Saturday, November 17, 2012

Timeline For John Imlah~

John Imlah and Margaret Watt
Peter Imlah and Mary Wilson’s son, John, was born in the parish of Methlick in October 1840 and baptised there on Sunday 25th October. The family was probably living at Petty, Fyvie, at the time, and Mary may have gone to her parents’ home to have her first child.
The entry in the Methlick register reads:
25th Octr
Peter Imlah in the parish of Fyvie had a child  baptized & named John before Witnesses William Mason in Chapelton & George Wilson in Braclay
The 1841 census shows John, aged eight months, living with his parents at Petty, Fyvie.
The 1851 census shows John with his parents at Whitebog of Culsh, New Deer. He is at school.
The 1861 census shows John at the farm of Little Millbrex, Fyvie, working as a ploughman for his cousin, James Imlay.

The 1871 census shows John working as a farm servant at Wester Greenskares, Gamrie.  On Tuesday 16th May that year he had twins, Barbara and William, born at Backhill of Clenterty. Their mother was Barbara Donaldson, a crofter’s daughter. John and Barbara appeared before the Gamrie kirk session on Sunday 7th May and were admonished. They appeared again on Sunday 4th June. Both were admonished again and John was dismissed from church discipline as it was his ‘first lapse in fornication’. As this was Barbara’s second child, she was dismissed under censure and ordered to appear again on the first Sunday of July. However, nothing further appears in the minutes.

 On Monday 5th July 1875  he had a daughter, Ann, born at Overbrae, New Byth. Her mother was Margaret Bain, a domestic servant. Margaret later married William Inglis, a general labourer.
On Thursday 29th June 1876 John had another daughter, Jessie, born at 33 High Street, New Pitsligo, Tyrie. Her mother was Jessie Milne, a domestic servant. When he signed the birth certificate John gave his address as Millbrae, New Deer. Jessie Milne later married Alexander Milne, a crofter.

On Saturday 5th August 1876 John had yet another daughter, Helen Georgina, born at Hill of Cook, New Byth. Her mother was Jane Bowie, a domestic servant. John again gave his address as Millbrae of Ironside, New Deer.
On Tuesday 4th January 1881 John had a daughter, Lizzie Jane, born at West Mosstown, Lonmay. Her mother was Helen Mackie, a domestic servant. This time John’s name did not appear on the birth certificate. On Saturday 4th December 1880 Helen, of Dartfield, Lonmay, had appeared before the New Deer kirk session and accused John Imlah, late of ‘Blairmaud’ (perhaps Blairmormond, Lonmay), now at Uppertown, Invernettie, Peterhead, of being the father. John was cited to attend the session on Tuesday 29th March, but did not turn up. Helen brought a letter from him which seemed to deny guilt. On Sunday 2nd October Helen brought a letter from John admitting paternity and on Saturday 10th December, “after suitable admonition she was restored to Church privileges”. At no time did John appear before the session.

When his father died, John took on the croft at Millbrae of Ironside. The 1885-1886 valuation roll shows him as  tenant of the croft and house and also as tenant of another house there occupied by his sister Isabella and her husband, Alexander Kindness. The annual rent is £6. The landlord was James Dingwall Fordyce of Culsh, tutor-at-law of Alexander Dingwall Fordyce.

The 1891 census shows John Imlah as a crofter at Bridgefoot of Ironside, New Deer. The house has three rooms with a window. The rest of the household consists of his mother, Mary Wilson, who is described as an annuitant, and Maggie Smith, aged 17, a general domestic servant. Maggie Smith was John’s niece, the daughter of Cummin Smith and Mary Imlah.
The 1895-1896 valuation roll shows John as tenant of the “Croft and house, Millbrae”, and as tenant of the neighbouring house occupied by his widowed sister, Isabella. The rent is £6 0/6d a year, including the value of £1 for Isabella’s house. The landlord was Alexander Dingwall Fordyce.
The 1901 census shows John at Bridgefoot, Ironside. The house has four rooms with a window. He is described as a crofter and forester’s labourer. The rest of the household consists of his sister, Isabella, who is his housekeeper, and her daughter, Williamina, who is at school.

By 1905 John was renting a croft and house at Weetingshill, New Deer, from Alexander Dingwall Fordyce. The valuation roll for 1905-1906 gives the rent as £8 1/4d.
John Imlah married Margaret Watt at the Congregational manse, New Deer, on Saturday 27th May 1905. The witnesses at the wedding were David Will and Jeannie Rae. Margaret, from Upper Weetingshill, was the daughter of Alexander Watt, farmer, and his wife, Margaret Ironside. Margaret, aged 57, was the widow of James Pyper. This was John's first Marriage, though he had 6 children at the time of this marriage, he never married any of the children's mothers.

The 1911 census shows John ‘Imlay’ at Weetingshill Croft. The house has four rooms with a window. John is described as a crofter. The rest of the household consists of his wife, Margaret, a native of New Deer, and John’s brother-in-law, Cummin Smith, who is described as a general labourer. Cummin is listed as a boarder.
The 1915-1916 valuation roll gives the rent of the croft and house at Weetingshill as £7 1/4d.

Margaret Watt died at Weetingshill on Thursday 31st May 1917, aged 75. The cause of death was chronic nephritis. The death was registered by a friend, P. Crighton, who lived at 1 Main Street, New Deer. He was probably Peter Crighton, the bank agent.
John Imlah died at the Royal Asylum, Aberdeen, on Wednesday 26th December 1917, aged 77. The cause of death was chronic heart disease and bronchitis. The death was registered by William Morrice, the Asylum’s house steward. He described John as a former crofter and gave his usual residence as Weetingshill. He gave his age, wrongly, as 76.
John made a will on 19th April 1917 nominating Alexander Horne, clothier, and Peter Crighton, bank agent, both New Deer, as executors. The value of his estate was £1,045 0/8d.



  1. Tray, this photograph is so impressive because rarely in old photographs do the couples hold hands! In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a couple holding hands in a photograph from this time period. Maybe these ancestors were forward-thinking people?

  2. Hi Tracy,you've painted an interesting and rather complete picture of John Imlah in his timeline. We can only speculate as to whether he had anything to do with his children. I'm wondering if you had to hire a researcher or go to Scotland and examine the records? I don't think those details are available on Ancestry. Very impressive!

  3. Hi Nancy, I never thought about them holding hands as being rare, so I went back and looked through all my old photos and your are right.. I can see no other couples holding each others hands... They must have been very forward thinking and deeply in love :)

  4. Hi Ruth, I have to give credit to my 5th Cousin for the hard work and documentation on the time line. I'm very lucky to still have family living in Scotland, and they love family history as much as I do, so we share our finds with each other. Monday I will post a copy of John's Will, this and many other records for my family I get from the Scotlands People site, it is one of my favorite genealogy sites to use for documents. I have been told that John took care of all his children while he was living, and was a part of thier lifes. Thank you for stopping by :)

  5. Can you post the link for Scotland's People please? I am starting to research my husband's family: Skilling, Cochran(e)
    thanks Tracy.

  6. Hi Ruth,
    Here is the link :

    You have to buy Credits to purchase the documents, I have never had an Issue in all the years I have used this site, it is trustworthy.

    Good luck in your search, let me know if I can be of any help :)

  7. opps think the link is missing a /.