Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Friday, 25 June 2010

Fishing in Fife

My previous entry left us with Frances Bousfield and Georgiana Martha Thomas in Deptford.

By 1851, Frances had become Mrs FWL Thomas and the recently bereaved couple, although normally living at Rose cottage in Trinity, Leith were lodging in Culross. I felt it only fair to see what had become of Georgiana and was pleasantly surprised to find the following household:

Jas Mcbain, 43, Surgeon RN Half Pay, Park Place, Elie, Fife, b. Kirriemuir, Forfar
Helen Mcbain, 26, Wife, b. England
Elizabeth Thomas, 53, Widow of Commander RN, Mother-in-Law, b. England
Georgina Thomas, Daughter of Commander RN, Sister-in-Law, b. England
Ann Smith, 14, Scholar, Niece, b. Pitlochry, Strathtay, Perthshire
Elizabeth Campbell, 26, House Servant, b. Pittenweem, Fife

'Jas' is James McBain, 'Helen' is Ellen Sarah (Thomas), Elizabeth is FWL's mother and Georgina is his other sister. What is slightly confusing is why Priscilla Thomas has changed her name to Elizabeth?

As far as I can tell, this places all the known surviving members of FWL's family in Scotland in 1851 and only about 40 miles apart from each other.

I think that's a fair day's catch from the East Coast!

But I have left the biggest fish until last:

Back in 1827, on the 30th of January in the church of St Mary at Lambeth, a widower called George Thomas of St Paul, Deptford, married a widow called Elizabeth Bousfield. You may recall that I was bemused by Frances Sarah Bousfield being baptised for a second time on the 30th of March 1827 at the church of St Mary at Lambeth? Now, at last, all is clear!

Her mother remarried and Frances added the surname of her stepfather, Thomas, to her own. The Elizabeth Thomas of 1851 was the same Elizabeth Bousfield who gave birth to Frances and who became the step-mother to George Thomas's children. Fred and Fanny were not introduced by his sister, because for 14 years prior to their marriage they had been step-brother and sister!

Confirmation that I am correct is provided by the entry on Fred's Death Certificate where the informant, clearly confused by the connection, states that his widow was born Frances Sarah Frimbly, ascribing to Fanny neither the surname of her father (Bousfield) nor her mother (Dingley) but that of Fred's mother (Frimbly).

I have come across some tangled webs before in my researches, but never one that fallen into place quite so completely, or with quite such complexity, as this one has just done.

To reiterate:

George Thomas m Priscella Frimbly and had several children including FWL Thomas
George Bousfield m Elizabeth Dingley and had one child, Frances Sarah Bousfield

George Thomas m Elizabeth Bousfield (MS Dingley)
Frances baptised for a second time as Frances Sarah Thomas Bousfield.

FWL Thomas m Frances S T Bousfield

I hope that's clear – I need a lie-down!


  1. That's very kind - but it's really only thanks to you and another contributor that I've pursued the family this far.
    So, once again, Thank You! :)