Do YOU need help with tracing your Blantyre ancestors? Perhaps you want to know more about them, where they lived or what they did? Or want to ask about a building, news event or something else? I’m here to help, first come, first served…for FREE (as long as there’s a Blantyre connection)

Just tell me the full name of the person you want to know more about and who they were married to.   If you have more information, especially dates (e.g births, marriages, deaths even better!) Requests are particularly successful for investigation before 1935. Click the blue SUBMIT button and your question will be added to the Question Archive.  NOTE, it may take several weeks to investigate & reply, but I’ll get there! Regards, Paul.

“We should all know where we’ve come from, before we plan on where we’re going”

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  1. 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 but I am hitting dead ends.

    Thank you so much in advance.

    Bobbie Hamilton
    (Wife of Iain Hamilton)

    1. After more research, I have determined that Mary Stafford Mulholland did not have children of her own. She married Mr. Mulholland late in life and he already had 2 children. He died shortly after their marriage. Mary did have 2 full siblings (in addition to her half sibling Thomas Boyd), named John Boyd Mulholland and Robert Mulholland. I am reaching dead ends on their children.

    2. Have you tried searching the web site Scotland’s People. I cost some money to look at documents but if you have good details as to date of birth, location and parents it can be helpful

      1. Hi and thank you so much for your response. I have absolutely tried them and I’m still coming up with dead ends.

  2. My family come from blantyre and halfway – owen dignall was my grandfather he saved a fellow miners life james cook, also my paternal grandfather came from blantyre William Johnstone

  3. Hello Paul,
    Further to our fb conversation I am looking for any information there may be about my gt grandfather William McConnell. He was killed while on his way home from a pensioners Christmas meal in 1964. This was on Bardykes Road, not far from his home in Park Crescent. He had lived in Blantyre most of his life.His pals were apparently Tarzan and Jake!! I would love to know if anyone remembers him, and better still has a photo. I can email further info if required.
    Many thanks


      Hi Sue. I’ve had a little look at this, but you may have all this information. No photos (yet) but i’ve scheduled a post about WIllie to appear on the site on 15th August 2018 along with some basic documentation, so hopefully it will attract attention from somebody with a photo. Hope this is of interest.

      “William (Willie) McConnell was born on 12th May 1881 in Galston, Ayrshire. When he was born, his father, John McConnell, was 37 and his mother, Elizabeth Hurst, was 32.

      Willie had moved to Blantyre by the First World War after marrying Elispeth Bowie in Ayrshire. Together they had one son, John in 1900. He also lived and worked in England for a spell prior to WW1 whilst on service duty. Sadly, his wife Elispeth passed away on 29 September 1918 in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, at the young age of 30.

      Willie quickly remarried again, this time to Elizabeth Weir, a domestic servant 16 years his junior. She was a neighbour at Merry’s Rows, where he stayed. Willie was a miner for Merry & Cunningham at the Auchinraith Pit nearby and would have lost him employment and house when the pit closed in 1931.

      However, things looked up in Autumn 1931, as new homes to improve Blantyre had just been built that year and the previous, at High Blantyre. William moved to 9 Park Crescent in 1931 and lived there the rest of his life. These were spacious, large homes with inside toilets and washing facilities. They offered a living room as well as bedroom and were a vast improvement from the tired old Merry’s Rows. It would have been an exciting move and huge improvement in quality of life. Williams home was rented at £15 per year, one of the larger houses. Within a year or two, vast improvements to the adjacent fields were being made when the large High Blantyre Public Park was constructed next to Park Crescent. Re-employment as a miner in that location, meant that William likely worked at Dixons’ High Blantyre Pit, not far off. After WW2, Willie like other miners at Dixon’s would have celebrated the Nationalising of the Coal Industry, celebrated in ceremony at Dixons Pits in 1947.

      If retiring at state pensionable age, it seems Willie would have retired before the closure of the pits in the 1950s.

      On the evening of Christmas Day 1964, 84 year old Willie McConnell was coming back from a Christmas Day dinner and was knocked down by a van on Bardykes Road, Blantyre. He sadly passed away from his injuries. His daughter Jean placed a memorial notice in the local newspaper and it mentions also that he was remembered by ‘Tarzan and Jake’. He had being living latterly in life in Park Crescent, High Blantyre.

      Now this is a long shot, but it would be great if somebody had a photo of Willie to accompany this story, or indeed to give to his family. They don’t have any photos of him, despite the relatively modern era. Also, who was “Tarzan or Jake”, perhaps elderly friends in the 1960s? If you know anything else that can be added to this story, please let me know.”

      1. Oh my gosh Paul this article is amazing!! There is a lot of information here about the pits and the housing especially, that I did not know about!! The only comment I would have is that he had 4 children…there was Archie, Elizabeth and Jane/Jeannie as well as John. It was from Jeanie’s daughter that I found out that it was apparently a motorbike that knocked him down and not a van. Thank you so much for all your help and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a positive response.
        Sue Hainsworth

  4. Hi there Paul, in the 1950’s a company called Gilbert Ash, from the UK, was in Blantyre doing some construction work. My father worked for them, as a Storekeeper. I was born in Blantyre, and would appreciate any information or assistance in helping me trace my father, or any living relatives. Warm Regards. Pat Taylor

  5. hi paul can u help me on this father john Thomson born 1865-1919 mother Hannah fraser 1869-1919 had 7 kids trying to trace Jessie born 1890-1949 she married Robert flemiing had 3 kids david 1909 born Blantyre john Thomson 1913 born Rutherglen john married doris edna Gibson married in 1950 Hannah 1915 born Blantyre did david Hannah marry can u find there birth death marrage and if they had any kids ina i think they lived in ruthglen

  6. Hi Paul
    I was in touch with you last August for some help with my Nairm/Robertson ancestors. I also spoke to you at the Family History Day at Motherwell. I see my request is on Page 3. Robert Nairn was one of the Ferrymen on the ferry between Blantyre & Bothwell. Have you had any luck with these families. Also would you tell me which book has the info about the Ferry, & about the structure near to Livingstone Memorial which has details about the Ferry on it. I’ve tried to find it , but no one seems to know where it is. Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks. Isabel.

  7. I would be grateful for any information about the school or the book…I found a book (Poems Of Tenyson) in a cupboard and on the front it says – Blantyre Parish School Board Low Blantyre Public School Special Prize Presented To Marion Forrest on Completion of Night Years Perfect Attendance At This School 16th June 1911. I’m not sure if it was presented to my Great Grandmother or her daughter.

  8. Hi Paul, hope you are well ? What an interesting story today about Mr Charles Donnelly who went to New York. Mrs Berry was my Great Grandmother, and her son Owen, ( my grandfather ) also went to America and I wonder if it was because of Charles ? My Grandpa stayed for a few years but came back to Blantyre. Oh I think there might be a story here ! Would you be able to help ? I think I still have the name of the ship he sailed on. X

    Kind regards

    Sent from my iPad

    Sent from my iPad

  9. Hi. Finding out a lot recently that Daniel Bell my father I think was born in Glasgow Road, Burnbank in the early 1920s and am trying to find more of his life there. Thank you

  10. Hello (possibly again). I thought I left a message last night but I do not see it on the posts. My name is Scott Browne from Toronto Canada here in Hamilton/Blantyre until Friday morning. Please email me at address below if you can help me or got my original message. If not I will resend to you when you advise. Being kicked out of Hamilton Library but Angela says you are super nice.

    Best wishes

    1. Hi Scott – The first time a person posts here it is moderated, just in case its spam. i.e i have to approve which I normally do within 24 hours. You should be able to post freely anywhere now and all the comments you’ve made will now be there.

      1. Yes thank you, I did see it afterwards so I’m sorry.

        I’m starting out now to go around Blantyre. (Lovely Scotish day). Is there anything you can think of to assist me in my quest

  11. My name is Scott Brown, form Canada. I arrived last night in Blantyre/Hamilton and I’m here searching for history on my Grandma’s family the Stewart’s (I know right). I am hoping someone out their will know my Gram’s family. Parents Malcolm Stewart (a butcher as was his father and uncles) and Annie Kelly. First lived in Hamilton and had Alexander and John both of whom I believe died in WWI. Then came Elizabeth (Bessie) who married John Young. Malcolm married Janet Smith Duncan, Margaret (unmarried), My Gram Jane Jeanie” who moved to Canada at 18yrs of age. Then Agnes, Jessie (hus Robert MacIntyre and lastly Gilbert and John who died within a month of one another in Italy 1924. Their was a Butcher Shop that may have me in Burnbank but was definitely called Stewart’s Butcher. They lived primarily at 6 Hardie Street in Balantyre but also at 99 Auchinfaith Road, Blantyre and 5 Ann Street, Hamilton. Please if this family rings a bell with anyone contact me even if its after i leave Friday April 27, 2018.

    God Bless and best wishes

  12. Looking for pictures of Spittal Terrace which came under Cambuslang, my father was a electrician in Bardykes Colleriery (Peter Simm) My mum Rita Simm (nee Goodfellow) my brothers Andrew & William and myself lived in the two storey building next to put head. I think we stayed there from 1949 – 1963-64 due to put closing. Happiest part of my childhood.
    All our relatives came from Blantyre and I thought as a child that we stayed in Blantyre.

    1. trying to find our family this is what ive got john Thomson 1865-1919 married Hannah fraser 1865-1919 lived in broompark road had 6 kids only need few more info on them john fraser Thomson 1888-1954 magaret Nicholas 1890-1962 they had 3 kids Robert dob and death marriage john fraser 1923 don’t k where when he died also john fraser 1865- 19 need his sister brothers Jessie born 1890 need her death marrage mary g 1892 death marriage david 1902 death marrage hope u can help me Ina Barrie Sanders

      1. ** REQUEST 81 **

        Hi Ina – Please see my response below on the Thomson family ancestry. Thanks.

  13. I am trying to do some research into where my family are from and I have found out that some of my family on my mums side came from Blantyre. My mums father was Charles Brookens Forrest who was born in Blantyre around 1894 and I think her Grandfather – Maxwell Forrest was born in Blantyre as well around 1854. I would be very grateful for some information on the above.

    1. My Maiden name was Ann Pearson , now Allan, and I was brought up in Pitlochry, Perthshire., now live in Edinburgh.
      My mum, before she married my dad, was Agnes Lennon and she was born in Blantyre, Scotland.
      Her mum, my granny, was Agnes Lennon nee Stokes M.S. Feechan.
      They lived at 77 Auchinraith Road, Blantyre. I know my granny is buried in Blantyre beside her son Colin.
      I would love to know more about my grans background. Also my grandad was Bernard Lennon and would be lovely to know more about him also.
      Would appreciate any info.
      Many thanks.
      P.S. how do I get on your Facebook Page? Thanks.

    2. Christine forrest

      Hi there I was discussing my family tree with an elderly aunt recently we come from Blantyre and named forrest and found a Maxwell Forrest a cousin of my fathers although born in the 1920 or thirties in Blantyre unusual name. He played football for cambuslang Rangers and was well known my aunt has photos which appeared in newspapers

    3. ** REQUEST 79 MAXWELL FORREST b1853-d1920 **

      Hi Douglas. Sorry this has taken so long. Hopefully its been worth the wait. I’ve scheduled the following post to appear on the website on 3rd July 2020.

      I know of three Maxwell Forrests who were born in Blantyre. Two were born in 1901 and 1929 respectively and the unusual name would indicate a connection to the mid 19th Century Maxwell.

      Maxwell Forrest was born on 21st August 1853 in Blantyre Parish. This was just before 1855 birth records started and therefore one has to refer to the old Church Baptism Church registers. He was the son of William Forrest and Helen Brownlee. Forrest and Brownlee being two very strong, prominent names of the Barnhill area of Blantyre.

      This is a Blantyre family with solid, old foundations in the area. William Forrest was born in 1801 and was a carter and was still conducting that profession at the age of 60 from his home at Larkfield in 1861. Sons Thomas, Robert and Charles assisted and that year, Maxwell Forrest was a scholar, aged 7. He likely attended the school at School Lane for Blantyre School had not yet been built at Hunthill Road and a small schoolroom at Barnhill had closed in 1855. The whole family were born in Blantyre and it is known from the census that there was only 1 room in their house which had a window!

      Their neighbours including the Main family, Struthers and Morrisons, who were also carters. (A carter was the driver of horse-drawn carts for transporting goods. A Carter typically drove a light two wheeled cart made of wood)

      Sometime before 1871, Maxwell ended up at Cambuslang for a time, but was back in Blantyre by 1881, aged 28., employed in the family business, you guessed it….as a carter!

      Sometime in the 1880’s following the death of his father, Maxwell moved to the Village and was employed by his brother on the family farm at Blantyre Mill Farm (which later gave its name to Farm Road). They were farmers, rather than carters. Maxwell was 36, unmarried and lived with his elder brother Charles and his family. He was on the payroll of his brother.

      In 1892, Maxwell decided to marry and at the age of 37, settled with Marion, his new bride 17 years his junior, then aged only 20. Marion had been the dairymaid at the Forrest’s Farm in the Village and I’m in no doubt that’s where they met! Their marriage meant setting up home for themselves. Moving to the new tenements at the bottom of Stonefield Road (next to the Valerio family) gave them opportunity for a new home and to set up a new business in the thriving area of Stonefield. Maxwell set up his own metalwork business, perhaps buying it from another family member. In this immediate area in previous decades had been a metalwork business “Mitchell and Forrest” as early as the 1860s.

      His brother Charles Forrest, operated under the trading name of C&A Forrest continuing to farm at Blantyre Mill (or sometimes Blantyre Works) Farm into the 19th Century. They are listed as the farmers of Blantyre Works Farm in 1915 and certainly for quite some time after that. Today, it’s no longer there, instead modern homes on Farm Road. The Farm used to sit at the junction of Kerr Street and Farm Road.

      Maxwell and Marion were known to have had 5 children at Stonefield Road by 1911. Charles Brookens Forrest was the second oldest son, indeed born in 1894 at Stonefield, Blantyre.

      Maxwell died in 1920, aged 67.

      1. ** REQUEST 80 BERNARD LENNON **

        Hi Ann. Hope this is interesting…..Bernard Lennon was born in Blantyre in 1901 and lived here throughout his life.

        Bernard was a small man at only 5 foot 5, with black hair and grey eyes. When WW1 arrived he was too young too join, but as the war became prolonged, by 1918, Bernard found himself eligible for the draft. He joined the 52 TR Battalion and one can only imagine what he felt going off to fight when he knew clearly what had happened in the previous 4 years. Thankfully, his time in the army was short lived and his discharge paper suggest he was “well behaved” and his military conduct was “good”.

        Following his return from the war, it was time to make his mark on the world and like many young men, he set his sights on being a miner. By 1921, he had moved out his parents home at Melbourne Place (the Buggy Buildings) and was renting a tenement at 238 Glasgow Road, Low Blantyre. Aged 20 that year, he took up employment as a miner.

        The son of John Lennon, a steelwork labourer and Bridget McGurk, the young man had an eye for an older lady who lived on a street nearby. Agnes Feechan was 11 years older and that year was a widow when her husband by surname Stokes had passed. Agnes lived at 63 Auchinraith Road at Radnor Place, an address not so far away. She was a home housekeeper and clearly the couple fell in love.

        On 31st January 1922, Bernard and Agnes married at St Joseph’s Church on Glasgow Road. He was 21, she was 32. Bernard moved in with Agnes following the marriage and together they rented tenement accommodation at Radnor Place on Auchinraith Road. In 1925, their accommodation was likely larger than the others in the block, paying a rent of £12 11 shillings, around £1 more than the other tenants. Bernard was a miner and the proximity to Auchinraith Pit was a good indicator that he may have worked there, employed by Messrs Merry & Cunningham Coalmasters.

        Times were difficult in the 1920’s in Blantyre. Shortages of good quality homes combined with frequent miners strikes were symptoms of the great economic depression which manifested in many countries. It was a time when lots of miners tried their luck at emigrating to try to find better job prospects. Many unsuccessfully.

        Bernard’s neighbours were all miners and his view out the back windows would have looked directly out toward the Auchinraith Pit Bing. Several children followed amongst them Colin in 1928 and Frances in 1931. The larger accommodation would have been handy! In 1929, his father John died. In August 1930, a terrible pit disaster happened at Auchinraith where several men were killed. It marked a point close to the end of the pit itself, closing shortly after.

        There is no question that Bernard would have had to switch employer in 1931.

        By 1940, Bernard was still at 77 Auchinraith Road. The buildings may have been in a more tired state, or perhaps due to war, for it is noted that his rent in 1940 was actually a £1 less than it was in 1925! Sadly, Bernard’s life was a short one and he died in 1945 in Blantyre, aged only 44. Agnes died in 1956, aged 66.

        I’ve scheduled a little post for the website on 10th July. I hope to come back to Agnes’s story someday.

        1. Paul I cant thank you enough for that information.
          Really very much appreciated.
          Look forward to reading latest book.
          Ann Allan

  14. trying to find birth date of Robert Thomson his father was john fraser Thomas born 1888 died 1954 his wife was magaret Nicholas born 1890 died 1962 can any one help me pls


      Hi Ina. I’ve retrieved the birth certificate at my own cost to help. Robert Nicholas Thomson was born on 13th May 1914 at Aitkenhead’s Building on Sydes Brae (at Hamilton Road). John Thomson, his father signed the birth certificate. I’ll schedule a post to appear on the website on 2nd July 2020.

  15. hi can u help me with this father john Thomson born 1865 mother Hannah Thomson born 1869 had Jessie 26th march 1890 larkhall and mary gardiner 4th june 1892 Blantyre need all there deaths ina sanders


      Hi Ina. I am unable to find Jessie and Mary’s death dates as I don’t know their married names. However, i had more luck with John and Hannah. Hannah Thomson (nee Fraser) passed away at 48 Broompark Road on 29th January 1919. She was only 49 years old. For 6 months prior to her death, she had been suffering from Endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart. Signs and symptoms would have included fever, chills, sweating, malaise, weakness, anorexia by rapid weight loss. This so soon, after the trauma of having at least one son fighting in WW1.

      Hannah’s illness in 1918 and into 1919 would have put a strain also on her family, of that there’s no doubt. Her family would have rallied around her. The eldest child John, by then in his 30s and youngest, David being 17. Her son was present and signed the death certificate, something I found strange considering her husband John Thomson Snr was still alive.

      Upon investigating further, I discovered that all may not have been well with her husband at that time. Perhaps caring for his wife had taken its toll on John Thomson too. He may not have worked as a coal pit stoker in the mines for some time.

      He had been ill also for some time with Atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries, at the time thought to have been caused by smoking. This can restrict blood flow and ultimately, it was a bleed to his brain which killed him, likely in the form of stroke. However, it was the place of his death that should also be noted. He passed away in Bothwell on 22nd March 1919 at the Kirklands Asylum, indicating that he may have suffered some sort of breakdown, depression or anxiety following the death of his wife. He was only 53 and died of a brain haemorrhage. He may have been finding life more difficult than usual for his wife had died 52 days earlier.

      Hannah Thomson was the daughter of Jock Fraser, the High Blantyre blacksmith I posted about the other day. I have scheduled a post to appear on this on 2nd July 2020.

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