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The AITKEN brothers


1842 arrival is clearly 19. Penicuik Farm serv. Pres. R&W

1852 I will try to check tomorrow.

No age on the burial record. No death or funeral notice or obituary found so far.


the Aitken family bible says Thomas was born in Edinburgh in 1822.

Thomas' death certificate, informed by his daughter, says he was 80 years old at 26 November 1897.

I think 1822 is more reliable.

John McConnel (1806-1899) was the owner of Durundur station in QLD. There are extensive McConnel family papers in the QLD State Library. Jane Lumsden Aitken and John Aitken were both born at Durundur, according to the Bible.

From earlier research, I read that up to one third of people in Peebles were not recorded in the OPR (for various reasons).
There was the Free Church, Burgher Church, United Presbyterian and the Relief church in Peeblesshire none of which are in the OPRs

Looks like age is 28 on the image. There is a '3' on the line above.


Father - James
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Found this gem on Trove:

Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld: 1846 - 1861), Saturday 7 November 1857


The undersigned, having had 14 years' experience, is anxious to obtain a situation as SHEEP OVERSEER. For 12 years he has been with D. & J. M'Connell, Esqs., to whom reference can be made.

GEO. AITKEN, Durundur

A year or so later he was advertising as a shopkeeper at Durundur.
Sister of Janet who married Thomas.

Death 1928/B05212 Cooksle Catherine Alexandra Thomas Cairns Janet Draper

The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) - Friday 3 August 1928 p.25
... youngest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Cairns, and came to Queensland, with her parents when 3 years of age, settling at Bulimba, on the station then owned by Mr. D. C. M'Connell. ...
Intriguing lead while looking for James Aitken deaths between 1841 and 1851:

James Aitken, farmer of Callands, parish of Newlands, Peebles, d 30 May 1835, aged 87. His widow was Margaret Murray, d 1 March 1839 aged 91.
Son James Aitken jnr, of Callands, d 16 Jun 1839, aged 63. His wife Agnes Nimmo d. 12 Nov 1851, aged 72. Their daughter Margaret Murray Aitken d. 22 Jun 1844, aged 25.

James Aitken jnr, of Callands, parish of Newlands, and Agnes Nimmo, dau of dec William Nimmo, surgeon, married 29 June 1808, Glasgow.

They had at least 6 children:
• John Aitken, b 17 July 1809, Newlands
• Janet Hamilton Aitken, b 28 Mar 1811, Newlands
• William Nimmo Aitken, b. 2 Nov 1812, Newlands
• James Aitken, b. 24 May 1814, Newlands
• Robert Nimmo Aitken, b. 21 Nov 1816, Newlands
• Margaret Murray Aitken, b 14 Oct 1818, Newlands (d. 1844)
• Andrew White Aitken, b 1 Aug 1820, Newlands

Perhaps there were more (Thomas, George)?

A William Nimmo Aitken d. 8 Apr 1844 at Newlands, aged 9.

Robert (Nimmo) Aitken, tea merchant, of 2 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, d 5 Feb 1858, aged 41. Son of James Aitken farmer of Callands, Peeblesshire, and Agnes Nimmo.

Key question: were there any other children of James Aitken senior and Margaret Murray? Where and when did they marry? Did Thomas and George get taken in by their grandparents, or aunts and uncles?
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Have been folllowing up matches between Aitken and Storey and the second Christian names of Thomas and Margaret Aitken's children: Murray, Lumsden, Borthwick.

That's what led me to focus on James Aitken and Margaret Murray of Newlands parish. Lots of Aitken males in the OPR pre: 1800 but no mother's mentioned, so hard to piece together.

Have gone back to Borthwick, and followed the George Aitkine and Margaret Borthwick marriage (Mid Calder, Midlothian) a bit further. They had:

Margaret b. 1752 Mid Calder
Jean b. 1755
James b. 1757 ** (what happened to this son?)
Janet b. 1762
Isabel b. 1764 ** (Isabella Borthwick Aitken?)
Carolina b. 1760

Isobel (Borthwick?) Aitken married Thomas Hamilton in 1784 and had three children:

Isabella Hamilton b. 1798
George Aitken Hamilton b. 1788
Margaret Hamilton b. 1785

Don't know when Isobel Aitken died, but this could put her in the range of a close relative of Thomas and George who carried the "Isabella Borthwick Aitken" name.

I might be clutching at straws, but there is another coincidence.

Isabella Hamilton b 1798 (dau of above) married William Mowbray Anderson. Their daughter Marion married Daniel Anstruther who in turn was the son of Kathrine Storey and Robert Inster or Anstruther. Kathrine Storey was Margaret Storey Aitken's paternal aunt. Interestingly, the Anstruther tree is heavily populated with Cairns family members and Aitken features as a Christian name (Aitken Cairns).

Aitken, Cairns, Borthwick, Storey...???
More on the "brothers":

The Scotsman, 18 June 1851

“To Captain William Martin, Brig Venilia of Yarmouth
We, the undersigned, passengers of the Barque Mary White, destroyed by fire on 17th of May ultimo, on her passage from Sydney to London, hereby beg to tender to Captain William Martin, of the Brig Venilia, our sincere and heartfelt thanks for his kind and gentlemanly treatment on the voyage from Fayal to Cork. His conduct was beyond all praise, and we regret that at present our destitute condition prevents our offering him a more substantial token of our esteem. We sincerely trust that his after career may be prosperous and happy, and that every blessing may fall on him and his,

John Watts
George Aitkin
Thomas Aitkin

Henry Salter
Louis Langham
Bethia Langham”

The dates fit.

Both George and Thomas married their respective spouses in early July 1851 in Edinburgh and Penicuick.
A little breakthrough...

Also on the 'William and Mary' 1852 were William Murray, his wife Margaret (nee Aitken), and their son Thomas. She was from Kirkhill, Penicuick. They married in Penicuick on 19 Dec 1845. Her parents were listed as James and Isabella (both dead).

THe couple had three more children in QLD, James (1855), Lawrence (1857) and Eliza Lester (1860). There is no further record of children. I suspect Margaret Murray died between 1860 and 1862, hence the name was passed on to her niece Margaret Murray Aitken, b 1862 (dau of Thomas Aitken and Margaret Storey).

So we now may be looking at three siblings...
George, Thomas and Margaret all in 1852 listing parents as James & Isabella, both dead.

Isabella is a mystery.

Not at all easy trying to find the three in 1841 census.

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Piece: SCT1851/685 Place: St Cuthbert's -Midlothian Enumeration District: 1
Civil Parish: St Cuthberts Ecclesiastical Parish, Village or Island: -
Folio: 697 Page: 11 Schedule: 40
Address: Gorgie Farm
Surname First name(s) Rel Status *** Age Occupation Where Born Remarks
MURRAY William Head M M 27 Farm Servant Midlothian - Newton
MURRAY Margaret Wife M F 26 Midlothian - St Mary's Parish
MURRAY Thomas Son - M 1 Midlothian - St Cuthberts
MCCULLOCH Mary Servnt U F 16 House Servant East Lothian - Haddington

Looking for a Margaret born Edinburgh with father = James

James Aitken
Spouse's Name Jane Paterson
Event Date 03 Mar 1825
Event Place Edinburgh Parish,Edinburgh,Midlothian
Spouse's Father's Name Thomas Paterson

Margaret Aitken
Christening Date 11 May 1826
Birth Date 19 Apr 1826
Father's Name James Aitken
Mother's Name Jane Patterson

Mary Ann Aitken
Birth Date 20 Aug 1827
Birthplace Edinburgh Parish, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Father's Name James Aitken
Mother's Name Jane Paterson

Jemima Aitken
Birth Date 05 Feb 1829
Father's Name James Aitken
Mother's Name Jane Paterson
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The North Australian, Ipswich and General Advertiser (Ipswich, Qld. : 1856 - 1862) Fri 24 Aug 1860 p.3
Before the Police Magistrate and Messrs. North and Lamb.
Smith v. Margaret Murray.— Plaintiff alleged the
defendant, wife of defendant in the former case, ille-
gally detained his watch. The evidence showed that
the watch had been given by plaintiff to defendant,
and the Bench dismissed the case without costs.
From 1841 Census

Name Robert Aitken
Age 60
Estimated Birth Year abt 1781
Gender Male
Where born Peeblesshire, Scotland
Civil parish Kilbucho
County Peeblesshire
Address Colzeat Or Callate (actually Calzeat)
Occupation Farmer & Inn Keeper
Parish Number 763
Household Members
Name Age
Robert Aitken 60
Janet Aitken 60
Margaret Aitken 15
Janet Aitken 14

Kids look to young to be theirs. Nieces? Grandchildren? Next door is Robert Aitken aged 30. Perhaps James was their son?
1851 Census for same family -- no husband Robert, and some additional (grand)children

Janet Aitken
Age: 64
Estimated birth year: abt 1787
Relationship: Head
Where born: Dunsyre, lanark
Parish Number: 763
Civil Parish: Kilbucho
County: Peeblesshire
Address: Cabzele (Calzeat)
Occupation: Emptying A House
Household Members:
Name Age
Janet Aitken 64
Robert Aitkin 11
Janet Aitken 7
Margret Aitken 5

Have only found two OPR births for Robert Aitken and Janet, nee Sanderson (Margaret 1821 and Thomas 1818 ). However, they married in 1800 at Dunsyre, Lanark.

Janet's death certificate (1855) lists her children as Jane (1801), John (1803, dead), Alexander (1805, dead), Janet (1807), Robert (1809, dead), Margaret (1810, dead), Helen (1812), Mary (1814), Thomas (1817, dead) and Margaret (1821). None of this seems to match the Margaret and Janet in the 1841 census - so who did they belong to?
Very difficult when no relationships are shown in 1841 census and not all children have birth/baptism records.
And Aitken being such a common name in all its different forms! Quite happy to do any look ups in the Peeblesshire area if needed. I have access to all the parish records and deaths and monumental inscriptions.
A bit of a summary.

Thomas - 1817 - 1826 say 1822 is best guess
George abt 1823
Margaret 1826 +/- 1

All three list parents in 1852 as James & Isabella both dead.

Being sure we have any of them in 1841 and 1851 is proving very difficult.

Ship “Margaret”, arr 23 Jan 1842, George 18 [1823?], James and Isabella

Ship “William and Mary”, arr 4 Jan 1852, George 23 [1828?], James/Isabella (dead)

Death cert, 1882, George, parents: Robert & Isabella Borthwick

Ship “Herald”, arr 15 July 1841, Thomas 19 [1822], John, a Wright, Margaret

Ship “William and Mary”, arr 4 Jan 1852, Thomas, 26 [1825], James & Isabella (dead)

“William and Mary”, arr 4 Jan 1852, Margaret 27 [1824?], James & Isabella (dead)

1841 census: 6 June 1841

George likely in Scotland for 1841 census
Margaret in Scotland for 1841 census
James and Isabella living
• Thomas in Australia - not in census

1851 census: 30/31 March 1851

• George and Thomas in transit for census
• Margaret Murray, nee Aitken recorded at Gorgie farm Midlothian (next door to Thomas Cairns)
• James and Isabella dead

1841 census best prospect for George, Margaret and possibly James & Isabella.

1841 Herald shipping record is the odd one out. Perhaps the wrong Thomas.