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Introduction / Westray Grays / Early Gray Families

Isabel (Isabella) Gray and William Robertson

According to the 1851 census, Isabella Gray was born in Westray and was 84 years old, which indicates a birth date of about 1767. The only Isabel/Isabella Gray christened in Westray between 1751 and 1783 was the daughter of John Gray and Barbara Gray, who was christened on 17th June 1770. Therefore, it seems likely that this Isabella Gray is the daughter of that John Gray and Barbara Gray.

She married William Robertson and had three daughters:

  • Barbara Robertson, c. 9th November 1794. She married David Manson and had two children.
  • Isabella Robertson, c. 8th May 1796
  • Mary Robertson, c. 3rd November 1798. She married William Gray and had seven children.

In the 1841 census, Isabella was staying at Holland, Papa Westray, with her daughter Mary and her family. She was at Nether Ousness, Westray, with her daughter Barbara and her family in the 1851 census, as shown below.

1851 - Nether Ousness, Westray
Relation Status Age Occupation Born
David Manson Head Married 50 years Farmer Westray
Barbra Manson Wife Married 55 years Westray
Ann Manson Dau Married 27 years Westray
David Manson Son Unmarried 16 years Westray
Robert Rendall Son in Law Married 20 years Westray
Isabela Gray Mother in Law Widow 84 years Westray
Jean Manson Servant Unmarried 14 years Westray

According to the Death Registration for his daughter Barbara, William Robertson was a farm servant, while his daughter Mary's Death Registration gives his occupation as farmer. Since Barbara's place of birth is given in the census records as Westray, and Mary's is given as Papa Westray, it looks as though the family moved from the larger island to the smaller between 1794 and 1798. No further information has been found for William; it appears that he died before the censuses began, and no record has been found for his baptism.

Isabella seems to have died in the period between the 1851 census and the beginning of civil registration in 1855; no record has been found for her death.

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