Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Barbara Slimon Whitecross

Barbara Slimon was the wife of Andrew Whitecross, my great great grandfather. I had noticed that her Testament was available on line but hadn't been too concerned because I had already read that of her husband Andrew. However, going back to doing some more research after a break of several months, I decided to 'tidy up' that loose end.

In large part Barbara's testament is a joint affair with Andrew, who she predeceased, (Barbara died 1st October 1893; Andrew died 11th January 1900). There are several bequests that are made that presumably were honoured at the time of Andrew's death although not given in his (supplemental) testament.

Of special interest are the family bible belonging to Andrew's grandfather which was to pass to their son Thomas and a gold pencil case which was to go to their grandson Andrew Whitecross Shaw. The pencil case was a gift from the Hon. Cornwallis Maud of Dundrum, Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland. Various other pieces are mentioned as being gifts received on the occasion of leaving Cumbernauld. This is interesting as it could explain why I can find no trace of Andrew and Barbara in the 1881 Census. It is possible that, following the death of Admiral Fleeming and the sale of the Cumbernauld Estate to William Burns, Andrew may have been offered employment with Cornwallis Maud, who was the husband of Admiral Fleeming's daughter.

I was aware that Andrew and Barbara's youngest daughter Annie was married to Philip Taylor and that they in turn had children Marion and Philip who had lived in Northern Ireland. Could this Irish connection have been a result of Andrew working on the Dundrum estate? Neither Marion or Philip are mentioned in Barbara's testament but grandchildren Andrew James Taylor and Barbara Slimon Taylor are. That could suggest either that Andrew and Barbara Taylor are elder children, or, maybe more likely that being named for your grandparents is important! There is further evidence for this system of gifting when it is realised that while Andrew Whitecross Shaw received the pencil case his elder siblings Joseph, Barbara and Agnes received nothing! (On that basis Barbara Slimon Shaw surely missed out, as did younger siblings Thomas Whitecross Shaw and Margaret Whitecross Shaw).

Monday, 20 August 2007

Andrew Whitecross

Andrew Whitecross was the father of Margaret Whitecross who married my greatgrandfather James Shaw ('grandpa' Shaw). Earlier research had revealed that Andrew was a 'factor' or overseer at Ward Park, Cumbernauld when James Shaw married Margaret.

Some while ago I came across a website produced by Richard Anderson in which he revealed that his ancestors had farmed at Carrickstone. In his research he had found that Joseph Shaw and Agnes Waugh were tenants there in 1881. As a result I got in touch with Richard and he sent me some recent pictures of the farmhouse at Carrickstone (all that remains). Recently Richard had been researching the 'Scotsman' archives and he found an advertisment from December 1864 announcing that 'The Farm of Carrickstone' on the Cumbernauld Estate was available for letting. It is most likely that at this time that Joseph and Agnes Shaw moved from Stand Farm back to Cumbernauld. What adds special interest is that Andrew Whitecross is named in the advertisment as the Overseer 'who will point out the lands'.

Nearly eleven years later Joseph's eldest son James would marry the landord's agent's eldest daughter Margaret and as a result 'Whitecross' found its way into many a 'Shaw's name.

Pte. Joseph Shaw

Ann Shaw and William Marshall Shaw's brother Joseph had two sons and a daughter to his first wife and a daughter to his second wife. To date I know very little about these children. Being born around the end of the 19th century there is every possibility that the sons could have been involved in the Great War (WW1) where they might have been casualities. I have no clues that would tie them down and their names are too common to do a full check of the Scottish records. There is no guarantee that they all remained in Scotland anyway.

Margaret Scala sent me copies of some letters written by Isabella Main to her aunt in Australia. Isabella was the daughter of Janet Shaw, sister of Ann and William M. and my great grandfather James. One of the letters written in May 1916 tells that 'Uncle James Stark died a year ago and at the same time Uncle Joe Shaw had his youngest son killed at the war in France, they were both in the same week.' This son would be Joseph Shaw who was born in 1894.

A quick search on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website gives us a bit more information. I had looked at some of the entries on this site before but sadly there are so many names recorded there that it can take some time to find an entry that you 'know' should be there. At least the name of Joseph's father has been recorded with that of his son so he 'belongs' to someone. Too many of these records have no details of age or next of kin yet they all represent a real person who was dear to someone.

This website has a photograph of the cemetery at Gorre, Pas de Calais. Joseph's marker stone is directly in front of the Great Cross and is the fourth from the left.

Of passing interest; Isabella Main was by 1916 married to Robert Thomson and living at No. 38 Camden Street but whether her Aunt, Annie Shaw Browne, was still living/working at Nos. 11/13 at that time I don't know.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Ann Shaw Browne

When I first started looking into my family history no one that I spoke to was aware of my great grandfather James Shaw ('grandpa Shaw') having any siblings. However when a photograph of his son Thomas Shaw's wedding turned up, my father's cousins Margaret Murrie and Nancy Flemming identified one of the ladies present as being "Mrs. Brown, aunt of the bridegroom". Here was the first indication that 'grandpa Shaw' did indeed have siblings.

Mrs. Brown proved to be elusive. There didn't seem to be any record of her being married in Scotland. In all I have found 12 siblings of 'grandpa Shaw' and managed to find out what happened to all of them (including 'escapee' William Marshall Shaw, but what of Ann Shaw?

Well sometimes these things are just a little bit further than under your nose. Brown is quite a common name so it is natural to try and restrict the age range in the search, say 18 to 25 years for a marriage. Browne is a name that is not so common and 50 years old is older than most marriages, and that is how Ann Shaw managed to hide from me!

Ann Shaw was working as a dairymaid in Glasgow, (brothers James and Joseph both operated dairies in Glasgow at different times), when she married John Eccles Browne, Master Mariner. He had previously been married to Agnes King, with whom he had at least one son, Alexander. The sea must have been in the blood because John's father was a mariner too. At the time of Ann's marriage in July 1911 both she and John gave No. 15 Camden Street, Glasgow as their address but as this was a tenement with 8 appartments they were no doubt just 'good neighbours'. On the Valuation Roll for 1913-14 Mrs. Annie Shaw Browne is recorded as tenant at No. 11/13, a house and shop, and recorded as a 'milk dealer'. Unusually the property has been sub-let from a Joseph Shaw, dairyman, who is of course her brother! Evidence of a chain of Shaw dairies?

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Fr. Donald Shaw

Aunt Margaret recalls a family reunion in 1937 triggered by the arrival of two catholic priests. It was a long time ago but she thought there was some sort of Irish/Australian connection. The younger priest was called Donald and the elder one was his uncle. Donald was a relation of some sort but his uncle wasn't related to the Shaws. Earlier this year I tried to find a likely Irish priest that might fit but without success.

Having almost certainly tracked William Marshall Shaw to Australia I suddenly had the thought that maybe his son Donald could bethe missing priest. William's wife, Ellen O'Grady, though born in Australia, was quite likely of Irish stock and could well be catholic. Perhaps she had a brother who was a priest and perhaps her children were brought up as catholics and Donald followed his maternal uncle into the priesthood?

Searching the Internet (again!) I found a reference to Fr. Donald Shaw who became a parish priest in Devonport, Tasmania in 1932. He helped found a school there and in more recent times a college there was named for him, St. Brendan-Shaw College. I e-mailed a head-and-shoulders shot of the younger priest to the school at Our Lady of Lourdes School in Devonport and two days later the school office confirmed that the photograph was 'their' Fr. Donald Shaw! When prompted, Aunt Margaret said that she thought that O'Grady was the name of the elder priest, she remembered him as having slightly red hair.

Having established that Fr. Donald Shaw was the visiting priest this must surely confirm that the William Marshall Shaw that went to Australia was from our family. Also the family group photograph taken at the time of the visit (28 August 1937) that Margaret Murrie had a copy of shows many people that would be first cousins of Donald Shaw. Quite likely the photograph was taken by my grandfather James Shaw (his wife, son and daughters are in the picture but he isn't). The photograph was taken at Ramoan Farm, Glenboig, run by Joseph Shaw and his wife Agnes. Other cousins in the photograph are Thomas Shaw, Agnes Flemming and Annie Main. Some of the unknown people in the photograph may also be cousins, childen of William Marshall Shaw's brother Joseph perhaps?

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

William Marshall Shaw

Joseph Shaw, son of James Shaw farming at Craighead, married Agnes Waugh from Crowbank, the adjacent farm.

Their son, James, (grandpa Shaw) was my great grandfather. His youngest brother was William Marshall Shaw who was born at Carrickstone, Cumbernauld in 1866. William was witness to his father's death in 1883 but beyond that I have been unable to trace him. Unfortunately William Shaw is too common a name and I could find no obvious 'candidates' in the Cumbernauld area so I had put him to one side.

Doing a web search I found a William Marshall Shaw who apparently came from Scotland and married an Australian, Ellen O'Grady, in 1891. She was born in 1866, the same year as 'my' William, so at least they were contemporary. The combination William Marshall must be fairly rare so could this be a possiblity? I also remembered that William's brother John and sister Janet married siblings from the Main family, who were farming next to Carrickstone. Two of the Main brothers emmigrated to Victoria, Australia, and after their mother's death most of the remaining family joined them. Could William have joined his in-laws?

I engaged the help of one of my Australian correspondents (Margaret Scala) and she turned up birth records for three children;

Robert Shaw born 1892 - died 1897 at Maryborough (town in Victoria) age 4
Donald Shaw born 1896 at Maryborough
Mary Amelia Shaw born 1909 at Williamstown, a suburb in Melbourne (capital of Victoria)

also she found a death record for William Marshall Shaw, 1948 in Kew Victoria (suburb of Melbourne) age 82, Parents William Shaw and unknown Waugh.

So we have a person of the right name, right age and mother with the maiden name Waugh. Given that William probably didn't have anyone living nearby who knew his parents it might be reasonable to assume that he shared the same name as his father.

Well done Margaret!

Monday, 13 August 2007

Deed of Settlement

James Shaw, farmer at Glenhead, died 6th August 1854. He left a Deed of Settlement dated 17th December 1841 in which he stated that he was granted the lease of Glenhead from Vice Admiral The Hon. Charles Elphinstone Fleeming on for 19 years 'from and after the terms of Martimas 1843 and Whitsunday 1834'. Previously the farm had been held by an Allan Stirling.

James intended that the farm would pass to his sons James and Joseph. He stated that he had already made 'suitable provision' for his children, Thomas, John, Mary, Jean, Janet, Elizabeth, Isabella and Ann.Thirty pounds was also to be paid to James, his grandson, son of Thomas, four months after the death of the eldest survivor of himself or his wife Janet.

In a Codicil drawn up at Glenhead on 14th August 1850, James, considering that he had now made 'ample provision' for his son Joseph, his other nominated son, James, would become his sole executor. Presumably Joseph had by this date moved on to his own farm at Stand, having got married to Agnes Waugh from Crowbank on 13th July 1846.

Thursday, 9 August 2007


Searching for the father (Joseph) of (great) 'grandpa' James Shaw in the 1841 Census, I found him on his father's (James) farm at Craighead, Abronhill, Cumbernauld. Interestingly his future wife(Agnes) was at the next door farm, Crowbank, with her parents John and Agnes Waugh. Also listed on the Census were two younger James' but the 1841 Census doesn't give relationships.

James, the father, died in 1854 and his testament mentions a grandson, son of Thomas also called James. I wondered if this could be one of the James'?

Having easy access to the 1881 Census, I had a look at the entry for Craighead and found that a James Shaw was farming there still. He was too young to be either of the '1841' James' though.

Primarily my interest is, of course, with the Joseph line. I already knew that he had moved away with Agnes Waugh to Stand and thence to Carrickstone, Cumbernauld, so I hadn't been too bothered with Craighead. However seeing as there appeared to have been some forty years of Shaws at Craighead I thought I would pursue the link a bit further.

Back to the 1851 Census. Father James and his Wife Agnes are still there and so are two James', but now we have relationships. The elder James is the son but the younger James is given as a nephew! So much for the grandson theory.

Try the 1861 Census. Seem to find the wrong James - this one lives in Main Street. Try for another and we have a 'day labourer' out at Crowbank. Craighead is nearby so back off a page and yes there it is. No James but there is a widow Agnes. Worth checking for a marriage? Success! Just in time to catch the statutory registration in 1855 and with a bonus that the birth dates are given for both parties so we know that this James was born 18 June 1812. There aren't any young children listed on the 1861 Census so it looks like the 1881 James Shaw tenant must come from another line.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Shaw Family Tree

Welcome to this weblog (tree?) which I thought I might use to give details of my family tree researches.