Tuesday 22 September 2009

George Shaw Forrester

George Shaw Forrester is recorded in the 1881 Census at Carrickstone, Cumbernauld, aged 7, grandson of Joseph Shaw and Agnes Waugh. From his birth entry it was found that he was the son of their daughter Jane and James Forrester. Interestingly both the father and grandfather are recorded as informants. Was the father reluctant to be identified or was grandfather Joseph unsure if the unmarried father would be accepted as a true informant as he probably didn't attend the birth?
Three years after George was born his mother married James Stark in 1877, which is probably the reason that George is living with his grandparents.
By the 1891 Census George Shaw Forrester is working for his uncle, James Shaw, at Ramoan Farm. After that the census trail goes cold.
I came across an entry about George on a website by Roy Forrester where the birth of George was recorded (but to the wrong daughter). I contacted Roy and we agreed that George didn't appear on any later census and that we didn't know what had happened to him. I speculated that he might have emmigrated to Australia, like his youngest uncle William Marshall Shaw.
A few months later Roy forwarded an e-mail to me from Margaret Forrester, the grandaughter of George. Apparently he had married a Margaret Collins in Grangemouth in 1903. They then went on to have five children in Cumbernauld. In 1924 they all emmigrated to Brisbane, Australia. So right destination, wrong time and wrong reason!
Although I now know what happened to George I am still left with the mystery of where he was in 1901.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Agnes Shaw Young

Anne O'Leary contacted me via this blog to say that she was related to Agnes Shaw. She had some papers that had been inherited from her grandmother, a daughter of Agnes Shaw. One of these papers was a note probably written by Agnes Shaw, possibly over a period of several years. This note lists the birth and death dates of her siblings, including herself. The list begins with the name Joseph Shaw, Stand 1846, which most likely refers to the date that her father and mother set up home at Stand Farm. The list is very useful as it gives birth dates for siblings that were born before statutory registration.

Over the years I have changed the order of some of the siblings, in particular 'grandpa' James Shaw, (where I started). It now appears that he was born on 17 December 1847 while the 'original' Agnes Shaw was born on 8 November 1846. She died, aged 8, on 4 December 1854. Her namesake, Agnes Shaw Young was the seventh child of thirteen and she was born 21 January 1856.

After her father Joseph Shaw died, Agnes probably became a housekeeper to William Young in East Kilbride. His wife had died a few years earlier, leaving a family of six children.

Amongst the papers that Anne O'Leary inherited is a letter to her mother Agnes Waugh Shaw at Carrickstone on 26 November 1884 following her marriage to William at Carrickstone on 31 October 1884. In her letter she asks about (her sisters?) Jeanie and Janet and their babies. A visit to James ('grandpa' James Shaw?) is also mentioned. One curious comment in the letter is a reference to 'tomorrow' (27 November 1884) being their 'fast day'.

Information from the 1881 Census would suggest that Agnes Shaw had married into a family of chemists or 'gum makers', possibly run by three brothers. One of these lists his business as employing '27 men and a boy'.

Agnes Shaw went on to have six children of her own with William Young. One of them, Margaret Whitecross Young was born at Ramoan. Anne O'Leary believes that she was one of the family members present during the visit of Fr. Donald Shaw.

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?