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Home: Surnames: Isbister Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: Isbister, Hugh: birth
Posted by: janice ivester Date: February 17, 2001 at 08:44:44
In Reply to: Re: Isbister, Hugh: birth by May Hampton of 81

Hi Mae,
Thanks for your message to me. I got Hugh Isbister's birthdate from the ship's list posted in several books, but one in particular comes to mind: Cargoes of Despair and Hope; Scottish Emigration to North America 1603-1803, by Ian Adams and Meredyth Somerville. Another book whose name I can't recall but the author is David Dobson lists Hugh's parents as David and Janet (Omond) Isbister of Stromness, but this is incorrect. I think David Dobson had the ship's list, then went to the parish records and found a Hugh Isbister of close to the same age and assumed this was the same Hugh Isbister. But on my trip to the Orkneys I conferred with Janice Sinclair, a descendent of David and Janet Isbister, and she gave me court records proving that their son Hugh never left the Orkneys, never married, inherited their estate, and at his death in 1810 passed on to his sister, from whom Janice Sinclair is descended. It was very unusual for common people to be "landed", in possession of land, most rented, but this land belonged to Janet Omond.
Hugh Isbister's age is listed as 20 on the ship's list. I assume that it was given by Hugh when he came aboard.
As far as the cost of immigration; this does not apply to Hugh as he indentured himself for four years in order to secure passage to America. Usually the indentureship was for only two years but Thomas Browne had made such inprovements and investments to his estate, the ceded lands in Georgia near Augusta, that he was able to receive permission to indenture his people for four. This is from Thomas Browne: Loyalist, a thesis submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University in New Orleans by Martha C.S. Cohn, 1961, found in the Georgia Archives, Atlanta, GA.
Another wonderful source is Dr. Scott Davies: Quaker Records in Georgia: Wrightsborough 1772-1793; Friendsborough 1776-1777, 1986, printed by W.H. Wolfe Associates, Roswell, GA. Dr. Davies has written many articles about these two settlements and also Brownesville settlement nearby. Ellis Merton Coulter has written Old Petersburg and the Broad River Valley of Georgia: Their Rise and Decline, University of Ga. Press, Athens, GA; when I spoke with Dr. Davies he told me that Coulter was the authority on these settlements. I have not spoken with Coulter but have read his books.
Janice Sinclair in the Orkneys (I actually corresponded with two ladies and I think it was Janice in this instance) thinks that our Hugh is the son of George and Mary Isbister, who are somewhere there in that chart of Isbister descendents, but this is only an educated guess. But Hugh's children's names support this.
It is in one of Scott Davies' articles that we first found Hugh Isbister's name listed by Thomas Browne as Hugh Ivester, which is the proof that they are one and the same. This article is in the Georgia Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 7, No. 2, Summer, 1971. It is a list submitted by Thomas Browne to the British authorities, of recruits he names as joining his Browne Rangers. It is actually a list of his indentured servants which makes it suspect as to whether or not each one actually fought for the British. I know for a fact, have documentation, that one of these which he names, Baikie Harvey or Hervey, fought for the Americans and was actually killed in battle in SC. I have a letter (copy)which he wrote to his godfather back home in the Orkneys; it is in the Archives there in Kirkwall. He describes his indentureship, how he ran away and found another "master" who "bought my time" and treated him better, the war in Georgia and SC, etc.
Thanks for contacting me. I think this Ivester family is fascinating, more so than any other line I've done. Are you interested in my book? It is well documented, with photos.


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