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They Left Scotland

The Kilted Ancestors theme for March 2022 is 'They Left Scotland'.


About 18 years ago when I made the decision to start looking at my family tree, I paid a visit to my Uncle to see what information he might have. After digging about in a cupboard, he produced an old notebook which contained details of both sets of my Grandfathers Grandparents as well as details of all his Aunts, Uncles & Cousins.


They say you should start with yourself & work backward, but that idea was thrown out of the window as I so wanted to find out more about all these relatives!


The interesting thing for me was that several had made the decision to move overseas. I always find it interesting that some family members make that decision to move overseas in search of a new life but others decide to remain. How different might life have been for me if my direct ancestors had made that journey too?


Lizzie Mather in later life. Courtesy of her Great Grandson Wil

The first relative to move was his aunt Elizabeth Mather who made the trip to New York from Glasgow in 1903. Just days after arriving there she would marry Robert Robertson before moving to California in Pennsylvania where Robert had lived for some time with his parents & siblings. Roberts family originated from Bothkennar near to Falkirk & Elizabeth lived with the family near to Bo’ness so it is possible that they met one another during one of his trips home. The couple would go on to have 4 children, 3 being born in Pennsylvania & 1 during one of Lizzies trips home.


Mary Jack McBeath Mather married John McMeekin in 1902, this was a second marriage for Mary who had lost her first husband after just over a year of marriage. Mary & John would have their first 3 children in Bo’ness & the family would appear in the 1911 Census, not long after they would move to America & settle in Verbank, New York.


His Uncle Alexander Tainsh Mather had inherited half of the family spirit Merchant Business in Grangepans, Bo’ness (The Stag Inn) along with his sister Jessie when their father died in 1910. In 1919 he married Jessie Rae Walker & the couple would have their two children in Bo’ness not long after. In 1924 the family made the decision to move to Canada & travelled from Glasgow to Montreal where they would eventually settle in Hamilton, Ontario.


The Stag Inn, Grangepans, Bo'ness

With the family business being sold, Janet McDonald Mather ‘Jessie’ who had married Thomas Gillespie in 1903 & had one son would also make the move overseas in 1924. They would eventually settle in Ravenshoe, Queensland, Australia.


During my initial research these families intrigued me, they made the decision to move across the world during a time when things were very different in Scotland….it took guts!

For a long time, their journeys kept me awake at night, I kept imagining the journey they took probably by train from Bo’ness to Glasgow, who might have waved them off, their feelings of boarding a ship when they would travel for days or weeks to reach their final destination not knowing what to expect when they arrived.


During one of my trips to Glasgow about this time I walked along the docks of the River Clyde where at the time lots of new riverside flats had been built, the area has changed much since the days when they all left in search of a better life.


For me the interesting thing about following up on each of their stories has been making contact with their descendants & finding out more about their lives after they moved.

 

Why not join in with some of the amazing events taking place in my Kilted Ancestors Facebook Group which will also be embracing Year of Stories during 2022!


Interested in having a piece of research completed on your behalf or need some tutoring to help you break through that brick wall in your research? Visit our home page to find out more

 

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