‘Cochrane and Lyle – Scotland to Tasmania’ has now been published via Blurb. It covers my paternal grandfather’s line descended from Thomas Cochrane and Ann Kerr of Paisley, Scotland, who married on 16 April 1756. Several of their descendants settled in Tasmania.
The main family surnames are Johnston, Huxtable, Curtis and Baker. The early Johnstons will be getting their own family history book in due course.
Some sections of the Cochrane-Lyle book have already been published on this website – eg John Lyle of the 91st, the Tasmanian Pioneers, Sailor Boy and the Five Margarets.
Here is the introduction to the Cochrane-Lyle book:
When I started doing family history in about 1997, I knew very little about my Scottish antecedents, not even where they came from in Scotland. I thought the Johnstons would be a nice easy family to start work with, there didn’t seem to be many of them (!). I knew that my paternal grandfather had been born in Tasmania, so I started with the Tasmanian Archives and immediately struck trouble – I was fairly certain that granddad had a sister named Margaret and a brother named Charles, but the Tasmanian archives showed he had a brother named George, of whom I had never heard, and they did not have a record of a Charles! At first I thought George must have been renamed Charles …. but as this history will show, there was a Charles born in Scotland, and a George born soon after the family arrived in Tasmania; his tragic story must have been hushed up in the Edwardian manner as I’m reasonably certain my father never knew about his Uncle George.
From my childhood I’d been intrigued by my father’s middle name of Lyle. I knew granddad had a few very old books with the signature ‘T. Lyle’ but who was he? As the story gradually unfolded I began to regret more and more that my father had died before I could tell him of all my discoveries. How he would have loved them. He said more than once that his father had been a very private man and never talked about himself.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet I was eventually able to track down the family of Charles Johnston in Australia and to my great joy discovered they had a huge treasure box full of Thomas Lyle’s books, the Cochrane bible, and various other treasures including a series of letters which George Johnston wrote home from all over the world.
The internet also meant that one day out of the blue I received an email from Tina C. asking if my great grandma was her great grandma’s sister. Until that moment I had not considered that any other Lyles had emigrated to Tasmania. The family suddenly expanded! Since then I have “met” Tina’s sister Pippa on-line and we have exchanged much information. Even better, one of the Curtis relations had inherited two priceless miniatures of “a Glasgow surgeon and his wife” – surely Thomas and Margaret!
I’ve also met a number of Huxtable descendants, both in person and on-line, who have helped fill in some of the Johnston story.
Other descendants of our early Scottish Cochranes and Lyles have proved more elusive. A few such as the Hillhouses have been found by DNA matching. No relatives have been found in the USA so far.
As with many other families, early spelling of the surname varied. Relatively few people knew how to read and write and spelling was at the whim – and the ear – of the clerk or minister recording the details. Even Dr. Thomas Lyle used both Cochran and Cochrane. I have stayed with the generic Cochrane apart from the earliest entries.