Gilfillan & Lindsay Ancestry

Matt Lindsay, who lives in the USA, emailed me in May to say, “Hello, my name is Matt Lindsay, I have a GG…Grandmother Jean Gilfillan, where the 1841 census may shows her at “Blantyre Works Cross Row”. Of course, details kind of sketchy, but I see on one of your old maps a possible Lindsay residence in the area. (she married Robert Lindsay). We live in the United States, and would like to visit Scotland some day and see old ancestral areas. Can you tell me what road this would now be at? Thank you, Matt.”

I was able to send this reply a few days later.

Hi Matt, I’ll try to answer some of your questions. The Cross Row was one of 4 rows of buildings constructed at the bottom of Station Road by the Blantyre Works Mill owners to provide housing for their millworkers. The building likely dates to 1815, as did nearby Waterloo Row. Waterloo Row was devastated by fire in 1928 and was demolished not long after along with Cross Row and the other associated housing prior to the David Livingstone Memorial opening in 1929.

I have looked at the census you mentioned but could not find Jean Gillfillan at Blantyre. Checking further afield, indeed I could not see her in Blantyre at all on any census. You mentioned details may be sketchy, but I have managed to find Jean Gilfillan and Robert Lindsay and also managed to find some US connections to them.
However, I have had some success in tracking the family down. I have attached photos of Jean Gilfillan and Robert Lindsay. The photos appear to have been taken at the same time. I would suggest the photos were taken in the 1870s or 1880s.
Jean Gilfillan was born in 1811 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire. She married Robert Lindsay on November 18, 1831, in Glasgow, Lanarkshire. She had four children by the time she was 26. In 1841, the family was living at Townhead in Avondale Parish and Jean had an occupation of being a weaver. Her third child, Henry Hussay Lindsay later in life moved to the USA but died young on 10th September 1872 in Kansas. He may have moved out with the entire family, although in 1851, they lived near to Blantyre at Rutherglen. Now, work was plentiful in the Blantyre mills in the early to mid 19th Century, so it’s not to say the family did work there. They could have easily have lived at Cross Row for a short time and people employed by mills tended to follow where the work was.
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I have attached a family tree drafted out to show the link to US connections. Henry’s son would move out to California and it would appear, he enjoyed some success and hopefully you will recognise some of the people at the bottom of this ancestry snapshot. Unfortunately, as you can gather from above, I cannot find a Blantyre connection and i think there is much stronger ancestral roots to Avondale and Rutherglen. Strangely, I cannot see Jean or Robert in the 1861 census and wondered if they moved out to the USA, as both of them would still have been fairly young at 50 years old or so. The photos below suggest American fashions, rather than Victorian, so I suspect that sometime after 1851, the Lindsay family moved lock stock and barrel, to America.
I hope this is of interest. Matt, if you do find a Blantyre connection from a confirmed source, I would be most happy to show you around Blantyre when you visit Scotland. All the best.Paul.

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