My great great grandmother Margaret Cudmore née  Budge (1845-1912) came from Wick, Caithness. Her father, Kenneth Budge (1813-1852), was a seaman. After his death, her mother Margaret Gunn (1819-1863) remarried and emigrated to Australia with her children and second husband.

Wick was an important herring port. My great great great grandfather shipped herring from Wick to ports on the Baltic sea.

Wick harbour 1867 retrieved from
Herring gutters Wick 1913 Retrieved from Dornoch History Links image library
From a collection of 44 monochrome postcards showing fishing scenes around Scotland in the early 20th century. Monchrome photograph with the title ‘Herring Gutters at work, Wick’ showing three large trench style benchs full of herring with men and women on each side gutting herring. There are stacked fish barrels behind them with the masts of fishing vessels in the harbour in the background. Retrieved from Dornoch History Links image library

Last month Sue Adams wrote about Soundtoll Registers on the Worldwide Genealogy Blog. Soundtolls were taxes imposed by the king of Denmark on ships passing through the narrow strait, the Sound, between Sweden and Denmark,. The records run from 1497 to 1857. The toll house was at Elsinore.

I searched the database of the Soundtoll Registers for Kenneth Budge and found five entries, three from Wick and two from Inverkeithing. The two Inverkeithing records are for the same voyage on the same day.

Date 16 September 1850, master K. Budge from Wick. The voyage was between Wick and Stettin. Sondtoll register film 363 image 147 from

On 16 September 1850 K. Budge from Wick was sailing from Wick to Stettin with a cargo of sild [herring]. Stettin is present day Szczecin in Poland on the Baltic sea. In the nineteenth century it was a major Prussian port connected with Prussian and Pomeranian cities by rail from 1843.

On 9 October 1850 K. Budge from Wick was sailing from Stettin to London with a cargo of zink [zinc] and staver [translates as spells but this does not make sense, perhaps staves of wood].

On 2 July 1851 K. Budge of Wick was sailing from Kønigsberg to Liverpool with a cargo of 3460 Scheffel Ærter [3460 bushels of peas]. Kønigsberg is today known as Kaliningrad. It is on the Baltic and was the capital of East Prussia.

On 10 August 1852 K. Budge of Inverkeithing, was sailing from Wick to the Baltic sea with a cargo of sild [herring] and 2 heste [horses]. Inverkeithing is near Edinburgh, 240 miles south of Wick. I am not certain why there are two separate records apparently two pages apart for the voyage other than that two different sorts of cargo  are involved.

On this last voyage Kenneth Budge died of cholera. From the John O’Groat Journal Friday 10 September 1852

THE MARY RODGERS. –  This vessel which belongs to Bo’ness, is reported in the Shipping Gazette of the 4th instant as having left Elsinore on the 30th ult.; and in the same paper she is again reported as having put into the same port, with master and one man dead of cholera. This vessel left Wick on the 30th July, herring laden, for Dantzic, and was commanded by Mr Kenneth Budge, of this place, son of the late Mr Donald Budge, shipmaster, Wick. The owner of the Mary Rodgers was on board when the vessel left Wick.

Related posts: