Patrick Brawley 1884-1956

Patrick Brawley was born in Newmains, Lanarkshire on 22 May 1884.  His parents were James Brawley (Born about 1837)  and Sarah McLaughlan (Born about 1839).  He was the youngest of ten children and was born 27 years after his eldest sibling, John. By the time Patrick was born James and Sarah had lost two children.  Patrick (born 1873) and Matthew (born 1875) both died of scarlet fever in October 1876.  The family were employed in the local iron works and lived in accommodation provided by their employer.  The family home in Brown Street would have offered little in the way of luxury. In 1887 young Patrick saw two of his brothers, Daniel (born 1864), my great grandfather and James (born 1866) leave Scotland for new lives in America.  In 1888 brother Hugh (born 1869) did the same.  This would obviously have had an influence on a little boy seeing his brothers leave him and his world behind. By the 1891 census Patrick was living with his parents, brother Matthew (born 1877) and sister Elizabeth (born 1861) along with Elizabeth’s husband, Charles McCafferty.

Tragedy struck the family in 1892 when brother John died of a fractured skull at his home in Newmains and again in 1895 when Hugh Brawley was killed in a mining accident in Pennsylvania.

In the 1901 census Patrick was still living with his parents and was employed as a steel dresser. James and Sarah had now lost four of their sons and it would be easy to imagine that as the only son still living at home Patrick may have been a bit spoiled. Sister Elizabeth was still at home but not with her husband.  Patrick’s 5 year old niece, Sarah, was also living in the house.

In 1903 19 year old Patrick became a father when neighbour, Mary O’Neill gave birth to their daughter, Mary on 24 December.  The child was registered with the surname Brawley and Patrick signed the register.  She was baptised as Mary O’Neill on 8 February 1904 in St Brigid’s Church in Newmains.  Both parents are listed on the register. Despite acknowledging his daughter it would seem that Patrick had no intention of settling down to a quiet family life.



From St Brigid’s Parish Baptismal Register

In 1907 he too headed for America arriving in New York on 2 April 1907 on board the SS Columbia.  He headed initially to stay with brother James, who by this time was living in Rock Springs in Sweetwater County, Wyoming. In 1913 Patrick married a widow, Mary Bates whom I believe had the maiden name McCrorie. According to the Rock Springs newspaper at the time they were married in a quiet ceremony. Mary had two children, Mary and Roy and in all future records the two are listed as Patrick’s children. Strange that he should end up with a wife and daughter called Mary after leaving the two Marys behind in Scotland.

Patrick did not remain in Wyoming. On his WW1 Draft Registration he was working as a pressman for DuPont de Nemours in Pomton Lakes, Passaic, New Jersey.

Patrick returned to Scotland at least once. In 1922 he visited along with his wife and the two children. By that time both of his parents had died and I have no way of knowing if he ever spent time with daughter, Mary who was brought up by his brother Matthew and wife, Mary Hagan.  Maybe he wanted to show off to the family left at home as by 1922 he was living in New York and I get the impression that’s what he dreamed of all along. Not for Patrick the backbreaking work in the mines or ironworks.  He had found a job as a barber which suggests he was quite a sociable character.  His home on 6th Avenue, Brooklyn was rented and they didn’t own a radio set! (Great census question I think)

The 1940 census shows that Patrick was unemployed and seeking work but fortunately this didn’t last too long as by 1942 according to his WW2 draft registration he was working in sales for Refined Syrups in Yonkers.  Again sales a sales job indicates he might have been quite outgoing. He’s described as 5’10 1/2 and 168lbs with brown eyes and dark hair.

I lose track of Patrick after that. The next record I found was his death record. He died on 18 September 1956 in Brooklyn, New York.


My Favourite Photograph (update)

The theme of this week’s 52 Ancestors Challenge is ‘My Favourite Photograph’.

I previously posted about this photograph which was sent to me by my second cousin, Frances. The photograph was taken about 1912.  The lady is my 2x great grandmother,  Sarah McLauchlan (1839-1916), my great grandfather, Daniel Brawley (1864-1935) his eldest son, Daniel Brawley (1887-1971) and young Daniel’s daughter, Margaret Corrigan Brawley (1912-1998).

I first made contact with Frances shortly after I started my research and it came about through a simple internet search.  I had not even been aware of her side of the family. More than 10 years before Frances had posted on a genealogy site looking for information on Daniel Brawley.  I contacted her and we began corresponding by email which led to Skype chats and eventually we got to meet when she came to Lanarkshire and I was able to give her a bit of a family history tour.  It was so nice to meet her and amazing to see the family resemblance which had been apparent on our video chats but undeniable in person.

I was then invited to a big family reunion which came about after one of her aunts died in Canada.   The son wished to bring his mum’s ashes back to Scotland and hold a memorial service for the family in Scotland.  I have to admit I was nervous meeting all those cousins but it was such a lovely afternoon.  They were all interested in my research and I was able to solve a bit of a family mystery for them.

There are very few photographs of my ancestors in existence (that I know of) and this was the first time I had seen a picture of Sarah or Daniel.  Frances had a copy because young Daniel is her grandfather and the baby is her aunt.  I would love to uncover more but in the meantime I am so happy to have this and to have made such a fabulous connection and friendship with my cousin.




Agnes Haughey 1836-1901

Agnes Haughey was my maternal grandfather’s maternal grandmother.  She was my great, great granny in other words.  From census, marriage and death records I know that she was born in 1836 in Glasgow and that in 1856 she married my great grandfather, Patrick Keenan.  The first document I found for her was her death record which states that her parents names were Hugh Haughey and Roseanne McGhie.  So, I added their names to the tree along with the names of her many children.  I did also find her marriage record  but it was from Catholic Parish records and didn’t have details of her parents.  I did have a look for her birth records using her parents details but with no success.  Then I’m afraid to say that I kind of left Agnes at that to go and look at other stories.  You will see from previous posts that I have concentrated more on my grandfather’s paternal side.

This week Scotland’s People are offering free access to the Catholic Parish Registers so I decided to have another look for information on the Haughey’s and Keenan’s and basically have just searched for everyone with those names.  And there for 1836 I found the birth of an Agnes Haughey in Glasgow but with the parents given as Patrick Haughey and Rose McGhie.  Is this the same person?  Looking at her death certificate I see that she was registered by her son in law.  I think it’s fair to say that he may not have known his wife’s grandfather and wouldn’t have known his first name and perhaps got confused with the paternal grandfather who is called Hugh.

Then I realised that having been married in 1856 a full record should exist of the marriage.  So, I found the marriage of Patt Keenan and Agnes Haughy who were married in Hamilton on 6 May 1856. Her parents are given as Peter Haughy and ? McGhie.  The copy on Scotland’s People isn’t too clear.  What do you think?

I would expect the marriage certificate to be more accurate as the information was given by Agnes herself who would surely know her own parents names.  The witnesses to the marriage are both called Keenan.  I had hoped for a Haughey sibling but no such luck.

Back on the Catholic records, I did find a Patrick Haughey and Rose McGhie having  children in the early 1850s but that’s a fair gap and I suppose the names aren’t particularly uncommon.

I cannot find any record of a Haughey/McGhie marriage, nor can I find any records of their births or deaths or even census records.

Another thing that confuses me about Agnes and her family is that she seems to have ignored the naming conventions that my family otherwise seem to stick to – first son named after paternal grandfather, first daughter after maternal grandmother and so on.  While there may have been some variations the grandparents names always appear somewhere in the family yet, despite having 8 daughters, there is no Rose.  It is possible that I haven’t found her but the 10 children I have found are as follows –

  • Mary (Born 1857)
  • Hugh (Born 1859)
  • Hannah (Born 1860)
  • Anne (Born 1862)
  • James (Born 1863)
  • Elizabeth (Born 1866)
  • Margaret (Born 1868)
  • Helen (Born 1869) – My great grandmother
  • Catherine (Born 1871)
  • Agnes (Born 1873)

No Patrick or Peter in there either.  Maybe Agnes didn’t grow up with her parents.  Possibly she was orphaned and brought up by someone else (James and Mary maybe?)  Could it be that she didn’t have a good relationship with her parents and chose not to use their names.  My grandmother did this to my great grandmother and even in the 1920s this was a bit of a big deal.

Agnes wouldn’t have had an easy life.  I know that from Glasgow she moved out to Lanarkshire and by 1862 she was living in Newmains.  Patrick was a coal miner and money would have been scarce.  For a period of over 16 years Agnes was either pregnant or looking after newborns.  She outlived both her sons.  James died when he was just 2 years old and Hugh at 29.  Daughter Mary also died at just 28.

To add to the confustion about names when husband Patrick died in 1898 the certificate states that he was married to Agnes McGhee.  The death was registered by Agnes herself so I can’t explain the use of her mother’s maiden name.  Perhaps she was confused by the question when asked about her maiden name.  The register is signed with an X.

Agnes died on 28 April 1901.  The cause of death is given as a fractured rib and pneumonia.  She is buried in Cambusnethan Cemetery.








James Lockie 1793-1865

James Lockie was my 4th great grandfather on my father’s side.   He was born on 27 August 1793 in Pettinain, Lanarkshire.  His parents were James Lockie and Helen Inglis. He was baptised on 26 Sptember 1793.

James had at least two siblings

Euphemia (1795-1880)

Helen (1801-1879)

On 4 August 1820 he married Margaret Wallace in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire.  The couple had seven children:

  • James (Born 1823)
  • Helen (Born 1827)
  • Robert Wallace (Born 1829)
  • Mary Allen (Born 1894)
  • Jane (Born 1833)
  • George Meek (Born 1837)
  • Thomas (Born 1847)

By 1841 the family were living in the Parish of Cambusnethan and James made his living as a journeyman joiner. Moving forward to the 1861 census his occuation is given as Country Wright.  The definition of Wright is given as skilled craftsman and apparently this would involve making any kind of wooden tools or equipment used on farms.  I have to say it’s nice to find someone in the tree with a real skill and trade.

James died on 26 November 1865.  The cause of death was listed as capillary bronchitis and his death certificate was signed by his son, Thomas.

James Lockie Death

I do find it interesting that decisions made by our ancestors shape the future and the lives that we live now.  James decided to move to Cambusnethan bringing my father’s side of the tree to where my mother’s side would eventually settle after leaving Ireland.  I had no idea until I started my research just how many of my ancestors are buried in Cambusnethan Cemetery.  I literally bumped into my great, great grandparents gravestone while looking for one from another branch of the family.  This is the joy of Scottish genealogy.  There’s never too far to travel.


James Brawley 1866-1955

Of my great, great grandparents, James Brawley and Sarah McLaughlin’s ten children, James lived the longest. What must that be like to see eight siblings go before you? Only one much younger sibling survived him. Tragically, he also outlived his wife and two of his own children. In his 88 years he must have seen so many things and experienced so much.  If only he had written it all down.

James Brawley was born in Kilwinning, Ayrshire on 30 September 1866.  His other siblings were born in Lanarkshire so I assume his father had had to move to Ayrshire for a short time for work.  James was James and Sarah’s fourth child.  John was born in 1857, Elizabeth in 1861 and my great grandfather, Daniel in 1864.  At the time of young James’ birth, his father was employed in the ironworks as a furnace filler.  The family later moved to Newmains, Lanarkshire where they settled.

More siblings came along. Hugh was born in 1869, Peter in 1871 and then there were the two wee ones, Patrick and Matthew who were born in 1873 and 1875 respectively but who died within days of each other in 1876.  Another two sons followed with another Matthew in 1877 and Patrick in 1884.

Life would’ve been tough for young James.  There were many mouths to feed and they lived in cramped conditions in housing provided by my great, great grandfather’s employers.  The 1881 census shows a fourteen year old James out of school and employed as a dye worker.

It appears then that James and my great grandfather, Daniel hatched a plan to seek their fortunes in America.  They left from Glasgow some time in 1887 bound for Pennsylvania.  The plan it would seem was to find jobs in the mining industry.  I’m assuming they must have responded to some time of recruitment ad but I havent been able to find any details of that. They were joined in Pennsylvania the following year by younger brother, Hugh.

James married Sarah McGlynn on 24 October 1889 in Kingston, Luzerne, Pennsylvania.  The couple went on to have eight children:

  • James (Born 1890)
  • Sarah (Born 1892)
  • Thomas (Born 1894)
  • John (Born 1898)
  • Mary Colleen (Born 1898)
  • Agnes (Born 1900)
  • Hugh (Born 1903)
  • Elizabeth (Born 1907)

They moved from Pennsylvania to Wyoming where they settled in the town of Rock Springs in Sweetwater County.  The family were living in Rock Springs in 1903 when Hugh was born and James remained there until his death.

Over the years James would have received notifications of the deaths of is family.  Brothers John and Hugh both died in tragic circumstances in 1892 and 1895 respectively.  His father died in 1905.  I know that he did return to Scotland on at least one occasion.  He visited in 1910 and I imagine this would have been the last time he ever saw his mother who died in 1916.

It is hard to imagine how hard it must have been to be so far away from family, especially during time of bereavement.  His parents were illiterate so there would have been no letters from them.  I would hope that they may have enlisted help to communicate with their son but those letters would surely have lacked the personal touch.

In 1930, at the age of 64, James was still working as a coal miner.  Moving to America might have given him greater opportunities but it wouldn’t have been an easy life.

His wife died in 1937.  In 1947 he lost two of his children.  Hugh died in an accident in California.  I know from records that Elizabeth also died that year but I have been unable to find details of her death.  I do know that she was married and her name was Salardino and that she was buried in Colorado.

James died in 1955 at the age of 88 which is pretty good going in my family.  The cause of death is given as pneumonia following a heart attack.  He did have to face tragedy but I would like to think he knew joy in his life.  He had his children and many grand children.  Prior to his death he was living with his daughter, Mary Colleen and her husband.  His obituary on the Find A Grave site suggests he was loved by many.


Elizabeth Brawley 1861-1946

I have discovered that many of my ancestors were illiterate and their official documents were signed with just a cross with the words his/her mark.  I wonder if it embarassed them to admit they couldn’t even sign their own name or whether they never gave it a second thought.  One of the main names in my research is Brawley.  Or is it Brawly? Or Brolly? Or Brollay? Or Bralley?  Or any of the other variations that I have seen on birth, death and marriage certificates?

My great grand aunt, Elizabeth Brawley was born in Clyde Ironworks, Lanarkshire, Scotland on 5 November 1861,  She was registered as Elizabeth Brollay.  Neither of my great great grandparents, James Brawley and Sarah McLaughlin (or McLauchlan or McLaughlan) could read or write.  I suppose the registrar on the day just had to guess at the spelling. Elizabeth, or Lizzie as she was known, was the second of ten children and the only daughter.

By the 1871 census (where she is recorded as Elizabeth Braully), the family were living in Newmains, Lanarkshire.  Thirteen year old bother, John was working as a miner while Lizzie and six year old Daniel (my great grandfather) went to school.  Four year old James and two year old Hugh were at home with Sarah

In 1881 Lizzie was employed as a wool weaver and was still living with her parents.  She lived with her parents even after her marriage to Charles McCafferty in 1883.  The marriage register shows that at that time she was employed as a domestic servant.

In fact, Lizzie remained with her parents until their deaths. There is no trace of Charles after the 1891 census and I haven’t found a record of his death.  In the 1901 census she was with James and Sarah, her little brother, Patrick and niece, Sarah. Sarah was my grandfather’s sister and she lived with her grandparents due to lack of room in her own house.

This is the strange thing about Lizzie. My mother knew her but she knew her as Lizzie Brawley. She had no idea that there had ever been a husband. My mother’s recollection of her is as a rather eccentric woman. Apparently, later in life, she lived with a younger man who was described rather unkindly as ‘retarded’. And according to my mum Lizzie was not especially nice to him.  And nobody seemed to know who he was.

Lizzie died in 1946.  Her death certificate was signed by her nephew, Matthew Brawley who was the adopted son of her brother Matthew.

Lizzie is buried with her parents in Cambusnethan Cemetery.  Their grave is unmarked but the cemetery records show her as Elizabeth Brawley.  No mention of McCafferty.

Elizabeth's unmarked grave

Elizabeth’s unmarked grave

There’s a lot I don’t know about Elizabeth. I’d like to know what happened to Charles. Did he go off and leave her?  I’ll  keep looking.

Update                                                                                                              Charles McCafferty died age 84 on 17 January 1946.  At the time of his death he was living in Coatbridge in a hostel for single males.  His death record shows that he was married to Elizabeth Brawley.


My Favourite Photograph

Great great granny

This photograph was sent to me by a cousin I made contact with through my family history research.  We are related on my maternal side.  Her grandfather and my grandfather were brothers.  We have become friends and regularly chat via Skype.  We plan to meet in person very soon.  Finding living relatives is s exciting to me as finding my ancestors, particulary when that relative is as keen on knowing about the family tree as I am.

The subjects of the photograph all have their own stories which I look forward to sharing in due course.

The photograph was taken in 1912 and features my great great grandmother, Sarah McLaughlin (1839-1916), my great grandfather, Daniel Brawley (1864-1935), his eldest son, Daniel Brawley (1887-1971) and young Daniel’s daughter, Margaret Brawley (1912-?)

This is the only photograph I have of my great, great grandmother and great grandfather and I was thrilled to receive it.


Mary Ann Helferty 1840-1884

I was about to delete this post having discovered that this lady is not my great, great grandmother as I had previously thought.  A review of my research revealed that I had made a huge mistake in my research.  But apart from the fact she is not my family her story is still true and, I think, worth telling.  It may be useful to someone else in the future so I will leave it here on my blog.

Mary Ann Helferty was born in July 1840 in Magherafelt which at that time was in County Tyrone, Ireland.  Her parents were Michael Helferty and Ann Hendry.  Mary Ann was the second of their five children. I know that the family were still in Ireland in 1845 but by the 1851 they had come to Glasgow and were living in the Calton area in the East End. Michael is recorded as a labourer and at that time Ann’s mother and brother were staying with them. Mary Ann is listed on the census as a scholar but it is doubtful that she spent much time in school as she never learned to read and write.

By 1861 Michael no longer features in census records but I have not yet found death details for him. Ann was the head of the household. Mary Ann and her sisters, Catherine and Margaret were employed as workers in a cotton factory. Elder brother, Hugh had left home and younger brother, Michael was in school. He was born in 1853 and was the only one of the Helferty children born in Scotland.  The family shared their home with four lodgers.

On 17 March 1867 Mary Ann gave birth to a daughter, Sarah Helferty.  The child was born in their home in London Road in Glasgow.  There is no father listed on her birth certificate.  Mary Ann was 26 years old when Sarah was born, so not a young girl.  I do wonder about the father.  Was he a married man?  Was it a one night stand? Did he offer any support, either emotional or financial?

Five years later, in 1872, Mary Ann had another daughter.  Little Ann Hendry Helferty died just a few days after her first birthday.  Again there are no details of a father.  The baby was named after Mary Ann’s mother and that leads me to wonder why she had chosen the name, Sarah for her first child.  Was that a connection to the father’s family?  I found details of Baby Ann quite by accident when I searched on Scotland’s People under the name Helferty looking for further information on Mary Ann’s siblings.  So now she has two children out of wedlock.  I wonder how she was regarded in the community. Is it possible that the same man fathered both children?  Again that makes me consider the possiblilty of an affair with a married man.

Early on in my research into Mary Ann I discovered that she had died in the Poorhouse in Govan in October 1884.  The cause of death is recorded as phthisis.  I really wanted to know more about what had happened to poor Mary Ann that she should end up in such a place.  I therefore, visited the Mitchell Library in Glasgow where the Poorhouse register is stored and available for viewing.  I must admit it was exciting to see this original document.

The Poorhouse register is an amazing source of information and there were a couple of further shocks for me in Mary Ann’s record.  First of all I discovered that it was her daughter, Sarah who had her placed in the Poorhouse.  The record shows that Mary Ann was ill and unfit for work so I can only imagine (hope) that there was no other choice.

I also found details of a boyfriend with whom she had been living with for a number of years and two further children!  James was born in 1877 and Mary in 1882.  They both had the surname, Gallagher, after their father.

Whether Mary Ann was a victim of circumstance or a rebel I think it would be fair to say she had a very tough life. The family dream of leaving Ireland for a better life certainly didn’t come true for her.


Sarah Brawley 1894-1969 & Ellen Brawley 1894-1899

imageThese two two little cuties are the daughters of my great grand uncle, Hugh Brawley.   Hugh left Scotland in 1888 to work in the mines in Pennsylvania and it was there he met his wife, Alice Shannon.    The twins were born in February 1894.  I am so lucky to have this photograph which was kindly shared by a distant cousin I made contact with through my research. I wonder if a copy of the picture  was sent to my great, great grandmother back in Scotland and how she might have felt knowing she was unlikely to ever meet her little granddaughters.

The family made their home in Starks Park, a mining community in Moosic and I’m sure this picture would have been on display there.  As a young couple with two new babies Hugh and Alive must have been full of plans for the future but tragedy struck in December 1895 when Hugh lost his life in a mining accident. He was hit by falling rocks and died as a result of his injuries.

I don’t know how things worked back in those days but I doubt there was much compensation or help available for Alice and the girls.  How did they cope and who did they turn to?

Little Nellie died in 1899.  At five years old Sadie had lost her father and her twin sister.  It’s heartbreaking but this must have been one of the last photographs of them together.


How often must Sadie have looked at this photo and longed for her sister?

In 1912, at the age of 18, Sadie married Raymond Lorenzo Powell in Millville, New Jersey.  The 1920 census shows them still in New Jersey along with son, Raymond who was born in 1914. In 1925 Sadie gave birth to daughter Elizabeth who was known as Betty.   Raymond Snr. worked as a bus driver and Sadie stayed at home in their rented house in Camden, New Jersey to look after the children.

Sadie was widowed in 1963. She remained in Camden until her death in 1969.

Having written a previous post about her father, Hugh I had wondered what became of Sadie after the early tragedies in her life.  I was thrilled therefore to make contact with someone who knew and remembered her.  Sadie was described to me as a kind and friendly person who enjoyed life.  I’d say she deserved her happiness.


Patrick Brawley – 1873-1876 & Matthew Brawley 1875-1876

Patrick and Matthew Brawley were the 7th and 8th children of my great great grandparents, James Brawley and Sarah McLauglan.  Both boys were born in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Patrick was born on 31 May 1873 and Matthew on 23 January 1875.  Tragically both little boys died within days of each other in 1876. The cause of death was scarlet fever.  They are buried in St Peter’s Cemetery in Glasgow.

Matthew and Patrick Death

The reason that their story strikes close to home is that exactly 100 years later in 1976  I had scarlet fever.  The summer of 1976 is remembered in Scotland as particularly hot and sunny.  My only memories of having this illness is of being stuck at home while my sisters were out playing in the sunshine.  I don’t remember being particularly ill and I don’t know how long it lasted but the point is that after a short spell of treatment I was absolutely fine and ready to go back to school after the summer holidays.

Sarah was pregnant when her babies died.  She gave birth to another son, Matthew in January 1877.  In May 1884 her 10th and final child Patrick was born.  It seemed strange to me that she gave them the names of her other children and in a way replace them but that was the tradition then it seems.  Patrick and Matthew were so young when they died that they don’t really feature in any records.  I can’t know what little personalities they had or how their deaths impacted on the family.

There are many times when researching my family tree when I am grateful for the lives we have nowadays but none more so than when I found out about these two wee souls.  I do get quite emotional thinking about them.