Welcome to my website. This is its second incarnation and I should explain that the original website, hosted by EasyWebsiteInaBox was laid out quite differently with up to 3 columns per page and different shapes of page. This included sidebars with photos and captions as well as exploring some topics in more depth.

This newer website hosted by Ionos is quite different as everything is in one column per page. The result is that there is repetition in places, for which I apologise. If there are things that are unclear do let me know by email.

What you see is not quite the end-point, I hope, but is the culmination of a lifelong interest in family history and in history more generally. Most of the pages relate to my father’s family branches in Scotland but in recent years I have researched considerable the records relating to my mother’s branches in Northern Ireland (and beyond).

My aim is to share my learning with extended family members and I am delighted at the number of contacts I have made with relations unknown around the world and by their generosity in sharing their learning and memories.

In places information given is a little vague and often this reflects sensitivity relating to those living.

  • Obituary of Jessie Douglas
    Perusing Find My Past’s newspaper archives I came across a form of obituary for Janet Alexander Douglas, daughter of William Douglas and his wife Catherine Nicholson. Interestingly, it was published in the John O’Groats Journal on 19th February 1909 and gives a warm and reasonably detailed account of the life of this young woman. Further… Read more: Obituary of Jessie Douglas
  • John MacLachlan Bennett
    I came across this snippet on Find My Past today, from the People newspaper of Sunday 14th March 1937. It is an appeal for information on John, presumably from some relative of his sister Maria as she had married a man named Daniel. Maria herself lived until 1977 and his mother lived on for some… Read more: John MacLachlan Bennett
  • Missing Pictures
    I gather that nearly all the links to pictures, trees and drawings etc are broken. I will do my best to restore them but it looks like each one needs put back individually so it is going to take quite some time. If you see a label which is wrong please let me know- often… Read more: Missing Pictures
  • Baxter Update
    I have been exploring Dad’s DNA connections to people seemingly related through the Baxter family, many of whom disappeared from the records in Scotland. This has involved a little, if expensive, look at ScotlandsPeople but much more exploration via Ancestry. Unfortunately it has proven very difficult to locate birth records for many putative descendants. The… Read more: Baxter Update
  • Douglas John McEwan, 1935-2023
    Less than a year after the passing of Isabella McEwan her brother Douglas has left this world. I was able to attend his funeral in Glasgow recently and listened to a wonderful testimony about his life and his character. As the minister said, he touched many lives for the better as a Social Worker and… Read more: Douglas John McEwan, 1935-2023
  • 1921 census
    The 1921 census has FINALLY been released by ScotlandsPeople, with the year almost at an end. I’ve had a quick look at the Douglas household (technically the Adam household) at 930 Argyle St just to confirm everyone was there. Grandad was a traveller for a wholesale stationer. This one is a surprise- Charles Douglas the… Read more: 1921 census
  • Another Douglas Branch
    The page on the descendants of Charles Douglas the Blacksmith and Jane Ann Clark has acquired a new member in the form of an illegitimate daughter to John Douglas; she was born in Glasgow in 1898. This girl went to Canada, married and had several children who have living descendants today!
  • Sad news
    I learned of the death of Isabella (Ishbel) McEwan this week, former librarian at the Mitchell Library and cousin of my late father. Ishbel was 90. She was an intelligent, articulate woman with a sharp mind and an eye and ear for detail. She was an invaluable source of information for me in my research… Read more: Sad news
  • Brown Update
    After my visit to the Belfast City Cemetery a couple of weeks ago I have added a bit to the relevant page, including a photo of the unmarked grave of James Robert Brown in November 1918. He was one of many victims of the so-called Spanish Flu.
  • August 2022
    I’ve been at PRONI 4 or 5 days over the summer but most of my work has been focussed on my wife’s family. One thing I did try to do for my own family was to locate my great grandparents wedding at St Anne’s Church/Cathedral in Belfast. I waded through hundreds between 1892 and 1897… Read more: August 2022
  • Jacksons and McKees
    I have been working for ages on a particularly tricky group, the Jacksons of Raffrey (especially the townland of Barnamaghery). After 3 or 4 days at PRONI wading through original documents and microfilm I have managed to untangle the Jackson family which is “right” for my wife.
  • Clarks update
    I’ve added a little to the section on the Clarks. Next week I will be visiting Scotland for the first time in years and hope to visit Newtonmore.
  • George Patton
    I have begun to upload information about George Patton of Corporation Street in Belfast.
  • Pattons
    Coming soon… the Pattons of Corporation Street in Belfast I have been researching my wife’s family and have found it interesting, so I intend to share what I have learned when I can. Be patient- some of us are still at our place of work every day despite sickness all around.
  • July 2021
    I managed to get myself a slot at PRONI this week and despite the utter lack of carparking in the area currently succeeded in entering the building. I was able to look at a large map from the late 1780s, showing the estate of a Mr Johnston in the Drumbanagher area. It shows locations of… Read more: July 2021
  • Missing in Action
    I’m sorry if anyone has been trying to contact me and is awaiting a reply. I’ve been having trouble access emails (and still can’t).
  • Smiths and Smyths
    I’m pursuing a couple of DNA links on Ancestry to a Sarah Jane Smith or Smyth who died in Belfast in 1922. Her family came from Bessbrook, she being born there around 1850. Her husband was also named Smith and he came from the same locality which confuses things but I think it likely that… Read more: Smiths and Smyths
  • Transfer
    I hope that my host will change smoothly over the next few days, though there may be changes to the background and I am uncertain whether images will transfer easily or will need inserted manually. I they need transferred manually I think that will take some time to achieve.
  • Deaths
    Sorry to announce to all my friends and distant relatives that Dad died on Sunday. He was well looked after at the care home and died without pain or fear. My sister and I attended him for his final night. Uncle Bill’s (Dad’s brother) widow, Martha, died in late October. She was a lovely, friendly… Read more: Deaths
  • Dead Computer
    I was balancing a few bags at my car boot today on leaving school and my computer bag, button undone, fell out on to the ground. Out came my Asus Transformer and it hit the ground. I thought it would be OK as it lives in a soft leather cover but apparently not. When I… Read more: Dead Computer


After a considerable hiatus I have been making up for it by adding a fair chunk of information on the Hanna family of Ballymarter over the last couple of days.