Towns/farms of Caithness

Discussion in 'Caithness' started by sue neikirk, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. sue neikirk

    sue neikirk Member

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    You have all been great help, in a very short time, with my Sinclair search. Now I want to understand a bit about breaking down where someone lived there. According to where the Sinclair's had their "abode" was at Stempster. So as I understand it.....They lived at Stempster in the parish of Reay in Caithness County, Scotland?
    Stempster is a farm, right? Would there have been a small community of workers there on the farm?
    They later moved to Baillie farm, still in Reay, Caithness.
    So I think the question is these Stempster and Baillie are just large farms with communities......right? So the children were not born in Reay (a town) but on the farm Stempster or Baillie?
     
  2. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    Hi Sue,

    When I was looking at the online Ordnance Survey map of the area (maps.the-hug.net/ - put the reference ND042655 in the search box) it shows Stemster and Baillie as 2 separate clusters of buildings. These could well be farms, although are not labelled as such on the map.

    By the way, it was not at all uncommon for farm workers to walk several miles to and from work each day and so, although the workers may well have lived in the communities, they may also have lived in an outlying village.

    For an overall description of Reay, take a read of this GENUKI entry.

    I hope that this helps. :)
     
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  3. sue neikirk

    sue neikirk Member

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    Thankyou Jan. The birth places (or abode) on the census says Stempster. The only one born out of Stempster (but still in Reay) is Baillie, for one of the children. It looks like it is fairly broken down to an address. Like I live in Grovertown, Oregon Davis Township, Starke county, Indiana, USA. The further back I go in this tree the more confusing it becomes with the whereabouts. Don't laugh but......I look at it like it is from the story Little Lord Fontlaroy. (at least the movie...lol) showing the farm workers in their own little grouping of homes. Would it have been like that?
    In fact here in the US I still see old migrant workers homes grouped (no longer used and I photograph them) together complete with kitchens and showers and bathrooms
     
  4. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    One place that might be able to help you further in understanding the lives of the people of the time is the Caithness Family History Society. They may even have old photographs of the area.

    caithnessfhs.org.uk/
     
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  5. sue neikirk

    sue neikirk Member

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    I am going to check it out asap!
     
  6. Mary Skipworth

    Mary Skipworth New Member

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  7. Mary Skipworth

    Mary Skipworth New Member

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    Hi Sue I see you are connected to Sinclairs of Stempster, in Reay, Caithness, which is also one of my lines. I have been collecting all the records of Sinclairs that I can find in that area, so it is possible I might be able to help you if you care to tell me what details you already have. Since this conversation is likely to get quite detailed I suggest you might prefer to contact me directly mskip [at] xtra.co.nz but the choice is up to you.
    Going back to your original question about what Stemster really means - ie a place or a farm - I have had the same question myself. As far as I can see there must have been a small settlement there - perhaps hamlet would best describe it, but now there is pretty much only Stempster House at the end of the road. I found I could get a reasonable look at it by using Google's street view.
    Then I found a very useful map site called streetmap.co.uk. You need to find Reay and then Stempster on the map and then switch to the highest zoom that the site is offering. You will find the road leading in to Stempster House has a label on it "Stemster Holdings" and there are a few small scattered buildings shown along this road. Another map labels the area "Stempster smallholdings". I think that indicates there was once a community there of crofters with very small plots of land where they might keep a cow or a pig, but also they would be labourers on the main farm.
    Did you get any help from the Caithness Family History group?
    Look forward to hearing from you. Mary
     
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  8. GrannyBarb

    GrannyBarb Custodian of the Family Accounts

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    I have a sub to ScotlandsPlaces that expires in June, 2016. I looked up Stempster, Reay Parish (not to be confused with Stemster in Bower Parish) and found a few listings in 1797 horse tax and 1833 OS Place names records. If @sue neikirk or @Mary Skipworth would like details, please contact me via the Conversation feature. Stempster is described as a farm.

    Regards,
    Barb
     
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  9. Peregrine

    Peregrine Well-Known Member

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    There is also a group on Facebook called Caithness Family History, its members may also be able to help re localities. It is a closed group so you have to ask to join, they seem friendly and helpful.
     
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  10. Mary Skipworth

    Mary Skipworth New Member

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    Thanks Peregrine, good to know that group is there. For the moment I don't have any questions for them. Mary
     

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