Finding an ancestor in the mental health records

Reblogging the story of my g..uncle William Cavers, as revealed by mental health records.

Viv's Ancestry Blog

Graham and Emma Maxwell have started looking at mental health records of Scots admitted to various asylums (National Records of Scotland records MC2 and MC7), with a view to indexing these by name of patient, thus opening them up more to family history researchers. They knew of my Cavers one-name study, so when they stumbled across a Cavers reference they kindly sent me the images. And it turns out to be a relative of mine.

William Cavers (1798-1873) was my distant g..uncle, son of Francis Cavers and Euphemia Hogg, and younger brother of my 4xg-grandfather Thomas Cavers. Like most of the men in his immediate family William worked as a shepherd, moving about various parts of the Borders and other parts of southern Scotland. By 1859 he was at Ancrum, living with his wife Mary and some of their children.

At this time, before Dingleton Hospital opened at Melrose…

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Retiral of a tourism coachman

This concerns George Cavers (1831-1900) of the John Cavers and Elizabeth Hislop line. He died six months later, of chronic bronchitis. The tourism routes he operated on are in Dumfriesshire and Selkirkshire.

Edinburgh Evening News, 1900 April 11
George Cavers, the well-known four-in-hand “whip,” who for nearly half-a-century has driven tourists on the Moffat and St Mary’s Loch routes, has laid down the reins in this capacity, and retired from the road.

An ancestor losing a collie dog in 1896

Reblogging this because it’s also about a Cavers man losing a dog. Actually two probable cousins (one with Cavers as a middle name) losing dogs at same time.

Viv's Ancestry Blog

I stumbled across this newspaper advert the other day:

Southern Reporter, 1896 November 19

LOST, Black and White Collie Dog; string on neck. Communicate with Hall, Gattonside Mains, Melrose.

This would have almost certainly belonged to my great-great grandfather Thomas Cavers Hall (1850-1917) who farmed at Gattonside Mains. It’s possible Thomas had only moved to Gattonside shortly before this, but I need to research that more.

I only found this advert because it appeared immediately below an advert for a lost dog that belonged to a Cavers man:

LOST, Collie Bitch; black, white and tan; answers to the name of “Jed.” Apply, Walter Cavers, Kersknowe, Selkirk

Frustratingly I’m not quite sure who this Walter was. He appears in the 1891 Bowden census, farmer of Kersknowe, aged 69 born Hawick. He’s still there in 1901, aged 79, recorded as born Cavers. Going back to 1861 he looks like the 39-year old…

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Obituary of Thomas Cavers Hall (1850-1917)

Here’s the obituary of one of my ancestors, whose mother was a Cavers. He was one of 10 children, 4 of whom had Cavers as a middle name. He grew up in Hawick and in later life settled at Melrose, also in Roxburghshire, to be a farmer.

Viv's Ancestry Blog

Here’s another obituary of an ancestor, this time another great-great grandfather.

Southern Reporter, October 4 1917

DEATH OF A WELL-KNOWN FARMER.- We regret to learn of the death, following an accident, of Mr Thomas C Hall, for over 20 years tenant of the farm of Gattonside Mains. On Thursday last Mr Hall had just left the farm-house to drive over to Melrose, and when not far from the steading he was pitched on to the road and rendered unconscious. He died on the following Saturday. Mr Hall was a successful farmer, and was well-known at the various sale rings.

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Just posted this to my general-purpose ancestry blog, but it’s a place where Cavers people (including my own ancestors) were buried too, so of interest to Cavers researchers as well.

Viv's Ancestry Blog

For much of my childhood I lived in the Wilton side of Hawick, near where my ancestors had lived for generations. I didn’t realise, though, that on my way to and from Wilton Primary School I was crossing the site of the Wilton Old Church and graveyard, which was cleared almost completely in the 1950s. Generations of my Hall and Cavers ancestors would have been buried there, and when the site was cleared there were still legible gravestones for some of the very earliest known Cavers ancestors. In addition some Usher relatives were buried in part of the crypt.

I’ve just, thanks to the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland website, had my first glimpse of what Wilton Old Church and graveyard looked like before the site was cleared. It’s eerie, a glimpse into the past.

Wilton Old Church and graveyard

Looking at the picture it looks as though it is…

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Another Cavers boy sent to Wellesley Training Ship

Quick on the heels of the last find I’ve just found another Cavers boy from South Shields who was ordered by the authorities to go onto the Wellesley Training Ship:

Shields Daily Gazette – Friday 29 August 1884
Henry Charlton Cavers and Florence Ann Swan, neglected children, whose cases have already been brought before the magistrates by the School Board authorities, were brought up this morning in remand. Cavers was committed to the Wellesley. Mr W. Graham, on behalf of the father of the girl Swan, said the parents were quite willing to take her home and to treat her properly. It was not true, as had been said, that Swan and his wife were of drunken and dissolute habits. Mrs Swan was called, and said she had done all she could to keep the child properly. The case was adjourned for four weeks, the child in the meantime to remain at home.

Checking the 1881 census suggests that the two Cavers boys sent to the ship were brothers, sons of widowed Mrs Catherine Cavers. I remember finding evidence of a court case concerning the birth of Henry.