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NEWS:: The newest findings about William M. Robertson are an old photocopy of his "Seaman's Ticket" and a newspaper handbill that encouraged emigrants to come to Kansas and buy railroad land, which the Robertsons did. These two documents are included in the Robertson Photos. Another document by a descendant of William M. and Margaret Robertson's oldest daughter Jennie, confirmed that William M. Robertson had a brother named Alexander and that his mother Ann Morton had lived with his family in Canada before coming to Kansas, USA.

FINDING THE IMMIGRANT!: When I was seventeen, Margaret May ROBERTSON MARTIN's Book for my Grandchildren told the this romantic tale as the first family story.

My father's father, William M. Robertson was born in Scotland at a seacoast town. There wasn't much for boys to do so he "went to sea" at the age of eleven years and learned to be a sailor. He worked his way up to First Mate of his ship. About 1852 several immigrant families had passage on his ship, sailing from Scotland to Canada. One family by the name of Weir consisted of the parents, two sons and daughters, the oldest daughter sixteen years of age. The first morning after they left Scotland the sixteen year old girl, named Margaret, saw the First Mate, dressed in his uniform with brass buttons, giving orders to the sailors. She thought he looked pretty nice and in the six weeks of the voyage they became acquainted and fell in love. The immigrants left the ship at Quebec and went to the "Queen's Bush", a timber country near Durham, Canada where the parents of Margaret purchased a farm. The First Mate took his ship back to Scotland and secured passage on another ship to Canada to find the girl. How he found her I do not know because he new only that they were going to the "Queen's Bush". Well, he found her and they were married and settled on a neighboring farm. Seven children were born in Canada; one a twin died in infancy. The parents and six children moved to Kansas in 1868. Three more children were born here. They purchased a farm north of where the town of Willis now stands. The land was purchased from the Central Branch of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. It was all prairie. Several more families from Canada and some from Ohio and other eastern states came the next year and a few years later.

"Where was that small seacoast town?" I had always asked. This was my first immigrant discovery. Finding William M. Robertson, who was born in "a small seacoast town in Scotland", involved searching the IGI for Scotland for christenings with the information I knew: his birth date and his mother's name Ann. Of the William's that met this criteria, one immediately seemed to be the right one. The town was Arbroath, a small seacoast town, and the mother's surname was Morton - which seemed oddly familiar. My Robertson file had a newpaper article that names William's grandson dying in infancy as John Morton. I did not have time to receive the christening record before leaving for Scotland. But this information was enough to send me to Arbroath, where I met the genealogist who showed me that microfilmed christening. The birth date was that of my William M. Robertson.

SPECIAL THANKS TO: Margaret May (Robertson) Martin for her Book for my Grandchildren which gave names, dates, and some early family stories, Donald William Martin and Frances Luella Picton Martin for their conversations about ancestors and creating the most treasured Picture Book of Martin Ancestors with exact dates and approximate places, Donald William Martin for his Tombstones of Ancestors Buried in Brown County, Lawrence Burness, the genealogist in Arbroath, Scotland, who showed me William's christening record and records for the Mortons - his mother's line, Lyle Hinz who has done Roberson research for the Barbar line and also knew about Arbroath, Chris Watt of the National Archives in London who assisted with our brief search for the merchant marine records for William M. Roberton, and Brian Picton Swann, the amazing Picton researcher, who is looking for information about William Robertson at TNA (the National Archives) in London as a really helpful friend, and Kenneth Beasley III, who shared his research into our mutual family history and greatly improved my translation of William M. Robertson's "Seaman's Ticket".

QUESTIONS: What does anyone know about George Robertson, father of William M. Robertson. Was the Ann Morton with two sons in Arbroath in 1841 William's family? (The answer to this question now appears to be "yes",according to the information from a William M. Robertson descendant.) Are there crew agreements for the ship "William Parker" and the "Conway"?

Please contact me by email: Jeanette@Martin-Froeschner.net


updated June 2010