Sunday, 2 May 2010

More Antenuptial Fornication

Applegarth Church, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

This is almost a continuation of my post about antenuptial fornication but I have decided to post separately as I am still not sure whether this is the same person.
In the Dumfries Kirk Sessions of 1822 (which are searchable online), James BROWN was "named as the father of Jean Smith's child; [and] gave satisfaction for this in the parish of Applegarth" (Archive Ref: CH2/537/12).  I believe 'gave satisfaction' (in this sense), meant that the father gave monetary compensation to the parish for their support of the child.

So was this James BROWN my ancestor, who appeared in the Dunscore parish records 6 years later for antenuptial fornication?  With such a common name I cannot be sure but I can assess the likelihood of it being the same man for future reference.
First, was he old enough to be involved in this?  Although I don't have his birth record, the 1851 census suggests he was born in 1801, which means he would have been 21 at the time - a prime age for this kind of crime. ;)

James Brown and family on the 1851 census
(Interestingly, their neighbour, Andrew Lorimer (appearing at bottom of image above) was the certifying physician on James' death certificate.)
Next, was he near enough to be involved?  Applegarth is roughly 20 miles from Dunscore and about 30 miles from my James' home, Glencairn.  Not a short walk, but not impossible distances.

Map showing locations of Applegarth, Dunscore and Glencairn (Moniaive) in relation to each other

So I can't rule out my James Brown as the father of Jean Smith's illegitimate child and I have kept hold of this genealogical tidbit. To get any closer to proving this, I would need to check for further information in the Kirk Session records and the Applegarth parish records for any further information on Jean SMITH and her child.

Next Steps:
  • Check for further information in the Kirk Session records
  • Check Applegarth parish records for the child's birth
Update: Checked Applegarth, Dunscore, Glencairn and Lochmaben parishes (via ScotlandsPeople) for any  birth with Jean SMITH as parent (between 1800 - 1825) and any SMITH birth (between 1816 - 1825) - no likely entries found (all have listed fathers).

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