Help proving or disproving hypothesis regarding Archibald Erskine, 7th Earl of Kellie

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matiasfortuno
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Help proving or disproving hypothesis regarding Archibald Erskine, 7th Earl of Kellie

Post by matiasfortuno » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:57 am

Hi, my name is Matias, I am from Santiago, Chile.

I have an Scot ancestor, Archibald Erskine Robson, from Anstruther, Fife. I think he might be an illegitimate son of Archibald Erskine, 7th Earl of Kellie.

Hopefully, people in this forum can help me to prove or disprove it.

I'll give the facts:

Archibald Erskine Robson, had at least a ship and was its captain. He died in Valparaiso, Chile, in 1846. He has some letters with the recently born chilean government, around 1822, by which he was asked to bring to Chile some craftmen from the United Kingdom. He failed from this attempt, but came to Chile and then to Peru and started with a nephew (George Smith) the first nitrate company there.

Around 1838, Margarita Robson, his daughter and my ancestor, was born in Valparaiso, Chile.

I have a copy of his will or testament, written in 1836 in London. Among other things, he says there that he still has a property in Anstruther, Fife. As I mentioned, he died in 1846 in Valparaiso.

About Archibald Erskine, 7th Earl of Kellie:

There is some information on the internet. He was born in 1736 and died in 1797a, always living in Kellie Castle, in Fife. He wasn't married and had no (known) children. He was captain of the army.

So, why do I think they may be related?
- Because their names are... the same, although my ancestor's surname is Robson.
- Kellie castle and Anstruther are like 8 miles apart
- my ancestor sure had some money, wich allowed him to own his ship and start a whole new industry in South America.
- There is a family story, in which Margarita Robson's father was a guy named "Lord Robson". While Archibald Erskine Robson wasn't a Lord, Archibald Erskine 7th Earl of Kellie got the Lord title. (ok this is a long shot but I do believe there is some truth in family stories)

So I am asking for help to prove or disprove this. For example, finding Archibald Erskine Robson birth registration, I guess would help.

Can you please share any thoughts or ideas?

WilmaM
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Re: Help proving or disproving hypothesis regarding Archibald Erskine, 7th Earl of Kellie

Post by WilmaM » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:47 pm

[TS_welcome] Matias,
I don't think we've had many [or in deed any ] members from your corner of the globe.

You've certainly given us a puzzle.

I've had a quick look at the Old Parish Records [OPR] on Scotland's People,[SP] but have drawn a blank for any candidates for your man. Either not in the right time period , or wrong part of the country. And all listed have both parents' names registered.
However that doesn't mean much , as many births simply aren't there to find as they are records of infant baptism not births in that era. If the child was illegitimate they may not have been christened, and as history shows the Kellie family were Jacobite supporters they probably wouldn't show up on Protestant church records. I'm a bit hazy on those sort of details.

You don't actually give us an idea of his age or approximate date of birth - but I'm assuming a very broad time of 1755-1790's given the ages of The Earl and your lady Margarita.
In fact it's such a broad time sweep, that I wonder if your Archibald Erskine Robson, could be a grandson rather than son? Family lore has a habit of compacting or stretching times. The youngest he could possibly be at her birth would be 40 at at his death only about 50.

There is a will for The Earl of Kellie on SP that could be worth downloading, to see if it holds any nuggets of information.

Are any specifics listed for the Anstruther property in Mr Robson's will? address? house name? what was to happen to it? etc occasionally property records can help.

Not a very helpful response, I know, but there are many others here who can help you pursue other avenues.

matiasfortuno
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Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:21 pm

Re: Help proving or disproving hypothesis regarding Archibald Erskine, 7th Earl of Kellie

Post by matiasfortuno » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:43 pm

Thanks Wilma for the warm welcome.

Some ideas:
- I guess my "AER" could be granchild of Archibald Erskine. I have no idea when AER was born, I estimate 1780, which I think hives him the "seniority" by 1820 to have a ship and to be its captain. In any case, this would mean that Archivald Erskine indeed had a son (or daughter), and this is to be proven.

Thanks also for the "jacobite" tip: I was not aware of the implications of this.

I will also look up for Archibald Erskine's will in SP, great idea.

Regarding Anstruther's property, I read in the testament that was called "Drill", it is mentioned on the 7th line of the will which can be downloaded here: https://photos.geni.com/p13/82/22/f4/89 ... iginal.jpg (i've transcribed most of the will if needed).

Thanks!

matiasfortuno
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:21 pm

Re: Help proving or disproving hypothesis regarding Archibald Erskine, 7th Earl of Kellie

Post by matiasfortuno » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:01 pm

matiasfortuno wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:43 pm

I will also look up for Archibald Erskine's will in SP, great idea.
So, I got the Testament, which can be viewed here https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MMIAA2 ... MnRMT/view. I think I didn't find any mention to a child, but...

On page 8, there is mentioned a servant of Archibald Erskine, named Charles Robertson, and his wife Marg.. There is even an "Arch_ Robertson" named on page 15. He inherits ...oats.

So, could it be... that "my" Archibald Erskine Robson" was son of Archvald Erskine' servants...??!!

If this was the case ... would it have been posible por the son of a servant, to get enough money to buy a ship, be educated to have relations with one of the first chilean governments, and to star a mining company in Chile? (well, in Peru by the time).

Thanks

WilmaM
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Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:46 am
Location: Falkirk area

Re: Help proving or disproving hypothesis regarding Archibald Erskine, 7th Earl of Kellie

Post by WilmaM » Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:00 pm

On page 8, there is mentioned a servant of Archibald Erskine, named Charles Robertson, and his wife Marg.. There is even an "Arch_ Robertson" named on page 15. He inherits ...oats.
I had noted a birth in the OPRs of an Archbald
ROBERTSON ARCHBALD parents CHARLES ROBERTSON/MARGARET PIRRIE FR798 (FR798) M 07/08/1787 413/20 255 Carnbee.

Carnbee is the parish associated with Kellie castle :
https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=1 ... yers=5&b=1
[if you are unfamiliar with the NLS map site - drag the blue button to see a modern map beneath, and chose different maps from the various drop-down menus]

The Earls' death is also recorded there:
ERSKINE ARCHIBALD ----- 62 M 05/05/1797 413/ 20 521 Carnbee

I'll take time to read the rest later.

WilmaM
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Location: Falkirk area

Re: Help proving or disproving hypothesis regarding Archibald Erskine, 7th Earl of Kellie

Post by WilmaM » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:34 pm

I hope somebody else comes along who can read that old handwriting!

It seems that there is an area of Anstruther with lots of 'Dreel' names - Dreel tavern, Dreel Hall etc.
In the High street/ Esplande part of town. It's still much as Mr Robson would recognise I imagine!
Not a Town I know - need to remedy that I think.

Do take a wee trip via google street view.

matiasfortuno
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Re: Help proving or disproving hypothesis regarding Archibald Erskine, 7th Earl of Kellie

Post by matiasfortuno » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:40 pm

Nice find! Those are clearly Archibald Erskine' servants, and their child named Archibald too. I find significant that the wife name is Margaret, as I have learned the names are repeated often.

So, on this hypothesis, Archibald Erskine Robsom real name would have been Archibald Robertson... and his mother was Margaret and his daughter, too.

So the question remaining is if at the time (1800) would have been possible for the child of a servant, to have enough money and education to own a ship, be a captain, and start a business.

Thanks!

AndrewP
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Re: Help proving or disproving hypothesis regarding Archibald Erskine, 7th Earl of Kellie

Post by AndrewP » Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:35 am

Following Wilma's trail of 'Dreel' places in Anstruther, the maps show the 'Dreel Burn' to flow through Anstruther and out to sea. On following the 'Dreel Burn' upstream you pass Kellie Mill, Kellie House and end out at Over Kellie. Unsurprisingly, these 'Kellie' locations are all quite near to Kellie Castle.

I would take 'Dreel' and 'Drill' to be one an the same, probably varying through local pronunciation.

To follow the burn, see the following maps:
https://maps.nls.uk/view/75533130
https://maps.nls.uk/view/75533121
https://maps.nls.uk/view/75533109

All the best,

AndrewP

Moray_Lass
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Re: Help proving or disproving hypothesis regarding Archibald Erskine, 7th Earl of Kellie

Post by Moray_Lass » Sat Feb 15, 2020 4:14 pm

More questions than answers:

In the OPR does it mentiuon the witnesses? Could 7th Earl be AER's Godfather? They named the baby after their boss to keep in his good graces and asked him to be witness/godfather? Allot of the time the child has the same first name as the witnesses. Who inherited the Kellie estate? Did the Robertson's have any connection with them?

Next question - what proof is there he owned the ship he captained? Was that in his will?

And can you trace Archibald Robertson until the name change? Not directly related to this but could be interesting to see if there was a reason. And if you find Robson and Robertson in two different places at the same time you know you are on the wrong track.

Any way to find out when or how he acquired the Dreel/Drill land and under what name?

Like I said, no help but maybe other lines to follow up.
Maggie

Parental -
Moray, Bellie/Boharm:- Symon, Thomson, Davidson, Gordon, Laing, Dick, Thom, Geddes.
Banffshire, Rothiemay:- Lobban, Symon
Maternal -
'Finechty Flett's'
Banffshire:- Flett, Taylor, Wood, Lorimer, Falconer

matiasfortuno
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:21 pm

Re: Help proving or disproving hypothesis regarding Archibald Erskine, 7th Earl of Kellie

Post by matiasfortuno » Sat Feb 15, 2020 4:44 pm

Thanks Maggie (and Andrew).

Evidence of Archibald Erskine Robson having a ship is in spanish, in several titles, most of them tell how he sold his ship so that to start the nitrate company. In his will he also mentions a ship he owns (Swallow). So, he managed to have at least 2 ships.

So, before I share some sources, let me share this. Some chilean history. As I've shared, AER started the Nitrate business in the city of Iquique, at the time, it was in Peru. The Nitrate industry was afterwards so important to Peru, Bolivia and Chile, that in 1879 these countries started a war for the resources ( Guerra del Pacifico). Chile won, and the city of Iquique among others was chilean after that.

So that is why the person AER has been documented a little, altough the main figure is George Smith who did the prospections and lived a lot more.

Sources:

- page 13 of http://www.memoriachilena.cl/archivos2/ ... 043250.pdf

- “Las balas del Niño Dios”: La batalla de Tarapacá y la formación de la nación en el extremo sur del Perú (1822-1842)

- https://vdocuments.site/crozier-ronald-30.html Citado en artículo de Ronald W. Crozier, "el salitre hasta la guerra del pacífico: una revisión".

-regarding Archibald Erskine Robson doing business with chilean government: https://www.institutoohigginiano.cl/ima ... iggins.pdf

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