Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You wait 39 years for a new discovery and two come along at once!!

Genealogy is an emotional subject for those of us who have been bitten by the bug. Once bitten, the consequences can be fatal... especially for other family members who don't share our enthusiasm!

I regularly liken genealogy to crossing a river on stepping stones. All too often the stepping stones run out leaving you stranded mid-stream wondering which way to turn. Occasionally, you make it to the other side, but this is very rare because the records are not available to lead you back to our very distant family members.

I have met many people who claim that they can trace their family tree back past the Norman Conquest but usually they simply gather similar sounding surnames together and make the assumption that they are all related. I can't bring myself to do that. Unless I can prove beyond doubt that I have the correct person I won't enter them into my records. I discovered Captain Henry Tristram Ogilvie 20 years ago but it has taken me that long to prove beyond doubt that we are definitely related.

Yesterday a letter arrived from Canada from a lady who is distantly related to me through the Ogilvie branch of my family tree. This is a branch of my family tree that was virtually unknown to me until last year when I finally discovered the name of my Indian princess that family legend recounted. Obviously, she was not a princess but an "Indo-Briton". The child of an English man and an Indian woman.

The letter was a revelation to me because the writer knew nothing of my Indian princess or her brother who were born to an Indian woman by the name of Paupah in Madras in 1832 and Captain Henry Tristram Ogilvie of the 23rd Madras Native Infantry. She did however inform me that Captain Henry Tristram Ogilvie married a Miss Avice Chapman on November 12th 1835 in Singapore. At the moment I do not know if he was a widower or if indeed he was ever married to Paupah but I have ordered a copy of this marriage record to see if I can learn more.

Interestingly, in December 1835 Captain Ogilvie was returning to England for his health onboard the ship True Briton when he died enroute. Presumably, his new wife was with him and arrived in England a widow after less than a month of being married.

Captain Ogilvie's mother was Eliza Letitia Catherine Ogilvie (nee Ricketts) the only sister of the 1st Baron Ricketts and the wife of John Hugh Donnel Ogilvie, a former judge in Madras. In the letter from my new contact she says that she thinks she has a picture of Eliza but she knows nothing more about the Ogilvies.

The excitement that her letter has stirred up in me is indescribable. Contact with a distant relation from this branch of the family and her piece of information about Captain Ogilvie being married in Singapore are new stepping stones that I intend to follow as far as I can.

Paul Rowland.