Taunton man plays the generation game

A TAUNTON man is to visit the North-east next week on the trail of his family’s local connections.

Paul Smillie, originally from Renfrew, near Glasgow, is flying up from Somerset to spend a few days in and around Banchory researching his family tree.

His maternal grandmother, Mary Helen Cromar, was born in Stonehaven on July 22, 1894, in the family home at 74 Barclay Street.

Paul explained: ‘‘She left the area for Glasgow in 1911, aged 16, with her friend Mary Pirrie.

‘‘She married Michael Tyman in Glasgow where she settled down and spent the rest of her long life, passing away in 1987.

‘‘She had two older brothers and three younger sisters: Alexander, born April 18, 1891, in Aberdeen and who died on June 23 the same year; William, born in 1892 in Aberdeen where he died in 1948; Violet, born in 1895 in Stonehaven and who died in 1978 in Cleveland, England; Isabella Jane (Bella), born in 1897 in Aberdeen, date of death unknown, and Eliza, born 1900 in Aberdeen and who died in Braintree, Essex, in 1997.

‘‘Their parents were William Cromar, born at Logie Coldstone in 1864 and who died in Aberdeen in 1902 and Helen (Ellen) Law, born in 1868 at Lumsden Village and who passed away in 1953 at Aberdeen.’’


However, Paul’s family tree goes back another five generations to a Peter Cromar, born circa 1690 at Aboyne.

‘‘Peter, who died in 1770 and was buried at Kirkton of Aboyne, married a Janet Bonnar in 1716 at Kincardine O’Neill.

‘‘However, I have now hit a bit of a brick wall and am unable to find any details about his parents,’’ said Paul.

George Cromar (1775-1829), a son of Paul’s five times great grandfather’s brother, was listed as the schoolmaster at Bankhead of Birse school and George’s brother, Peter ( 1757- ?), was a shepherd to the Marquis of Huntly. Peter’s son, George (1782-1867), was postmaster at Aboyne.

He added: ‘‘In the early 1860s, another side of the family, Jane Cromar (1830-?) and her brother, William Tweedie Cromar (1839- 1916), moved to the USA and settled in the Salt Lake City area.

‘‘The majority of his relatives are buried in the Kirkton of Aboyne Kirkyard, a number more at Banchory Ternan and Tarland Kirkyards.’’

As part of his visit, Paul plans to pop into the research centre for the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society in the ‘‘Granite City’’ and, as a member, utilise their extensive records.

However, he would be happy to hear from anyone who can help with the quest.

He explained: ‘‘Any information that will help me expand my family tree and take it further back beyond Peter Cromar and Janet Bonnar would be greatly appreciated.

‘‘I’ll be flying in to Inverness on Sunday, March 10, and staying at the Tor Na Coille Hotel in Banchory until Thursday the 14th. Alternatively, I can also be contacted via my email address - the.smillies@waitrose.com

’’While in Banchory, I’ll be catching up with a family friend, Mike Rankin, who is editor of the Deeside Piper there and also the Mearns Leader and Kincardineshire Observer in Stonehaven.

‘‘Mike’s family and mine have known each other since our fathers served together as firemen at Paisley Fire Station in the 1960s.’’