ALEXANDER OF FYVIE, ABERDEENSHIRE, SCOTLAND TO HAWERA, SOUTH TARANAKI, NEW ZEALAND

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The ALEXANDER family has been in Fyvie, Aberdeenshire since at least the early 1700s. They were not a particularly adventurous family with their Christian names, and every generation has the same repeated names, which becomes confusing when researching. The family were also Episcopalian (Anglican) and subsequently intermarried amongst other Episcopalian families over the generations. A very tangled family tree.

William ALEXANDER (1756-1832) acquired the lease of North Macterry farm (later renamed Overhall and then later again Upperhall) in 1786 and this was in the ALEXANDER family until another William ALEXANDER relinquished the lease in 1951. William’s parents were George ALEXANDER (1703-1777) of Chapelton of Marnock, Fyvie and Christian nee CRUICKSHANK.

William ALEXANDER (1756-1832) married Anne IRONSIDE, the daughter of George IRONSIDE of Blackhill of Gourdas, Fyvie. They had 12 children – six sons and six daughters. Their second child, George ALEXANDER (1796-1861) married Margaret SHAND (1808-1887), one of the many intermarriages between the ALEXANDER and SHAND families in Fyvie. Margaret SHAND was born at Wells of Rothie, in the parish of Fyvie on the 1 June 1808.  She was the second daughter of Adam SHAND (- 1834) and a granddaughter of Adam SHAND and Isabel LOW. George and Margaret ALEXANDER had five children, four sons and one daughter. George also had a relationship with Jane SCOTT and this produced a son, Alexander ALEXANDER (1854-1913) who was brought up by his father and stepmother Margaret.

George and Margaret’s eldest son George ALEXANDER (1835-1901) married Christian RANNIE (there are various spellings of her surname) on the 2 June 1860 at Fyvie. Christian (baptised 03 Sep 1835) was the daughter of James RAINY (1805-1883), farmer of Tifty, Fyvie and Christian nee AULD (1803-1885) who had married on the 20 June 1829. Christian RANNIE’s grandparents were James RAINY (1771-1851) and Jean nee CRUICKSHANK (1772-1821), and John AULD and Christian CASTLE, all of Fyvie.

George and Christian had ten children, seven sons and three daughters.

George ALEXANDER (1861-1917) married Isabella ALEXANDER (a cousin). They farmed at “Cattie” near Alford, Aberdeenshire and had two sons and two daughters. No living descendants.

William ALEXANDER (1862-1916) married Mina BENTON and was a doctor in Bournemouth, England. No issue.

John Rennie ALEXANDER (1864-1956) married Christina Robbie WEBSTER. To New Zealand. See below

Adam ALEXANDER (1866-) married Louise BENTON and was a doctor in London. They had two sons.

Margaret ALEXANDER (1867-1946) married Malcolm CORSIE who was an Iron Master in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. They had four daughters.

Mary ALEXANDER (1869-) married William “Lessie” PARK and farmed at Lescraigie, Aberdeenshire. They had one son (killed in WW1) and seven daughters.

Christian ALEXANDER (1870-1947) married James HATT, a chemist of Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire. They had three sons and one daughter.

Edward ALEXANDER (1872-1949) married Annie (Nan) MALCOLM and farmed at Overhall, Fyvie. They had two sons and four daughters.

Charles ALEXANDER (1874-1880) died aged 6 years of age.

David ALEXANDER (1887-1946) was a blacksmith at Kirkton, Fyvie and was unmarried.

John Rennie ALEXANDER (1864-1956) married Christina Robbie WEBSTER (1868-1942) on the 1 June 1892 at Fyvie. They first farmed at Auchenclieth, Chapel of Garioch, Aberdeenshire where their six children were all born. However disaster struck around 1911 and the cattle had to be destroyed due to Anthrax and this led to family leaving for New Zealand on the 15th August 1912. At that stage John was 48, Christina was 44 and the children were 19,18,16,14,12 and 10 years old. They came straight to Hawera in South Taranaki where they soon settled.

John and Christina had the following family;

George ALEXANDER married Alice Johannes Andrea DAHL in 1923 in Hawera and farmed in the area. They had two daughters. George served in the NZEF during World War One.

John Walker ALEXANDER married Maggie Dean SAUNDERS in 1921 in Hawera and farmed in the area. They had one son (died as an infant) and three daughters. John also served with the NZEF during World War One.

Christina Webster ALEXANDER married Adam Dale HUTCHISON in 1919 in Hawera. Adam was the manager of the Tawhiti Dairy Factory (now Tawhiti Museum). They had two sons.

James Webster ALEXANDER married Georgina Jessie ANENSEN in 1931 and lived in the Hawera area. They had four daughters and two sons.

William ALEXANDER married Ida Helen SAUNDERS (sister of Maggie) in 1923. They farmed at Te Roti, near Hawera and had four daughters and one son.

Alexander Edward ALEXANDER married Eileen Grace WINKS in 1931 in Hawera. They farmed at Ararata, near Hawera and had four sons and one daughter.

In April 1992 a family reunion was held to mark the 80th year since the arrival of the ALEXANDER family. A small booklet was produced and a drive taken by bus around the areas of South Taranaki important to the family. Dinner was started with the piping and ode to the haggis, and a rendition of Auld Lang Syne and Amazing Grace was held at the evening’s end.


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