Burns – O Donnell Ancestry

Evelyn Sozio wrote to me, “You posted an article on Ulva Place and Rosebank Ave. My mum and her family also lived on Rosebank Ave,but not able to know the exact address. In you article you mentioned the Burns family rented at the time. My maternal great grandparents were Edward Burns born 1876 died 23/02/1958 and Margaret nee O’Donnell Burns born 1878 died 20/021945. My grandparents were James Murphy and Alice Burns Murphy. Children Margaret Ann (nan) and Mary Murphy. would love any information you can provide as to my family’s ancestry.My great grandparents are buried in High Blantyre Cemetery along with my grandfather and my mother and dad Margaret & Samuel Faulds and my Aunt and Uncle John and Ann McInally. trying to pass along our ancestry to the next generations so that the stories live on.”

There’s a lot of great information in there to get started. Here are the added notes I have.

Edward Burns was born in Blantyre to parents Francis Burns (coalminer) and Mary Cornfield. The family look to have come from Ireland to pursue work in the new coalmining industry that was springing up in Blantyre in that decade. The family were given tied cottages at Bairds Rows. By 1891, Edward’s father had passed away and his mother Mary, remarried into the Kelly family.

Edward should not be confused with another boy of the same age and name in Blantyre who was sent to board with the Connor family at Dixon Street, at Dixon’s Rows and is noted as being with the Connors in 1891, then aged only 14 or so. That Edward trained and became a baker, but our story concern coalminer Edward Burns.

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 21.15.35At the age of 19, Edward Burns, was living at 103 Baird’s Rows, Low Blantyre and employed as a coal miner, clearly making the choice to pursue the same profession and work as his father did.

He married on the 20th day of June 1896 at St Joseph’s Church, which was in the former old building before the current church was built on Glasgow Road. His sweetheart was Margaret O’ Donnell (preference Maggie), a lady a year younger who lived at the former Cross Row in Blantyre Works, in the Village. She was born in Dalziel in 1878, the year after the large Pit disaster in Blantyre and her parents were Patrick O Donnell and Agnes Craig. The place of marriage suggests Catholic heritage.

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In 1911, Edward was 33 years old and living with Maggie and their large family at Victoria Place. This was a former row of miner’s homes, often called the “Honeymoon”. It was located next to Blantyre Police Station on Victoria Street, sandwiched between the gaol and the primary school. With them were daughters Margaret (11), Alice (6) and sons Francis (9), Edward (4), James (2) and John (10 months).   All the children were born in Blantyre except the 3 youngest who were born in nearby Bothwell.

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Alice Burns was born in on 12th August 1904 at 3 Bairds Rows (also known as Craighead Rows). This is a picture her home in those early years, although by 1911, she had moved to Victoria Place.


James Murphy was born in 1905, the son of Richard Murphy (coalminer) and Annie Maloney. In 1925 he was living at Cross Rows, Blantyre. Those houses in the Village were already in the process of being emptied, and would shortly after be demolished. He was renting from William Baird, who was coincidentally also the owner of Baird’s Row’s.

When the Cross Row was demolished in the late 1920’s, James Murphy moved to 214 Glasgow Road and on the 10th June 1927, married Alice Burns. They wed at St Joseph’s Church on Glasgow Road, in the current church. Alice had been living at Mayberry Buildings prior to getting married. The building still exists today and is immediately next to St Josephs on Glasgow Road.

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Edward and Maggie Burn’s gravestone is pictured in High Blantyre Cemetery.


On social media:

John Cornfield Wee Cornfield connection in their new it as soon as I saw the start
Linda F. Smith Cornfields connected to the Burns side if the family, I believe.
John Cornfield Aye Frank n Mary
Linda F. Smith This is my family. My Gran was Alice Burns and Grandda was James Murphy. My beloved patents were Margaret (Murphy) and Samuel Faulds. Greatly appreciate your time involved to compile this information.
Bill Hunter My Geat Grandfather, Grandfather Gran and there sons and daughters all stayed in Bairds Rows. Enjoyed my sleep overs there.
Mary Watt We stayed in bairds rows bridget gilluley married to kenny kane.me. mary brothers michael jim and Kenneth. Stayed next door to mirranne cox and keith someonne connected to mcdougalls x
Liz Boxall Baird’s Rows … all I ever remember was Bears Raws!!🙈. Happy Days about all the stories of Blantir

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