The Leith Ratchfords

Jan Stewart contacted the Richford one-name website with information about her Scottish Ratchford ancestors.

"I have Scottish Ratchford ancestors in the early 1700s and so far have been at a loss to figure out where on earth they have come from. I assumed that it must be an English name and that they had come to Scotland from England, or failing that, that Ratchford was a miss-spelling of Rutherford. There certainly don't seem to have been very many of them, but I hope that this is of some interest to you."

Jan's Ratchford ancestors lived in Leith, near Edinburgh, in the early 1700s. Hugh Ratchford was an "indweller" in South Leith who worked in the "Glassworks" and was probably a glass founder. He married Margaret Hendry and they had three daughters: Margaret (b1748), Rebecka (b1751) and Agnes or Ann (date of birth not known). In 1761 Hugh married again to Jean Jones, previously Tod. The marriage was conducted by the Rev. Charles Smith, Plaisans, and Hugh and Jean were both described as "residenters in Leith".

Hugh's daughter Agnes/Ann Ratchford married William Flaas, a sailor from Rousay in Orkney, in South Leith in 1763. The wedding was again conducted by the Rev. Charles Smith of Pleasance. William and Agnes had four children: Jean (b1765), William and Frances (twins, b1767) and Hugh (b1769).

As Hugh and Margaret had no known sons, the Ratchford name was not passed on. This early occurance of the Ratchford name in Scotland is therefore not connected with any modern-day Ratchfords. While the one-name survey is beginning to show that Richford, Rochford and Ratchford names are very similar, and sometimes interchangeable, there appear to be several distinct separate historical sources. Jan's Ratchford family has provided a new chapter to the Scottish story.

The information about the Leith Ratchford Family was contributed by Jan Stewart, a direct descendent of Hugh Ratchford. Jan's grandmother was Sarah Cumming, b1883 in Glasgow. Sarah's mother was Helen Agnew, b1856 in Glasgow. Helen's mother was Sarah Young, b1820 in Ireland. Sarah's mother was Francis Dow, b1803 in South Leith. Francis' mother was Frances Flaas, b1767 in South Leith. Frances' mother was Agnes/Ann Ratchford, daughter of Hugh Ratchford.

If you have any further information about Scottish Ratchfords please contact Douglas MacGregor who is looking after the Scottish connection for the Richford one-name Study.