[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: 1660 and all that

Well, Hullo Linde

Yes I was sort of wondering where we'd got to. The problem with email
working is that it's nearly impossible to synchronise properly! I find
the same thing on the business front - I thought it would be possible to
use email to get designers working with me remotely, but one actually
does need physical communication to get people co-ordinating properly.
It's exactly what you said about needing a meeting!

> Dear Richard, I've been somewhat out of circulation lately.
> James has had a bad couple of months; he gets depressed, or more accurately
> anxious, and this autumn has been particularly difficult.

Sorry to hear that, but living with an over-imaginative wife, I believe
I understand. Mary is very intelligent but her self-confidence is about
as low as the scale gets. A thickie who is too stupid to realise a task
is difficult will accomplish more that a genius who knows the task's not
worth doing! Mary's self-esteem (though improving with age) if still
enough to depress her.

> I have been looking at Judy Hergisheimer's material,

You've photocopied me bits of it, but I don't have all of it.

> and have re-allocated ten Torrenses in the light of it: I had completely
> merged two families of Smith Torrenses. It may not be 100 percent
> accurate yet, why hell did they keep on using the same names.....

.. Tradition!

It does indicate that the gene pool was small. Surnames were adopted as
forenames and kept circulating. It'd the old saw about Jones the baker,
Jones the butcher etc. The trouble is that if 30% of the population were
called John, the 30% of the Torrenses were called John. It's very easy to
combine references to 6 Johns as being to one alone!

> I thought about starting on a completely speculation free tree.

First speculation: that the data you have doesn't contain errors in
original scribing, reading or subsequent transcription. We've spotted
some (Zigley). How many are unspotted? If you want to get pedantic, how
sure can you be of the sexual morals: how many by-blows were there?
NOTHING is certain, there are only different degrees of doubt.

> I didn't get very far; I was trying to strip away all assumptions, and I
> discovered that it leaves us very little.

> The Garvagh census is a prime example; we have been happily assuming that
> Samuel and Mary Ann are listed along with their children, and we have
> embroidered that basic assumption to allow for two families to two wives. I'm
> actually happy enough with that; but it is an assumption.

It has an acceptable degree of certainty, in light of other data.

> Any one of these names could have been a maiden aunt or a cousin or a
> son and his new wife who had not yet found a house. I started to query
> our assumptions about the Garvagh census when I realized that we assumed
> a nuclear family for Samuel [two families], but in the next household,
> we were making quite a different assumption about who was in the
> household. I mean Hugh and Ester's household.

Ah - but we've already covered that one! My write-up puts that
assumption to rest. Read
<A HREF="http://www.4qd.co.uk/torrens/jandj/jandj.html";></A>

This is clearly a prime example of us being, at the time, on different

> It occurred to  me that we
> have perhaps been wrong to conclude that John and jean and ALexander
> are dependents in Hugh's household; it seems to me that it is somewhat
> unlikely that they would have lived like that, when we know that Jean at
> least was active until 1802.The head of a family stayed the head until
> death, generally speaking. Hugh we know had a son Alexander; he could
> also have had children called John and Jean, who may have died or been
> married in 1821; John could even be landless John in the census (no. 48)
> SO if John and Jean were still living on their own somewhere else,
> Alexander and Robert could have been with them. This would explain why
> we don't have Robert in the Garvagh list. He can't have been in AMerica
> in 1796. They may still have adhered to Bovedy church, or even
> Aghadowey, and hence be outwith Garvagh's list. Once I got that far in
> my ratiocinations, I began to query root and branch stuff like how do we
> know for sure that it is JOHN and Jean? The only bit of evidence is the
> belief that John and Jean are the people in Hugh's household; if these
> are Hugh's children instead, then we don't know Jean's husband's name.
> I think it probably is John, but we don't know for certain, do we?

There's a 30% random chance that any Torrens was called John, so it's a
good name to start at. The most acceptable evidence is that it allowed
me to assemble the whole family in a way which appears to fit the known

Scientific method consists of theorising, then making predictions from
that theory and testing those predictions. We cannot predict and test,
but we can re-examine the theory in light of each piece of evidence. If
a datum fits, it strengthens the theory.

> At that point I desisted. But what do you think? Is it feasible to be
> completely assumption-free? It's hard to do a family tree out of the
> material at our disposal without assuming things.

Depressing, isn't it! What we REALLY need is a time machine....

> I was studying your {extremely useful} little booklet,

Which I've not been keeping upto date!

> and I notice that in
> the section on Mayoghil p. 24, you don't mention the possibility of  Robert
> T. of Stranorlar as a son of Thomas and Margaret McComb.

Proves my point!

It's actually very difficult to write up such speculations, especially
in a way that can easily be re-written as ideas change. Part of that if
the computer program used. The booklet is written in a frame based DTP
program. I can alter a frame easily, but if the data in that frame gets
too big, the frame has to be enlarged, which may affect the layout of
all of the following frames. It's not ideal. The John and Jean page is
in html - which is not frame based. Insert a new bit, and the rest of
the text flows along, carrying all with it. It actually works a bit
better for genealogy!

The next problem here is that one is not only writing up genealogy but
learning a computer program. The way one writes it very much depends on
what program is used and one's skills with that program. Even after this
amount of experimenting, I would still not be able to define the ideal
program for the purpose, but html is probably as good as anything
because you can link from one place to another. There's a distinct
parallel between the WWW and the web we weave from the available data.

> It looks to me likely enough that he is their son. Perhaps this
> possibility didn't make it into this edition of the booklet? The John
> the labourer  in Mayoghil may be as you suggest a son, but I wonder--I
> should have thought that Robert and Hugh are more like Mayoghil names;
> John the labourer's son is David, which sounds like it could even be
> Carnroe?? (On the subject of not making assumptions-and I know I'm the
> most guilty of making assumptions of anyone around...perhaps we
> shouldn't assume that Hugh in his grandfather's household in Mayoghil is
> James's son--of course he is almost certainly James's son; but other
> explanations are possible. One of the girls could have had what was
> tactfully called a "bye wean"; an illegitimate son; or one of them could
> have married a Torrens. Both things happened in other families, and both
> would have produced a grandson named Torrens.

We suspect Hugh is the son of Hugh: this leads to a line where first
sons are all called Hugh. So Hugh's first son should be Hugh. Hugh's 3rd
son is Hugh, so the first Hugh died between 1739 and 1746. In 1

Hugh Torrance [Mayoughill] 1695 - 1779
     Hugh   1720-1740
     Jean   1729-1802
     Robert 1736 - 1816
     Thomas 1739 - 1804
     Hugh   1746 - 182?

This is all quite possible: Mayoughill was 25 in 1720, but first son Hugh
could have been born any time up to 1727. Hugh was 51 at birth of his
youngest son Hugh. but there are simply too many gaps in the dates to make
anything more of it! It's entirely possible that Eleanor's father was
called Robert. Or something else.

We can say that first sons of Robert, Thomas and Hugh should have been
called Hugh.
Robert Torrance [America] 1736 - 9.10.1816
  1754 (age 18) to America.
       Olive Torrance     27.1.1765  - 4.8.1767
       Mary {Molly} Torrance 21.4.1766 - 13.5.1841
       Olive Torrance      7.2.1768  - 1850
       Rhoda Torrance      7.4.1770 - 25.3.1834
       Robert Torrance     13.4.1772 - 5.1835
       Stiles Torrance     1.6.1774 - 24.5.1838
No room for any more children, appears to be a consistent family.
Assumption: he broke completely with naming patterns, which seems to be
the norm for American immigrants. Yes he did use his own name for one
of his sons. He was 29 when Olive was born, so could have married at 25
and had a son Hugh and a dau Eleanor! But there's no Lucy recorded, so
he's broken with tradition. So it doesn't even suggest anything!

Jean's children. John's father appears to be an Alexander, so I've
hypothesised a second son Hugh, who died before 1760.

Thomas indeed has a son Hugh, and another son, name unknown.

Hugh: has a son James, but there are too many gaps. We've postulated
first son Hugh, died before 1804

It's all terribly inconclusive! It looks like the missing son is either
James or Robert! Since Hugh's second known son is James, you can believe
the James theory, or the Strinolan Robert theory! Anybody got a coin

> Where did the info. that Hugh of Mayoghils' wife was Jean Cochrane
> come from?

Young Robert's letter to his uncle: "Your Brother Hugh Marid a Jean
Cochran and Lives in Mayoghle he has 3 Children one Son & Two Daughters"

> I still would have liked her to be a Margaret, a niece of
> James Orr; why else would they have used the  name James for the eldest
> son in a line of Hughs.

I think Robert's letter has to be accepted! Surely the Margaret is
actually Margaret McComb?

You get the same problem I do: working on it seasonally, with large gaps
causes one to forget what happened in the last flurry! Fortunately my
computer records do serve well instead of memory.

One of my hobbies is mycology. It's very seasonal and East Anglia is
exceedingly dry, so most years I forget all I learned last year and have
to start again!

> On a slightly different front--have you had a chance to look up the Mormon
> searchable site yet? It is a mixed bag, of course, but promises to be very
> useful.

No. Didn't know of it. What's the URL?

> Some evening we should try arguing in real time--bouncing emails back and
> forth-I'm sure you can immediately think of excellent arguments against me!
> Not hard to counter-accuse me of being assumption-prone! I'd need to get a
> better email  connection than I've had recently.

I think better in writing than verbally: certainly a meeting is an
excellent idea. You were considering a visit. The offer's still open. If
you don't mind roughing it, we can accommodate the family, but the place
is a bit disorganised.

You've not commented on the email list: it seems to be working OK, don't
know what I expected. There are now 46 on the list, but everyone's
waiting for others to tell them things. Few are volunteering much.

Richard Torrens  - torrens@xxxxxxxxx
Torrens families Genealogical site  http://www.4QD.co.uk/torrens/
Torrens Mailing list: to join, click on the link below.