Jackson – Gardiner – Gemmell Ancestry


Bev Smith in Australia sent me this message, “The people I am trying to learn more about are Thomas Gemmell and Agness Jackson.  I prefer Agness to Agnes, as it was written that way in an old family Bible.  She was born or baptised 3.3.1800 in Blantyre. Agness’s parents were Robert Jackson & Janet Gardiner. There are many Roberts, and I cant find which father is his.
Thomas & Agness are my 3x great grandparents.  Perhaps this does not fit your criteria, as you asked for grandparents of mine.

I live in South Australia, where my gggrandmother emigrated  in 1855.  She was Jane Brooker nee Gemmell. Her parents moved to Cheshire during the 1840s, and I believe her father may have left Lanarkshire under a cloud. Possibly disputes with the Jacksons of the times. We thought the Gemmell name was of substance, but have found the Jacksons to be even more interesting; we suspect that Thomas enjoyed the benefits his wife brought to the marriage. I don’t expect much, but just that these people do seem to be connected to Blantyre; and definitely to Auchinraith. Thomas Gemmell is the son of John Gemmell and Jean Hamilton, as far as I know.    What a mess!  If you can point us in a direction, that would be of use.  Am learning heaps from your website, about the ancience of Blantyre, too. Thanks for reading it at least.  Bev Smith, South Australia.”

To understand this ancestry request, I had to map it out, as attached. The Blantyre connections here are early on. Janet Gardiner looks to be the Janet Gardiner of Broompark Farm who married Robert Jackson, a relation of the Jacksons of Bardykes. Their daughter Agnes did indeed marry Cambuslang man Thomas Gemmell in 1822 and their family started a year later in 1823 with the arrival of Janet Gemmell. Jane was born in 1825, Agness (note the spelling) in 1827, Isabelle in 1829, John in 1832, Margaret in 1832, and finally Mary in 1841. Mary was born in Blantyre confirming the Gemmells were still there living in Stonefield according to the census that year. Thomas Gemmell was a farmer at Stonefield (most likely either at Wheatlandhead or Stonefield Farm).

As Bev pointed out, the family moved to Cheshire which I suspect was between 1842 and 1847. Despite the suggestion this may have been under bad terms, I was unable to find any clue as to what forced their move. When they had moved to Cheshire, only Janet the eldest daughter, Agnes and their youngest daughter Mary went with Thomas. Tragedy befelll upon them in 1847 when Agnes Gemmell died young at 47 years old, leaving Thomas alone in Cheshire with 6 year old Mary.  Thomas remarried again very quickly for in 1851 he was living and married to Ann, an English woman born in 1814, whom he would go on to have 2 children with, Elizabeth in 1855 and Ann in 1856. Thomas lived a long life and died aged 86 in 1881 in Cheshire. (Eldest daughter Janet would later marry Joseph Smith and they had one child, Elizabeth, the great grandmother of Dill Westerman Childs who gave me this piece of information)

Now jumping back to Jane, (who was actually born Jean) on 7th July 1825. Her father left Blantyre with her mother and sister when she was only 16 or 17 years of age. It is unknown where she went between 1847 and 1851. She lost her mother when she was just 22. Her family and step family absent in England, may have been the prompt she needed to start a new life and move away from the UK entirely, overseas to Australia. The date of her emigration in 1855 looks very close to the death of her Blantyre grandparents, who perhaps left her something in their will, as both Gardiner and Jacksons families were certainly fairly well off. She lived until she was 80, passing away in Australia.


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  1. Mrs Jane Whittaker

    Hello Bev, Thomas and Agness were my 4X great grandparents. I am descended from their eldest daughter Janet who moved with her mother, father and youngest sister Mary to North Rode, just outside of Macclesfield Cheshire (I live about 14 miles away from where they settled). Janet had 8 children including my great great grandmother Isabella Smith. The family here knew nothing as to why Thomas and Agness moved all of the way to Cheshire, though when my great aunt Grace (Isabella’s daughter) traced the family tree back to Blantyre in the 1940s was warned off from pursuing the matter any further because the (Jackson) estate was intestate at that time!

    There was a memory passed down of your ancestor Jean/Jane and her emigration to Australia. But, from what we can gather there was a rift between Thomas and his daughter Janet, possibly when he remarried after her mother’s death, we presume that the other children may have drifted away from him as well. Janet married a white smith, called William Smith on 4th December 1840.

    Her mother Agness passed away from consumption on 27th April 1847 in North Rode, Thomas’ occupation was given as being a bailiffe.

    Janet’s daughter Isabella married my Great, great grandfather Ellis John Williams in 1886, he was a weaver in a textile mill.

    I hope this helps with your family tree research

    Jane Whittaker

  2. Hi Bev
    A great great grandfather of mine James Taylor come from Leith to live in Wilmslow Cheshire . He married a lady Agnes Gemmel the daughter of Thomas Gemmel .James had a brother Peter who farmed in the Edinburgh area. He also worked as A land valuer in the area . May be your dispute was concerned with land values and he was the valuer ?
    Regards Peter Taylor

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