ken Elder - Monday, 18 August 2014 15:32


As indicated I am Ken Elder, I was hoping to meet some of you at the "Who do you think you are live" show in Glasgow, unfortunately I could only attend on the Sunday which is now cancelled.

I am researching my family name, I know they were in Newcastle on Tyne in the 1730's and I know through DNA analysis that there were matching Elders in the Fife area at the same time. In addition a Samuel Elder born in Antrim 1695, who also has matching DNA, went to Maine in the USA in 1732.

I would be interested in any information regarding the family either direct or sources of information


Harry D. Watson - Monday, 18 August 2014 19:05

Some Elders from Kirkcaldy made their mark in Australia, one of them being famous for introducing the camel as a beast of burden.

There were also unrelated Elders in the East Neuk of Fife, especially Pittenweem.


Carol Swanson - Sunday, 17 August 2014 17:20


I will be in Dunfermline on September 14, 2014 for a week.  I have started to research my family history in Dunfermline.  My great grandmother was Annie Donald, DOB 4 December 1851 to John Donald, Jr and Janet or Jessie Miller and my great grandfather William Hunter, DOB 11 July 1853 or 1854. Annie and William were married 23 December 1873.

I'd like to exchange messages.  And, meet with a member of the Fife Historical Society when I'm in Dunfermline.

Kind regards,


Diana Campbell - Sunday, 17 August 2014 15:11


Was wondering if there is a compiled history of Craigflower Estate in Torryburn that I can access or read about in future journal articles? I have an obscure reference to my ancestor John Campbell b: 1655 married to Bessie Paton in about 1675 living at Craigflower Estate.  Would the estate have its own miners residing there? Most of my Campbell's were coal & iron miners. The info is limited on the internet.

Also, I recently found on my paternal side of the family, a James and Cecilia Sidey in 1861-1871 in Dunfermline.  A shoe shop on Chalmers St. Would there be a trade listing during that time frame? Or any historic photos of the possible shop? They eventually went back to England.  It was the first time my "Gresham" side of the family shows up in Fife!




Alison - Monday, 18 August 2014 07:09

Hi, if you search the online catalogue for Craigflower there are several archived documents held including ledgers from the colliery.

Hope this is of some use.



Carolyn - Thursday, 14 August 2014 20:32

Hi Susan,

If you send me your email address I will forward the information I have on Creich at the weekend. On a sunny day next week I can take some photos of it now.  Do you have an address where the Drysdale/Coutts children were born.  Creich is just a tiny hamlet with a few farm cottages now. Most of the houses are in Luthrie or Brunton.  Perhaps you have visited the area and know this already?

What was the Monimail connection?  I can have a look in the graveyard after church on Sunday if you have any names you would like me to look for.



Susan - Friday, 15 August 2014 00:13

Hi Carolyn

Many thanks - it is

The irony is that I spent 8 years of my childhood living in Cupar and we were all totally oblivious to the family connections at that time.  So I do know the area of yore but haven't been for a good while. 

The Monimail connection is very tenuous and only because I was looking for possible Helen Drysdales close to Creich who may have married Peter Coutts, without heading further afield. 

The main line of descendancy is Russell of Russell mills although I have hit a brick wall beyond Alexander and Anne (see my earlier email).  Their son Robert married Elizabeth Meldrum Coutts in Creich, Dec 1825.  They had 9 children from 1826 all born in Cupar and their second son John Rankine Russell (my grt grt grandfather) became an engineer, worked for Bulloch Brothers in Burma for ten years, where he was "allegedly" the first white man to build power driven rice mills.  He married Annie Macdonald from Ross-shire before he departed and they had 3 children born in Burma. When they returned he settled in Glasgow and was a partner with Russell & Spence consulting engineers, modernising many of the Scottish distilleries.  He died there in 1903. 

I would have thought, given the Russell connection in Cupar that it would have been easier to research but apparently not!

So the Creich connection seems to start with Peter Coutts and his family - 2 sons James (1801) and William (1807), I can't find anything further on.  3 daughters, Margaret married Andrew Milne, tailor and emigrated to Canada to the best of my knowledge, CHristian married John Melville and died at Dura Farm, Kemback where they were servants to the laird and Elizabeth as noted above married Robert Russell.

I hope that helps!  I look forward to hearing from you.


Kathy Mason - Tuesday, 14 October 2014 14:43

Hello Susan

Not sure if Creish is near where I am searching but in my tree I have a Helen Drysdale born 1801 at Bent, Saline, Fife. Helen Drysdale and Thomas Reid had a daughter Jean but they were never married. If you think this may be connected let me know. I have been searching for info on Bent Farm in Saline which is where the family seemed to be for quite a few years



Susan - Thursday, 14 August 2014 09:29

Hi Carolyn

Thank you for your response and I apologise for not replying. I have been away and I haven't received the response in my emails, so it was only by chance I came on the website today.

Any information you have or can obtain without any trouble or inconvenience would be gratefully received.

Best wishes



Carolyn - Saturday, 09 August 2014 17:24


Hi Susan,

I don't think I can help with your search but if you would like some information on Creich I can email some to you. I don't live in the area but work a few miles away from Creich and Brunton. Sadly, Creich Church has recently been earmarked for closure. I can scan a picture taken of the church in 1902 or take some photos of it now. There is a small graveyard surrounding the church with some very old gravestones. I attend Monimail church which is linked with Creich and Kilmeny churches. It doesn't have it's own graveyard but there is one nearby. I can also send articles from a couple of old books describing Creich in the late 1800s if that's of any interest to you.



Susan - Thursday, 07 August 2014 01:40

I have been sleuthing away on certain branches of my Fife family tree with the help of a cousin but we have hit a brick wall and wondered if anyone can help?

1.  Peter Coutts (Couts) died before 1860

Married Helen Drydsdale (whether they actually married or not) they had 5 children that we know of, James (1801), Elizabeth Meldrum (1803), Margaret, (1805), William (1807), Christian (1809).  They were all born in Creich.

Elizabeth Meldrum Coutts married Robert Russell of Russel Mills, Cupar.  We have no idea where the middle name Meldrum comes from other than some ancestral Aberdeenshire connection yet to be discovered or a local benefactor - there were Meldrums in the area.  It never turns up again in the family. Anyway we are up to speed with ELizabeth and her descendants.

However, Peter Coutts are thin on the ground around at that time which in theory should help but not so!  We believe both he and Helen died before 1860 (as they were named on daughter Christian's death certificate in that year as deceased).  He has been noted as road contractor as occupation on death certificates.  I find a Peter Coutts and William Coutts in Bridgend Perthsire 1843 noted as paviers, not so far removed from road contractor!

The only local possibility we have found for Coutts parents are James Coutts and Elspeth Eason in Newburgh who married in August 1761 (banns read in Errol, Perthshire directly across the Tay!).  They had Isabel (1762), Robert (1764), Ann (1767), James (1768), Helen (1771), James again (1774) and John (1776) - could be room for more or Peter is a middle name for second son James?  We are guessing now but leaning towards this line.

We can't find a clear match for Helen Drysdale in the immediate vicinity. Names and dates don't make for obvious choices. Monimail and Culross come up.  There is a Helen Drysdeal (sic) born in Criech in 1756 but it would mean she is getting on a bit for bearing children in 1809.

2.  Alexander Russell (circa 1770-1842)

He married Anne Russell in Cupar in 1794 which wasn't very helpful from the research point of view (!) and Anne's parents are Robert Russell and Janet Fleming, married in Forgan (Newport) in 1773.  We haven't got beyond those ancestors in that line yet!

However, we are struggling with Alexander's ancestors without heading towards Kirkcaldy or Dunfermline and the closest match would appear to be parents John Russell and Christian Philp, born in January 1776 in Kettle at Rameldry -Mill or miller.  It doesn't explain why Alexander's occupation is subsequently carter and even sawyer but it does link with the grandson being a miller in Cupar.

We are going round in circles now and would be glad of any help, even to eliminate the possibilities!  Thank you in advance!


Will - Wednesday, 30 July 2014 17:03

My great-grandmother, Ida Hay, lived to be 100 and died when I was 29, so I actually knew her very well, as well as most people know their grandmothers.  I have been researching her family history and have proven our descent from Thomas Hay and Isabell Williamson, married 01 July, 1641 in St Andrews and St Leonards.  I am told that in fact we are descended from Alexander Hay (b. 1415) who was magistrate in St Andrews in 1472.  This I would like to prove, and fill in the generations between Alexander and Thomas.

I have an appointment at St Andrews University's special collections library on 13 August and there is a book called Memorials of East Fife that I have asked to see then.  My question to you folks is does anybody know of any other books that I could ask to see there that might be helpful?  Further, are there any other potentially helpful books or resources available through you folks at the FFHS either online or in person?  Any Hay family histories specifically for instance?

Thanks for your time.


Keith - Saturday, 19 July 2014 14:16

I am researching my ancestors,the Turners,from the Collessie area. When I ordered the FFHS book,Monumental Inscriptions,which included Collessie parish,I found a gravestone, No 90, for James Turner,who died in April 1785,aged 61 years old.It also had an inscription for his wife Christian nee Normand,who died 14th April 1815,which is the correct date I have for her death.However,the date of birth,I have for James was 13th June 1745,his father,also James,was born in 1722,which is closer to the 61 years difference in time.I note from the front of the book,the records were based on research published in 1911.

I have obtained records dated 2009, and the gravestone is missing,or no longer readable.

Previous research,obtained the dates of birth,for the male Turners,and the dates of death,for their spouses.

I would be grateful for any suggestions,on how to proceed in resolving the age difference.


Alison - Sunday, 20 July 2014 10:34

i have had a look on Scotlandspeople and none of these dates seem to make any sense with the records. If you can email me with what sources you have then I may be able to help. There is a Christian Turner death in 1853 age 70 but recorded as being the daughter of a James Turner. There are 3 James Turner deaths recorded but none match your. My email if I am a member of the committee. We don't undertake research but if there has been an error in the MI's it would be good to put it right.



Alison - Monday, 21 July 2014 08:03

Sorry Keith, just noticed there is an error with my email address. Should be 

Kathleen Mason - Thursday, 17 July 2014 14:21

Wondering if anyone has connections to the DRYSDALE/REID/ATKIN/STOBIE family. I have found them living on and around Bent Farm in Saline, Fife in 1841- 1851 time frame. They seem to have moved between families, living with aunts/uncles etc so am having a hard time tracking them. Also interested in STOBIE from Carnock/ Perth /Saline/Fife. Seem to have been farmers and blacksmith in early 1800's.

Thomas Muir - Tuesday, 15 July 2014 11:30


Reseaching my Muir line:  I think that one of my great x4 grandfathers was a "Captain John Muir" who was a merchant mariner in the last decades of the 18C. I believe he was part of a family business sailing first out of a Fifeshire port, then later from London. He was probably born somewhere in Fife about 1745.

He certainly married in England to one Elizabeth Gould and they had at least four children. It seems Elizabeth died and he may have remarried to a 'Mary'.

It also looks as if he had a brother called William Muir who was also involved in the business.  It looks as if they traded to northern Europe and also to the West Indies - and may well have been slavers at some point. (An ad in The Times for one of their ships for sale indicates that it is fitted for that trade.) Another of their ships was called BRICE - it sank in 1770 on voyage from Petersburgh to Bristol: John Muir was master; no loss of life.

I would be very interested to know if anyone has made a study of late 18C East coast Scottish maritime businesses and the families involved, or whether anyone is able to supply any further information.

A long time ago when I was trying to identify whether my Muirs were connected to Thomas Muir of Huntershill's family (fam mythology says we were, but little else), I remember reading that his Glasgow hop merchant father imported hops to Scotland from Kent on ships owned by cousins(?) of his, also called Muir. Could this be one and the same family business?

Tom Muir

Marg. - Saturday, 19 July 2014 05:10

Hi Tom,

Any connection to the Western Australian Muirs?




Marg. - Tuesday, 15 July 2014 02:20

Hi All, I'm researching our C/Katherine Scott, business proprietor, Colinsburgh who named her daughter Margaret Anderson and a grandson as heirs in 1823. Subsequently Margaret Anderson named her eldest son James Kidd as heir in 1845. Margaret's husband Thomas, Baker, Colinsburgh may have managed the business for them but it has been suggested that there was also a mill. Is anyone familiar with the history of milling in the area?


Margaret - Monday, 14 July 2014 02:51

I was wondering whether or not any of you who have lists of those buried in the various cemeteries would recognize any of the names I have listed below.

Henry Page & Katherine Mann married in Edinburgh 1798..she was born in Kinghorn

1870 Thornton Henry Page & Mary Beveridge Adamson 1906 Thornton

1947 Thornton Alexander Page & Jane Anderson Laing 1931 Dysart (Think Markinch..took a picture years ago but the angle doesn’t show writing well)

1960 Henry Page & Agnes Thomson 1971 Both died in Thornton  (believe in Kirkcaldy Crem)

Robert Brodie & Grizel Thomson they lived in Dysart

Robert Brodie & Ann Sharp lived in Dysart

Alexander Mann & Katharine Orrock married Kinghorn

1901 Peter Laing & Grace Davidson 1891 they lived in Dysart

1850 Peter Laing & Margaret Norval 1877 they lived in Dysart

1829 Peter Laing & Elizabeth Campbell they lived in Dysart

1850 Joseph Norval & Janet Cree 1830 Markinch  both died in Thornton

Charles Norval & Margaret Paterson married in Kintore Aberdeen

James Norvald & Janet Jaffrey married in Aberdeen

John Cree & Margaret Forbes lived in Kettle Parish

William Cree & Margaret Dall both lived in Kettelhill

1847 David Davidson & Jean Anderson 1860 Pathead both died in Dysart

William Anderson & Mary Bogie married 1770 in Kinglassie

1860  Coaltown of Balgonie Henry Adamson & Christian Beveridge 1878 Thornton

John Adamson & Isabell Thomson both lived in Dysart

1785 Henry Adamson & Jane Cunningham 1785  both lived in Dysart

James Adamson & Isabelle Dryelly married 1765 in Dysart

John Drylie & Christian Stevinson both born in Dunfermline in 1670s

William Drylie & Bessie Stevenson married 1668 Dunfermline

JohnStevinson & Bessie Allan

Thomas Stevinson & B Vallane (Wallange)

Charles Wallange & Margaret Durie

1916 Markinch James Thomson & Margaret Crombie Markinch 1946 

1899  Markinch James Thomson & Margaret Patterson 1927  Auchterderran

1873 Scoonie James Thomson & Jean Malcolm  1874 Scoonie

1852 Dykeneuk James Thomson & Frances Watt 1868 Scoonie

1824-1852 Scoonie David Thomson & Isabell Watson 1832-1837 

1789  Scoonie John Thomson & Jannett Wilson 1835-1837   Scoonie

Andrew Thomson & Christian Anderson Andrew born Scoonie; married in Kennoway 1708

1904 Markinch Robert Crombie & Margaret Lister 1914 Markinch

1881 Dysart Robert Crombie & Agnes Wallace 1844 Whins of Barnslee

Robert Crombie & Jane Scott married 1796 Auchtermuchty

1884 Bathgate Linlithgow Alexander Lister & Isabella Small  1850  Collessie

1833 Markinch George Lister (Litester) & Christian Amely (Amelie)  #

James Lister (Litester) & Rachel Mackie married in Cults 1759

1883 Markinch Robert Patterson & Agnes Grieve 1889 Dunfermline

1855  Thornton Robert Patterson & Catherine Smith 1870 Thornton                                                                             *2 dau Catherine & Margaret are buried Markinch PATERSON, CATHRINE (9): daughter of Robert Paterson at Thornton; 27 May 1838; left side of sister, Margaret Paterson, interred 1 April 1838 (No 26, 1838) PATERSON, MARGARET (19): daughter of Robert Paterson at Thornton; 1 April 1838

Alexander Patterson & Jean Aitken (Atkin) 1823  both died in Markinch

1837 Ceres Thomas Grieve & Elspeth Smith  1859 St. Andrews

Robert Smith & Agnes Wallace both born in 1750s and married in 1770s in Ceres so I would guess both died in Ceres

David Watt & Ann Howie  1823 Ceres

1768 Ceres Thomas Watt & Margaret Morris (MORES) (ON)   


John Watt & Janet Elder both married in Falkland 1763???

Alison - Sunday, 20 July 2014 11:43

These MI's are available to purchase from our online shop. just click the link above to see what is available.

Barbara - Thursday, 21 August 2014 04:17

Alexandra Mann & Katherine Orrock are direct descendants of mine.

Sue Sims - Thursday, 10 July 2014 06:52

I am researching Captain John Stevenson, born 1791 Kingsbarns. He was a whaler on the ship 'Horn' working for Dundee Whaling company He came to Australia in 1836 & I have a lot of info on him here but wanting to know more about him in Fife His father was Henry John  & his mother Christan Mtchall.

Cathy - Wednesday, 09 July 2014 11:04

Hello I have a family mystery which I'm hoping someone can help me with! My Great Grandfather Henry Giles was born in Lochgelly, Fife about 1853. His mother was Barbara Whyte and his Father was Henry Giles. His parents were not married and Barbara later married Daniel Mathieson in Lochgelly in 1856. Henry Giles senior is the mystery as I can't find any trace of him in census or BDM. On his son's marriage certificate it says his father's occupation is gardener but that is all I know. Where could I find a record of Henry junior's birth? I've tried Scotland's People but no luck. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you

Sue Delaney - Tuesday, 08 July 2014 18:31

I live in the United States and have an interesting tale to tell about a young Scotsman who fought for both sides during the American Revolution.

My ancestor, James "Scotch" Walker was christened 1 May 1756 at Craigshouse in Saline, County Fife, the son of a miller, Alexander Walker and his wife, Christian [Henderson] Walker. The couple had six other children: Margaret, Henry, Wilhamina, Thomas, Janet and William. 

Like many a poor Scottish lad of his time, James enlisted as a private soldier in His Majesty's army, ending up in an artillery unit of the 21st of Foot. He came to North America in 1777 with troops under the command of General John Burgoyne to assist the British army there in its efforts to put down the insurgents. 

However, after the British defeat at Saratoga, James, apparently being a resourceful young man, decided to try his luck in the New World and managed to escape from the group of prisoners being marched back to Boston harbor bound for England. He spent the harsh New England winter in Palmer, Massachusetts and when spring came he enlisted with the first of various Massachusetts militia units he fought with through the remainder of the war, including seeing action at West Point at the time of Benedict Arnold's defection to the British. James would receive a pension for his military service to his newly adopted country. I imagine he is either a traitor or a patriot, depending on which side of the ocean you're on.

In December 1781, James married Sarah Field in Greenwich, Massachusetts. From this union came numerous descendants who to this day are very proud of their Scottish heritage. As one of those descendants, I would like to travel back across the Atlantic and connect with people and places I have in common with my Scottish ancestors. If you or someone you know may also be a twig on the family tree of Alexander Walker and his wife Christian Henderson, I'd like to hear from you!

Sue Delaney

40686 County Highway 60

Perham, Minnesota 56573




Cell Phone: 218-849-2709

Home Phone: 218-346-4511

Frances Black - Saturday, 12 July 2014 07:59

Great story - we love these types of "snippets"!

Frances - FFHS Secretary

Susan Parton - Saturday, 05 July 2014 16:20

Looking for information on a Mary Cook married to Joseph McNeill in 1942. Fife. Joseph Mc Neill lived in Cowxenbeath

Marie Tyler - Saturday, 28 June 2014 18:40

 AUCHTERMUCHTY:  Thomas Smith TAYLOR (dob 1839), son of William TAYLOR (dob 1816, Newburgh)  and Jane BISSETT (or possibly BISHOP).  Also Jane McCULLOCH (a later marriage of Jane Bissett to Michael McCulloch.  she died in Glasgow in 1876 


 Hello and help! - I'd be very grateful if anyone could help me with the above.  Thomas S. TAYLOR gives William TAYLOR and Jane BISSETT as his parents on his marriage in 1859 in Glasgow to Rebecca WALKER.  

I can find no trace of Thomas' birth, or a marriage for William and Jane and there are lots of Jane BISSETTs in Fife who might be the mother, if she is from Fife.  She (Jane BISSETT) may have married Michael McCULLOCH and lived with him in Glasgow until her death in 1876.  This Jane gives her place of birth as Perth.


The census from Auchtermuchty from 1841 which I think would help enormously is 'missing'!  Is there somewhere I can find birth registrations for Non-conformists?


Any help or light anyone can shed would be most appreciated.



Christine Searle - Thursday, 26 June 2014 10:24

Hi,  I am descended from Thomas Tullideph, my 6xg-grandfather (sometimes spelled Tullidelph, as well as Tillydaph) who was Principal of St. Andrews University 1747 - 1777.  I can take the line back another 3 generations to William, recorded as Dulledaphe on his son's birth, although later his son's name became the standard Tullideph.  I know that William Tullideph was a covenanter and Principal of St. Salvators and St. Leonards.

I would like to know if anyone else is connected to this family, or has any more information?  They should go back to Aberdeen at some point but I haven't yet made that connection.  I have a simple One-Name-Study on Wikitree showing what Information I have.


Colleen Brown - Tuesday, 24 June 2014 04:31

H    I have hit a brick wall with my COULTER family of Dunfermline.   I would love to find the mother of my GGgrandmother..........

CATHERINE COULTER was born c1835/36 (presumably dunfermline?)

Father....DAVID COULTER......Mother....CATHERINE

I have researched census records etc.  1841 census Catherine was living with grand parents while David was at war.(so presume mother has died) .......he later married  Ann Anderson in 1852

On his death record  it states 1st wife as Catherine McGoad (can't find record)  BUT on Catherine's (b.1835/36) marriage cert here in Australia it looks like it gives her mother as

CATHERINE McBEAN or McCLEAN but very hard to read (doesn't look like McGOAD


DAVID COULTER was b.19.2.1809 DUNFIRMLINE...his parents were THOMAS COULTER and CATHERINE LUTTIT/LOUTIT   GRRR so many Catherines

hope you are not as confused as me  and can help me break down this wall

thanks Colleen


Shirley Bulley - Friday, 20 June 2014 04:20

I am a family researcher living in South Australia.   I have already made enquiries about membership of the Fife FHS, but in the meantime I would be interested in hearing from any people connected with or descended from Andrew and Helen Neilson (nee Henderson) who were married 0n 15th June 1799.   I am researching the name on behalf of my brother-in-law, who is descended from William Neilson, born 1st April 1811 in Fife, and who married Janet (Jessie) McFarlane.   Any help would be much appreciated.

David Hughes - Wednesday, 04 June 2014 11:14


I will be visiting the East Neuk of Fife with my daughter, Mary Hughes, mid July, travelling from AustraliA 

If you recognize any of the details below, please reply. With a view to meeting wider family.

My grandfather, Joseph Butters Hughes was born in Pittenweem in 1874 and my grandmother, Isabella Murray Watson was born in Cellardyke in 1875. They married in Cellardyke in 1899.

My grandfather was a fisherman from his teens and then became a wholesale fishmonger around the time of his marriage when he moved to Edinburgh where my father (also named Joseph Butters Hughes and the 5th of 7 siblings) was born in 1908. My grandfather also had fishmongering businesses in Leven and Aberdeen. The family migrated to Australia in 1929. 

Great grandparents were:

James Heugh b.1847 Pittenweem: d.1881 (married 1869) Mary Butters b.1848 Pittenweem: d.1925 Pittenweem (Mary and children are listed as Hughes) 

David Watson b.1850 Cellardyke (m.1871) Euphemia Murray b.1854 Kilrenny

Great Great grandparents were: 

James Heugh b.1817 Pittenweem (m. 1839) Elizabeth Thompson b1814 St Monance 

Joseph Butters b 1815 Pittenweem (m. 1840) Jessie Bowman b.1819 Pittenweem 

David Watson b.1813 Kilrenny (m.1841) Margaret Charles b.1815 Burntisland

Robert Murray b.1819 Kilrenny (m.1847) Isabella Watson b.1819 Kilrenny 

All the above males are listed as fishermen. 

Thank you, David Hughes  

Alison - Sunday, 08 June 2014 08:46

Hi David,

i have done some research on Hughes in Pittenweem. There is a connection and I know of living decendants. Can you please email me so that I may be able to help you. Alison,Fife Family History Society

Harry D. Watson - Monday, 09 June 2014 18:33

Hello David. Have you seen my book "Kilrenny and Cellardyke: 800 Years of History", published in 1986 by John Donald (now part of Birlinn)? In it I mention the disaster of 1890 when the fishing-boat "Garland" with its Cellardyke crew, including your David Watson, was lost with all hands. David Watson had previously sailed on the China tea-clippers, some of which were owned by his fellow native of Cellardyke Captain Alexander Rodger of Glasgow.

I have a photocopy of a photograph of David Watson and Euphemia Murray.

Butters, Bowman and Hughes (pronounced Heugh) have been common names in Pittenweem up to modern times. 

Harry D. Watson

Thomson Aikman - Tuesday, 10 June 2014 04:35

Hi David

Harry's book mentions David Watson's having fallen from the mizzen of the tea clipper Taeping.

If you don't already have the information, the Taeping was the winner of the dramatic China tea race of 1866 (and was owned wholly or substantially by Alexander Rodger). Based on searches done on my behalf, there was no one from the East Neuk on the Taeping during that race. However, a David Watson, aged 19, of Fifeshire was on board the Taeping for the 1870 race. The Board of Trade records relating to the Taeping (official number 47842) are in the National Archives in London, reference BT100/23, arranged by year of return to England. The 1870 records would include crew lists and the official log (not the full one with sailing details, etc., but it may well include mention of David's dramatic descent).

Again, if you haven't already dug into the tea races, a pretty full report of the 1866 race is in The China Clippers by Basil Lubbock, which can be downloaded from the internet, as can some good paintings of the Taeping.



David Hughes - Sunday, 15 June 2014 12:56


Thankyou Harry and Thomson


I wasn't aware of David Watson's sailing with the Taeping. I have downloaded Lubbock's book and read the fascinating account of the race with Ariel.


Harry, my cousin Peter Hughes here in Melbourne has a copy of your 800 years of History but I won't be able to view it before we travel. I would appreciate if you could email a copy of the photograph to me at . We will be lodging in Pittenweem over July 12th-19th as a base for the East Neuk and to visit Edinburgh where my father was born. Also I have a g.g.grandfather who was pastor at Charlotte Chapel in the 1850s.