Archive for the ‘Ferry Port on Craig or Tayport’ Category

family and dog photo

Campbell family – back row: William Balfour, Julia Mitchell and John jnr; front row: Julia and John snr. The dog must have been a much loved member of the family.

My great grandmother (Ann Mitchell BALFOUR who married William WATSON) was one of nine children born to William and Helen (nee MITCHELL) BALFOUR. Ann’s sister Julia married John CAMPBELL on 16th January 1885 at Ferry Port on Craig, Fife, Scotland. (Click on image above and below to enlarge)

julia john marriage

Julia and John snr had three children. Julia Mitchell was born at Collessie on 18 November 1888; John jnr was born at Collessie on 7 November 1890 and William Balfour was born at Leslie on 20 July 1894.

John snr worked as a railway engine fireman when Julia and John jnr were born but was a railway engine driver by the time William Balfour was born.

In 1911 the family was living at 158 South Street, St Andrews. Image below is from Google maps. # 158 is the Home Start shop in the picture.

158 south st st andrewsJohn was still working as an railway engine driver; daughter Julia was a domestic servant; John jnr was a railway porter and William Balfour was a teacher student.


julia deathOn 18 June 1915 Julia died of a cerebral thrombosis, age 60.  I am presuming that some time after Julia’s death John moved in with his daughter Julia who had married on 9 February 1915 and was living at 56 William Street in Tayport with her husband Andrew LONIE who was a private in the 1st Battalion Highland Light Infantry. John was living at 56 William Street when he died, aged 76, on 21 March 1933. Cause of death – drowning. The following newspaper articles reveal what happened to John.

john campbell drowned cropped Click on the image below to enlarge.

john campbell snr death

john campbell snr roce death

In case, like me, you don’t know what a “precognition” is here’s how the Police Scotland website describes it:

A precognition is a distinctive feature of the Scottish legal system.  It is the face to face interview of a witness who may be called to give evidence at a forthcoming criminal trial, civil proceedings or in respect of insurance claims.  It is done to evaluate the evidence that the witness will give while under oath at the trial.  The precognition requests that we receive are to interview our officers or support staff as potential witnesses in a case.

Solicitors and insurance companies tend to employ Precognition Officers to do the precognition on their behalf.  This gives the solicitor the opportunity to offer their client full advice on how best to respond to the charges they are faced with as well as establishing the strength of the case against them.  And, it allows insurance companies to explore the circumstances of a claim that they are dealing with.

Little more is known about the lives of Julia and John Campbell, but I have managed to find out more about their children, particularly William Balfour, to be revealed in the next blog.



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My great, great grandfather was William BALFOUR.  I posted photos of him here and here. While searching the Find My Past website recently I came across his death notice that was published in The Dundee Courier.

william balfour death notice

BALFOUR – At Church Road, Strathkinness on the 10th inst., William Balfour, late of Tayport. Funeral to New Cemetery, Tayport, on Saturday, 13th inst., leaving Strathkinness at 12.30p.m., arriving at Tayport at 2 p.m. Friends kindly accept this intimation and invitation. (New Zealand papers please copy.)

I wonder which New Zealand papers the death notice was published in? Might need to do a search of the Herald sometime in the future.

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This is a photo of my great, great grandfather William BALFOUR (1831 – 1912). I don’t know why, when or where the photo was taken. I am curious as to why he had his photo taken holding a saw.  The photo was possibly taken in either Ferry Port on Craig or St Andrews, both places are towns in Fife, Scotland where William lived with his wife Helen.

In the County of Fife Valuation Rolls for 1881 – 1882, William and Helen are listed as owners of a house and garden in Taypark Crescent, Ferry Port on Craig. Maybe this is a photo of William in Taypark Crescent. According to the Valuation Rolls, William and Helen paid an annual Feu Duty or Ground Rent of two pounds ten shillings and threepence to Rev. C. Halliday. [The term ground rent is currently applied to a lease for land upon which the tenant constructs a building. While the landlord continues to own the land, the tenant owns all of the structures and pays rent for the ground only.]

The photo below is of the main street in Ferry Port on Craig (also known as Tayport) – Castle Street.

To see more photos of Tayport go to this website http://www.tayport.org.uk/

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William and Ann (nee BALFOUR) WATSON’s second child and eldest daughter was Helen Mitchell WATSON. At least that’s what I always thought until I looked at her birth entry  – now I’m not so sure. [Click on the image to enlarge.] I can’t decide whether the registrar has written Hellen or Nellie.

As the first daughter of William and Ann she was named after Ann’s mother, Helen (nee MITCHELL) BALFOUR. It was customary in Scotland to name the firstborn son after the father’s father and the second born son after the mother’s father. The second born daughter was named after the father’s mother.

Twenty four years later, in 1903, Helen/Nellie married Donald SMITH at Mayfield House, Cowdenbeath. She signed her name as Nellie Mitchell WATSON.  She had been witness to a disposition in 1897 (see the Mayfield House post) and signed her name on that document as Nellie Watson. We can presume then that she was known as Nellie to family and friends. Nellie is an often used variant of Helen, as is Ellen. Interesting to note the registrar wrote Ann WATSON’s maiden surname as MITCHELL not BALFOUR. Wonder why he made that error?  Nellie’s sister Annie was one of the witnesses.

Nellie and Donald emigrated to New Zealand with the rest of the Watson clan in 1906. Their eldest daughter, Annie, was born in 1906 in Scotland. Two more daughters and a son were born in New Zealand. This photo shows the four Smith children with their granny, Ann Watson.  From left as you look at the photo: Annie, Alex sitting on grass, Ann Watson holding Ellen, and Barbara.

Here’s the reverse of the photo – love the handwriting, especially the fancy ‘a’ and capital ‘E’ in Ellen’s name. See how they wrote ‘and’ four times and each one was different. I wonder which child wrote this?

And here’s a photo of the Smith family taken a few years later. Looks like it was a Christmas postcard, possibly taken to send back to family and friends in Scotland.

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William WATSON and his wife Ann Mitchell BALFOUR

William and Ann are my great grandparents. They married at Tayport, Fife, Scotland in 1878 and were married for 46 years until William’s death at Huntly, New Zealand in 1924.  I don’t have a date for when this photo was taken but I would think that it was some time after they had emigrated to New Zealand in 1906.

Marriage certificate - William WATSON and Ann Mitchell BALFOUR

Extract from register of marriages - William WATSON and Ann Mitchell BALFOUR

William and Ann had eight children.  The eldest was John (b 1878) followed by Helen Mitchell (b 1879), Jane Ann (b 1882), Christina Deas (b 1884), Ann Mitchell (b 1887), William Balfour (b 1891), David George (b 1894) and finally Julia Mina Balfour (b 1897).

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