McGuire’s Link to Livingstone

Paul McGuire wrote to me saying, “I’m looking for information on my father’s family. John (Jack) McGuire, born December 16, 1916 in Blantyre, sergeant in the Scots Guards, moved to London in the 1930’s. Father Edward. Brothers Edward junior and James nick named “Happy” & Sister Kathleen. His mother’s maiden name was Elizabeth Hunter who may have been related to David Livingston’s mother (or so goes the family legend). Edward junior’s twin sons were Brian and Eamonn born around 1956 and daughter Helen born around 1954.”

Wishing to test the claim to link Livingstone’s family (who married into Hunter family), I decided to focus on the the maternal name of Hunter. Here is what I found.John

Elizabeth Hunter was born in 1892, the daughter of James Hunter, a coalminer and Ellen Rodgers. The family lived at Auchinraith at 84 Merry’s Rows, James being employed as a coalminer for Merry & Cunninghame (coalmasters). By 15th November 1919, when Elizabeth married, her father had died, and her mother married again into the Lees family.

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Elizabeth married in Glasgow to Edward McGuire (b1897) who lived at 36 Bute Terrace, Blantyre (an unknown address today). John Jack McGuire may have been born out of wedlock, during the WW1 years, perhaps whilst Edward was on war leave, but certainly he looks to have been born 3 years or so before the couple got round to marrying.

Going back a generation Elizabeth’s father James Hunter (b1862) had married Ellen (b1864) or Helen Rodgers on 21st October 1884 at Cross Row, Blantyre Works! We find a link to the Village here where we know relatives of Livingstone habited. Helen was a weaver working at the cotton mills.

Sticking with the Hunter name, James’s father was John Hunter and mother Jane Dunsmuir, although by 1884 John Hunter had died.

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Back another generation, John Hunter was born on 20th September 1841 to David Hunter and Jean Dunlop.

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David Hunter was the son of David Hunter, the maternal grandfather of David Livingstone. The link to Livingstone is proven!

He was a tailor who had a shop in the Wages Building at Blantyre Works. Livingstone’s father, Neil was apprenticed to David Hunter but was never an employee of the Blantyre Mills Company. Neil Livingstone married Hunter’s daughter, Agnes in 1810. David Hunter was born the son of a crofter in the Parish of Shots. Janet Livingstone (David’s sister) would later after his death state that David Hunter was a tailor who earned 4d. per day plus his food. According to family tales told around the fireplace in the Shuttle Row, it was said David Hunter was the only person in the Parish of Shotts at the time who could write! David Hunter learned his father’s trade and he married Janet Moffat. They owned a cottage and a croft in the Parish of Airdrie. He fell on hard times after his wife’s death when in Janet’s own words, “A great dearth happened within the Parish and my grandfather, who was of a gentle nature, trusted meal and corn to many who failed to pay him.” Hunter’s 15-year old daughter Agnes, nursed her mother throughout her illness until her death. After the failure of her father’s business, she moved with him to Blantyre Works. Hunter started a tailoring enterprise and opened a shop that was located in the Wages Building, part of which still stands today adjacent to the David Livingstone Memorial Bridge. The building is now listed. Agnes kept house for her father and assisted him by embroidering the garments that he produced. She died on 18th June 1865, just 10 days after her son David had returned to Africa, after his last visit home. David Hunter, like his father was very religious and died in 1834 and was buried in the old kirkyard at Kirkton, High Blantyre.


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  1. Greg McGuire from Sydney Australia here. I am also therefore linked to…….
    David Livingston I presume.

  2. My uncle James was happy mcguire ,,his brother’s were Jack nd my father was Edward I’m sure this is the family you ‘re on about ,,

    1. Yes indeed it is, James. My Father was Jack, also known as John. I remember
      my uncle Edward very well, I used to play with Helen and Mary when I visited
      Blantyre as a child.

      Kathy Rowe (nee McGuire)

      My email address is

      1. That’s my big sisters… I will pass this on to them it’s always good to hear from old friends..

  3. Dear Paul, many thanks for your response. I am very grateful to you for taking the time to pursue the actual relationship that we have with Dr.Livingstone. Please don’t burn the midnight oil too much I am just very happy that you are disposed to pursuing it for us.
    Yours sincerely,

  4. Hello Paul, the Paul McGuire who made this initial enquiry is my brother. He had not mentzioned this to me,I came across this wonderful site by accident. A connection to Dr.Livingstone was mentioned to me a few times as a child on my regular visits from London to Blantyre during the school holidays during the 50’s and early 60’s. I would love going up the bing,with my cousins. I also remember being sent out for fish suppers and the tally man. I could also have remembered most of the pub names in Blantyre at one time as my siblings and I were often outside nursing some pop and a packet of crisps. I also remember meeting my Aunty Kathy as she was coming out from work at Simplicity Patterns ! I would like to thank you so very much for your hard work in confirming the family legend,I ŵould not have had a clue on how to begin. What a kind person you are,I hope Blantyre recognises that. Would you be kind enough to confirm the exact relationship that Ihave to Dr.Livingstone please ? Yours sincerely, Kathy

    1. Kathy – thank you for your kind words. Blantyre has indeed been good to me and there’s lots left to write about. Many more books planned, each larger and better. Only new, fresh daily content here too. I was dreading in case Paul asked the relationship he has to Livingstone. It would take a bit to work out and I’ll need to get back to you about that! Have a good weekend. Paul V

      1. Hello Paul, so sorry to bother you butI was wondering if you ever had time to research my McGuire family connection to David Livingstone ?
        I am booking a holiday to see the Victoria Falls and staying at the Royal Livingstone Hotel so I would love to know.
        Just to confirm my e-mail address mail address is
        Of course I would be most happy to make a donation to your Blantyre Project.
        Yours sincerely, Kathy

        1. Hi Kathy, I do recall looking at this and I managed to prove a link from the McGuires direct to Livingstone family. I posted some time ago here Hope this helps Enjoy your holiday.

          1. Could you possible give me some information on Edward mcguire the brother of James I think you mentioned him as Edward junior he died when I was young and never knew much about family history having been brought up in children’s homes in England be really cool to know, I heard he served in the war..?

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