Watson – O’ Neill Ancestry

Having a look at all the outstanding Ancestry requests I have.

Michael Watson wrote to me, “I would like too find out my Blantyre ancestry by my surname Watson. My dad was Owen Watson born 28 October 1939 –  died 28th November 1972.”

Perhaps a little “modern” for me, I’m more comfortable going a generation back, so I was able to reply with the following:

HI Michael – I’m going to start off by making the bold statement that there may be a typo in your fathers date of birth. I think it was 1933 rather than 1939. I have found Owen was born on 27 October 1933 not 1939 making him 39 years old when he died in 1972. Perhaps you could clarify this? Here’s what else I have found:

Owen Watson’s father, your grandfather was William John Watson. Born on 7th February 1909 at the former Blantyre Works address of 11 Fore Row. William was the child of your grandparents William Watson (a masons labourer) and Margaret McErnhill, who married on 15th August 1906 in Ardstraw, Ireland.

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 16.20.06

William John Watson birth certificate 1909

This was a decade of great change for Blantyre Works. The mills had been significantly cleared nearby and many of the former weavers homes had now given themselves over to becoming miners homes. As a Masons labourer, William’s father would have had plenty of work nearby and perhaps was even associated with the clearing of the mill buildings.

William was working in Fife in a pit when he met Agnes.

William J Watson married Agnes Veronica O’Neill on 5 February 1932 in Buckhaven, Fife at the age of 22. Following their marriage, they moved back to Blantyre, presumably to be closer to surviving parents.

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 17.01.55

William & Agnes Marriage Certificate 1932

They couple seven children in 11 years. Your father Owen, was the 4th child following a boy and 2 girls. Daniel (1936-2016), Andrew (1940-1997) and Charles (1945-1952) followed after Owen. Youngest child Charles only lived to be 7 years old. Both the Watsons and O Neil families can be traced back to coming to Blantyre in the 1880s a time offering plenty of employment in Blantyre.

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 17.03.17

William and his family lived at 10 Alpine Street, just off Glasgow Road. Coming back to Blantyre in 1932 would have seemed pretty exciting and ‘modern’. The tram lanes had been lifted, with Glasgow Road having a tarmac surface and improved upon. William would have been near his father just along Glasgow Road at 28 Craighead Rows, just beyond Forrest Street. Alpine Street homes were substantially more spacious than other miners homes and it would even have had a good view looking out on to the newly created Blantyre Public Park, with beautiful flower beds. Opposite their house was the new cinema, “The Broadway”. It would have seemed a great place to settle and bring up a family. The children must have had a fantastic time playing in the nearby park and weren’t far from schools.

Today, the site of 10 Alpine Street, is the small public carpark of the Blantyre Sports Centre.

William John Watson died on Halloween, 31st October 1962, at the young age of only 53. Here’s a photo of his grave.

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 16.22.00

Agnes Veronica Watson (Nee O’Neill) your grandmother, born 1913 , I’m sure you will know, lived to be 95 years old. When she was born on 22 November 1913 in Blantyre, her father, Daniel, was 40, and her mother, Mary Cassidy, was 35. She died on 29 January 2009 in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, at the age of 95, and was buried back in Blantyre alongside William.

Would YOU like me to look at your ancestry? Im happy doing this for free as long as theres a Blantyre connection. https://blantyreproject.com/requests/

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,

Anne Marie Murray I love reading all about family history good work Paul.

Blantyre Project thank you Anne.

Agnes Collins Great reading .

Blantyre Project Thanks Agnes. These type of ancestry posts are often primarily of interest to the families asking about them, so I appreciate comments like yours and people who take time to read through them.

Fiona Belk I think u do great work Paul .my daughter dora_lee was doing our family history but she died in 2011 .

Margaret Liddle I am the youngest child of Willian and Agnes Watson, my brother Owen who died was the second child of my parents not the 4th, my grans name was Margaret Rose McElhill who I am called after, my brother Charles died 3 months after I was born in 1952 he drowned in the Clyde down at David Livingston, my parents both lived next to one another in the top row in Bairds Row.

Margaret Liddle Dear Paul I got a bit of a shock today when I opened your post and up popped my parents gravestone, I love reading about the history of Blantyre didn’t think one day I would be reading about my own family in it.

Ryan Watson Daniel is my Grandfather, will show my Gran. Great info.

Susanne Woods I’ve managed to track it back further, still working on it 😄

Ashleigh Watson Awesome- thanks Paul. We very much appreciate your hard work!

James Furey That’s great xx

Mick Watson Hi Paul thanks very much for all your help its much appreciated, its great to fill in the missing pieces. I have Mc Elhill as a middle name, now i know where it comes from.

Blantyre Project Cheers Mick. It is of course just a little snippet of one family tree but i’m glad your middle name means more with a better understanding of where it came from now. Happy to help anybody with Blantyre connections.

Leave a Reply