Daniel Brawley 1888-1948

Daniel Brawley was my cousin twice removed. His father was my great great uncle John Brawley Daniel was born on 26 September 1888 in Newmains, Lanarkshire. He was the 3rd child of John and his wife Roseanne McGuinness.

I have previously told the story of how John was killed in an accident at work. At the time Daniel was just 3 years old. With 4 children to support Roseanne would have struggled greatly and, as was quite common at the time, she remarried fairly quickly. Roseanne and her second husband, James Farrell went on to have 4 more children although, sadly, 2 of them died as children. I know that James had at least one child from a previous relationship, a son who was born around 1878. His name was Thomas Farrell. The 1911 census shows them living together n Furnace Row, Newmains.

So Daniel grew up with his mother and stepfather. I don’t know if his relationship with James Farrell was a happy one but I do know that at that time in Newmains there were plenty of Brawleys in Newmains to keep an eye on what was happening.

After leaving school Daniel found work as a blacksmith striker at the Coltness Ironworks but by 1914 Britain was at war and Daniel joined the Royal Field Artillery. His military record shows that he signed up on 2 September 1914 in Wishaw. He served until 1919 and the record below gives some details of his service.

During his time in the army Daniel married Ellen Mullen and the couple had a daughter, Mary in 1915. Mary died in 1921. Daughter Winifred was born in 1922 followed by Patricia in 1925.

Perhaps his time fighting overseas had given him a sense of adventure and Daniel and Ellen decided to leave Scotland for America. Daniel arrived in New York on 17 October 1927. After securing work and a place to live he returned to Scotland for his family and together sailed into Boston on 15 October 1928. Their daughter, Elizabeth was born in Brooklyn in 1929 and Joan was born in the Bronx in 1932.

Also living in New York at that time was Daniel’s uncle, Patrick Brawley. There was only an age difference of 4 years between the two and I was pleased to find a link between them in the city. At one point they were both employed by Refined Syrups and Sugars in Yonkers, New York. It may be that Patrick encouraged Daniel to go to America in the first place.

Daniel remained in New York until his death in 1948. Helen lived a long life, dying in 1982 at the age of 91. In 1962 she applied for naturalisation.


Patrick Mullervy Born 1906

Above is the death record for Patrick Mullervy. His great grandfather was my great great great grandfather, Owen Mullervy. This record makes me really sad. Look at the age at death. He was just two minutes old. And there’s yet another family connection to Furnace Row in Newmains.

The name Mullervy was one I had never even heard of prior to starting my family tree. The Mullervys are my maternal granny’s family. My granny, Catherine Cosgrove lost her father when she was just an infant and her mother remarried soon after so maybe that is why the name had never been mentioned. Although in saying that, most of the names in my family tree were new to me.

I have previously written about my great great granny, Catherine Mullervy and how she and my great great grandfather, Peter Cosgrove came to Scotland from the village of Drumlish in County Longford. Looking at records for Drumlish I can see that there were a lot of Mullervys there so my challenge now is to work out where they fit in to my family tree. Owen Mullervy who is named in baby Patrick’s birth certificate was my great great granny’s nephew but I can’t find any record of his father coming to Scotland. This branch of the family is very much a work in progress

A Family Mystery — Daniel Brawley and Ellen Keenan

Daniel Brawley and Ellen Keenan were my great grandparents. I don’t remember being told many family stories but the one that did stick in my mind is that my mother’s grandparents got married in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  There was no explanation given as to why they were in America and it seemed no one really knew the story. It has taken a while to get to the bottom of this and I really can’t tell you about one without the other so this is the story of my mother’s paternal grandparents.

Daniel Brawley was born on 1 May 1864 in Old Monkland, Lanarkshire.  His parents were James Brawley and Sarah McLauchlan.  Daniel was the third of ten children.  The family eventually settled in Newmains, Lanarkshire.

My great granny was registered as Helen Keenan but was always known as “Ellen”. She was born on 16 December 1869 in Newmains. She was the eighth of ten children. Her parents were Patrick Keenan and Agnes Haughey.

While both Daniel and Ellen were born in Scotland they were of Irish descent. Daniel’s mother and Ellen’s father were born in Ireland and all of the grandparents had been born in Ireland.

Life would not have been easy. Their living conditions were poor and, as can be seen from the photo, hardly adequate for such big families.

I recently discovered that in her early teens Ellen was forced to leave Newmains and her parents to take up employment as a bleachfield worker in Paisley. She would have been away from her family for months at a time.

Daniel found work at the local ironworks as a labourer. Coltness Ironworks was the main employer for the local community and the reason the Brawleys settled in Newmains.

So Daniel and Ellen both grew up in Newmains and the families would most certainly known each other from the time the Brawleys arrived in the village. So my question was – why did they marry in the United States? This was not a time of destination weddings after all.

I started digging and I discovered a second cousin who was also looking for Daniel and Ellen. Her grandfather was Daniel And Ellen’s first child, Daniel. The story in her family was that her grandfather was born in Pennsylvania. He returned to Scotland with an American accent and was bullied by local children as a result. My cousin had managed to track down Daniel and Ellen’s marriage record showing that they were indeed married in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The date of their marriage was 11 December 1888. Neither of us, however, could track down a birth record for Daniel.

I also checked through passenger lists for Daniel and Ellen trying to work out when they left Scotland with no success.

The next record I found was the 1891 census which showed the couple back in Newmains and living at 12 Furnace Row. Daniel is again recorded as a labourer. By this time the couple had had another son. I found the birth record for James who was born in January 1891 at 12 Furnace Row.

I started to suspect that Daniel had not been born in the USA after all but there was no record for a Daniel Brawley in Scotland either. So I had to try a different search and I found him.

Daniel Keenan was born at 15 Furnace Row, Newmains on 30 October 1887. He was given Brawley as a middle name but he is recorded as illegitimate and there is no father listed. So, this was not the great romance I had imagined of a young couple heading off to America to start a great adventure. It would appear that Daniel was keen to leave Newmains but he did so with his brother James and not his young girlfriend. Ellen, it would seem, was just a fling before he headed off for good. Had they intended to stay together surely they would have married before he left if her pregnancy had meant she was unable to travel. So I’m assuming (hoping) that he didn’t know she was pregnant when he boarded his ship. Knowing the baby’s birth date narrowed down the timeframe for Daniel’s departure but I still don’t have a passenger list. I did ask a professional genealogist who advised that many records from that time no longer exist.

Daniel’s ultimate destination was the town of Moosic. I’d love to know what drew the brothers to that particular place. Perhaps they responded to a recruitment advert or maybe they had a family or other connection there. It’s possible there were other Newmains men already there.

Ellen was not prepared to remain a single parent. As soon as she was able she and Baby Daniel sailed on the Steamship Manitoba heading for Moosic, Pennsylvania. The name was transcribed as “Keauan” which made it difficult to find. Also on the ship was Daniel’s younger brother Hugh. I can imagine the Brawley and Keenan families getting together to discuss how to deal with the situation. If Daniel couldn’t or wouldn’t come back, Hugh would accompany Ellen to track him down. The Manitoba arrived in Philadelphia on 9 December 1888 and Daniel and Ellen were married just two days later. You can see from the marriage record that Ellen lied about her age.

Why did Daniel and Ellen return to Newmains? I suspect (and young Daniel’s family believe) that it was Ellen who wanted to come back. She couldn’t settle and missed her family. It wouldn’t have been easy for her with no friends or family support. She would have been left on her own while her new husband and his brothers worked long hours in the mines. I don’t know exactly how long they were there but it is unlikely that Daniel would’ve had an American accent. The couple went on to have twelve (!) children in total. They remained in Newmains until their deaths; Daniel died in 1935 and Ellen in 1941.

They are buried in Cambusnethan Cemetery. I have visited their grave and was saddened to see there is no headstone. The small marker in the picture had been moved from another plot.

The photograph below was taken in 1912 and shows My great grandfather with his eldest son. I do not have a photograph of Ellen.

Elizabeth Keenan 1866-1950

My great aunt Elizabeth Keenan was born on 22 March 1866 at 15 Furnace Row, Newmains, Lanarkshire. She was the 6th child of Patrick Keenan and Agnes Haughey and the elder sister of my mother’s maternal grandmother, Ellen Keenan. I have previously posted about her sisters Margaret and Mary.

The records show that Elizabeth married John Armit in 4 February 1887 and together they had 10 children. It wasn’t until I was researching Margaret at the Lanarkshire Heritage Centre that I discovered another chapter of Elizabeth’s story. Margaret was recorded as a pauper on her death record prompting me to check the Poor Relief Application Register. On looking through the index I was surprised to find Elizabeth as well as Margaret.

On 20 September 1886 Elizabeth, who at that time was living with her parents at 14 Furnace Row, made an application for poor relief. A home visit was made by the inspector on 22 September. Elizabeth is recorded as single, Roman Catholic and her occupation is given as “bleachfield worker”.

I had assumed that Elizabeth spent her whole life in Newmains however this information from the application shows otherwise.

“She states that she went to Foxbar Bleachfields when 13 years of age and came home to Newmains for 3 weeks, a month, sometimes 2 months every year.”

It is hard to imagine a 13 year old child being sent away from home to work in the horrible conditions of the bleachfields. Bleachfields were originally an open area of land used for spreading cloth and fabrics on the ground to be bleached by the sun and water. Bleachfields became redundant shortly after the discovery of chlorine in the late 18th century however, many of the factories bleaching with chlorine continued to be called bleachfields. Paisley had a thriving textile industry and Foxbar bleachfields employed many young females from across the country.

On a visit home to Newmains, Elizabeth fell pregnant. The reason given for her application was “confinement “. Having just given birth Elizabeth was forced to seek financial support for herself and her baby. Under a section for other info on the register the following is recorded:

“putative father John Armit, furnace filler residing in Main Street, Newmains”

Elizabeth was offered admittance to the Poorhouse but there is no corresponding admittance number so I assume she refused and stayed at home. It was not uncommon for the authorities to offer admittance to the house instead of financial assistance as a way of discouraging applications.

Happily she went on to marry John Armit and the two were together until his death in 1944. Elizabeth died aged 84 in 1950.

Margaret Keenan 1868-1886

My 2nd great aunt, Margaret Keenan was just 18 years old when she died on 18 September 1886. She was the 7th child of Irish immigrants, Patrick Keenan and Agnes Haughey and the closest in age to my great grandmother, Ellen Keenan. Ellen was my mother’s paternal grandmother. She was also the sister of Mary Keenan about whom I posted recently.

Margaret was born in the Parish of Cambusnethan on 16 March 1868. She appears on both the 1871 and 1881 census records living with her family in Newmains. The next record I found for her was her death record which shows she died within her family home at 14 Furnace Row, Newmains. Her mother, Agnes was present at the time of death and it was she who registered the death using an X as her mark in lieu of a signature.

It is the word “pauper” on the record written where her occupation should be recorded that caught my eye. Being recorded as a pauper meant that she had to have applied for poor relief at some point.

The poor relief applications for Cambusnethan Parish are held at the Lanarkshire Heritage Centre in Motherwell. On request, the very helpful staff will bring you the original registers which often contain information not available elsewhere.

In the case of Margaret, I discovered that she applied for poor relief at 230pm on 7 April 1885. I would imagine that for a 17 year old girl bring interviewed by the poor house inspector would have been a very daunting prospect.

On the register Margaret is recorded as single with no dependants. Her occupation is given as bleachfield worker and her religion as Roman Catholic.

Per the normal procedure, a home visit was carried out by the inspector who visited 14 Furnace Row at 1115am on 8 April.

Furnace Row, Newmains

I don’t know if having a poorhouse inspector visiting your home would have been a cause for shame. Had the family tried to provide for Margaret until they could no longer manage?

The register also lists previous addresses. Margaret had been at Furnace Row for two years. Prior to that, in her early teens, she had lived away from home at a bleachfield works in Paisley. The fact that she had been home for two years away from the bleachfields would suggest that she had been dependant on her parents for some time.

The inspector assessed Margaret as wholly disabled due to strumous disease. I had no idea what that might be but an online search showed it to be scrofula; a disease with glandular swelling, probably a form of tuberculosis. You can check online. It’s a nasty disease.

The decision from the inspector was to provide Margaret with 2/6. Payments of 1/6 were to continue but at some point she was admitted to Motherwell Poorhouse. I’m relieved at least that she did not die there but was at home with her family.

An Epidemic- Patrick COSGROVE 1866-1901

This is the story of my great grandfather, Patrick Cosgrove.  He is my maternal grandmother’s father. He was born in, Killoe County Longford in Ireland in January 1863 to Peter Cosgrove  (1832-1893) and Catherine Mullervy (1939-1910). Patrick was one of at least ten siblings.

  • Anne Born 1867
  • James Born 1869
  • Francis Born 1871
  • Peter Born 1874
  • Catherine Born 1875
  • Michael Born 1876
  • John Born 1878
  • Elizabeth Born 1880
  • Joseph Born 1883

I know that Francis was born in Longford and that Catherine was born in Lanarkshire but I don’t know for sure about Peter so at some point between 1871 and 1875 the family left Ireland and settled in Scotland.  Their family home was at 18 Furnace Row, Newmains, Lanarkshire which is where the five younger children were born.  The town that they left was Ballincurry in the parish of Killoe.

Having left Ireland for a better life, the family faced some horrendous times.  I can find no record of Francis in Scotland so I can only assume that he died very young.  Perhaps it was the circumstances of his death that caused the family to leave Ireland.  This was not, however, the end of the heartache.

Baby Peter died on 20 March 1875.  The cause of death was recorded as measles. Catherine was only a month old at the time.  She died on 21 January 1876 followed closely by Anne on 1 February and James on 5 February.  Three children dead within just over two weeks.  The cause of death is recorded as whooping cough. Catherine would have been pregnant at the time.  Son Michael was born in September 1876 but died less than four years later on 3 June 1880.  The cause of death was scarlet fever.  Joseph died on 2 April 1884 at 13 months old.  The cause of death was gastritis.

So it was amidst all this tragedy and death that Patrick was raised.  The family remained in Furnace Row and in the 1881 census Patrick was working as a coalminer while his father was a labourer.

By 1884 Patrick had left home and was living in Lochee, Angus.  It was there while he was working as a labourer and living at 44 Whorterbank, Lochee that he married my great grandmother, Sarah Helferty on 3 December 1888.  Sarah was born in Glasgow to Irish parents, Arthur Helferty and Mary Wilkinson. She had moved to Lochee to work in the jute mills

I recently visited the Verdant Works Museum in Dundee which is housed in a former jute mill. It gives a real insight into the lives that my great grandparents would have lived, albeit for quite a short time. There was a large community of Irish immigrants in Lochee as they were prepared to work in poor conditions for low pay. Jute was still a thriving industry and there were plenty of jobs to be had. The Irish had a reputation for rowdy, drunken behaviour and the women were very much in charge due to them being, by far, the majority of the workforce. In many households the woman was the breadwinner while the husband stayed at home to look after the children. This was not the case for Sarah and Patrick as at that time they were childless.

By 1891 the couple were back living in Newmains at 27 Furnace Row.  On the census Patrick is again recorded as a labourer.

On 16 July 1900 the couple’s only child was born in Glasgow – a daughter, Catherine.  Sadly, less than 7 months later, on 10 February 1901, Patrick died in Belvidere Hospital, Glasgow during the smallpox epidemic.  His death record shows that he had not been vaccinated against the disease.

At that time vaccination was compulsory only for infants but even that was not strictly enforced. There was some opposition to vaccination but I imagine that my great grandfather didn’t give it much thought. There were some 2500 cases of smallpox in Glasgow between January 1901 and May 1902.

The original admittance register for Belvidere Hospital is available to view at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. It shows that Patrick was admitted to the hospital from Weaver Street Receiving House which, I have been told, was to help cope with the amount of patients requiring hospital admission. On his arrival at Belvidere on 1 February 1901 Patrick was already very ill.

It’s heartbreaking that my granny never knew her father. I hope that her mother, Sarah, talked about him and told her about happier times.

John Brawley 1857-1892

John Brawley was born on 12 June 1857 at Calderbraes, Old Monkland, Lanarkshire. He was my 2nd great uncle and the eldest child of my great, great grandparents, Sarah McLaughlin and James Brawley. His brother Daniel was my mother’s paternal grandfather.

For the first few years of his life the family moved around as James’ work dictated. The 1861 census shows the family in Newmains followed by periods in Old Monkland and Ayrshire. By the 1871 census the family are back in Newmains.

On 12 July 1877 John married Roseanne McGuinness. The couple had four children

  • James Born 1881
  • Sarah Born 1885
  • Daniel Born 1888
  • John Born 1890

Like many others in my family, John lived in Furnace Row, Newmains. This photograph from North Lanarkshire Heritage shows the row with the Works in the background. A mineral railway runs immediately behind the row. (I would love to know who are the people in the picture.)

John was employed as a furnace tube cleaner at Coltness Ironworks. The local newspapers would regularly report on accidents at the works and this article describes what happened to John.

There was indeed a fatal result. John died on 2 March 1892 as a result of his injuries. Surprisingly he did not die in hospital but at his own home. The cause of death is recorded as a fracture to the base of the skull. He was 34 years old.

Roseann remarried the following year. She and her second husband, James Farrell had a daughter, Margaret in 1894. Roseann died in 1932.

Catherine Mullervy 1839-1910

My great, great grandmother, Catherine Mullervy was born in Drumlish  in the Parish of Killoe, County Longford, Ireland in January 1835.  She was baptised on the 19th of January that year.  Her sponsors are recorded as Edward and Elizabeth Malervy.  (There are many different spellings of the surname recorded.)  Her parents were Owen Mullervy and Ann Flinn.  I have found records of two siblings; Patrick born 1832 and Cecilia born 1844 but I suspect that there are more and I have information to suggest that she had a brother, Owen.

The family would have undoubtedly been affected by the great famine in Ireland but the mill in Drumlish was a source of employment and food for the local people and as such the community did not suffer as much as other places.

When Catherine was 23 years old she married a local man, Peter Cosgrove.  The marriage took place on 8 January 1862 and their first son, Patrick, was born in January 1863.  Patrick was my great grandfather.  Daughter Anne was born in 1867 followed by James in 1869 and Francis in 1871.

Life in Ireland became too tough for the young family and they left to seek new opportunities in Scotland.  Their departure was some time between 1871 and 1873.  There is no record of Francis in Scotland so I suspect that he died as an infant in Ireland.  In 1873 their son Peter was born but I can’t be sure if he was born in Ireland or Scotland.

The family settled in Newmains, Lanarkshire where Peter found work as a furnace labourer.  This would have been hard, physical labour but the job came with a house and the family were allocated 25 Furnace Row.  It was in this house where baby Peter died on 20th March 1874.  The cause of death was measles.  His father registered the death using an X in lieu of a signature.  Catherine must surely have been distraught but there was more heartache to come.


On February 16 1875 Catherine gave birth to a daughter, Catherine.  No doubt she would have tried her best to care for her children but in the cramped and unsanitary condition of Furnace Row it was only a matter of time before disease struck again.  In less that three weeks, between 21 January and 5 February 1876 Catherine lost three more of her children as baby Catherine, Anne and James succumbed to bronchitis and whooping cough.  I cannot imagine how poor Catherine coped trying to deal with the loss of a child while others were dying.  It would have been harder still as she was pregnant at the time with her another child.  Michael Cosgrove was born on 1 September 1876.  Peter would have been unable to take time off work to support his wife as they would have been totally reliant on his wages to survive.

baby catherine

Ann Cosgrove

James Cosgrove

The remaining family moved to a new home at 18 Furnace Row where son, John was born on 7 May 1878 and daughter, Elizabeth on 12 March 1880.  It was here too that on 3 June 1880 3 year old Michael died of convulsions caused by scarlet fever.

Michael cosgrove

The 1881 census shows Catherine, Peter, Patrick, John and Elizabeth still living at 18 Furnace Row.  Peter is recorded as a general labourer while my grandfather, Patrick had found employment as a coal miner.  For a time they were joined by Catherine’s brother, Patrick Mullervy.  Patrick contracted lardaceous disease and passed away in Catherine’s home on 29 February 1882. He was 50 years old.

On 8 March 1883 Catherine gave birth to Joseph.  On 2 April 1884 Joseph died.  The cause of death is recorded as gastritis.

Patrick left home and Catherine continued to look after her two remaining children, John and Elizabeth while Peter worked to keep a roof over their heads.   They were forced to take in lodgers to help make ends meet.


Peter Cosgrove died of pneumonia on 25 February 1893.  With no income and no way of supporting herself she was forced to apply for poor relief.  Her first application was in March 1893 when she was given 2/- to help support her and her children. This may have tided her over for a short time but a second application in April 1893 resulted in the offer of admission to the Poor House.   In June 1894 Catherine made a further application for poor relief as she had been confined to her bed for four weeks.


The original Poor Law registers can be viewed at North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre.  Catherine is not the first of my ancestors to appear in one of these ledgers.  It is incredibly moving to see the actual record of their hardship as it was written at the time.

In February 1901 she would have received the news that her son, Patrick had died of smallpox.  At the time of his death he was living in Glasgow.

Catherine Mullervy Cosgrove died on 24 February 1910 at 18 Furnace Row, Newmains.  She is buried in a public plot in Cambusnethan Cemetery.

death catherine cosgrove

John Cosgrove 1878-1917

John Cosgrove was my great grandfather’s younger brother.  While my great grandfather was born in County Longford, Ireland, by the time John was born the family had come to Scotland.  He was born on 7 May 1878 at 18 Furnace Row, Newmains, Lanarkshire.  His father Peter Cosgrove was a furnace labourer and may have been busy working the day the birth was registered as that job went to his mother Catherine Mullervy (there are many variations of the spelling of that name on different documents.) Catherine used a cross ‘her mark’ in lieu of a signature.

John was one of at least ten children.

  • Patrick Born 1863
  • Anne Born 1867
  • James Born 1869
  • Francis Born 1871
  • Peter Born 1874
  • Catherine Born 1875
  • Michael Born 1876
  • Elizabeth Born 1880
  • Joseph Born 1883

The reason I have chosen to write about John today is not so much about his life but about the circumstances of his death which I only discovered very recently when looking through the British Newspaper Archive.

I had known that he died at quite a young age in 1917 leaving behind a wife and four children.  He married Mary Lynch in 1908 in St Brigid’s RC Church in Newmains.  Mary Ann was born in 1909, Catherine in 1910, Patrick in 1912 and Elizabeth in 1914.  His death would have been particularly hard on Mary with such a young family to look after. It’s a sad story but I did find it upsetting to find the following short article which gave the circumstances surrounding his death.

I cannot imagine the agony those two poor men suffered.  The report shows that they did not die instantly but were taken to the Royal Infirmary which in those days would have been a fair journey.  I have no way of knowing if Mary got to see him before he died.

The report mentions a ‘slip’ at the furnaces.  Certainly the circumstances merited further investigation as a fatal accident enquiry was held in respect of their deaths.

John died on 5 July 1917 and was buried on 7 July 1917 in Cambusnethan Cemetery.

Mary remarried on 27 December 1918 in the same church where she and John were married.