Trotter Family Background
Our branch of the Trotter family history can only be traced back reliably about 250 years to a John Trotter who lived and died in the parish of Closeburn, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He died at Nethermains in Closeburn on 26 October 1838, at 60 years of age. His wife Janet McLelland (1785-1864) had lived all her life in the parish, born at Croalchapel and died at Nethermains. So there was a long association with the parish. But just where John originated is a matter of conjecture. One snippet of family lore is that he came to Scotland as a tutor from England, but even that is highly conjectural.
Nevertheless, John and Janet Trotter had a large family and (by now) countless descendants who spread from this mainly agricultural parish into other parts of south-west Scotland, to Glasgow and parts of England, and then ultimately to the United States and Canada. They were lured by job opportunities offered as the British and American economies boomed in the industrial age from the 19th century well into the 20th.
My own direct ancestors came to New Cumnock, Ayrshire, in the mid-1800s to work in the coal mining industry. That sustained many in the family until for several generations well into the latter half of the 20th century. One of the most famous mining disasters in New Cumnock was at the Knockshinnoch colliery collapse in 1950. Although none of our relations was directly affected, others in the family had been killed in isolated accidents early on, and the health of many had been compromised working for years in the coal dust.