Archiver > ABERDEEN > 2009-08 > 1249514967

From: "Isobel Davidson" <>
Subject: Re: [ABERDEEN] SMITH family New Pitsligo Aberdeenshire
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 00:29:27 +0100
References: <8CBE211138E0F1A-1428-717D@WEBMAIL-DF03.sysops.aol.com> <4A76A820.1040700@which.net><8CBE396684A76B2-B84-15BB@webmail-md19.sysops.aol.com> <4A793F9B.8030509@blueyonder.co.uk><A495B11346F64EDD83C96A56079AB00A@LENOVO53E5F674> <4A79B000.4080708@which.net><BE566C19ED8B4929A487D10565399341@LENOVO53E5F674>
In-Reply-To: <BE566C19ED8B4929A487D10565399341@LENOVO53E5F674>

-----Original Message-----
From: [mailto:]
On Behalf Of M Keith Abel
Sent: 05 August 2009 23:24
Subject: Re: [ABERDEEN] SMITH family New Pitsligo Aberdeenshire

Dear Gavin:

I can say no more than that my guide, a Librarian from the Library in
Inverurie assured me, In spite of my wonder at the possibilty, that they
had been the dwelling places of sub letting tenants who were listed at the
same address in the census. I suspect some would have been charity cases
such as the old lady whose "calling" was given as "Stocking knitter". I
assumed she knitted socks for the family from yarn supplied to her in lieu
of rent.

Peter Abel, my great grandfather, was born in 1812, son of Alexander Abel.
Peter was the first of three illegitimate children by three different women
in as many years but that is another story that might make a very humourous
television show. In the 1841 census he was single, living as an
Agricultural Labourer on a farm 7 miles north of Inverurie. In 1851 he is
married with one child, living as a day Labourer in a house on High Street
in Inverurie. In 1861 he is living in a house on the Estate of the Earl of
Kintore, Parish of Keith Hall and Kinkell, a farmer renting 60 acres, all of

his children have arrived down to James at 4 months. The household includes

a Servant Girl and a Ploughman. The residence is given as "Old Mill" and
the ruins of a mill on the burn attests to the aptness of the name.
Burnhead is the cottage next down the road. I thought for the times that
to go from a day Labourer in 1851 to a farmer of 60 acres in 1861 was a
rapid and significant advancement in the world.

In 1871 he is again said to be living at Old Mill but Burnhead is not
listed. I suspect the census taker used ditto marks carelessly and Peter
was actually at Burnhead and he may even have been at Burnhead in 1861.
His death record says he died at Burnhead. Both cottages, Old Mill and
Burnhead looked like identical houses and both had their row of sheds out
back. Both cottages are still occupied but I don't believe either tenant
is farming the land. When we visited, Old Mill was occupied by the
daughter of a doctor that had treated my wife in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
It is a small world.

Peter died in 1876 and is buried in Old Meldrum Churchyard. The location is

odd since no other family members are buried there and while Old Meldrum
isn't so far across the fields from the house, it isn't very handy by road.
It does seem odd that he was not buried at Keith Hall or in Kintore where a
great many members of the family are buried.

With respect to the number of windows a dwelling had, I understood that was
related to a tax that was intended to bear more heavily on the wealthy but
had the effect of people bricking up windows.

M Keith Abel

So now can you tell us what the 'M' stands for, Manar or Mounie? The
Mansions near Inverurie? When I visited Canada my relations in Winnipeg
were describing the horror of the people - often younger sons of Scots who
had little prospect of inheritance - emigrating to Canada . They had heard
in the local press that it was the land of plenty but what they got was an
area of bare land where they built a mud hut to get them through the winter
- then they wrote to tempt some poor young woman they hardly knew from home
and married her when she arrived. Then this young couple would set
themselves up for a long harsh winter. Can you imagine being stuck for
months with someone you barely know in a wee hut for months on end. Most of
us here cannot stand a couple of days with our close family! Tough times


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