Scottish roots

I am always asked if I am from Scotland. Don’t know why. This is one of the answers. But first a note on place names because they are important in geo-story. Births, deaths and marriages use civic authorities of the time – and these have often changed in later re-organisations. Sometimes we refer to a nearest town or city for a more obscure location. Plus the very size and nature of places has changed in one hundred years. To this we have to add personal preferences: some places sound more pleasant than others to modern prejudices. But what do I know?

Here we are looking at the Firth of Forth. You know, the Edinburgh side, not Glasgow. The places are Newhaven (or is it New Haven?), Grangemouth, Midlothian and Leith. Gran always said Leith.

Lumley Street, Grangemouth. Postcard early 20th Century.
James and Christina Carnie lived in Lumley Street in the 1890s.

Secondly, as mentioned this information comes from notes shared between Mum and her cousin Shirley and based on snippets from Gordon Toms. Mum and Shirley refer to their common Grandmother, “Annie” Combe Ramsay, as Nanny. Some dates have been corroborated by birth certificates and so forth but the tapestry of human memories and stories is more important here.

New Lane, Newhaven, late 19th Century
Annfield, Newhaven. No. 15 Annie Carnie’s birthplace, 1872
Source for two photos: Newhaven: personal recollections and photographs, City of Edinburgh Council, 1998
15 Annfield, Newhaven. Photo by Shirley Skelcher, 2004

The residence of James Carnie 1866 when he married Christina Durham. Nanny Ramsay’s birth[lace Sept 1872.
Shirley comments it is likely each numbered dwelling originally contained three separate units each with two rooms. The roadway in front was originally the main street.

John Ramsay and Ann Combe Carnie

John Ramsay born 6 September 1872, 9.15 am at Newtown, Melrose, Roxburgh. Died 2 May 1948
married 5 June 1896 Grangemouth
Ann Combe Carnie (known as Annie) born 18 August 1872, 6.00 am at Newhaven, Leith
(handwritten as Coombe but the records show Combe). Died 1950

1. Robert Ramsay
2. Christina Durham Ramsay (Aunt Chrissie)
3. James E C Ramsay
4. Margaret Purves Ramsay (my Grandmother)
5. Annie Carnie Ramsay (Auntie Ann)
6. Jessie Helen Ramsay (known as Auntie Helen)
7. John Carnie Ramsay

Ann Combe Carnie’s parents
James Carnie born 1844, died 3 March 1919
married 28 September 1866 at Newhaven
Christina Durham died aged 74 (1845- 8 March 1919)
Note: they died in the same week.
The Extract of an entry in a Register of Marriages (dated 4 July 1997) confirms James Carnie as a Fisherman and his father as John Carnie and mother as Ann Carnie and mother’s maiden surname as Combe.
Christina Durham is noted as a Fisherwoman and her father as Rutherford Durham and mother as Marion Durham with maiden surname of Ramsay.

Anne Combe Carnie’s
1. James Carnie born 14 May 1888
2. John Carnie (married Mae) was a sea captain (or engineer) who travelled between China and Edinburgh. He died on board ship on his way back to Scotland for retirement.
3. Ann Combe Carnie
4. Christine Carnie (known as Teeny or Teenie) married Bob Murray and had a son Robert
5. Marion Carnie married James Hendry who kept a newsagent and toy shop in Falkirk.
6. Annette Carnie (1881-1961) (known as Nettie) married Joseph Hunter (1878-1954) (known as Joe) who was a reverend and ran a school for orphan boys. They migrated to Winnipeg, Canada, married 2 September 1907 and had five daughters including Christina Durham Hunter (known as Ina 1909-15 March 1990) who married ??? Treble and they had a daughter Annette. Another daughter (of Annette and Joseph) was Honor Hunter who married ??? Chambers.
6. Jemima Carnie who was suffocated as child by a coal gas stove at home 31 October 1896 (see below).
7. Rutherford Carnie (know as Fordie) was said by family history to have drowned in a sailing dinghy incident in the Firth of Forth. This was shown to be false information by a newspaper article in the Falkirk Herald 4 November 1896 (see below) which accounts for him having died with Jemima (31 October 1896). James, aged 8, who was in the same room survived the incident. There is a sting in the tail of this tragic story.

Anne Carnie Aged 10. The blue thread has faded – see below for text
Look at the list of siblings above to decode the initials.

John Ramsay’s parents
Robert Ramsay
Margaret Purves born 1842 (see below)

John Ramsay’s siblings
1. Jessie Ramsay who did not marry
2. Mary Ramsay who married Walter Scott. They had a daughter Peggy Scott who married ??? ??? and had three children: Sheila (who had Scott and Julie); Lorna who had Graeme; and Merle who married Andrew ???

Jan Thomas’s embroidery with the Ramsay tartan for Grandma:
Margaret Purves Ramsay

Margaret Purves’s parents
James Purves 1797-1878 (his father John Purves died 16 December 1796)
married 1832
Jessie Whillis (Whellans) 1808-1895

Margaret Purves’s sibling
Helen Jessie Purves (1836-)
Alex Dickman (1832-1892)

For more background on the Purves family see James Purves >

Falkirk Herald
4 November 1896

Ronald Morrison of Duns, Berwickshire kindly tracked down this article and sent it to Shirley Skelcher in April 2000.

A most distressing fatality occurred here on Saturday morning in the house of Mr James Carnie, pilot, Lumley Street, by which two of his children were suffocated by the fumes of a gas stove, and a third had a narrow escape. It appears that on the father entering the bedroom at six o’clock on Saturday morning he found his boy named Rutherford, aged 11, lying on the floor in an unconscious condition, and the other two children who were in bed also in an unconscious state. It was evident from the first that a serious calamity had occurred, and medical aid was immediately called, and Doctors Linton and Titterton were promptly in attendance. Unfortunately, however, their efforts were unavailing in the case of the two eldest, Jemima, aged 13, and Rutherford, aged 11, who died about 10 o’clock in the morning. The third named James, aged 8, showed signs of life, and strenuous efforts were made to bring him round. He regained consciousness on Saturday night, and is progressing as favourably could be expected.
It appears that the bedroom where the children slept was heated by a gas stove, which was usually put out at bedtime, but in this case had been neglected, and as the door and window of the room were closed, the children had been overcome by fumes. The stove is stated to have been burning when the room was opened in the morning. The boy Rutherford had got out of bed, but evidently had been unable to reach the door, as he was found on the floor. He had apparently been vomiting. There was also evidence of vomiting in the bed where the other two children were lying.
The sad occurrence has cast a gloom over the town, and much sympathy is expressed with the bereaved family. The funeral of the two children took place yesterday at Rosebank Cemetery, Edinburgh. The remains, enclosed in white coffins, were covered with beautiful wreaths presented by the school children and friends. A large number of the general public, including the Juvenile Rechabites, of which [temperance] society the boy Rutherford was a member, attended the funeral to Grangemouth Station.

Falkirk Herald 4 November 1896

The sting in the tail is that two family stories were conflated. James, who survived thee gas stove tragedy, aged 8, and later a Shipping Clerk, age 15 years and 11 months, drowned in “Old Wet Dock opposite Messrs Watson’s Office, Grangemouth. His address, and brother John’s, is given as Myrtle Cottage, Grangemouth.

Rutherford Ramsay (1886-1896) “Fordie” suffocated by gas fire fumes aged 11.
JC Brown Studio, Falkirk

My Mother said she always liked the name “Rutherford” and it might have been passed to me. It was a close thing. Angus has served me fine and I am always asked about my Scottish roots.

More at Ramsay family 1 >

< Back to Family tree page.

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