Genealogy of  William Harper and Isabella Milne. 
Harper family tree.

Milne family tree.

  William Harper. (Minister)


(1) Isabella Milne. (2) Lillias...
Born 28 March 1845.   3 October 1856. C 1860.
Place Aberdeenshire, Scotland.   Aberdeenshire, Scotland.  
Died 1940.   3 April 1910.  
Place UK.   At sea.  
Married (1) 14 October 1875.
(2) C 1924.
  14 October 1875. C 1924.
Place St Andrews Church, Calcutta, India.   St Andrews Church, Calcutta, India.  
Ancestors John Harper and Jane Cumming.   David Milne and Margaret Cheyne.  
Siblings 2 brothers, 4 sisters.   Margaret and 7 others.  


We are all clear that the two Harper sisters - Lillie (Hutchison) and Ada (McGibbon) - were daughters of William Harper, Church of Scotland Minister and Missionary. I've met him - in 1936 and earlier. But none of us are clear about his antecedents. I probably am nearest to being on target with this scenario:-

The aforesaid William was thought to be fourth child (and second son) of John Harper and his wife Jane Cummings, who farmed a tiny place at Maryhill, Asleid, Monquihitter, six acres in extent, which could hardly be expected to pay for William taking two degrees at Aberdeen University - MA. (1870) and BD.(1873), which is what he did. However, I have to guess about William's Grandparents, and the likelihood is that they were John and Elspet Harper, Crofters at Millbrex in the 1841 Census, which suggests that there were eight - not seven in the Maryhill family, the eldest being with his grandparents at the time of the census, and presumably dying before the 1851 census. These assumed grandparents were crofters at Millbrex, in Fyvie Parish, about two miles from the Maryhill farm Inchgreen which is about half a mile from Maryhill.

We may get confirmation of these and similar points from another look at the 1851 census. As you have read, Isabella Milne married William Harper in Calcutta; but they were neighbours in Fyvie/Monquhitter. I don't yet know who Isabella Milne's parents were, nor their address, but she had a sister who must have married Alexander Cheyne, who moved with his parents (Father - James ) from New Deer to Inchgreen. Alexander's wife was Maggie Cheyne, or Milne, and she must have been Isabella Harper's sister. (Margaret Royds' letter refers to Isabella's sister and brother, but he was her Brother-in-Law.)

I think I've seen the death certificate of William Harper's father, John, which states that he was born at "Farthinghill".. There never was any such place, but a possibility is "Faddonhill", an area at Millbrex, in Fyvie parish, and this needs following up. (The census takers of those days, and the registrars, were a bit illiterate)

But again, these are only speculations, and there is at least one other candidate for the post of William Harper's Grandfather - viz - James Harper, Farmer at Greens No 10 (presumably a croft) All these places are within one or two miles of each other, and research is bedevilled by the way that they straddle the boundary between two parishes - Fyvie and Monquhitter - which means different Registry records, Census records, and Church records.

So, if you want to explore the area in person pinpoint Millbrex on the OS Map at NJ 821436, and search an area within two miles radius of that point. I'm going back to the Family History Shop.

Incidentally, on the question of accuracy of the clerks in those days, it's not impossible that Maryhill had 60, not 6 acres.

Column by TMH. Aug 2004.

  Isabella Milne was the youngest of nine children of David Milne and Margaret Cheyne, who married on 15th December 1835 in Monquhitter.

I don't know where they lived but it must have been within a mile or so of Maryhill, John Harper's farm.

Isabella was born on 3rd October 1856 and so was about eleven years younger than William Harper.

Isabella had an elder sister Margaret (Maggie) born 22 April 1850, who on 9th July 1875 married Alexander Cheyne with whom she eventually settled in Inchgreen, Monquhitter - another site within a mile or so of Maryhill.

Alex Cheyne thus became Isabella's brother-in-law, and the Cheynes became surrogate parents for the three young Harpers during their parents' absence in India.

TMH. 18 September 2004.



Children of Isabella Milne and William Harper.

ref Name Born Died Married
  Fanny Prior. 16 Sep 1876. 14 May 1877.  
  Lillie Isabella. 11 Oct 1877. 20 Dec 1956. James Hutchison. 25 Oct 1906.
  Ada. 5 May 1879. 1974. Arthur MacGibbon. 18 Jan 1908.
05 George Milne. 27 Aug 1892. 1 Dec 1943. Madeline Irvine. 26 Dec 1912.

Page data from a manuscript by Margaret MacGibbon. (Daughter of Ada Harper and Arthur MacGibbon).