An odd happenstance on the family history front

kate anderson

I spent the week between last Christmas and New Year messing about with family history research. At then end of it I had some questions I had answered and I felt reasonably satisfied with my time spent with Scotland’s People.

I had a few loose ends though, including what had happened to Annie, my great grandfather’s eldest daughter, who was present when he died and co-signed the death certificate.

However, it was something I was happy to leave for the moment, and move on to other things.

Now while I was messing about with family history I’d signed up for MyHeritage, one of these genealogy research companies, primarily to use their family tree graphing tool, which is nicer than the one in Gramps.

The downside of doing this is that they periodically send me emails spruiking their DNA testing services, and supposed record matches to people in my family tree, most of which we can classify as bleeding obvious.

But then a few days ago I got one which wasn’t. They’d found a Hanna Mathiasen in the 1910 Norwegian Census which their matching algorithm had turned up as a possible match for Annie Bush Mathieson.

I was 99% certain that this was a false match – I was sure Annie was  living with her father at the time. But I thought I’d better check it out just in case …

The nearest census in Scotland to the 1910 census in Norway was the 1911 census, and the scanned records are online – I’ve posted the snip at the head of this post – and a few minutes searching showed she wasn’t living at home. Lizzie was, but not Annie. At this point I began to wonder if maybe Annie actually was Hanna, but a search of the 1910 Norwegian census showed that this was unlikely.

The Norway 1910 census, is online and free, and has an English language search interface. The transcribed results are in Norwegian, but then that’s what Google Translate is for.

Fortunately there was only one Hanna Mathiasen – and it was clearly a different person:

Annotation 2019-04-08 154023

For a start the baptism date – daap – didn’t match, Annie was born in 1877, and her parents were not married until 1871. 

Hanna is described as a servant. and she was clearly a live in servant for the Henriksen household in Lenvik.

So, as I thought, a false positive.

But a useful one. I hadn’t bothered looking at the census records before, and clearly I should have – there was a second daughter – Kate Anderson Bush – living at home and also a school teacher like Lizzie.

Kate is a complete unknown to me, I have absolutely no idea how she fits into the story – I think I have some more digging to do, both to find Kate and Annie…


Annie turned out to be less of a mystery than I thought – I’d fallen into trap of assuming that the A Mathieson who witnessed my great grandfather’s death was Annie.

Well, she clearly wasn’t. Annie had married James Bernard, a glass cutter in Edinburgh in 1899, and they continued to live in the Edinburgh area until 1911, when Annie died of post childbirth infection.

Which of course means that as well as Kate there must be another daughter, the mysterious A, who also was not at home on census night 1911 … 

About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
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2 Responses to An odd happenstance on the family history front

  1. Pingback: You look for answers, you get more questions | stuff 'n other stuff

  2. Pingback: Nothing to do with Bonnie Prince Charlie | stuff 'n other stuff

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