(From the poem “Montrose”, William McGonagall, worlds worst poet”)

As with my Highlanders details of my Lowlanders are not exactly brimming with certainty and nor did they start off in Montrose but in the nearby Parish of St Cyrus where on the 13th August 1802 – John Clark and Christian Baird in Morphie had two daughters born 12th August baptised named Ann and Mary.  (OPR 267/00 0010 0173)

On 31st October 1823 by Contract of Marriage, Ann Clark was married to blacksmith, Alexander Baird in St Cyrus.  A year later in Montrose, the newlyweds celebrated the birth of their first child, Alexander. (GROS 312/0100 0092)

This is where it gets messy, Ann’s death certificate identifies her mother as Catherine Beattie.

  • Perhaps, she is not the daughter of this John Clark and his wife Christian;
  • Christian and Catherine are not interchangeable names;
  • The entry in the death register following Ann also names the mother as Ms Beattie – could Peter Duncan the Registrar have made a mistake?
  • Grandson David’s middle name is Beattie;
  • The baptism records of daughters Margaret (1826) and Catherine (1828) at Tannadice record their parents as Alexander Baird and Mary Clark – seems like the Minister had one too many whiskeys while he was writing up the Parish Register OR heaven forbid I may possibly be thinking Alexander had an adulterous affair with his wife’s sister;

Bless him, he [the Minister] got the parents’ names right when John Baird (2xggf) was baptised on 2 May 1830 at Tannadice.

The ancestry of Alexander Baird the Blacksmith is obscure and he was not with the family on the night of 6 June 1841; nor was son Alexander.

Ann Clark earned her living from the retail trade, as a grocer in Montrose as did her son John’s mother in law, Mary Marquis (nee Knight) or in the 1851 words of the enumerator, “dealer in eating provisions”.

Likewise Ann and Mary’s grandsons were “dealers in eating provisions”, bakers and confectioners.

No hungry little Baird tummies in Montrose.

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