On 29th December 2013, Blantyre man Gary Campbell messaged me looking for some assistance with his ancestry. Gary wrote “Hi Paul. My Grandad was born 28/8/1920 in Glasgow. His brothers were Peter 28/6/1904, Robert 1/4/18 and James 18/12/1914. He also had 6 sisters. When his mother died in 1925 he and his brothers were brought to Blantyre. We don’t know much more than that at the moment. I know you are really busy so please don’t spend time on this. Was just curious if you knew where we could start searching as you’re Mr Blantyre.”
Well, being called Mr Blantyre for the first time, i thought i’d better put some research in, to get Gary an answer. Here is my reply to him shortly after where thankfully, a fair amount of information was available about Gary’s ancestors.
“Gary, I haven’t even started investigating your grandfather/Blantyre side yet, as i got too engrossed in your well documented and very interesting grandmothers side of the family! So, here’s some interesting details about your ancestors which hopefully will spark your interest in finding out more. Ancestry.co.uk does have a lot of other leads about this side of the family and i will send a direct invite to the documented tree i’ve prepared, permitting you edit access so you can continue to build up facts. You should be able to view it for free on their site in a few days or so. I’ve even found some old photos, marriage certificates, birth and death registers which you’re free to copy. I’m only too happy to have helped. You have confirmed already on Facebook that i had the correct starting point, so i’m very 99% confident this is your line. The site will have hi resolution larger images of anything i’ve noted below.
I’ve managed to get as far back as 1783 where your grandmother’s family tree starts being documented. It begins with a love story between your great, great, great, great grandmother Catherine Christie and great, great, great, great grandfather Paul McPherson. Paul was born in 1793 in the Highlands of Scotland (Banff) and Catherine was 7 years younger from the same area. The area is still famous for Glenlivet whiskey. These 2 people turned out to be quite remarkable! Paul joined the army Enlisted 30 Jun 1804 in 2nd Battalion 78th Regiment of Foot he served with the regiment at Maida Italy on 4th Jul 1806 and was wounded. He was captured on 21st April 1807 at El Hamet Egypt and was imprisoned at Cairo till Sept 1807 and invalided out of the army on 24st March1808 due to an arm wound received at El Hamet. He was Five feet & and half inches in height with Brown eyes Brown Hair and of a Fair Complexion. See Ken Nisbet’s book for a history of the battalion. On his return to Scotland, he found love with Catherine and they got married when Paul was 40. They quickly had 8 children. However, the marriage didn’t last and Paul went on to marry another 2 women, once when he was 67 and finally again at 75, and interestingly died a week later! Catherine proved very interesting too, living to an incredible 105 years old (thats genes you want to have!)(Kate, which was a huge talking point in the local press who commented in her obituary “Glenlivet people resident in many lands and acquaintances in general over a wide area, will be read with feelings of some emotion, the intelligence of the death on Saturday last, at Newton of Scalan where she resided of the past sixty years, of widow Catharine Macpherson or ‘Old Katie’ the familiar appellation by which she was best and most widely known during the past thirty years at least, of her very long life. Although her exact age has not been definitely ascertained, from the fact of her marriage to the late Paul Macpherson pensioner (a veteran soldier who fought and bled for his country in the Peninsula being present at Corunna under that illustrious Scotchman Sir John Moore) having been consummated at the Old Catholic Chapel of Kynakyle long since removed to Tombae, in this Glen, some eighty years ago, as well as from other evidence of a like nature corroborative nature which could be adduced in support of the fact, we think it can be conclusively, proved that the subject of this short notice must at all events be a centenarian, and a great many would have it to be she is much older even that that. By her demise, however, the oldest inhabitant hereby for a good many years has now been removed, and the eventful changes that have occurred in the Braes during her lengthened tenure of existence as they were recorded in a special article in this paper from her own recollection to them, some two years since, are truly many and remarkable indeed. Deceased was ever a healthy, hardy type of woman, and of a cheerful and easily minded disposition. She retained all her faculties almost unimpaired in a wonderful degree up to nearly a year or so ago when signs of dissolution at length set in. She bore a large family of sons and daughters, and her numerous descendants to the fifth generation are spread far and wide over various portions of the habitable globe. Her remains were laid to rest beside those of her late husband in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Chapeltown on Tuesday.”
Of Paul and Catherine’s 8 children, their eldest boy John McPherson was born in 1829. This is him below:
John is your great, great, great grandfather. He lived in Towie, Aberdeenshire all his life. When he was 22 , he married local girl Elizabeth Gauld. John lived until he was 78 and Elizabeth until 81. Together, they had 6 children. The third eldest boy was born in 1856 and they called him James McPherson. James was your great, great grandfather.
It’s here your history gets a little closer to your current location. James moved down to Glasgow and married Arisaig, girl Annie McDonald when he was 22. They lived at 130 Govan Road, Glasgow although moved home a couple of times. He died in 1933 at age 77. He outlived Annie by only 6 months. During their 55 year marriage they had 10 children!!
Catherine (Kate) McPherson was born to James and Annie at 119 Henderson Street, Glasgow on 1st may 1886. She was a Glasgow biscuit factory worker and married Alfred Rawson in 1903. Here is their birth certificate:
Alfred was defended from a large Yorkshire family, so you definitely have English heritage too although it would appear Alfred himself was a Scot. One of Catherine and Alfred’s children, was your grandmother which by my calculations should be Helen McPherson Brisbane Rawson. Born 22nd March 1921 at 8 Rutland Lane, Glasgow. When she was 17 she married your grandfather Richard Marshall in Springburn, Glasgow. The ancestry database shows 2 children, both girls….Jean and Helen, one of whom must be your mother and i suspect married into the “Campbell” clan!
Hope this is all interesting. I’ll look at your Blantyre side over the next day or so (i’m currently on holiday anyway). Glad to help…i always end up immersed in family histories!”