Why My History is Steeped in Blood
Catchy title, eh? Annie Brown has written an article for The Daily Record with just such a title, covering “How one woman’s search into her family’s past uncovered a forgotten episode in Scottish history”. The woman in question, Moira Stewart, while doing genealogy research found one of her ancestors involved in a little-known incident involving a shipwreck, alleged piracy, and a near-war between Brazil and Britain. Quite a bit more interesting than the typical tale genealogists come across.
Margaret found his youngest child’s birth certificate, dated 1862, which showed that William had been a merchant seaman who had died.
Moira said: “This set me wondering if William had been lost at sea.”
But she couldn’t trace his death certificate and without it, the trail ran cold for 15 years.
The breakthrough came when she discovered a poor law application in the name of Ann Turnbull. On it, she stated that William had been lost with his ship,The Prince of Wales.
Through the name of the ship, Moira was able to trace its owner and a notice in The Times on August 23, 1861, revealed it had been shipwrecked on June 25 off Brazil.
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