the story of minnie dean
Listener Martin McRae from Stirling knew very little about his ancestors
when he started off on his genealogical adventure. He’d been using an online genealogy website as part of his research and came across a lady in New Zealand who had information to share about someone in his family tree. Martin’s research took an intriguing turn when she warned him of "a skeleton
in the closet".
With further research Martin discovered that Minnie Dean, his great grandmother’s sister, had journeyed to New Zealand when she was 19 to live with her aunt. But he discovered that she got in to trouble with the authorities and it was so serious it cost her her life.
Lynley Hood, author of "Minnie Dean: Her Life and Crimes" reveals that she started taking in unwanted babies for money. When two children in her care died she was investigated, charged with their murder and sentenced to death. Minnie is the only woman ever to have been hanged in New Zealand.
Martin tells us more about the story and the recent developments in New Zealand when a headstone was unveiled in her memory.
(Above photo shows Janice Gill's painting of the unveiling of a headstone at Minnie Dean's grave)
metropolitan police strikes
Listener Jim Smith belived his ancestors were all farmers in Fife so when he started researching his family history he had no reason to suspect that his great uncle Alexander Mitchell was any different. But it turned out that Alexander didn’t follow in the family footsteps, instead Jim discovered him hundreds of miles south in London.
Research revealed that Alexander was a policeman and was dismissed from the police force twice. At this point Jim thought he might have been, "a bit naughty, one way or the other".
On investigation, however, Jim discovered that this wasn’t the case and that Alexander had been dismissed due to "matters of principle" during the Metropolitan Police strikes of the early 20th century.
(Above photo shows Alexander Mitchell in uniform)
murder in cramond
As a child, listener Ian Pettigrew often enjoyed traditional family days out to Cramond. But until recently Ian had no idea of his family's connection to the place.
Two hundred years ago there was a murder in the iron mills at Cramond and Ian’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather witnessed his brother James murder their other brother Sandy.
As Ian explains, the transcripts of a High Court of Justiciary case in the Scottish Chronicle of Feb 1811 revealed more about this tragic event in his family’s past.
(Above photo shows James' headstone, with overlaid text)