FINDING THE IMMIGRANT!: Because Ann Robertson was the oldest person listed in my grandmother
Margaret May (Robertson) Martin's Book for my Grandchildren, she held great fascination to me. Especially since she had kept in communitcation with her son Willam M. Robertson after he had gone to sea at age ten oe eleven, stayed in communication with him long before regular mail, and lived in his home in her later years.
My first research project was to locate the birth of her son William M. Robertson in "the amall seacoast town" mentioned in my grandmother's book. This was the days of driving to an LDS Family History Center in Oakland, California - about 45 minutes frommy home. As I began research, I looked over the Family Ancestor Photo Album made by may parents Donald and Frances (Picton) Martin. This album had photos, precise birth and death dates, a place called Fofarshire as the birthplace for Ann's son William M. Robertson. Inside the album, I had tucked a copy of an obituary with a photo of William Roberston, whom I called "Big Grandpa" and who was the oldest relative I had actually known. (This William was Ann's grandson.) A child named John Morton Robertson who died in infancy was mentioned in this obituary.
It was the name Morton that was the clue to finding Ann and the birth of her son William who was born in 1826. I looked through all the Scottish IGI (International Genealogical File) fische for a William Robertson born in 1826 and having a mother named Ann. I found an entry for a William Robertson with a christening date of 24 April 1826, a mother named Ann Morton, a father named George Robertson, in the city of Arbroath, Scotland, Arbroath was on the seacoast. No other entry even came close.
I could order the film listed in the fisch, a small plastic sheet. The film would have a photo of the actual christening record. Unfortunately, the film would not arrive until after my husband and I had gone to Europe for the first time. On the basis of this inormation, we did go to Arbroath, Scotland, went to the local library, and were connected Lawrence Burness, a local genealogist who had his own personal copy of the microfilm with the christening record. The church record had both the chistening date, and birththdate listed on the record was 9 January 1826. The precise birthdate of the William Robertson. who was the son of Ann Morton and George Robertson.
The genealogist explained that the words "natural child" on the birth/christening record meant that the baby's parents had not been married in this the official church, the State Church of Scotland. There were other small churches at the time, now called nonconformist churches, that many people attended and were even married in. These records for the most part no longer existed. It was the large attendance of persons in these noncomformist churches in Scotland, Wales, and England that contributed to instituting government records for births, deaths, and marriages in 1837.
Back in the US, I ordered the birth microfilm. I also found that Ann went by her maiden name Ann Morton. In the 1861 Census for Glenelg Township, Grey County, Upper Canada, she was listed on the page following the rest of the William Robertson family as Ann Morton. The 1875 State of Kansas Census showed Ann Morton living with her son William Robertson and using her maiden name Morton.Then I found an 1841 Census for Arbroath, Scotland listed with Ann Morton with two sons: a William of the right age for William M. Roberrtson, and a younger son named Alexander. Could this be William's mother? Did William have a brother? Alexander was the name of the oldest child of William M. and Margaret (Weir) Robertson. The name certainly seemed important to them. The index to the church records showed no Alexander Morton or Alexander Robertson christened at the right time period. Much later I found a copy of an essay by a descendant of William M. amd Margaret's oldest daughter, that told about a brother named Alexander who had also gone to sea and died young.
For more information about the descendants of Ann Morton and her son William M. Robertson, see the Robertson Home page.
SPECIAL THANKS TO: Margaret May (Robertson) Martin for her Book for my Grandchildren which named Ann Morton as Ann Robertson, Donald Martin's Tombstones of Ancestors in Brown County, Kansas which listed her burial place as Claytonville Cemetery and Lawrence Burness, the genealogist in Arbroath, Scotland, who showed me the christening records for Ann Morton and her siblings and the burial record of her father which connected her father to Bervie, Scotland.
QUESTIONS:Does any one have information about George Robertson? Can the Morton line be extended beyond James Morton and Ann Murray of Bervie, Scotland?
Please contact me by email: Jeanette@Martin-Froeschner.net