It’s too raw to write about now; but I was glad to spend time in this beautiful building.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Dysart cemetary this last week and have now visited the graves of my grandparents, two sets of great-grandparents and my older brother.
I also found this headstone, of my great grand uncle David Nicholson, and his wife Mary Ann Warry.
The inscription is simple:
“In memory of David Nicholson died 16th January 1946 and his wife Mary Ann Clementine Warry died ? November 1934”
In Kinglassie Cemetery, Fife:
“Erected by William Black in memory of his father and mother. James Black who died ??? 1897 aged 77 years and Caroline Goodall widow of James who died ??? 1901 aged 67 years.”
James and Caroline were my 3x great grandparents. They lived their entire lives within a small area of rural Fife; raising five children, including my great, great grandfather Alexander Black.
Before her marriage, Caroline worked as a domestic servant. Towards the end of her life, the census records her – aged 67 – working as an agricultural labourer.
As was usual for the children of the poor, the Black children all began work at an early age; my 2x great grand aunt Christian Black was a factory worker at age 12. William, who is responsible for the headstone, became the village blacksmith, while my great, great grandfather Alexander left Kinglassie and became a coal miner.
Seeing this headstone – the first of several I’ve found on my trip to the UK – was really quite special. The cemetery is barren and treeless and lies beside the B921 overlooked by the towering blades of the local wind farm. The headstone itself has toppled over and is unadorned, but it’s very existence is testimony to a son’s desire to honour his parents. Amongst my largely invisible ancestors this tangible symbol of family means a lot.
Last weekend I took advantage of Ancestry’s free holiday weekend access to UK census records. It was a fruitful exercise and one that has (as always) raised lots of questions that are now bubbling around in my head and need Scotland’s People credits to answer.
But one little piece of data really leapt out at me from those census returns. In 1871, my 2x great grand aunt Christian Black was twelve years old, living in Kinglassie, Fife and described on the census as a factory worker.
Those two little words, taken in conjunction with her age, just about broke my heart. Continue reading