Person:Robert Henderson (7)

Robert Henderson
b.Bet 1799 and 1803
d.Abt 1849
  • HRobert HendersonBet 1799 & 1803 - Abt 1849
  • WMargaret McCrae1805 - Abt 1889
m. 3 Mar 1826
  1. Margaret Henderson1827 -
  2. Isabella Henderson1830 - 1919
  3. Janet Henderson1832 -
  4. Robert Henderson1834 - 1916
  5. Alexander Henderson1837 -
Facts and Events
Name[1][2] Robert Henderson
Gender Male
Birth[3][4][5][6][18] Bet 1799 and 1803 Not in Midlothian, Scotlad
Occupation[10][11][24] 1826 Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotlandjoiner, 3 Saunders St., Stockbridge
Marriage 3 Mar 1826 Edinburgh, Midlothian, ScotlandSt. Cuthbert's ecclesiastical parish
to Margaret McCrae
Residence[12][21] Bet 1829 and 1830
Residence[14] 1832 Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland10 Bedford St., Builder
Residence[15][22] Bet 1840 and 1841
Census 1841 Edinburgh, Midlothian, ScotlandIndia Place, St. Stephens Parish
with Margaret McCrae
Residence[16][23] Bet 1845 and 1846 Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland17 Church Street
Death[7][4][5][8][19] Abt 1849
Occupation[8] 1852 identified as "joiner and cabinet maker" at daughter Janet's marriage 16 March 1852 Quality: 3
Occupation[3] identified as cabinetmaker (deceased) at son's marriage 26 July 1866 Quality: 2
Other[9][20] DeathCause
Reference Number? 268


Robin, after checking some more on, I agree that Rev. James is almost certainly not a sibling of Robert Sr. Having bought a fixed number of credits that expired in 48 hours, I decided to attack Robert directly.

Here's what we know:

1. He was alive in 1846, dead by 1851.

2. He died at age 48, according to his grandson Aleck half a century later on an insurance application.

Obviously the first of these two facts is more solid than the second. I still hope to find his burial record which should give his date of death and age thereat. Meanwhile the best we can do is suspect that he was born between 1797 and 1803.

On, there are 61 Robert Hendersons born in Scotland in that time, with father's and mother's name and parish given. We can only weed them out probabilistically. Any of the criteria below could just be mistaken, and I have no idea which one(s) are more important:

3. I would give preference to families in or near Edinburgh. Of course it's possible that Robert came from the far ends of the country.

4. I would give preference to families with more names corresponding to the names Robert and Margaret gave their children, namely: Isabel, Margaret, Janet, Robert, Alexander. We should note here that Margaret's parents are probably Janet Stewart and Alexander McCraw (McRae). So we're particularly interest in Henderson families with a mother named Isabel or Margaret and a father named Robert, although duplications are possible. Families with parents named Thomas and Anne, for instance, are low-probability, because you'd expect at least one of their names to have made it into the grandchildren. Unfortunately, none of these names are unique and Janet is pretty popular. Fortunately, Robert is not especially popular so our initial universe has been slimmed down some.

5. One other very slim reed: I would give preference to families in which Robert was the oldest, per the alleged family tradition that first-born sons were supposed to be so named.

So far I've surveyed 15 of the 61 families who had a Robert born in this time, trying to more or less hit the best chances first. (Specifically, in each case I searched for Henderson children with the appropriate mother's surname born from 10 years before him to 10 years after.) The most promising family on the above criteria is:

Alexander Henderson and Isabel Stark, married in Falkland Parish 1795. (Falkland is in Fife, across the Firth from Edinburgh.) Their children are Margaret 1796, Robert 1799, Catharine 1800, Margaret again 1802, John 1804, Isobel 1806, Alexander 1808. (There may be a couple more on hand as my search ended with 1809.) If Alexander himself was born in Falkland, there's a good-looking candidate to be him in the son of Robert Henderson and Katherine Knox born there 1770.

Nobody else so far corresponds as well.

A search like this is useful if we find associates/neighbors/etc. of Robert and Margaret who are surnamed Stark, or who are one of the above named siblings or parents, or if we found our Robert somehow associated with that locality. (Ideally one would like to find an aged Alexander or Isabel in their household.) Or, working from the past forward, we can try to eliminate some of the other promising Robert candidates via early death, marriage to the "wrong" person, or disappearance at sea, etc.

If I can once get an age-at-death for Robert, then it may be possible to narrow things down enough to do a search on every possible Robert anywhere in Scotland in a one-, two-, or three-year birth window. Sixty-one is kind of a lot to do this kind of a comprehensive survey and elimination with, especially if it should turn out that Aleck was mistaken.

love, Harold

possibly same person???

In Register of Marriages, entry for Robert Henderson and Elizabeth Davidson, occupation given as cabinetmaker. In his own register of marriage, he is listed as a joiner.

At birth of daughter Janet 1832 listed as "builder."

Died of injury resulting in internal abscess.

Death range is based on his absence from his family in the 1851 Edinburgh census -- but if he was visiting elsewhere that evening he would have been counted elsewhere, so we cannot be sure he was dead in 1851.

Residence No. 3 Saunders St., Stockbridge, Edinburgh.

There is an unaccounted for name among the children of Elizabeth Davidson and Robert Henderson - James Robertson Henderson. All the other children's names can be traced back to known ancestors, but who was James Robertson? Of course, maybe they just liked the name and it is a false trail, especially since it might also have been used for "Robert's son". My idea was that Robertson might be the maiden name of Robert's mother, her father presumably James Robertson. The most interesting find from searching this way was a Henderson family in North Leith, William Henderson and Janet Robertson. They had a son Robert b. 30 Mar 1807. (by the way, also a daughter Isabel b. 1809). I am not too worried about Aleck having the wrong age on the insurance application, but find it unlikely that Robert would have married at age 18. Also, William is not a family name at all that we have come across. Just thought I would let you know about this family in case new evidence shows that Robert was younger than expected, or if you come across Robertsons somewhere else. [Robin e-mail 20 April 2003]

SEARCH FOR DEATH RECORD Searched 2 May 2003 all Edinburgh cemetery indices on FHL #1041995. No possible Roberts in OPR 685-2/60 (cemetery not named), nor in OPR 685-2/61, St. Cuthbert's Western Cemetery. Two possible but not plausible Roberts:

In Edinburgh's Rosebank Cemetery (OPR 685-2/59), 42-year-old Robert, "slater & glazier" of Blackfriars Wynd suffering from "Disease in Kidneys" is buried 17 Sep 1851 #1584 (hence b ~1809). Address unfamiliar, disease inconsistent with Aleck's report of lingering death following injury, age awfully young to marry 1826, occupation may be significantly different from "wright" or "Joiner."

In St. Cuthbert's Warriston Cemetery (OPR 685-2/61), 45-year-old Robert, "Heriots Hospl Office," of 14 Leven Street is buried 27 Jan 1847 #2894 (hence b ~1802). Address unfamiliar, disease unnamed, age OK, occupation (apparently a hospital clerk?) is wrong.

Searched 14 March 2003 all OPRs (apparently) in FHL #1040212-3, for St. Cuthbert's. OPR 685/2/50, 1830-39, and OPR 685/2/51, 1840-49. Nothing plausible.

NO OTHER HENDERSONS were married from 3 Saunders Street at St. Cuthbert's between 1820 and 1833, I find in surveying the marriage records on FHL microfilms # at the Newberry Library 1 August 2003.

SEARCH: Robin found a promising lead in a John Henderson who was also a builder in Edinburgh, a near-contemporary of our ancestor Robert Sr., and whose family contained many of the same names. Could they be brothers, or at least cousins? I bought some credits on and researched him:

John Henderson's death record, of which I now have a copy, gives his mother's surname as Broomfield, which enabled me to find his birth record: 8 May 1803, parents Robert Henderson and Janet Broomfield, in the parish of Melrose. (Not sure where that is at the moment.)

The family as it appears in birth records is: John 1803, George 20 Aug 1809 Borthwick, Robert 9 Aug 1813 Borthwick, James 3 Dec 1815 Lilliesleaf. The Robert who is John the builder's brother is too young to marry Margaret MacRae in 1826. Dang.

The parents, Robert Henderson and Janet Broomfield, were married 17 Nov 1802 in Melrose.

Moving forward a generation, their son John married Jean Hopkirk at St. Cuthbert's 29 Mary 1825. Their children per birth records are all from that parish:
Barbara 1 Oct 1827
Robert 3 Jul 1829 I have his 1875 death record, looks like he was a builder too.
Alexander 19 May 1831
Janet 28 Dec 1832
Georgina 19 Jun 1835
John 30 Oct 1837
Jane 16 Oct 1839
Janet again 30 Jan 1843

The tombstone had an Ann 1842, right? Plus this has a couple of extras. Many of these are also listed in father John's death record, but it is VERY badly written.

For possible future reference, I found Jean Hopkirk's birth record 22 Aug 1802 in Melrose, parents Alexander Hopkirk and Barbara Amos. She had two older siblings, David Erskine Hopkirk 16 Feb 1800 and Margaret Hopkirk 30 Jun 1793, all baptized in Melrose. (Her death record doesn't seem to exist.)

So the closest relation our Robert Sr. could be is first cousin -- perhaps his father and John the builder's father were brothers? (But meanwhile I observe that it could indeed just be a coincidence that the names in our family and in John the builder's family are so similar.)

Still, it's a lead. I searched for all Robert Hendersons baptized in Melrose. Two were relevant. The Robert Henderson baptized there 15 Sep 1776, son of John Henderson and Janet Mercer, may perhaps be the one who married Janet Broomfield and fathered John the builder. And, much more interesting, there is a Robert Henderson baptized 19 April 1801, son of James Henderson and Jean Young -- squarely where we would expect to find our Robert Sr.

At this I sat up straight. I had seen this fellow in an earlier dragnet but discounted him because we don't find the name Jean in our known family. James and Jean have a family in Melrose:
Agnes 23 Apr 1797
James 4 Aug 1799
Robert 19 Apr 1801
Alice 14 Nov 1802
Alexander 17 Jan 1808
William 3 Jan 1813?? mother is Jane Young
Andrew 26 Jan 1814?? mother is Jane Young

The names in this family aren't that great for us -- the main problem is still that his mother is not Isabella or Janet or Margaret. And there is one more serious problem. In Melrose a Robert Henderson marries Louisa Johanna Waugh 15 Oct 1820. (They have children in Selkirk through 1838.) As there is no other local Robert available for her, this may do away with him being our guy. On the other hand, he might not be local -- one would have to check Melrose actual records to see if there were some notation of his being from another parish.

So I'm not too happy with these results but they remain somewhat ambiguous.

BTW, John Henderson builder is found at 2 Stafford Street in Edinburgh in both the 1840-41 and 1845-46 directories. (There are other Johns in similar occupations like cabinet maker and wright and udnertaker.) Scotlandspeople claims it will have name indices to the censuses this summer, so it may make sense to wait. I'm not sure if we can learn more from the censuses than what we have here.

[next day] One last forlorn followup: I checked in the neighboring parish of Selkirk, where Robert and Louisa Johanna Waugh had their children, and did not find another likely candidate to marry here, unless you count one born 1789.

SEARCH: I bethought myself of my long-ago favored candidate on the basis of names -- i.e. a Robert whose mother is named Isabel, the one female name among his children not already accounted for. This is the family in Falkland parish, Stirlingshire, across the Firth from Edinburgh. Alexander Henderson and Isabel Stark there have seven children of record:
1796 Margaret
1799 Robert our candidate
1800 Catharine
1802 Margaret again
1804 John
1806 Isobel
1808 Alexander

No Robert Henderson is married in Falkland or the neighboring (<5 miles) parishes of Bowden, Strathmiglow, Auchtermuchty, or Kettle, between 1810 and 1833. There is however a late starter Robert marrying Elspeth Gardiner 12 Dec 1838 in Falkland.

Actually I find only two of this family who may have married in Falkland parish. An Isabella marries John Watson 5 Oct 1832, and a John marries Elspeth Moyes 14 Feb 1823.

If this were the true ancestral family, then Robert Henderson and Margaret MacRae would have broken the naming conventions by naming later children after their parents. But we already know that they did this when they named their first daughter Margaret, so I suppose we need not assume that his father was named Robert.

I suppose the next step here would be to order film from Falkland to see if it contains any more clues about these people. Scotlandspeople has no death information at all for this time period, and obviously this Robert won't do us much good if he dies young.

In the process of doing this and using up my backlogged scotlandspeople credits, I now have a list (for elimination purposes) of all Robert Hendersons recorded as being married anywhere in Scotland 1810-1833. There are 161 of them.

This Alexander appears to have no will at Nothing helpful in the archives of the Fife mailing list at rootsweb.

Married Falkland 29 Nov 1795 per IGI.

Robin tracking possible family members:

A search on for Isabel Henderson, father Alexander, married between 1822 and 1842 had no results. There are three Margarets, father Alexander, m. 1818 to 1838,

19 JAN 1838 North Leith, Midlothian, Scotland (probably too old)
01 JUN 1823 Saint Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, to Adam Hook
22 NOV 1820 Saint Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, to David Reid

If one of these is the daughter of Alexander and Isabel, then that would strengthen our case for Robert being their son. Neither of these Margarets had a daughter Isabel that I have found.

The only Catherine Henderson I found had a father named Alexander Ferguson?? and she married 7 Feb 1826, Rothesay, Bute, to Angus Walker.

  1. Robin Henderson. Robin Henderson email, Recipient: Harold Henderson, Author E-mail:
  2. Illinois Certificate of Death for Robert Henderson, Record Type: Certificate of Death, Name Of Person: Robert Henderson, Number: 12934. (28 April 1916).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Robin Henderson. Robin Henderson email, Recipient: Harold Henderson, Author E-mail:
    22 Jan 2000, Robert and Elizabeth's 1866 marriage record.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Alexander Henderson. Aleck Henderson Bankers Life Insurance Company of Nebraska Medical Examiner's Report, Interviewer: Herman Biersdorf, Informant Address: Portland, Multnomah Co., OR. (14 June 1910).
  5. 5.0 5.1 1851 Scottish Census Index, Record Type: Scotland Census 1851 Index, Household: Edinburgh. (1851)
  6. 1841 Scotland Census, Record Type: Scotland Census, Record Info: (6 Jun 1841)
    Midlothian, Edinburgh, St. Stephens Parish, India Place, Robert Henderson household, GROS 685/02 144/02 009.
  7. Alexander Henderson. Request for Amendment of Contract, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. Policy number 144878, Alexander Henderson, Informant Address: Amendment to life insurance policy.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Old Parochial Register, Parish of St. Cuthberts, County of Midlothian (Edinburgh), from Register of Marriages and Banns: Register of Marriages and Banns, Record Type: St. Cuthbert's Register of Marria. (16 March 1852)
    16 March 1852.
  9. Alec Henderson Mass Mutual Policy amendment.
  10. Robin Henderson. Robin Henderson email, Recipient: Harold Henderson, Author E-mail:
    29 July 2001.
  11. Gazetteer for Scotland, Url:
  12. Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1829-1830. (1829-1830).
  13.   1832 Register of Births and Baptisms, St. Cuthberts, Record Type: 1832 Register of Births and Baptisms, St. Cuthberts, Subject: Janet Henderson.
  14. Parish register of births and baptisms, St. Cuthbert's Church, Edinburgh, Compiler Address: FHL British Film 1066762.
  15. The Post-Office Annual Directory, and Calendar, for 1840-41. (Ballantyne and Hughes, 1840-1).
  16. The Post-Office Annual directory, and Calendar, for 1845-46. (Ballantyne and Hughes, 1845)
    pages 59, column 2, entry 25; 168, column 1, entry 3 -- Robert Henderson.
  17.   Parish registers for St. Cuthbert's Church, Edinburgh, Baptisms, 1831-1833, Baptisms (includes index), 1843-1854. (FHL BRITISH Film 1066762, Second Date, 29 Mar 2002)
    Recorded 29 Mar 2002.
  18. STB age 40 in 1841 census, taken 6 Jun 1841. The other members of his household and neighboring ones appears to have been given exact ages, but it remains possible that this number was rounded to the nearest 5, i.e. he might conceivably have been aged 38-42.

    This census provided birthplace information in the form of a yes/no answer to the question of whether the person had been born in the county where he was now living.
  19. Date of 1849 assumes that he died at age 48 (see below) and that his age of 40 as given in the 1841 census is accurate and not rounded. If it were correctly rounded then his death date might be as early as 1847 or as late as 1851.

    Aleck's 1900 Mass Mutual application: "Fathers father died of injury resulting in internal abscess, ill about four years."
    Aleck's 1910 Bankers Life application: Father's father died at age 48 of "rupture."
    Pre-1851 death estimate based on his absence from the census and Margaret Henderson being named as R, i.e. relict, i.e. widow.
    Daughter Janet's marriage record 16 March 1852 describes her as "Youngest Daughter of the late Robert Henderson Joiner and Cabinet Maker."
    Pre-1866 death estimate based on Aleck's statement that he died at age 48, and his being named as deceased in 1866 at son Robert's marriage.

    No adult Robert Henderson is listed in the St. Cuthbert's OPR burial books 1834-1854 filmed in FHL#1040212-3.
  20. injury resulting in internal abscess
  21. There is a Robert Henderson, "slater," listed at 96 Canongate.
  23. "[Henderson] Robert, wright & undertaker Church street"

    Church street listings at 1, 2, 5, 6, 11, 10, 15, 17 (Law, John & Co., wrights), and ___ (Henderson, Rob. wright)
  24. Stockbridge. A sizeable district of Edinburgh, lying in the north west of the New Town. Originally the location of a pedestrian bridge over the Water of Leith, between Dean and Canonmills. A stone bridge was completed in 1786, but until 1813, Stockbridge remained a small village with a few cottages and mills. The painter Sir Henry Raeburn (1756 - 1823) owned to adjoining estates; namely Deanhaugh and St. Bernard's, which he developed with the assistance of architect James Milne. Milne was also responsible for the fine St Bernard's Church (1823) in Saxe Coburg Street. Poet James Hogg (1770 - 1835) lodged in Deanhaugh Street, as did Sir James Simpson (1811-70) who stayed there in his brother's bakery. Ann Street, designed by Raeburn and named after his wife, is a rare example of a New Town street with front gardens. Here lived the publisher Robert Chambers (1802-71) and author and editor Professor John Wilson (1785 - 1854), who for a time had Thomas De Quincey (1785 - 1859) as a lodger. The grand sweeping St Bernard's Crescent, featuring facades replete with Doric columns, was inspired by Raeburn's acquaintance and fellow artist Sir David Wilkie (1785 - 1841). Landscape painter Horatio McCulloch (1805-67) lived opposite in Danube Street. By the river is St. Bernard's Well, a mineral spring housed in a grandiose Doric temple, designed in 1788 by Alexander Nasmyth (1758 - 1840) and restored by publisher William Nelson (1816-87) one hundred years later. To the north of the area, between Glenogle Road and the Water of Leith, are the eleven parallel streets of the 'Stockbridge Colonies', built by the Edinburgh Co-operative Building Company from 1861, with the aim of providing low-cost housing for working people. The streets are named after those who founded the Company, including geologist and writer, Hugh Miller (1802-56). Quality: 2