Yonderton Farm, birthplace of Catherine Jane Findlay

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Comments (14)

Ian Stehbens on August 21, 2007

Scottish mists gently dampen the meadows and accumulate on the leaves of the elms that wrap around the farmhouse and steading. This farmhouse was the birthplace of my grandmother. Her parents lived in the steading or out-building, but on the third night before Christmas 1885, her mother was taken into the warmer home to deliver her daughter. Within six months this tiny infant was wrapped in a shawl and taken on a journey to the Plymouth docks. From there the an emigration voyage began in April 1886. Disembarking in Maryborough, Queensland the Findlay family began a whole new life. Grannie came to love her Australian homeland, but she never forgot her roots, placing twigs of heather that had been mailed to her, behind the glass of many a photograph. Tartans, porridge, shortbread, sporran, bagpipes, Scotland calendars, salted meat, Robbie Burns' poetry and songs, fiddles, highland flings and salvation songs were all part of our living Scottish heritage that we imbibed and came to appreciate. In memory of a wonderful Grannie!

Mujgan on January 23, 2009

An interesting and sentimental story, thanks for sharing.

Ian Stehbens on January 24, 2009

Thanks for your warm response, Mujgan.


Amelia Royan on September 28, 2009

So, as your name suggests, you have Scottish ancestry Ian? You have a wonderful way of bringing the past to life. Your Grannie sounds like the perfect Scot to me, I often pick heather too, and put wee bits in vases. And the sound of the pipes is always a thrill :)

Greetings, Amelia

Ian Stehbens on September 29, 2009

Greetings dear Amelia.

Fit like?

I do indeed, have such roots. This is Ian Robert responding. Dad was "Robert" but on the backs of Grannie's early photos of him he is always called "wee Robbie"! Is that enough further evidence to convince you that I feast on shortbread, make salted oats porridge my staple in the morning, and chill to the sound of the pipes... and can toss a caber 55M!!

Farquharson tartan is my tartan, even if my wife prefers a Murray.

I am delighted we have connected at this level of shared identity. And, here's tae the heath, the hill and the heather, the bonnet, the plaid, the kilt and the feather!

Lang may yer lum reeks.

Ian Robert.

Amelia Royan on October 1, 2009

Well Ian, you can still remember the strange colloquialisms of Aberdeen! And you have all good Scottish names too. There are many Roberts, on my family tree, and my great grandfather, and his father, were called Farqhuar, but the surnameFarquharson doesn't appear anywhere. Robertson on the other hand is the maiden name of my great grandmother. I'm so pleased that you can toss the caber such a long way, and that you eat your porridge in the proper fashion. The story goes that one of my great uncles, a confirmed bachelor, used to make his week's supply of porridge and store it in a drawer, taking a slice daily :))

My tartan is Scot, but it is a Lowland tartan, not highly sought after!

Aye, ma lum'll be reekin' soon, it's jist gettin' a wee bittie nippy oot here in Norway :))

Amelia Royan W.S.

Ian Stehbens on October 1, 2009

Dear One (=Farquhar), Amelia,

Talking about the right names, one of my sisters married Bruce Robertson, and of course they have sons called Cameron and Kirk!

But talking with my Aberdeen relatives is oft fraught with difficulty. On one occasion that I was at home with them in Aberdeen, we had just returned from a holiday exploring France. And each time they asked me something or gave me something, I unwittingly replied Oui or Merci beaucoup. Apparently I felt that I was being spoken to in a foreign language.

My wee son, David, was being shown over the Aberdeen fish market by my cousin. Standing in the midst of the vacant and hosed floor during the afternoon, Sid told wee David that "this is where they get the fish ready for the sales". David thought he was joking and replied, "No they don't." "Yes, they do!". "No they don't."

I had to intervene, for neither understood the other. Wee David just knew that the seals don't come here for the fish!

On the other hand, our children (5 & 7) returned to school in Australia after a year in the UK to report that the part of England they liked the most was Scotland!

Warm greetings from the South Pacific.


Findaly on October 21, 2009

Ian My mother is Elsie Winn nee Findlay. Her father is William Findlay. Your grandmother's brother.I was wondering if you have any family history details of the Findlay's. Since my aunty Daph McCarthy nee Findlay passed away we have lost a lot of the family hiostory and stories. My husband and I are going to visit Scotland next September. I would like to visit Aberdeen, Yonderston Farm and the Ellon area.I really enjoyed looking at the photo of the farm. I also took great pleasure in reading about your grandmother, who was also my Great Aunt.

Amelia Royan on October 21, 2009

Now this is getting really interesting ... I can't wait for the developments!

Ian Stehbens on October 24, 2009

Dear 2nd Cousin,

When I return to Brisbane we must get together!! That's a must. Currently I am in Tonga until December 1. Yes, I know quite a bit of the family history, though I have never concentrated on creating a comprehensive record of the Findlay family, since Mavis (McLellan) Maynard and Bev Kronk were the active researchers in Bundaberg of the Findlays, and they knew I had our branch covered. However, I probably know the Scotland connection best, as I have been to Aberdeen and met with the families there, explored the area, and done a little research. But the other factor is that our common great-grandmother, then my grandmother wrote regular letters to their sister and cousin, respectively, from the time of the migration until the 1960's. How I wish all that correspondence had been archived!! I was close to my grandmother, and so heard many many stories, and was also treated royally by the families in Aberdeen & Dyce whenever I visited them through 1978. My Dad had also made a number of visits in 1944-45 during his RAAF service in UK, and stayed with them at the end of the war until he was to sail back to Australia, returning to a special personal reunion with his many cousins and Aunt and Uncle in 1977.

If you go to the Stehbens Family History website you will find my email address there. Please email me your name and details for I do not have Elsie's children recorded. But I know your mother. She attended my Dad's 90th birthday celebration in 2004... did you come with her then?

I look forward to meeting with you and to preparing you for your visit to the family in Aberdeenshire ... and Gateshead as well.

[I look forward to developments, too, Amelia, and I delighted that you are able to share in this.]


Ruth Munro on August 29, 2010

Was interesting reading all the comments. I now live at Yonderton Farm, Ellon and would love to find out more of the history of it

Ruth Munro on August 29, 2010

You would be more than welcome to email me and let me know when you are coming to Ellon you would be more than welcome to come to the farm. My email is weebaberuth@hotmail.co.uk

Amelia Royan on August 29, 2010

I'm looking forward to a really positive outcome here :)

Ian Stehbens on September 1, 2010

Dear Ruth,

This is why we photographers like to upload our special photos on Panoramio and Google Earth so that we can meet people like you. You have made my day. So pleased!

As you will realise, the only time I was in your area was way back in 1978, and that seems like an eon ago now.

The Scottish Censuses are quite readily available on-line and they list the names of every person at a particular address, so I am sure that would be a wonderful way of constructing the history of Yonderton Farm. I have previously read the censuses for the mid 1800s.

Should I ever be able to come to Scotland again, I will make a beeline for Aberdeen and Ellon to be sure!

I feel most fortunate to have this contact with you. My very much loved Grannie was only a tiny infant when the Findlay family left Ellon, so she never saw Yonderton Farm and as far as I know she never saw any photos of it either. It was just that special place on her Birth Certificate. We had a few chats about it though my childhood. But I was the first of the Australian family to visit it. No one was living there when we visited so we had a good look around. Standing in the Steading doorway seemed like I was identifying with my Great Grandfather Findlay! But I wasn't too keen on the thought that he may have eaten cids (is that the spelling) that morning!

The family were connected with Mudhouse, Methven, Ythanbank, Dyce, and Longhaven.

Of course there are relatives still in Dyce and Aberdeen.

What a privilege it is to have contact with you.


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  • Uploaded on July 10, 2007
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    by Ian Stehbens