Genealogical Record of John Stewart, gamekeeper at Foss House

The Barn of John Stewart's farm at White Lake, Ontario

The Barn of John Stewart's farm at White Lake, Ontario

Discovering the ancestry of Scots who settled in Canada is not always easy as documentary proof is often lacking, and the researcher has to rely upon unsubstantiated probability instead of hard facts. Such is the case for John Stewart and Christina (Christian) Robertson of White Lake, Renfrew County Canada.

John's death certificate dated 8th October 1875, states that he was born in Blair Atholl, Perthshire, Scotland, was aged 73 years, and a baptist by faith. He "died suddenly, sitting in a chair, supposed to be heart disease". His memorial stone in White Lake cemetery gives his date of birth as 1803. The same stone records that his wife Christena (sic) was born in 1811, and her death certificate dated 10th February 1906 gives her age as 88 years.

Their children in order of birth were Margaret, James, Isabella, Catherine, Donald, John, Robert and Alexander, the last child having been born in Canada. This information was enough to identify their father as John Stewart, gamekeeper at Foss House, Dull, Perthshire, Scotland.

All of the baptisms were entered into the Dull OPR as a single block in 1855, just before the introduction of civil registration. Many people did not bother to have their children baptised for various reasons. Sometimes the cost of paying the tax was a factor, and in some families only the sons were baptised. In this case the entries in the Dull OPR suggest that the information was copied from a family bible, and according to this, each child had been baptised soon after birth, but not in the parish church. As John's death certificate states that he was a baptist it is reasonable to assume that a local baptist minister carried out this ceremony. When it was announced that civil registration was to replace the Old Parish Records there was a clamour of people wanting to have outstanding birth and baptisms recorded 'properly' before it was too late. John obviously decided that it would do no harm either.

Dull OPR (baptisms)

Margaret, daughter (to) John Stewart, gamekeeper Foss House, and his wife Christian Robertson was born on the 28th day of September and baptised on 25th December 1842.

James, son to John Stewart, gamekeeper, and his wife Christian Robertson in Foss House, was born on the 18th April and baptised on May 19th 1844.

Isabella, daughter to John Stewart, gamekeeper, and his wife Christian Robertson in Foss House, was born on March 22nd and baptised April 16th 1846.

Catherine, daughter to John Stewart, gamekeeper, and his wife Christian Robertson in Foss House, was born on March 2nd and baptised March 17th 1848.

Donald, son to John Stewart, gamekeeper, and his wife Christian Robertson in Foss House, was born on the 21st April and baptised May 19th 1850.

John, son to John Stewart, gamekeeper, and his wife Christian Robertson in Foss House, was born on July 15th and baptised on September 12th 1852.

Robert, son to John Stewart, gamekeeper, and his wife Christian Robertson in Foss House, was born on December 2nd and baptised on January the 28th 1855.

Discovering the parentage of both John Stewart and Christian Robertson is, likewise, not straightforward and relies on the traditional practice of naming the children after their grand-parents. The oldest son was named James and the second daughter was Isabella, so these could be the names of John's parents. In a similar fasion Christian's parents might be Donald and Margaret, which are the names of the second son and eldest daughter.

John's Canadian death certificate states that he was born in the parish of Blair Atholl around 1803 which, combined with the parental names, strongly suggests that he was the son of James Stewart of Croftcarnoch and Isabel Stewart of Uchdnanetaig, who was born at Balintochich on 16th October 1801. The family is known to have moved from Balintochich to Croftdouglas before 1807. The circumstances of the family's move to Croftdouglas are revealed in a letter to The Duke of Atholl from his agent, James Stewart, dated 10th May 1817.

Let Croftdouglas to John Stewart from Dr Stewart's lands of Borenich, and Alexander Stewart who, with his mother, a widow in Croftdouglas, had before a part of it under Alexander McDonald in whose name the tow was held in tack. Alexander McDonald, having been seized with a palsy some time ago, had to subsett the tow except two acres and a cow's grass to others. He has five children, the last two twins.

So it would seem that James Stewart and his family informally took over part of Croftdouglas from Alexander McDonald, but when James died the lease was formally taken over by James's eldest son Alexander, who then supported his widowed mother, Isabel. There was probably insufficient land for Alexander's younger brother John to make a living, so John became a game-keeper at Foss House on the other side of Loch Tummel.

John Stewart married Christian (Christy) Robertson on 28th November 1841, and the Dull OPR gives her residence as Kinardochy. Earlier in the same year she appeared with her parents in the 1841 census for Foss, Dull.

Dwelling Name Age Occupation Birth-place
Kinardochy Donald Robertson 60y farmer Perthshire
Margaret Robertson 52y Perthshire
Christian Robertson 25y Perthshire

This showed that John Stewart and Christian Robertson had followed tradition by naming their eldest daughter after the maternal grandmother, and their second eldest son after the maternal grandfather.

Unfortunately Donald and Margaret Robertson were not listed at Kinardochy by the time of the 1851 census, so that their places of birth could not be discovered, and in addition there was no baptism for Christian in the parish records.

The 1841 census was the first detailed census to be carried out and the enumerators were not consistent in how they named married women. Some used the English system and recorded them using their husband's surname, whilst others adopted the Scottish system by using their maiden surname. From a quick scan of the census return for this district it is clear that the enumerator used the English naming system, thus the surname of Donald Robertson's wife did not have to be Robertson. To discover her surname, a search was made for Robertson births which took place at Kinardochy, and there is one.

Dull OPR, 16th March 1820
Alexander, son to Donald Robertson and Margaret Stewart in Kinardochy was baptised.

Now, although the surnames of Robertson and Stewart are the most common in this area, only one marriage is recorded for a couple with these two names.

Dull OPR, 11th June 1806
Donald Robertson in the parish of Blair Atholl and Margaret Stewart in this parish gave up their names to be proclaimed in order to marriage.

Blair Atholl OPR, 22nd June 1806
Donald Robertson (in) Pitaldonuich and Margaret Stewart (in) Kinardihie, parish of Dull.

Likewise there are only two recorded baptisms linked to this couple, that of Alexander as previously mentioned and his elder brother James.

Blair Atholl OPR, 1807
James, lawful son to Donald Robertson and Margaret Stewart, spouse, in Pitaldonuich, born 6th and baptised 8th March.

So it would seem that although the couple started married life at Pitaldonich, which was on the opposite side of the river Garry from Bruar, they returned to Kinardochy after the birth of Christian. The lack of a baptism for Christian and the gap of thirteen year between the baptisms of the two boys are difficult to explain. However, in some local families only the boys were baptised, and it is possible that there were other girls born to the family who were not baptised either.

Returning to the 1851 census, it now becomes obvious that Christian's mother was still living at Kinardochy, but she was a widow and had reverted to her maiden name.

Dwelling Name Relation Status Age Occupation Birth-place
Kinardochy Margaret Stewart Head widow 65y pauper Dull

In the same census John Stewart and his wife were living at Foss farm.

Dwelling Name Relation Status Age Occupation Birth-place
Foss Farm (14) John Stewart head marr 45y gamekeeper Blair Atholl
Christy Stewart wife marr 36y Blair Atholl
Margaret Stewart dau u/m 8y Dull
James Stewart son u/m 6y Dull
Isabella Stewart dau u/m 5y Dull
Catherine Stewart dau u/m 3y Dull
Daniel Stewart son u/m 11m Dull
Margaret Robertson servant u/m 31y servant Dull

John Stewart, the gamekeeper, and his family are thought to have emigrated to Canada around 1859, although it may have been slightly earlier. They settled on the 2nd Concession, McNab township.

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(Generation 1) The Family of John Stewart and Christian Robertson of Foss House and McNab Township, Renfrew Co.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Margaret Sep 28 1842 1. John Stewart
2. John Hamilton
1. Apr 16 1862
2. May 15 1867
McNab township 2h. May 25 1917
w. Apr 16 1913
James Apr 18 1844 Ellen Jane McLaughlan Jan 18 1883 McNab township h. Mar 7 1917
w. 1943
Isabella Mar 22 1846 Donald Stewart Dec 31 1869 McNab township h. Jan 23 1914
w. Mar 13 1913
Catherine Mar 2 1848 Peter Izett Duff Oct 15 1869 McNab township h. Dec 3 1906
w. Feb 1 1925
Donald (Daniel) Robertson Apr 21 1850 Christina Robertson May 1 1888 McNab township h. Jan 19 1929
w. Jan 15 1894
John George Jul 15 1852 Esther Mary Bartlett c1877 Actinolite,
Hastings Co.
h. Aug 8 1935
w. Aug 28 1931
Robert Menzies Dec 2 1854 1. Bertha B. Kirk
2. Jessie MacLachlan
1. May 7 1888
2. Aug 20 1902
Arnprior h. Dec 1 1925
1w. Jan 30 1901
2w. 1948
Alexander George Feb 26 1861
(McNab township)
Catherine 'Katie' MacLachlan Sep 8 1886 Arnprior h. Apr 16 1931
w. Aug 1 1934

James Stewart, 37, farmer, Perthshire Scotland, McNab, son of John Stewart and Christina Robertson married Nellie Jane McLauchlan, 31, McNab, McNab, daughter of John McLaughlan and Christina Robertson, witnesses: Thomas McLauchlan of McNab and Jeannie Eliz Greene of Arnprior, 18 Jan 1883, residence of the bride's father, McNab. (Refrew marriages).

Donald Stewart, 40, farmer, Scotland, McNab, son of John and Grace Stewart married Isabella Stewart, 23, Perthshire Scotland, McNab, daughter of John Stewart and Christina Robertson, witnesses: John Stewart and John Hamilton of McNab, 31 Dec 1869, McNab. (Refrew marriages).

Donald Stewart was born in Perthshire on 12th November 1824 and his parents were John Stewart of Uchdnanetaig and Grisel (Grace) stewart of Balcastle, Borenich, Strathtummel who married 12th January 1823. As most of Grisel's brothers and sisters lived in Beckwith, Donald's parents may have emigrated at around the same time.

Peter Duff, 29, farmer, of McNab, son of Alexander Duff and Margaret McNaughton, married Catherine Stewart, 21, of McNab, daughter of John Stewart and Christina Robinson (sic), witnesses were Charles and Isaac Duff of McNab, 15th October 1869, (Renfrew marriages).

Daniel R. Stewart, 37, merchant, Scotland, White Lake, son of John Stewart and Christena Robertson, married Christena Robertson, 29, McNab township, White Lake, daughter of Duncan Robertson and Elizabeth Morris, witnesses: Andrew Robertson of McNab township and Jane Robertson of Pakenham, 1 May 1888 at Lot 5, Con 4 of McNab township. (Renfrew marriages).

Robert M. Stewart, 30, merchant, Scotland, Braeside, son of John Stewart and Christena Robertson, married Bertha Kirk, 20, Ramsay township, Braeside, daughter of James Kirk and Annie Ferguson, witnesses: Charles E. Coleman of Braeside and Annie Boothroid (sic) of Almonte, 7 May 1888 at McNab township (Renfrew marriages).

Alexander Stewart, 27, clerk, McNab, McNab, son of John Stewart and Christina Robertson married Catherine McLauchlan, 24, McNab, McNab, daughter of James McLaughlan and Christina Fisher, witnesses: Daniel Stewart of McNab and Mary Yuill of Almonte, 8 Sept 1886, White Lake (Renfrew marriages).

Jessie and Catherine were the daughters of James MacLachlan and Catherine (Christina?) Fisher.

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(Generation 2) The Family of John Hamilton and Margaret Stewart of McNab Township, Renfrew Co.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Christina Robertson Jun 1868 unmarried . McNab township d. Apr 26 1873
Andrew H. Mar 7 1871 Sarah Ann Hamilton Jan 1 1913 McNab township h. May 25 1917
w.
John Stewart Nov 23 1873 unmarried . McNab township d. Mar 28 1936
Jane Forrest Feb 15 1877 Alexander McGregor Apr 19 1901 McNab township h. 1926
w.
Christina Robertson Jul 1879 unmarried . McNab township d. Oct 21 1896
Bethea Carswell Oct 20 1883 Robert Brown Aug 12 1914 Russell City h.
w.

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(Generation 2) The Family of James Stewart and Ellen Jane McLauchlan of McNab Township, Renfrew Co.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Christena Robertson Aug 3 1883 unmarried . McNab township d.
Elizabeth Feb 9 1885 unmarried . McNab township d. Jul 12 1891
John Jan 28 1887 unmarried . McNab township d.
Catherine May 29 1888 William Conboy c1911 McNab township h.
w.
Donald Jan 1892 unmarried . . d.
Robert James Duff Jul 2 1895 unmarried . . d.
Thomas Alexander Aug 15 1897 unmarried . . d.

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(Generation 2) The Family of Donald Stewart and Isabella Stewart of McNab Township, Renfrew Co.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Grace Sep 24 1870 unmarried . McNab township d. Dec 17 1888
Christina Robertson May 11 1877 John Charles Anderson Jan 5 1894 Horton township h.
w.
Catherine Isabella Dec 18 1879 unmarried . McNab township d.
John Alexander Aug 31 1885 Margaret Robertson Jun 30 1909 McNab township h.
w.

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(Generation 2) The Family of Peter Izzet Duff and Catherine Stewart of McNab Township, Renfrew Co.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Robert Izett Jan 26 1871 Margaret Anderson Apr 29 1908 Horton township h.
w.
John Feb 16 1873 unmarried . McNab township d. Mar 6 1873
John Stewart Feb 27 1874 Annie Elizabeth McKay Mar 15 1911 McNab township h.
w.
James Robertson Nov 13 1876 Edna Lanore Haney Apr 7 1915 Manitoba h. Oct 8 1916
w.
Christina Robertson Sep 23 1878 Edward Walker Bugg 1914 Rosetown,
Saskatchewan
h.
w.
Peter Alexander May 15 1882 Esther Jane Paisley Sep 18 1917 Burks Falls h.
w.
Margaret Izabella Jan 25 1886 James Cardiff Jun 12 1912 Saskatchewan h.
w.

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(Generation 2) The Family of Donald Robertson Stewart and Christina Robertson of McNab Township, Renfrew Co.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
John Ernest Jul 15 1888 unmarried . . d.

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(Generation 2) The Family of John George Stewart and Esther Mary Bartlett of Actinolite, Hastings Co.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
John Robert Dec 11 1878 Florence Lilian Lane Aug 9 1905 Snowden township,
Haliburton Co.
h. Mar 20 1905
w.
Frances Christine Sep 28 1880 Robert Allen Ferguson Jun 19 1907 Kingston,
Frontec Co.
h. Apr 8 1925
w.
Herbert Robertson Aug 4 1882 unmarried . . d.
William Alexander Nov 9 1883 Olive Amy Delahunt Nov 5 1914 Kingston,
Frontec Co.
h.
w.
Jessica Scott Sep 5 1886 unmarried . Belleville,
Hastings Co.
d.
Alfred Bartlett Aug 31 1894 1. Hazel Bell Woodruff
2. Theressa Toll
1. Sep 25 1915
2. Feb 25 1920
Belleville,
Hastings Co.
h.
1w. Apr 17 1917
Wilfred Grant Jan 28 1898 Margaret Elizabeth Scott Mar 18 1921 Sudbury h.
w.

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(Generation 2) The Family of Robert Menzies Stewart and Bertha B. Kirk of Arnprior.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Bertha Aug 18 1890 unmarried . McNab township d.
Menzies Sep 15 1891 unmarried . McNab township d.
Isabella Irene Sep 15 1891 Dallas Dean Mallory Mar 5 1921 Carleton Co. h.
w.

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(Generation 2) The Family of Alexander George Stewart and Catherine A. MacLachlin of Arnprior.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Christina Robertson Nov 8 1886 William Eglestone . . h.
w.
James McLauchlin Dec 17 1888 unmarried . . d.
John Fisher Dec 3 1890 Pearl Gladys Headrick Nov 23 1921 McNab township h.
w.
Catherine Elizabeth Jun 8 1892 unmarried . McNab township d.
Alexander George Aug 9 1894 unmarried . McNab township d.
Effie Apr 11 1897 unmarried . McNab township d.
Isabel M. Nov 30 1902 Herbert McDowell . . h.
w.
Annie Fisher Jun 7 1906 unmarried . McNab township d.

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