I had a note to follow up Thomas Strelley Rennie, Brigadier (1899-1949). Surely he was related to the Strelleys.
I knew that his father, Thomas Rennie had played a part in the life of the unmarried Jemima Strelley 1822-1898. He appeared with her in the 1881 and 1891 census and was noted in 1891 as his guardian. Further research shows his parents had died and she was the Housekeeper to his siblings in 1881. I can find no relationship but Thomas must have been fairly important to Jemima as he acted as her informant at death and executer of her will. Why did Rennie name his son after her family name one year after her death?
So I worked backwards:
Thomas Rennie from Glasgow married Mary Lilly Rennie 1 Sep 1897 in Liverpool, Lancashire. What was he doing there? I knew that his son was born in Edinburgh and that he appeared in a subsequent census back in Edinburgh. It turns out Mary Lilly’s father, Charles Tait Stewart and Grandfather Robert Barclay Stewart were Edinburgh born.
Then up popped an ancestry record which blew my mind. Robert Barclay Stewart’s mother was Matilda Johnston who just happened to be Jemima’s mother! Was this a very small world or a bit of matchmaking orchestrated by Jemima? Mary Lilly Stewart was Jemima’s half grand niece, her father being her half nephew.
Up until this point I hadn’t realized that my great great great Grandmother Matilda had a marriage to Charles Stewart, a Teacher of music in Edinburgh or that there were at least 4 children from this 1803 union. To my mind she was married to William Strelley around 1820 and had three Strelley children- one of whom was Jemima.
Over the various census from 1841, the unmarried Jemima had lived with a variety of people some ascribed as nephew, niece, sister. These people didn’t seem to fit with her known brother and sister – they too were in my “follow up” notes. Elizabeth Lindley was as it turns out, her half sister (Matilda and Charles were her parents), Annabella Lindley was Jemima’s niece and Frederick Elliott (Lindley) and Robert Anderson were Annabella’s illegitimate children and as such were related to Jemima as grand nephews.
All up I was able to flesh out the families of the four new children to Matilda, link up Jemima to people in her Census. This was a couple of big ticks on my followup lists – but how did she happen to be looking after the Rennie children in the first place? (Note to self –Follow up)
Tip of the Day:
Organize and record your research. Besides storing files and recording information into your data base, keep your research notes and follow-ups in a large note book (Beware- they breed). Number the pages and index them for easy retrieval of information. Revisit your “follow ups” from time to time. You will be surprised how pieces fall together a few months down the track.