Forrest Ancestry, Blantyre

Karen Allcoat writes, “My 4 times great grandparents lived in and around Blantyre. Their names were John Forrest and Helen Smith. They had 5 children that I know of James born 1811 Flemington, John 1815 Barnhill, Margaret 1819 Blantyre, John 1822 Barnhill and Janet 1825 Pathfoot.
Just wondered if you had come across this family in your research and if yes would you have any other information on them. Many thanks. Karen”

I was able to reply with:

The Forrest name is certainly prominent in Blantyre’s history, so here goes for this particular line…..

John Forrest lived a long life. Born in East Kilbride in 1785, he came into this world as David Dale considered building Blantyre Mills. John died in 1880. Helen Smith, also from East Kilbride lived a similar long life, born in 1790 and passing in 1884, also in her 90’s. They had married in 1811 and Helen may have been pregnant with James at the time.

Their son, James Forrest was indeed born in 1811, on 18th March 1811 to be precise. He was baptised a month later in Cambuslang. With long life in his genes, he died in 1901, reaching the ripe old age of 90.

Margaret Forrest, I think was born in Blantyre on 20 January 1819. Margaret Forrest married Abraham Hamilton and died in 1865 in Hamilton.

There may be another Margaret Forrest born around the same time? She married George Caldwell in Carluke in 1839 having at least 8 children between 1840 and 1860, two of whom were Lillias and Alexander. George died in 1867 and this may have prompted her to emigrate. Margaret died in Greymouth on the West Coast of New Zealand on 16 October 1902, aged 82. I’m unable to confirm if this is “your” Margaret.

Jane Forrest, or Janet was born in Pathfoot, Blantyre in 1825. She may have been born in the former cottages on the Pech Brae or nearby to them. She married on 10 March 1850 in Cadder to William Russell (born in Bothwell in 1813). She also emigrated during the 19th Century along with her husband, settling down in Australia. William died in Australia in 1885. Jane passed away in Narrandera, New South Wales, Australia on 15 February 1908, in her 80’s. Her daughter also Janet died in Australia in 1960.

I have not yet been successful in finding out more about John Forrest and suspect given your suggestion of 2 names in the one family, that one of them must have died very young.

Hope this helps in some small way.


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  1. Paul
    Where did you get the death details from please as I would like to get the certificates
    Many thanks

    1. Pretty sure i used website for this. Hope this helps.

      1. Hi Paul. I still can’t find any reference on Scotlandspeople people for the deaths of John and Helen with the dates you gave and as previously said on their daughter Margaret’s death certificate in 1865 it stated that both her parents were deceased
        Many thanks

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