Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A-Z 2013 'H' is for Hounams & Homesteads

The furthest back I can trace (documented proof)  in my family tree is to a John Hounam, born in 1651.

He was listed in the records as a 'Merchant of Langholm' - and apart from his marriage to Janet Heatherington in 1678 and his date of death, 1714, that is virtually all I know of him. However, I've documented the succession from him through to me in an unbroken line that covers nine generations!

The Hounams appear to have been farmers but I think as most of the Hounam men seem to have married into some of the more well-known Border Reiver families, some of their livestock may have been acquired through sheep-stealing and cattle rustling! More about that later in the A-Z!

As for the 'homesteads' - a lot of the family dwellings have fallen by the wayside, but visiting Canonbie, Langolm and Ewes I have managed to find some evidence of a few places.

These three walls are all that remains of  the dwelling of my 3xGreat Grandparents (the infamous Charles Beattie and Agnes Lawson  referred to in the 'F' post!) but when I visited I remember thinking, as I looked out of that doorway, that my ancestors had stood on that spot and seen (largely) the same view, albeit a couple of hundred years earlier!

Another 'homestead' really took me by surprise, in Langholm. One of my Grandfather's brothers wrote a number of books about the Scottish Borders and Langholm in particular. In fact, thanks to him and his own interest in genealogy and local history, I have had a wealth of information to draw on for my own research.

Anyway, a book he wrote called 'Oor Gate En' (roughly translates as 'our neighbourhood') had a picture entitled 'Jamie's Brae', an old sepia print of a lane between some houses:

So, imagine turning up to see where my Grandfather and some of his siblings were born to find this:

That's the house, but look to the left:

.......lo and behold, 'Jamie's Brae'!

So now I'm wondering if some of those figure in the original picture are actually members of my family....!


  1. Fascinating! How wonderful to know so much about your family history.

    Have fun with A to Z!

    Jenny at Choice City Native

  2. I would be so mesmerized by finding out stuff like this about my ancestry. And you have made it back to 1651?? That is phenomenal, Sue. And that picture is just about the same give or take a few years!

    Chuck at Apocalypse Now

  3. How wonderful! A great find.... Loved those pictures!


  4. I am so enjoying reading your A-Z! :) Still think you should pull it all together into a book :) xxx

  5. I love the idea of cattle rustlers in the family stories!