Tag Archives: Neilson

27 and 28 October

There’s been a very severe storm overnight, down south, but Yorkshire has escaped and we only had some heavy rain. Yesterday’s and today’s ancestors are a Neilson who might be my gggg grandfather, a Hunter from Ayrshire who may, or may not, have been the wife of Allan Sym, a Haddow ancestor who probably died young, a Strachan who migrated to USA and settled in Braceville, and a Strachan descendant who married her cousin and migrated to USA and lived in Oliphant.

28 October 1744
Walter Neilson, who I think could have been my gggg grandfather, was baptised at Govan, son of Walter Neilson and Mary Berrie. There is a marriage for Walter Neilson and Agnes Hadden at Glasgow in 1765 and they had 10 children between 1766 and 1790, all born in Govan or Gorbals except, intriguingly, one born in 1780 in Irvine – which means the family may have met the Strachans in Ayrshire before the Strachans moved to Gorbals. There are several deaths in the Gorbals OPR for a Walter Neilson of about the right age between 1835 and 1848 and it’s impossible to know which, if any, is the correct one. His daughter Agnes Neilson, born in 1771, married John Strachan.

27 October 1777
Birth of my gggg aunt Ann Hunter at Stevenston, Ayrshire, aughter of John Hunter and Margaret Barr. I suspect she is the Ann Hunter who married Allan Sym (or Sim or Syme) in Stevenston in 1805. They had 6 children baptised in Stevenston, Ayr, St Quivox and the Stevenston again, between 1805 and 1816. In the 1819 Minister’s Census of Stevenston there is an Alan Sim collier with wife Ann Hunter at Townhead, with 7 children, though they are not in 1822 census. The 1841 census has Ann Syme age 60 living at Doura, Kilwinning with Allan Syme age 20 and what looks like 3 lodgers (ages were rounded down in 1841 census), and again at Doura in 1851 age 74, pauper coal miner’s wife born Stevenston, with a grandson. There is a death for Ann Syme age 84 at Irvine in 1861, widow of a coal miner: the informant is her daughter Ann McIntyre who has given the name William Hunter as Ann Syme nee Hunter’s father, and no name for the mother. But although there were two William Hunters having children at about the right time in Stevenston, there is no record of a daughter Ann. I can’t help wondering if the father’s name on Ann Syme nee Hunter’s death certificate is a mistake, especially given that Ann Syme’s eldest daughter was named Margaret, the name of “my” Ann Hunter’s mother. The William Hunters in Stevenston had wives called Jane or Mary, and Ann Syme nee Hunter didn’t call any of her daughters Jane or Mary. So it’s possible, but not proven, that Ann Syme, is “my” Ann Hunter.

28 October 1825
Birth of my gg aunt Jane Wilson Haddow at Stevenston, daughter of coal miner John Haddow and Amelia Murphie. I suspect she died young, as there was another daughter called Wilson and another called Jean, and Jane Wilson Haddow is not with her parents in 1841. A lot of trees on Ancestry have her as married to Joseph Strachan but she wasn’t: Joseph’s wife was her younger sister Jean Haddow born in about 1834.

28 October 1857
Birth of Jean Strachan at Dreghorn, daughter of John Strachan and Margaret Lambie and granddaughter of gggg uncle Robert Strachan and Jean Kelly. She is with her parents in Dreghorn in 1861 and 1871, and by age 13 was earning her keep as a bonnet knitter. She married coal miner Samuel Miller in Dreghorn in December 1874 and they are in the 1881 census at Kirkland Row, Dreghorn with a baby daughter. Later that year they migrated to USA and settled in Coal City, Braceville, Illinois. Samuel Miller died there in 1894, and Jean is in the 1900 census, which says she has had 8 children, 6 living. 5 of her children are still at gome, the eldest a teach and the rest at school, and Jean is working as a school janitor. She has two daughters with her in 1910, one a teacher. Her teach daughter is still with her in 1930, but in Jean Miller is still at the same house on South Broadway, Coal City, age 81 and on her own. She died in May 1942 and was buried at Braceville.

27 October 1889 (born about 1876)
Agnes Leggat was born in 1876 at Kilmarnock, Ayrshire according to her census entries, the daughter of William Leggat and Susan Strachan Holland, and was a great granddaughter of gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe. Her parents moved to Greenock, Renfrewshire not long after Anges’s birth, as the family is there in 1881 and 1891: Agnes’s father was a railway car inspector. Her mother died in 1898, and in 1899 Agnes married coal miner Robert Muir, the son of her mother’s sister Mary Holland. They had a civil wedding as they were married by declaration in Greenock Registry Office by Warrant of the Sheriff. Robert Muir had already spent some years in USA, and in December 1906 he, Agnes and their 2 children sailed to New York. Robert Holland Muir was naturalised in 1915, and his papers list wife Agnes born in Kilmarnock. Agnes is with her husband and children in Oliphant, Pennsylvania in 1920, 1930 and 1940: she had 5 children but 2 did not survive childhood.

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.

13 October

A Neilson ancestor who has so far proved impossible to trace beyond birth with any certainty, and a Haggerty ancestor who migrated to the USA and living in Indiana.

13 October 1775
Birth of my gggg uncle Robert Neilson at Gorbals, Lanarkshire, son of Walter Neilson and Agnes Hadden and sister of Agnes Neilson who married John Strachan. Difficult to know which subsequent Robert Neilson he was: he could be the Robert Neilson who married Catherine Nisbet and had children baptised in Gorbals, Govan and then Cathcart but that one is in the census and was a hand loom weaver so I’m not entirely convinced.

13 October 1844
Birth of James Haggerty at Dundonald, Ayrshire, son of my ggg uncle High Haggerty and Janet Muir. His father died in about 1849 and in 1851 James, age 6, is at Boat Stabs, Dundonald, with his widowed grandmother Anne Muir, his widowed mother Janet Haggerty, his 3 siblings and his aunt Ann Muir. By 1861 he has become a coal miner and is at Bensley Square, Kilwinning, with his mother, grandmother and siblings. In 1871 he’s still at Bensley Square but is a lodger with the Finner household. In 1872 James Haggerty married Janet Maxwell at Kilwinning, and they had 2 children born in Kilwinning before they migrated to the USA. In the 1900 US census James Haggerty age 55, widower with “no occupation too old” is living with his coal miner son in law and daughter, John and Jeannie Blanchard, at Dick Johnson Township, Indiana. There is a death for James Haggerty age 74 at Terre Haute, Indiana, which is where his sister Jean Shirkie nee Haggerty lived.

3 and 4 October

First of all, happy birthday yesterday to cousin Colin in Canada, a wonderful supporter of this blog. Hope you had a lovely day, Colin. The 3rd and 4th were busy, with four births back in the 1700s, a coal miner Strachan from Kilwinning, and a Strachan coal miner descendent who went to Pennsylvania. Finally, there’s the tragic coincidence of two deaths on the same day in WW1, one an Aberdeenshire relative and one a Yorkshire relative, both remembered at the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belguim which commemorates the dead of Ypres.

3 October 1714
Baptism of Water Neilson at Hamilton, Lanarkshire, son of Walter Neilson and Elizabeth Roxburgh. There is not evidence to prove it, but this might be my ggggg grandfather who married Mary Berrie at Govan and was the grandfather of Agnes Neilson who married John Strachan in 1794.

3 October 1742
Birth of my ggggg aunt Martha Weir at Mauchline, Ayrshire, daughter of William Weir, mother unknown, and sister of Sarah Weir who married James Logan and was the mother of Agnes Logan who married Robert Marshall. I cannot find a marriage for a Martha Weir, but there were children baptised in Ayrshire with father William Lockhart and mother Martha Weir in 1774 at Coylton, 1778 at Riccarton and 1783 at Kilmarnock. Given the locations and a family on the move, it’s quite possible that William Lockhart was was a coal miner. It’d also more than likely that this couple had more than three children but the others went unrecorded.

4 October 1744
Birth of my gggg grandfather James Logan at Kilmarnock, son of Robert Logan and Ann Wilson – at least I think this is the correct James. Unfortunately little can be found about him in the records, but James Logan and Sarah Weir had 10 children baptised in Kilmarnock from 1768 to 1789, including my ggg grandmother Agnes Logan who married Robert Marshall. I suspect it is the birth of the correct James as he named his eldest son Robert, which fits the Scottish naming pattern. According to the death certificate of his daughter Agnes he was a shoemaker.

4 October 1777
Birth of my ggggg aunt Helen Watt at Bourtie, Aberdeenshire, daughter of John Watt and Helen Davidson. Unfortunately I can’t find anything in the records that looks as if it could be her.

3 October 1856
Birth of my half gg uncle Thomas Strachan, son my gg grandfather Robert Strachan and his second wife Susan Cran. He’s at Kenneth’s Row, Kilwinning with his family in 1861 and 1871, and by the latter census has already started working at the coal mine. His father died in 1877 and in 1881 Thomas, age 24 and a coal miner, is still at Kenneth’s Row with his widowed mother, a brother, and some relatives. He married Mary McLaughlan in November 1881 at Kilwinning – they were in Dreghorn when their eldest son was born but moved back to Kilwinning shortly after. In both 1891 and 1901 they’re at Corsehill, Kilwinning, Thomas a coal miner and with a growing family. Thomas’s wife Mary died some time after 1901 and Thomas himself died in July 1911 at Kyleswell Street, Kilwinning, of brochial asthma and cardiac weakness: the informant was his brother Robert.

4 October 1871
Birth of Robert Holland Muir at Blythe, Tynemouth, Northumberland, son of John Muir and mary Holland. His parents were related as his father was the son of Andrew Muir and Elizabeth Strachan and his mother was daughter of Robert Armour Holland and Agnes Strachan. My gggg uncle Peter Strachan and Mary Monroe were therefore Robert’s great grandparents twice over. What appears to be his family migrated to Canada in 1886 as they are on a passenger list, and there is a Robert age 14. However, it seems that Robert returned to Scotland, and there is a Robert Muir age 21 and a miner on a passenger list from New York to Scotland in 1890 (though Robert would have been 19, not 21). He married in Scotland to Agnes Leggat and had two daughters, Susan and Mary, born in Scotland, then he and his family migrated to the USA in December 1906. Robert and his family can be followed in the USA census: they lived in Dunmore and then Oliphant, Pennsylvania and had a total of 5 children, 3 of whom survived to adulthood.

4 October 1917 (born 1889)
David Ewan Michael was born in 1889 at Boddom, Aberdeenshire, son of my gg aunt Mary Ann Fraser and David Ewan Michael. His father was a granite quarryman and the family were in Wickersgill, Westmorland, England in 1901. David is not with his parents in 1911, at age 21. He married Margaret Leiper and enlisted with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers when war broke out. He was killed in action on 4 October 1917 in Belguim and is remembered at the Tyne Cot Memorial.

4 October 1917 (born 1888)
Lewis Wilson Burton was born in Thornes, near Wakefield, Yorkshire, son of James Burton and Sarah Ann Wilson and grandson of my ggg aunt Mary Green and Joseph Wilson. By 1911 he was working as a trimmer at a coal mine at Sandal, Wakefield. He enlisted with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and, like David Micheal (above) was killed in action on 4 October 1917 and is remembered at the Tyne Cot Memorial.

4 October 1936
Birth of my cousin and blog follower Colin Strachan Harper at Toronto, Canada son of William Harper and my aunt Jeannie Haddow Strachan. Colin is married to Jean, has three daughters and is retired.

On 24 July

Two early ancestors who have proved difficult to trace, and a Watt ancestor from Aberdeenshire who sadly spent the last few years of his life in the Aberdeen Lunatic Asylum.

24 July 1766
Birth of my gggg uncle Walter Neilson in Govan, Lanarkshire son of Walter Neilson and Agnes Hadden and brother of my ggg grandmother Agnes Neilson. There is a marriage in 1786 at Gorbals of Walter Neilson coal miner and Jane Shiels, and baptisms of 8 children to them from 1787 to 1806 in Gorbals and Govan, with the youngest child baptised in Barony, Lanarkshire. Nothing further found, and he must have died before the 1841 census.

23 July 1797
Birth of my ggg aunt Agnes Strachan at Gorbals, Lanarkshire, daughter of John Strachan and Agnes Neilson. Her birth entry in the OPR says her father John Strachan is a “coll huer”. I have no idea whether she survived childhood or not as I’ve not been able to find anything further for her. Her parents moved around quite a lot during the years when she’d have been a child, but were back in Ayrshire by the time she’s reached her mid teens.
(Check on the Robert and Agnes Kerr who had Agnes Kerr in 1831 and are in the census)

24 July 1810
Birth of my gggg uncle George Watt at Udny, Aberdeenshire son of Peter Watt and Helen Alexander. In the 1841 census he is a farm servant, and he married Ann Kenn at Rayne, later that year. In 1851 they at Garmond, Monquhitter, George and agricultural labourer, with 4 children and their birthplaces indicate they’d moved from farm to farm. In 1861, however, George is at Tarves with his brother James and wife Ann and 5 children are at Monquhitter. Something then clearly happened as in 1871 George Watt age 61, farm servant of Tarves, is a patient in the Royal Lunatic Asylum of Aberdeen. His wife Ann is still at Garmond, Monquhitter, a stocking knitter with 2 children and 2 grandchildren living with her. George Watt died on 13 April 1872 at the Royal Lunatic Asylum of smallpox. His death certificate confirms he was the son of Peter Watt crofter and Helen Alexander.

On 20 June

In Canada and Aberdeenshire, relations are celebrating their birthdays. Plus an early, disappearing ancestor, a illegitimate birth with paternity confirmed by the Sheriff’s Court, yet another Ayrshire coal mining Strachan.

20 June 1790
Jane Neilson, my gggg aunt, was baptised at Gorbals. daughter of Walter Neilson and Agnes Hadden. Unfortunately that’s all I know about her as nothing else can be found in the records.

20 June 1872
Birth of Jane (Jeanie) Fraser at Mosside Croft, Cruden, Aberdeenshire, illegitimate daughter of my ggg aunt Janet (Jessie) Fraser and William Simpson. There is a corrected entry for Jane’s birth as her mother Jessie went to the Sheriff’s Court to get William Simpson, a shoemaker of Peterhead, acknowledged as the father. In 1881 Jeanie, age 9, is with her mother as a boarder at Braeside, Longside where her mother was a domestic maid for farmer William Low and his family. In 1889 Jeanie married farm servant James Milne – her marriage certificate has her parents as James Simpson shoemaker and Jessie Simpson ms Fraser, which isn’t quite the truth. In 1891 James, a labourer, Jeanie and her mother Jessie Fraser are at Damhead, Peterhead. Jeanie gave birth to her only child James not long afterwards, and in 1901 the family are at West Gask, Cruden, where her husband is a ploughman. 1911 saw the family at Bruce Street, Peterhead with James working as a mason’s labourer. Jeanie’s mother Jessie has rejoined them and is a storekeeper, and Jeanie’s son James age 19 is a grocery shop assistant. They also have two boarders living with them.

20 June 1896 (born about 1845)
John Strachan, son of my ggg uncle Munro Strachan and Janet Jamieson, was born about 1845 in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, but there’s no baptism record. He’s with his parents and siblings at McReadie’s Land, Dreghorn in 1851, and his father is a pauper formerly a coal miner, so was disabled and receiving parish relief. His father died in 1854 and his mother remarried to William Young. In 1861 John age 15, now a coal miner, is at Warwickhill Hamlet, Dreghorn, with his mother, stepfather and siblings and half siblings. John married Agnes Scott in Irvine in 1864, and by 1871 they were at West Thornton Back Row, Dreghorn with 3 children and 2 of Agnes’s brother, John and his brothers-in-law all coal miners. In 1881 they have moved to Corsehill Square, Dreghorn and have 6 children, and they are still there in 1891 with 3 more children. John Strachan died in 1896 of erysipelas (skin infection).

20 June 1963
There’s a birthday today up in Aberdeenshire for my cousin once removed (i.e. my cousin’s daughter), great granddaughter of Henry Strachan and Helen McCrae.

20 June 1991
There’s also a birthday today in Canada – happy birthday Travis, who is my cousin twice removed (i.e. my cousin’s grandson). Travis is the great great grandson of Henry Strachan and Helen McCrae.

On 24 April

The beauty of doing this every day is you never know what you’re going to find. Today I was reminded that I haven’t done enough research into my Neilson ancestors, plus I found a rarity – a male Strachan born in the 1800s who wasn’t a coal miner.

24 April 1804
Baptism at Govan, Renfrewshire of Agnes Neilson, niece of the Agnes Neilson who married my ggg grandfather John Strachan. The Agnes born in 1804 was the daughter of John Neilson and Catherine Spiers. I haven’t researched her apart from trying to find a marriage, but there were a lot of women called Agnes Neilson getting married at the right time in both Lanarkshire and Ayrshire and I haven’t yet worked out which could have been her.

24 April 1862
Andrew Strachan was born in Dreghorn, Ayrshire, son of Samuel Strachan and Margaret Sampson Reid Jamieson and therefore nephew of my gg grandfather, and one of the few Strachan sons not to go down the mines. Andrew was in Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire by 1881, working as a draper’s assistant for his sister’s husband. He married Annie Terris in 1886 at West Calder, Midlothian, and by 1891 was living in Leith, Midlothian, with children born in Glasgow and Ayr, and was working as a clothier’s salesman. The family then moved to Cowdenbeath, Fifeshire where Andrew was a draper. He died in 1944 at Leith, at the age of 82.

24 April 1976
A cousin’s granddaughter was born at North Shields, Tyneside.