Henderson Genealogy and Family History

| November 20, 2009

Rhian - Ruins.jpg
Ruins of the Henderson farm at Rhian, Caithness

Folks who know me understand that I have been very proud of my Father’s Scottish heritage. For the past several years I have been working to discover and record as much of my family’s history and genealogy as I can.

This effort has taken me to Caithness in the north of Scotland twice, the the ancient ancestral home of Knockfin. This has even gotten me in front of the BBC cameras to film an episode of the program “Landward” outlining the research project.

This is more than just a genealogy effort of who begat whom, it is an effort to understand the places and ways that they lived and the role they played, large and small, in history. Since our start a small but growing group have been “collecting cousins”. When we find people in the modern day that connect with the family, we share all of the history and data we have to date, and invite them to participate. Some of them would rather be left alone, and we respect that. Most however are thrilled and in their sharing we are slowly building up a better idea of the events, places and people.

This project is very much an effort of the modern age. With cousins and participants on 3 continents and multiple countries, we share most of our information over the internet. We are also using DNA testing to help define and refine our history, as what we can trace through records ends in the mid 1700s. Our goal is to contact as many descendants of our common “progenitor” as we can, and offer them our shared history, inhopes it will never be lost or forgotten again.

Some random facts from the project:

The Henderson family originates (at least the earliest records we can find) from the Berriedale area of Caithness in the mid 1700s. A croft farmed by William Henderson with his wife Ann Sultherland is listed as “Knockfin, Berriedale” and his sons William, James and Angus. By 1820 or so, but William (son) and Angus are no longer in Caithness, and we assume they left for North America or Australia.

The common progenitors are James Henderson and Mary Sutherland whose croft house at Rhian (now in ruins) was the home to 7 children. His oldest son William is part of the family tree of scottish author Neil M. Gunn. All of the cousins we have found thus far are descendants of this couple.

The family tree includes soldiers who died in every major conflict since 1850, minsters and missionaries, crofters and fishermen. The first to attend college was my great grandfather Reverend Adam C. Henderson who attended the University of Glasgow in 1867 before becoming a minster of the Free Church. There was also a lady named Henrietta Henderson who was a missionary with the China Inland Mission, and spent her life bringing Christ to China. This included 4 years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. After her release she returned to China less than a year later and stood by her work until the Chinese communists finally drove her and the rest of the missionaries from the country through punishment, imprisonment and starvation.

Now I am happy to say that thanks to the help of my good friend Mr Bruce Webster, I have created a separate Blog to track all of our research and work. It’s name: Ramscraigs – A Caithness Story

Be Sociable, Share!

Category: Commentary, Writing

About the Author ()

Bruce Henderson is a former Marine who focuses custom data mining and visualization technologies on the economy and other disasters.

Comments are closed.