So close, but never knew

I’ve been contacted by a number of people who have ancestors from Unst, looking for for more details about them. On several occasions it has enhanced my tree by providing me with information about the married name of a woman in my tree who had “disappeared”. It feels like a very fair swap, I give them her ancestors, and they provide me with her descendants.

Group of servants

A group of domestic servants in Edinburgh.
Photo Source: Shetland Museum

In one particular case, the young woman from Unst had, as many girls did, moved south to work as a domestic servant, in Edinburgh. She met and married a man in Edinburgh, and I was contacted by one of their descendants. He knew that she was from Unst from her marriage record but had not found any more about her.

Along with providing the details about her life in Unst, and ancestors’ details, I sent him the link to the census return which showed where she lived in Edinburgh, working as a domestic servant, before she was married. It turned out that he had lived within 250 yards of that address while growing up. As he said, “how can you be so close without knowing”. It was an wonderful coincidence.

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