Jan 10, 2020 06:33 PM 0 Answers Ancestry
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Bobbie Hamilton

June 19, 2018 at 2:52 am

My husband’s Great-Grandmother, Janet Boyd, was born in Blantyre in 1870. In the 1890’s, she worked on Alexander Lambie’s farm, Pilmuir Farm, in Scotland. While working as a farm servant on the farm in 1894, she became pregnant, left the farm, returned home to Blantyre and gave birth to my husband’s grandfather, Thomas Boyd. There is NO mention of the father on any papers as far as I can find. Is there anything YOU can do to help me find out this information? HIs mother Janet went on to get married and left wee Thomas behind to be raised by his grandparents and uncles.

Janet Boyd went on to marry John Stafford and moved to Glasgow. They had 3 children, and one of the children, Mary Boyd Stafford Mulholland died in 1980 in Blantyre. I am hoping to find a living relative of hers who might have a photo of Janet Boyd. My husband (born in Paisley but now lives in California) has NEVER seen a photo of his Great-Grandma Janet Boyd. I am a member of Ancestry.com but I am hitting dead ends.

Thank you so much in advance.

Bobbie Hamilton
(Wife of Iain Hamilton)

Paul D Veverka avatar
- Aug 04, 2020 09:42 PM

Hi Bobbie – I’ve looked through paternity cases and don’t see any court case between Janet and the mystery male for the time period. This is fairly telling and I have to conclude that the father may have been ok about Janet taking the baby away, or perhaps didn’t even know about the birth! This could be a distinct possibility. In Scotland , a mother has a right not to put the father on the birth certificate, entitling her to full custody of the child. The father could have been added anytime but wasn’t. I retrieved Thomas’s birth certificate and it clearly does not show the father. Neither does his marriage certificate.

There is a variety of reasons a mother doesn’t put the father on a birth certificate. Most however, reveal abandonment or some sort of fallout or concealment. In all cases, the reasons aren’t usually good. Janet Boyd went to some lengths to NOT put the father on the certificate, happy to sign it off with Thomas being illegitimate.

Thats a dead end, as was checking newspaper reports and I fear it will be most difficult to ever understand who the father was. A next step was to check Thomas’s name. Did Janet name him after the missing father? I don’t think so unfortunately. Thomas was born Thomas John Boyd. Janet’s grandfather was Thomas, her father was John. This boy simply took the names of his own grandfather and great grandfather, again with no hint or nod to the father.

I cannot imagine why she left Thomas with her mother, but a new love in John Stafford may have had something to do with that. It seems she quickly had children to her husband and one has to wonder if they even knew about Thomas, their step sibling.

Putting ourselves into the mindset of Janet Boyd, she lost her grandfather Thomas Milldown on 29th December 1893 and then lost her father shortly after on 21st August 1894, whilst she was 5 or 6 months pregnant. That means her poor mother Mary Boyd lost her father and husband within 8 months of each other, so it’s little wonder her daughter Janet came back from farm to be there for her. Being pregnant would have meant the end of her time as a farm servant during 1894 certainly.

Around 1903 Newlands was demolished and replaced instead was new tenement buildings called Ulva Place. (thats the correct address you’re looking for; 3 Ulva Place) which was in the same location. The 3 storey building is no longer there.

I’m glad Thomas grew up to get married in 1917. Pictured is Thomas Boyd and wife Elizabeth Cruickshank. He may very well have been a man who never ever found out who his own father was. I wonder if he pressed Janet about this anytime before her death in 1941.

Hope this helps a little. I’ve scheduled a post to appear on the website on 8th August 2020.

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