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Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:28 am
by gnstill

Please post comments and queries about the ANCIENT STILL ANCESTORS OF ABERDEENSHIRE here.


Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:38 am
by gnstill
Email from Gary BORATTO on Oct 20, 2015: Hi - I am puttering away on Family trees for my Grandson’s 12th great grandparents, Alexander Still and IIssobell (sic) Hunter (both born around 1590-1600, I assume) their son was Alexander (1614-86) (wife’s name missing) was father of Alexander b.1635, who was married to Agnes Birs, they were parents of Alexander b. 1661 who married Christian Watson ( b, Nov. 1, 1663), the parents of Alexander (5th!) who married Jean Smith… and had a son named Alexander who married a Margaret Booth, but that is a divergent line, Alexander 5th’s brother John had a son John (hat else?) who married a Jane Smith (I do not yet know the relationship to Jean (John t’s wife) if there is one. Their son john married a Catherine Brown and had a daughter Margaret who married a James Jolly in Old Machar…. and that is where it joins my wife’s line and the name Still is lost. I got some of these records from family is scribbled notes and am working to verify them.

The Still name that married into the Jolly family of Old Machar , came to Canada from Aberdeen via Glasgow in 1911and married into the Grey line (Ayrshire) of my mother-in law who became a Hearn and mother of my dear Lorna. Oddly on the Hearn side is a Mr William Taylor Hearn who was instrumental in organizing the Icelandic settlement in Manitoba. My mother, child of a Ukrainian family named Smerek was born at Hamrlik Manitoba and for some reason married an Italian. (Actually she did not like the attitude of Ukrainian men!)

I should say that I am hopeful I can verify the information I have, and I have already spent hours trying to sort the old Stills out with all their Alexanders and the like, especially when brother both have sons with the same names, and marry into the same families. I have some experience in this as am a semi-retired United Church Minister who served in Cape Breton long ago. While there, I had to sort out and lear the very intricate and sometimes convoluted relationships within the Scottish family’s of my five churches , simply to avoid disaster. There were no birth records there, just baptismal records well into the 1930s, and proving age for pensions was a nightmare.It was good practice for all this.

Then too, mm father’s family has led me into reading longhand Italianate script records back couple of centuries. On my mother’ side there is little left of the records in the Eastern Ukraine (Galatia) . They were mostly destroyed in the German occupation… Sorry, I’m rambling.

I just wanted to thank you for posting what you have posted, and, as I get things clear in my head and on paper I will send what I have found for you to check or disregard of whatever.

Gary Boratto
148 Sandford Fleming Drive
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
N2T 1E8


Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:16 am
by gnstill
Gary- I am having difficulty understanding your STILL connection. Is it through your own relatives or your wife’s relatives?
I have some information about the William Taylor HEARN family and the SMEREK families.
Interestingly, the 1891 census in Toronto lists W.T. TAYLOR, and one of his neighbours is an Alexander STILL, age 73 (born 1818 in Scotland) with a wife named Susanna.
I would like to try to trace your lineage back in time but I need to know more specifics regarding your nearest STILL relatives (with dates and locations, etc).


Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:59 pm
by runningduck
Hello Gary,

I would love to have any info pertaining to William Taylor Hearn, my wife’s great Grandfather (on her father’s side)

The Smereks, are on my side. My Grandfather was Michel Smerek, son of Michael Smerek and Catherine Ponik. He was born in Malnov Galatia, now Malniv, Ukraine) in 1892. There was some family in Manitoba, though he came on his own via Hamburg, Liverpool, and Halifax in 1911. He married Anna Skrabyk 1n 1916 at Hamrlik, Manitoba. She was born in Blyshnia Galatia, now Poland. My mother Anne Smerek was also born in Hamrlik, Manitoba.

Also in 1911, my wife’s maternal grandmother Isabella Groves (b.1893) came to Halifax, via Liverpool and Glasgow, though they were an Aberdeenshire family with roots in Old Machar. This is where the connection to the Stills is found. Her mother was an Isabella Jolly (b.1865), the daughter of James Jolly (b.1840) at Old Machar Aberdeenshire. His mother married to James Jolly (senior), was Margaret Still, daughter of John Still, (Sone of John Still and Jane Smith) born <(before) 15 Oct 1768 and Catherine Brown (b. c. 1782-1783) and married at St, Nicholas Aberdeenshire.

It seems odd to me that family and geography seem to often link coincidentally across generations.I was touched that both my own grandfather and my wife’s grandmother came to Halifax in the same year. The connections to Manitoba are also curious, with Lorna’s Great Grandfather, William Taylor Hearn working with the Icelandic settlers, while my own grandfather Michael Smerek would homesteaded not all that far away.

Now, about the Stills. What an intriguing mess! There are 13 Alexander Stills that I have put into some sort of order so far, with still more floating around the edges. The Stills were a prolific family with large broods for the most part, and they recycled names like bandits. (Do bandits recycle names?) They were also what my teachers used to call "creative spellers."

Some confusing things occur, such as cousins with the same names, that sometime makes tracing things difficult. Still, with the help of another genealogy posted on Family Search, and by sorting the Scottish records there, I think I am on stable ground. There are, of course, instances where two children in one family carry the same first name. I have seen this in my own family where death records have sorted out all these cases as a child being named the same as a departed sibling. Saddly I have had trouble finding death records to confirm this. Still, in those cases where there are two sons or daughters with the same name, we can presume it is the later-born who has descendants, if at all.

One oddity is the case of Alexander Still (christened 06 Dec. 1614) and brother Andro Still, born (christened 29 Jan 1618) sons of Alexander Still and Issobell (sic) Huntar. Andro is listed in birth records at Styll not Still, but the mother and father are correct, well, other than spelling. Later both an Alexander Still and an Andro Still marry women named Agnes Birs a month apart… I do not know if it was the same woman quite yet. (I do, however, recall a joke about a woman who looses two husbands to eating poison mushrooms, and when asked why she killed her third husband with a frying pan replies: "He wouldn't eat the mushrooms." With the recycling of family names I expect that there were two women, perhaps cousins.

I have tried to connect as many people through the Still couples that found families as I can, and while there is still a ways to go, I have worked my way up from family records, sketchy at best, to the Alexr (in some records) and Huntar couple around 1600. I will know more, as I fit more people into the grid of families, but it is tough sledding.

At the worst I think I am on Fairly stable ground to Alexander Still and Christine Watsone married on 13 Aug 1687 at Old Machar.

I will continue trying to sort folks out, with the Andro, Andrew, and Androw Stills being my next project, (there are at least 7 Georges, 6 Isabels with assorted spellings, and a whole mess of Williams, Janes and Janets and… well, there are a mess of names, but I only have about 70 sorted out so far and checked, where they are from an existing genealogy. As a parishioner in New Brunswick used to say to me: “It’s enough to drive an old person to doing dirty things.”

I will write when I have work… err when I feel I have this all wrestled to the ground, hog-tied and sedated: of couse… by then I may need to be all that first though, wrestled to the ground, hog-tied and sedated, that is.

All the best.


Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:25 pm
by gnstill
Very interesting! - Looks like your wife and I share some of the same STILL ancestors. I’m still reviewing my own files which I haven’t had occasion to do for a long time. A couple of question to get me back on the right track.
What is Lorna’s maiden name?
Who died her grandmother Isabella GROVES marry?
Who did Isabella JOLLY marry (? GROVES)

Dates and places are always good to have.


Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:54 pm
by runningduck
Hi Gary
I put this together to help you see if you connect, this is just a thumbnail and there are some missing bits of information. I have started to sort most of the Still families as best I can so far, but it still needs work, this is what I have on my wife's line to the Stills so far, starting with my wife.

Lorna Hearn (29 Jan 1952) and Gary Boratto (13 Feb 1952)
(M. 3 Sep 1975)

Lorna Hearn’s parents were
Gordon Russel Hearn (22 Sep 1919, Clinton On)
Margaret Isabelle Grey (22 Mar 1923, Toronto On)
(M.1 Sep 1945)

Margaret Isabelle Grey’s parents were
James Keith Grey (14 Aug. 1891,Toronto, On)
Isabella Groves (4 Nov. 1893, Aberdeenshire)
(M. ?)

Isabella Groves’ parents were
Andrew Groves (5 Mar 1869 Portland Dorset)
Isabella Jolly (14 Jun 1865, St Nicholas. Aberdeen)(M.

Isabella Jolly’s parents were
James Jolly (5 Jul 1840, Old Machar, Aberdeenshire (wool Merchant))
Elizabeth (Elspeth?) Isabella Robertson (13 Aug 18339, Old Machar, Aberdeenshire)
(M. 31 Dec 1860)

James Jolly’s Parents were
James Jolly (12 jan 1812, Old Machar, Aberdenshire)
Margaret Still (16 April 1805, St Nicholas, Aberdeenshire) (M. 31 Dec 1833)

Margaret Still’s Parents were
John Still (<15 Oct 1768, Aberdeen)
Catherine Brown (b.1782 or 1783, Old Machar, Aberdeenshire) (M. 31 jJan 1801)

John Still’s (1768) parents were
John Still (< 9 May1721, Aberdeen)
Jane Smith (date and location ?) (M. 26 Jul 1756)

John Still’s (1721) parents were
Alexander Still (1693-1762)
Jean Smith <20 Nov 1699, Old Machar, Aberdeenshire) (M. 17 Jul 1719)

Alexander Still’s (1693) parents were
Alexander Still (1659, Old Machar, Aberdeenshire)
And Christian Watsone (1 Nov 1663, Foveran, Aberdeenshire) (M. 13 Aug 1687)

Alexander Still’s (1659) parents were
Alexander Still (c.1635)
Agnes Birs

Alexander Still’s (1635) father was
Alexander Still (04 Dec 1614 Aberdeenshire)
No record of mother’s name yet found

Alexander Still’s (1614) parents were

Alexander Still (c. 1590)
Issobell Huntar


Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 5:15 pm
by gnstill
Thanks so much for all that Gary, excellent!
========== Confusion, you have -
John STILL’s (1768) parents were John STILL (< 9 May1721, Aberdeen) and Jane SMITH (date and location ?) (M. 26 Jul 1756) NB Note that JANE SMITH is married to John STILL and that her Mother-in-Law, JEAN SMITH, is married to her father-in -law John STILL.
Then you have -
John STILL’s (1768) parents were Alexander STILL (1693-1762) and Jean SMITH <20 Nov 1699, Old Machar, Aberdeenshire) (M. 17 Jul 1719). ** In this version John’s father, Alexander, would have been 75 years old when John was born and he died 7 years before John was born??


Posted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 7:09 pm
by runningduck
Hi Gary

Of course you are right, as I have fallen victim to doing this at 2am in thew morning. I merely wanted to point out that it is easy to confuse Jane and Jean not that anyone married their father in law, so I should have used a name instead of a referent. I have reviewed it, eliminated the Nota Bene which was part of the confusion, and put the proper date with the proper John as it actually is in my records but not correctly transcribed to show you the tie to my wife's family, and I think it makes sense now. Essentially I was too tired to try to do it a second time after I lost the first completed attempt in a file transfer glitch of my own making.

By the way, I am now up to eight family lists of Still husbands with their wives and children I have ben sorting from records, naming parents and children. I will not really know if this is all that helpful I until I do a few more and compare to the rather raw family trees published online. I do wish they had been more creative with choosing different names! It can make your head spin. I also know that no one in St, Nicholas and Old Machar could spell very consistently.

Still, (not really a pun)I do know the Stills were mostly downright prolific and I wonder if they still (ouch) are.

I hope this makes more sense.


Posted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 10:22 am
by gnstill
Thanks again Gary. Actually that’s what I thought you must have meant.
This inspired me to develop the STILL series further with another Family Page. Check this out:
I look forward to continued discussions under THAT Topic.


Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 4:56 pm
by gnstill
Check out my New Family Page for Lorna’s maternal great Grandparents at this link: