15 October

Today features the sad story of Janet Strachan from Ayrshire, and the much travelled Margaret McWilliam from Aberdeenshire who married a soldier and migrated, as a widow, to Iowa, USA. Plus two of the frustrating kind – people I haven’t been able to find in the records after their birth.

15 October 1780
Birth of Henry Neilson at Irvine, son of Walter Neilson and Agnes Hardie at Irvine, Ayrshire. I suspect this is a son of my gggg grandparents Walter Neilson and Agnes Haddon or Haddie, although all their other children were born in Gorbals or Govan, Lanarkshire. But as Walter Neilson was a coal miner, it’s possible they spent a year or so in Irvine. Unfortunately I can’t find anything else for Henry: there was a Henry Neilson who had children baptised with Marion Tenant at Carnwath and then Shotts, Lanarkshire from 1798 but I’m not convinced this is the same Henry Neilson.

15 October 1818
Birth of my gggg aunt Christian Booth at Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, daughter of William Booth and Margaret Allan and aunt of my gg grandmother Mary Logan (who was the first wife of Alexander Fraser). I haven’t found anything else in the records that looks as if it could be her.

15 October 1848
Birth of Margaret McWilliam at Tyrie, Aberdeenshire, daughter of my half gggg uncle Nathaniel McWilliam and Isobel Murison, and granddaughterbof my gggg grandmother Janet Sangster. She proved tricky to research as she moved around a lot, but I finally cracked it. She is with her parents and siblings in New Pitsligo in 1851 and 1861, her father an ag lab. Then her mother died in about 1862, her father remarried in 1863, and then her father, stepmother and siblings migrated to the USA in 1867, settling in Iowa. Margaret, however, didn’t go with them. In 1868 she married soldier James Taylor in Aberdeen, and in 1871 is at Aberdeen Military Barracks with her sergeant husband and two young children who had both been born in Perth. By 1881 James Taylor has left the army and is a sergeant inspector Chelsea Pensioner living in Uphall, West Lothian with wife Margaret and 4 children, the youngest 2 born in Uphall. They had a third child, and then Margaret’s husband died. in 1891 she is in Broxburn, Linlithgow with her 3 surviving children, and on 23 April 1891 they all sailed from Glasgow for the USA: her father and siblings had, of course, gone to Iowa back in 1867. In the 1900 USA census Margaret and her youngest child Arthur are living with her son-in-law and married daughter Eliza in Sumner, Iowa, and in 1910 and 1920 she is living in Oskaloosa, Iowa with her unmarried son Arthur, who was a stenographer at a music house. By 1825 Margaret is back living with her married daughter Eliza Milne and is with them at Marshalltown, Iowa in 1930. She died in Marshalltown in 1934 at the age of 86.

15 October 1858 (born about 1840)
Janet Strachan was born at Shewalton Colliery, Dundonald, Ayrshire in about 1840, the daughter of my ggg uncle Munro Strachan and Janet Jamieson and granddaughter of John Strachan and Agnes Neilson. She is with her parents at Shewalton Colliery in 1841 and at MacReadie’s Land, Dreghorn in 1851, by which time her father was a pauper formerly a coal miner. Her father died in 1854. In 1858 Janet married coal miner James Wilson at Irvine and in 1861 they are in Dreghorn living with her brother-in-law Gilbert Wilson. Janet gave birth to son James in April 1861, but he died in June of congenital disability, and then Janet died in July 1861 of phthisis and bronchitis.

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