Saturday, 26 April 2014

Phillips from Cornwall to Ayrshire

Thomas Phillips, a lead miner born about 1819  in St Mewan, and his wife Mary Harvey had 3 children. The parents appear to have died before the 1861 census as the children are living with relations; James and Thomas with their uncle Stephen Phillips and family in Menheniot and Ellen Jane is with her aunt Caroline Martin, maiden surname Phillips, and her grandmother Catherine Phillips in Liskeard.

link to the above tree

James Phillips married Catherine Bunney in Redruth in 1866 and by the birth of second child William they are in Loudoun near Galston in Ayrshire, In the 1881 census they are back in St Stephen in Brannel but it seems to have been only a short stay as son John was born in 1880 in Galston and son James in 1882.

I can't place Ellen Jane Phillips in the 1871 census but she married Cornishman Arthur Burley in Loudoun in July 1872. In the 1890s they moved from Loudoun parish to Cumnock. Arthur died in 1915 in Galston and Ellen in 1927 in nearby Newmilns.

Thomas Henry Phillips married Louisa Trudgian in 1870 in Loudoun and was living next door to his brother James in Loudoun Rows in 1871. They were back to St Stephen in Brannel by 1879 and stayed in Cornwall.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

How to spot mistakes in online trees

I have been researching the Thorburn family in Ayrshire starting with James Thorburn b 1835 Ayr and wife Margaret Ramage

James and Margaret

James's parents were William Thorburn and Mary Begbie and the Begbie name is continued down through the generations.

However it was hard to find his parents William and Mary again.  Son James with wife and family are in Galston, Ayrshire in the 1861 census.

Someone using the search facility on ancestry found a William Thorburn and wife Mary in Delhi Township in Ingham County in Michigan, USA. He and wife Mary had gone out about 1879 to join other members of his family who had been there since 1860s.

Previously to that, they had been in Leshamagow and the censuses reveal that Mary was born about 1831 in Cambusnethan Lanarkshire  - too young to be Mary Begbie, the mother of James b 1835. This William Thorburn was born in Douglas, Lanarkshire in 1813 so this Mary is a second wife. More digging revealed an earlier wife Ann Sandilands whom  he married in 1842 in Douglas, Lanarkshire. I am still happy to go along with that.

However I am looking for James b Ayr in the 1841 and 1851 censuses. The only ones I can find are

1841 in Kilwinning
at Doura House
Wm Thorburn 25 coal cutter born Scotland not Ayrshire
Janet 15 b Ayrshire
James 5 b Ayrshire
Margaret 3 months b Ayrshire

The 1841 census does not give relationships.

in 1851 there is a family at Holmes Colliery which is near Galston (where James and Margaret are in 1861 census)
This clearly ties in with the family in the 1841 census
And, interestingly, it gives William's place of birth as Stranraer in Wigtownshire, nowhere near Lesmahagow in Lanarkshire.

I have a look for possible births for William Thorburn about 1814 in Stranraer. Wouldn't you know it, there are 2.

By now I'm pretty sure that "our" William is not the one in Michigan.

I found a marriage to Janet Stewart in Kilwinning in 1841
I found a likely burial for Mary Begbie in Ayr in 1837 although she is down as Mary Biggar wife of William Thorburn labourer. Biggar could have been Begbie misheard.

I look for William, Janet, Margaret Wm jnr and Daniel in 1861. Daniel seems a good name to search on, being a less common name.

I find him at Loudoun Kirk (near Galston) in the house of an uncle Robert.
Robert Thorburn     35 coal miner b Ayr
Elizabeth Thorburn     32
Mary Thorburn     5
Sarah Thorburn     10 Mo
William Thorburn     46 coal miner  b Stranraer
Daniel Thorburn     16 coal miner b Kilwinning

Finding that William had a brother Robert allows me to find the right family in Stranraer.

Robert Thorburn and Mary Milwrick /Millrick

I found a death certificate for William. It appears he fell into the river Irvine at Galston in the evening of January 4th 1870 and his body was found near Dundonald on the 29th January. No relatives' names are on the certificate but he is 55.  Other online trees have him dying in 1890 in Michigan.

One person gets it wrong and everybody else takes it as gospel and copies it without any further thought. It is well worth checking out the censuses and the other family members.

So unless I can get further back and establish a link to the Lesmahagow/Michigan Thorburns they are different families.

The Michigan Thorburns

and see update here