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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree April 2019 > Our indomitable Katie

Our indomitable Katie

Most people delving into their family history hope to find an ancestor who was rich or famous. But there are many ordinary folk who had extra-ordinary lives and one of these was Janet Traill’s husband’s greatgrandmother, Catherine Russell Potter, known as Katie


Katie was born on 14 July 1853 to Catherine and Thomas Lawrie, who lived in the village of Bellsquarry, Midlothian. Thomas was a railway worker and they had four other children.

In 1855, Thomas’s sister Agnes and her husband immigrated to Canada, drawn by promises of good prospects in a country that was encouraging new settlers. It would appear they were not disappointed, as it wasn’t long before letters arrived, urging Thomas and Catherine to join them. After much discussion, they decided to go – railroads were in their infancy in the Montreal area and probably Thomas hoped to get work there.

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About Family Tree

Do you know what your surname means and where it's come from? You don't? You've come to the right place. With the April issue of Family Tree we've got a cracking 32 guide to help you learn about your family names. From surname super-sleuth organisation the Guild of One-Name Studies, it's packed with advice to research your family surnames - wherever in the world they come from... Plus - inside the mag - we've got 10 top family history projects to help you organise your research, university research into our ancient 10,000 year old ancestor (he's the great-grandpa of us all) and the tale of an orphan, disinherited and banished into slavery - and his 30 year fight to regain what was rightfully his!