It’s always exciting to find a new family record and this is especially true when the record is over 200 years old. I had just such an experience recently when I delved into some research on my Smart family ancestors. It is easy for me to become focused on ‘hunting’ for Hadden ancestors and sometimes I need to rise above that natural tendency to look at other connected branches.
James Hadden, my 4th great grandfather, married Mary Smart on May 25th, 1833 in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. James and Mary had at least two children – Alexander, my 3rd great grandfather, and Jane. There is some evidence that they had another child, Mary, but the evidence is not solid. Mary (Smart) Hadden died in 1840 and James left his children, while he went off to find work in New Hills, with his in-laws, Mary’s parents, William and Jane (nee Strachan) Smart in Allathan, New Deer, Aberdeenshire.
William Smart appears to have provided a great deal of stability to his family. He was born around 1771 in New Deer where it appears he lived his entire life. On August 30, 1798 he married Jane Strachan. Over the next several years, their family grew with the addition of seven children: Joshua, Jane, Mary, William, Anne, John, and Barbara. William maintained his farm at Allathan in New Deer over the next several decades prior to his death in 1867 at the age of 96.
Although civil registration did not begin in Scotland until 1855, I have recently found the christening record for their first child, Joshua who was named, apparently following the Scottish naming convention, after his paternal grandfather. Joshua’s christening record states the following: “William Smart in Allathan had a child brought forth by his wife Jane Strachan baptized named Joshua. Witnesses Joshua Smart and James Robbie.” The entry into the parish register is dated July 2, 1799. It is possible, maybe even likely, that the Joshua Smart who is named as a witness to this christening is William’s father and my 6th great grandfather.
I really didn’t think that there would be more records to find but fortunately, records like this one describing Joshua’s christening appear to prove me wrong – and to re-energize the ‘hunt’ for ancestors.