Grandad. Our dear, lovable little grandfather (decisively shorter than Grandma, also a little younger). But that’s what he was … ‘grandad’ … and as children we were so culpably uncurious about his past and his family. He was just lovely grandad. I knew solely that he came from Scone in Scotland, and that he had been a tailor. I knew that, because my main memory – the main mind picture I have of him, still – is a little man in his 60s leaning over the big dining table at their gloomy clapboard house in Miramar, with a piece of tailor’s chalk, marking out a length of tweed to make mother a coat…
|Grandpa and Grandma Welsh c1951 with Kurt and John|
|James and Jane Welsh, Gowanbrae c 1890, with David, Maggie Jane and Edward|
|Jane Welsh and daughter Maggie Jane|
Robert Welch born Scone 16 June 1817 to Robert Welch and Mary née Boyd … and, oh dear, that looks like him in 1861, not dead at all, but confined to James Murray Royal Lunatic Asylum … too many children …
But surely this father is the elder Robert, son of William Welsh (sic) and Catharine née McGlashan baptised Kilspindie 12 November 1775 …
Enough. So Kilspindie it is … it seems there is more there than the golf course.
Now, Jane née Hudgston (b 11 West
Mill Wynd, St Vigeans 15 July 1847). Great-grandma number 4. Daughter of David
Hudgston (b Arbroath, 1819; d St Vigeans, 18 November 1882), flax-dresser, and
later foreman at Green’s Mills, of St Vigeans, and Jane Steel Cram(m)ond (b Arbroath,
22 February 1822; d 15 August 1890) who
married 31 December 1844.
I can follow the Cram(m)ond family, in Arbroath and St Vigeans, back to
the beginning of the 18th century, but the Scots, true to their
reputation, make you pay to see the records, so I’ll do without. I’ll be
satisfied with knowing that all the families came from Arbroath and, most
particularly, the adjacent village of St Vigeans, and leave it at that.
|East Mill Wynd, St Vigeans|
Jane is censussed, aged 13, as a servant at the seat of the Earl of Northesk, Ethie House, but a decade later she is, like so many others in the area, a flax-spinner.
The family, however, were installed first in Perth Rd, Scone, then in Gowanbrae’s Murray Hall Road, and, by the turn of the century, in Queens Rd, Gowanbrae, where grandad was preparing to join his father’s firm. Brother David had become a plumber (always a useful thing to have in a family) and sister Maggie Jane was a teenage dressmaker.
|Queen St. The Welsh house was second from the right.|
Well, it’s a pretty ordinary Scottish story of the 19th century. No brilliant men hidden in there, as there were in the Jewish and Austrian forbears of my family. Just hard-working, hard-breeding folk of the Scottish mill and factory towns.
At least, in this day of digging, I’ve at least learned who they were and from whence they came … maybe, one day, I’ll fill in the gaps. But I’ve got the picture…