The George Alexander Ewen/Mary Laing Reid family

All information from


  • Mary Jane Ewing (Grandpa Ewing’s mother) was the eldest child of George Ewen/Mary Laing Reid
  • Grandpa Ewing (John Chisholme Ewing) lived with his grandparents as a child in a large family with many ‘siblings’ - uncles and aunts
  • Grandpa Ewing had a half brother (James High) and a stepfather (also called James High)
  • Grandpa Ewing’s father’s name is not recorded on the register of his birth

Ewing vs Ewen

  • On birth, death, marriage records, the family’s names are listed as ‘Ewen’ but appears on later documents and census as ‘Ewing’. ‘Ewing’ is actually an anglized form of ‘Ewen’.
  • A bit of history on the Ewing name from the internet: ‘The name was originally MacEwen, and originated about 1400 in Argyllshire, in Cowal. The members of the clan about 1500-1600 took refuge in the adjacent Lowlands district of the Lennox, which includes Dumbarton and the greater part of Stirling. Here many lost the mac, and others Anglicized the Ewen to Ewing’

George Ewen and Mary Laing Ewen (Grandpa Ewing’s grandparents)

  • George Alexander Ewen (born ~1854) was the son of John Ewen (a granite quarrier) and Jane Copland (married 28 May 1848 in Monymusk)
  • Mary Laing Reid (born 14 Aug 1857) was the daughter of Mary Reid (afterwards married to Robert Bruce, 19 Jan 1859 at Chapel of Garioch). (In the census of 1861, 3 year old Mary Laing Reid is living with her grandparents Alexander Reid and Mary Laing at Overton of Fetternear). In 1861 Alexander Reid is a farmer, farming 200 acres, and previously at the 1851 census he was a farmer, farming 136 acres at Overton, and employing 7 men.
  • George and Mary were married on the 21st November 1875 at the Parish Church in Chapel of Garioch. At that time, George’s occupation is listed as a farm servant and he was living at Wardfold, Chapel of Garioch and Mary was living at Overton of Fetternear, Chapel of Garioch and working as a domestic servant.
  • George and Mary had 12 children, of whom 9 were alive as of 1911 (from 1911 census)
  • George died in 1929
  • Mary died on October 29th 1918, 12 days after her son, William Reid Ewing was killed in WWI, in what must have been a very difficult time for the family.

Places and timeline

Over several generations, the family lived and worked in an area of Aberdeenshire approximately 15 miles NW of Aberdeen and within a 20 mile radius of Inverurie / Kintore.

aberdeenshire map

  • Overton of Fetternear, Chapel of Garioch
    • Grandpa Ewing’s great-great grandparents (Alexander Reid and Mary Laing) farmed 200 acres in Overton of Fetternear in 1850s-1860s. Many marriages (for example George Ewen and Mary Laing Ewen) were in the parish church at Chapel of Garioch
  • Blaikie Village, Tullynessle
    • Grandpa Ewing was born in Blaikie Village (no longer exists, but can be found on older maps)

Blaikie Village

  • Crookmore, Tullynessle
    • The family was living at Crookmore, Tullynessle at the time of the 1891 census
  • Manar, Inverurie
    • The family was living at Braeside Cottage, Manar at the time of the 1901 census
  • Kintore
    • The family was living in Kintore at the time of the 1911 census. When Mary Laing Ewen passed away in 1918, they were still in Kintore. Also, the WWI war memorial to the Gordon Highlanders lists William Reid Ewing (who died in 1918).
  • Inverurie
    • George Ewen was living in Inverurie towards the end of his life, up until he died in 1929.

George Ewen and Mary Laing Ewen’s children

  • Mary Jane Ewing was born on Jan 13 1876 and was the mother of John Chisholme Ewing (Grandpa Ewing)

  • Alexander Ewing (b. ~1878)

  • John Reid Ewen (born June 15 1879, but died August 20 1879 as a baby from bronchitis [not on census]

  • Eleanor B. Ewing was born on July 13 1881 at Overton of Fetternear

  • George Ewing (b. ~1884)

  • Margaret Swanson Ewing was born on July 26 1885 at Crookmore, Tullynessle
  • Alexandra Bruce Ewing (b. ~1890)

  • William Reid Ewing (b. ~1892). William Reid Ewing died aged 26 in 1918 as a soldier and is commemorated in the Commonwealth War Graves archives here. His name is also listed on the Kintore memorial (picture here) . There’s also some interesting records from the Commonwealth War Graves archives listing “Mrs J. High” as the correspondent (his elder sister, Mary Jane Ewen).

  • Isabella Singer Ewing was born on Nov 3 1893 at Crookmore, Tullynessle

  • Louisa Ewing was born on May 20 1895 at Crookmore, Tullynessle

  • Christina Hay Ewing and James High Ewing were the youngest children (twins) of Mary and George and were born in 1899 at Braeside Cottage, Manar, Inverurie. James High Ewing unfortunately died in 1909 at aged 10. Christina Hay Ewing married in 1918. James High (Christina’s brother in-law) is a also witness, perhaps poignantly given the loss of her twin brother James High Ewing).

Mary Jane Ewing and John Chisholme Ewing (Grandpa Ewing)

  • Grandpa Ewing was born 21 July 1895 in ‘Blaikie’s Village’, Tullynessle in Aberdeenshire.
  • Blaikie Village is not present on modern maps but is present on early 20th Century and earlier ones. Blaikie Village is also listed as Mary Jane’s usual residence at her marriage in 1897
  • Grandpa Ewing is listed on the 1901 census as a (5 year old) Grandson - living with his grandparents, and all of his (effectively) aunts and uncles. He does not appear on the 1911 census (when he would have been 15/16, and presumably had left home by then). In the 1901 census, Mary Jane does not live with her son (Grandpa Ewing) or the family, since she married James High in 1897. Mary Jane Ewing/James High had a son, also called James High (born October 19th 1897 in Kintore) - and therefore was a half-brother of Grandpa Ewing. (No census found for Mary Jane Ewing/James High for 1901).
  • Mary Jane Ewing and James High lived at Townend, Kintore (up until ~1920) then afterwards at the Anchorage in the village of Sauchen
  • Grandpa Ewing married Grandma Ewing (Ann Grant Mackay Sutherland) on 9 January, 1925, with Robert Sutherland and Barbara Sutherland (Grandma’s brother and sister) as witnesses. At the time, Grandpa Ewing was working as a waiter and Grandma Ewing as a children’s nurse. Grandpa Ewing lived in Edinburgh (82 Dumbiedykes Road) and Grandma Ewing in Glasgow (16 Glasgow Street).

Family names

  • George Ewen and Mary Laing Reid gave their children middle names (Swanson, Singer, Hay, High, Bruce, Reid) that are clearly surnames. Some of these are family names (Reid, Bruce) but wonder who the others are named after. George Ewen’s mother’s maiden name was Copland. Also Grandpa Ewing’s middle name was Chisholme.
  • In George’s family, the children are: John, Jane, Louisa, George, Mary, Christina.

Census information

1881 census (4 family members):

2, Woodside Cottage, Chapel of Garrioch

1891 census (7 family members):

16, Crookmore, Tullynessle

1901 census (10 family members):

17, Braeside Cottage, Manar, Inverurie

1911 census (3 family members):

56, Townhead, Kintore