Thursday, April 30, 2015

searching for Robert 'Bertie' BEATTIE of Scotland

Occasionally this blog has the opportunity to help people solve a genealogy mystery. This is the case again with an old friend Olivia trying to solve a Scottish mystery. A 20th century mystery at that, making it all the more difficult. Olivia has provided some text outlining the challenge, which I have edited.

As with similar posts, my hope is that someone Googling names mentioned here will find this article, and make contact.  Contact details are at the end of this post:

Since 2006, I have been looking for information about my Scottish grandmother's father, Robert 'Bertie' BEATTIE, and I am hoping that people may have known him or his family may have information. The place and town of primary interest are:
1. Newfield, Chapeltown, Ballindalloch
2. Glasgow

According to the birth record, he was born Robert Daniel CAMERON ('illegitimate') on June 20 1910, the son of Jane Ann CAMERON, at Newfield, Glenlivet, Banff. His father is not listed as he was born out of wedlock. In the 1911 census, 'Robert Daniel' was living with his grandmother Helen BEATTIE and aunts/uncles who were not much older than himself at a home named Newfield, Inverarton. When Robert later married (in 1932), his name was entered as Robert BEATTIE and he gave his maternal grandparents Helen (nee CAMERON; Jane Ann Cameron's mother) and James BEATTIE from Newfield, Chapeltown as his parents. This suggests that he may have been raised by his grandparents.

Robert BEATTIE moved to Glasgow at some point, where he met my great-grandmother, Jessie NICOL. He was working at Southern General Hospital as a Mental Hospital Attendant and was living there at the time of their marriage in April 1932.

They subsequently had two children. The first (my grandmother) was born on 5 May 1932. She was named Helen (I later learned she was named after he grandmother). Her younger sister was born in 1933. A few days later following the birth of their second child in 1933, Jessie BEATTIE nee NICOL died aged only 22. In her death certificate, her husband Robert BEATTIE was listed as an asylum attendant, and while Jessie died in the County Hospital at Motherwell, the family residence was listed as Govan Road, Glasgow (where the hospital complex still stands).

The family narrative from this point is unclear, but the following is known:

The two daughters were raised by their maternal uncle, Angus NICOL (Jessie’s brother). The girls were told that her father intended to separate the girls, but the family refused to let him separate the girls. For reasons unknown, Robert BEATTIE left his job by 14 Nov 1933 and returned to Newfield, Chapeltown (a distance of ~150 miles from Glasgow). Two short letters remain in the family from Robert BEATTIE (known as Bert and Bertie) sent to Angus a few months after Jessie's death, where he indicates he is signing over the girls to him. Forms are referred to, but we do not know what these are. He said he would come for Helen when she was 13 but was never heard from again. It can be concluded that Robert knew where his daughters were, but they are not aware of ever having met him again.

Later, the daughters were moved to Australia and the possibility of finding Bertie BEATTIE was removed.

A great deal of research into the fate of Robert BEATTIE has only lead to dead ends. The only clue from a distant relative in Canada is that a 'Bertie' was a policeman in Glasgow. Given how young he was (about 23) when his wife died and his children were adopted by family, it is entirely possible Robert re-married and had children, and there may be descendants out there to connect with their unknown Australian cousins.

The family would like to learn more information about Robert (his daughter his still alive) and she would also treasure any stories about the BEATTIE and CAMERON families she is descended from as the official records only provide limited insight into who they were.

If you have any information, or any photos of Newfield House or headstones in the chapel’s graveyard please email oliviajmason at gmail dot com, or comment to the host of this blog (Matt - cispt2 at gmail dot com).

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