I have strong ancestral connections to East Fife (Ceres, Crail, Abdie and St Andrews), and am also fortunate enough to be a St Andrews' graduate, so naturally I was very interested. I have a copy of James Maitland Anderson's Matriculation Roll (published in 1905), so I was aware that some of my family had studied at Scotland's oldest university. Naturally, I was interested to see if the new register had additional information. I was not disappointed ...
My first search was for David Cunningham Graham, something of a black sheep in the family. I knew from the Fasti Ecclesianae that he was minister of Ormiston from 1911 to 1924. The register entry confirmed that he had studied at St Andrews, and showed that he had studied Latin, Greek, Mathematics, English Literature, Chemistry among other subjects, although oddly enough Theology doesn't seem to have been among his studies. Perhaps that might explain why some 20 years after he graduated, he was declared bankrupt while minister at Ormiston, with some suggestion that he might have been a bit too keen on spending other people's money.
Another entry that was even more revealing was for David's first cousin once removed, Robert Graham. I knew that Robert had been schoolmaster at Leuchars, but later moved with his family to Glasgow and became an accountant. I'd always assumed that he'd switched jobs to earn more money to raise his growing family. It hadn't occurred to me that he may have had other reasons for his sudden career change, as his register entry shows:
Sheriff Court of Fife
Wednesday, 19th February
The Minister and Heritors of Leuchars v Robert Graham, Schoolmaster
A petition of complaint, under the Schoolmasters’ Act of 1881, having been presented to the Sheriff some time ago by the minister and heritors of Leuchards parish for suspension and deprivation of Robt Graham, schoolmaster, Leuchars, from each office of schoolmaster of said parish for having been guilty of immoral behaviour, in so far as “he has been guilty of the crimes and offences of falsehood and fraud and breach of trust and embezzlement, and also of deserting his duties and offices of schoolmaster foresaid, and leaving the same unperturbed without any lawful or proper excuse.”
Breach of Trust and Embezzlement
Robert Graham, late schoolmaster, Leuchars, was charged with embezzling various sums of money amounting in all to £175 0s 2d, between the 20th day of November 1866 and the 5th day of November 1867, being money collected and received by him in payment of accounts for gas to the Leuchars Gas Light Co. He failed to appear in summons to that charge, and a sentence of fugitation was pronounced against him.
He next turns up in the 1881 census, reunited with his wife and two of his children. The family are now living at 9 Ibrox Place, in Govan, and Robert is still at the same address in 1891, although this time without his wife. He was evidently still keen to use his knowledge of maths and numbers generally, as - despite being declared a fugitive for embezzlement - he was working as a book-keeper!