Scarborough man solves Broch girl mystery

Grave of mystery fisher girl Margaret Jane.
Grave of mystery fisher girl Margaret Jane.
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A Scarborough man who has spent months investigating the story of a mystery fisher girl from Fraserburgh has concluded his research.

Charles Braithwaite contacted the Herald last year in an attempt to find out more about the ancestry of a Fraserburgh girl named Margaret Jane.

Charles’ research was still underway when we first published an appeal in the November 7 edition of the Herald last year.

It was during a visit to the grave site of Margaret Jane, in Scarborough, that Charles was moved to find out more about the tragic circumstances of the girl’s death.

Part of the girl’s memorial plaque reads: “In memory of Margaret Jane Thomson.

“A fisher girl from Fraserburgh. Died Sept. 30th 1910 Aged 21 years.

“Possibly came down with the herring fleet”.

As a result of an appeal in Charles’ own local newspaper, he was contacted separately by two local men who had taken a keen interest in the account.

One of the men was an experienced genealogist and the other a maritime historian, and each had researched a different sources of family history in the Scottish records.

Thanks to their help, Charles felt able to complete the background to Margaret Jane’s family history as far as will ever be possible.

Charles’ interpretation is that Margaret Jane was born in Fraserburgh on June 4, 1888, to Isabella Thomson (aged 32). Unfortunately, there is no record of Margaret Jane’s father’s name.

Isabella had three brothers and three sisters, one of whom, Maggie Jane, was married to a George Cardno of 49 College Bounds, Fraserburgh.

It was George Cardno, who was a fish buyer and Margaret Jane’s uncle, who paid for her funeral.

Commenting on his research, Charles said: “There is no record of any other chidren to Isabella and, remarkably, she lived until the age of 84, having died in 1941.

“Since it seems probable that there would be offspring to Isabella’s brothers and sisters (uncles and aunties to Margaret Jane), I wonder if, in the light of the this further disclosure, there is any possibility of any contact with descendants however distant.”

If you have any further details which can add to Charles’ research, please contact us via email at and the Fraserburgh Herald will forward those details to Charles.