Volume 9, October 2000
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Terry Meinke…..............…………..……..….Managing Editor
Tim Coulthart...............................…….…..……....…....Editor
Ian Coulthart.............….......................…...…....……....Editor

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The success of Clan Coulthart will depend upon your contributions. The editors need your support. Please submit family histories, biographies, announcements, questions and suggestions for improvement to the managing editor at the address listed below or send E-mail to meinket@yahoo.com. Be sure to include your name, address and phone number so we can contact you if there is a question. Also feel free to include photographs with your stories. All photos will be returned after they are scanned. The editors will select which items to include in each edition of Clan Coulthart.

Terry Meinke
Managing Editor - Clan Coulthart
1004 Ridgewood Lane
Palatine, IL 60067 U.S.A.
(847) 359-4320

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The deadline for receiving information to be included in the January 2001 edition of Clan Coulthart is December 31, 2000.


All editions of Clan Coulthart are available on the Internet at www.coulthart.com/newsletter.html

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The past two months have been a very exciting time for me. In August I spent two weeks in Yorkshire, England and Northern Wales visiting the places from which our ancestors came. Then out of the blue, I received an email message the other day from a second cousin I had never met. After several years of research, I had just about given up on ever locating anyone from that side of the family.

I had searched in vain for the descendants of my great-grandmothers brothers. All three brothers had changed the family surname from Coulthart to Coulter and I wanted to know why. At one point I considered writing or telephoning every Coulter in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, on the chance that a descendant still lived in the area where the family last resided in the 1920's. I eventually gave up on that idea when I learned there were over 500 Coulter families listed in the phone book. Instead I decided to sit back and hope that one of these descendants would find me through my website "The Coulthart Family History Center" or from my book "Our Coulthart Ancestors". I had distributed copies of my book to various genealogical and historical societies include the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. It only took six years for them to find me and they live only a short distance from me in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In recognition of this discovery I have decided to include a brief article in this edition of Clan Coulthart about the first Coulthart generation in North America, John Coulthart (1779-1852). This should give all of the Coulthart families and their descendants in North America some idea of how they fit in to our extended family. In the January 2001 issue of Clan Coulthart I will include a summary of my trip to England in search of Coulthart origins in Yorkshire. At that time you'll get a chance to see some photographs of the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.

Lastly I have something special for my more immediate family. I am including some information from my trip to Bala, Wales in search of our Hughes origins. After all it was our ancestor Thomas Hughes (1854–c.1929) who married Henrietta Coulthart (1862-1919) and connected us to the Coulthart family. Both of Thomas's parents, Richard Hughes (1817-1905) and Eleanor Jones (1821-1910) emigrated from Wales in 1842. Richard came from the town of Bala in Merionthshire and Eleanor from Denbighshire, the county just to the north.

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In October 1998, three months after the First North American Coulthart Reunion, Clan Coulthart was born. Originally it began as a newsletter to share and distribute information to the North American descendants of John Coulthart (1779-1852). John was one of the first Coulthart's to emigrate from Scotland to the New World around 1825. He was also the father of 14 children who settled in Canada and the U.S. It is believed that all Coulthart families in North America, who spell the name this way, can trace their origins back to John. With the newsletter and the Internet, we have been able to trace over 1,700 of his descendants. The family tree is located at www.geocities.com/Heartland/Ridge/6501/index.htm.

In addition to the newsletter, a second website dedicated to the Coulthart surname and all of its various spellings was launched on January 1, 1999. The "Coulthart Family History Center" is located at www.coulthart.com. The original purpose of the website was to share and distribute information to Coulthart families around the world. It was an attempt to carry on Alfred Coulthard's work, but to give it a modern spin. Due to the increasing worldwide popularity of the Internet, it seemed like a great place to put information and reach out to locate related families. The special emphasis of the website is on the immigrant generation. This is frequently the most frustrating for family genealogists who are only able to collect information about their ancestors back to the immigrant generation. Often they run into a brick wall when they try to bridge the Atlantic and determine the town from which their ancestors came in old country.

For the past two years it has been a real pleasure to create each edition of Clan Coulthart and each page of the website. However, the cost to produce Clan Coulthart is never fully met and the time it takes to prepare and mail is extremely time consuming. In addition, in July 2000 the U.S. Post Office said this would be the last time they would accept it unless it was sealed in an envelope. They indicated they could no longer accept a series of pages stapled together since this might jam in their postal equipment. I know this to be true because I have received several returned newsletters because the address label had been ripped off at some point in the process. Adding an envelope not only increases the cost of the envelope and additional postage, but it also adds to the preparation time.

Now is time to weigh not only whether this is the best way to distribute family information but also is it the most cost-effective. Currently a four page black and white newsletter costs about $250 U.S. and takes about four weeks to produce, print, collate, staple, stuff and mail. To format the newsletter so it can be placed on the Internet takes about 2-4 hours once the basic text is written and at this time it costs nothing to add to the existing website. To host the website costs $575 a year. The printed newsletter reaches about 225 individuals and the website reaches out to the whole world. Also with the printed newsletter there is rarely any feedback to find out if anyone enjoys it except for the occasional letter. With the Internet website I continual receive email from people who have enjoyed visiting the site.

Therefore I am seriously considering discontinuing the printed newsletter and only offering an on-line version that would be available on the web. Of course the on-line version can be printed as long as the PC is attached to a printer. I am still hoping that individuals will subscribe to it in order to help defray some of the cost of hosting the website. Most organizations who place a newsletter on the Internet create them in such a way that only people with a special password can get in to read it. Only subscribers who pay a fee are given the password, in affect restricting access to the newsletter. At present I will not do this to defray the costs of hosting the website. I want everyone to have access to the newsletter because I believe everyone should be able to enjoy and share information about his or her ancestors. I will continue the same practice I had in place with the printed newsletter. All I ask is for those of you who can afford it, to voluntarily subscribe to the newsletter if you enjoy reading it. In this way those who can afford to are able to ensure that everyone has access to Clan Coulthart on-line. At some point in the future I will assess whether this is the most productive outreach method and may make other changes at that time.

Please let me know your concerns about this potential change in the way Clan Coulthart is distributed. I know for some of you it will be more difficult to get to the newsletter if it is only available on-line. However, be advised that the Internet is available free of charge at most public libraries and library staff are usually very good as helping you get started. If you are a current subscriber to Clan Coulthart and prefer to receive the printed newsletter for the remainder of your subscription, please let me know. Please send me your email address so I can start to prepare an email list of all subscribers let you know when the next Clan Coulthart is available on-line. Review your address label to see when your subscription expires. Email messages should be addressed to meinket@yahoo.com.

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Birth Announcements

One of the newest editions to our extended family is Carly Jo Coulthart. Carly was born on May 31, 2000 in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. She weighed 9 lbs, 5 ounces and was 21.75 inches long. Carly is the second child of Craig and Lori Coulthart. She is the great – great – great – great -granddaughter of Walter Coulthart (1820-1892) of Grafton, North Dakota. Carly's photograph is on the right.

Jason Kyle Coulthart was born on Tuesday September 29th. He weighted 10 lbs. He is the son of Kyle and Kathy Coulthart of Kissimmee, Florida. Jason is the great-great-great-great-great grandson of William Coulthart (1800-1880) of Morewood, Ontario.

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John Coulthart (1779-1852): The First Immigrant Generation

John Coulthart was born on May 12, 1779 in Cummertrees, Annandale, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He was the son of John Coulthart (1747-1803) and Margaret Ray (1752-1829). Around 1799 he was united in marriage to Elizabeth Pasley. John and Elizabeth had two children: William (1800-1880) and John (1804-??). Apparently Elizabeth died shortly after the birth of their second child. She was buried in the Cummertrees Parish churchyard next to John's parents and grandparents.

Around 1809 John married his second wife, Mary Carruthers. John and Mary had nine children: Elizabeth (1810-??), Jane (1812-1892), Mary (1813-1829), Margaret (1814-aft 1891), James (1816-1888), Christina (1818-1876), Walter (1820-1892), Andrew (1822-aft 1871), and David (1823-aft 1881). John was a tenant farmer at Riddingdyke, a farm on the coast of the Solway Firth owned by the Marquis of Queensberry. Sometime between 1820 and 1822, the family moved about fifteen miles north to Berryrig, a farm just outside the town of Torthorwald.

Between October 1823 and January 1827, John, Mary and the eleven children immigrated to North Lunenburg, Stormont County, Ontario not far from the St. Lawrence River. Three more children were born in Ontario: Henrietta (1827-1913), Thomas (1828-1899) and Jonah (1831-1890). According to family oral tradition, after immigrating, John was a carpenter and coffins constituted a large part of his trade. Mary died in 1835 and John spent the last few years of his life living with his son James, who lived fifteen miles to the north, near Morewood, Ontario. John died there on November 10, 1852. Both John and Mary were buried at the Willis Cemetery in North Lunenburg.

Several of John's children remained in Ontario and others moved to the U.S.A.:

Clan Coulthart is looking for volunteers to represent the 14 branches of this Coulthart family. Currently Terry Meinke represents William's branch, Ian Coulthart represents James's branch and Tim represents Walter's branch. We are in the beginning phases of planning a possible second North American Coulthart Family Reunion to take place somewhere in Wisconsin in the summer of 2001, possible in the Madison area. More details will be forthcoming in a future newsletter. Please let us know if you are interesting in assisting with this event so that we can make it a memorable experience for all.

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Bala is a small town in Gwynedd County Wales with a population 2,600. It is located at the geographic center of Northern Wales about a 2 hour drive southwest from Manchester, England. In 1974 the county structure in the United Kingdom was changed and the northwestern half of Northern Wales was given the new county name, Gwynedd and the northeastern section was renamed Clwyd. These two new counties replaced the area that earlier was represented by four pre-1974 counties including Merionethshire and Denbighshire. These pre-1974 counties were originally subdivided into parishes, which constituted the smallest unit of local government. A pastor of the church who usually recorded births, marriages and deaths in the parish or church registers served each parish. Merionethshire was divided into 37 parishes, while Denbighshire consisted of 57 parishes. The photograph at the right is Bala Lake, known as Llyn Tegid in Welsh

It is especially difficult to research Welsh ancestors for three reasons: 1) there are so many parishes in which to look; 2) sometimes records are in the Welsh language which is difficult to read; and 3) Welsh surnames are very common. For example, twelve percent of all individuals currently living in Wales have the surname Jones and five percent are named Hughes. In addition, certain surnames are often concentrated in a specific area. While speaking to individuals at the tourist center in Bala, I learned that all 65 members of the local soccer team have the surname Jones! Therefore, in order to research your Welsh ancestors, you need to know not only from which parish they came but also their parent's names. Otherwise it is nearly impossible to know with any certainty that the individual you locate in the parish register is in fact your ancestor.

The only information I had about the origins of our Hughes ancestors was a short biography written about Thomas Hughes in 1895. His biography in the book "The Welsh in Minnesota" mentions his parents; Richard Hughes of Bala, Merionethshire and Eleanor Jones of Denbighshire. In order to prove that Richard was from Bala one would have to locate his birth record in the parish register for the area. It would be impossible to located the birth record for Eleanor because there would be hundreds of birth records for such a common name in the 57 Denbighshire parishes and there would be no way to determine which one was our relative.

The area around Bala is known as the Penllyn district and it consists of the five parishes of Llanfor, Llangower, Llanycil, Llanuwchllyn and Llandderfel. Llan in Welsh means parish; hence the word precedes most parishes names which in turn are often the names of towns. For this reason it is difficult to navigate in Wales because so many towns start with Llan. After several hours of searching through the old parish registers at the Merionethshire Record Office in Dolgellau (about 20 miles south of Bala) I was unable to find the birth record of our ancestor in the five parishes registers or the non-conformist church registers. During the time that Richard Hughes lived in Bala there were twelve non-conformist chapels. According to a local genealogical society representative, residents of northern Penllyn most often immigrated to the U.S.A. whereas individuals from southern Penllyn immigrated to Australia. The town of Bala is in the northern area. This representative felt confident that although we could not prove our Hughes ancestor was born in Bala, he most likely was otherwise Bala would not have been referenced in the biography. The photograph on the left is of the White Lion Royal Hotel on High Street in Bala constructed in 1759. The word "Royal" was added to the name in 1889 when Queen Victoria stopped at the hotel for tea or to use the facilities!

Bala was founded in 1310, in the heart of what was then a thoroughly lawless region. Originally the charter establishing the town was given to the English inhabitants of Bala. But by the end of the 14C it had lost its exclusiveness and from than on Bala flourished as a center for the Welsh citizens that lived in the area. Agriculture was the economic mainstay of the town from the beginning. Described in the 16C as "a little poore market" Bala never seems to have enjoyed great prosperity, though for a century or so in the 18C-19C it was famous for its stockings, often knitted in the open air by old and young alike. During the 19C, Bala developed into a center of religious importance particularly to the Methodist and Congregationalists who established colleges here. During this period the Methodist Preaching Festival came into its own and literally thousands of people would gather on the village green to listen to famous preachers from morning until night. Most certainly this influenced our ancestor Richard Hughes especially since oral family history indicates he was a lay preacher in addition to a farmer. The photograph on the right is of stone row houses on one of Bala's side streets.

The Welsh word "bala" means the outflow of a river from a lake and of course the town of Bala is located adjacent to the place where the river Dee flows out of Lake Bala, the largest natural water body in Wales. Although agriculture still dominates the economy today, Bala is a tourist and water sport center because of its lake. Welsh is the language of the vast majority of the people of Bala and it can be heard on the streets, in the shops and wherever local people gather. Although most people are bilingual and also speak English, Welsh is obviously their main language. This was evidenced by the fact that one of the women I was speaking with at the tourist center had to ask her coworker for an English word she didn't know so she could continue to converse with me. The photograph on the left is of St. Beuno's, the Llanycil parish church, one and a half miles south of Bala overlooking the shores of the lake. In the church cemetery there are a number of Hughes gravestones.

Bala is also known as the place of origin of the Sheepdog Trials. In the late 1800's two local landowners, one with Scottish shepherds and the other with Welsh shepherds challenged each other to test the skill of their sheepdogs. Sheep can be found grazing throughout the area and lamb with mint sauce is the most popular menu item at restaurants.

The Bala I visited in August 2000 probably looks much the same as it did back in the early to mid 1800's when Richard Hughes lived there. The oldest section of town is High Street where five to six blocks of businesses line the main road that passes through town. Most of the buildings are made of stone with slate roofs. The slate comes from a local mine, one of the worlds largest, located about ½ hour west of Bala.

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When I first started researching my Coulthart ancestors I wondered what was the correct way to pronounce the name. I thought it must be pronounced the way it was spelled, colt + heart or 'coltheart', after all I had read that the surname was possibly an occupational name [colt + herd] given to a person who looked after asses or working horses. The first person I ever met with the surname was a distance cousin in Scotland who assured me the correct Scottish pronunciation was cool + tart or 'cooltart'. She told me as a young girl she was teased unmercifully by her young classmates who insisted on giving her the nickname cold tart! However, when I went to Eastern Ontario our Canadian cousins informed me that the correct pronunciation was coal + thart or 'coalthart'. I never expected to hear the 'th' sound. I later learned that most people in Canada and the U.S. pronounce it with the 'th'. But still for me that just didn't sound right.

I always wondered why my great-grandmothers brothers changed their surname from Coulthart to Coulter. Changing the spelling or pronunciation of a name is actually quite common among new immigrants. They frequently changed their name to make it easier for others to understand. This practice is most common among non-English speaking individuals. For example during my research of some German ancestors I noted that every immigrant generation of the Hell family changed their surname to Hill. I guess Hell just wasn't an acceptable name in the U.S. But back to those Coulthart brothers. Why did they change the name to Coulter? I have always been mad at them for doing so because it made it so difficult for me to find their descendants. Perhaps coal + ter or 'coalter' was the correct way to pronounce the surname after all. Maybe the 'h' was meant to be silent as well as the last 't'. You might find this hard to believe but I must admit, in many of the records I have researched; census, marriage, death records and obituaries, the name was frequently misspelled Coulter.

However, recently I learn of another possible theory. Perhaps like other foreign immigrants, the Coulthart name sounded like something else in American. Perhaps it sounded like something not so pleasant. I never really thought about this possibility before. Before my second cousin, a descendant of one of the brothers that changed the name told me a story. A story that was passed down in her family from generation to generation about why they changed the name. Evidently there was a group of Americans who called them the 'coalfarts'!!!.

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This is the third in a series of letters that were written in the late 1800's from the Coulthart's of Eastern Ontario to the Coulthart's of Southeastern Minnesota. It is transcribed exactly as the original and contains some unusual punctuation with little capitalization and several spelling errors. The letter below was written in 1891 by Thomas E. Coulthart (1828-1899) a farmer, Township Reeve and church deacon from Morewood, Ontario to his twenty year old grandniece, Jennie Gibson (1871-1961). Jennie was the daughter of Mary E. Hunter and William Gibson of Medford, Minnesota and the granddaughter of Jane (nee Coulthart) Hunter (1812-1892) of Northfield, Minnesota. Jane was Tom's older sister. This letter is further evidence that family members from Ontario visited Minnesota on a regular basis. The individuals mentioned in the letter are Tom's son, David, his wife Thressa and a cousin Bertha Woodward (exact relationship unknown).

Morewood Oct 1st 1891

Jennie Gibson

My dear friend, yours of Aug 29th came duly to hand, we were glad to hear from you and learn of your welfare, Yes I often think how true it is as the song says, "there is no place like home" We may and do meet with much kindness from strangers when from home, but there is none like Mother and Father, Brother's and Sisters, Grandma and Grandpa, no doubt they will be as well pleased to see you back home, as you will be to see them, I don't know Jenny whether I will ever get as far again as Minnesota, but I know nothing would give me greater pleasure, then to see all my dear friends who are or may be there; If spared with health, and so prospered that I can come I would like to be at the "Columbian Exhibition" in 1893, from there is would be comparatively easy to reach Northfield and Medford, but as we know not what even a day may bring forth, it will be for our highest interest to so live and spend our days, that whether we are spared to meet again on earth or not, we may have the unspeakable happiness of meeting around the throne of God in heaven where Saints immortal reign, Yes Jennie it will be a joy beyond conception to live and reign with Christ throughout eternity, to that end let us pray for grace and faith to believe in Jesus who sojourned here upon the earth, and died upon the cross, entered the grave and rose again, that we might be redeemed from that eternal death to which all are condemned because of sin original and personal; I pray that you may be ever lead by the Holy Spirit in the way that leadeth to the home of the blest.

Our friends as far as I know are well except your uncle David he and wife were here a few weeks ago. Neither of them were verry well, I fear he will not be better here, but I doubt not he will be with Christ – which is far better; Aunt Thressa is pretty well, but her sight is almost gone, She is cheerful and contended, I was in Cheutanqua County amongst our friends there, and was at the wedding of your cousin Bertha Woodward. 100 present- friends all well there abouts - Write again Jeanie, your friend: Thos E. Coulthart

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The following three items have become key symbols of Scottish culture. Although their origins are in the Scottish Highlands, today they apply to everyone Scottish. The Coulthart families came from southern Scotland, the Scottish Lowlands or the Borders, close to the border with England. Therefore they were not associated with any clan and did not have a tartan.


A tartan is any of many textile patterns consisting of stripes of varying widths and colors crossed at right angles against a solid background, each forming a distinct design worn by the members of a Scottish Clan. In other words, a plaid pattern.


A clan is a traditional social unit in the Scottish Highlands, made up of a number of families claiming a common ancestor and following the same hereditary chieftain. A more modern definition of a clan is a large group of relatives, friends and associates. This modern definition is the one we use with regard to Clan Coulthart. Our use of the Clan Coulthart name is not meant to imply that the Coulthart's were ever organized as a traditional Scottish Clan.


A kilt is a knee length skirt with deep pleats, usually of tartan wool, worn especially in the Scottish Highlands. There is no documentation for kilts prior to 1575. The kilt that is worn today as the wrap around pleated garment was invented in the 1720's. It was eventually taken up and preserved by the British military in the Highland Regiments – in fact most of what is called "Highland Attire" today was ironically either preserved or invented by the British Army Highland Regiments. The writing of Sir Walter Scott, the Royal visit of George IV in full "Highland" regalia (organized by Scott), and the works of others such a Bonnie Prince Charlie all in the early 1800's, followed by the keen interest and love of Scotland by Queen Victoria all helped in the "fad" of things Scottish in the 19th century which continues to this day. Formal dress kilts are very popular today not only in Scotland but also by those of Scottish descent. They are most often worn to formal events or by the groom on his wedding day. Now, what does one wear under his kilt? But of course, a real man wears nothing at all!

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Clan Coulthart is brought to you by individual sponsors and by subscription. The cost to publish one edition of Clan Coulthart currently runs between $150-250 U.S. The exact cost depends on the number of pages that are printed and mailed. Clan Coulthart is currently being distributed free of charge for a limited time to approximately 250 individuals in Canada and the U.S. with several copies going overseas. If you enjoy reading it and can afford to, please consider subscribing or becoming a sponsor. We need at least 15-25 subscriptions to cover the cost to publish each edition. We currently have 37 subscriptions. Any individual who contributes more than the subscription price will be considered a sponsor. All sponsors will have their names listed in the issue they sponsor.

A one-year subscription, consisting of four editions of Clan Coulthart, is available for $10 U.S. or $15 Canadian.

All sponsors and subscribers should make their checks payable to and mail as follows.

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Ian Coulthart
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Kanata, ON K2M 2K9

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Terry Meinke
1004 Ridgewood Lane
Palatine, IL 60067

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