Friday, April 5, 2013

Thomas Linklater

Today it’s the turn of the last son of Magnus & May Linklater to be researched (except for James my great-grandfather, he’s going to be last).

Magnus & May had been living in North Leith when their first five children were born but by the time Thomas came along they had moved to Shore in South Leith, he was born there on the 17 Feb 1840 and baptised in the same church as the rest of his siblings, the North Leith parish church, on the 3 Apr 1840.


In the 1841 census he is living with his mother and three siblings in Shore aged 1 yr old. In 1851 he wasn’t at home and I found him living in the Orkney Islands at a place called Firth with his father’s brother James & his family, he was 12 years old, listed as a nephew & scholar, born in Leith.

1851-censusThis little snippet was to become the only piece of information we’ve been able to find to link his father Magnus to his parents, we haven’t been able to find a birth or baptism for Magnus, but there is one for James, who was the son of Thomas Linklater & Jean Muir of Sanday in the Orkney Islands.

At a young age, about 15, Thomas joined the Merchant Navy and was found as an ordinary seaman on the ‘Wanlock’ in 1855 and the ‘John Wesley’ in Inverness in 1856. He wasn’t found in the 1861 census so was probably at sea. There is another sighting of him in Australia in 1868, a 27 yr old able seaman on the ‘City of Brisbane’ arriving in Sydney. Unfortunately, with such a common name it’s hard to prove that the above are actually him!

In 1871 I found him living with his new wife with her parents in South Leith, although he was listed as a tailor I’m quite sure that should have read ‘sailor’! I then found this marriage for him:-


This will be too small to read so here are the basic facts:-

Thomas Linklater seaman bachelor 28 of Leith and Isabella Stewart Munro 21 of Leith were married on the 27th day of January 1871 according to the terms of the Church of Scotland. Thomas’ parents were Magnus Linklater seaman deceased and May Linklater MS MacKay. Isabella’s parents were Donald Munro provision merchant and Margaret Munro MS Wilson. The marriage took place in the burgh of Falkirk in the county of Stirling, Scotland.

Thomas & Isabella had a daughter named Margaret Wilson Linklater on the 16 Aug 1871, address Roberts Square, Falkirk, father Thomas was listed as being in the Merchant Navy. Margaret’s birth was reported by Caroline Conachie grand-aunt (another little piece of the puzzle slotted in nicely here). At the age of two years & 2 mths little Margaret caught bronchitis and died a week later on the 29th Oct 1873, they were living once more in Leith at 1 St Anthony Street. Her grandfather Donald Munro reported being present at her death.

margaret-wilson-linklater-b margwilsonlinklaterdeath-we

After that I completely lost sight of both Thomas & Isabella, I couldn’t find them in any census anywhere, no passenger lists, no newspaper reports, nothing!

Until recently, thanks to the eagle eyes of another Linklater researcher, Paul Crewe, I was able to come up with a death for Thomas in Yorkshire, England in 1874, he was aged 35, still waiting on the certificate to arrive to make sure it’s him (hopefully). Isabella married again in 1877 to Horatio Davidson in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland and they had at least five children. On two of the children’s birth certificates (the two youngest were born in Scotland) they say they were married on the 24 Nov 1874 but their marriage wasn’t registered until the 4qtr of 1877, so there’s a little mystery there, to be solved at a later date!

Unfortunately, mainly for Thomas but also for me, his story is not such an interesting one as his two brothers but a story nonetheless, it’s just a shame there are no descendants for him, at least none that I know of.

Next time I’ll cover Magnus & May’s only surviving daughter, Jane & her husband Captain Crighton Clark.

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