According to one genealogical interpretation, in seventeenth-century Scotland, a Robert Laing married a Marion Wood. These would be the author's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents. They apparently had four daughters:
On 15 Jun 1733 in Dunipace, Janet married John Denovan (b. circa 1708). Their children were:
- Janet, chr. 17 July 1708 in Denny, just south of Stirling
- Helen, b. circa 1711
- Margrat, b. circa 1714
- Agnes, b. circa 1719
James married a Margaret McGregor. They had four children:
- James, b. 7 Apr 1734 in Dunipace
- Margaret, b. 7 Mar 1735 in Dunipace
- John, b. 14 Mar 1738 in Dunipace
However, there is some confusion about the age (and even the identity) of William. In the 1841 census of Berwick, William Denovan (independent, 75, born Scotland) was living in Bridge Street with his two daughters Elizabeth (35, born Scotland) and Joan (30, born Northumberland). The ages are probably all wrong. The IGI, interpreting Berwick baptismal records, thinks the daughters were born in Berwick on the dates shown in the table below.
- James, b. 13 May 1764
- Janet, b. 6 Apr 1766
- Margaret, b. 2 Oct 1768
- William, b. 9 Dec 1770 in Saint Ninians, Stirling, d. 3Q 1841 in Berwick upon Tweed (though he managed to be included in the 1841 census in Bridge Street, Berwick upon Tweed). He had married a certain Elizabeth, who died in 4Q 1839. William was working as a Publican/Owner at the Red Lion Inn in 1799 in Berwick; in 1806 he was Inn Keeper in the Red Lion Inn, High Street, Berwick upon Tweed; and in 1821 he was an Inn Keeper, Berwick Upon Tweed, according to an affadavit for Children's birth in parish register Dec 1821.
William and Elizabeth seem to have had the following numerous offspring, all born in Berwick upon Tweed:
|Margaret||4 Dec 1790||Arthur Byram Gowan(s)
Berwick, 6 June 1816
|1865||The author's great-great-great-grandparents.
See Byram/Gowan page.
|Elizabeth||4 Nov 1792||Apparently unmarried||4Q 1860||Became 'Lodging keeper' (1851)|
|Isabella||6 Mar 1796||Thomas Dores of South Leith
7 Oct 1823 - Berwick
|Joan||12 May 1798||-||2Q 1846||-|
|William||14 Sep 1800||-||-||-|
|Jane||17 Sep 1802||William Heron (d. 1853)
in Berwick on 16 May 1834
2 known children (see text below)
|Sarah Wilkie||8 Jan 1804||-||2Q 1887||-|
|John||30 Nov 1805||Mary
|Bury St Edmunds, 3Q 1876||Grocer and tea dealer in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk|
|Christian||21 Feb 1808||Alexander McAslan Johnson (1815-1854)
of Mordington, in Berwick, 2 Jun 1837
|17 Apr 1883 Tasmania, Australia
Buried Kirklands Cemetery
|Ellen||19 Jul 1810||Robert Lockie of Edinburgh, commercial traveller
Holy Trinity, Berwick, 25 Sep 1835
Children: Joanna, Robert, Henrietta, Wilhelmina, Denovan
|1Q 1867 in Wandsworth||-|
[Most data provided by Jo Marsh. The following research into census data is by Sukie Hunter.]
In 1851, Elizabeth Denovan was the head of the household, then living on the south side of the Tweed in the settlement of Spittal, two doors from the Ship Inn. Elizabeth was keeping lodgings (though she didn't appear to have any lodgers). The household consisted of: 'Elizabeth Denovan (head, married, 58) Lodging keeper, born Borough of Berwick upon Tweed; Sarah Denovan (sister, unmarried, 45) born Berwick; Ellen H.(?) Denovan (sister, unmarried 40) born Berwick'. This is a bit difficult to disentangle, as Elizabeth was not in fact married, while Ellen was, and was called not Denovan but Lockie.
Ellen's daughter Joanna Lockie was staying a mile or so to the south with her aunt Jane, who was married to William Heron, farmer of 500 acres employing 14 labourers at Unthank Farm, Ord. Their household consisted of William Heron (head, 55) born Ford Forge, Northumberland; Jane Heron (wife, 48) Farmer's wife, born Berwick on Tweed, Northumberland; Henry Trotter Heron (son, 14) Farmer's son, Scholar, born Berwick on Tweed; Elizabeth Heron (daur, 13) Farmer's daur, Scholar, born Berwick on Tweed; Margaret Heron (sister, unm, 50) Farmer's sister, born Ford Forge, Northumberland; Joanna Lockie (niece, 14) Dressmaker App., born Scotland; and a House servant. William and Jane Heron would appear only to have had the two children, as in 1841 they are listed at Unthank (aged 40 and 35) and the rest of the household consisted of Margaret Heron (65), Margaret Heron (35), Henry Heron (6) and Elizabeth Heron (3). Henry Trotter Heron seems never to have married and appears in the 1881 census at 2 Blakewell Road, Tweedmouth. He was 42 and a commercial clerk. The other occupant of the house was his widowed sister, Elizabeth Darling (39, housekeeper) so it doesn't look as if she had any children either.
In 1861 the only Denovan still in the area was Sarah W. Denovan (head, unm, 42), Annuitant, born Berwick, who was living alone at 5 Spa Well View, Spittal (though the age does not tally). Elizabeth had died in Berwick RD in 4Q 1860, shortly before the census. Sarah herself died in 2Q 1887 aged 83. She does not appear in the 1871 census, but in 1881 she was living alone at 7 Wallace Green, Berwick and was 72 and an annuitant.
Their brother John Denovan was a grocer and tea dealer in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was married to Mary and appears to have had a son and six daughters, Mary (1827-ish), Elizabeth (1832-ish), Isabella (1Q 1838), Sarah (1839-ish-3Q 1846) Susanna (4Q1842-2Q 1846) and William Hunter (4Q 1844). John died in Bury St Edmunds in 3Q 1876 aged 70. His daughter Elizabeth was still unmarried in 1871 aged 37, but Isabella and Marianne both married.
Sukie Hunter comments: Since John's only son was called William Hunter Denovan (later a C of E vicar), that strongly suggests that his father was also William Hunter Denovan, which would indicate that William Sr was possibly the second son of his parents and was called after his mother's father. He could have been the fourth son and called after her brother, or there could be some other explanation, but it would seem very likely that his mother's family name was Hunter.