Wilson of Sands Memorial of 1832

Although the identity of the author of this Memorial is not known, the repetition of the term "our grandfather" confirms them to have been a grandchild of William Wilson, Writer firstly in Edinburgh and then Murrayshall, near Stirling, and his wife Lillias, daughter of John Haldane, 2nd of Lanrick. The recipient, Lillias Stewart, was the only child and heiress of John Stewart of Ballachulish and his wife, Margaret, daughter of that same William Wilson.

From this as well as other similar documents preserved within the same collection, it is clear that several female near relations all descended from John Haldane of Lanrick shared a keen interest in their family history and often exchanged correspondence on that subject. For Lillias Stewart this is an interest she shared with her mother, Margaret Wilson, as also preserved are much earlier notes made by her mother and in one of which she lays out her descent from Haldane of Gleneagles via "my mother Lillias Haldane". Another regular contributor was Margaret Dundas (born 1760; died 1833) the only child of John Dundas and his second wife, Agnes, daughter of John Haldane of Lanrick, and wife of Alexander Oswald of Shield Hall. Between them their Memorials and notes piece together the remarkably complex web of their extended families not only in relation to ancestry but also the identities and particulars of uncles and aunts, and their marriages, children and descendants. Such, then, is the real value of memorials as these to the genealogist as they contain valuable insights and commentary which, two hundred or so years on, may otherwise be exceptionally difficult to prove.

The Memorial contains a further significant point of genealogy which is the statement relating to the settlement of that family of Wilsons in Fife. The author lays out the somewhat peculiar circumstances in the first few lines "the Wilsones came with Princes Ann of Denmark as her secretary, King James 6th, kept his court at Dunfermline where Mr Wilsone married and did not go with the Queen to England but became a Fife Laird" and the Royal marriage having taken place in August 1589, the time period for that settlement can thereby be adduced. The surname Wilson being common in Fife from an early date, the settlement of this family in the area at that time is significant as it removes any supposition of shared ancestry.



Original document in the possession of Gordon MacGregor