I made contact with Mel Goldman on Ancestry, as I noticed that he had the Ramsays of Barnton on one of his trees there. Turns out he’s been helping one of the Garst family with their family tree, and they have 30′ x 10′ Ramsay of Barnton Pedigree that’s about 120 years old. So it’s too big to upload here, but it has made me re-think Ramsay of Barnton ancestry not least because the tree starts with a Peter Ramsay. This is interesting because as mentioned before Jana Ramsay Best sent through Old Parish Registers records for Births & Baptisms of Peter Ramsay (b. 15 Feb 1727) and William Ramsay (b. 2 August 1732), sons of George Ramsay Stabler in the Canongate and his spouse Agnes Thom.
She couldn’t find a marriage for George and Agnes, but mentioned that new entries are always turning up at the GRO as they unearth and scan old documents. She also sent me the names and dates of births of all the siblings: Peter 1727, Isobell 1729, William 1732, John Ramsay 1733, Christian 1735 and Agnes 1739. There may have been another brother as I’ve found another reference to a George Ramsay Stabler in Canongate from The Commissariot of Edinburgh, Consistorial Processes and Decreets 1658-1800, as follows:
“Process of Adherence – Elizabeth Paterson, later mantua maker in Edinburgh, now in Dundee, and spouse of George Ramsay, staymaker in Canongate, son of the deceased George Ramsay, stabler in Canongate, against the said George Ramsay, married at Edinburgh 1751XI 15 Apr. 1763″
The Garst Ramsay of Barnton Pedigree doesn’t list include the Dates of Birth for Peter and William Ramsay and also mentions a sister called Janet who married James Stear. This Janet is not included in the children of George Ramsay and Agnes Thom who Jana has identified so far. So there’s now a question about whether the father of William Ramsay 1st of Barnton is Peter or George Ramsay. Mel Peter think it’s the Peter identified by the unknown professional who produced the Ramsay Pedigree. He also thinks there’s a miniature oval painting and written description of one Peter Ramsay born 1707, which would make him 25 when William Ramsay was born in 1732. George Ramsay would have been 41, which he thinks is unlikely.
I think the date of birth and death for George Ramsay (1661-1751) comes from the List of Burials excerpted from Register in possession of the Registrar of the Canongate. (Collection: Midlothian: Edinburgh – The Commissariot Record of Edinburgh, 1701-1800) or at least that’s what I have listed on Ancestry. Would be interesting to check this. I have his wife Agnes Thom as being born in 1694 and dieing in 1758, and these dates are from the probate records on Ancestry. I have not checked the primary source though. This would make her 33 when she had Peter in 1727, which is not impossible and the Baptisms certificate sent by Jana for William Ramsay being born in August 1732 does seem to tally with other information about William Ramsay of Barnton. I also found the following snippet on Google Books from Stage-coach to John O’groats by Leslie Gardiner (1961) that mentions that William Ramsays father was a stabler in Canongate:
“One was William Ramsay of Barnton, whose father, years ago, had made a small fortune out of inns and stabling in Edinburgh’s Canongate and whose brother had more recently cornered a a useful slice of the cornered a useful slice of the stage-coach and mail business on the Dumfries and Carlisle roads.”
This tallies with the George Ramsay Stabler in Canongate mentioned in the birth certificate for William Ramsay born in 1732. Maybe there was a Peter Ramsay who was also a stabler in Canongate that had a son called William who was born in 1732, or maybe Leslie Gardner is mistaken about William Ramsay being the son of a stabler in Canongate. However, I can’t help thinking that it’s the unknown professional who produced the Ramsay Pedigree that’s mistaken about Peter Ramsay being the father of William, Peter and Janet Ramsay.
It did have some doubts about the George Ramsay and Agnes Thom theory as I had seen the following post by Janna Ramsay Best on Rootsweb from June 2000:
“… George Ramsay, Merchant and Stabler in Edinburgh who married Agnes Thom about 1745. They were the parents of the banker, William RAMSAY of Barnton.”
This doesn’t tally with Peter being born in 1727, but then I remembered that when Jana actually contacted me she said she couldn’t find a marriage for George and Agnes (see above) and the only mention I can find for the 1745 marriage date is on another family tree on Ancestry without a citation. So this is probably a red herring.
Another reason for doubting the Pedigree is that it’s not complete. For example, the Pedigree only mentions Peter and William as being children of Peter Ramsay (brother of William Ramsay of Barnton). It doesn’t mention his daughter Margaret, the widow of Captain Mansfield (see following snippet from Cassell’s Old and new Edinburgh : its history, its people, and its places ([1881-83?]) by James Grant):
“He [Peter Ramsay] has left one son, William Ramsay, jun., Esq., banker in Edinburgh, and one daughter, the widow of Captain Mansfield, of the South Fencible Regiment, who lost his life at Leith in 1779, when attempting to quell a mutiny.”
Margaret Ramsay (b. 1756) married James Mansfied on 16 SEP 1770:
Mansfield, James, captain lieutenant in 7th regiment of Dragoons, and Miss Margaret, d. to Mr. Peter Ramsay of Wariston in county of Midlothian, in Tolbooth p. 16 Sep 1770. Book: Volume 5. The Register of Marriages. (Marriage). Collection: Midlothian: Edinburgh – Register of Marriages, 1751-1800
Hamish Bain who was in touch last year (see here) mentioned that the baptism of three of Peter Ramsay the stabler’s children can be found in the Old St Paul’s registers, printed in Northern Notes and Queries. I found a James born Feb. 15th 1753 (not mentioned on the Pedigree), a Peter born April 5th 1754 (tallies with Pedigree) and a William born April 1st 1759 (tallies with Pedigree). It also mentions his wife as ‘MacKenzie’, which tallies with the Pedigree. Mel Goldman has her listed as Margaret Clare Mackenzie on Ancestry, but there’s no citation for this.
My point being that the Pedigree should really be treated as the basis for suggesting possible lines of enquiry for further research, rather than as fact, given that it spans over 200 years of ancestors and doesn’t include any citations. Anyway, probably needs someone far more forensic than me to figure this all out, and someone who knows where to find primary sources.