Sunday, 9 November 2014

Week 45 - Alexander Milne

Alexander Milne (1848-1873)

In my 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks blog, I have previously written about my great grandfather, Alexander Milne but have recently come across an item that leads me back a generation to his namesake.  The framed cardboard card below was among a collection of items that belonged to Alexander's daughter who was my Grandma, Frances Kinnaird.

A trunk of these old keepsakes belonging to my grandparents was recently lent to me by my cousin Judy and inside was the framed memorial to Alexander Milne pictured above.  Text of the card is as follows:

In Memory of
Alexander Milne
Who died 25th July 1873
Aged 25 years
Safe in the dust the body sleeps,
Christ his blood-bought treasure keeps;
Safe the soul enraptur'd stands,
Mingling with angelic bands.
When the trump the tomb shall break,
Then the sleeping dust shall wake.
Join the pure seraphic soul,
Glorifying in redemption full.

In online research, I found that the in memoriam cards became popular in the days of Queen Victoria after the death of Prince Albert in 1861.  This also is where many of our modern ideas of mourning, including wearing black,originated.

I believe that this Alexander Milne appears on the Family Search website as being born on May 14, 1848 and being christened on June 11, 1848 in Keith, Banff, Scotland.  Parents are listed as Lewis Milne and Ann Brown. 

The Scotland census from 1851 shows the family of Lewis Milne (from Week 32 of this blog) age 35 and his 33 year old wife Annie Brown.  The family has 5 children listed: Helen 9 years old, Clementina 7, William 5, Margaret 1 and a three year old Alexander Milne.  They are farmers of a small piece of land at Bogbain in Keith, Banffshire, Scotland and Lewis' mother, Helen Gordon, lives with them.

On the 1861 census when Alexander would have been 13 years old, he is not listed as living with his family.  He might have been working and living somewhere else, even at such a young age by our standards today.

Searching for "Alexander Milne" after that turns out to be difficult as so many men with that name show up in that area.  It has been compared to searching for a "John Smith" !  There are a few marriages and some children born to Alexander Milnes in that area before 1873 and any of these may or may not be our Alexander! 

When this young man died in 1873 , his brother John Milne (from Week 5) chose that name for his eldest son three years later.  The memorial plaque came to Canada with my great grandfather Alex and it remained among his possessions. Aunt Marjorie remembers that it always hung on the wall in her Grannie and Grandad's house at Hargrave.  The gravemarker pictured below in Keith Cemetery, Banffshire, Scotland includes an inscription for Alexander.   Thanks to Greg and Donna Marie for this photo and the transcription below.

“Erected by William Milne, Bogbain in memory of his daughter Clementina Milne who died 16 August 1819 age 6 years and 6 months.  Also his wife Hellen Gordon who died 20 April 1858 age 85 years.  Also his son Lewis Milne who died 17 Feb 1867 age 52 years. Also his grandson Alexander Milne who died 25 July 1873 age 25 years.  Ann Brown his wife of the above Lewis Milne who died 4 April 1901 82 years.”
 Although ever knowing anymore about this Alexander Milne is not very likely, it is interesting to find out the story behind the keepsake.

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