I cropped the above image so you could enjoy the beautiful handwriting (or at least, I think it is beautiful and wish I was capable of the same). I left several of the records – although we only really want to focus on one.
It’s been on my mind a lot – the notes that were in my father’s handwriting regarding Family History and the fact he had written down a marriage between a John Scott and MaryAnne Laurence in Ceres, Fife. However he arrived at this information, or who told him, must have had something in mind; they or he has even suggested a possible origin of the Orkney Islands for MaryAnne and a possible derivative of the name, Laurenceson.
I went through some of my old notes and copies of different registrations in a folder I keep, “Unknown” – mostly bits and pieces of information that doesn’t fit, but might fit with more information. Lo and behold, I realized that some years ago, I must have looked for a marriage in Ceres between a John Scott and MaryAnne or Mary Anne Laurence.
I found on that fits my father’s notes. But why it exists, I still have no clue because once again, my father’s notes are almost surely wrong (with one caveat I’ll discuss below) in regard to the descendants of this couple. My father’s notes and my commentary on them are available here – while further evidence that the husband and wife of James Scott and Elizabeth Scott (Maiden Surname Scott) MUST be the parents of John Scott, b. 1848, is here, discussing Elizabeth Scott.
The Marriage Couple
While the handwriting is beautiful, the marriage record is short on details. All we know is that some John Scott, in the Parish of Ceres, married some Mary-Anne Laurence, of the Parish of Kemback. Today, the Parishes of Ceres, Kemback, and Springfield are one parish, having amalgamated. You might want to check out their website – they have a bit of interesting history regarding the three parish churches.
Getting back to our couple, there are no ages listed, no occupations, and especially difficult, no names of parents, especially for the bride. Could this mean the bride is older and had been living on her own for some time? We don’t really know, but the 1851 census may have a hint. The marriage record itself does not give us much information to go on.
Ceres and Kemback are not far apart – but perhaps they both went into Cupar on Saturday nights for a drink and met there. Who knows?
1851 Census Hint?
While it is possible this couple moved away from Ceres before 1851, Ceres is a good enough place to start looking for them so soon after their marriage. And indeed, I found a John Scott married to a Mary Anne Scott – strange ages for a first marriage however:
John and Mary Anne lived on Main Street, and at No. 157 (whatever that might have been back in 1851). What struck me though was the age of John Scott: 57. Well, he certainly can’t be the John Scott in my dad’s notes that married a Mary Anne Laurence. He was apparently born in 1813. But there has already been noted quite some confusion in those notes – so let’s carry on.
The census record does give us a few more hints though: John was born in Largo, Fifeshire. Mary Ann was born in Tipperary, Ireland. Well, it’s a long way to Tipperary from the Orkney Islands, isn’t it? So we seem to be really off on a wild goose chase.
But there are two children. And interestingly enough, these children suggest a recent marriage, despite the ages of the parents. They were born after 1847, the date on our marriage registration.
A daughter named Mary Anne aged 2 and a son George, aged 1 – both born in Ceres.
I cannot make out all the words in the occupation field for John – but the last word does appear to be “Weaver.” Do you agree? Are you able to make out any of the other words yourself? Please let me know what you think in the comment below.
With this census and the marriage record, we still don’t have much to go on, to see how if they do, fit into our family tree. So… what else can we do? I did try other searches on the 1851 census but didn’t come up with anything that was close to what we do know of a marriage in Ceres.
Let’s Try A Death Record Search
I really wanted to find out more about Mary Anne. I thought if I could find a death record for Mary Ann, we might learn more about her husband, and her own background.
In the civil registrations between 1860 and 1910, even using fuzzy matching, I could find only one Mary Ann Laurence (including derivatives) and other surname of Scott.
We actually have some interesting things here to look at:
- Recall the occupation of John Scott in the 1851 census. This death record lists him now as being deceased, but his occupation was a Weaver. The same occupation as the census record (noting I cannot read the words before “Weaver” in the census).
- The age of Mary Ann at her death matches the census record in 1851, in Ceres.
- In 1860, Mary Ann is in Dundee. We don’t know why, but is it possible her husband was indeed related to the other Scotts, James and James, that went to Dundee?
- Her mother’s maiden name is “Sheridan.” That is most definitely more of an Irish name than it is Scottish, originating in County Longford.
There may be other interesting things in this death registration but I cannot read them all. I’m unable to make out the full address of the deceased (something Wynd, Dundee, and everything before that), nor can I make out everything in the informant column, other than it’s been marked by the mother’s, Maria Laurence, “X.”
The father’s name is James Laurence, deceased, and I believe it says he was a “Flax Dresser.”
What Can We Conclude, If Anything?
So far, in regard to a John Scott that married a Mary Anne Laurence, there is nothing we can conclude in how or even if they fit into our family tree. I have absolutely no clue if this John Scott is a close relative to one of the James’ that went to Dundee as Coopers. I can’t even say for sure that the death record of Mary Ann Laurence is the same as the Mary Ann in the 1851 census in Ceres, or the Mary Ann Laurence in Ceres that married a John Scott.
We don’t even know where my father got the information in the first place, where he notes a John Scott and Mary Ann Laurence marriage in Ceres. Could have been some incorrect random guess by someone else.
Having expressed that, there are some interesting lines of research and investigation that could be done. We do know that John Scott, son of James & Elizabeth named his youngest son “Joseph Laurenson Scott.” Where did he get the name Joseph from? Where did he get the name “Laurenson” from as a middle name? There is likely some connection to something.
We could search for the John Scott, husband of Mary Ann who passed away before she died in 1860. His death record might reveal something interesting. It might be interesting to try to locate their two known children (there could be others) and find out what happened to them. Is there a Mary Ann and George Scott in another family who do not seem to fit? Perhaps they were adopted after their mom died. Can we find out if this Mary Ann was born in Ireland, and how she managed to get herself to Ceres or Kemback in Fifeshire, Scotland. Were her parents from Ireland, especially considering the surname Sheridan of her mother?
And having done all that, we still might find ourself on a wild goose chase with not much to show – but that is part of research; often eliminating ideas is as important as putting faith in an interesting discovery.
Personally, I think I owe it to my dad to spend a little bit of time on this, as it was in his notes. But I’m not sure how much time, when there are still so many interesting (to me) people to figure out.
Have A Comment Or Idea? Leave it below and let me know what you think!
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