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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.