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Sinclairs in New Zealand

In my papers I have come across an article written by a descendant of 
Captain Francis Sinclair
The author's great grandmother was Elizabeth McHutchesonSinclair who 
married Captain  Francis Sinclair.

There is also a short piece about Captain Thomas Gay who married a Jane 
Sinclair by whom
he had five children: George, Francis, Elizabeth, Charles and Alice - all 
born in New Zealand
with the exception of Alice who was born in Ni'ihau.

By a previous marriage Captain Gay had  two sons:  James and Thomas.

Captain Francis Sinclair lived at "The Pines" on Mount Eden in 
Auckland.  He believed
he was next of kin to the Earl of Caithness who died in 1883 but, as no 
Earl of Caithness
died in that year, he must have got his facts wrong.  James II,  52nd Earl 
of Caithness
died in New York in 1881.  His body was returned to Scotland and was buried 
in the
Royal Chapel, Holyrood, Edinburgh, Scotland.  He was succeeded by his son 
Philips Alexander who became the 53rd Earl of Caithness (15th of the 
Sinclair line)
On his death in 1889 the Earldom passed to the Durran Branch of the family.

 From "The St Clairs of the Isles" which was written in Auckland and 
published there
in 1898 by Roland St Clair, he makes no mention of any Francis Sinclair 
with a legitimate
claim to the Earldom of Caithness and he and Captain Sinclair were resident 
in Auckland
at the material time.  It is inconceivable that they didn't know of each 
other's existence.

True, Francis is not an uncommon name with the Sinclairs.  We find it in 
the family
tree of the Sinclairs of Brabsterdorran and of the Sinclairs of Stirkoke 
but neither of
those branches ever held the Earldom of Caithness.

In the article under discussion, it is stated that the 'position' of the 
Earldom was
'advertised' in Scottish and English newspapers but that Francis Sinclair 
decided not
to take up the title because he had no children and, having inspected 
Estates in
Aberdeenshire and the ruined Castle of Dunbeath ,  he believed he was 
better off in New Zealand - which may well have been true at the time.  His 
claim, however, would seem
to be without foundation.  Captain Francis Sinclair, like many other 
Sinclairs, had had
a distinguished career in the Royal Navy.

If any Sinclair in NZ would like a copy of the article of 8 pages they 
should let me
  have their full postal address, I'll put it in the post for them.  It may 
not be accurate
in regard to Francis Sinclair's claim to the Earldom but it gives us a 
wonderful insight
into life in New Zealand at the end of the 19th Century when there were 
already over
1,000 Sinclair residents out of a total population of 650,000 Europeans 
with 50,000
indigenous Maori.

Niven Sinclair

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