HomeNews#52AncestorsIn52Weeks Week32/52 Peter SINCLAIR 1802?-1887 Get hold of US

#52AncestorsIn52Weeks Week32/52 Peter SINCLAIR 1802?-1887 Get hold of US


This biography was written as a part of the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks train devised by Amy Johnson Crow.  You may take part too right here. The theme for this week is “On the Library”

Amy says:

One in all my favourite issues to do when
I used to be little was go to the library. (It nonetheless is!) It is actually no
shock that I ended up getting my Masters diploma in library science.
This week’s theme is “On the Library.” Do you could have any librarians in
your loved ones? What about fond reminiscences of going to the library or assist
that you’ve got acquired from a librarian? 

Peter Sinclair was my 3rd
great-grandfather on my mom’s facet. 

This weblog put up is a
compilation of a number of weblog posts I beforehand wrote about my great-grandfather. You’ll have to learn fairly a bit earlier than you discover the library connection 🙂



It isn’t clear precisely when Peter was born.  

He died aged 84 in 1887 which signifies he was born 1803.  From Peter’s
loss of life certificates, his mother and father are recorded as
Donald Sinclair and Margaret
(previously Bell)
.  However everyone knows how
unreliable loss of life certificates may be, so we take this with a grain of salt.

Simply to
confuse issues, within the 1841 Census there’s a Donald Bell residing with Peter and
his spouse Isabella Sinclair. I believe Donald could have been his uncle (i.e. his
mom’s brother) who was maybe like a father to him.

Within the 1841
Census, Peter is recorded as being 30 years previous.  Based on
these explanatory notes on FindMyPast this might imply that
Peter was as previous as 34 as ages had been rounded down so it might imply he was born
wherever between 1807 and 1811. If the truth is he was 38 or 39 years previous, why would he say he was 30 years previous? This wants additional investigation.

Primarily based on the
naming of Peter’s kids under Peter’s mother and father’ names might have been
Margaret and James John.

A delivery was
discovered for Peter Sinclair in Glasgow in 1802 of Margaret Bell and John
Sinclair.[i]  These mother and father names match the names of the mother and father of his supposed older
brother John referred to on this weblog put up. I can’t nonetheless discover a baptism for
this John.

The one
different sibling I might discover born to Margaret and John was:

Malcolm baptised 23 April 1800 Glasgow[ii]


February 1802 Glasgow, John Sinclair Clothlapper & Margaret Bell, a L. Son,
Peter born 7th. Witnesses: John Bell & John McCallum[iii]

I’m wondering what if every other information we might discover of Peter’s childhood? College? apprenticeship information?  What would life have been like in Glasgow within the early 1800s and the way did Peter find yourself in Inverary? This requires additional analysis

Married Life


marriage registration didn’t begin in Scotland till 1855 so we are able to solely discover a
church register entry for his marriage.  Peter
married Isabella Birrell on 18 September 1838 in Argyle, Inverary,

Sadly, there isn’t a document of Peter’s or Isabella’s ages or mother and father’ names.

Primarily based on the
naming of their kids under Isabella’s mother and father’ names would have been
Isabella and Peter Birrell and Peter’s mother and father’ names would have been Margaret
and James John.

Delivery Dates/Locations:

My father
did some analysis on the LDS library again in 1992 and located the next.[v]

1.    Isabella born third March and baptised
eighth March1839[vi],
father Peter service provider of Inveraray (supposedly named after maternal

2.    Margaret born twenty third March and
baptised twenty fifth May1841[vii]
father Peter service provider of Inveraray (supposedly named after paternal

3.    Agnes or Anna born twenty sixth July and
baptised twentieth December 1842, father Peter fish curer of Inveraray [viii]
(supposedly named after mom)

4.    James John born 15 October and
baptised ninth December 1845[ix],father
Peter fish curer of Inveraray (supposedly named after paternal grandfather)

5.    Ann born 1846[x]

6.    Helen born fifth September and
baptised tenth September1848[xi],
father Peter fish curer of Inveraray

7.    Peter born twelfth December and
baptised twenty ninth December 1850[xii],
father Peter fish curer of Inveraray (supposedly named after maternal

8.   Emma Maria born twenty sixth July and
baptised fifteenth August 1853, father Peter Sinclair fish curer of Inveraray[xiii]


Life in Scotland

researcher Mary Sinclair suggested me in a message that:

Sinclair the fish curer vociferously objected to the design of the brand new pier in
Inveraray between 1835-1837. “

Mary suggested
she has information of letters from him to the Fishery Board suggesting alterations
to the design.  She states that:

additionally reveals up within the Fishery Board information in 1831 having had a fish barrel
seized for being product of fir (apparently the improper wooden to make use of!).”


The Sinclair family in Reduction Essential Avenue, Inveraray, Argyllshire,
Scotland is as follows:

·         Peter aged 30 born Scotland, service provider
(born circa 1811)

·         Isabella aged 25 born Argyllshire 

·         Isabella aged 2 born Argyllshire 

·         Margaret child born Argyllshire 

·         Jean Brown aged 20 born Argyllshire 

·         Donald Bell aged 70 born Argyllshire –
Shoe Producer (now we have to imagine that that is Peter’s maternal grandfather)

highlighted shoe producer as a result of in the event you learn in regards to the Clan Birrell on
this website here, you’ll be aware that Henry Birrell of Fifeshire was a shoemaker
so I do surprise if the Birrells did transfer from Fifeshire to Argyl.  Additional analysis is required right here.

Sinclair additional suggested that on twenty second April 1842 Peter was declared bankrupt.

collectors assembly was marketed within the Caledonian Mercury 19 April 1852  Authorized paperwork associated to this present he had a
brother Malcolm and a youthful brother John and an aunt Mrs Govan.”

I’ve been
capable of find these newspaper articles.


24 February
1842 Perthshire Courier from British Newspaper Archives


#52AncestorsIn52Weeks Week32/52 Peter SINCLAIR 1802?-1887 Get hold of US Obtain US
2nd August
1848 Web page 3 The Scotchman from British Newspaper Archives


I discovered the
most wonderful guide on-line referred to as The Harvest of the Sea: A contribution to the
pure and financial historical past of the British meals fishes
by James Glass Bertram.
He offers some perception into the difficult enterprise of commerce in herring which he
describes as follows:


manner of dealing in herring is just about as follows:—House owners of boats are
engaged to fish by curers, the bargains being often that the curer will take
200 crans of herring—and a cran, it might be acknowledged, is forty-five
gallons of ungutted fish; for these 200 crans a sure sum per cran is
paid in accordance with association, the discount together with as nicely a particular sum of
prepared cash by means of bounty, maybe additionally an allowance of spirits, and the use
of floor for the drying of the nets. Alternatively, the boat-owner
supplies a ship, nets, buoys, and all of the equipment of the fishery, and engages
a crew to fish; his crew could, maybe, be family members and part-owners sharing the
enterprise with him, however often the crew consists of employed males who get a lot
wages on the finish of the season, and don’t have any danger or revenue. That is the plan
adopted by free and impartial fishermen who’re actually house owners of their very own
boats and equipment. It’ll thus be seen that the curer is bargaining for 2
hundred crans of fish months earlier than he is aware of {that a} single herring shall be
captured; for the discount of subsequent season is all the time made on the shut of the
current one, and he has to pay out without delay a big sum by means of bounty, and
present barrels, salt, and different necessaries for the treatment earlier than he is aware of even
if the catch of the season simply expiring will all be bought, or how the markets
will pulsate subsequent 12 months. Alternatively, the fisherman has acquired his pay
for his season’s fish, and really seemingly pocketed a sum of from ten to thirty
kilos as earnest-money for subsequent 12 months’s work. Then, once more, a sure variety of
curers who’re males of capital will advance cash to younger fishermen so as
that they might buy a ship and the required amount of netting to allow
them to interact within the fishery—thus thirling the boat to their service, very
in all probability fixing an advantageous worth per cran for the herrings to be fished
and provided. Curers, once more, who should not capitalists, need to borrow from the
consumers, as a result of to compete with their fellows they need to be capable to lend cash
for the acquisition of boats and nets, or to advance sums by means of bounty to the
free boats; and thus a rotten unwholesome system goes the spherical—fishermen,
boat-builders, curers, and retailers all hanging on one another, and evidencing
that there’s as a lot playing in herring-fishing as in horse-racing.”



#52AncestorsIn52Weeks Week32/52 Peter SINCLAIR 1802?-1887 Get hold of US Obtain US

View of a
Curing Yard from the guide

The Harvest
of the Sea:
A contribution to the pure and
financial historical past of the
 British meals fishes Writer:
James Glass Bertram





 1851 Census[xiv]

  • Isabella aged 35 resides at Inveraray, Argyllshire, Scotland, spouse of Peter
    Sinclair, author
  • 12 12 months previous daughter Isabella          
  • 10 12 months previous daughter Margaret 
  • 8 12 months previous daughter Anna 
  • 6 12 months previous son James John 
  • 4 12 months previous daughter Helen 
  • Child Peter Sinclair and 
  • Single 18 12 months previous feminine servant
    Effy McKellar 


On the
Scotland’s Individuals web site, I discovered Peter Sinclair on the Valuation roll for the
Burgh of Inveraray as a tenant, residing in a home owned by the Duke and paying
10 kilos every year. He was recorded as a Clerk.  On the identical web page I discovered Isabella’s mom
Mrs Margaret Birrell listed as renting a home for 9 kilos every year.



Life in Australia

The household
emigrated to Melbourne, Australia in 1857.[xvi]This
was proper in the course of the gold rush interval. To offer an thought of the time
here’s a quote from Basil Lubbock’s guide (out there on the Gutenberg Library)
The Colonial Clippers:


“Within the
12 months 1852 102,000 folks arrived within the Colony of Victoria, and within the 18
months following the invention of Ballarat the inhabitants of Melbourne sprang
from 23,000 to 70,000, and that of Geelong from 8000 to twenty,000.


Within the 5
years 1852-7, throughout which the frenzy to the diggings was at its peak, 100,000
Englishmen, 60,000 Irish, 50,000 Scots, 4000 Welsh, 8000 Germans, 1500 French,
3000 People, and at least 25,000 Chinese language—to not communicate of the opposite
nationalities of the world, all of whom had been represented—landed on the shores
of Port Phillip.”

On the
transport listing, Peter is described as 50 years of age and a fish curer.  Spouse Isabella is 38 years previous, daughter
Isabella 16, Margaret 14, Ann, 11, James 9, Ellen 7 and Emma 4.

One can solely
think about what it should have been like shifting from a small fishing city like
Inveraray with a inhabitants of possibly 1000 folks to the bustling metropolis of
Melbourne.  But it surely looks as if there would
have been a pleasant face ready to greet the household once they arrived.

found cousin Jessica has alerted me to the truth that John Sinclair, a
builder and contractor was in enterprise with a Peter Metal Sinclair at the moment
and residing in Melbourne.  John was born
1807 in Inveraray and we’re fairly assured he was Peter Sinclair Senior’s
brother.  She provided a loss of life certificates
for John who died in Healesville in 1890 aged 83. The certificates reveals his
father as being John and his mom Margaret (nee Bell).[xvii]

provided a small biography obtained from the Victorian Trades Corridor Council and
it states John Sinclair was the primary contractor for the Melbourne College
Constructing, took an ideal curiosity within the labour query, in addition to being
President of the Eight Hours League.  He
was MLA for Norther Melbourne October 1859-August 1864. I discovered an obituary in
Trove to assist these assertions.[xviii]

The Library Connection!

Peter Sinclair Senior labored within the Parliamentary Library as per my weblog put up right here. I’m now beginning to perceive how Peter ended up working right here.  I nonetheless surprise if he had a bookshop in Edinburgh as I did discover an article a couple of Peter Sinclair in Edinburgh who was bankrupt and had a bookshop.


#52AncestorsIn52Weeks Week32/52 Peter SINCLAIR 1802?-1887 Get hold of US Obtain US
Greenham Studios. (1901). Victorian Parliament Home, Federal Parliamentary Library, Melbourne, [1920?] Retrieved January 30, 2017, from

In my analysis for this put up I discovered the next newspaper article which I thinks proves John and Peter had been brothers.


#52AncestorsIn52Weeks Week32/52 Peter SINCLAIR 1802?-1887 Get hold of US Obtain US
1859 09 12 Web page 2 Ovens and Murray Advertiser Beechworth Vic Electioneering Revelations


From the Charge Books in Victoria we discover that Peter is paying the charges on Marion Avenue Fitzroy, a property which John owns. (Public Document Workplace Victoria; North Melbourne, Australia; Sequence Title: 2336/P Microfilm copy of Charge Books, Metropolis of Fitzroy [copy of VPRS 4301] [1858-1901])


In 1859 Peter and Isabella’s daughter Margaret marries John’s son Peter Metal Sinclair.


In 1861 Isabella Junior marries George Ellis.

Based on
the Blue Ebook of 1867 which I discovered on-line, Peter was
appointed to the place of Clerk on 24 June 1861.  His annual wage was £250. 

#52AncestorsIn52Weeks Week32/52 Peter SINCLAIR 1802?-1887 Get hold of US Obtain US

He nonetheless appears to
have been clerk in accordance with a listing in 1871 on the age of 69.  So he would have labored for Librarians
Charles Ridgway and James Smith.  I
surprise how he obtained this place. 
Beforehand, on his daughter Isabella’s marriage certificates he was
described as a contractor.  That would
imply something actually sure?

A bit extra
digging on Trove and I discovered a few articles which indicated how the
place may need change into out there.  It
appears that there was a younger book-sewer by the title of Jessie Gallie who fell
pregnant with the help of Alfred Britter, a clerk within the Parliamentary
Library. Based on the morals of the time, she misplaced her job as a result of her
situation and was compelled, by way of destitution, to take him to courtroom for
upkeep.  If you wish to get a way
of the instances  this article and this article  will enlighten you.  I believe Mr Britter did not endure an excessive amount of
although and that he was simply moved sideways into the Put up Workplace in accordance with
this text – sigh.  

What would
it have been like working within the Parliamentary Library I’m wondering? 

This text
offers us some thought.



#52AncestorsIn52Weeks Week32/52 Peter SINCLAIR 1802?-1887 Get hold of US Obtain US
(1862, December 12). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 2. Retrieved
February 4, 2017, from


Sue Reynolds
in her paper Libraries, Librarians and Librarianship in the Colony of Victoriaquotes Patrick Gregory who wrote a history of the Library as saying:


 “that the true work of the library was
carried out by the Committee, with Ridgway (the Librarian) the “fetcher and
service” who had “little to do with the event of the
assortment, a activity that fell to the Committee and its London brokers…his work consisted
extra of checking the inventories towards the contents of ever-increasing quantity
of creates, cataloguing the unpacked books and doling them out to

Dr. Diane
Heriot’s paper Built-in Library and Analysis Companies within the Australian Parliament
here quotes Biskup and Goodman:


libraries grew up within the nineteenth century custom of the classy
gents’s library and had been, for a few years, little greater than well-appointed
golf equipment the place members might learn their favorite newspapers and discover the
occasional literary allusion or citation for speeches.”


If you’re
within the historical past of the Parliamentary Library in Melbourne, click on here
and here.

From about
there’s a Peter Sinclair residing in Napier Avenue Fitzroy (numbers 44 and 54)
and he appears to maneuver to Finest Avenue in about 1884.[xx]


Date and
place of Demise

Peter died on thirtieth December 1887.[xxi]
Peter was described as a Gentleman – 84 years previous.  He died of Senile Decay.  His father is described as Donald Sinclair.
There’s something written in brackets after his title which says occupation not
recognized and his mom is described as Margaret Sinclair previously Bell.  The document states he was born in
Glasgow coming to
Victoria about 30 years earlier than.  The informant was Charles Stuart, licensed agent, 178 Fitroy Avenue Fitzroy.  I have no idea how he was associated, if in any respect, to Peter.  The certificiated recorded that Peter was
married at Inverness about 40 years earlier than to Bella Birrell and his kids had been listed as follows:


Bella 43

Anne 40

James 38

Helen 36

Emma 32


Date and
Place of Burial:

He was
buried on thirty first December at Melbourne Cemetery[xxii]
in Part N Grave Quantity 115/116 – Faith Presbyterian.  The transcription reads:

Erected by his spouse within the reminiscence of Peter SINCLAIR late of
Inverary Argyleshire Scotland who died at North Fitzroy 30 Dec 1887 Isabella
spouse of the above who died 14 Jan 1891 additionally James John dearly cherished son of the
above who entered into relaxation 2 Dec 1895 additionally their beloved daughters Ann beloved
spouse of Peter Metal SINCLAIR who died 8 Jan 1922 Helen who died 16 Feb 1922 each
dearly cherished Emma ROACH who died 9 Oct 1933.


I tracked
down Peter’s will and probate on the PRO website.[xxiii]  Peter principally left all the things to his spouse
after which within the occasion of her loss of life, it was to go to his single daughters and
son.  Son James died in 1895.  Spouse Isabella died in 1891.  Daughter Helen Sinclair utilized to the
Supreme Courtroom to manage the property in 1901 declaring that the one individuals
entitled to a share within the distribution of the property had been sisters Anna and
Emma.  Their eldest sister Isabella was
nonetheless alive at the moment however maybe they thought-about she was nicely supplied for.


This has taken me fairly some time to write down and put up.  I’m very behind in my posts in the meanwhile.  It has been a really busy month for me and I hope to do a whole lot of catching up this weekend. 


I’ve spent fairly just a few $ on Scotland’s Individuals looking for Peter within the 1851 census – no pleasure thus far. It’s a little bit of a thriller.  Isabella seems within the 1851 Census and is known as the spouse of Peter, author, which I feel is a time period to explain a clerk within the regulation.  I will hold plugging away and hope to search out him.  


As talked about earlier than, I can not discover brother John’s delivery both in 1807.  His father, John Sinclair Snr on his loss of life certificates is described as a service provider too.  I must search for deaths of John Sinclair Service provider after 1807.  Additionally on John Jnr’s loss of life certificates, it’s recorded that he married Emma Steele in Liverpool, England on the age of 24 i.e. in 1831.  Possibly that’s one other clue.  Onwards and upwards.


Scotland, Choose Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT,
USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

Scotlands Individuals 23/04/1800 SINCLAIR, MALCOLM (Outdated Parish Registers Births
644/1 200 17 Glasgow) Web page 17 of 564

Scotlands Individuals 07/02/1802 SINCLAIR, PETER (Outdated Parish Registers Births 644/1
200 91 Glasgow) Web page 91 of 564

Scotland, Choose Marriages, 1561-1910 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Unique knowledge: Scotland, Marriages,
1561-1910. Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.

Scotland, Choose Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT,
USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Unique knowledge: Scotland, Births and
Baptisms, 1564-1950. Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.

1851 Scotland Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:
Operations Inc, 2006. Unique knowledge: Scotland. 1851 Scotland Census. Reels
1-217. Basic Register Workplace for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.

[viii] 1851 Scotland Census Parish: Inveraray; ED: 1; Web page: 16; Line: 5;
Roll: CSSCT1851_109; Yr: 1851

Scotland, Choose Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950

Australia, Demise Index, 1787-1985 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Demise Index Victoria 1921-1985

Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950. Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah: FamilySearch,

Scotland, Choose Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT,
USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Unique knowledge: Scotland, Births and
Baptisms, 1564-1950. Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.

[xiii] Scotland, Choose Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950 [database
on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Unique knowledge:
Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950. Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah: FamilySearch,

[xiv], 1851 Scotland Census, Parish: Inveraray; ED: 1; Web page: 16; Line:
2; Roll: CSSCT1851_109; Yr: 1851 Operations Inc 2006

[xv] Scotland’s
Individuals – Valuation Rolls VR004000001-/2, INVERARAY BURGH Web page 2 of 25 1855

[xvi] Inward
Abroad Passenger Lists (see Microfiche Copies: VPRS 7666 United Kingdom
Ports; VPRS 7667 International Ports; VPRS 13439 New Zealand Ports)VPRS 947/P0000, Oct
– Dec 1857

Electronic mail from Jessica Prestedge to Alex Daw 1/11/2021

DEATH OF AN EIGHT HOURS PIONEER. (1890, December 8). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. :
1854 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved February 20, 2022, from

[xix], Australia, Metropolis Directories, 1845-1948, Melbourne Listing
(Sands) 1867 and Victoria, Australia, Charge Books, 1855-1963 Metropolis of Fitzroy
web page

[xx], Australia, Metropolis Directories, 1845-1948, Melbourne Listing
(Sands) 1884, p 132

Demise Certificates Peter Sinclair, thirtieth December 1887 however registered 1888, District of North Fitzroy, Colony of Victoria No. 2820, Australia, 87/36441

[xxii], Victoria, Australia, Cemetery Information and Gravestone
Transcriptions, 1844-1997 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA:
Operations, Inc., 2016.

Public Document Workplace of Victoria, 78/981 Peter Sinclair: Grant of
administration,Probate and Administration Information ( 28 ),VPRS 28/P0000,


#52AncestorsIn52Weeks #Week3252 #Peter #SINCLAIR

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