The Davidson branch of my tree reached a stalemate for a long time in the latter half of the 19th Century.
Having discovered that the man I was looking for was born in Scotland, I wasn’t sure what I could do next or where to search next. Recently, with help of another relative and a kindly Scottish member of Roots Chat, I succeeded in getting back to another generation of Davidson’s.
James Sutherland was born in Boharm, Banffshire in 1858. The illegitimate son of Margaret Sutherland, he was orphaned aged just 13 months.
His father, James Davidson, has been harder to track down. Shortly after her sons birth, it is recorded that the Boharm Kirk Sessions took notice of Margaret Sutherland and her son by attempting to get the alleged father to appear before them.
They located James, a Carter, living with Widow Brown in Keith, Banffshire. He accepted responsibility for the child but denied paternity. He refused to appear before the Boharm Kirk Sessions.
On Margaret’s death, the case was dismissed because James could not be found.
Two months after his mother’s death, James, now know by Davidson, was admitted to the Register of Poor in Boharm and his father was reported to be in Banff Jail. In December 1862, some 3 years after Margaret’s death, father and son were in Aberdeen together.
The younger James married in July 1878 and stated his father was James Davidson, a deceased Clerk. Seven years on, at the time of his second marriage, he had promoted his father to a deceased Station Agent. The same father was further promoted in 1934, when James married for the 3rd time.
These occupations could be entirely fictitious and it could be that James simply didn’t know anything about his father.
Every snippet of information on the senior James Davidson is circumstantial. It is possible to track him down I am sure but at the moment I lack the resources. For the time being I will have to be content with what I already know.
I know that James Davidson was born in the first half of the 19th Century. I would hazard a guess that his birth is between 1820 and 1840. He would have met Margaret Sutherland before October 1857 and it would have been in Boharm or Keith. He could have been a Carter, Clerk, Station Agent or Master but also may have been none of these. He spent time living in Boharm, Keith, Elgin and Aberdeen and may well have had family in any or all of these places. He also served a prison sentence in Banff Jail around August 1859. He probably died between 1863 and 1878.
I hope that one day, I’ll solve the riddle of his life but that won’t happen until Scotland’s People start offering subscriptions.