Tag Archives: Migration

On 15 May

Today: a migrant to canada who did very well for himself, birth of twins, a young woman who died of breast cancer in 1913, and my great grandmother died at only 40 years old.

15 May 1836
Birth of John Ballantine at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire , son of Thomas Ballantine and Susannah Strachan. He became a coal miner, and in 1867 migration to Canada. He married Janet Bartley and in 1871 they’re in the Canadian census at South Waterloo with 2 young children, John Ballantine working as a finisher. According to http://vintagemachinery.org/mfgindex/detail.aspx?id=70 “ John Ballantine began as an employee at the Goldie & McCulloch works in Galt, then spent 20 years as superintendent of Cowan & Co, also in Galt. Then, in 1894, he started his own company, in nearby Preston. The company incorporated in 1904, and the name became J. Ballantine & Co., Ltd. In 1907 their revenue was $70,000. In 1910, the company suffered a major fire at its factory. Shortly afterward, the company merged with four other companies. The resulting company was named Canada Machinery Corp Ltd or CMC.” John and Janet/Jennette had a son Thomas who went into the family business. John Ballantine died in Preston, Ontario in 1912 age 76.

15 May 1836
Over in Aberdeenshire, on the same day James Logan was born at Achtilair, Old Deer. He was my ggg uncle, the son of John Logan and Isabella Booth. By 1851 he was working as a farm servant and that year was at Windyhill farm, Logie Buchan. He married Jane Norrie in 1855 and from the baptisms of their children and the census it’s clear they moved regularly, as farm servants did. They were are at various farms in Belhelvie, Foveran, and Tarves. In 1891 James was a widower and still an ag lab, living at Backhill of Courtstone, near Tarves. Can’t find him in 1901 and haven’t yet looked for a death. He had 8 children.

15 May 1866
Birth of twins John and Annie Houston Inglis at Riccarton, Ayrshire, daughter of Alexander Inglis and Janet Strachan and one of many sets of twins on the Strachan tree. They migrated to Australia with their parents and siblings in 1887, arriving in Brisbane. John married Mary McLachlan and died in Killarney, Queensland in 1933. Annie married James Girdwood and died in Balmain, Sydney in 1947.

15 May 1874
Birth of Amelia Murphy Haddow at Kenneth’s Row, Kilwinning, Ayrshire daughter of Hugh Richmond Haddow and Marion Mackay. In 1891 she and her brother John were living with their maternal grandmother in Kilwinning, and Amelia was earning a living as a domestic servant. In 1901 she’s a servant at Rothesay, on the isle of Bute, working for Charles Hicks, a chemist, and his family. She died of breast cancer at Kilwinning in 1913 at the age of 38.

15 May 1903
Death of my great grandmother Helen Hay, wife of William Fraser, at the far too young an age of 40. She died of chronic enteritis at Milton of Brogan, Slains, Aberdeenshire, where my great grandfather William was head cattleman. She left 5 children motherless, the youngest of whom was not quite 2, including my 8 year old grandfather. After their mother’s death, the family moved back to Hatton and in 1907 William Fraser remarried.

On 11 May

Today includes the birth of a Strachan whose son migrated and was one of the founders of a major Canadian company, and two siblings with the same birthday who both died in infancy.

11 May 1777
Baptism of Sarah Green at Worsbrough, Yorkshire, daughter of my ggggg grandparents Joseph Green, linen bleacher, and Alice Rock. Not sure what happened to her, but she could be the Sarah Green who married John Binns in Silkstone in 1793. Or not.

11 May 1811
Birth of Susannah Strachan in Riccarton, daughter of my gggg uncle Robert Strachan and his wife Jean Kelly. Susannah married coal miner Thomas Ballantine, had a last 10 children and possibly 13, lived most of her adult life in Dreghorn, and died in 1889 age 77. One of her children, John Ballantine, migrated to Canada in 1867 and become a co-partner in a foundry making steam engines and boilers at Galt, Ontario, which eventually became part of CMC – Canada Machinery Corp. (It’s amazing what you can find out via Google.)

11 May 1834
Baptism of Elizabeth Oxley at Barnsley, Yorkshire, daughter of my ggg grandparents Thomas Oxley, labourer, and Sarah Grist. As Sarah the disappears from the records, I assume she died before 1841.

11 May 1848
Birth of Henry Strachan in Kilmarnock, son of John Francis Strachan and Jean Johnston Loudon, making him the grandson of my ggg uncle Thomas Strachan. I’m assuming Henry died in infancy as he’s not in the 1851 census with the rest of his family.

11 May 1852
Birth of James Strachan, younger brother of the above Henry, and who also died in infancy. Rare to find two siblings with the same birthday but sad they both died at such a young age.

On 7 May

A migration to USA, plus a granite quarryman who stuck very close to his Cruden home.

7 May 1869
Stewart Shirkie, who married Jean Haggerty, migrated to USA and became a coal business owner in Clinton, Indiana, arrived in USA from Glasgow. His wife and children followed a few months later. See On 30 April for birth of his wife, Jean, and more about the Shirkie family.

7 May 1872
Birth of George Morgan at Cruden, Aberdeenshire, great grandson of my ggggg aunt Isabel Sangster and brother of my great grandfather’s second wife Helen Ann Morgan. George’s parents were William Souter Morgan and Jane or Jean Aitken, and his grandfather was the unfortunate Arthur Morgan, mentioned a few days ago, who was killed by a large granite stone. George worked in the granite quarry at Longhaven too, and was a stonecutter. He is with his parents at Kennedy’s Buildings, near Longhaven, in April 1901 and was married later that year to Jane Simpson Main. In 1911 George and Jane are at Greenleaves, and have not had children. Greenleaves is on the same census page as Kennedy’s Buildings, and also Little Tillymaud where David Ewan Michael, also a quarryman, lived with his wife Mary Ann Fraser, daughter of William Fraser whose second wife was George’s older sister Helen. Cruden seems to have been a web of relatives! Greenleaves is also currently for sale, and has become a renovated little bungalow with a big garden and fabulous views. George can’t ever have moved far, as when he died in 1949 he was living at Kennedy’s Buildings again.

On 3 May

This day 98 years ago, my grandfather’s Gordon Highlander regiment landed at Boulogne. Plus a childhood death, a coal miner’s death and a migration to Canada.

3 May 1843
Birth of David Findlay, son of David Findlay and Susanna Strachan and grandson of my gggg uncle and aunt Peter Strachan and Mary Munroe. David died in childhood, before the 1851 census, as did his mother. I’m not sure of the dates when either of them died, but by 1851 father David had remarried and another son named David Findlay had been born.

3 May 1882
Death of Robert Strachan – there are lots of Robert Strachans on my tree and this one was born in about 1834, son of Andrew Strachan and Elizabeth Howat, which makes him my 2nd cousin 3 times removed. His mother died when he was about 10 years old and his father married Margaret Todd. Robert became a coal miner, in 1855 married Ann Bain at Dreghorn, and had 9 children. Some time before 1871 the family moved to Saltcoats, where they lived in Auchenharvie Row, and it was there that Robert died. He was 49 years old and died of asthmatic bronchitis and general debility, which was no doubt a result of working down the coal pits.

3 May 1915
My grandfather James Fraser, who had enlisted with the Gordon Highlanders in September 1914, landed in Boulogne. He was in France until November 1916 when he was wounded at Beaumont Hamel during the battle of the Somme.

3 May 1921
Margaret Milne, from Hatton, Aberdeenshire, arrived in Quebec, destined for Vancouver where she had a job to go to as a domestic servant. There’s interesting detail in landing papers: she was 5ft 4ins with fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. The daughter of Alexander Milne and Elizabeth Thomson, she was the granddaughter of my ggg aunt Janet aka Jessie Fraser. According to a descendent of hers with a tree on Ancestry, Margaret married Alexander George Birnie at Vancouver in March 1922, and died in Vancouver in 1952.

On 30 April

Today: an ancestor who migrated to the USA, another early death from TB, and a fun coincidence of names, with a Fraser on the Strachan side reminding me of a Strachan on the Fraser side.

30 April 1789
Birth of Elizbeth Oxley at Barnsley, daughter of William and Elizabeth Oxley and therefore my gggg aunt. I don’t anything else about her as nothing came up on a quick look, and I haven’t yet had the chance to do any closer research.

30 April 1839
Jean Haggerty born at Dundonald, Ayrshire, daughter of my ggg uncle Hugh Haggerty, a coal miner, and his wife Jean Muir. Her father died when she was about 10 and in the 1851 census she and her mother are muslin sewers and paupers, which means they received parish relief. In 1857 she married a miner called Stewart or Steward Sharky, although for whatever reason he’s named Thomas on the marriage certificate. Jean, or Jane as she was also called, was working as a domestic servant at the time. In 1861 they’re living at Benslie Square, Kilwinning, the home to many on my family tree, with their eldest two children. Then in late 1869 Jean sailed to the USA with her children and widowed mother, to join her husband who’d gone there earlier the same year. The family are in Van Buren, Clay, Indiana in 1880 with 8 children: Stewart Sharkie is a coal miner, as are the three eldest sons. Stewart did well for himself, and by 1900 is a coal operator and the family are living in Clinton, Vermillion, Indiana. Stewart died in 1901 and afterwards Jean lived in Terre Haute where her sons had become owner managers of several coal companies. Jean Sharkie nee Haggarty died in Terre Haute 1919 age 80. There’s some interesting info online including about the Shirkie family, as they were known in America, at http://visions.indstate.edu:8888/cdm/singleitem/collection/vchs/id/359/rec/69

30 April 1839
This is the first time I’ve had two people on my tree born on the same day! Barbara Morgan was born at Cruden, daughter of Arthur Morgan and Margaret Robb and therefore granddaughter of my ggggg aunt Isobel Sangster and her husband Peter Morgan. Barbara lost her mother when she was about 7 years old, and her father remarried in 1849. In 1851 Barbara, age 11, is at Tillymaud, Cruden, where her father is a farm servant, with her father, stepmother and 4 younger siblings. Sadly, her father died in an accident in 1860. In 1861 Barbara, a domestic servant, is still at Tillymaud along with her younger brothers, all farm servants for Alexander Gray. She married Peter Smith in January 1862 at the Parish School, Cruden, but sadly died later the same year of consumption (tuberculosis).

30 April 1848
Birth of Ann McGavin Strachan at Dreghorn, daughter of my ggg uncle Monro Strachan and his wife Janet Jamieson. Sadly, she had died by the time of the 1851 census.

30 April 1927
My aunt Jeannie Haddow Strachan – sister of my father and named after her grandmother – married William Harper at Dovercourt Road, Toronto. Jean, as she was known, had migrated to Canada in 1921. She had been working as a domestic servant and Bill, as he was known, worked in the rubber industry at the time of their marriage. They had a son Colin, my cousin, who is now a keen follower of this blog. Interestingly, William Harper’s mother was Helen Fraser, and my maternal grandfather had a sister called Helen Fraser who married Alexander Strachan and therefore became Helen Strachan.

On 25 April

Sailing to Canada yet again, and the not very easy life of one of my gg grandmothers.

25 April 1841
Baptism at St Mary’s Barnsley of Margaret Oxley, my gg grandmother and daughter of Thomas Oxley and Sarah Grist. Margaret’s father died when she was young and by 1851 she is living in Worsbrough with her widowed mother, who is receiving parish relief, along with several siblings and a lodger. The family had moved back to Barnsley by 1861 and in 1862 Margaret married my gg grandfather Joseph Green, cabinet maker, who came from Worsbrough. (They were the parents of my great grandfather Joseph Green who is in today’s photo.) By 1871 Joseph and Margaret are living in Worsbrough and have 2 children but had moved back to Barnsley by 1881 with their growing family – 7 children in all, with Joseph continuing to work as a cabinet maker. But in 1911 Joseph Green, age 70, is in the Gawber Road Workhouse, most probably due to ill health as he died the following year, and Margaret was keeping house for her daughter and a nephew. She also died in 1912 age 71. It doesn’t look as if she had the easiest of lives, but one of her daughters didn’t marry and is with her mother in every census, and the two of them seem to have brought up one of Margaret’s grandsons.

25 April 1930
The ship Duchess of Bedford sailed from Greenock destined for Quebec. On it were my grandmother Helen Strachan nee McCrae, my father Robert Strachan, my aunt Helen Aitken nee Strachan and her two children, all going to Toronto where several of the other Strachan siblings had settled. None of the 1930 contingent settled, however, as they returned to Cambuslang the following year. The beauty about detailed passenger lists is they give you the address of whoever they are going to join, and also the address of their nearest relative in Scotland. So I know where my aunt Mary McBride nee Strachan was living in 1930 as well as where relatives were living in Toronto (some of the latter were at Bloor Street, West Toronto).

On 20 April

Not much today, but two events involved early 20th century migration to Canada and USA.

20 April 1800
Baptism of Betty Green at Worsbrough, Yorkshire. She was the daughter of my ggggg uncle John Green, a bleacher, who married Mary Addey.

20 April 1859
Marriage at Greenock of Elizabeth Strachan and Robert Liddell, a joiner. Elizabeth became the grandmother of Eric Liddell (see blog post)

20 April 1921
Margaret Milne sailed from Glasgow to Canada and settled in Vancouver. She was the granddaughter of my ggg aunt Janet (also Jessie) Fraser, and had been born in Cruden, Aberdeenshire. She married George Birnie in Vancouver in 1922.

20 April 1931
Jessie Lydia Michael married Robert Moore at Manhattan, USA. She was born in Cruden, Aberdeenshire, the daughter of my gg aunt Mary Ann Fraser and husband David Ewan Michael and had migrated in 1929. In 1930 she was working as a servant for a banker and his family, as was her older brother.

Adding a Haggerty page

I’ve finally got round to writing up my research into my Haggerty ancestors, and have added a Haggerty page.

They haven’t been the easiest to research, and hopefully when more “stuff” gets to be online I may discover more, and as many of them migrated to America there’s little research I can do here in the UK. Going backwards, my suspicion is the earliest Haggerty I know I’m descended from – Joseph Haggerty the husband of Jean Orr – was born in Ireland some time in the mid to late 1700s. When I get to put “born in Ireland” against someone on my tree my going back research stops at that point, as Irish births are impossible to find when you have no idea where, when and to whom someone was born.

But what research I was able to do took me into the coal mining history of Glenbuck, in the parish of Muirkirk, and into trying to find out where cottages at Boat Stabs in the parish of Dundonald could have been located: by the sea is my guess, though they could have been on the south side of the River Irvine. I also found about the coal mining history of Indiana and California, and tried to imagine what it would have been like crossing the Atlantic in the late 1800s. Not exactly a cruise, I suppose, but at least by then it was done by steamship in about nine days.

I do love how family history takes you into so many different but equally fascinating areas.

Ancestors migrating yet again

Gosh, my ancestors get everywhere – or at least the Scottish ones do. I’m now used to losing track of someone in the census in Scotland, only for them to turn up in Canada, USA, New Zealand or Australia.

In the mid to late 1800s Ayrshire coal miners were clearly being lured to work in newly opening USA mines, and many on my family tree were happy to answer the call. Some came back to Scotland, so it can’t always have been what they’d hoped for, but most stayed so I must have heaps of long lost cousins scattered all over the United States.

Today I’ve been padding out what I know about my Haggarty or Haggerty ancestors. My great great grandmother was Margaret Haggarty, who died at the age of 38 from what was probably typhoid. Not getting far with her parents, Joseph Haggerty and Jean Orr, I started researching her siblings. She had a brother Hugh who married Janet Muir and lived in Dundonald and then Kilwinning, but who died in about 1848. He’s in the 1841 census but only his widow and children are in the 1851 census and again in 1861. Then Ancestry gave a suggestion for his widow in the 1880 USA census so I had a look – and there she was, with two of her sons, in California.

They were living in Judsonville, Contra Costa County. According to Wikipedia, Judsonville is now a ghost town but used to be a town serving nearby coal mines. There’s information about it on the web, as it’s now become a coal mining preserve – http://www.ebparks.org/parks/black_diamond

According to the web site, “From the 1860s through the turn of the last century, five coal mining towns thrived in the Black Diamond area: Nortonville, Somersville, Stewartville, West Hartley and Judsonville. As the location of California’s largest coal mining operation, nearly four million tons of coal (“black diamonds”) were removed from the earth. The residents of the mining towns were from all over the world, and their life was characterized by hard work and long hours. Occasional celebrations and a variety of organizations and social activities served to alleviate the drudgery of daily existence. The coal mines had a significant impact on California’s economy. By the time operations ceased due to rising production costs and the exploitation of new energy sources, much of California’s economy had been transformed from a rural to an industrial base.”

So far I’ve no idea when they migrated or where they were after the 1880 census but I’m about to try and find out. It’s amazing where family history takes you, and what it teaches you about the world and its history.