Family - The Findlay & Ritchie Connection

The Findlay & Ritchie Connection

As per the links below to the hand-drawn family tree meticulously draughted by my late Uncle Alexander (Sandy) Waddell, and the various biographies (for which I'm extremely grateful to my brother Simon) that Sandy put together from various sources. A considerable number of further details have now been inserted into his schema, but nothing prior to it is yet (Nov 2014) available.

Origins of the name

The Findlay surname comes from the old Scottish name Fionnlagh / Fionnlaoich, meaning "fair hero" - from the Gaelic elements "fionn" meaning white or fair and "laoch" meaning warrior or hero, and associated in song and story with the legendary (but real-life) hero, Findla Mor ("Big Findlay") Farquharson, reputedly of gigantic stature (well, for those days anyway) who fell at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547.

Coat of arms

The Old Gaelic words of "fear" and "char" combine to create the name Farquhar which means "dear one". It was a popular Celtic first-name, and was to be found all over Scotland in the middle ages. As a surname today however the form "Farquharson" (son of Farquhar) is more common.

A warrior named Fearchar Shaw founded a dynasty who took the name Farquharson. The Findlays (Finlaysons, Finlays, Finleys, and other similar such names) are generally regarded as a sept of the Farquharsons.

It's a lively-looking coat of arms, but how genuine or appropriate is entirely open to question!

The Findlays and Ritchies

Map of Scotland

Nothing lifts the spirits like a nice brightly-coloured map, and that's a good excuse to display the counties of Scotland in technicolour hues (cheerfully disregarding the Four Colour Theorem) – specifically Angus (2) and Fife (13) on the East Central coast just to the south of Aberdeenshire (1).

The town of Arbroath, the stamping-ground of 'our' Findlays, is about half-way up the coastline of Angus, known in those days (until 1928) as Forfarshire.

Not featuring explicitly in the Generation Table below, but implicit in so much of what eventuated, the remarkable stories of John Ritchie (3 Feb 1778 – 21 Dec 1870) and his younger brother William1,  2 (1781 – 4 Feb 1831), who was in many ways the more remarkable of the two, can't easily be integrated into this narrative.

Sandy thought, probably on the ever-unreliable basis of family legend, that John and William were twins, elder brothers to Margaret Ritchie (4 May 1736 – 10 Feb 1819), but these beliefs aren't supported by their DOB's. I'm still (Nov 2014) unable to establish the true degrees of kinship between the Ritchies and Findlays in that era. They were probably both in very modest walks of life, only traceable via parish registers. I think this may well require intensive on-the-spot expertise from a professional genealogist – I understand the Angus archives do offer a research service at £20/hr, which might be worth considering at some point. I believe they would be able to access any original documents which still exist.

There's reason to believe that the 'newspaper Ritchies' were not closely related, if at all, to Margaret Ritchie, and that the two families were actually connected via Elizabeth Johnstone, whose mother was a sister of John and William Ritchie. This is borne out by the Ritchie monument (see below) which describes Elizabeth as John Ritchie's niece.

Note also that the Ritchie brothers were born in Fife, which though close at hand, isn't actually contiguous with Angus (please see the map above).

Details given in black are transcribed from Sandy's family tree; corrections in red are taken from the Ritchie monument inscriptions, and those in grey from (or directly from Jen (Findlay) Guerin, from whom thepeerage are fortunate enough to source their best information) or from the Findlay memorial inscriptions.

#IndividualSpouse / PartnerFamily
‑6Robert Findlay
(10 or 19 Dec 1742 –
5 Feb 1802)

manufacturer of linen cloth
Margaret Ritchie
(4 or 14 May 1736 –
10 Feb 1819)
(m 8 Jun 1765)
David Findlay
(b 17 Mar 1767)

Elizabeth (Elvy) Findlay
(b 30 Jan 1769)

Margaret Findlay
(b 30 Jan 1769, twin)

James Findlay
(b 23 Dec 1771)

Peter Findlay
(b 20 Sep 1772,
died in infancy)

Robert Findlay
(b 10 Apr 1775)
? = Mary Petrie
(m 17 Feb 1797)

Peter (Patrick?) Findlay
(6 Apr 1777 –
26 Nov 1855)
‑6Margaret Fin(d)lay William Renny
(m 1 Jun 1765)
‑5Peter (Patrick?) Findlay
(5 Apr 1777 –
26 Nov 1855)

drapery shop in Arbroath High St, selling woollen & linen cloth
Hannah (Ann) Dalgety
(16 Mar 1777 –
27 Oct 1852)
(m 10 Mar 1799)


daughter of Joseph Dalgety & Ann Dick
Peter Findlay
(10 Feb 1800 –
10 Nov 1850, Bombay)

Robert Findlay
(8 Jun 1801 –
5 Feb 1802)

Joseph Findlay
(9 Dec 1802 –
27 Aug 1832)

Charles Findlay,
(24 Apr 1804 –
30 Nov 1891)

Benjamin Hall Findlay
(4 Dec 1806 –
22 Oct 1880,
= Sarah Frazer
HF never married, was the main beneficiary of her father's will. In old age she lived with spinster niece Jessie Smith Findlay plus Val and Hannah Findlay. Hannah Findlay
(3 Jun 1808 –
3 Aug 1897)


William Renny Findlay #1
(21 Aug 1810 –
22 Feb 1872)

Edward Findlay
(16 Jan 1813 –
14 Feb 1876, Bournemouth)

Margaret (Mary) Findlay
(16 Feb 1815 –
10 Feb 1819)

Elizabeth Findlay
(16 Sep 1816 –
22 Nov 1835)

David Findlay
(14 Oct 1818 –
28 Nov 1819)

George Findlay
(27 Oct 1820 –
31 Aug 1846,
Merchant Navy,
died at sea)
‑4Peter Findlay
(9 Feb 1800 –
10 Nov 1850,
in Poona, near Bombay)

family drapery business @150 High St, Arbroath, failed ca1842, became partner with East India merchants Findlay, Monnet & Co.
Elizabeth Johnston(e)
(1797 –
(m 27 Apr 1823, @ St Cuthbert's, Edinburgh)

daughter of Robert Johnstone. Mother's maiden name was Ritchie, subsequently remarried a Mr Muirhouse.
John Ritchie Findlay
(21 Oct 1824 –
16 or 28 Oct 1898)

? William Findlay

2 daughters

also Margaret,
died in infancy 1827
‑4Dr Charles Findlay1,  2
(24 Apr 1804 –
30 Nov 1891)


ancestry website gives 6 offspring, including only James Scott Findlay in common
Elizabeth Scott
(d 26 Jan 1838)
(m 3 Jun 1829)
Charles Findlay
(1830 –
= Barbara Bowie
(1831 –

James Scott Findlay
(d 12 Feb 1870,
washed overboard in Atlantic when Master or Mate of Brig "Star of Dundee")

Robert, Catherine, and Hannah, all died in infancy
Elizabeth Laird
(ca 1808 –
18 Feb
(m 3 Dec 1839)
Elizabeth Findlay
= Alexander Cargill
(d 5 Jun 1922)

stepdaughters Nell, Rose and Mary
‑4Benjamin Hall Findlay
(4 Dec 1806 –
22 Oct 1880,
Sarah Fraser
(m 10 May 1831)
Hannah Findlay
(b 27 Jul 1831)

Sarah Findlay
(ca 1840 –
13 May 1924)

Peter Findlay
(13 Aug 1841 –
22 Dec 1923)

Mary Anne Findlay
(b 2 Aug 1844)

Benjamin Findlay
(b 10 Sep 1847)
‑4William Renny Findlay #1
(21 Aug 1810 –
22 Feb 1872)

cloth merchant etc at 62 Queen Street, Glasgow

wide trading interests, including importation of Australian wool

financially ruined by bank failures, sequestration of assets, died of stroke

seems to have had an interest in or involvement with Nobel's explosives factory founded in 1871 at Ardeer.
Jessie Smith
(1 Jun 1819 –
11 Oct 1883)
(m 19 Feb 1839)


yr. sister of Jane Smith, who married James Muirhead$
their g'sons James (1853 – 1934) & Findlay (1860 – 1935) established the famous Blue Guidebook series.
Joseph Renny Findlay
(b 7 Jan 1840)
=Fanny McDonald
(d 8 Jun 1924)
(m 19 Dec 1863)

John Smith Findlay
(17 Aug 1841 –
12 Jan 1881)
= Ellen A Benet
(d 31 Mar 1928)
(m 21 Jun 1874)

William Renny Findlay #2
(b 4 Jun 1843)
= Elizabeth Margaret Fyfe Easton
(m 22 Apr 1869)

Isabella Donaldson (Findlay) Muir
(5 Dec 1844 –
16 May 1925)
JSF became guardian of nieces Val & Hannah Findlay after death of their father C F Findlay, and shared a house with the widow of John Smith Findlay. Jessie Smith Findlay
(22 Jan 1847 –
31 Dec 1941)


Edward Walton Findlay
(25 or 28 Nov 1848 –
14 Dec 1898)

Richard Porter Findlay
( 5 Feb 1851 –
8 Apr 1927)

Charles Farquharson Findlay
(14 Aug 1853 –
15 Sep 1883)

Jane Muirhead Findlay
(8 Dec 1855 –
28 Apr 1860)

Daniel Smith Findlay
(11 Aug 1858 –
5 Jul 1923)
= Jessie Black

James Muirhead Findlay
(12 Jul 1860 –

Frances Mary (Findlay) Underwood
(18 Dec 1861 –
13 Apr 1922)

Annie Smith (Findlay)
(b 8 Jan 1864)
=1. Geo. Stevenson
=2. Henry Reece
‑3John Ritchie Findlay1,  2,  3
(21 Oct 1824 –
16 or 28 Oct 1898)


proprietor of The Scotsman
Susan Leslie
(1842 –
9 Sep 1917)
(m 27 Oct 1863)

10 children in all
Jane Leslie Findlay
(1864 –

John Ritchie Findlay
(13 Jan 1866 –
13 Apr 1930/1)

Elizabeth Margaret Findlay
(1867 –

James Leslie Findlay
(30 Apr 1868 –
19 Sep 1952)
= Kathleen Marguerite Richardson

Susan Stirling (Findlay) Ridsdale1,  2
(1870 –

Charles William Findlay
(1872 –

Grace Hunter Findlay
(b 1874)

Florence de Quincey (Findlay) Maitland
(1878 –

Dora Louisa (Findlay) Backhouse1,  2
(1879 –

Hannah Findlay
(1881 –
‑3William Renny Findlay #2
(4 Jun 1843 –
4 Jul 1925)
Elizabeth Margaret Fyfe Easton
(22 Apr 1869 –
Sara Findlay1,  2

William Renny Findlay #3

Felician Findlay
(died young)

Samuel Findlay

Harvey Findlay
(died young)

Cyril Findlay
(1886 –
27 Aug 1925)
‑3Isabella Donaldson Findlay
(5 Dec 1844 –
16 May 1925)
James Muir
(d 8 Dec 1898)

Edith Isobel


John (Jack)
‑3Edward Walton Findlay
(25 or 28 Nov 1848 –
14 Dec 1898)

trained in Glasgow as mechanical engineer and worked at Nobel factory in Ardeer

sited new Nobel factory in S Africa for gold mines in Witwatersrand
Mary Dubery Taylor
(29 Mar 1858 –
10 Dec 1909)
(m 28 Jun 1881)

music teacher
Edwyn Alfred Findlay
(b 27 Mar 1882)

Dudley Vincent Findlay
(18 Aug 1885 or 86 –
10 Jul 1950)
‑3Charles Farquharson Findlay
(14 Aug 1853 –
15 Sep 1883)
Annie Charlotte Cosby
(Nov 1853 –
ca Jun 1920)
Eleanor Dixon Valentine (Val) Findlay
(Jan 1881 –
12 Apr 1960)

Jessie Frances Hannah Findlay
(3 Jun 1882 –
12 Jan 1974)

‑2Sir John Ritchie Findlay
1st Baronet of Aberlour
(13 Jan 1866 –
13 Apr 1930)

proprietor of The Scotsman
Harriet Jane Backhouse
(12 Mar 1880 –
24 Jul 1954)
(m 9 Jul 1901)

later (1929) became Dame Harriet Findlay

daughter of Sir Jonathan Edmund Backhouse
1st Bart
(15 Nov 1849 –
27 Jul 1918)

and Florence Salusbury–Trelawny
(1845 –
11 Oct 1902)

sister of First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Roger Roland Backhouse
(24 Nov 1878 –
15 Jul 1939)

who was husband of Dora Louise Findlay!
John Edmund Ritchie Findlay
(14 Jun 1902 –
6 Sep 1962)

Roland Lewis Findlay
(14 Jul 1903 –
= Barbara Joan Garrard

Laetitia Florence (Findlay) Munro-Lucas-Tooth1,  2
(1904 –
5 Jul 1978)

Elizabeth (Findlay) Speir
(1906 –

Peter Findlay
(1910 –
= Helen Brewer
‑2William Renny Findlay #3 Miss A H Sharman Kenneth William Findlay

Margaret (Margot) Alice Findlay
(ca 1918 –
20 Jul 2010)

another sister
‑2Edwyn Alfred Findlay
(27 Mar 1882 –

explosives engineer with Nobel factory at Ardeer, and later in Wales

"Cousin Eddie", great friend & offshore sailing companion of Robert Waddell (1883 –
Agnes (Nancy) Dods Jamieson
(b 17 Dec 1896)
(m 1920)
Agnes Marie Findlay
(b 6 Jul 1924)

Edna Dubery Dods Findlay
(19 Aug 1930 –
12 May 1988)
‑2Lt Dudley Vincent Findlay
(18 Aug 1885 –
10 Jul 1950)

dairy farmer

volunteer to Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1914, saw action in France
Ina Cameron
(21 Jun 18xx –
24 May 1842)
(m 1915)
‑2Eleanor Dixon Valentine (Val) Findlay
(Jan 1881 –
12 Apr 1960)
Elton(2) Gueritz
(1884 –
(m 17 Jul 1910)
John Elton Fortescue Gueritz
(8 May 1911 –

Lucy Valentine Gueritz
(12 Aug 1915 –

Eleanor Elton Gueritz
(7 Nov 1916 –

Edward (Teddy) Findlay Gueritz
(8 Sep 1919 –
21 Dec 2008)
‑2Jessie Frances Hannah Findlay
(3 Jun 1882 –
12 Jan 1974)
Robert Waddell
(4 Jul 1883 –
19 Jan 1952)
(m 20 Apr 1912, Seattle)
Walter Wardlaw (Bill, William) Waddell
(16 Feb 1913 –
11 Sep 1979)

Robert (Robin) Erskine Waddell
(23 Sep 1916 –
21 Sep 1938)

Alexander (Sandy) Wingate Waddell
(23 Mar 1919 –
6 May 2001)

Frances Hannah (Waddell) Maskell
(1 Apr 1920 –
27 Jul 2002)

Margaret Jane Valentine (Waddell) Renaud
(3 Oct 1921 –
11/2 Jul 2013)
‑1Sir John Edmund Ritchie Findlay
2nd Baronet of Aberlour
(14 Jun 1902 –
6 Sep 1962)

proprietor of The Scotsman
Margaret Jean Graham  
‑1Lt Col Sir Roland Lewis Findlay
3rd Baronet of Aberlour
(14 Jul 1903 –
28 Jul 1979)
Barbara Joan Garrard
(m 15 Dec 1927)
Jane Barbara Findlay
(25 Sep 1928 –
1 Sep 2009)
Marjory Mary Biddulph
(8 Jan 1915 –
8 Jun 1995)
(m 28 Oct 1964)

her second marriage
‑1Kenneth William Findlay

B Chem Eng
Inst Chem Eng
Inst Mech Eng
Inst Elec Eng
 Jennifer (Jen) Mary Findlay
‑1Margaret (Margot) Alice Findlay
(ca 1918 –
20 Jul 2010)

her marriages, and the provenance of her five children, are poorly documented
Leslie Everett Baynes
(23 Mar 1902 –
13 Mar 1989)

distinguished aeronautical engineer

(? aka Geoffrey Baynes)
(ca 1955)

left the household & divorced over period 1958 – 1966
Nigel Baynes

Amanda (Jane) Baynes-Panigal

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Tolmie

Susan (Susie) Baynes (?)
(d 29 Dec 2005)

Henrietta (Hetty) Sara Louise Baynes
(b 16 Aug 1956)
Mary Spencer Watson
(7 May 1913 –
7 Mar 2006)



in 1923 her parents George and Hilda Spencer Watson purchased Dounshay Manor as the family home
‑1Agnes Marie Findlay
(b 6 Jul 1924)

Tom Leadbetter Cottrell
(8 Jun 1923 –
2 Jun 1973)
(m 24 Feb 1950)


Professor of Chemistry and first Principal of University of Stirling
Allin Findlay Cottrell
(b 26 Jun 1953)
Professor of Economics, Wake Forest University

John Findlay Cottrell
(b 5 Aug 1956)
‑1Edna Dubery Dods Findlay
(19 Aug 1930 –
12 May 1988)
Robert Stuart Leishman
(b 20 May 19yy)
(m 23 Apr 1955)
Robert Stuart Findlay Leishman
(15 Jul 1956 –
3 Dec 1991)

Mhairi Dubery Leishman
(b 19 Dec 1959)

Rhona Ishbel Leishman
(b 28 Apr 1965)
0Jane Barbara Findlay
(25 Sep 1928 –
1 Sep 2009)
Sir David Anthony Thomas Fane, GCVO, DL
14th Baron Burghersh,
15th Earl of Westmorland
(31 Mar 1924 –
8 Sep 1993)
(m 20 Jun 1950)
Anthony David Francis Henry Fane,
15th Baron Burghersh
16th Earl of Westmorland

Hon Harry St Clair Fane
(b 19 Mar 1953)

Lady Camilla Diana Fane
(b 26 Dec 1957)
0Jennifer (Jen) Mary Findlay

geology BSc
(Guerin) Findlay Charles Guerin

M Mech Eng
Inst Mech Eng

Tamsyn Alice Guerin
0Henrietta (Hetty) Sara Louise Baynes1,  2,  3,  4
(b 16 Aug 1956)

actress, philosophy BA, god-daughter of Mary Spencer Watson$$

Henry Kenneth (Ken) Alfred Russell
(3 Jul 1927 –
27 Nov 2011)
(m 1992 –
1999; div)

third of his four marriages
(b 1993)


The Muirhead family seem to have been quite closely linked with William Renny Findlay #1 in several ways. I'll just mention one or two of them that have been brought to my attention, and further details can be found from the excellent webpages cited above (in the second of which I notice a handsome acknowledgement to Simon Potter, who has been an enormous help to me as regards our Little (and Martin) connections.

  • James Muirhead (22 Jun 1795 – 14 Jan 1871), jeweller, m Jane Smith (3 Sep 1799 – 3 Dec 1878) on 28 Jun 1824

  • John James Muirhead (6 Mar 1828 – 2Q 1899), goldsmith, their eldest son, m Isabella Robertson Fullarton (1832 – 18 Jun 1877) on 2 Nov 1852

  • James Fullarton Muirhead (b 25 Dec 1853 – 1934), their eldest son, & Findlay Muirhead (9 Mar 1860 – 1935), their youngest son, were journalists working in London, and were (in all probability) known to Charles Farquharson Findlay. As mentioned above, they founded the Blue Book tourist guides

As mentioned in the table, William Renny Findlay #1's wife Jessie Smith (1 Jun 1819 – 11 Oct 1883) was Jane Smith's sister, though younger by 20 years.

I believe the WRF #1 and James Muirhead households were adjacent, and two of the Findlay children were middle-named Muirhead, and one of the Muirhead children was first-named Findlay.

And a witness to signature of WRF #1 in the legal notice of 20 Jan 1857 cited above was John James Muirhead, described as jeweller – he was evidently now a partner in the family business.


When Mary Spencer Watson died leaving her £2m house, Dunshay Manor, to the Landmark Trust, a building preservation charity, in March 2006, her partner Margot Findlay Baynes (by now senile, but represented by her 3 children other than Hetty Baynes) and Margot's daughter Hetty each began litigation to try to secure money from the estate. The charity decided to contest these claims to protect the late Ms Spencer Watson's 'ardent desire' to preserve Dunshay intact as a memorial to her parents. On 14 Jul 2008 both claims were rejected by the High Court thus safeguarding the gift to the Landmark Trust, and on ca 11 May 2009 Hetty's appeal was dismissed.

You will inevitably notice that I haven't tabulated a great many of the branches of the Findlay tree that Sandy compiled so assiduously. It's not that I regard them as intrinsically less worthy of attention – it's just that I can't recollect ever hearing about them in my childhood or early adulthood, and so their names don't resonate with me. And also, there are virtually no internet resources from which I could bring more to their party – I could contribute no more colour and depth to the details that Sandy has already provided.

Missing Persons

An intriguing link just discovered is Robert Farquharson Findlay, born on 5 Jan 1860 in Angus (then Forfarshire) to Charles Findlay and Isabella Farquharson:

His paternal background can with a fair degree of trustworthiness be traced to one James Findlay (b ca 1793):

but whether the latter could be identified with perhaps an elder son of 'our' James Findlay (b 23 Dec 1771) – though an attractive tie-up, as my great grandfather Charles Farquharson Findlay (b 14 Aug 1853) was a contemporary of Robert Farquharson Findlay – is outwith my own ability to prove.

The Charlie Findlay Mystery

At some point in their early childhood, Val and Hannah Findlay were put into the care of their Aunt Jessie, known in the family as Dannie.

Whether this was before or after their father Charles Findlay's death in 1883 I don't yet know. But it was around that time that he was written-out of the family script, and ceased even to be mentioned within the Findlay family. He was treated as though he had never existed.

His wife Annie (Cosby) Findlay effectively dropped out of the story too. It is possible that she too may have died, in 1886, as public records suggest, but it was also averred by my Aunt Jane that my father Walter was taken to visit Annie in his early childhood some thirty years later. In fact it is now known that she lived on until 1920.

What dreadful thing had Charles Findlay committed, and why were his children so swiftly removed from Annie's care (despite the fact that she had at least three brothers and a sister who could have come to her support)?

These issues were first aired by my grandfather Robert, with the possibly reluctant acquiescence of Hannah, on learning about this dreadful conspiracy of silence, and thereby incurring the bitter hostility of Hannah's elder sister Val. But there the trail goes cold for another four generations. I only heard of it quite by chance a few months ago (mid 2012), and was immediately intrigued.

Maybe Charles Findlay was a bad 'un, but maybe he was the victim of character assassination, a not infrequent pastime within the families concerned.

Empowered by the internet, I've already let some daylight and fresh air into this entire scenario, but further progress remains to be made...

This was probably Jessie Smith Findlay, a natural aunt, or might possibly have been Jessie (Black) Findlay, married to Daniel Smith Findlay – hence perhaps the familiar Dannie – had these latter not emigrated instead to Australia (where Daniel went bankrupt) and thence hastily to Canada.

Highgate Cemetery


This (in addition to telling us where we can go to pay our respects) also implies that Annie Findlay was still in "in the frame" at the time of her husband's death, as she was making the arrangements for his inhumation. She was also planning ahead so that in the fullness of time she would be buried with him (as per the box below, no pun intended) – although, strictly speaking, the grave is dug "double depth" anyway, so that somebody else completely unrelated could be buried above the lower coffin when the original 100 year lease has expired.

Graves have to be dug to a sufficient depth to allow for future burials to take place. Therefore the grave needs to be deep enough to allow not only for the depth of coffins/caskets that will be buried but also to accommodate the legal requirements of undisturbed earth to be between each coffin and the amount of earth that must cover the last interment. In some older parts of our cemeteries graves used to be dug to 9 foot and even to 12 foot depth. Nowadays the deepest graves are dug to 6-7 foot depth to allow a second burial at a later date at the 4-5 foot depth. The actual plot size of a full size grave is 8-foot by 4-foot although this is not the size of the grave that is dug. The standard grave size that is actually excavated is 7' 2" by 32" in a coffin shape. This size will always be dug unless it is a child's grave which will be 4' by 24" by 4 foot deep or we are made aware of any dimensions that exceed the standard size.

Anyway, she did want to be buried with him, and she was – so much for all the stuff about her having deserted him. BTW, the dates given in the letter are of burial rather than death.

Some time in the new year (2015), if anno domini doesn't get me first, I shall go and visit Chas. and Annie and hopefully return with a nice photograph of their plot.