Monday, January 24, 2011

Mystery Monday~Will The Real James Watson please stand up

                            © Copyright Jim Bain and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

On January 07, 2011  I posted about my Great Grandmother Mary Bella Watson and that one of my hopes of posting about her birth was to help solve the mystery of who her father was and why had James Watson not married Mary Imlah. After doing the post  I did  some more searching and while there is no hard evidence that what I have come up with is correct, it does seem possible that this is what might have happened .

 I  did a search for James Watson on "Scotland's People" using Aberdeen as my starting place and the date range of 1840 to 1850 (Mary Imlah's birth year is 1844) This gave me 21 people with the correct name. I used Google maps to help give me the distance from New Deer where Mary lived to the places of birth for the 21 James Watson's using walking to determine the time it would take, since horse or walking would of been the mode of transportation in 1866 for most farmers. I made note of  the names that seemed like possibilities and then moved on to check the census records of Aberdeen.
The 1861 census  photo #3 shows this James Watson living at Middle Ironside.  Mary Imlah was living at Ironside,the map below shows  the distance from Middle Ironside to Ironside. Of the 21 James Watson's that I found, the one residing in Middle Ironside was the only one who lived in New Deer.   There were no cars or phones and farmers worked for dawn till dusk leaving little time for long distance travel or romance. They both were born in the  same place they were residing at in 1861 which would mean they would have known each other since birth (or so you would think). So back to Scotland's People to search for more records.  I found the following death record for James Watson son of William and Helen Watson of the above census.
 James Watson  was a farmers son, single and he died at the age of 21 from Consumption on July 4th 1866, according to his death record he had been suffering for 3 months. That would mean sometime in April James Watson was ill enough to seek medical attention from a doctor. My  great grandmother was born  January 07,1866, Had he been feeling ill before April? Could this be why they had not married or why he had not gone With Mary Imlah to have his name added to my great Grandmothers birth record ?

 I  feel out of the 21 names on the list this James Watson is the one to continue searching.  What do you think?


  1. Sounds like you are unraveling the mystery. What fun!

  2. Hi Margel
    It is exciting chipping away at this mystery indeed! Its funny how once you write something out on paper,ideas start to pop into your head.
    I hope to be able to post soon that this family mystery has been solved. :)