Two children of my grandparents today – my uncles John Strachan and William Strachan – plus a half gg aunt who was possibly connected to the Strachan family in two ways.
18 June 1858
My half gg aunt Ellen Marshall, sometimes Helen, was born at David’s Lane, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire illegitimate daughter of my gg grandmother Sarah Marshall. a hand sewer. Sarah Marshall was a widow, having been married to John McInerney who died about 1850. Ellen’s father is not named on the birth certificate but Ellen has the surname in McDonald in the 1861 census, when she’s at 19 Fore Street, Kilmarnock with her grandmother Agnes Marshall, her mother Sarah and 5 siblings. In 1871 Ellen is at 26 Back Street, Kilmarnock with her mother and a cousin. She married Hamilton Kirkwood, an iron dresser, in Kilmarnock. Her occupation is given as bonnet knitter, and she said her father was Matthew Marshall, a deceased shoemaker – not such person existed, but she had an older half brother Matthew McInerney who was a shoemaker. In 1881 Helen Kirkwood is at Blair Terrace, Hurlford with a young daughter and a visitor: husband Hamilton was spending census night as a prisoner at Hurlford Constabulary Station – no idea what he did but there’s no trace of criminal proceedings so perhaps he got into a fight that night. In 1891 the family are at West Shaw Street, Kilmarnock with 6 children, and then they moved to near Glasgow as in 1901 they are at George Street, Partick. Hamilton Kirkwood is still an iron dresser and they have had 3 more children. In 1911 they are Whiteinch, Govan, where Hamilton is working as a shipbuilding labourer and they have 5 children still at home. She died in 1933 at Kilmun, which is in Argyll but is a small seaside resort which was on the route of the Clyde steamer and was popular with Glaswegians, so she may have been on holiday or staying at a convalescent home. Her usual residence was given as Medwyn Street, Whiteinch, Glasgow and the informant was her unmarried daughter Sarah who lived with her in Glasgow. Ellen/Helen may be connected to the Strachan family twice: her older half sister Mary Ann McInerney married John McCrae and their duaghter married Henry Strachan, plus the second wife of Robert Strachan, Henry Strachan’s grandfather, was Susan Cran, the illegitimate daughter of Jean Kirkwood, who may well have been related to Hamilton Kirkwood.
18 June 1898
My uncle Jock – actual name John McCrae Strachan – was born at Crookedholm, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, third child of the grandparents I never met, coal miner Henry Strachan and Helen McCrae. John is in the 1901 census with his parents at Old Factory House, Crookedholm, and his father is a coal miner, the in about 1907 the family to moved to Lanarkshire, first to Tollcross and then to Halfway, Cambuslang. In 1911 the family are at 14 Mansion Street, and Henry and Helen now have 9 children: 12 year old John is still at school. John worked as a coal miner and married Sophia Jarvey Sweenie in 1921 at the Trinity United Free Church in Cambuslang: she was a local girl and was working at the pithead at the time of the marriage. They stayed in the Cambuslang area all their lives, and I can remember visiting them when I was a child. As far as I’m aware they didn’t have children but a family contact thinks they might have had a daughter called May. Can any Strachans out there confirm this?
18 June 1912 (born February 1911)
My uncle William McCrae Strachan, son of Henry Strachan and Helen McCrae was born in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire just before the 1911 census but I don’t know the exact date as I haven’t seen his birth certificate. He is with the family at Mansion Street, Cambuslang in the 1911 census but they moved shortly afterwards to 54 Gilbertfield Buildings, Cambuslang, which means Henry Strachan must have been working at the Gilbertfield Colliery owned by United Collieries Ltd. A report into miner’s housing in 1910 describes the Gilbertfield miners’ housing as two storey with each apartment of two large rooms plus use of communal toilets, washhouses, coal cellars and dustbins. Sadly, William died on 18 June 1912 at home, of measles and bronchio-pneumonia.