Tag Archives: USA

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.

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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.