Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Genealogy Happy Dance of the Year...Maybe the Decade

A Kiwi cousin, a virtual friend from Scotland I met on a Formula One racing forum, and pure serendipity have me doing the genealogy dance of the year...maybe the decade.

A few weeks ago my Kiwi fourth cousin once removed emailed me with questions about my great great grand aunt, Christina Semple. We knew she was born in 1860 and my cousin surmised she had immigrated to Canada and died there. She had found some memorial monument inscriptions from Dalserf, Scotland, where the family lived. But the inscription we thought was for our Semple family confused the heck out of us because it referenced someone who neither of us had in our Semple tree. The inscription read as follows:

Erected by Alexander Fulton in memory of his [illegible] aged [illegible]4 years, his daughter [illegible] died 15th March 1903 aged 46 years. Also the above Peter Semple died 29th March 1904 aged 82 years. Also John Semple his eldest son died 4th February 1914 aged 67 years. Also his daughter Christina Semple died at Alberta, Canada [illegible]9[illegible].

About as clear as mud isn't it, though it did confirm Christina had moved to Canada. Her parents were tenants of Swinhill Farm in Dalserf.

British Ordnance Survey of Dalserf, Scotland,
including Swinhill farm, home of Peter Semple

On the Lanarkshire Family History website, I discovered a booklet of inscriptions collected by volunteers from Dalserf Parish Church cemetery and published in 2004. It included this inscription on page 15:

Erected by Peter Semple in memory of his wife Janet Torrance, died Swin[.]hill farm 16th November 1896 aged 71 years. Christina Semple died at Alberta, Canada 28th February 1912. (daughter of Jane Semple). (Stone broken) 

Dalserf Parish Church Monumental Inscriptions

Interesting, but this seemed to indicate that Christina Semple was Peter's granddaughter, not his daughter as my cousin had surmised. It also was silent on the question of Alexander Fulton.

I posted a photo of the booklet on Facebook, along with the inscription I found in the booklet. My virtual friend from Scotland had driven to Dalserf last year and taken several photos which he sent to me and I have posted on my public genealogy Facebook page.

Dalserf Parish Church; photograph courtesy of Andrew Scorgie

When he saw my post last night, he went looking through all the photos of Dalserf he took that day, even the ones he didn't send me. Here's where the serendipity comes into play.  He took three photographs of my great great grandfather's memorial marker not knowing it had any connection to me!

Peter Semple monument marker at Dalserf,
Scotland; photograph by Andrew Scorgie

Now that we know Christina's death date and place, we can order her death certificate from the Alberta, Canada, province government.

Pardon me while I do more happy dancing.

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