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Steve Halket's Homepage

This is a picture of the Halket(t) ancestral home located at Pitfirrane, southwest of Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland.

One of the main purposes of this webpage is to try to gather as much genealogy information as possible about our family so that we can try to find all the branches on this wide-spreading tree.  Currently, we know of Halket(t)'s in the U.S., Canada, Scotland, England, South Africa, Netherlands, Belgium, New Zealand and Australia.

Accordingly, we have created a Halket/Halkett family webpage as a central gathering place for all of the family information, including family trees, pictures and stories.  Access to the family webpage is by invitation only and costs absolutely NO MONEY, but it does cost you a little information.  Please send me an email (address shown below) with all of your ancestral information (names, dates and places for birth, death and marriages).  When received, I will send you the address and a username and password with full rights to view and upload.  And, naturally, I would be interested in corresponding with ANYONE who has ANY connection whatsoever to Halket, Halkett or Pitfirrane.

In the meantime, I am pleased to furnish the following family information:

The family of Halket of Pitfirrane was associated with the estates of Pitfirrane near Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland from the beginning of the 14th century.  Few written records exist; though family tradition would put the beginning of that association at least as far back as the 13th century.  Certainly that is correct in the female line.

No complete account of the family exists, although a genealogical account prepared by the family was in existence at Pitfirrane, and seems to have been used as late as 1899 when the Scottish History Society published “The Scots Brigade in Holland.”  It has now disappeared, probably at the sale of the library after the death of Miss Madeline Halket in 1951, the last of the direct lineage associated with Pitfirrane.  There are accounts in the Douglas Baronage, and in Chalmer’s “Dunfermline,” though both lack accurate detail of the early period.

The mansion house and grounds, known as Pitfirrane, were purchased by the Carnegie Trust upon the death of Lady Madelline Halket in 1951.  The house and land were later leased to the Dunfermline Golf Club, which now uses the house as their clubhouse.  It is gratifying to know that every effort is made to preserve this house, of which the central portion may date back to the early 16th century. The main portion was built at the end of that century and contains a wealth of oak carvings reminiscent of the style known as “Stirling Heads.”  The main spiral staircase has some fine "linen-fold" panelling.  Also, the house still has some fine Dutch stained glass windows and some incredibly large ornate carvings in the dining room.

Though our family did not play an outstanding part in the history of Scotland, it was representative of a relatively large class of lairds (lords) or barons, whose interests were with their estates and local government, and to preserve what they had acquired in those difficult times.  The Halket's were of sufficient good standing to intermarry with the lesser nobility, and the daughters married into the ranks of lesser lairds (lords) and merchants around Dunfermline. As was the custom at the time, the first-born son would inherit the title and estate, while the later sons entered the military (both for Scotland and Holland), the clergy, education or became merchants in the local towns of Dunfermline, Dysart and Kirkcaldy. Nevertheless, they did from time to time play their part on the stage of history – either as companions to their kings or as the cavalry leaders against them. Many gave their lives in the defense of their country against her enemies.

While the name Halket remained at Pitfirrane until 1951, when the connection ended with the death of Lady Madeline Halket, the original male line ended in 1705, with the death in that year of Sir James Halkett.  Since there were no surviving sons to inherit, the lineage passed to the husband of Janet, the eldest sister of Sir James.  Her husband,  Peter Wedderburn of Gosford, assumed the Halket name and estates by virtue of his marriage. Again in 1799 another Wedderburn of Gosford likewise assumed the name.

The origin of the family name is not known. They may have taken their name originally from the lands of Halket in Cunningham, but any connection with that area seems to have been lost if it ever existed.  There is also a small town (crossroad?) named Halket located in Ayr, Scotland (southwest of Glasgow), though not confirmed, it is believed that this land was given to a Halket family member by Robert the Bruce for his action at the battle of Bannockburn.

Colonel Sir Peter Halket fought in the French and Indian War in the British 'Colonies' (in the U.S. this was known as the "French and Indian War", in the U.K, it was the "Seven Years War") . Sir Peter was shot and killed during the Battle of Duquesne (also known as Braddock's Defeat) on July 9, 1755, near what is now called Pittsburgh, PA.  His son, Lt. James Halket, saw his father get shot and ran to his aid, when he was also shot and died, alongside his father.  Also of interest, there was a young Lt. Col. on Sir Peter's staff who is somewhat familiar to us..... his name was George Washington.  (Needless to say, Lt. Col. Washington survived the battle). Two years after "Braddock's Defeat", another of Sir Peter's sons, Major Francis Halket went with a detachment to provide proper burials for their fallen countrymen. A now-friendly Indian told of two British officers being felled at the foot of an unusual looking tree and was able to locate the tree. It was there that Major Francis Halket was able to identify the remains of his father and brother, and was able to give them a proper Scottish burial with Tartan and Pipes.

Maj-General Sir Colin Halkett (5th Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Corps) and Sir Hugh Halkett (3rd Hanoverian Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Corps) both fought alongside Lord Wellington at Waterloo.

George Halket (or Hacket) was a village schoolmaster in Rathen near Fraserburgh (1714-25), dismissed by the Kirk Session for dereliction of duty. He wrote anti-Hanoverian satires, and is remembered for the song "Logie o' Buchan".

The Halkett family served as Provost (Mayor) of Dunfermline, Fifeshire, Scotland for many generations.

Lady Ann Halkett was a famous Jacobite, herbalist and published author.  For a time, she lived at the Abbott House in Dunfermline.

The 'Halkett boat' was designed by Lt. Peter Halkett, RN, in 1844, and was one of the earliest successful inflatable boats.

A British ship, the Fort Halkett, was torpedoed in the South Atlantic by German submarine U-185 during the summer of 1942.

John Halkett (writer, artist and collector) was a member of the Committee of the Hudson Bay Company and one of the main players in the "Selkirk Controversy".  Both Fort Halkett (on the Liard River in Canada) and Cape Halkett (in Alaska) are named for him.

Finally, if you are related to the Halket family (Halkett, Hacket, etc) or have a connection to Pitfirrane, please send me an email.... let's talk!!!

Thank you
Steve Halket
Houston, Texas
  Click HERE to send me email !!

Click HERE to see MY ancestry records!!

(this site was updated on 21 January 2005)