Most likely Orcadians

Of the 8 Orcadians names in the Pandora’s muster, some are ‘more likely’ on historical / archaeological grounds to be Tom, Dick or Harry:

  •  Houston survived the voyage so he can immediately be eliminated;
  •  Murray and Scott died during other voyage events, so they are also ruled out;
  •  Croy, Eglington, Fea, Mackey and Miller are left as the primary candidates among the Orcadians who were part of the crew and died during the wreck;
  • Stewart (a prisoner, not-Pandora crew, not mentioned in the muster) should not be forgotten nor eliminated as he too died during the wrecking – but on historical and archaeological grounds it can be argued that it is less likely that he is one of T D or H because eyewitness accounts put him ‘in the water’ before the Pandora sank – i.e. he jumped off the ship and drowned after being hit on the head by a gangway that smashed down on him while he was swimming away from the sinking ship. Therefore it is likely that he ‘floated or drifted away’ to be consumed by the denizens of the deep (so to speak) whereas T D & H were found within the confines of the wreck remains.

Indeed I have always argued that two of the skeletons (Tom & Dick) were most probably the 2 men who –surgeon Hamilton says- died during accidents on board while the crew were trying to keep afloat the ship. They would probably have been taken below to be ‘buried at sea’ after the crew had saved the ship AND they may even have been sown into makeshift ‘body bags’ which would have protected the bodies somewhat; at least kept the bones together.

Harry’s location within the wreck makes him more of “a mystery” – although of course a hypothetical scenario can be posited to account for his apparent whereabouts (in the officers’ store) during the wrecking    (‘Harry the thief or Harry the confused, scared sailor’ or Harry the first casualty’)



William Miller of Buckland parish, Eday

A sheet inserted in the Pandora’s pay book (Adm 35/1360)

The Pandora‘s James Miller was likely from Eday; in 1793 his brother (or was it his father, uncle or cousin?) William was paid out more than five pounds of James’ ‘neat wages’.

Any Miller genealogists out there with a late 18th C William Miller from Buckland parish (Eday, Orkney) in their family tree? I would appreciate hearing from you.

NB: Buckland = Backaland ?



Richard Mackey (Mackie?)

Assuming this is the man who served in the Pandora, it seems this Richard Mackey (baptised in Stronsay 1765) only had one sibling: Margaret.  If that is the case, then a brick-wall of some description has appeared here. Unless his father Peter remarried and had sons (‘half brothers’) with another woman.  Any other suggestions anyone?

OPR print-out from Scotland’s People

Thanks to Brisbane-based family history researcher Lynda Hodgkinson for this detail; she sent it to me quite a while ago.


Davidson re Miller/Millar


Some correspondence below with Kay Davidson on 29 Mar last. re Miller/Millar.

I’m now inclined to think the Pandora’s James Miller/Millar may be the fourth listed as this James’ father was William Miller – to whom the Admiralty paid James Miller’s “neat wages” in 1792 (Adm 35/1360)  “Neat” wages were the nett wages owed to a sailor who had been “discharged dead” during a voyage – i.e. after deductions had been made for  purchases of goods he had made or for services he had received – e.g. clothing and bedding (“slops”) tobacco or VD treatments.  Noted in the ship’s “pay book”.

>>>>>>…… “Hi Peter
I thought I would send you the following as I think it may provide a possible match for James Miller from Orkney. There are four possibles on this list but the second one seems the most likely. The information you sent me says that James Miller was 21 when he was recruited. If the second James Miller was christened one or even two and a half months after he was born then he would still have been 21 when he was recruited on September 8th 1790.
The first and third James Millers would have been 22 and the fourth one is a Millar with ‘a’.This information comes from
I was redirected to this site while searching on the IGI index.
I forgot to say that I think it’s unlikely that George Eglington will turn out to be Orcadian. The name sounds very English and I couldn’t find any Orkney births of that name at all.
Best wishes,
James Miller

Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950
parents: Alexr. Miller, Ann Brough
James Miller

Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950
christening: 20 Nov 1768 HOLM AND PAPLAY,ORKNEY,SCOTLAND
parents: John Miller, Helen Bewes
James Miller

Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950
parents: John Miller, Katharine Yorston
James Millar

Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950
parents: William Millar, Margaret Reid


“Hi Kay
Thx for the details re Miller (Millar?)
I think you’re probably right abt Eglington – But if I remember correctly from my notes, there was one b in Caithness!  I’ll have to check – moreover it shows that just because someone was recruited in the Orkneys, doesn’t necessarily mean he was b. there;  seafaring men were notoriously mobile and stopped somewhere for a while after arriving there upon a previous voyage
The Miller/Millar example is a good illustration of how complicated this research will be – I guess it shows that we will have to be exact about the ages found in the sources – makes you wonder whether someone who was 1 month or a few weeks shy of his 21st b/day when recruited would have given 21 instead of 20!  also it shows that having more information to hand will help deciding which is whic – e.g. the 4 Rbt Bowlers I found could be narrowed down because i had reliable source material saying he had a sister called Theodosia!
It’s all grist for the mill!……” >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Stewart research

A Robert A. Clapperton Stewart (a major in the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders) was photographed in uniform in 1915. Doug Allan sent me a copy along with some details about the Stewart connection with the Massater estate on South Ronaldsay. It is not yet clear to me how (if at all) Major Clapperton Stewart ‘fits in’ with Geo Stewart’s family.  His grandfather or great grandfather may be one of George Stewart’s nephews, descending from George’s brother Walter ? Alternatively there is a distant connection through one of George’s sisters who jointly inherited the estate ca. 1814 following the death, ‘without issue’ of  George’s brother Robert Stewart.

Major R.A. Clapperton-Stewart

I have found a reference to an article about the Stewarts of Massater written in 1912 by one  R A C S (= Major R.A. Clapperton S.) and published by the Viking Society for Northern Research in volume 6 of Old-Lore miscellany of Orkney, Shetland,Caithness and Sutherland.  The article details the various generations of Stewarts who lived in Massater, including the Bounty’s George Stewart. The major’s article throws some interesting light on George’s family and mentions a naval sword that might have belonged to George Stewart and calls him matter-of-factly , ”the lieutenant RN, one of the Bounty mutineers”.  

There also apparently was (is still?) a portrait of George’s brother Robert Stewart  (who died in 1813) once belonging to A.Francis Stewart, bequeathed to him ca. 1880 by Grace Turnbull-Stewart, second cousin to George’s sister Mary Stewart of Masseter (b:1780 Stromness)

Mary Stewart,  to whom Massater was bequeathed when Robert Stewart died in 1813.  Mary Stewart married the Rev John Barrie- they lived at Massater with several of Mary’s spinster sisters until the estate was inherited upon their deaths during the 1880s by Grace Turnbull-Stewart.   The estate was divided during the 1890s and eventually sold to the Keillor family.


re: Croy

Cathleen Spence (OFHS) put me touch with Heather Croy whose husband Jim descends from a Robert Croy and Mary Brock who were married in Stronsay ca. 1755.

This Robert Croy was however not the same man as a contemporary Robert Croy –also on Stronsay- who was the Pandora’s William Croy’s father Robert, married to a Margaret Chalmers.  Possibly however, these 2 Roberts Croy were 1st cousins, with a common paternal grandfather.

Heather Croy subsequently advised me that her genealogy of her husband James Croy’s ancestors went back as far as Robert Croy and Mary Brock; her e-mail dd. 23 Sept said she was

‘able to trace a direct line from my husband to Robert Croy / Mary Brock – but it is through Jean Croy, a daughter of Magnus (son of Robert & Mary) But: Jean Croy (daughter of Magnus) married James Croy. I have some evidence to suggest that James is possibly a son of Robert Croy (your William’s brother). So my husband may have a direct male line if James is a son of Robert Croy jnr.’

A later email from Heather said that there was also  ‘evidence to suggest that the same William’s brother Robert also had a son called William who married Margaret Croy (Jean’s Sister) and emigrated to Australia with their family. They emigrated in 1851 on the Oregon to Adelaide. If this correct then brother and sister married brother and sister. There were at least 6 Croy families in Stronsay + Sanday and mainland Orkney at that time with families and a lot of Roberts! but not so many Williams. Using the Christian names is a good indicator of which belong together’ 

Confused? …..errr yeah a tad!  Especially as there appear to be several generations discussed in Heather’s mail. Even so, it strikes me that if the James Croy who married Jean Croy is indeed Pandora-William’s nephew, then Heather’s Jim Croy should have the same Y chromosome DNA.

HMS David’s muster book 1790 (Adm 36/11085)

The vessel was called a “tender”. The book contains weekly muster tables (25 May – 30 Aug 1790) taken on board while ‘at sea’ or in Montrose,  Leith, Peterhead and Kirkwall Roads. She had a crew of 14 and initially carried a (press) “gang” of 4 under command of a Lt John Yetts; the sailing master was Joseph Wilson.

By the time recruiting began in Kirkwall Roads, Yetts’ “gang” numbered 10 supernumaries (“borne for wages and victuals”)  First Orcadians to be recruited were William and John Gaddie (entered on 28th  July under nos 116 and 117)  All men entered under nos 118 -140 were from Orkney; they included George Eglington (#132)  and Hugh Houston(#135)  Men entered under nos 141-143 were not from Orkney.

More Orcadians were recruited under nos 144-160 and 162 -188, including Richard Mackie, Robert Fea, James Scott, James Miller, Wm Cray and James Murray. Most men were entered as being recruited in Kirkwall Roads although several are annotated as having been “entered at Stromness by Lt Yetts”

Yetts and Wilson’s signatures under the last muster dd 31 Aug 1790

68 Orcadians were “pressed” during this period. They were taken south to The Nore, off Sheerness in September where 8 of them were subsequently assigned to the Pandora. The others were distributed to other warships being manned at The Nore.

Another Orcadian, called James Sibasteen,  was initially also assigned to the Pandora but was ‘discharged’ by Admiral Rodham’s order – probably because he was able to show he had “protected employment” status.  Sibasteen wasn’t the only Orcadian recruit to be ordered out. A John Corrigle was discharged from the David on 24th  August with the annotation “insane” against his name.

The ‘other’ Orcadians

There are also the Pandora’s 2 Orcadians who died during other voyage events and were also “discharged dead”: James Murray (21) who died of illness on the way home after the wreck and James Scott (19) who was posted as missing (assumed dead)  with 4 other men before the wreck. Clearly neither could  be Tom, Dick or Harry!

And, although he survived the voyage and therefore cannot be either, Hugh Houston is also of interest, as I am wondering whether he can be traced historically and whether his name was also misspelled by the Pandora’s clerk? Was his name Hourston, instead of Houston?

More importantly, is there a memory in Orkney of his account of the Pandora’s last voyage? Howie Firth recalls speaking to someone in Orkney (an ‘old timer’) decades ago who apparently referred to a whisper (‘rumour?’)  about George Stewart that was significantly different from one that has gained general currency. Unfortunately Howie did not pursue the source;  regretably the ‘old timer’ has since passed away.


Hugh Houston

Hugh Houston – 33 years old, from Orkney; recruited in Kirkwall Roads on 17th August 1790 and assigned to the Pandora as an able seaman on 8th September 1790. He was the only man of the 8 Orcadian recruits among the Pandora’s crew to survive the voyage.

He left Batavia  with the group of survivors under 3rd Lt Thomas Hayward’s command in VOC ship Hoornweg. It is assumed he eventually made his way home -via Holland or Zeeland- to Orkney where he would have told family and friends about his South Pacific adventures in the Pandora; and also perhaps have passed on messages and given a first-hand account to the Stewarts about George Stewart’s final months.

Edward & Robert Croy

There’s good (IGI) evidence that Wm. Croy had two brothers (Edward & Robert) …. very encouraging actually.  But Lynda Hodgkinson’s research -she’s the SLQ’s resident Orkney genealogy ‘oracle’ b t w- indicated to me in a flurry of emails from Lynda that neither brother appears to have been married….ergo no lawful offfspring (which would have been recorded)

Is this going to be a brick wall?