Generation 5: Paternal 3x  Gt. Grandparents…

In theory, there should be 32 ancestors in this generation, but two ancestors (Fitzherbert and Mary Wright) in the last generation were siblings so shared the same parents. And we can’t confirm the natural father of our great grandmother Annie Birtwistle (née Hartley), so that branch is currently a dead end. That means we not only have a duplicate pair of ancestors at this generation, but also a missing pair.  And so there are actually only 28 possible ancestors we can currently trace in this generation.

Continue reading “Generation 5: Paternal 3x  Gt. Grandparents…”

George Goldsmith Kirby, a masonic mystery – revisited

As mentioned in the George Goldsmith Kirby, a masonic mystery? post, my great great great grandfather George Goldsmith Kirby was the “original projector” and managing director of the Freemasons & General Life Assurance Company. My eldest brother thought The Library and Museum of Freemasonry might be able to shine a light on whether his father was also a member, but sadly they only had the following information in their records:

George Goldsmith Kirby
Grand Master’s Lodge No. 1, London
Initiated: 19th February 1838
Passed: 16th April 1839
Raised: 21st May 1839
Age: (Not recorded)
Address: (Not recorded)
Occupation: (Not recorded)
Master of the Lodge in 1845
Last payment made in 1855

Rediscovered plans of Osmaston Manor (1850-1873)


Mark Smith at the Derbyshire records office has kindly been in touch about the rediscovered archives of the Osmaston Estate, which includes rent books, tenancy papers, some plans, photographs, and family papers of the Walker family who acquired Osmaston Manor after the death of my ancestor Francis Wright (1806-1873). You can read his post here, and hopefully they’ll be sharing some of the photographs soon as the house was demolished in the 1960s. In the meantime, you can see some of the photos of the interior here and also some photographs of the exterior on Matthew Beckett’s the England’s Lost Country Houses site.

A short film by Beth Kirby


Earlier this year my 8 year old daughter Beth was learning about Victorian Britain, so I suggested to her that we collaborate on the short film above about her Victorian Ancestors. Beth’s younger brother Max also stars in our film made using the iMovie app on the iPad. The Penguin Cafe Orchestra have very kindly given us permission to use the Music For A Found Harmonium and Bramble May tracks from their Music From The Penguin Cafe – Live At The Royal Albert Hall (2009) album that was recorded to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. We hope you enjoy.

Aonghnas Mac Dhomhnuill – sketch

Angus Macdonell 20th Chief of Keppoch
Angus Macdonell, xxi of Keppoch?

I’ve been reading the Macdonald Bards from Medieval Times by Keith Norman Macdonald, M.D. It was published in 1900 from papers by Dr Macdonald that had originally appeared in The Oban Times. It includes the following ‘sketch’ about my great great great grandfather Angus MacDonell, where he is referred to as “xxii of Keppoch” and having represented “the chieftainship from 1831 until the time of his death”: Continue reading “Aonghnas Mac Dhomhnuill – sketch”

Lochabair Gu Bràth by Alice C. MacDonell of Keppoch

Lochabair Gu Bràth (Lochaber for Ever)
by Alice C. MacDonell of Keppoch
circa 1895
In all thy mood I love thee,
In sunshine and in storm;
Lochaber of the towering bens,
Outlined in rugged form.
Here proud Ben Nevis, snowy crowned,
Rests throned amidst the clouds;
There Lochy’s deep and silvery wave,
A royal city shrouds;
Whose waters witnessed the escape
Of coward Campbell’s dastard shape,
Disgrace eternal reap:
Whilst fair glen Nevis’ rocks resound,
With “Pibroch Donald Dubh” renowned,
From Inverlochy’s keep.
Grey ruined walls, in latter years,
That saw the great Montrose,
MacDonell’s, Cameron’s men led forth,
To victory ‘gainst their foes.
Oh! Lochaber, dear Lochaber,
The rich red afterglow
Of fame that rests upon thy shield,
Unbroken records show.
“O, Lochabair, mo Lochabair fhein gu bràth.”
(“O, Lochaber, my own Lochaber for ever.”)

Continue reading “Lochabair Gu Bràth by Alice C. MacDonell of Keppoch”

The Story of Mary Brown

Peter Ramsay was an Inn Keeper and stabler that made a fortune. He died around 1783 and was the brother of my ancestor William Ramsay. He’s mentioned in The Story of Mary Brown from Wilson’s Tales of the Borders and of Scotland, Vol. XXIII. by Various (Part 2 out of 4). I thought I’d share this as it’s encountering this type of story that makes my genealogical research more interesting that the actual ancestry. Continue reading “The Story of Mary Brown”

Ramsays, Hamiltons and a Douglas

Ever since I found that I was listed on the Douglas Archives, I’ve been wondering how I might be connected to their family. I think I may have found out via the Ahnentafel sent by Rafael Alberto Madan (my 8th cousin twice removed, see more here). So I started with my (7th Generation) ancestor Alexander Gibson-Maitland, who married Susan Ramsay on 25 Mar 1819. She was the eldest daughter of George Ramsay, of Barnton, and Jean Hamilton, his wife. I then found George and Jean on, and found a connection with the Douglas family as follows: Continue reading “Ramsays, Hamiltons and a Douglas”