View Full Version : Isabella Buchanan

31-01-2006, 3:16 PM
Hello. Can anyone help me with a knot that I have been trying to resolve over the last few months? My great grandmother was called Isabella Slater (nee Buchanan) and was born on the Outer Hebrides in about 1854. Barra, Benbecula possibly.

Her sister was called Mary and their parents died from smallpox. Mary nursed Isabella through smallpox and they both survived. Mary was to become a head dairy maid to a lady in waiting of Queen Victoria, possibly in Lour near Dundee.

I have searched Scotlands People but can not find a Mary and Isabella Buchanan with the same parents on the Outer Hebrides in the 1850s.

Can anyone give any leads? Isabella Buchanan went on to work in Canada as the governor's cook before returning to the UK to marry Frederick Slater sometime in the 1870s to 1880s.

Many thanks


31-01-2006, 4:16 PM
Hi Graham presume you have checked the 1851/1861 Censuses? 1861 is on SP& you might get 1851 on Freecen.(you might find them before marriage & with parents on this one)
What areas have you looked? It is possible that they were born in Benbecula but moved elsewhere any time thereafter.
Do you know where her parents died?Do you have their Death Certificates?
If you can't find the parents with the children in Outer Hebrides I would extend my search to other areas.

31-01-2006, 9:06 PM

Have searched 1851 and 1861 censi in Scotlands people and old parish record/births with SP. I do not know Mary and Isabella's parents names. May be better to find Isabella's death certificate and see what that has on it. She died in Bedford in 1946 age 92. My cousin believes Isabella was born on Barra, but it could just as easily be Benbecula or South Uist where there are a number of Isabellas.

I have also found it difficult to put a date on a smallpox outbreak in the Outer Hebrides. If I knew that I could try and find a husband and wife who died about the same time.

What is FreeCen?

Many thanks


01-02-2006, 12:45 PM
Freecen is a site with free Census info on it! It is a bit hit & miss as to what you may find.
It is run by volunteers who transcribe the Census from disc & then put it out on the Web.
1841/1891 are covered but it is a slow process but you may strike lucky.
Are you saying that there are so many Isabella/Mary combinations in 1861 that you can't figure out which family is which or do you have some possibilities?
Have had a look on Freecen but no joy.SP does give 18 possibilies using 4-8 as her age.Worth spending one credit to check areas.More on the Mary but wasn't sure of her age.If you find a Mary/isabella of similiar age in the same district worth having a look if you haven't so far.

01-02-2006, 8:46 PM

I will go back and look at my list of Isabellas from SP and the Marys but I could not see before a likely combination other than one in Bowness near Edinburgh which just does not sound correct. I do not know Mary's age.

Will purchase a credit this Friday and have another go over the weekend.

Many thanks


02-02-2006, 10:11 AM
I know this site does not have forums for all the separate Scots counties, but have you tried Ross & Cromarty as well as Inverness-shire? It covers the northern end of the Outer Hebrides. I think I found some Buchanans in Uist.

Also, what religion were the family? There are quite a lot of Roman Catholics in the Isles & their records might still be held by the Catholic Church. The contacts are on the Genuki site.

02-02-2006, 6:45 PM
Many thanks. I have tried Ross & Cromarty with SP and as you say there are quite a lot of Buchanans. I do not think they were Roman Catholic.

If I could pin a date to smallpox in the Outer Hebrides between 1850 and 1880 then I might find Isabella's parents.

Many thanks

01-05-2006, 11:19 AM
Last week I found Mary Buchanan and Bella (Isabella) Buchanan in the 1901 Census of Scotland.

Mary was a servant, Head Dairy Maid, at Lour House, Forfar, Angus age 54 and unmarried. Mary's DoB would be 1846 / 1847 and in very poor writing it looked as if the place of birth was Benbecula, Invernesshire.

Bella Buchanan (42) was married to Frederick Slater (41) and they were living in Dundee with their 3 children. The census clearly gave South Uist, Invernesshire as her place of birth giving a year of birth of 1859.

Their three children: - Frederick age 9, Fanny age 11 and May age 6. All the children were born in England.

I believe that the parents of Mary Buchanan are Alexander and Effy (Euphemia Boyde) Buchanan living on S. Uist 1848 and she has a christening date of the 13th August 1848. (IGI)

In the 1861 Census Mary Buchanan appears with her parents and brothers and sisters in Griminish(?) on S. Uist age 14. But where is Bella?

Can anyone give me a clue to confirm that Isabella Buchanan and Frederick Slater were married at Niagara Falls in Canada between 1880 and 1890?

See earlier messages on this thread.

Does anyone know where Isabella is in 1859/1860 at the time of her birth?.

Many thanks for any help that you can give.

Grt-grandson of Isabella Buchanan.

Graham Cooper

05-01-2011, 5:37 AM

Any luck on finding Isabella Buchanan, I just found this link and I hope you are still on.
The Mary Buchanan is in my line so I am extremely interested in filling in the missing branches that I also have.

You can mail me directly, if you like.


30-04-2011, 6:38 PM

Hope you don't mind me jumping in here but I have an old photo of an Isabella Buchanan. I bought it at a car boot sale in Somerset England. I have no idea how old it is or where it originates from. I've uploaded it to Flickr so you can take a look. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bridgwatergenepool/5673284502/

Let me know what you think.

Kind regards,


01-05-2011, 8:50 AM
Hello Ursula

Many thanks for your link to the photograph of Isabella Buchanan. In recent months we have found out a great deal about Angus Buchanan's family of which Isabella was one of his daughters. A brother emigrated with his family to S. Africa in about 1911 and another went before to Canada. We have a photograph of Mary Buchanan her sister but have never had any photograph of Isabella who probably spent most of her adult life in service; the same as her sister Mary.

This lady looks very grand and could be her but will we ever know. The following are places that Isabella spent time in; Outer Hebrides where she was born about 1858, Toronto, Dundee, Hull, Twickenham and finally Bedford. She died at the age of 92.

Does the photograph have any studio details on it to give us a clue? She looks to be in her late thirties, would you agree, which would give a date of about 1880 to 1890 in the photograph? Perhaps Mary dressed Isabella her up at one of the places she was a dairy maid, may be when working for the Earl of Lauderdale at Thirlstane Castle in south of Edinburgh.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course. Where in Somerset did you pick it up at a car boot sale.

Kind regards