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Kincardineshire Aberdeenshire

Deceased Online now holds searchable burial records for over 150,000 individuals from 100 sites across Aberdeenshire. I am especially pleased that these include registers from the old county of Kincardineshire, the home of my JOLLY ancestors. In celebration of the new Kincardineshire and Aberdeenshire records being uploaded to the database, this week I look at my family connection to the history of Benholm parish and its cemetery.

My great great grandfather William Jolly (1842-1889) enlisted in the Royal Engineers in May 1867. He was shortly transferred to England, and by 1871 he was living in barracks at the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria & Albert Museum). He would never live in Scotland again.

William Jolly R.E. in England in later years
William had been born in Montrose, Forfarshire (now Angus) where his father, James Jolly, worked as a salmon fisher. But within a few years the family dispersed and William went to live with his grandfather, also William Jolly (1782-1861), in Benholm, Kincardineshire. Benholm was a rural parish, neighbouring St. Cyrus, Bervie, Garvock and what was then known as the German Ocean. There were two small bays where the young William could play, at Johnshaven and at the Haughs of Nether Benholm. Johnshaven was the village centre of the parish.

William the grandfather had been born in the larger parish of Glenbervie and moved the neighbouring parish of Fordoun where he worked as a subtenant crofter. By 1841 he was working as an agricultural labourer at the Mains of Brotherton in Benholm. This was the farm estate on the land of Brotherton Castle, owned then by laird James Scott, who would die in 1844. In 1837, the parish minister, James Glen, had written of the garden at Brotherton that, despite being "a very few yards from the sea", it "is remarkable for its productiveness, and for the fine quality and flavour both of the large and small fruits. This must be accounted for, in small measure, from the height of the garden walls, which protect the garden walls, which protect the various productions from the direct influence of the sea breeze."
In 1851, when his grandson was living with him, William continued to farm at the Mains of Brotherton. His grandaughter, Jane Blacklaws, also worked on the estate, which had welcomed the return from India of James' nephew, Hercules Scott (b. 1823) in 1850. After the death of his father, David Scott (1782-1859), Hercules inherited the castle, which he had demolished and rebuilt in the 1860s.

After 1861, my ancestors left the area, moving to neighbouring St Cyrus. But by 1881, another Jolly family had moved to Benholm. David Jolly (b. c. 1850) was from Cookney, near Stonehaven, and married to Isabella. In 1901 the family were living at the Cottar House on the Mains of Brotherton estate. David's daughter, 27 year old Bella, worked as a Post Office clerk and his 18 year old son David was an apprentice joiner.

In 1894, David Jolly bought three lairs [grave plots] in Benholm Cemetery. The cemetery is situated in Johnshaven village and opened in 1892. The register reveals that David's mother, Isabella, was buried in the cemetery in 1894, his wife in 1934, David himself in 1940, daughter Bella in 1961 and finally 91 year old grandson, Douglas, in 2010.

Record of the burials of the family of David Jolly in the Register of . . . Benholm Cemetery
Another link to the Mains of Brotherton in the new collection is the burial record of my 4x great grandfather's landlord, Hercules Scott of Brotherton Castle, who died in 1897. Scott was buried "in the Family burying ground" on 4th June 1897.

Besides Benholm, other cemeteries included in the latest release are:

Banchory Devenick
Banchory Devenick (2nd Ext)
Banchory Ternan

If, like me, you have a family connection to one of the Kincardineshire parishes included in the Aberdeenshire collection, please do get in touch via the comments box below or via our Twitter and Facebook pages.

The New Statistical Account of Scotland: Forfar, Kincardine, By Scotland, Society for the Benefit of the Sons and Daughters of the Clergy.


  1. I am fascinated by the Brotherton name my John Nicol and his wife Janet Taylor were living at the Barnes of Brotherton I cannot find this anywhere. I take it the
    scott family owned all the land about. y Reid family ended up in Abuthnott. cheers sharon

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Could it be that the record reads the "Mains of Brotherton"?

      Best wishes,


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