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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
died in New York in 1881. His body was returned to Scotland and was buried
Royal Chapel, Holyrood, Edinburgh, Scotland. He was succeeded by his son
Philips Alexander who became the 53rd Earl of Caithness (15th of the
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
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
at the material time. It is inconceivable that they didn't know of each
True, Francis is not an uncommon name with the Sinclairs. We find it in
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
'advertised' in Scottish and English newspapers but that Francis Sinclair
to take up the title because he had no children and, having inspected
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
into life in New Zealand at the end of the 19th Century when there were
1,000 Sinclair residents out of a total population of 650,000 Europeans
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