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. Hello Paul — I am tracing my Grandfather’s roots. Robert Coats Strachan 1874 – 1933 . From Blantyre. I see many Strachans mentioned in the Mining Disaster 1877. Can you help me identify his family?
    He married Margaret Oughterson Blackstock and emigrated to Canada 1902 or 03 as a coal mining engineer.


      Now, if the family emigrated to Canada, I know I won’t be able to find out much about after 1903, so my search has to start in Blantyre before that year. Having great information about who married who, is a brilliant way to trace family. Obtaining a marriage certificate provides a wealth of information, like what age both people were, where they lived, what they did for a living, where they got married, who each of their parents were and what they did for a living as well as sometimes when THEY got married. It’s a fantastic document for anybody doing research and so I went searching.

      The marriage certificate shows Robert Coats Strachan married Margaret Oughterson Blackstock on 8th February 1899 in the Gorbals, Glasgow. There are no living Blantyre connections remaining on this certificate. By 1899 Robert’s parents James Strachan and Mary Coates had passed away. When he married, 24 year old Robert was living at Dykehead, Shotts. He would therefore have been 28 or so when he emigrated, his wife being 4 years older. We need to go back a generation to Ian’s great grandfather, Mr. James Strachan to search for any Blantyre connection.

      Great Grandparents – Strachan

      Census information is produced every 10 years. Knowing James and Mary Strachan were dead by 1899, I looked back to the 1891 census and sure enough, there they were living at Begg’s Land, High Blantyre. That year James and Mary were 41 years old, incredibly meaning both of them died whilst in their 40s.

      With them at Beggs Land were 6 children. John (18), Robert (16), Elizabeth (12), Thomas (10), Mary (8) and Janet (6). Their location would more than likely mean the children went to High Blantyre School on Hunthill Road, although the 2 eldest sons were employed as coalminers, probably nearby at Dixon’s Pits.

      Beggs building was a former single storey building on the south side of Main Street, High Blantyre, directly opposite the entrance to Cemetery Road. It would later become Patterson’s Chemist in the 20th Century. Their neighbours in 1891 were the McLellan family of Blacksmiths.

      The Census reveals that Mary Coates was a Blantyre woman, born in 1850. Eldest son, John was born in Blantyre, meaning the family had been living at Blantyre since at least 1873. James Strachan was born in Glasgow but clearly had moved to Blantyre by 1871 according to the census of that year.

      Mary Strachan, wife of James, should not be confused with another Mary Strachan in Blantyre who was convicted of theft and breach of the peace in 1903. Coincidently, her husband was a James Strachan too, but the lady of lesser moral character was a Connor by maiden name and was very much alive in 1903. The Mary of our story had passed by 1899.

      Clearly, Robert Strachan thought a better life awaited for him overseas in 1904 and with his parents no longer alive, decided to make his life abroad as an engineer, away from the dirty pits of Blantyre. As Robert left, Blantyre was going through great change, especially on Glasgow Road with trams arriving and a new Church being built. Robert had many siblings, so there must be a lot more to this story.

      Hope this helps. Paul.

      A post is scheduled about this along with some documents to illustrate on 19th April 2018.

      1. Paul — thank you very much for filling some of the blanks for me. Your reply was very thorough, and filled with new information.

        I can add that Robert and Margaret had 3 children, Janet, Margaret, and James. They lived in the coal mining towns of BC as Robert was a Mines Inspector. Also,Janet became Janet Stark and was living in Vancouver, Canada in the 1960’s. and John died in Fernie, BC, Canada in 1962.

        I have previous information that an Annie Strachan was born in 1870 and that Mary and another Annie were born Oct 14 1871. These possibly died before the 1891 Census?
        (Annie StrachanGender: FemaleBirth: Sep 16 1870 – Blantyre, Lanark, ScotlandFather: James StrachanMother: Mary CoatsIndexing Project (Batch) Number: C11624-1System Origin: Scotland-ODMGS Film number: 6035516)
        From Scotland births and Baptisms.
        Thank you again for your help.
        Ian Burgess

      2. Hello Paul. I have picked up Robert and Margaret Strachan on this side of the pond. Robert sailed in 1902 with (brother?) John. Margaret and daughter, Janet followed in 1903. By 1921, the family, which now included another daughter, Margaret, lived in the Kootenay, British Columbia. Not sure if Ian Burgess has/wants this info.

        1. Hello Cathy, and Paul
          Janet (Jennie) was my mother so I know most of the history in Canada. If you have other information or questions, please contact me.
          ibmrp99 at gmail
          Thanks, Ian B.

          1. No problem, Ian. Glad you have the info. Happy hunting!

          2. I could use info on John. Robert’s siblings not close to the family.
            Ian B.

          3. Sent you an email

  2. Information on George Charles Alston lived in Craighead House in Bothwell Lanarkshire, spent some time in Ceylon Tea planting.
    Born 13 sept 1864 and Blantyre, died june 5 1930. Admitted to Trinity 16 june 1883, BA Hon 1886, son and heir of George at Craighead, of Hill house Newbury Berks. I do not know how to attach a photo or picture to this site, will email to you separately. Just want to know the rest of his family.


      Hi Basil. I’ve answered your query out of sequence here as i have some notes on this. I have to admit struggling a little with George Chales Alston who attended Eton, as I’m primarily subscribed to Scottish databases and tracking him is difficult knowing he spent so much time abroad and in England.

      I’ve had more luck in writing up something about his father. Also George Alston. Hope you find this of interest.
      Alston, Mr. George (Senior) – Alston is an English and Scottish name with two possible origins. It could be a locational name given to someone who lived in a town called Alston, a name derived from an Old English personal name and the word tun, meaning settlement. The son of Glasgow Merchant George Alston of Muirburn, George Alston Senior was born on 10th September 1819. His father and mother were direct cousins.

      In the 1841 census George was living at Liverpool. He married Margaret Christina Wallace (b1837-d1892) on 15th April 1862 at Blysthwood, by then the only surviving daughter of Robert Wallace and Katharine Tennant. He acquired Craighead House in 1862. According to the valuation roll of 1865 George Alston Senior owned the mansion House, lawn, offices, porters lodge and Craighead Farm. He also owned the nearby plantations.

      Incredibly George was bequeathed Craighead following the death of 2 sisters, the Misses Brown, relatives on his mother’s side. His ownership continued throughout the 1870’s. His son George Alston Junior was born in Blantyre at Craighead in 1864. Other children followed, mostly born in Edinburgh. Katherine (1869), Isabella (1873), Margaret (1874), Helen (1876), Frances (1877), Violet (1879 Blantyre, Lanarkshire), Robt (1880 Blantyre) all at Craighead in the 1871 census.

      In 1882 Craighead House was burned out but was renovated shortly after. George Alston Senior died on 7th January 1884 and is buried at Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh. His will directly benefited Margaret Christina Wallace or Alston widow, John Patrick Alston of Muirburn, William Hamilton Alston mercht Ceylon, Charles Tennant Wallace Lt Col 74th Regt, Robert Hugh Wallace Major RA and Charles Henry Alston merchant Glasgow.

      Ive scheduled a post about this for 16th July 2017.

  3. Hi Paul looking for information on my family from the village in blantyre my grandfather’s name was Andrew walker Baillie and my gran her maiden name was Hutchison They stayed at Bruce terrice in blantyre my grandfather was a grandmaster with the masonic lodge sometime in the ups he was also a bus shunter so any information would be appreciated


      Hi David. Andrew Walker Baillie was born in 1911, the son of Blacksmith Archibald McCartney Baillie and Isabella Hobbs.

      By 1932, Andrew Baillie had still been living with his parents at their decent house at 4 Bruce Terrace, The Village and would have contributed towards paying the £19 a year rent at that property, whilst working as a general labourer.

      Andrew Baillie married Mary Hutchison (your gran) in Blantyre on 28th October 1932 at Stonefield Parish Church on Glasgow Road. Both Andrew and Mary were 21 when they were married by Rev James Gibb.

      Mary, who lived at 6 Priory Row, Blantyre was the daughter of David Hutchison a coal Hewer and Annie Lockhart Paterson. The Row was an incredibly industrial place to live, dirty and black with soot from the nearby bing. She may have been quite glad to move to a larger, family home following her wedding.

      Both of Mary’s parents had passed away by the time she married, which I’m sure may have given some reflection on that otherwise happy day and a possible reason for a fresh start in other places. Mary made corsets for a living, a weaver if you like.

      Within a year of their Marriage on 5th May 1933, a child arrived, a son, Archibald Baillie Junior, born in Hamilton.

      With no record of either Andrew or Mary in Blantyre in 1935 valuation roll, one has to assume that they initially moved to Hamilton immediately after their marriage. (Archibald Junior died on Christmas Eve 2001, in East Kilbride).

      Hope this is of interest and helps in some small way, Paul.

      I’ve scheduled a post about this for 18th April 2018 to appear here on this website and on facebook.

  4. Hi. I have been looking into my family tree and I have come across some family members who, on the 1841 census, are listed as living at “Blantyre Works Dye Works Or Guild Hall” (this is the exact wording on the census). Are you aware of where this may be? The names are Silas Taylor (born in Ireland in about 1803), he is listed as a labourer, his wife is Margaret Martin (born about 1807). They have 4 children, including Thomas Taylor born in Blantyre in 1849. Also at the same address is Ann McKinnon (born 1781 in Scotland). I know that in 1861 Silas Taylor was at Old Dalmarnock Road, Glasgow but in 1841 (and in 1849) they must have lived in Blantyre. I would be most grateful if you could let me know if the Blantyre Dye Works might be somewhere families might have lived and if there are any traces of these premises visible today?


      Hi David. I don’t see Silas in the 1851 census in Blantyre so he may have moved away by 1850. I’ve not encountered people actually living at the Blantyre Dye Works before, which may have been unusual circumstance, given the dye works was located beside a workers village of hundreds of homes. It may be that Silas had an additional duty of being a watchman, caretaker or somebody employed directly at those premises to look after machinery. It may have made perfect sense for him to have been in a separate lodging within the factory.

      Looking at the 1859 map, the nearest map to your enquiry, the dye works were the mill buildings nearest to the former suspension bridge, upstream of where the weir is today. There were certainly many smaller buildings in and around that area, separate from the rows of homes nearby.

      I’ve not heard the expression “Guild Hall” before and it may have given over its use to something else even by the time of this map. The question arises which organisation was this guild part of? I’ll certainly keep an eye out for this entry in future. Today nothing remains of the Dye works, which is now woodland on the riverbank just beyond the Hydro Station near the weir.

      Its a strong possibility that the Taylor family had an interest in machinery of all types.

      With the name ‘Taylor’ being so uncommon in Blantyre in the mid 19th Century, Thomas Taylor, I think may have been the same man featured in this article. If so, he was a man greatly in advance of his times. The Blantyre man was an inventor of one of the earliest reaping machines and Blantyre readers will be proud to know that he (attempted) to make one of the First Flying Machines, a full 43 years before the successful flight of the Wright Brothers in 1903 and a story worth remembering.

      Thomas also had another claim. He was the last tenant of Bardykes Mill which once stood hard against the Priory Bridge. However, even by 1880, the abandoned Mill was in ruins.

      Hope this helps in some way. Paul

      A post has been scheduled about this along with the 1859 map for 21st April 2018 here on this website.

  5. 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.
    Kind Regards

    1. Hi Michael – this is a little “modern” for me and Im more comfortable going a generation back. What was your gradnfather or grandmothers name, ideally both, (if Blantyre connected). Thanks. Paul.

      1. Hi Paul thanks for your reply, my grandparents were William Watson born 1909 – Died 1962 and Agnes Watson (Nee Oneill) born 1913/14 – Died 2009. I think my grandfathers parents ( not sure of names) were from Ardstraw in Ireland. Hope this helps.
        Regards Michael Watson

        1. *** REQUEST 24 WATSON – ONEILL ANCESTRY ***

          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.

          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.

          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.

          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.

          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.

          Photos and documents will appear on a scheduled post on 20th April 2018 on this website alongside this text. Hope this helps. Paul.

          1. Hi Paul thank you very much for all your information, i really appreciate you taking the time to research my family history and conveying it in such an informative and engaging way. My father Owen was born in 1933 not 1939, that was probably an error in my part. Im amazed at the information you found out, but i now know where my middle name McErnhill came from but, was from my great grans side of the family in Ardstraw Ireland. Thanks again for your help Paul.

  6. Me again…..As I pick my way through a Moore family from Blantyre/High Blantyre, I have uncovered some other ancestors and, since their existence is fairly recent, we’re hoping we can find someone who remembers them.

    David Dunsmore Moore (b. 1915; d. 1980), son of Alexander Moore and Jeanie (m/s Dunsmore), married Sarah (aka Sadie) Kirkpatrick (b. ??; d. 1963) in 1942 in Hamilton, Lanarkshire.

    David and Sadie had a son, Ronnie, who is likely still living. Ronnie married Violet (m/s unknown) and they had 3 children.

    After Sadie’s death, David remarried to a Margaret Stewart or Dorricott in 1963. The reason we don’t know Margaret’s surname is probably because she was married previously so we’re unsure which is her maiden name and which her married name.

    If anyone recognizes any of these folks, we’d be delighted to hear from you so we can fill in some blanks in the family tree.
    Many thanks,
    Cathy in Canada

    1. *** REQUEST 23: MOORE ***

      Hi Cathy. Hope you’re well. This is all noted and whilst undertaking research in future, i’ll look out for these surnames. I had a quick look at this earlier this evening, but since some of the mystery is more “modern” i was unable in this instance to fill in the gap. Wishing you good luck with your tree meantime, and as i say, I’ll keep a lookout for you. Paul.

  7. Hi Paul
    I would love for you to help with my family tree. Let me know what other information you may need.
    Grandfather on my mums side was William Gardner Black dob 16/4/14 died 17/3/76.
    Grandmother Mary ( McInally maiden name) Black dob14/6/18 died 21/01/2009. My grandmothers siblings were James, Margaret, Teresa, Elizabeth, Catherine, Georgina and Annie. Her dad was called sheriff and his wife was Margaret McGuigan.
    Mum Margaret Black dob 30/7/38.
    Dad John Neilson dob 11/5/39.
    Grandfather John Neilson dob 5/5/12 died 4/3/91
    Grandmother Sarah (Pollock maiden name) Neilson 8/2/14 died 1/10/2001.
    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Thanks in advance.

    Gale Stuart

    1. *** REQUEST 21: BLACK ANCESTRY **
      Hi Gale. Well , what can I say! What a helpful start to this request.

      I decided to start with William Gardner Black and see what I could find. William was indeed born on 16th April 1914 at 5 o’clock in the morning at McAlpines Buildings on Glasgow Road. He was the son of Henry Black, a coal miner and Margaret Stewart. I have his birth certificate and scheduled a post about this on 30th October 2017.

      William’s parents married on 5th July 1895 in Gladsmuir, a Parish in East Midlothian and came to Blantyre after 1911. (not in Blantyre censuses before that date). This is a bit of a dead end for Blantyre Project for going further back would take things out of Blantyre.

      Unfortunately, Mary’s Birth certificate is still under 100 years old and therefore not available unless ordered. I think coming back to this next year when its available for significantly less cost will be appropriate in this instance. This can happen from time to time if the dates are right on the cusp of 100 years. Hope this is ok. Postponed meantime. Paul.

  8. Hi, I would love you a free research on my grandparents also called Gilmour. James and Christina Gilmour lived in Auchinraith road, High Blantyre and Granpa had Gilmour’s draper shop on Glasgow Road. My other grandparents were John and Mary Cunningham and they lived at Hastie’s Farm. My Dad was Peter Gilmour and had. Brother Sam. Mum had 1 brother Arthur and 2 sisters – Jenny who died aged about 8 and Elizabeth who is still alive. I’m not sure how far back you’re able to go but any information would be lovely. Thank you

    1. Hi Joan – Ive started looking at this but need a little more information. Do you have Christina’s and Mary’s maiden names? The dates I’ve found so far are all modern relating to your mum and dad. Just to check i have the right family, did your dad pass away in 1987, your mum in 2006? Thanks.


    Hi Paul
    After many years I have tracked down my fathers birth certificate. Luckily Scottish certificates have the parent’s dates and place of marriage on them so I found that his parents,William Pollock and Jane Hamilton, married in Blantyre in April 1905 at Chestnut Cottage where Jane lived with her Parents Alexander Hamilton, who was a coal miner and Susan Hamiton (nee Gilmour).
    Wow I cant beleive I actually have Grandparents! my dad never spoke of any of his relations saying that he had been adopted! On his birth certificate his name is James Thomson Pollock, is it usual to include another surname? ( there were 3 others with this combination whilst I was searching) Anyway it would be fantastic to have any information regarding the Hamiltons or where they lived and if Alexander survived any mining accidents that I have read about.
    Thank you for replying to my email you are doing a remarkable job Paul. My dad would have been 100 years old this weekend so after all these years knowing that I have Scottish relatives with names is such a wonderful feeling!
    Thank you again regards Eleanor


      Alexander Hamilton (b1860) was 21 years old when he married on 18th November 1881 at Bannoch Cottages, Kilwinning, Ayrshire. His bride, and also neighbour at the Cottages was Susan Gilmour a domestic servant , a year older than him.

      Jane Hamilton was born in 1886. It would appear the Hamilton family moved to Blantyre sometime between 1901 and 1905. Jane married William Pollock, a mason from Uddingston in Blantyre at Chestnut Cottage on Auchinraith Road on 21st April 1905. Jane moved outwith Blantyre following her marriage for she and William are not in the 1911 census there, nor indeed are her parents. As such, the Hamilton’s time in Blantyre appears to be most brief.

      The “Thomson” middle name is most interesting and quite often usually suggests mothers maiden name or grandparent name. Given that James Pollock never spoke of his relations and was sure he was adopted, I think there is much more to this story, but unravelling it is certainly complex, not least of the connections away from Blantyre.

      I’ve not been great deal of help at this for when things get outside Blantyre, I start to struggle with ancestry requests. Hope this is of interest anyway.

  10. Hi Paul, I am looking for help trying to find out details of my gran (Mary Hutchison, nee Barratt). I’ve been told she used to have or work in a small shop in High Blantyre that sold sweets, don’t know if it sold anything else though). It was before my mum was born and she said it would be around the late 1930’s, and before my grandad (John Hutchison) died in a pit accident (1942), sorry but don’t know the name of it, but would be curious to find out where it was in the main street, or if there are any pictures.
    thanks, Karen


      There were many sweet shops in Blantyre in the mid 20th Century. Tommy Morgan’s in the Village, Guy’s Sweet shop at Harts Land, Birrells and Regals on Glasgow Road and Robertson’s on Auchinraith Road to name a few. At High Blantyre, the sweet shop in question may have been Sweenie’s Shop at the top of Broompark Road at its junction with Main Street.

      During the late 1930’s to 1960’s this little sweet shop was located in the stone building directly across the road from Blakely’s Pub on Broompark Road, near its junction with Main Street. Mr Jimmy Sweenie had a butchers shop on Stonefield Road but his wife ran this little sweet shop, which also sold fruit and veg. Some residents in Blantyre remember the immediate post WW2 years being able to buy bananas there for the first time. The Sweenies lived at 53 Broompark Road near Smith’s Garage. Perhaps this was the sweet shop that Mary Hutchison used to work in?

      John Hutchison and Mary Barrett were married on 26th February 1926. John was 22 when he married at Stonefield Parish Church and had been living with family at 47 Small Crescent, then brand new houses. Mary was 18 years old and living with her family at 18 Forrest Place, a former building once behind where Jinxy’s Bakery is in High Blantyre. Her father had died by the time she married.

      Hope this is of interest.

  11. I am trying to locate Avon Building where Walter Getty, a saddler was living in 1881 and 1891. Walter Getty was an uncle of my grandmother Elizabeth Getty. The Gettys were born in LImavady, Co Londonderry, Ireland. In the 1901 census his address was given as Hamilton and he gave his occupation as a merchant saddler so I am wondering if he at that time had a saddler ‘s shop. Any help would be much appreciated.


      Hi Louise, I offer this free service for anything Blantyre related, rather than Hamilton. If your query is for Avon Buildings in Blantyre in the 1890s, here are my notes on those former buildings.

      Avon Buildings – Stonefield. In 1879, Mr. Charles Clark was a carter at these premises. Also at that time, J&G Hogg operated at Stonefield Medical Hall. The Avon Buildings were located at the western corner of the junction of Glasgow Road and Herbertson Street and incorporated the old Police Station. In 1895, the Co-op owned Avon Buildings. The site was vacant by 1909, following the opening of the new Police Station at Calder Street and was bought over by the Blantyre Co-operative Society who proceeded to demolish the buildings entirely in 1915, before constructing and opening their own Central Premises in February 1917.

      1. Hi Paul,
        Many thanks for your help. I just wanted to know where exactly the buildings were and if they still existed. Now I know they don’t! A great website. You must be very busy answering all the queries. Thanks again.

  12. Hi Paul, fascinating site. 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. Thank you so much for anything anyone might dig up. Paul McGuire


      Paul – I’m pleased to say, i think i can prove your family link to David Livingstone! I’ve scheduled this post with some pictures of documents for 4th July 2017. Meantime, here is the narrative and my research. Hope you find this interesting.

      McGuire 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.

      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.

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

      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.

  13. Hi all. I was looking for some information on Crossbow House. It used to belong to my family when it was a grand family home. The family name is Kerr (Donald). My Father’s sister, Ellen married Donald and they had 2 sons. I believe they had a Rolls Royce business there too providing chauffeured cars for events. If anyone has any information I would be so pleased!


      Hi Lisa, Here are the notes i have.

      Kerr, Mr. Donald – former owner of Crossbow House, High Blantyre. Mr Kerr ran an antiques business there in the 1960s, he used to make trips to London and pick up old Rolls Royces and bring them back north to clean them up sell them on. In the early 60s he could be seen going round Blantyre in an old Rolls Royce that once belonged to Hollywood great, Clark Gable. His business was by appointment only and he didn’t take kindly to us wandering around the property. Donald married alady named Ellen who died aged 50 in Blantyre in a tragic accident whilst riding her horse. Donald had a brother named Gordon and the whole family moved away some time during the mid 1980’s. Crossbow House subsequently fell into disrepair. His father, “old Johnny Kerr” was not the happiest of men but did warm, after one got to know him. He had a good eye for fine items, which made a trip to Crossbow House well worthwhile.

      Crossbow House is on my “to do” list for 2017 and should appear on the website in due course. Hope this is of interest. If you ever find photos of Crossbow House, I’d love to see them. Thanks.

  14. Paul> Once again thank you so much for all your work you do, you bring so much happiness, only wish my mum was with us to read all the stories her hear never left Blantyre. With that being said you posted an article on Ulva Place and Rosebank Ave. My mum and her family also lived on Rosebank Ave,but not able to know the exact address. In you article you mentioned the Burns family rented at the time. My maternal great grandparents were Edward Burns born 1876 died 23/02/1958 and Margaret nee O’Donnell Burns born 1878 died 20/021945. My grandparents were James Murphy and Alice Burns Murphy. Children Margaret Ann (nan) and Mary Murphy. would love any information you can provide as to my family’s ancestry.My great grandparents are buried in High Blantyre Cemetery along with my grandfather and my mother and dad Margaret & Samuel Faulds and my Aunt and Uncle John and Ann McInally. trying to pass along our ancestry to the next generations so that the stories live on……Once again thank you so much…


      There’s a lot of great information in there to get started. Here are the added notes I have. Hope you find this interesting.

      Edward Burns was born in Blantyre to parents Francis Burns (coalminer) and Mary Cornfield. The family look to have come from Ireland to pursue work in the new coalmining industry that was springing up in Blantyre in that decade. The family were given tied cottages at Bairds Rows. By 1891, Edward’s father had passed away and his mother Mary, remarried into the Kelly family.

      Edward should not be confused with another boy of the same age and name in Blantyre who was sent to board with the Connor family at Dixon Street, at Dixon’s Rows and is noted as being with the Connors in 1891, then aged only 14 or so. That Edward trained and became a baker, but our story concern coalminer Edward Burns.

      At the age of 19, Edward Burns, was living at 103 Baird’s Rows, Low Blantyre and employed as a coal miner, clearly making the choice to pursue the same profession and work as his father did.

      He married on the 20th day of June 1896 at St Joseph’s Church, which was in the former old building before the current church was built on Glasgow Road. His sweetheart was Margaret O’ Donnell (preference Maggie), a lady a year younger who lived at the former Cross Row in Blantyre Works, in the Village. She was born in Dalziel in 1878, the year after the large Pit disaster in Blantyre and her parents were Patrick O Donnell and Agnes Craig. The place of marriage suggests Catholic heritage.

      In 1911, Edward was 33 years old and living with Maggie and their large family at Victoria Place. This was a former row of miner’s homes, often called the “Honeymoon”. It was located next to Blantyre Police Station on Victoria Street, sandwiched between the gaol and the primary school. With them were daughters Margaret (11), Alice (6) and sons Francis (9), Edward (4), James (2) and John (10 months). All the children were born in Blantyre except the 3 youngest who were born in nearby Bothwell.

      Alice Burns was born in on 12th August 1904 at 3 Bairds Rows (also known as Craighead Rows). By 1911, she had moved to Victoria Place.

      James Murphy was born in 1905, the son of Richard Murphy (coalminer) and Annie Maloney. In 1925 he was living at Cross Rows, Blantyre. Those houses in the Village were already in the process of being emptied, and would shortly after be demolished. He was renting from William Baird, who was coincidentally also the owner of Baird’s Row’s.

      When the Cross Row was demolished in the late 1920’s, James Murphy moved to 214 Glasgow Road and on the 10th June 1927, married Alice Burns. They wed at St Joseph’s Church on Glasgow Road, in the current church. Alice had been living at Mayberry Buildings prior to getting married. The building still exists today and is immediately next to St Josephs on Glasgow Road.

      I’ve scheduled a post for 23rd June 2017 here on this website with this content and some associated photos / documents. Hope this helps!

  15. Paul,With great interest I have read all notes from your Blantyre Project and would appreciate data on Dads Accident 1936,also info re my grandparents,who passed on before I was born.This is a subject that was not discussed in my presence,now in my 89nth I feel can accept what my mother had to accept.I seen to think there was some doubt, years after that it was not dads fault but that was only something I heard but have no proofTom Martin.

    1. Hi Tom – What was your father’s full name. Was it John Collinson Martin? If you know your grandparents names that would help too. Please note I have a few other requests below to attend to before this one, but will get to it in due course. Thanks.

    2. ** REQUEST 11 – THOMAS MARTIN **

      On Thursday 23rd July 1936, a High Blantyre steelworker was tragically killed in an accident near to Blantyre. James Martin (41), a, crane driver, residing at 208 Main Street. High Blantyre, was involved in this accident which afterwards proved fatal.

      In the Steel Company of Scotland works Hallside, Cambuslang, two hand winches were being used to hoist a seven-ton crane into its position 20 feet overhead. One of the hooks snapped and the crane crashed the ground. Martin was struck, and died in Glasgow Royal Infirmary shortly after admission. He was survived by his wife and one child.

      How could I not look at this interesting request! My first task was to verify the accident that had tragically killed James Martin (father of Thomas).

      The Scotsman reported on Friday 24th July 1936, “FATAL ACCIDENT AT STEELWORKS IN CAMBUSLANG James Martin, crane driver, 41 years of age, who resided at 208 Main Street, High Blantyre was fatally injured yesterday in the Hallside Works, Cambuslang, of the Steel Company of Scotland. Two hand winches were being used to hoist a seven-ton crane into its position 20 feet overhead, and while the work was being carried out, one of the hooks broke and the crane crashed to the ground. Martin was hit and was taken to the works ambulance room, where medical aid was quickly forthcoming. It was found that he had sustained fractures to the right leg and serious internal injuries. He died shortly after admission to Glasgow Royal Infirmary. Martin leaves a wife and one child.”

      The newspaper clip was very helpful, for it confirms James was living in Blantyre, that he was born around 1895 or so, that he was married and that Thomas was his only child, ie Thomas, born in 1928.

      James must have been well liked by his fellow workers, for they didn’t leave his widow to pay for a gravestone. Instead, the workers contributed to a fund to buy a small headstone for James, which was placed above his grave in High Blantyre Cemetery. Here it is today. The stone again is very helpful in piecing this story together for it confirms that his colleagues arranged the stone, and also at a later date in 1982 adds the name Annie Monie Martin, the wife of James, who of course was Thomas’s mother, who lived a long life until she was 82.

      James Martin was living at 208 Main Street in 1930 according to the Valuation roll of that year, but does not appear in the Valuation roll for 1925 or 1920, indicating a move to Blantyre for the family between 1925 and 1928.

      According to the birth certificate of James Martin below, James was a Blantyre man, born at Springfield, just off Broompark Road on 21st January 1895. He was the 5th child to his parents. Springfield at that time was known to house many mining families, most likely working for nearby Dixon’s Collieries at Larkfield. The certificate confirms he was born to Thomas Martin and to Jemima Fraser. As such, I can safely confirm here that Thomas, who sent in this request, was indeed named after his grandfather who was in 1895, a colliery roadsman. The birth certificate, being most helpful also confirms Thomas Martin and Jemima Fraser had married on 18th November 1881 at Strathaven which is in the Parish of Avondale.

      Moving to the story of the grandparents, according to their marriage certificate and various census information, Thomas Martin was 31 when he married in 1881, a farm servant living in Kirk Street, Strathaven. He was born in Dumfries in 1849, the son of John Martin a farm servant, deceased at the time Thomas got married. He was also the son of Jean McCall, who lived to see her son married. Thomas had been married before and was a widower when he met Jemima.

      Jemima Fraser was 26 years old at the time of her marriage in 1881. She was born in Inverness. By 1881, she was a domestic servant tablemaid living in the servants quarters at Netherfield House in Strathaven, the daughter of Alexander Fraser (master blacksmith) and Ann Gordon. Netherfield House as it is today is pictured.

      Thomas and Jemima had 5 children by the 1901 census, John (18), Annie (16), Maggie (11), Minnie (7) and James (6). All the children were born in Blantyre, meaning Thomas and Jemima moved from Strathaven right after their marriage. It may be highly probably that some of the descendants from this Martin family members are still in Blantyre today!

      Going back a further generation John Martin was born in 1786 in Georgetown, in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He was a farm labourer and his wife Jean McCall was 25 years his junior. They married in Dumfries on 10th July 1842. According to the 1851 census, Thomas was their first boy, but their 3rd child. Jean was also born in Dumfrieshire, therefore the family have their roots in the Scottish Borders. John Martin died in 1865. I have mapped out the ancestry as below.

  16. Hi I am trying to find out more about my grandfather. James Mcvey born march 1904, in 1911 he lived at 12 calder street aged 7. We believe he went to the USA around 1927 but we dont know why. Any information would be great to hear.

    1. Hi Paul, also if you can find out anything about his maternal grandparents, daniel and agnes kellachen/callaghan seen numerous spellings on this. Thank you so much.


        Hi Kelly. Here are my notes.

        James Callaghan McVey was born at 16 Hall Street, Dixons Rows, Stonefield, Blantyre on 27th March 1904, at exactly noon. The address is telling that he belonged to a miner’s family, the property owned by William Dixon.

        Indeed, his birth certificate confirms his father was Thomas McVey, a coalminer. His mother was Helen Jane Callaghan, with James middle name being his mother’s maiden name.

        The property he lived in was small, basic, single storey and would have been cramped. A row of terraced homes, similar to adjacent streets. This is a picture of Park Street below around that era but the homes in adjacent Hall Street would have been identical.

        Like many Blantyre men in the 1920’s he left Scotland looking for employment in the USA. Some of the pits in Blantyre were being exhausted and many men thought about jobs that did not involve going deep into the earth. Job opportunities in local papers offering a better life in Canada and America were frequent.

        However, it was not an ideal time, for many men found themselves in the heart of the deep American depression, and often gave up seeking jobs to come back to Scotland. It would appear however, that James decided to stay, perhaps being one of the lucky ones to find work or love.

        Exploring his mother’s side, his mother Helen Jane Callaghan had married husband Thomas McVey on 21st June 1901 in Blantyre. Helen or Ellen as she was known is noted on her marriage certificate as having surname Kellachen, a derivative meaning the same as Callaghan. She was just 19, a dressmaker when she married in St Joseph’s Church on Glasgow Road. Thomas being 2 years older.

        Ellen Kellachen was the daughter of Daniel Kellachen (b1880) and Agnes Matthews (b1882). As a child, she lived at 12 Dixon Street, in Dixon’s Rows only a street away from where she would live after her marriage. Her father Daniel was a former furnaceman for Dixon’s Collieries.

        Going back a generation again looking at her parents, Daniel and Agnes, the fact they were married in St Josephs, suggests at least one of them, most likely both were Roman Catholic. They married 4 years before the current church was built, getting married in the former School / Chapel on Glasgow Road, near its junction with Stonefield Road. This also explains why finding birth certificates for the couple are much harder to find. It is highly likely both of their families came from Ireland to settle in Blantyre just as many miner’s families did in the 1880’s. I did manage to find an elderly Daniel Kellachan passing away in Blantyre in 1960 but cannot be 100% certain this was the same man. I also found an infant who died in his first 5 days in 1903 Though this infant was named Daniel Kellachan he was not the child of Daniel and Agnes.

        Hope this is of interest to the family.
        This will be posted on the website along with photos and certificates on 17th June 2017

        1. Hi Paul,

          Sorry for the delay in replying. Thank you so much for this information and your time looking into this for me.

          Kind Regards


  17. Could you find out about my mothers family Davidson her name was Helen sister Annie,brothers John and. William


      Lillias – I’ve now looked into the Davidson Ancestry. Very interesting. I enjoyed doing that and hope this makes sense. I’ve scheduled a couple of posts about this on the site for 6th may 2017.

      Helen Wood Davidson was born on 19th March 1912 at 3.15am at 16 Douglas Street, High Blantyre. She was the daughter of John Dugald Davidson, an accomplished joiner and Lillias Lockhart. The “Wood” part of her name was after her granny’s surname born in 1824. John D Davidson was present at Helen’s birth. Little Helen’s birth certificate was registered by her father on 8th April 1912 exactly a week before the Titanic sank in the mid Atlantic.

      Going back a generation first, her father John Dugald Davidson was born in Govan, Glasgow on 30th November 1867 the child of John and Helen (Ellen) Wood. He married Ann McPherson in Glasgow on 3rd November 1893 in Glasgow. Annie, as she preferred was pregnant when she married. At the end of 1893, the couple settled in Blantyre and moved into accommodation at Gardiner’s Place near the junction of Main Street and Broompark Road. It’s quite probable John worked at Davidson’s sawmills in Blantyre and the sawmill may have belonged to a family member.

      On 14th April 1894, whilst visiting Hendrie’s Place, (a former building that once stood in the little triangular grass park near Kirkton Cross), Annie McPherson went into labour. She gave birth to little Jessie Davidson in Blantyre that day with John present.

      However, John and Annie’s first child arriving, was not a happy occasion as you may imagine. Annie had been seriously ill with tuberculosis and on the following day, after she gave birth to Jessie, she sadly died aged only 28, weak from being so ill and from the labours of childbirth. Just 5 months after he had married, in April 1894, 25 year old John Davidson was a widower with one small newborn child! However, it wasn’t long before he had caught the eye of Lillias Lockhart, a young local woman from Saltcoats.

      Lillias Lockhart was born in 1876 in Ayrshire and was the grandmother of Lillias Addison who made this ancestry request.

      On 16th July 1897 at Thornhill, Blantyre, John D Davidson married Lillias Lockhart when she was 21. She was 6 years his junior as John was 28 and the couple decided to reside at John’s home in High Blantyre at Gardiner’s Place, along with Lillias’ new little stepdaughter, Jessie.

      Another daughter for John followed in 1899, named Annie. A touching and fitting tribute to his late wife. Then a first son, William on 17th February 1900.

      In 1901, the couple were living at Gardiner Place, John D Davidson by then a joiner aged 32. Wife, Lillias was now 26, a housewife looking after the three children and pregnant with another son, John Lockhart Davidson who would be born later the next year. Note, the 1901 census says she was 20 then, but her marriage certificate in 1897 says she was 22. I would suggest at this point it was likely an error was made on the census, as was commonplace.

      In 1910, the family moved from Gardiner Place to 129 Main Street, then the following year in early 1912, to 16 Douglas Street.

      In 1911 census, when she was at 129 Main Street, she is correctly noted as being 35.

      The first decade of 1900’s saw many Davidson family members born in Blantyre. The name was no longer uncommon in Blantyre. No less than 20 births to Davidsons are recorded in Blantyre between 1900 – 1915.

      Following 1915, John Dugald Davidson changed profession and became a draper at shops on Glasgow Road at numbers 166, 167 and 169, a situation which continued until 1922 when he passed away. The business then transferred to his son, John Lockhart Davidson (d1975)

      Lillias Davidson (nee Lockhart) died in 1950, aged 74 in Blantyre. I’ve mapped out the Ancestry as follows:

      Helen Wood Davidson, b1912, married in 1940 to John McDonald and of course they had Lillias in 1947, and the rest as they say is history! (I found an entry for Helen Wood Davidson passing away on 2nd April 2004 overseas in America, aged 92, but will leave this up to you to confirm, given its sensitivity within modern history.)

      Have a good evening. Paul.

  18. Hi My Granny Catherine Paterson lived in 16 cemetery road High Blantyre along with my dad Robert,brothers |John Gavin Wallace and my aunt Christine, and the building was still standing the day she was buried she was married to John Paterson.

    1. ** REQUEST 8 – Catherine Paterson **

      Hi Eleanor. Here are my collected notes on this. Hope you find this interesting. Catherine Taylor was born in 1880 in Cambuslang, the second child to Gavin Taylor (b1845) and his wife Mary (b1843). Gavin was originally from Biggar and Mary from Cambusnethan but following their marriage they opted to settle in Cambuslang.

      In 1878 the couple had first child, Jane. Then Catherine followed in 1880. In 1881, they lived at 1 Greenbank Terrace, Cambuslang along with 2 adult boarders. Younger brothers Gavin and John Taylor were born in 1882 and following this, the family chose to move to Blantyre between 1882 and 1883. Gavin Taylor was a joiner and the attraction of construction projects in Blantyre following the discovery of coal, is the probable reason the family came here. It is the Taylor’s who lived at Cemetery Road, (or Cemetery Walk as it was known in the 19th Century), rather than the Patersons, initially.

      Catherine’s household was very busy as a child. Even more so when a SECOND set of male twins, Robert and James were born in 1886 and another sister Mary born in 1888. In the 1891 census Gavin and Mary were living at Cemetery Walk with 7 children all under the age of 13. Eldest daughter Jane had left School at 13, and was an unemployed domestic servant.

      Catherine was destined to live a long life. Upon leaving home, she married John Paterson. John was born on 14th November 1881 the son of Robert Paterson, a miner and Janet Jaap. From the early 1900’s until 1925, John Paterson was living at 52 Main Street, High Blantyre.

      In 1925, John Paterson was renting a house at 12 Cemetery Road. By 1930, John and Catherine were renting larger 16 Cemetery Road from Janet Gray, who lived in Prestwick. A growing family may have created a requirement for a larger home. John’s rent was £12 per year. Nearby at 20 Cemetery Road was George Paterson, who may have been a relation.

      John was a colliery oncostman. On 9th April 1931, John Paterson passed away young, with bronchitis aged 49 at home at 16 Cemetery Road.

      The couple would go on to have a family. Catherine Paterson (nee Taylor) passed away on 27th March 1969, aged 89 and was buried in High Blantyre Cemetery in the same lair alongside her husband John, not far from her previous home. Incredibly, she outlived her husband by 38 years. An illustrated post on this appear on the site on 27/4/17.

      1. thank you very much, I know that my Granny lost I think 2 or 3 children before they were a year old, and I think that they were girls.and we have photographs of my Grandfather, with his brother,with a horse and cart.x

        1. Thanks Eleanor, would love to put a photo to these people if possible. Appreciated.

      2. Robert & Janet Paterson were my Great Gran & Grampa. My mother’s middle name Jaap

        1. Hi Margaret, my brother’s middle name is Jaap there were four in our family and two of us got middle names from my mother’s side and two got their’s from my dad’s Catherine Taylor Paterson and John Jaap Paterson.Ann and I got the English Names from my Mother’s side.. are you in Blantyre.?

    2. I would add it’s very likely CATHERINES WALK, at nearby Cemetery Road was named after this elderly lady who lived there most of her life.

      1. we did say that to my dad but he said that she was called Kate most of her life and he did not think so.

        1. will there be anyway we would be able to find that out.xx

        2. Eleanor – I would say its almost a certainty. When Catherine passed away in 1969, those homes were being built at that same time. Its just too co-incidental and I think the council likely honoured the time she had spent there by doing that.

  19. Hi Paul, I’d love to find out more about my great uncle Walter Batters and his wife Barbara Batters (nee Crombie), sadly we’ve such a small family left and no-one alive to help.

    1. ** REQUEST 7 ** – Subject Walter Batters

      Hi Carol – I spent yesterday evening researching the Batters family in some detail and now able to tell their story. Here’s a small snippet of whats coming. The full story of the Batters will be told here on the website in scheduled posts on 30th April 2016. That will be BATTERS day!

      “– The Batters family arrived in Blantyre around 1881 coming initially from Carluke then latterly via Hamilton. In 1885, Mr William Batters Senior (b1817), an ironmonger was renting a house in Coopermindale Place, Stonefield. His son, Walter Batters Senior was renting a shop nearby at Coopermindale Place and in the 1880’s, the Batters family did not own property, but were renting only. Born in 1846 in Carluke, to William Batters and Jane Black, Walter Batters Senior was an ironmonger by trade. He married Jeannie Hastie on 13th December 1867 and they appear in Blantyre for the feirst time in 1881. He lived with his family at Grimson’s Buildings in 1885. In 1895, Walter had inherited his father’s ironmongery and plumbing business and was renting a house from John Gold at Coopermindale Place. Together with Jeannie, Walter had several children including Isabella b1869, William b1870, John b1872 and Walter Junior born in 1879. All the children were born away from Blantyre. Walter Batters Senior clearly did well. As plumber and ironmonger in those boom times of construction in Blantyre, by 1905 he owned his own house, shop and workshop. He let his workshop out to his eldest son, William Batters, a tinsmith for a low annual rent of £4. The house, shop and workshop would later be allocated address 142 and 144 Glasgow Road. Jeannie Hastie, beloved wife of Walter Batters, died fairly young at Stonefield on 3rd May 1905, which must have been a tremendous sadness. Following the death of his wife, Walter would appear to have channelled his energies (and profits) into property and he also held position as secretary of the U.F (Anderson) Church. The rise of the Batters family with phenomenal success really occurred around 1905. “

  20. Hughie Wallace my great grandfather was a farmer’s son, and a farmer’s grandson, and worked on the family farm until he joined the British Army to fight in the second Boer War (1899 to 1902). After the army he returned to Scotland and to the farm The farms were mostly on the hills and valleys between Blantyre and Auchintibber. He then and started an apprenticeship with the local blacksmith.

    In the early 1900s Hughie Wallace met and married Elizabeth McKinlay. They had two children James Wallace, my grandfather and his sister Jean. Jean married Fred Gray, was widowed and then married Sam Nimmo.

    I am trying to work out where the blacksmith was located and /or the Wallace farm. Also during the war my Aunty Jean had a wee shop and I don’t know if it was in Blantyre or Hallside ..any help would be appreciated.

    1. ** REQUEST 6 ** – Subject Hugh Wallace

      HI Debbie – I have a day off work today for mid term holidays, so I got up early and did some research on Hugh Wallace. Hope you find this interesting.

      Hugh McKerrow Wallace was the son of James Wallace b1845 and Helen Allan Russell b1842. Originally from Kirkintilloch James moved to Auchenitbber as a farrier. Wife Helen was working as a domestic servant in Hamilton on Kennedy’s Farm. Hugh was born in 1879 and would grow up to become a farrier like his father. This family had lived in Auchentibber throughout the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s. They lived at Wallace’s land and had strong associations with the sport of quoiting.

      In February 1900 at the age of 21, Hugh had already been a member of the 2nd V.B.S Rifle Volunteers for 3 years. He had volunteered his services as a farrier in the Royal Horse Artillery. On the first Wednesday in February 1900, just 1 month after saying goodbye to the 1890s, Hugh was ready to say goodbye again. This time he was leaving for Aldershot and expecting to sail out to South Africa the following week.

      At Auchentibber, the community rallied and he was presented with a powerful pair of field glasses, sportsmans knife, and a pipe and tobacco from a few friends who met to bid him farewell and to wish him good luck. Inspector Gracie of Blantyre made the presentation and spoke in the highest terms of Hugh’s patriotic behaviour and of the volunteers in their country’s hour of need. He said ‘Farrier’ Wallace took an honoured name to the front and knew he would never do anything to dishonour it. Mr Wallace suitably replied and a pleasant hour was spent afterwards bidding farewell from close family and friends. War took place in South Africa from 1899 to 1902. Hugh did survive the African conflict and was discharged from Army duty in 1902.

      When he was 24 years old, Hugh was married on 26th June 1903 at the Masonic Hall in Kirkton High Blantyre. At that time, he was a journeyman Blacksmith. (A “journeyman” was a skilled worker who has successfully completed an official apprenticeship qualification in a building trade or craft. They were considered competent and authorized to work in that field as a fully qualified employee of somebody else.) He lived at Muirfoot in Auchentibber prior to his marriage and likely served as a blacksmith to the various mining contractors in the Auchentibber area. Wallace’s Land was situated on the western side of Parkneuk Road but is now demolished.

      His bride was Elizabeth McKinlay, a domestic servant from Auchinraith, High Blantyre or “Lizzie” as she preferred. Lizzie was the same age as Hugh and was the daughter of James McKinlay, a coal fire inspector and mother Jane Brown.

      In the 1905 Valuation roll, the couple were living at Kirkland Place, in Auchinraith at the home of Lizzie’s family. His child James Jnr was born on November 23, 1903, in Motherwell, Lanarkshire. Another 2 children Minnie and Jeannie would follow.

      Hugh, Lizzie and children visited America in 1906 but are thought to have returned to Blantyre before 1911 at which time they were living at 13 Hunthill Road.

      The proximity to the High Blantyre Dixon’s collieries of both these addresses is telling that James may have been employed working for Dixon’s Collieries as a blacksmith perhaps at Pits 2 or 3. However, a later census in 1911 reveals that he worked as a horse shoe blacksmith, rather than at the collieries. Therefore, there is a strong possibility that Hugh Wallace worked for Mr Templeton, the blacksmith at nearby Broompark Road. Indeed the Templeton family are known to have had associations with the Wallace family throughout the 19th Century.

      The 1911 Census has the couple now aged 32 living at 13 Hunthill Road and now with 2 children, James their son aged 7 and Jeanie, their daughter aged 4. The census indicates a tragedy had taken place for it states that Lizzie had given birth to 3 children by 1911, although only 2 were surviving. Little Minnie had passed away. Next door at the same address was 56 year old Jeannie Corbet, and despite being herself, was in a larger part of that house, with 3 rooms.

      The children would have gone to school at nearby High Blantyre School on Hunthill Road.Hugh, Lizzie and Jeanie were all born in Blantyre, but son James was born in Motherwell, but likely out of circumstance only rather than the family living there.

      By 1915, the Wallace family were still at 13 Hunthill Road although they may have visited America again before 1920. Sometime between 1925 and 1930 when they moved to 288 Glasgow Road to a house called “Thornhill Place.”

      His previous army experience and skills made him a suitable candidate to enlist for service when war broke out in 1914. He enrolled on 11th August 1914, listing Blantyre as his home. Hugh Wallace served in the military that year when he was 35 years old until discharged.

      I have heard that Jeannie Wallace had a sweet shop in Blantyre during the 1930’s, but I’m unable to confirm the location.

      Hugh McKerrow Wallace passed away at 23 Auchinraith Road on 5th November, 1958, aged 78. His death certificate notes he was a retired blacksmith and outlived his wife. His elder brother John lived a long life after emigrating to Australia. His son James during 1958, was living in Woodland Crescent, Cambuslang.

      A post about this is scheduled for the site on 25th April 2017.

      1. Hi Paul I cannot thank you enough for this great information, while I had a little of it you have added so much more and with great context. Interesting you talk about little Minnie my grandfathers sister who passed away. I have no knowledge of that name at all but what is interesting in Blantyre Cemetry when we went to the family plot to bury my grandmother in the 1970s the sexton told us that there was an unknown infant child in one of the caskets therefore there was only one place left in the plot not 2 like we thought. I wonder if this was little Minnie?

  21. Would love to know more about the history of my house 186 auchinraith road??

    1. ** REQUEST 5 ** – 186 Auchinraith Road

      Hi Lorraine. Here are the notes i have for this address. It still leaves some questions unanswered. If you ever get the title deeds (as you’re entitled to do as owner), it will fill in many gaps, especially firming up the construction date. Here’s what I have. Hope this is interesting.

      Miltonbank Cottages – are 4 houses at 182, 184, 186 and 188 Auchinraith Road. They were built between 1885 and 1895. The name Miltonbank may have been forgotten by now but applied to all 4 cottages as early as they were first constructed. Almost all of the cottages in Auchinraith Road once had separate beautiful names attached to them. These cottages are made of stone, well built and sit back off Auchinraith Road on its west side, accessed by front gardens. They have slate roofs, which had had modern upstairs conversions added to in recent decades. The original 2-foot stonewall and garden gateposts still remain today. In 1930, Mr. John Wilson, a fruiter from Thankerton owned the cottages and was letting them out. The tenants that year were Marion Muirhead, a widow renting 182 for £25 per year. William Garnder, a baker at number 184 renting for £26 per year, John Inglis, a motor driver at 186 renting for £16 and John Smith, a miner at 188, was renting for £15. At some point following WW2, one of the double windows on the front was knocked into one larger window. The large gardens at the back once looked out upon Auchinraith Nursery but now are next to Kirkton Care Home. The current occupier of 186 is Lorraine Bennie.

  22. C7Vu6ZOEEX2jGpJJRWIaSB/gPB4k4ENfQpSsKheEI3Y=

    I read the article on George Pollock. Well I’m descended from his father John Pollock 1781 • Dalserf, Lanarkshire, Scotland
    DEATH Unknown m. 16 Feb 1806 in Dalserf.
    3rd great-grandfather
    and Marion Robb BIRTH 1797 • Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland
    DEATH 1868 • Scotland
    3rd great-grandmother and their son John who married Sarah Wheelan. Who are John Pollock and Marion Robb’s parents? Also you stated that they had 6 sons and I have 7 so which one does not belong because I don’t have a Christian but have a Christina! John, Robert, Wm, Andrew, George and James. I also have two daughters born before John, Margaret and Marion both born 1812 possibly twins, as we have so many twins in the family. Looking forward to breaking down this brick wall. Also, you mentioned another name Leath, probably her second marriage, do you have a first name? Thank you very much for your consideration!

    1. ** REQUEST 4 ** – Subject Pollock

      Thanks for your email. I’m always amazed at how many links there are to the Pollock family. I think this was rather a large family, if I have the right tree. I have emailed you on 10th December 2016 with more details.

      I’ve now had a chance to look into this and it IS Christina, rather than Christian. Apologies for any confusion in the post. Rather Co-incidentally there was a Christian Pollock born the year before Christina. Christian lived in East Kilbride but his parents were different.

      Marion and Robb definitely gave birth to Christina in 1820, as confirmed in later census information. That means the ancestry shown below in my email is correct, but does mean I’ll need to update the previous post to correct the typo. Thanks, getting things as accurate as possible is important. All the best,

  23. What was the name of the paper shop that was at the bottom of auchinraith road

    1. ** REQUEST 3 ** – Subject Paper shop at Auchinraith Road

      Hi Patrick, This was WYPERS shop, owned by Archie Wyper, and would later become known as REILLYS. Archie had a delivery van and would deliver out to Industrial Estates and loyal customers.

  24. In a little story you posted the other day you mentioned a Gardner named William Bryce. I was wondering if there was any relation between him and my Great Step Grandfather Patrick Bryce. He married Minnie Hastie after the lose of her husband Robert Hastie.

    1. Hi Megan. I will look into that and advise back here in due course.

    2. ** REQUEST 2 ** – Subject: William Bryce

      HI Megan. I think there’s a good chance the 2 people were related. The story I put up about William Bryce being a gardner was in the 1861 census and William was 20 or so. The 1871 census has a lack of any Bryce family members, but 1881 has incoming other unrelated Bryce families mostly due to the coal era. In 1898, a baby boy, William Patrick Bryce was born in Blantyre, which I think is too much of a co-incidence, the baby being named if not after his father, then perhaps an uncle.

      The question here for me is why was William Bryce not in any other census after 1871 at Crossbasket in Kilbride Parish? In 1872 in Kilbride Parish, a baby Patrick Bryce was born, whose father was deceased by the time he was born. This is the likely Patrick Bryce who would later marry Minnie. If so, Patrick may have been the son of William, the gardner at Crossbasket, who died an early death.

  25. Hello, I am looking to find my cousin Patricia Mulholland who lives on 37 Morris Crescent, Blantyre. It has been many years since I have had contact with her and I don’t know if she is still alive. I live in the United States. Thank You for any help.

    1. Hi Anne – Thanks. You’re the first to use this new brand feature on the website. I’ll put your message up on the Facebook page and see if anybody knows anything more or can trace Patricia. If anybody responds I’ll comment here further in due course.

    2. hi anne patricia mullholland mum was my gran sister we loved to here from u ina barrie sanders

    3. ** REQUEST 1 **- Subject: Patricia Mulholland

      Anne – I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Sadly, I’ve been reliably informed by local lady Moyra Lindsay, that Patricia Mulholland passed away around 2014. She was a member of Blantyre Bowling at Stonefield Road and is missed. If anybody can provide more details, then please feel free to comment here. Take care

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