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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

#35 - A Sweet Little Tidbit Derived from the 1891 Census

When doing historical research, it is sometimes the smallest things that stand out the most.

in 6 previous posts I've talked about Sarah.  At first, I didn't know who she was - a postcard that appeared to be from Madeira was all that I had.  In a postcard about the Seaforth Highlanders, I found out that Sarah was in Burghead.  After a couple of other postcards, I came across one that narrowed it down to three Sarahs.  Then to one - Sarah Sandeson.

I still didn't have a lot of information on who Sarah was or how she knew the McCurrach family.

So I went back to the 1891 census.  Here we find out that the McCurrach family was living in Burghead.  Is it possible to see if the families lived near to each other?

Indeed it was - the addresses of each family are listed on the census.

The McCurrachs are at 41 King Street.

The Sandesons are at 19 Brander Street.

And in relation to each other, those addresses are like this:

You'll also note that at the time John McCurrach (Jack's father) was a Railway plate layer and Sarah's father was a blacksmith.  They may have worked together, but even if they didn't, the children would have gone to school together (Ann McCurrach being 8 and Margaret Sandeson being 7 - Sarah and Jack both being 3 - and the Burghead Primary school had been built in 1875), and the families undoubtedly knew each other simply through their geography.

At this point I can still do little more than guess, but their proximity in space and age makes it a pretty educated guess as to their friendship.  The McCurrachs moved away after that, but the families obviously stayed in touch.  Jack also had a sister named Isabella - I have no idea if she was named after Sarah's mother, but it is possible.

Such a small thing to look at addresses and look at a map, but it tells a tale.

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