Monthly Archives: September 2020

Humphrey / Rhind Headstone, Lhangbryde

Humphrey / Rhind Headstone, Lhangbryde

Boken headstone remembering the Humphrey / Rhind family © C Sklinar

In Lhanbryde Cemetery there is a broken headstone remembering the Humphrey/Rhind family. The wording on the top section of the headstone was too heavy to move, (health and safety and all that) and see the information.

The name Margaret is missing the top of the ‘t’. The date of death is missing, though you can see she was 70 years old.  The information on the top section was too heavy to see the

Above Margaret, there must have been another name included (probably John Humphrey). The second name is that of Alexander, who was, Killed at Beaumont Hamel on the 13th of November 1916, aged 19. Below, Alexander is Agnes C Rhind, who died in June 1925, followed on by ‘the said’ John Humphrey who died in December 1944 aged 77 and finally, his son James.

The majority of my friends know that I am a sucker for an intriguing headstone or one that bears the name or remembers a soldier or someone who gave service. I seem to want to know who they were – putting meat on bones, as they say!

Alexander had been born in Forres on the 2nd of August 1897. In the 1901 census, 92 North Road, was home for John (a cycle mechanic), Agnes and their five children. Later in his teenage years, he worked as a joiner.

When I began looking for information I must admit I made a very basic and newby error!  I started looking for Alexander Rhind, which gave me a number of records.  Within minutes I was back on track looking for Alexander Humphreys.  As you can see from the headstone – wife and son, then John Humphreys.  This is not a mistake you would make on an English headstone, as in England a married woman is known by her married name.  When I initially started looking into my mother’s family some four decades ago, I could not work out why women had a different name, even though ‘wife of’ or ‘husband of’ was included.  Why were all these people not married?  Why were they so many base-born children?  Then one kind person told me a few words and I have never forgotten them ‘a woman keeps her name from cradle to grave’.  I must say it does make looking for a wife’s maiden name a great deal easier.  But I digress.

Alexander enlisted in Elgin on the 11th of May 1916, where he became Private 6198 in the 5th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. The 5th was part of the 51st Division and took part in the attack on Beaumont Hamel on the 13th of November 1916. The 51st, was situated to the North of Beaumont Hamel, split into four waves. During the first three days of battle, the 51st lost five

Lhangbryde War Memorial

officers and 75 ORs (other ranks) many more joined their fallen comrades in the days to follow due to their wounds. Alexander was one of those 75. Sadly, he has no known grave and is name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial with over 72,100 others whose final resting place is not known.  He is also remembered on the Lhangbryde War Memorial and in the Moray Roll of Honour.

A very interesting and informative description of what happened that day and the days that followed can be found here and here.  In the first link, there is information about another local lad, George Eric Edwards of Lossiemouth.

James Alaister C MacKay – Seaforth Highlanders

James Alaister C MacKay – Seaforth Highlanders

By the 22nd of July 1916, the Battle of the Somme was 22 days old. Shortly after the 22nd, the family of J Alaister Culbard Mackay would receive the news that they had dreaded.

James Alastair Culbard Mackay was born in 1891 in Rathven, Banffshire, the son of Robert Young Mackay and his wife, Edith Culbard. His father Robert had been the Procurator Fiscal for Dumfriesshire – later to be the same in Banffshire and died in 1929. From the collection of family memorials in Linkwood Cemetery, Elgin, so much can be learnt about the Young family and the people who they married. Two large ornate memorial stones are attached to the boundary wall, with several others forming an ‘honour guard’.

It appears that one of the Mackay’s, a doctor, lived at The Tower, Elgin, and probably ran his practice from the building. My parents were married in the building in the early 1950s when the building was a hotel. The Doctor Mackay, according to, remodelled the house and all that remains of the original building is the three-story 1600 tower.

At the time the 1901 census was taken, James was 9-years-old, his younger brother Robert had been born 14 days earlier. Could it have been due to the recent birth that Edith’s sister Alice was in the house on the census night? Also at 6 Seaview, Buckie was a visitor (sick nurse), housemaid and cook. His father Robert, as a solicitor and would, had the means to pay for the extra staff.

James joined the army, initially as a Lieutenant in the 6th Seaforth Highlanders before being promoted to the rank of Captain. The 1/6th Battalion was a Territorial Force known as the Morayshire Battalion. This Battalion landed in France in May 1915 as part of the 51st (Highland Division) – the same period that James landed in France.

As James as an officer, had no service number – it was not until he 2nd World War that a soldier retained his service number after a transfer and an officer had a serial number. Due to James being an officer, his service records are available to view at the National Archives, Kew. Other records appertaining to James service can also be found at the NA or on many pay-per-view websites. One of the available records is his Medal Card which tells that he was eligible for the 1915 Star, Victory and British Medals. Unusually enough, there is a small amount of information on the reverse of the card – application dates for his father and his father’s address (Procurator Fiscals Office, Dumfries. Home, Mayfield, Welltown, Dumfries).

The medals previously mentioned were not the only ones given to James. In early June 1916 in the King Birthday Honour List – His Majesty, the King had been graciously pleased to approve the award (Military Cross) for the Distinguished Service in the Field.

The 51st Division took part in defence of Ypres during the late spring of 1915 before moving to an area north of the River Somme where they relieved the French near Hamel. By now, the 51st were starting to build a reputation for themselves as a hard-fighting lot! In 1916 they took part in attacks on High Wood and the Battle of Ancre in which the 51st captured Beaumont Hamel. During this time they captured over 2000 prisoners. It was more than likely during the battle that James died. The cemetery where he rests is only a short distance from the River Somme and the centre of Ancre. The CWGC cemetery (La Neuville British Cemetery) is slightly off the beaten track, accessible via the Route de Daours, Corbie. Surrounded by fields, the cemetery is the final resting place of over 890 casualties of war.

The Book of Remembrance, available at each site of commemoration, tells James, aged 25 Died of Wounds and also gives his farther’s details. His headstone shows the badge of his regiment and a simple cross along with his identifying information.

The Probate Calendars for Scotland include James, now of Bemreay, Banff. The information – his regiment, that he died on active service, date of Will and Grant, to who granted and the amount of £772 11s 10d.

The website FindaGrave includes a photograph of James’ headstone plus a picture of a very handsome young man wearing a Glengarry Bonnet.

Adam Lind Chivas

Adam Lind Chivas

I can’t remember how I came across Adam, but there must have been a snippet of information made me put him in my blogging filing cabinet, my old grey matter!

Adam Lind Chivas was born at Greyfriars Street, Elgin on the 14th of August 1886 – the son of John Chivas and Margaret Murdoch.

Adam’s father had been a merchant running his business from Commerce Street, Elgin. The Aberdeen Free Press of 21st April 1888 includes an advertisement for a ‘Desirable Licensed Merchants’ for sale by a private bargain with stock and fittings in value to about £400.  Why did John wish to sell his livelihood a few years after his sons birth?

Adam worked as a Maltman.

Adam married Isabella Thompson in May 1913.

In 1914 the war, that would come to be known as ‘the war to end all wars’ (but it didn’t) broke out and Adam like a great number of local young men enlisted.  He enlisted in Elgin, as did many others. He joined the Seaforth Highlanders and became Private S/7253.  The 2/6th Seaforth Highlanders had been formed at Elgin in the September of 1914.  Could Adam and others have joined when a recruiting drive took place locally?  The 2/6th moved to Fort George but Adam was in the 9th Btn.  The 2/6th was only a short-lived Battalion, was it that Adam was transferred to the 9th during his time there?  The 9th moved to Aldershot and became a Pioneer Battalion of the 9th Division before moving to Farnham and then France.

During 1916 they took part in The Battle of The Somme, Delville Wood and Le Transloy.  Adam was Killed in Action on the 19th of March 1916 and rests in the London Rifle Brigade Cemetery just outside Ploegsteert (Plug Street).

The Aberdeen Press and Journal include Adam in their Roll of Honour – Chivas – Killed in action in Belgium, on 19th March, Private Adam L Chivas 9th Seaforth Highlanders, aged 29 years, beloved husband of Bella Chivas, 11 Land Street, New Elgin and brother of Mrs Gatt, 95 Huntly Street, Aberdeen – deeply regretted.  The same entry is also in the Aberdeen Evening Press

The Service Record for Adam has not survived but other documents can give a great deal of information.  Adam L Chivas (Chevas) has two Medal Cards – one tells he entered France on the 10th of May 1915, thus marking him eligible for the 1915 Star and that he was K in A.  The other using Chivas as the surname is less informative but gives his entitlement to the British and Victory Medals.

The most informative document is his Pension Card but this document also raises a few questions.

The CWGC have his age at death as 29, so do newspaper obituaries for the time.  The Pension Card has his date of birth as 19th of April 1877 – a possible transcription error.

The aforementioned newspapers have his wife as Bella, Isabella whom he is said to have married in 1913.  After taking a second look at a few websites and confirming the information already known it was now time to bite the bullet and visit ScotlandsPeople which confirmed a thought I had had after the previous information was fund to be correct.    I find in family history you can’t always think in the box, sometimes you have to venture way outside to find that sneaky bit that tries to hide.

The information on the card I refer to is children – Helen born June 1901, Jame Ann born December 1903 and Christina Born 1909 – all listed as Cameron and marked as Step Children.  It was ScotlandsPeople that confirmed that Isabella’s marriage is cross-referenced under Thompson and Cameron.  It looks like Adam Lind Chivas was her second husband. Now that little problem is sorted.  Home for Adam and Bella had been 11 Land Street but she must have moved as North View, West Road, Elgin was the final address.

How much Pension did Bella receive?  She received 23/- per week from 2nd of October 1916.  This must have been paid in arrears as the award date was 29th September 1916.

Adam Lind Chivas is mentioned with many other Moray men and women in the Morayshire Roll of Honour.

Bella, Isabella died on the 14th of December 1962 aged 86


Countries as First Names

Countries as First Names

A while ago I wrote about towns that parents gave their children as first names.  I also wrote about alcoholic drinks used for the same purpose.  It was while looking for the birth of a Riach family member that I came across a name that brought country names to my attention.

World map source unknown

With this new blog already forming in my mind, I set off on a simple search of FMB (FreeBMD) just using Sept 1837 to 1945 as my date range I started to enter country names in the first name search box – here are a few of my results.

England – over 60 results with the registrations all being south of Knaresborough.  A few Bradford and Dewsbury families used England as a first name but the majority were registered in Bridgewater, Axbridge and Warrington.  With a few registered in Glandford B and N. Aylesford.

Scotland – If England brought results I wondered if Scotland would show results.  FreeBMD would not show that for births but would a few deaths show up for those people wandering down across the border.  No, no deaths or marriages were shown but when looking at ScotlandsPeople results did show.  The OPR’s (Old Parish Registers) show 45 births, 2 deaths, 6 marriages and 3 baptisms.  The Statutory Registers from 1855 the present show 702 births, 558 deaths, 384 marriages and 26 divorces.  While church records over 55 results.  The census over the years shows again over 55 cases of Scotland used as a first or middle name.

Wales – Wales has also been used as a first name and registered in places such as Wakefield, Pontefract, Dewsbury, Marylebone,  Shoreditch, Durham.  The first registration being in 1838 and the last in 1900.

Ireland – Ireland also has been used as a first name for both male and female.  The first entry is in 1840 when Ireland Sophia Du Chateau is registered in Kensington.  In 1841 Ireland William Hewes Graham is registered in Stow.  The year 1900 sees the registration of Ireland Stanley Brian De Courcy in Doncaster.  The last entries using the 1837 – 1945 criteria on FMD are registered in 1937 in Stepney and Camberwell.  Now to go further afield

Africa – There were 9 children registered with the name Africa between 1848 and 1910 and there seems to be no duplication of registration districts.

Belgium – First used as a first or middle name in 1877.  You then see a gap until 1914 when it is probably expected.  The name is then used widely until the last registered in 1920.

France – Surprisingly enough, and I was very surprised, there was no registration of the name France as the first name in FreeBMD – yet!  But and this is a big BUT I found my search criteria was way too large, 1937 to 1945 is not large for most names but France seems to have broken the limit of shown entries which is 3000.  I re-jigged the search to 1900 -1945 but again I broke the system.  Another re-jigging and now 1914-1948 now there are only 14000 entries still over 11000 too many to view.  When the West Riding of Yorkshire is used as an area the results show a large number of entries is mainly due to FRANCES taking over the search.  Now to play with the options – using ‘Exact match on first names’, going back to my original search Sept 1837 – Dec 1945 and returning to Counties ALL – BINGO!  France is used widely from the beginning of registration but I was shocked to find that during The Great War there seem to be no more or fewer entries than is the norm.

Holland – Holland, however, does have a great number of entries.  These large numbers could be mainly since Holland is also a surname and being given to their children to remember a maiden surname down the family line.

Denmark – This country used as a first or middle name only has 3 registrations in the criteria used for this purpose.  Denmark was first registered in 1878 in Neath, then two years later on the Isle of Wight and then lastly in 1894 in Highworth.  On all three occasions, Denmark has been followed by one or two middle names.

Spain – This country only seems, according to the FMD entries, registered one time – in 1843 in Thanet.  So it seems that Spain Lilleford Miller was the only person to have Spain as a name.

Portugal – Portugal, also seems to be lacking registrations.

Italy – Italy has been registered 3 times from 1890 to 1913 with all the entries being in the London area and to Italian families.

Germany – continuing around Europe, Germany has been registered 5 times between 1842 and 1872 with no duplication of registration district.

Switzerland – no registrations.

Poland – There were 3 registrations for the first name Poland between 1860 and 1921 all being in the south of England.

Russia – There was only one entry, Russian Freemantle was registered in S Stoneham in 1903.

America – America on its own sees four entries between 1870 and 1885 and one example of Americas being registered in Chelsea in 1843.  In 1884 America Rushbrook De la Coze was registered in Midhurst.  The following year America Maria J Casadia was registered in Holborn.

Canada – Another example of a unique name.  Canada Katie E Wardle was registered in Shipston in the December Quarter of 1897.

Brazil – The year 1887 sees the first entry of Brazil being used but Brazillia was used in 1845.  You would think that Brazil would be the masculine name while Brazillia was the female version.  That is not the case as in 1867 Hull Brazillai Stephen Cock was registered.  You could also think that this name was used by sailors who had visited Brazil.  This presumption may not be the case as many of the registrations are for inland districts.

Argentina – While Patagonia has no entries Argentina has 11 registrations between 1849 and 1900 from places as far a wide as Peterborough, Bradford, Devises, Wirral, St Pancras and London.  Out of the 11 registrations, only 4 have a British surname.  The majority of the remainder seem to be Italian in origin.

Australia – Again a single entry first name.  Australia George A Tyler was registered in Spalding in 1870.

Tasmania – Tasmania however, has three entries all of which seem to be female born between 1855 and 1893.

Zealand – This name has been registered 7 times and in all instances except one has been the only name – Zealandia Ross Burt is the only multi-name and the only example of Zealandia.

Java – Java has also been used as a first name with a first registration taking place in Bradford in 1862.

Japan – There are no entries.

China – However, China sees three registrations for both male and female between 1842 and 1904.

Siberia – Now this one did surprise me with three entries from 1838 to 1896.

India – India was first registered in Spilsbury in 1842 but there were entries for Indian(n) before and after.  Indian(n)a does take up the majority of the search results.

Arabia – Finds one entry for Arabia Maria Louisa Woolsey being registered in Erpingham in 1838.

Burma – First registered in Wellingborough in 1859 and given to Burma Selema Flawn.  The main results for Burma as criteria are Burman and Burmah.

Iceland – Sees three entries in a 42 year period.

Norway, Sweden and Finland see no entries.

Uist – Uist an island off Scotland has 6 entries but all are between 1948 and 1983 and all are registered south of Nottingham.

Going out on a limb with one last search:

Greenland – Six registrations taking place between 1877 and 1919

That ends my journey around the world in names.  But doesn’t it make you wonder what was the reasoning behind the parents choice of name(s) for their children? During The Great War, you can understand Belgium being used.  There also was a speight of Belgian town names as babies names during that time.  But countries such as Java and Burma makes you wonder what was the connection,  as I am sure that many working men and women may never have heard of these places, never mind have a connection to them.

Why people chose such names for their children could remain a mystery unless these people are in your family tree.


William Bauchop of Forres

William Bauchop of Forres

The Bauchop family headstone stands proudly on a slab of granite in the Cluny Hill Cemetery – near the top of the hillside cemetery.  This woodland cemetery I find such a beautiful and peaceful place and is probably one of my favourites to spend time just walking around.

The headstone tells ‘In memory of James Bauchop. Died 26 Feb. 1931. His wife Flora Clyne Died 29 Sep. 1932. Their sons Charles. Died in infancy. William Killed in Action. 23 Dec. 1914. And their daughter Jean Cameron Clyne Died 17 May. 1952.’

William was born in Dundee on the 18th of May 1883. Within a few years, the family had moved North to Forres. The move could have been because James worked for the Great North of Scotland Railway Company as a traffic agent. Number 76c High Street became the family home.

William also worked for the same railway company as his father – could his work have been the reason he was in London at the time of his enlistment, September 1914?

He joined the 2nd Btn. Scots Guards and became Private 11319. It was just a few months after enlisting on the 9th of November 1914 that William embarked for France.

When the 2nd Battalion landed they became part of the 20th Guards Brigade of the 7th Division which took part in the First Battle of Ypres. In September and November, very heavy fighting took place not only in Ypres but in the surrounding areas. It was during this time over 50,000 British regular soldiers became casualties or were killed. Even though there were large numbers of casualties the British managed to hold the line and stopped the German attempt to breakthrough.

The regiment saw further contact with the enemy in the very cold December of that year. The regiment, on the 19th of December, won its first Victoria Cross, when Private James Mackenzie successfully rescued a badly wounded soldier from the German lines. He was killed later that day while undertaking a similar rescue. It was only a few short days later that William was killed.

William was laid to rest in Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France. Fleurbaix is some 700 miles from Forres, a small hamlet between Bethune and Armienteres. To the south is Fromelles while a 30 minutes drive and you are in the Belgium city of Ypres. A world and a lifetime away from the Moray Burgh of Forres.

Although William was killed early in the war he was still eligible for a medal or two – the 1914 Star and the Victory Medal. He or should I say his father went on to receive a War Gratuity of £3 plus £1 13s 10p and three siblings (James, Jane C and Annie) each received 11s 3p.

William was not the only child of James and Flora to ‘do their bit’ during The Great War. His younger brother James, born 2nd February 1892. He enlisted locally in Elgin on the 4th of August 1914. He initially served with the 1/6th Seaforth Highlanders as Private 1757, later rising to the rank of Sergeant before being transferred after 1916 to the Machine Gun Corps where he was an Officer Cadet and entered on the nominal roll of Officers. Now a 2nd Lieutenant he was awarded the Military Cross his citation in the London Gazette of 6 April 1918 reads:-T./2nd Lt. James Belfrage Bauchop, M.G. Corps. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He led his battery through very heavy shell fire to their position during an attack, and got them into action, with great success. Later, under very severe shell fire, though wounded, he reorganised his teams’ and got his guns into action, remaining at his post until relieved’.

James during his service was severely wounded at Poelcapelle in the left side and shoulder. The Forres News and Advertiser of 20th of October 1917 let the community know of the families news ‘Wounded, Sec., Lieut. J B Bauchop. Information has been received by Mr and Mrs Bauchop, High Street, Forres that their only surviving son, Second Lieut. James B Bauchop, Machine Gun Corps, has been severely wounded. After a period of 15 months at the front with the Seaforth Highlanders, he received a commission in the Machine Gun Corps in October last year. Before enlisting he was in the employment of Messrs R & S Stewart, W.S., Edinburgh.’ After the was James worked as a solicitor. He married Margaret MacKenzie and died in 1959.

The next child is Jean or Jane as she is sometimes found, like William she was born in Dundee (28 June 1886). During the war, she served as a VAD Nurse but is missing from the Red Cross lists. After the was Jean became the manageress of the Forres Gazette office. She died in 1952.

John A Stewart – Hong Kong and Cluny Hill, Forres

John A Stewart – Hong Kong and Cluny Hill, Forres

I don’t tend to research WW2 soldiers as there is not as much information available online…..yet!  But this little headstone in Cluny Hill Cemetery, Forres shouted out at me to have a look and see what I could find.   The two words that caught my attention were ‘Hong Kong’.  Well, I had to have a look, didn’t I

John Stewart Killed in Action ©2020

What did I know?  I knew the soldier’s name, well I presume he was a soldier – I may be proved wrong.  I knew when he died and where.  I also knew the names of his father, mother and sister – don’t you just love a good headstone?

Let me start my search with a visit to the CWGC (Commonwealth War Gaves Commission website.  The CWGC have recently updated their website and it is not as easy to search as it was.  Gone are the search boxes we knew, now the boxes are less with the option of adding extra search criteria.  You also have to contend with mouseover menu’s that drop down at the slightest move of a mouse – I am not a fan of mouseover menus.

Who am I talking about?  John A Stewart as the headstone commemorates him is on the CWGC John Alexander Stewart, and he is not a soldier!  John was Leading Aircraftman 972440, John Alexander Stewart who served in the RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve).  He was 24 years old when he died on the 6th of April 1944  in Yunnan.  Yunnan borders Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar (Burma) so there was quite a bit going on in that region during WW2.

Both the family headstone and the CWGC site tell that John’s father was John Alexander and his mother was Annie Henderson.  Only the headstone mentions John’s sister Catherine Ann who died in 1954 aged 37.

The family headstone also tells that John died in air operations.  During the time around his death, the British Army,  the Chindits formed by Ord Wingate were fighting in northern Burma, an unconventional long-range war that was only kept going forward by supply airdrops from the RAF.  Could this have been John’s job to keep the army supplied?  It’s a possibility!

Quite a lot of information from so few sources but with John being from Scotland it makes online research difficult for births, baptisms and census – Scotlands People being a pay per view site.  I wish, oh, I wish they would change to an annual subscription.  As I can’t use that source for information, well I could, but not going to.  I normally Google a person’s name near the end of my research, it looks like I’m near the end so a Google search it is.

Initially, I used John’s name but that was too broad a search.  Next was to include his rank and that came up with a wonderful site.  I’ve used the site before and again it did not let me down.  The RAF Commands site is a cornucopia of information and never fails to fulfil.  A simple search for John came up with his plane and fellow crew members along with a description of the events that lead to his death.  I now am able to tell you that John was in 357 Sqdn and was on Liberator III BZ952 lead by F. Sgt Frederick Sullivan (1087865).  Along with John and Frederick three was eleven other crew on board that day who were delivering petrol into the stores at Kumming, China allowing RAF Special Duties to refuel there before continuing to Siam during the rainy season.  So I was partially correct in what John was doing at the time of his death.  The entry on RAF Command can be read here.

This wonderful website has a large collection of photographs relating to the 357 squadron could Alexander be immortalised in one of these images?