brian mckay's family tree
At this stage we have very little information on John Moffat. We learned of John through the birth record of his daughter Mary Moffat. Mary and her three siblings were born to John Moffat and Janet Farquharson. There is no record of John and Janet marrying and this seems to be confirmed by the 1841 Census in which Janet Farquharson is recorded as living with one of her sons, Alexander.
In the same Census, living in the household next to Janet, there is a John Moffat, who may well be our John. At 65, he is in the correct age range and is indeed the same age as Janet. However, he is recorded as living with his wife, Agnes and their four children. Although, a little strange and perhaps a coincidence, it is not entirely impossible. All of the children living with this John are younger than all of the children he had with Janet. It may be that he tired of Janet and never having married her, left her for a younger woman (Agnes was five years younger than Janet)? It is a bit of a stretch though and I have been unable to find a record of a marriage to an Agnes.
All the other records I have of John rely on the John found in the 1841 Census being the correct person. In the case of the birth record I have found for John Moffat, he was born in West Linton (where he fathered all of the children he had with Janet Farquharson); his father was called Alexander, whom he may have named his eldest son after; and his mother has the maiden name of Noble, the same surname of the young girl, Helen Noble, who was living in John's household in the 1841 Census.
I believe I have found the same John in the 1851 Census. He is still living in Manor, Peeblesshire and living with him was his daughter Ann and his granddaughter, Helen Noble. The only fly in the ointment is that his birth place is given as Moffat and his age as 73. However, the continued presence of the surname 'Noble' suggest that all these Johns are one and the same and that any discrepancies may be down to the enumerator: e.g. the birthplace of 'Moffat' may simply be down to the enumerator confusing it with John's surname.
Helen Noble is an interesting player in all of this. I have found her birth record, showing she was born in Peeblesshire in 1838, her father being John Noble and her mother, Ann Moffat. Ann is presumably the same Ann who was living with John Moffat, her father, at the time of the 1851 Census. That being so, she must have been 13 when she gave birth - that may explain why she is missing from the 1841 Census, possibly sent away in disgrace. What is equally curious, though, is her father being a 'Noble'. John Moffat's mother was a 'Noble'. Might there be a spot of incest going on here? I'll investigate further, but I have found the marriage record of John's parents, Alexander Moffat and Isobel Noble, so we shall see if that leads us anywhere.
KEY EVENTS AND DATES
28th February 1804
John's son, Alexander, was born in West Linton, Peeblesshire. His parents were recorded as John Moffat and Janet Farquharson.
14th November 1809
John's daughter, Mary Moffat was born in West Linton, Peeblesshire. Her parents were recorded as John Moffat and Janet Farquharson. The actual entry in the Parish Records reads:
Moffat & Farquharson -
Mary daughter of John Moffat & Janet Farquharson was born the 14th November
22nd May 1811
John's son, James, was born in West Linton, Peeblesshire. His parents were recorded as John Moffat and Janet Farquharson.
19th June 1814
John's son, Robert, was born in West Linton, Peeblesshire. His parents were recorded as John Moffat and Janet Farquharson.
It looks as though John and Janet may have had another child called Anne in this year. The 1851 Census, records that living with John was "his daughter, Ann, aged 36", born in Manor, Peeblesshire. I cannot find a record of her birth though.
6th February 1831
John's daughter, Mary married Thomas Rodger in West Linton, county of Peebles. The entry in the Parochial Register is in amongst a number of accounting entries and reads:
Proc'd Thos. Rodger & Mary Moffat £. s. d. 4
It's interesting, although uncertain why, that the "d" in "Rodger" is crossed out three times.
Interestingly, I have found an entry for John's wife, under her maiden name of Janet Farquharson, in this Census. She is living in the home of Alexander Moffat, in the "Town of Manor", Peeblesshire. Alexander is shown as aged 35. This I think, is near enough to the age John and Janet's eldest son would have been in 1841. This suggest that John and Janet did not marry.
As regards John himself, there is a John Moffat, of around the age you would expect, who is also living in Manor, Peeblesshire and whose entry is in the household above Alexander's in the Census record. This may be coincidence, as this John is living with his wife and family. However, all of his children are younger than the children of our John and Janet, so it may be that they split up without marrying and John married after that. I am taking nothing for granted here, but I will record that this John was living with his wife, Agnes, aged 60 and his children William (20), Margaret (15) and Nancy (9). Also living with him was a three year old girl called Helen Noble - no indication of her relationship to John though..
The Census records John as still living in Manor, in Pinlar's Hall. His age is recorded as 73, not the 75 we might have expected, and his place of birth was Moffat, Dumfriesshire. John is described as a Widower and a retired Shepherd. Also living there were his daughter, Ann, aged 36 and born in Manor, Peeblesshire, unmarried and a Housekeeper and his granddaughter, Helen Noble, aged 12 and a Scholar.