Sunday, 21 January 2018

Crowded living quarters in working class northern England

Google Streetview is a beautiful thing.

I knew from statutory birth and death records and newspapers that my mother was born at and my great grandfather, Robert Alexander Young, died at 45A High Greens in Berwick upon Tweed in 1919 and 1915 respectively. I wondered if it was still there now.

The image on the right is on Google Streetview, time-stamped June 2016, and the Friends of Berwick and District Museum and Archives has confirmed to me that it still stands today. 

45A was the upper flat, accessed by the paned dark brown door on the right in the photo. I'm told that as of 2010, the flat consisted of two bedrooms, kitchen, bath and living room. It's not clear if this has been enlarged since 1919.

I wrote about my great grandfather Robert Alexander Young here in 2016. My great grandparents and family are last recorded in the 1911 census as living at 53 Low Greens. I imagine that the flat there was a similar size. Look at the number of people living there then -- all ten of them. Five children still at school, three young adults/teenagers, and my great grandparents.

1911 Census, 53 Low Greens, Berwick upon Tweed, Northumberland, England
The only one missing in the above census is my grandmother Dorothy, who had emigrated to Canada in 1908.

I'm not sure when the family moved from Low Greens to High Greens, but by the time of my great grandfather's death on 22 Feb 1915, except for my great aunt, Margaret Knox Young, who married in November 1914, they were at 45A. I'm sure the flat then would have been one large living/cooking/eating space, butI hope there were the two bedrooms. And don't forget that there would not have been indoor plumbing at that time.

My grandmother Dorothy returned to Berwick from Canada in August 1915 while my grandfather was in France with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, living with her parents at 45A. She stayed there until August 1919, when she sailed to Montreal with my mother, who was then just three months old. My great uncle Henry married in 1918, but do the math -- 45A was still a crowded household in 1919.

I cannot begin to fathom how crowded living conditions were in working class England at that time. My grandmother laboured and gave birth in a very full house, with I imagine very little privacy.

I'm beginning to think that my grandmother left for Canada alone at 19 simply to have more living space. I think that's what I would have done. No, really.

The never ending story continues....



© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

Finding Ancient Lochalsh Mathesons

 ".....the author of the "Iomaire" MS. refers to the early origin of the family in the following terms:'Whether the Mathesons emigrated from Denmark to Scotland before they went to Ireland, and from thence to Scotland, we know not, but certain it is that they are an old race in Ireland.'"

A recent breakthrough on my Matheson prompted a spurt of hours of research, during which I found a digital copy of  a 1900 second edition of an 1882 book, History of the Mathesons, where the above sentence appears, together with much more information. The original author author was the then Clan Matheson historian, Alexander Mackenzie. The 1900 second edition preface notes that Alexander MacBain edits, largely re-writes and adds to the first edition. Does it stand the test of time. Has it been strengthened by more research? I know that the Clan Matheson Society is actively gathering genealogy, and as usual, DNA doesn't lie (more about that later).

I recall that my mother had a copy of this book, but it was lost to the mists of time, as it were, but more likely it was unintentionally donated when we were emptying our family home many years ago. What's important is that the book is a genealogical goldmine of information for me, tracing my Matheson line back to the 16th century.

The book's index notes that on page 106 begins a chapter called The Family of Dugald Og, which is the last chapter of the book's Branches of the Lochalsh Family section. There, on page 109, I found a reference to my just discovered 3rd great grandfather:
"Dugald Beag Matheson, Erbusaig, who had three sons and a daughter—(1) Donald, married, with issue, Kenneth, who married Harriet Maclennan.. Sallachy, with issue ; (2) Alexander ; and (3) William, Erbesaig, married his cousin, Rebecca Matheson, with issue, William and Dugald."
Beag means small in Scots Gaelic. That eldest son Donald Matheson listed above? Why, that's my 2nd great grandfather who lived abt 1794-1859! I wrote about his children here in 2016. Now I know the names of Donald's siblings, and with that perhaps more doors will open.

Dugald Beag Matheson is a descendant of Dugald Og Matheson. I'm still reading up on him, and will write about him in a future blog post.

The book confirms that my Matheson branch springs from Lochalsh, an area that lays between Loch Carron and Loch Alsh, bodies of water that lay near the North Atlantic, in the Highlands, 63 miles from Inverness. Lochalsh is in Ross and Cromarty. This has awakened memories of my mother speaking often of Lochalsh.

Populating my tree with the new finds contained in the History of the Mathesons, from source documents on various sites, I came across one other matching tree on Ancestry. Of course, I messaged the owner, who tells me that he matches with three of the AncestryDNA tests that I administer, but not with me. I can't wait to compare notes with him further, but meanwhile, I've got another new DNA cousin.

I'm excited by the new discoveries that await me in my research.

You can read more about the history of the Mathesons on the Clan Matheson Society's website.

The never ending story continues....



© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Surnames A-Z: D

A 2017 Facebook meme had people listing their their mother's maiden name, father's surname, maternal and paternal grandparents' surnames, and sometimes even a few more generations back. By any norms, a bit too much information in this cyber age. 

Just think how many security questions ask for your mother's maiden name. And let's not even get into having that information on your Facebook wall, especially if you have your settings set to public (instead of friends only). You don't do that, do you? 


In a series of posts, I'm listing my direct ancestors' surnames, starting with "A" and going through to "Y" -- I have no direct or indirect "Z" ancestors. So far. 


We may share a surname, but this doesn't necessarily mean we're related, but if you think we are, please contact me using the email link on the right side of this blog.


My "D" surnames:


  • Daggett
  • Davidson
  • Davis
  • Day
  • Dewey
  • Diamond
  • Doane
  • Dodds
  • Doggett
  • Donovan
  • Dougherty
  • Dumble
  • Durant
The never ending story continues.....








© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

Monday, 15 January 2018

Found: maternal 3rd great grandparents in the Scottish Highlands

A few months ago, I had a bit of a brickwall smash with my great grandfather Frank Gillanders Matheson, when I discovered that Gillanders was Frank's middle name. Today, I revisited his parents' names on Scotland's People. And what great finds I made!

I had my maternal 2nd great grandparents' names, Donald Matheson and Margaret McKenzie, thanks to finds my mother had made many years ago. I knew, thanks to Frank's 1866 first marriage to Isabella McKenzie (no doubt a cousin), that both his parents were deceased at the time of that marriage. But I had no other information. Because all of Donald and Margaret's children were born and baptized in Urray, Ross and Cromarty, I've made assumptions that they too were born there. That may not necessarily be the case.

Starting first with Margaret McKenzie, after discarding adding a county in my search parameters I quickly her 1865 death registration, with the added bonus of her age and father's name (John McKenzie). My grandfather John Matheson was named after his great grandfather, John McKenzie, who was a labourer. Margaret's mother's name is also listed, but the first name (also Margaret) is crossed out, so that must be confirmed. Oh, and Margaret's mother's maiden name was also McKenzie. Margaret died at East Grange, Kinloss in Elgin. A new place name to add to my research arsenal. Kinloss is very near Forres, where I have some ancestral roots on my Ross side.

My 3rd great grandmother was just 67 years old when she died, yet her cause of death is listed as "infirmities of old age". Today, 67 is hardly considered old age, but their lives were so very much harder then, compared to ours in the 21st century.

Next, I looked for the death registration of Margaret's husband, Donald. Her death registration helpfully noted that Donald was already deceased in 1865, narrowing my search window, and confirmed that he was a farm grieve, which is listed in Frank's marriage and death registrations. Bingo! I found Donald, a farm grieve in 1859, having died at Erbusaig, Lochalsh, in Ross-shire--more new place names to add to my research arsenal. Donald's death registration tells me that his parents were Dugald Matheson, whose occupation was mason, and Isabella Gillanders. I knew that the Gillanders name would open doors. Unfortunately, Donald's cause of death is blank on the registration form.

Genealogy discoveries like these do make my heart sing.

Will these new finds help to have more DNA matches? That would be fantastic.

My search for information about Dugald and Isabella and John and his wife will be harder now, as it is hard to find Scottish records from the 1700s. I'll keep looking though. My glass is half full.

As always, the never ending story continues.....




© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The final years of Rose Caroline Dougherty 1839-1915

It can't be said often enough. The wealth of information in digitized old newspapers is at times overwhelming and always absorbing. Thanks to the amazing effort of the BaNQ to digitize the thousands of newspapers in its collection, I and many other genealogists have been spending an inordinate amount of time sleuthing for information about our Quebec ancestors.

Yesterday's efforts produced several Sherbrooke Daily Record items about my great grandmother Rose Caroline Dougherty (1839-1915) and her final years. Until now, the only newspaper reference I had was a two-line item in the Waterloo Advertiser (near Sherbrooke) in March 1915 noting her passing.

Sherbrooke today is a drive of under 90 minutes from Montreal, in the heart of the Eastern Townships. Rosie and Joe made their home here following their marriage, and if not living in Sherbrooke proper, they were very near throughout their marriage. I imagine that trains ran between Sherbrooke and Montreal.

Rose's husband, my great grandfather, John James Dougherty, died in his 60th year, in 1893 in Sherbrooke, when my grandfather Joe was just 13 years old. I've not yet found a detailed obit of my great grandfather's passing (the Sherbrooke Daily Record only began publishing in 1897), but I hope to one day find some record of his life. In any case, he left Rose enough money so that my grandfather's education was financed. The story goes that Joe spent some of his high school years at a Massachusetts school. This is bolstered by the 1901 census, when Rose was listed as living alone in Sherbrooke. He later attended McGill University, studying electrical engineering in the Faculty of Science. Quebec university tuition today remains the lowest in all of Canada. I don't know what it was in the early 1900s, but expect that it was no small achievement that Rose was able to send her son to McGill.

Esplanade Ave, Montreal
Rose is living with my grandparents in Montreal at the time of the 1911 census in a flat on the top floor of a triplex on Esplanade. Yes, there's someone named William listed as my grandfather's brother, but my grandfather was an only child. The mystery of who this William is--likely a distant cousin--remains unresolved. By 1913, Rose's health is failing. If anything, walking up two long flights of stairs (one indoor, one outdoor) to get into the flat would certainly have been a challenge for anyone in their 70s, as she then was.

1911 Canada Census







I found the first reference to Rose in the Sherbrooke Daily Record on  9 Oct 1913.
Sherbrooke Daily Record 9 Oct 1913

Soon after Christmas that same year, Rosie's health took a turn for the worse.

Sherbrooke Daily Record 29 Dec 1913

But Rosie rallied, and ten days later, this:

Sherbrooke Daily Record 7 Jan 1914

After that, I find nothing about Rose and her life in Sherbrooke, until the first report of her death:

Sherbrooke Daily Record 8 Mar 1915
This was followed two days later by a wonderful obituary that contains details of Rosie's life, and of her funeral.

Sherbrooke Daily Record 10 Mar 1915, 1 of 3
Sherbrooke Daily Record 10 Mar 1915, 2 of 3

Sherbrooke Daily Record 10 Mar 1915, 3 of 3
The details in this report are truly gifts. Aside from the varying spelling of Dougherty (which my family uses) and Doherty (used by Judge Marcus and his family), we get a sense of the very kind woman that was Rosie. We get confirmation that my grandfather was a cousin of Judge Marcus. We learn that Rosie was a nurse in her later years (she was a teacher before her 1876 marriage). 

Rosie's burial is recorded in the register of St Patrick's Parish in Sherbrooke: 

St Patrick's Parish Register, Sherbrooke, Quebec, 1915

The funeral soloist mentioned in the newspaper report, Margaret Doherty, is the granddaughter of James J. Doherty and Margaret Anderson, who were the sponsors at my grandfather's 3 Dec 1879 baptism. I'm still trying to proof a family relationship between my Doughertys and this Doherty family. 

According to her obituary, Rosie had suffered a stroke and related paralysis. What we don't know is whether this stroke had been suffered before she returned to Sherbrooke in 1913, which it is already known she was in failing health, or did this happen afterwards in Sherbrooke? 

Nineteenth century and early 20th century obituaries were full of details. I love them. 

The never ending story continues....




© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

When Dungiven came to be in Derry

A bit of a history clarification with this post. A back and forth debate among DNA cousins has been definitively resolved. I grew up (and it seems so too did many Dougherty cousins of many branches) being told that our forebears came from Donegal. In fact, some grave markers in Canada and the U.S. even note ancestors were born in Donegal.

It's been long established that my 3rd great grandparents, James Dougherty and Isabella McLaughlin, were almost certainly born in Inishowen, which has always been in Donegal. But my their son, Marcus (2nd great grandfather) and some of his siblings and many of their children were born in Banagher, Learmont and Dungiven. All of these places are today located in Derry (or Londonderry), Northern Ireland.

A 4th cousin again raised this issue in December, as did another 4th cousin a few days ago. That 4th cousin did some more research, and sent me this comment, after looking at sites that included this and this:
"Following the defeat of the Irish earls and the confiscation of their lands in 1609, English colonization was undertaken by livery companies of the City of London and the Honourable Irish Society (founded 1610). A charter of 1613, granted by James I of England, VI of Scotland, established the county of Londonderry, which comprised the old county, O’Neill lands of Loughinsholin, and small parts of Donegal and Antrim."
I'm very glad to have this resolved at last and have updated all references in my genealogy database to say Dungiven is in Derry, not Donegal. Yes, I'm saying Derry, rather than Londonderry.

The never ending story continues....




© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Stephen Hopkins and All Saints Church, Upper Clatford, Hampshire

Happy new year to all!

I first wrote about Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644), my 10th great grandfather (and my direct Mayflower ancestor), soon after I began this blog, here. Today, another genealogy blogger, Heather Wilkinson Rojo, has written a post on her blog, Nutfield Genealogy, in her series of Tombstone Tuesdays posts about the churchyard in Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England, Stephen's birthplace. But Heather's post includes photos, and so I decided to post a link to her excellent post here. While you're looking at these photos, be sure to click on the link to Heather's earlier post that gives more information about Stephen.

Here's my line of descent from Stephen Hopkins to my great grandmother, Charlotte Butler:

Stephen Hopkins m Mary Kent
Giles Hopkins m Katherine Weldon
Deborah Hopkins m Josiah Cooke
Deborah Cooke m Moses Godfrey
David Godfrey m Priscilla Baker
Jonathan Godfrey m Lucy Calkin 
Samuel Godfrey m Olive Webster
Margaret White Godfrey m John Waddell Fisher
Mary Olive Fisher m Samuel Butler
Charlotte Butler m Elias Nelson

The never ending story continues....



© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2018 All rights reserved

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Surnames A-Z: C

A Facebook meme in 2017 had people listing their their mother's maiden name, father's surname, maternal and paternal grandparents' surnames, and sometimes even a few more generations back.

It's a nice idea, but in today's 21st century age of cyber-security and privacy considerations, too much information is a bad thing. Just think how many security questions ask for your mother's maiden name. And let's not even get into having that information on your Facebook wall, especially if you have your settings set to public (instead of friends only). You don't do that, do you? 


Over the coming posts, I'll list my direct ancestors' surnames, starting with "A" and going through to "Y" -- I have no direct or indirect "Z" ancestors. So far. 


A tip of the hat to Lorine McGinnis Schulze who started this meme alternative with her own series over at her excellent genealogy blog. As Lorine points out, most surnames are more common than you think. We may share a surname, but doesn't mean we're related, but if you think we are, please contact me using the email link on the right side of this blog.


My "C" surnames:

  • Calkin
  • Caroline
  • Cathcart
  • (de) Chatellerault
  • (de) Chaworth
  • (de) Clare
  • Clarell
  • Clark
  • (de) Clavering
  • (de) Clifford
  • Codman
  • Coleman
  • Connor
  • (de) Courtenay
  • Cowe
  • Cowles
  • Craddock
  • Crosby
The never ending story continues....



© Margaret Dougherty 2016-2017 All rights reserved