Servants and Surnames?

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Servants and Surnames?

Post by Berowald » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:33 pm

So researching my family takes me back to 18th Century MacDuff in Banffshire. Just south of MacDuff was a small fermtoun called Goukstanes (currently the land of Dounemont carehome is where it would have been). And now I'm in a bit of a sticky situation. this is from the birth of my 8th Great Grandfather:

"John Son to Walter Innes in Goukstanes was Baptiz’d: God Fathers and God-Mothers being Master John Innes Minister Anna Urquhart Spouse to John Wood in Gelly mill; John Walker and Janet Spouse in the Pa?for? of Kingedward."

my problem comes from "Master John Innes Minister", Now I have come to the conclusion that this John Innes was the Minister of Gamrie Church which was near Gardenstown, He was a Minister until he was kicked out of the Church for having Episcopalian sympathies during the Jacobite Rising of 1715. Now why would John Innes have master in front of his name, At the time of the birth he was still a minister. At first I just ignored the master bit, But I came up with the idea maybe he was a sub-tenant who had a cotter working for him as a servant? and this servant was Walter who took John's surname and named his child after him? seems crazy I know but could something like this of happened? Or am I missing something? Sadly Gamrie only started recording births and stuff after 1701 so their is nothing that I can find that would give me any occupation of Walter nor a birth so I have no idea if he was born Innes. Walter can't be the son of John considering John only had one child who was female. Maybe Walter married his daughter and took the surname? How common was that in the 18th Century? Or have I just got this all wrong and Master was supposed to be Mister or something and is written in a weird way.

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I've been stuck on here for weeks trying to find a connection between John and Walter. (The only thing I can think of is something like great uncle but why would a great uncle be named as a Godfather and master. here is the original birth thing: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=18399)

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Re: Servants and Surnames?

Post by AndrewP » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:53 pm

Hi Berowald,

The one part that I can add to the deciphering of the image is for the phrase below.
Berowald wrote:
Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:33 pm
... John Walker and Janet Spouse in the Pa?for? of Kingedward."
John Walker and Janet Spouse in the Parish of Kingedward.

The parish of King Edward is in Aberdeenshire, just over the county boundary from the parish of Gamrie, Banffshire.

See (top centre of this map)
See (bottom centre of this map)

The main part of the parish of King Edward is south of the parish of Gamrie, and there is a detached portion of the parish of King Edward (also being a detached part of Aberdeenshire) within Banffshire, immediately south of Banff and Macduff.

All the best,


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Re: Servants and Surnames?

Post by WilmaM » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:59 pm

To be honest I really don't think it says master or Mafter as the script of the time would look.
The M part looks detached.
However I don't know what it IS...
A look at the other entries on the page could help, what's the wording on those? Is it a type of title or form of address used for Ministers, doctors or the like.
I know a school teacher would be referred to as "the Master", or master and the churchman as meenister .
The Doric spoken thereabouts is a law unto itself,even nowadays, though I love to hear the older folks spakin away in their ain tongue whin we gang up yonder.
(Doric speakers forgive me )

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Re: Servants and Surnames?

Post by Currie » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:50 am

This book, “The constitution of the Church of Scotland, as established at the Revolution 1689-90“, published in 1841, has Mr in front of the name of John Innis and of every other minister listed. So whatever that stood for they all had it. ... 22&f=false

According to the 1871 Fasti Ecclesiæ Scotican, Rev John Innes had a M.A. from King's College, Aberdeen. So perhaps that's the Master. ... 22&f=false


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Re: Servants and Surnames?

Post by SarahND » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:46 am

Brilliant, Alan - I think you've nailed it!


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Re: Servants and Surnames?

Post by Berowald » Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:29 am

thanks all for the help a little less for me to worry about, Now I do have somewhat a chance of carrying on the tree lol! Thanks all!

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