Inspired by Lisa Alzo at the Accidental Genealogist, I’ve decided (belatedly) to acknowledge some of the fearless females in my family, and where better to start than with my gran; Margaret Cruden.
While I had two grandads when I was little, I’ve only ever known one grandmother – my mum’s mother.
One way or another, I’ve written about her quite a lot in this blog and other places and she’s the ancestor of whom I have the largest number of photos. So here they are, along with a wee bit of biography.
Margaret Simpson Bisset Cruden (11 May 1908 – 1 May 2006) was the eldest child, and only daughter of Alexander Cruden and Catherine Simpson Bisset Black. My great grandparents were very young when she was born; Great Gran was 18, Great Grandad still 17. Margaret had four younger brothers; Stewart, Alexander, James and George, the youngest of whom was born just a few months before Margaret herself became a mother.
Margaret was born and raised in Dysart, Fife, and lived all her life in Dysart and Kirkcaldy. She married my grandad (David Ramsay) in 1927, when Grandad was 25 and she was 18. Grandad was a coal miner.
They raised six children; a son David, and five daughters – Catherine, May, Margaret, Elizabeth (my mum) and Sandra.
After my grandad died in 1973, my grandmother left the UK for the first (but not the last) time. She travelled to New Zealand to visit my family and to Australia to see her brother Alexander and his family. During the next thiry years she travelled again to Australia, to Zimbabwe while it was still Rhodesia and in the midst of civil war, and to Switzerland to see my cousin. She also travelled around the UK visiting family.
I only really got to know my gran in my late twenties and thirties while I was living in the UK. We spent hours together drinking tea and gossiping. She was quick-witted, a good story teller and could be very funny.
I’m glad she got to meet my son before she died, even though he was only a toddler and barely remembers her. I’m sad that she died two months before we were due to go back to the UK for a visit. My son was eight by then and would certainly have remembered that encounter with his feisty, fearless, four foot ten great gran.