Monifieth is about the same distance from the headquarters of the family as Dundee is, and is only six miles from that town. The parish registers - including births, marriages and deaths - date from the Reformation, out there are blanks, and one book has been lost. Beyond Christian and surnames little or no information to help identification is given, and registration of domestic occurrences was not compulsory before 1854; while al most the only Christian names used for males were John, Alexander, William, David, George, and sometimes James, without any middle name whatever. For those reasons the tracing of one's descent is difficult. The name Cairncross, or any form of that name, does not appear in Monifieth records until 1604 - "1604, January 28, John Cairncross, a son baptised callit William".

JOHN, c.1718 - 1793, and his Descendants.

Here is a link to the family tree for this family.

The Monifieth and other Cairncrosses in Forfarshire outside but probably descended from the Balmashanner family would require a separate paper[2], so we shall give the family and descendants of one couple only:-

John Cairncors, probably the son of John Cairncors in Balgillo, merchant in Monifieth, and for many years treasurer and ruling elder, married Agnes Anderson, from Barry parish, on June 24th, 1742, The children of the union were:

1. 1743. Agnes.
2. 1744. David.
3. 1745. John
4. 1747. Alexander.
5. 1750. William.

1. Agnes married James Ferrier, merchant and magistrate in Arbroath, and had three children, Alexander, Agnes and Elizabeth.

2. David, born in 1744, died when a baby, and his parents erected a stone to his memory in Monifieth kirkyard, which stone bears the following quaint inscription:


"Here lyes David Cairncors, son to John Cairncors,
merchant in Monifieth, and Agnes Anderson,
who died Dec. 19th, 1744, aged three months.

Here lyes a hermless Bab
Who only came and cried
In baptism to be washed,
And in three months he deyed."

The back of this small stone is richly ornamented, and bears these initials:

Top row, I. C., then A. A., then D. C. Directly under the A. A. are the initials I. C., then under that is B.M., then under that is A. C.

The first three initials are those of John Cairncors, Agnes Anderson and David Cairncors. The other three are probably those of John Cairncors, the grandfather; Barbara Miller, the grandmother and perhaps Barbara Millar's first-born, presumably Alexander Cairncors. At any rate John Cairncors in Balgillo, Monifieth parish, had a son John in 1718, who would have been of a most likely age for marriage in 1742. Barbara Millar was the wife of John Cairncors in Balgillo.

[1] A.F.C., the compiler of Section I, is of the Monifieth branch of the family. (See p.36.) It seems he was not able to find any authentic link connecting his line with that of Balmashanner, nor with Melrose.
[2] Here he seems to imply that he had access to further info. concerning other members of the family, but does not seem to have tabulated any of it within this volume. Did he leave a heap of unorganised material somewhere? Did any of it pass into the keeping of his co-author, B.L.C.??

3. John Cairncors, born in 1745, migrated to Dundee, and was there free apprentice to John Thomas, merchant, ultimately becoming a burgess and paying 40. He was a merchant councillor from 1785 to 1790, and was treasurer in 1791. On December 5th, 1777, he was clandestinely married to Elizabeth Brown at Edinburgh. There were five children of the marriage:

a. 1781. John, named after John Cairncros and John Brown, his grandfathers.

b. 1783. Alexander, named after Alexander Cairncross, his uncle.

c. 1785. William, named after William Cairncross, his uncle.

d. 1787. Elizabeth, named after Elizabeth Brown, her mother, and Elizabeth Ramsay.

e. 1792. James, named after James Brown, his great-uncle, and James Walton of Manchester.

4. As to Alexander Cairncross, born in 1747, it is not known what became of him, or where he went; but as in those days it was considered unlucky to name a child after anyone deceased, we may be sure he was alive and well in 1783, when his nephew, Alexander, the son of his brother John (3), was named after him.


5. There is also a difficulty about William Cairncross, born in 1750, because there were two William Cairncrosses with children in Arsludie, Monifieth, at the same time. One married Christian Milne in March 1772, and the other married Isobel Cramond in July 1781. The first is described as "tenant in Arsludie"; the other simply "in Arsludie"; but in 1786 the former had left Arsludie and gone to Ardoune, north-east of' Arsludie. William and Isobel called their first children (twins) John and Alexander, and their third child they named Agnes. This is the very thing that William the son of John Cairncross and Agnes Anderson would do - name his first son John, after the child's paternal grandfather, and his second son Alexander after the child's senior uncle, the father's brother, while his first daughter would be named after the Child's paternal grandmother. The only flaw is that the eldest daughter was by custom called after the child's maternal grandmother, if the latter was alive; if not, then of course after the father's mother. But the names of the first two sons are strong evidence that this William was the son of John Cairncross and Agnes Anderson. Then again, Christian Milne and William Cairncross did not call their first son John, but William.

a. John, born in 1781, was for many years accountant in the Dundee Bank, and treasurer to the harbour. He married Catherine Kidd about 1802, and they had eleven children:

i, 1803. Elizabeth, named after Elizabeth Brown, her grandmother.

ii, 1805. Thomas, named after Thomas Kidd.

iii, 1806, Alexander, named after Alexander Cairncross, his uncle.

iv, 1807. William, named after William Cairncross, his uncle.

v, 1809. George, named after George Fleming of Edenside.

vi, 1810. Patrick (Peter).

vii. 1812. John named after his father.

viii. 1814. David, named after David Meffan of the customs house.

ix. 1816. Henry, named after Henry Blyth, junior, merchant,

x. 1818. Catherine, who died entering womanhood.

xi. 1820. Augustus, who died in infancy.


b. Alexander, born in 1783, purchased an ensigncy in the 94th regiment (Scots Brigade) on June 25th, 1803, but was attached for the time being to the 77th regiment, then in Guernsey. Early in 1804 he joined the 94th Hyderabad, India, and served there until the regiment was ordered home at the end of 1507. He arrived home in April 1807. In 1809 he was appointed adjutant, and sailed for the 94th, for Lisbon, arriving there on January 1st, 1510. Gazetted to the rank of Captain, he fought with his regiment in seventeen battles and engagements in the Peninsular war. In the storming of Ciudad Rodrigo he succeeded to the command of the left wing, and was wounded in the head; and at the battle of Vittoria he commanded the right wing, and was severely wounded, losing the use of his right arm. He returned home with the 94th on December 24th, 1818, and was reduced to half-pay, but in a year or so was appointed on full pay to the 8th, and then to the 2nd Royal Veteran Battalion. Subsequently he joined the 96th regiment, and went to Nova Scotia with it in 1824, and from thence to Bermuda in 1825, where he was made Major by purchase next year.

He commanded the regiment for four years, when he succeeded to a Lieutenant-Colonelcy by purchase. He came home again with the 96th in 1834, and was quartered successively in Glasgow, Enniskillen, Dublin, Bolton-le-Moor and Catham. In 1837 he was made a K.H. (Knight of the Order of the Guelphs). In 1841 he went abroad again with the 96th to Sidney, N.S.W. In 1842 he lost his health and sold cut after a service of thirty-nine years, dying at sea on his passage home on May 10th, 1843.

Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Cairncross; K.H., left two sons - John Major-General of the Royal Marines, who died recently - 1914 - and William who died a few years ago in Australia (1910?). William's widow is still alive, as are two married daughters, Laura (Mrs. Stoyles) and Florence (Mrs. Gilbert); and a son Alexander Reginald Cairncross, who is married and has a family: - Alexander John, born in 1903, Minnie Glendenning, born in 1905, Dorothy Joan born in 1908, and Ronald William, born in 1910. They are all living in Sidney N.S.W.


c. William, born in 1785, commenced life as a naval cadet, but latterly was an accountant in Belfast, where he married a widow, a Mrs. McCracken, and died there, leaving no issue.

d. and e. With regard to Elizabeth, born in 1787, and James, born in 1792, no reliable information is available.

Of the children of John Cairncross the banker (a) Elizabeth married a Mr, McCracken, son of Mrs. McCracken mentioned above, and left two sons.

i. Thomas, born in 1805, died 1877 (see genealogical tree - p.168.), became a successful banker in Bristol, and left five daughters; Catherine Kidd (Mrs. Todd), Annie (Mrs. Tonkin), Elizabeth (Mrs. Cherry), Frances (Mrs. Fudger), and Augusta; Together with one son, Henry Cairncross, who resides with his wife in Bristol.

ii. Alexander Cairncross, born in 1806, died in 1871, and was for many years a shipmaster, and latterly commanded the fast Aberdeen-built clipper ship Frances Henty" in the Australian trade. When a young man he had a son Robert, born about 1827, but afterwards he married Magdalene Moncur about 1845, and had the following children:

1846: Catherine Kidd, Mrs. Suttie.

1848: Thomas, master mariner, who was chief officer of the ill fated s.s. "Marathon" of Dundee, and was lost in the Mediterranean during March, 1881.

1850: Alexander, Marine Engineer, of the China Merchant's Steam Navigation Co., who died at the Camp, Broughty Ferry, unmarried, on July 18th, 1913.

1852: Frances, who died when a little girl.

1854: Arthur Fawthrop[1], Sub-Engineer and District Surveyor in the Public Works Department, India, and now retired in Broughty ferry, married Hannah Nicklin on October 26th, 1891.

[1] The Author of SECTION I. Arthur F., as an amateur historian, appears very reluctant to track down precise details of members of his own immediate family: e.g.. his half-brother, born about 1827; who was the mother, married (or not) when; his own mother, married about 1845?? Arthur F. must have been 66 years of age when he produced Section I, and might have felt he was racing against Father Time, as Section II seems mainly due to the efforts of Bertram L. We are given no clue as to when A.F.C. passed on. If he lived to see the completion of Section II, he would then have been 79 years of age, which is within the bounds of possibility.

Their children were:

1. 1893: Catherine Kidd, who died in 1894.

2. 1894: Louise.

3. 1895: Alexander, who, on the declaration of war with Germany, enlisted in the local territorial R.G.A. and fought voluntarily through the Great War, being gassed and wounded. He is now employed as clerk in a jute office in Dundee.


4. 1900; John Colmslie, who ran away from home before he was sixteen years of age, to get to the fighting, and enlisted in the Royal Marines, where he still remains.(1920)

Mrs. Hannah Cairncross, born Nicklin, died at Saharanpur, India, on May 1st, 1907.

Robert, first son of Alexander Cairncross above (iii), shipmaster, went to sea, and for some time sailed in the "Frances Henty" as chief officer, under his father, afterwards commanding vessels in the Australian trade. He married a Miss Cormack, and had the following children: -

Ernest Alexander.

Mary, now Mrs. Rookwood.

Isabella, now Mrs. Forster, a widow.

Robert Cawarra, who had a son Gerald, who died when a youth,

Kate, now Mrs Sanders.

Captain Robert Cairncross died in August, 1888, and his widow on January 28th, 1903; of his children, Cawarra is in California, Mary is in London, and Isabella and Kate are in Queensland. (1920?)

iv. No information is available concerning William, who was born in 1807,

v. and vii. George, born in 1809, and John, born in 1812, were for some time wood merchants at Newburgh, in Fife. George left a son, John, and a daughter, Mary, in Perth - both are now dead. John, (vii), a bachelor, lived from 1856 with the family of his brother Captain Alexander Cairncross, until his death in Broughty Ferry in 1877.

vi. Patrick (Peter), born in 1810, was a merchant in Dundee and London, but was unfortunate in business.

viii. and xi. David, born in 1814, and his brother Augustus, born about 1820, both died young.

x. Catherine, b. 1818, died entering womanhood (i.e. about 1832 ?) (Info. transferred from p.35)

ix. Henry, born in 1816, was a successful business man and shipowner in Dundee, and lived to enjoy many years of retirement. He left two sons, Frank and Andrew, both of whom are dead.


WILLIAM, c.1761 - 1836, and his Descendants.

Reverting to William (5) in Arsludie, there was even a third William Cairncross in Arsludie. He married Susan Reylie, from the parish of Murroes, giving in their names for proclamation on June 24th, 1786. They had five children in Arsludie from 1787 to 1797: David, William, Janet, Ann, and John. Then they took a small farm, "The Camp", at Camphill, Broughty Ferry, and kept a dairy there. Susan Reylie used to go down to Broughty Ferry with a big basket of her dairy butter and cry -"Fine fresh butter". It used to be said by some of the Ferry people - no doubt by way of a joke - that a certain famous well at The Camp was the best cow in Susan's byre. Another child, George, was born in The Camp in 1809. This was George Cairncross, first a Lifeguardsman, and latterly station master at West Ferry, Two children were born there to George and his wife - a ginger-haired long-legged boy, nicknamed "Pop", who went to sea when a lad to push his fortune, and has never been heard of since; and Margaret, who grew into a big powerful woman, well-known in Broughty Ferry. She died recently, (1920 at latest?) and left a son George Cairncross, who is now employed in the gasworks at Hawick. George, the station master, died in middle age, and left his widow, son and daughter in rather straitened circumstances. The writer distinctly remembers that about the year 1861, when he was a little boy, Pop's uncle John, born in 1797, spoke familiarly to him, and gave him a little present, which showed that the clan feeling was there alright. Two or three of Susan Reylie's other children died young, and her husband and she erected a tombstone for them in Monifieth Kirkyard in the south side of the church. No one took the trouble to record the deaths of the parents on the stone, and the daughter Margaret did not know that such a stone existed, when told about it a few years ago.


DAVID, c.1785 - 1850, and his Descendants.

Here is a link to the family tree for this family.

There is now another Cairncross family in Broughty Ferry, and this is their little history, as far as it is known: David Cairncross in Lochee, first a coachman and latterly an exciseman, had a son John, a weaver, who went to France and was manager of a factory in Anjiers. When he, John, was advanced in years, and had become frail, lie left France, and opened a grocer's store in King Street, Broughty Ferry. He married Janet Easson in Lochee on September 16th, 1842, their children being David, William and Jessie. David died in Anjiers, leaving two children, John, now dead, and Maggie, who lives in Dundee. William was alive in Anjiers in 1904; his wife was Elizabeth Miller. Jessie died at the age of fourteen in France. John Cairncross was married a second time, on August 10th, 1855, in St. Clement's, Dundee, his second wife being Elizabeth Will. Their children were George and James. George died on December 3rd, 1891, at Rio, of yellow fever, at the age of thirty-seven. James, mechanical engineer in Dundee, resides in Church Street, Broughty Ferry. He married Janet Watt Taylor, at Logiealmond on July 14th, 1884, and had four children - John Macree Todd, sometime Captain of the Local Boy's Brigade, now in Government service, and married; Nellie and Elizabeth, dressmakers, and James a printer, now in Canada, and married.

There is an aged gentleman, Mr. Harry Mitchelson, in Barnnill, who is a grand-son of the late William Cairncross, shown in the Edinburgh Almanac for 1812, under the heading "Customs Dundee", as a tidesman, but who latterly was in charge of the bond at Dundee. One would like to enlarge on this William Cairncross, but, as Kipling would say, "that is another story", and must wait. *

JAMES Sailmaker.

Here is a link to the family tree for this family. James can be found about 75% down

There used to be a James Cairncross, a sailmaker, in Dundee. His son Robert, now deceased, acquired the business of the late Mr. Falconer at the foot of Castle Street, and this business is now carried on by Robert's daughter, a rope merchant. Another son, Peter died a few years ago, and left a widow and children in Dundee. A third son, James, a shipwright, has a confectioners shop in Clepington Road. He is also married and has a family.

* This story has not been included in this volume.

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