Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Hadden Sisters

In 1881, Alexander Bean Hadden was a general merchant "employing two boys" and living at Bainshole, Insch, Aberdeenshire. The Bean middle name was not recorded at his christening, although one of the 'witnesses' was a man named Alexander Bean, likely a very close friend of the family. In fact, the middle name of Bean only appears in one record that I have found to this point - the marriage registration of his daughter Mary in 1884.

Living with Alexander in 1881 according to the Scottish census records for that year, was his wife Jane (Mathieson) and their children: Alexander, Jane, John, Annie, Isabella, Helen and Mina (Jemina). Also living in the Hadden household was a grandson, Albert A. Green who was the son of their daughter Jane. The two boys that Alexander employed were in fact two of his sons - Alexander, aged 22 and, John who was 15 years of age. Two years later, John would become a father himself when his son Alexander Shand Hadden, my great grandfather, was born.

When Alexander Shand Hadden left Scotland in 1923 with his family to live in Canada, this was the extended Hadden family that he left behind. Alexander was raised by his mother Helen Shand and Helen's husband, Andrew Gammie. I'm not certain that Alexander knew much of his Hadden aunts and uncles so there weren't any family photos or letters to help descendants, like me, to picture our Hadden family ancestors.

Through the magic of the Internet and posted family trees on the Ancestry website, that changed for my branch of the Hadden family. The connection - a real, live, honest-to-goodness Hadden cousin - and not only that but photos! So courtesy of Alan and Mary Cope, my 'Aussie' cousins, I can present my second great grandaunts:


From left, Isabella Simon Reid (Hadden) Cameron who as it turns out was the first Hadden to immigrate to Canada (in 1907), Ann Mathieson (Hadden) Gordon, and at the far right, Helen (Hadden) Moore. Second from right is Helen's daughter Kitty (Moore) Taylor and Kitty's daughter Isobel. The photo was taken in 1923 when the sisters returned to Scotland for a family reunion. I find it ironic that just around the time the Hadden sisters were likely reuniting, their nephew, my great grandfather Alexander Shand Hadden was leaving Scotland forever. It would be more than 85 years before the family branches would reconnect as a benefit of technology, shared genealogy information and collaboration.

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