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A Father's Letters - Alexander Murray McDougall

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I am very lucky to have in my collection several letters written by my maternal great grandfather, Alexander Murray McDougall. He died quite young when my mum was only 8 years old, but she has fond memories of him and visits to the family home in Glasgow. The letters my grandmother kept give us an insight into the kind and caring man that he was.  Alexander was born on 22 June 1885 at 369 Garscube Rd, Glasgow at 11 am in the morning, the first child of George Graeme McDougall, a slater and Martha Orr Campbell Murray.  The family were still living at the same address at the time of the 1891 census.  Alex had three brothers, George Graham born 1887, John Murray born 1894, James born 1896 and a sister, Helen Forrest born 1890.  His mother, Martha died in 1896 when Alex was 11 years old of pernicious anaemia, just three months after the birth of her youngest child, James. Young James also died 5 months later when he was just 8 months of age. They are buried together in Lair No. 616 at Lamb

Maggie Moore Conundrum

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My 2 x great grandmother, Maggie (or Margaret Jane) Moore was born c1873, presumably in County Down, Ireland. Despite an exhaustive search, a birth certificate and confirmation of her parentage have not yet been found, or have they? Believed to be Margaret Jane Conway nee Moore, seated on right with daughter, Margaret Jane Martin nee Conway on left and grandchildren, William, Robert and Sarah Martin c1916.   What do we know about Maggie? Maggie married Robert Conway on 09 February, 1892 at Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church in Bangor when she was 19 years of age. Robert was a driver of a post car, Maggie had no occupation. Both were of Conlig and the witnesses were Samuel Gamble and Anna Bella Clark. The other key information was that Maggie was the illegitimate daughter of Thomas Spence, a labourer!  Marriage Certificate - Robert Conway and Maggie Moore - 1892   When Maggie and Robert's daughter, Margaret Jane was born later that year, Maggie's maiden name was given as Brown, th

Ancestral Places - Ayrshire, Scotland - Haste ye back

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My mum was born in Ayrshire, Scotland and although we always knew that her paternal ancestors were from Ireland we had presumed that her maternal ancestors were all Scottish. However as you can see in her birthplace tree below, research revealed that one branch of her maternal tree was actually English and another was also Irish! Since 2017, Mum has taken several DNA tests with different companies to help me with my research. Over the years, she's become more and more Scottish each time Ancestry update their DNA Ethnicity Estimates. AncestryDNA calculates ethnicity estimates by comparing your DNA to a reference panel made up of thousands of DNA samples from people with a long family history in one place or within one group.   Over time, Ancestry tests more people in these reference panels which is why we get these updates every 12-18 months.  Mum's results have gone from 53% Scotland to 75% Scotland.  When you look at the Ancestry map it depicts the long history of movement amo

Ancestral Places - Shropshire, how wonderful!

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Wenlock Priory I've written previously about my paternal 2 x great grandmother, Clara Williams and my quest to find her father.  I've had much more success locating Clara's maternal family who were from Shropshire. I was lucky to spend a week in Shropshire in July 2017 and was able to visit several of my ancestral villages.    Charles Plimmer, my 6 x great grandfather was baptised 7 February 1764 at Holy Trinity Church, Much Wenlock.  Charles was the eldest child of seven known children of Thomas Plimmer and his wife, Rebecca Jones. Much Wenlock is a market town and parish in Shropshire, situated between Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth.   Much Wenlock contains 104 listed buildings that are recorded in the National Heritage List for England, including many early 15th century timber framed buildings, the Guildhall and Wenlock Priory.  To the modern day visitor it is a lovely well maintained historic town, however a visit to the local museum revealed that at the beginning of the 19t

Life of a Centenarian - Caroline Anstey Garrett

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I first met my great grandmother, Caroline Anstey Garrett, in 1977, when I was 15 years old - she was 90 years old and had just immigrated to Australia!   She was widowed in 1949 when she was 61 and went to live with her youngest daughter, Carrie, in the USA in 1951 and they also lived in Japan during this time. She returned to Scotland in 1954 after her sister, Lizzie, was also widowed and they lived together for the next 23 years until her sister died. It was at this time that she came out to Australia to live with her daughter, Helen and where she was to meet her seven great-grandchildren for the first time. 

Born 100 years ago - Caroline McDougall

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Aunt Carrie, my great aunt, was born Caroline McDougall one hundred years ago on 11 September 1921, in the family home at 117 Albert Street, Townhead, Glasgow. She was the youngest of three daughters born to Alexander Murray McDougall and Caroline Anstey Garrett. The family lived in a two room tenement, with a recess bed in each room. Albert St was renamed McAslin St sometime during the 1920s.   Also residing in the family home were her maternal grandfather, Albert Garrett and aunt, Lizzie Garrett.  Her grandfather lived with the family until his death in 1939 and Aunt Lizzie until she married in 1941.  After leaving school, Carrie worked as a book pager, however during the war, she worked as an explosives worker at the Ardeer Factory in Stevenston and travelled down from Glasgow for her shifts there. After the war she returned to her work as a book pager.  Carrie married Alexander Campbell, a sergeant in the United States Army at the Barony Church in Townhead on 6 September 1947, when