Tag Archives: DNA

Andrew Hyslop – where did you come from, where did you go?

I am going to explain this as clearly as I can, but it won’t be easy and I fear it won’t be interesting, but at least I will have the mystery written down, if only for myself to return to at some future date.

So my GGG Grandfather is Andrew Hyslop. I know this because my Great Great Grandmother Mary Hyslop’s death certificate shows her parents to be Andrew Hyslop and Flora Swan.

Andrew can be found in the 1851, 1861 and 1871 censuses with Flora and some of his family:

In 1851 he is living in Springholm with wife and 8 day old baby Mary, well he would be but he appears to be absent, poor Flora.

Andrew Hyslop 1851.jpg

In 1861 he is living in Tynwald with Flora, Mary, son James and daughters Flora and Henrietta. He is listed as a ploughman, Mary was born in Urr, James in Irongray and Flora and Henrietta in Torthorwald.

1861 Andrew Hyslop

In 1871 Andrew is living in Lauder Hook Cottage in Dryfesdale with Flora, daughter Jessie and Granddaughter Mary Stevenson my Great Grandmother. Andrew’s occupation is now farm servant.

Andrew Hyslop 1871

There is one more record of Andrew that I am sure of, sadly it is a year later and is his wife Flora’s death certificate. Andrew’s occupation is again given as ploughman and he is witness to the death (possibly his writing on the record).

Flora Swan Hyslop death

After that Andrew disappears, I can find no death for him that I am absolutely sure of, which means I can’t find his parents.

For some time I was misled by other trees that had him remarrying a Mary Carson which made his mother a Margaret Shaw, but the marriage record shows Mary Carson to marry a bachelor not a widow and Margaret Shaw’s son Andrew is on another 1871 census at the same time Andrew can be found living with Flora. So my Andrew did not remarry Mary Carson.

This may be Andrew in 1881. He has lost three to four years in age with a birth date of 1829, but the occupation of farm servant seems correct and he is described as a widower.

Andrew Hyslop at Penlaw

The only possible entry for 1891 is in Dalbeattie and has Andrew born in 1817, so losing eight years from the earlier censuses and a seemingly impossible 12 years from the 1881 census, but perhaps his age was just guessed? His occupation is described as general labourer and again he is a widower.

It seems unlikely to be him but this is the only one that ties with a more likely death for our Andrew, rather frustratingly it gives neither widow nor parents’ name. The death certificate is witnessed by a neighbour, it is clearly the same person as in 1891 and occupation is described as agricultural labourer, he has lost a year or two in age!


If this is Andrew, it is sad that he seemingly dies alone after having at least five children. However, my ancestor Mary died years earlier, daughters Jessie and Henrietta went to Canada and the States, daughter Flora however was nearby, perhaps they fell out! Son James also disappears from records.

So we have a possible death for Andrew but where did he come from? Without the usual help you get from the death records in Scotland and a marriage that does not include parents’ names it is hard to say. The most likely parents through a process of elimination are James Hyslop and Jane/Jean Dickson which makes Andrew, Andrew Blyth Hyslop. I can find no records of Andrew Blyth Hyslop apart from his baptism.

If this is the case then going back a further generation Jane/Jean’s parents are John Dickson and Margaret McNaught, this can be seen from Jane/Jean’s death certificate. The document also shows that her husband predeceased her.

The McNaught connection is particularly interesting to me because I am descended from McNaughts through another branch. Andrew Hyslop’s daughter Mary married William Gibson Stevenson (Red Rob) whose mother was a Jean McNaught. Were Mary and William distant cousins? It is possible, I certainly have McNaught in my DNA – maybe a double dose. Unfortunately Margaret McNaught was born before any easily obtainable records so I am unable to find out.

Jane Dickson death 1865 (2)

So if anyone knows more about Andrew Blyth Hyslop, is he my ancestor? I would love to know, I am sure the answer is out there somewhere.


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52 ancestors Sarah Sellars-Airey

Sarah Sellars was my Great Great Grandmother, I am not going to describe her in my own words, but in those of her Granddaughter Winifred Airey, my Grandma. She took the sampler that Sarah sewed, aged nine years old, to a women’s meeting and did a little talk about her, this is what she said.IMG_20140212_182449.

This sampler was worked by my Grandmother Sarah Sellars aged 9 in 1838. She was the only child of her father who was a schoolmaster in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire. Her mother died when giving birth to her.

After her father died she went to relatives in Manchester for a short time and then went to keep house for an uncle, who was a shepherd on the moors between Swaledale and Wensleydale. There she met and married William Airey a builder of Preston -under-Scar, Yorkshire.

Sarah had 13 children, of whom her three eldest and two youngest lived to grow up; one being my father, some died of scarlet fever which was a killer in those days.

William and Sarah and several children went to live in Darlington, County Durham, where scarlet fever took the other children. Two more were born to her, my father and my youngest aunt. She had a good share of illness and grief, but I believe she was always cheerful and bright.

She was only 4ft 10 inches tall, but was described by contemporaries as a jolly pretty little woman. She died at 60 having become a widow a little previously.

Winifred W Jackson

IMG_20140212_182503And this is me,

Sarah’s parents were Sarah Pickard and Joseph Sellars, Joseph was a schoolmaster but Sarah signed her name with a mark on the marriage certificate.

Sarah can be found three years after the sampler was completed, orphaned and living with an Anthony Grange, his wife Hannah and Hannah’s father George Wilkinson aged 82,  I have not discovered any relationship between them and Sarah it is a mystery as to why she is there.

By 1851 she is married to William Airey and the censuses fit in with my grandmother’s notes. In 1871 an Isobel McMain is visiting them, she was born in Preston-under-Scar but again does not appear to be any sort of relation to Sarah or William. In 1881 Sarah is living with four children (son Joseph is away working in Leeds). By 1891 she is widowed and again living with four children, but  this time it is son John who is missing (he would be married by this stage).

Sarah died later that year, an executor in her will is  John William Keelip, wood carver. I cannot work out what connection he is, but he may have worked with Sarah’s husband or sons.

The other mysteries I have worked on solving are who the shepherd is that she kept house for and also who were the aunts she stayed with in Manchester.

It seems that the shepherd could be an Emanuel Cleasby who lived in the right area, he had a sister Sarah  who married a James Pickard, this Sarah is the same age as Sarah Sellers mother Sarah Pickard. So it seems likely that James died making Sarah a widow and she then married Joseph Sellers, this would also explain why she was 39 when she gave birth to Sarah and met her death.

As for Aunts in Manchester, Emanuel and Sarah had sisters Jane and Isabella both living in Manchester, so Sarah could have stayed with either or both of them.

I just wish I could have that final piece of proof.

14th August 2016 an update!

The final piece of proof has been found. I had my DNA tested on Ancestry and the results show matches with three Cleasby descendants, all descended from Sarah’s sister Margaret who married an Edmund Dinsdale, this branch moved to the USA, I am hoping they will contact me at some stage.

I have now had contact from this branch of the family, I need to piece together all I have found out about the Cleasbys.



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