James McGurk Connections

I recently told a news story about two Blantyre miners who died in a pitfall accident in 1901. Henry Tennant and James McGurk. You can read it here http://blantyreproject.com/2013/08/22/im-away-then/

I was emailed by Mr Patrick Whelan who said,

“Dear Mr.Veverka,
In the process of doing some ancestry research I came upon the article on your website about the tragic mining death of James McGurk in 1901 .  In the census of 1901 I note a James McGurk , wife Mary and children Patrick , James and Mary Ann and they lived at 56 Merrys Rows .  I am exploring that his wife Mary McGurk may possibly have been my greatgrandfather’s sister ; I have much additional information , but if they are connected to me James’ full name would have been James Aloysius McGurk , Mary’s maiden name was Mary Ann Finn born Dec. 2nd 1871 in Ballybay, Co.Monaghan, Ireland. I am hoping they may have some descendants still living in Blantyre , that you might know off . Thank you so much. Patrick Whelan.”

I have now been able to research Patrick’s ancestry and concluded that he is related to the James McGurk who tragically died in 1901. Here is the connection.


I was able to email back with this response.

“Patrick, Good evening. Thanks for your email.  I’ve had time to look at your ancestry tonight and do think there’s a definite connection between yourself and James McGurk of my story, i.e the person who died in the mine accident described here http://blantyreproject.com/2013/08/22/im-away-then/

Merry’s Rows were miners houses and this ties in nicely with the person who died in the pit shaft in 1901. It also occurred after the census was taken, which again reinforces James was still alive at the time of the census.  Here’s the history i’ve found. (attached family tree).The family is the same one you describe in your message and a high probability that you’re related to the miner via your great grandfathers side. I know of a couple of families in Blantyre with your name Whelan and with some Irish ancestry. They may hopefully see the message on my website and contact you. I’ll post it here https://www.facebook.com/TheBlantyreProject  Thanks for contacting me. I wish you luck with this and great to see a living descendant connected to one of my featured stories. Paul Veverka”

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  1. My own family of McGurk’s came from the area. My Great Grandfather was Bernard McGurk and his Father was Patrick. He married my Great Grandmother Mary Kane in St. Joseph’s, Blantyre and I think they lived in Baird’s Rows? Also my Great Grandparent’s on my Dad’s Early side were married in the same Church a year later. All moved to Lochore and Glencraig in the Fife coalfields around 1905/10.

    There are loads of families living in Benarty area of Fife who come from Blantyre at some stage around the start of the Century. Most of my community in Ballingry, Lochore, Crosshill and Glencraig are ancestors of this mass migration from Blantyre, Hamilton and the Lanarkshire area.

    Gary Early

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