My Scottish Grandmother… Marie


Ah, Marie … whatever must you have thought watching your Ozzie Grandchildren delighting in the knowledge, and exotica, of having a Scottish Grandmother and also a Scottish Grandfather? …but this is your story Marie not Harry’s. His can wait for another time.


I have no memory of dad ever talking about his mother, Marie Ogilvie, except for one occasion. I was growing into adulthood; he looked across the table and said quietly,

“You look like my mother, Catherine”

Sadly, during a time of great distress, Harry Scarborough Crout destroyed his mother’s photos. The thought crosses my mind that he may not have known much at all about his mother being only sixteen, and little more than a child, when he left her and his homeland to go adventuring in this wide, brown land.

However, dad was very clear about his mum’s nationality – Scottish – no doubt about it.  He spoke about her two red headed rather wild Scottish brothers and how they liked their whiskey. We marvelled as he described how one brother, in a drunken rage, took his dagger and slashed his girlfriend’s name from his arm after she betrayed him.  The creepy story, he loved to tell, about someone being walled up in a Scottish castle to die, had we four children shivering in our shoes. Whether these tales were fantasy or fact I do not know but we delighted in the drama and identified even more with our Scottish Grandmother, Marie.

Firmly imprinted in my memory dad’s pleasure in banging out Scottish tunes on the piano and the piano accordion …

“Cock-a-doodle, cock-a-doodle, I’m the Cock of the North”

comes readily to mind. He also delighted in “Deoch and Doris”…

“If ye can say, it’s a braugh bricht moonlicht nicht t’ nicht, then yer a’richt ye ken.”

Over the years, many sought our Grandmother’s Scottish birthplace and soon came to realise there are a huge number of Ogilvies in Scotland!!! At one time we thought it likely she was one of the border Ogilvies, and an ancestor of the famed balladist /poet Will Ogilvie. Although revelling in that romantic notion, persistence finally revealed the truth.

Unforgettable is the day my paternal grandparent’s Marriage Certificate finally arrived. Following the paper trail, it soon became clear that my “Scottish Grandmother” was born in 1880 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England the third child of Emma Chadwick and James Ogilvie and younger sister to Christina and John. Brother James was born in 1882, followed closely by sisters Lucy, Jennie and Maggie. The 1881 Census gives the family’s address as 27 Roxburg Street, Hunslet, Leeds and most likely Marie was born at home – so, not Scottish at all.

However, all is not lost for Marie’s dad, James Ogilvie, certainly was Scottish. James was born in 1854 in Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland, the second son of Christina McKenzie and John Ogilvie.  It seems that Marie may have been close to her father and identified with her cultural heritage through his Scottish Nationality. She was named Mary Emma but used the Scottish form, Marie, throughout her life. Most probably this would have been the version her father used and maybe her mother.

Two more children, Margaret Anne and Jean, were born to Christina and John, in Elgin. Their father died at home, 49 High Street, on 8 May 1858 when Jean was just a baby, leaving Christina to rear their family alone during very difficult times. 

James’ older brother, Alexander, moved to London shortly after their father’s death where he settled and raised his family.  James moved to Leeds, after 1871, marrying Emma Chadwick in the Leeds Registry Office on 18 May 1875.  He worked as a Currier and Leather Dresser all of his life, raising his family and dying in Leeds, Yorkshire England late in 1908 at the age of 54.  Margaret and Jean stayed with their mother in Elgin, Scotland.

Well, my Grandmother Marie wasn’t Scottish, after all, but she sure came from a long line of Scottish Highlanders.  Her dad and granddad were both born in Elgin and grandmother, Christina McKenzie, hailed from Drumnadrochet a little village close to Loch Ness.

Time and again we find that our beloved family stories may be out of kilter by a generation, or two, but a grain of truth often remains. 

Born an Englishwoman, Marie (Mary Emma) Ogilvie was a true Scot at heart … I believe.


(c) Copyright 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. Seeking Susan~Meeting Marie~Finding Family

5 thoughts on “My Scottish Grandmother… Marie

  1. How wonderful to know the truth of our Scottish heritage and to know that the facts are here for us all to refer to, whenever we want to – thanks Mum! x

  2. Pingback: Ee – is for Elgin, Scotland | Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

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