Page 19 More Bennetts and the MacLachlans from Argyllshire

Browns and Walkers

James Bennett’s Family

James Bennett was born in Glasgow in 1850 and died in 1892. James was yet another plumber journeyman. When his eldest son married James was described as having been a plumber, foreman. James married Georgiana Sutherland and they had seven children. At the time of marriage at Newhall Terrace, Glasgow both lived at Eglinton Street in Bridgeton.

In 1881 James and Georgiana lived at 7 Russell Place, Anderston, in Glasgow. Living with them was her father, a retired policeman from Libster in Caithness, and their children William, EmilyGeorgina and Margaret.

On the 1891 census the family lived at 58 Cranston Street, Anderston. Georgiana was not at home as she had died in January that year but children William, Emily, Margaret, Georgina, MariaJames and Charles were there. William was an engine fitter, whilst Emily and Margaret are described as housekeepers, presumably of their own house.

The eldest, William, married a Charlotte Lyle and had a daughter called Margaret. Charlotte was a drapery saleswoman. In 1901 Charlotte,  10 month old Margaret and sister in law Margaret Bennett were living together at 1 Buchanan Street.

James and Charlotte’s daughter Margaret married William Wallace Mundell (master plumber) in 1921 and they had children. William was a marine engineer and his usual address at the time of the wedding is given as SS Australia, Glasgow. She was a cashier, living at 142 South Woodside Road at the time. Margaret died at Dunoon in 1977. Their son William Wallace Mundell was born in 1930 at Burnbank Terrace, Glasgow. He was living in Carluke in 1988.

Among Nessie McKinlay’s scrapbook I found a newspaper photo of a Jim Mundell’s wedding in 1976.

Emily Bennett was born in 1874 in Hutchestown, Glasgow and was a domestic servant when she married a boilermaker journeyman named Hamilton Douglas in 1897. I know she died in July 1951 and her son William Douglas was present then. Finding children is a tough job in Glasgow, with hundreds of males and hundreds of females coming up in the period 1897-1901 alone with the combination of Douglas-Bennett surnames. They certainly had three children- Georgina Sutherland Douglas (b 1898), Hamilton Alexander Douglas (b 1905) and Emily Bennett Douglas (b1907). Given the number of years between the first two I expect there are others. The three births found were all at different addresses. I know there was the William noted above but have not found his birth yet and an Agnes, born around November or December 1900 as she was present on the 1901 census at 118 Henderson Street, Kinning, Govan, Glasgow. Hamilton Douglas was married in Glasgow in 1932 to Janet Wilson. He is described as a drapery traveller on the wedding certificate and was living at 30 Pollok Street. A witness was James Bennett Douglas, probably the James below (who had no Bennett when born). The 1911 census tells us they had children Georgina, Agnes, John, Hamilton, Emily and James. I have found the births of all these now. In 1912 another child was born, Charles Bennett Douglas but I have not been able to find the William who registered his mother’s death in 1950 or any more about this Charles Benett Douglas! I have tried all sorts of variations to no avail.

A census indicates that James (another plumber, journeyman) was born in 1881 but his birth is recorded in April 1884 at Lacefield Street, Bridgeton, Glasgow. He married Catherine Jane Gatherum Inglis in July 1912. His brother Charles was a witness. James died at Robroyston Hospital in September 1970.  Home address was Alderman Road, Glasgow. They had a son called James in Partick in June 1913 and a daughter Georgina Sutherland Bennett in February 1917. They were living at Exeter Drive, Partick. Presumably this is the James Bennett recorded on Find My Past’s site as joining the Govan 3 branch of the Union of Boilermakers and Iron Shipbuilders in 1907 at the age of 23.

Maria was born in 1881 and married a flesher (sausage maker when they married) named John Paterson and had a daughter called Janet, born in Perth in 1909. At the time of her death their address was Ardgay Street. Daughter Janet married David Allison in 1937. She was a yarn spinner and he a farm mechanic. They were living at Willowbank, Arthur Street, Clarkston at this time. Janet later died of breast cancer which had spread to her spine.

The final child of James and Georgiana was Charles Darwin Bennett, the name implying that his father was an atheist. He died of TB in 1918. Charles was another plumber journeyman and at the time of his death he lived at South Woodside Road. Charles witnessed his brother’s wedding as noted. At the time his address was SS Shellie Snell, Orkney. Charles died intestate at 142 South Woodside Road, Glasgow. Somehow he had accumulated £110 of estate, which was left to his brother William.

Generation VIII: Family of James Bennett and Georgiana Sutherland

1. William Bennett, 1872-1953

2. Emily Bennett, 1874-1951

3. Georgina Bennett, born 1878

4. James Bennett, 1884-1970

5. Maria Bennett, 1881-1955

6. Charles Darwin Bennett, 1887-1918

7. Margaret Bennett, born 1876

The Browns

The Browns feature in photographs and it seems unfair to leave them out.

John Bennett married Jane Brown in 1910. She was born Jane Brown Graham on 26th April 1884 at an address on the High St, Ayr. Her mother Margaret was a mill worker who could not sign her name.

Jane had a brother or half brother named William, who married. There were two other sons, one of whom moved to England and had 4 children. This information comes from Dad.

Jim Brown married at the age of 25 to Sarah Edgar on a 3rd October  at Park Circus Church, Glasgow. This information comes from a newspaper cutting. The article tells how they have been married for 50 years. ScotlandsPeople index has only one wedding of those two names, in 1878. So the article dates to 1928. Sarah Edgar or Brown was known as Granny Brown to Nessie. In 1928 a daughter, Mrs William Brown, held a reception for them. It explains that they moved to Toronto in 1909. Jim came from Ayrshire, Sarah from Linlithgowshire. He worked at Alle….. and McClellan Iron Works, Palmadie…. Glasgow. They have three sons, one daughter and five grandchildren, with one son and four grandchildren in England.

As there are photos of Nessie with her grandparents either the couple visited from Canada after the War or these are not Jean Graham’s parents.

Another article from a newspaper dated [Sept-to Dec] ember 19th 1943 tells of how Mary Brown of 102 Broadholm St, Glasgow married sailor Charles Bickerstaff of Sandybank St, Maryhill at Possil Trinity Church. They had had to cancel the wedding in 1941 when Charles was ordered overseas.

Nessie Bennett McKinlay’s filofax gives an address for Charlie and May in Kilwinning but I am uncertain when they lived there.

The Walkers

Section under construction.

I was delighted to find a DNA connection between my father, Charles Douglas, and Pattie Bastianelli. Pattie’s family tree shows that she descends from Margaret Walker’s father.

Family of John Walker and Margaret Black

Generation VII:

1. Archibald Walker, born 12 May 1820 Polmont

2. Helen Walker, born 3rd October 1822 Polmont

3. John Walker, born 23 April 1824, Polmont

4. Margaret Walker, born 15 Sept 1826 Polmont, died Glasgow 30 Oct 1904

This is the Margaret Walker who went on to marry the plumber James Bennett in June 1849.

Going Further Back: James, William, John and George Bennett’s Ancestors

The three Bennett brothers had been born to yet another William Bennett (1831-1900) and Margaret Walker. Her family came from Polmont in Stirlingshire. She was born in 1826 and died in 1904. They married in June 1849 in Glasgow. He was a plumber in Glasgow and she was described as residing there. Margaret’s minister from Polmont made the journey to marry them. They had a son called James the next year in Glasgow but then there is a gap until 1856 and another up to 1860. That raises the question of whether there were other children undiscovered as yet, possibly also born in Ireland. However the three Bennetts were certainly in Glasgow in 1851, living at 86 South Wellington Street.

Their father had an elder sister called Margaret, born in 1823, and a younger sister, Maria (1834-1875). Ancestry is often a source of amusement for researchers. Maria is transcribed as “Mana” on an Ancestry census entry for 1861. She married a John Whitehead. I have found 4 generations of descendants from her (One son, James Bennett Whitehead, died in 1937. He left estate to the value of £166-9-10 to his wife Ann. They were living at McAuslin Street at the time). Her 59 year old mother Margaret was also in the house at 16 Adelphi Street, Hutcheston. She is said to have been born in Port William, Gallowayshire (sic). On the 1861 census Whitehead describes himself as “proffessor of musick” and his wife as “Camadian Hentrieal”. Possibly he was trying to write ventriloquist. At this time they had three children- John (5), James (2) and 10 month old Rebecca.

It may be that he remarried after Maria’s death as a 58 year old John G Whitehead, widower, teacher of music married a widow named Eliza Smith in 1889.

The parents of these three were another plumber, James Bennett or Bennet and Margaret Milligan. I have no further information on James at present but her death certificate tells us her own parents were a Margaret McCormick and Peter Milligan, a mason journeyman. Margaret died at her daughter’s house at Adelphi Street. These names could indicate an Irish origin, though this could be some time back. Certainly Margaret was born in Scotland, as seen on the census above.

In 1891 William Bennett (64), Margaret Bennett (64) and George Bennett (44) were living at 8 Dock Street, Anderston, Glasgow. We can be sure of their identity as she was born in Polmont, they in Ireland.

Generation VII: Family of James Bennet and Margaret Milligan

1. Margaret Bennett, born 1823

2. William Bennett, 1831-1900

3. Maria Bennett, 1834-1875

Family Tree of James Bennet:

Family Tree of George Buchanan Bennett, grandson of James Bennet above:

The Mclachlan Family Tree:

This needs to be replaced with one that is easier to read, possibly by removing William Bennett’s off-spring.

George Bennett

William’s brother George was also born in Ireland, meaning his birth certificate is lost. This was in 1867, so we may surmise that their parents were in Ireland from 1860 until at least then. Of course, there is no census survival for Ireland in 1861. George was a shipyard worker (a plumber) and married Mary Ann McLachlan. I presume he met his wife in Greenock.George died in November 1915 following an accident whilst working on a ship. He fell into the hold of the ship, presumably from scaffolding, and died from his injuries (a fracture of the spine) at the Western Infirmary.The accident happened at Stobehoo Quay. His death occurred at 7:45 am, so presumably this was the day after the accident. They were living at 18 Dover Street. Mary Ann died in 1949 at home at Crookston Road, Pollok, Glasgow.

I had assumed that he fell alone but a Sheriff’s court was to enquire into the deaths of several men, according to the Daily Record of 3rd December 1915. Perhaps a larger iron piece they were sitting on had fallen or such a girder had fallen on to some of the men below?

They had several children. As well as the Margaret mentioned above there was a John who married Janet Watson and had a son called George Buchanan Bennett in 1924. He also had a son named John McLachlan Bennett or Stitt, born on 10th November 1924 to a Margaret Jane Stitt of Castle Douglas. A Mary Ann Beaton Bennett was born in 1895 and there was a George Buchanan Bennett born in 1902 in Greenock. It was this George who registered his mother’s death. At that time he was living at Acredyke Crescent in Glasgow. He died in 1966 in Glasgow. George married a Christina Campbell and they had two sons, John and George.

George was living at 8 Dock Street, Anderston in 1891 with his mother Margaret and father William. Ten years on this was again his address, living with mother and  nephews James (16) and Charles (14). The census seems to say that he was 36 in 1891 which would place his birth in 1865 rather than 1867. George’s wife, however, was at 77 Regent Street with children John (9) and Maryann (5), along with a 52 year old boarder named John McLachlan. This John might be a relative of Mary Ann. In 1911 George and Mary Ann were living at 153 Kent Road, St Vincent’s parish, Glasgow. This was in Glasgow 7th or Burgh Ward (C644/11 050/00 016). John was an apprentice iron moulder and Mary was an upholsterer at a ship’s furnisher’s. Maria was the only member of the family not born in Greenock other than her father. She was born in Glasgow. None of the family admitted to speaking Gaelic. George said that the couple had had six children born alive, four of whom were still living. That would be the two Margaret Walker Bennetts, so I need to check again on the death of Mary Ann Bennett that I have recorded in 1899.

Regarding the above Mary Bennett, George Bennett’s daughter married at the age of 19 to a 23 year old boot machine finisher named William Brown (644/22 0321). She was living with her parents at 18 Dover Street at the time. The wedding took place on 24th September, only two months before George’s untimely death. William’s address was given as 92 Dumbarton Road, Partick but it also noted his usual address as Devon Vale, Tillycoultry, thus providing a link with the Douglases. The witnesses to the wedding were her brother Duncan and a Janet Watson. William was a driver in the Royal Field Artillery. This is almost certainly the mysterious Mary Bennett in a nurse’s uniform in a photograph.

Find My Past records John Bennett, born at Greenock in 1892, as a merchant seaman in WW1 (BT351/1/9908). He received the Mercantile Marine ribbon and medal and the British ribbon and medal. It indicates that he was at Oran in June 1921 but the page is truncated. His certificate number was 79527 or 76527. Application was made for the medals on 20th August 1919.

According to Merchant Navy records released on Find My Past in April 2016 John had a sailing ship tattoo on his chest and a dagger on his right arm.  Documents relating to him from 1919, 1921 and 1944 were located. He was 5ft 5 inches tall, had blue eyes, dark brown hair and fair complexion.  His disability allowance number was 705271. In 1944 he served on a ship called Lancashire and was discharged from it on 28th April. This was confirmed by MM stamp on 4th May 1944.

Below is a photo of John. It also shows that he served on the Cameronia in 1921.

Find My Past released information on John McLachlan Bennett in December 2016. This came from the Register of Deceased Seamen and shows that John died on 9th May 1948 at the age of 55. He was chief cook on a ship called the Herefordshire, registered in Liverpool. His number was 168872 and he died at the General Hospital in Colombo, now in Sri Lanka. His home address was given as 102 Broadholm St in Glasgow. John had left the ship on 12th April and presumably had been in hospital since. Primary cause of death was fibrosis of the lung, secondary was TB of the mediastinal glands with hypertrophy and finally heart failure.

As for younger brother George Buchanan Bennett, I was greatly surprised to find the same for him- he was only 16 when the war ended, after all! Nonetheless, George Buchanan Bennett, born 1902 Greenock, is also listed as a merchant seaman (BT351/1/9870). Application was made for the same decorations as his brother on 18th December 1918. His certificate number was 880441.

Find My Past have released more Merchant Navy records as of April 2016. George Buchanan Bennett had the identity certificate number 377636, Rating O5 and Disability Allowance Number 880441. Cards relating to 1920, 1923 and 1930 have been found. These include a description of him and a photo: height 5ft tall, dark brown hair, brown eyes, fresh complexion.

Maria Bennett

Looking through Nessie Bennett’s scrapbook I see the death notice for a Maria Bennett, widow of a William Daniel in 1977. She lived at Galloway Street in the Springburn area.

Looking up their wedding on Scotlands People I see they married in August 1927 at Garngadhill, Glasgow. Maria was the daughter of George Bennett and Mary Ann McLachlan (644/05/0089). Maria was a commercial clerk, William a shoemaker. At the time of marrying Maria was actually living at Nessie’s house.

Again using Scotlands People I found her birth on 12th May 1905 at 33 Gilbert Street, Anderston, Glasgow (644/10/0621).

Generation VIII: Family of James Bennett and Margaret Walker

1. James Bennett, 1850-1892

2. John Bennett, born 1856

3. William Bennett, 1860-1924

4. George Buchanan Bennett, 1867-1915

Generation IX: Family of George Buchanan Bennett and Mary Ann McLachlan

1. John McLachlan Bennett, born 1892

2. Margaret Walker Bennett, 1894-1895

3. Mary Ann Bennett, 1895-1899

4. Margaret Walker Bennett, 1898-1899

5. George Buchanan Bennett, 1902-1966

6. Maria Bennett, 1905-1976

Generation X:

Grandchildren of George Buchanan Bennett and Mary Ann Beaton

John Bennett married Janet Watson and had a son called George Buchanan Bennett (born 1924)

George Buchanan Bennett [uncle of the last name] married Christina Campbell and had 2 sons, John Alan Campbell Bennett (born 1922) and George Buchanan Bennett (1924). Both these have descendants.

Picture of Vennel, Greenock from

Generation IX: Family of James Bennett and Georgiana Sutherland

1. William Bennett, 1872-1953

2. Emily Bennett, 1874-1951

3. Georgina Bennett, born 1878

4. James Bennett, 1884-1970

5. Maria Bennett, 1881-1955

6. Charles Darwin Bennett, 1887-1918

7. Margaret Bennett, born 1876

Generation X:

Grandchildren of James Bennett and Georgiana Sutherland

1. William Bennett married Charlotte Lyle and had a daughter, Margaret Chalmers Bennett, born 1900. She married William Wallace Mundell and they have descendants.

Emily Bennett married Hamilton Douglas and they had several children. Georgina Douglas was born in 1898, Agnes in 1900, John in 1903, Hamilton Alexander Douglas in 1905, Emily Douglas in 1907, James in 1910 and there was a son called William or Charles William and or Charles Bennett.

James Bennett married Catherine Gatherum Roy Inglis and they had two children, James (born 1913) and Georgina Sutherland Bennett (1917-2008).

Maria Bennett married John McArthur Paterson and had a daughter named Janet McArthur Paterson (1909-1965).

Generation VIII: Family of Duncan McLachlan and Mary Carmichael

1. Colin McLachlan, 1856- 1890

2. Duncan McLachlan, born 1856-1861

3. Hugh McLachlan,  1858-1862

4.Catherine McLachlan, 1860-1926

5. Archibald McLachlan, 1862-1866

6. Mary Ann Beaton McLachlan, 1862- 1949

7. John McLachlan, 1868-1904

8. Duncan Ferrie McLachlan, 1874-1881

As can be seen above other than the two girls who married Bennett brothers the McLachlans did not live long. Two of their brothers did marry but only one had offspring that I have found.

Colin McLachlan was a sugarhouse labourer and married Elizabeth Campbell in February 1886. He could not write his name on the registration but Elizabeth could write her name. Colin died of heart disease in July 1890. He was only 34.

John McLachlan was a journeyman sailmaker who married Rosina Lynch in Greenock. The wedding was on the last day of 1888. It is likely that her parents were from Ireland. He lived at 21 Tobago St at that date, his wife was living at 1 Houston St. This couple had a large number of children who suffered poor health and almost all died young. After John’s early death Rosina married a man named John Kelly …..(unreadable). The McLachlans lived at 19 Bruce St, Greenock between 1894 and 1904. In 1893 their address was 51 Nicholson St, Greenock. In 1895 John was paying rent of £6-15 (VR 36/51/404). There were 5 other tenants at that address.

Generation IX: Descendants of John McLachlan and Rosina Lynch:

Duncan McLachlan 1889-1899

Susan McLachlan 1893-1893

Flora McLachlan 1894-1895

John McLachlan 1896-1993

Duncan McLachlan 1898-1899

Catherine McLachlan 1900-1900

Rosina McLachlan 1901-1902

Jane McLachlan 1902-1903

Chest ailments figured strongly on the causes of death for these children, accounting for at least 4.

The only child to survive was another John. Ironically he lived to the age of 93. He was an angle ironsmith. I know that he married twice, the first wedding being in 1919, and had a daughter.

Below is an account of growing up in the slums of Greenock, I presume in the 20th century, by a Christian preacher living in America. The source is  At this stage I am struggling to find out about housing conditions from other sources:

“The town of Greenock stood in stark contrast to the surrounding beauty. It was a dirty little industrial town from the Victorian area. Mostly red or grey sandstone buildings, blackened by generations of smoke that would billow from a thousand chimney pots. Many slums still existed and most people lived in Tenements, high rise sandstone buildings that mostly consisted of one bedroom apartments. In a typical tenement there would be maybe fifteen families up one close. There was five of us in a one bedroomed apartment. The three children slept in the bedroom while my mom and dad slept in the living room which was the dining room and also we would bath in the sink. My mom and dad had a bed that fir [sic] into a recess in the wall and after they got up in the morning they would simply pull a curtain over the space. Since it rained so much in Scotland, we would dry our clolthes by hanging them from a line attached to two pulleys or small wheels in the ceiling.The vast majority of men worked in the shipyards and faced very harsh working conditions.”

Georgina Bennett (born 1878). This photo is taken with my thanks from Colin Lacey on Ancestry.

My thanks to Roisin O’Neill who wrote to tell me that Georgina (her great grandmother) left Scotland and moved to Donegal. There she married a local man named Dennis or Donal  and had children, descendants of whom are alive today. I hope to learn more in due course about this exciting development.

Just looking at this photo was enough for me to be pretty confident the woman was related. Even Dad recognised the similarity to himself!

Roisin also tells me that after she lost her parents at 14 Georgina found work with Georgina Ward, Lady Dudley. The latter was a well known socialite and beauty. The image below is from wikipedia:

More from Roisin O’Neill: “James Bennett  was a Engineer and  he worked  on the Ships and then Trams in Glasgow.   Himself  and  his wife died aged 42/43 leaving  Georgina Sutherland Bennett aged 13 yrs then.  She went to  live  and  work for Countess  Dudley.  At age 19/20 she left Scotland and  came to Donegal with Dennis Boyle  (Donaí Boyle).  Her siblings disapproved of the marriage and  cut her out because she  married a Catholic and changed her faith from  Scots Presbyterian  to Catholic…I’ve been  given [to understand that]  Lotte [is] short for Charlotte… and  Millicent.”

My thanks to Roisin for this information. Unfortunately, this is not the first story I have found of religious intolerance among the Bennetts of old. Thankfully Georgina went on to find happiness in Donegal.

The McLachlans

William Bennett married Catherine McLachlan and his brother George married her younger sister Mary Ann McLachlan.

A decade ago I went whale watching off the Scottish coast. It involved a long circuitous journey to the Isle of Mull. On the way back I passed through Tobermory, passing the Heritage/Genealogy Centre as I did so. I knew of no link then.

I have not had great success tracing the family on Mull. I do know that the MacLachlan sisters were born in Greenock to people who had left Mull. The potato famine of the 1840s is rightly known for the devastation, displacement and depopulation it caused in Ireland. It is less well known that it had an impact as far as Hungary. There was an imact upon the Scottish highlands and islands, too. The result was mass emigration from the islands to urban population centres. This is covered well in Urban Highlanders.

Duncan MacLachlan and his family were a part of this movement. I heard from Uncle Bill that Catherine and Mary Ann lived in Greenock, Renfrewshire but were not born there. They had been orphaned at a young age. Both sisters married two Bennett brothers.

A wedding certificate exists for the illiterate 24 year old seaman Duncan McLachlan of 41 Hamilton Street, Greenock, who married 20 year old Mary Carmichael of an unreadable Street, Greenock at his home on 8th January 1856. Her parents were Hugh Carmichael, deceased mason and Catherine Carmichael ms McIntyre. A Hugh Carmichael was a witness. It is likely that one or both spoke Gaelic as a first language as the minister was of the Gaelic Parish, Greenock (SR 564/03). Given that eldest son Duncan was apparently born in 1856 it may be that Mary was pregnant at the time.

From Ancestry I have found an index for the baptism of a Duncan McLachlan to Colin McLachlan and Catherine Beaton at North Knapdale, Argyllshire on 7th November 1830.  

In February 2015 I wrote that it is difficult to piece together a deep story for the family because there is so much information from OPR and from censuses available whilst it is unclear just where the families may have originated. Masons tend to move around, as seen with George Gloag, so we cannot be sure where Hugh Carmichael came from originally. There are a large number of McLachlans available to view (index only) on Ancestry but it is hard to be sure which ones we want. I understand that Lochgilphead may be within Kilmichael and Glassary Parish.

Through Ancestry I am aware that both myself and my late father have DNA connections to people who seem to be descended from MacLachlans or others related to them but my own position is still that I would like to see and consider the evidence for myself.

I was in a similar position at the start of my research regarding where a branch of the family originated: I knew the Douglas family lived in Stirlingshire and Perthshire but could not be sure at first of which county they originated in. The breakthrough which helped me know not to follow a Kirkcaldy family was the place name Lethendy. With the McLachlans, Beatons and Carmichaels there are no place names to help us.

Ancestry have released a list of Apprentices Indentured in the Merchant Navy, 1824-1910. It includes a D McLachlan, aged 16, indentured on 8th January 1846. He was bound for 4 years. He would work for J Whiteside of Whitehaven. Whitehaven was a big port in the 18th century and presumably still was a busy one at this time. It has impressive fortifications and a big harbour. Duncan- if it was him- would serve on the St Mary 221. The last column, Remarks, says simply “Greenock” but whether this is where he joined or came from or ended is not clear.

Nonetheless, there is enough to be able to tell part of the story in a coherent manner. There was a son named Hugh born in Greenock on 26th January 1858. The address might be 31 or 11 Dalrymple Street (SR 564/03 0062). Duncan is described as a seaman at this time. From census entries it is likely that there was an older son named Colin. Unfortunately he was born before statutory registration came into effect and his birth is not recorded.

Find My Past has more merchant navy records available as of April 2016. There are over 4 columns of McLachlans including around 1 named Duncan. Most had a number associated with them. Duncan McLachlan 53325 was born in Kilbarchan or Kilbrandon (it is hard to read) in Argyllshire, 218447 was from Greenock as was 442907; 444921 was from Ling in Argyllshire; another with no number from Greenock and another from Morven. The Greenock one might be 510405. A Duncan McLachlan born in Argyllshire drowned off Troon in 1854- obviously this can’t be our Duncan. His number is not given so I don’t know which one it is.

The Duncan who had number 444921 was born on 11th March 1829 and was either a capacity apprentice or carpentry apprentice- not being a seaman I don’t know if the former is a possible job. He first went to see in 1846. He was 5ft 4 and 3/4 inches tall and could write.

For what it is worth, Ancestry has clung obstinately for many years to my father’s DNA being connected specifically to Argyllshire and the Isles, despite the Douglases Perthshire origin.

Catherine McLachlan, who married William Bennett, was actually was born in Middle Parish, Greenock, at 7 Market Street in February 1860, so she was from Renfrewshire. The birth certificate names her father Duncan and describes him as a labourer; mother Mary’s maiden name was said to be Mary Carmichael. Her mother’s cousin (Mary Collins) registered the death. She was not literate.

Mary Ann Beaton McLachlan was born in April 1864. Ancestry has indexes only which show the births to Duncan McLachlan and Mary Carmichael of Archibald (11/1/1862), Duncan (27/5/1866) and John (14/1/1868) as well as the Hugh above in Middle or Old Parish, Greenock. Unfortunately the indexes do not give addresses.

On the 1861 census the family lived at 7 Market St, Greenock West (Census 564/1). Duncan was a foundry worker, born in Lochgilphead and said wife Mary was born there, too. Three children were present: 5 year old Colin, 3 year old Hugh and 14 month old Catherine. All three were born in Greenock.

Photo of Greenock, below, shows Vennel and Dalrymple Street. This may give some indication of the conditions people from poor incomes lived in. From

The 1865 Valuation Rolls are now available at Scotlands People. The Greenock roll shows labourer Duncan MacLachlan paying £4-16 rent for a house at Harvie Lane (VR36/21/221). By the next year he had moved to Dalrymple St.

The 1871 census has the McLachlans living at 61 Vennel, Greenock (Census 564/03 020/00 044). It was headed by 37 year old labourer Duncan and his 37 year old wife Mary. He said he was born in Lochgilphead, Argyllshire whilst she claimed to be born at Tobermory, Argyllshire. With them were 16 year old son, Colin, an apprentice coppersmith born in Renfrewshire, Catherine (11), Mary (7) and son John (2). All the children were born in Greenock. Other than the 3 year discrepancy in the two parents’ ages there is no doubt that this is the same family.

They were still at this address in 1875. The VR lists Duncan as a labourer paying £6-12-0 per year in rent (VR 36/31/380).

Archibald died of phthsis in July 1866, aged only 4 and a half. Father was described as a fisherman on this document. An illiterate aunt Flora McLachlan registered his death with her mark. Either she was a sister of Duncan or was married to his brother. I have not had success yet in identifying her.

Catherine Bennett nee McLachlan (from Bill Douglas); the photo appears to have been cut, removing other members. With Catherine are her youngest child Mary Bennett and possibly the next youngest child, Tommy. If correct the photo would date to around 1902-4 as Mary is standing.

Duncan died in November 1880 at Ritchies’ Buildings, Salmon Street, West District, Greenock. He was said to be 45 and had suffered from heart disease. Duncan was a candlemaker’s labourer. His death certificate shows his parents as Colin McLachlan, a labourer and Catherine Beaton. Mary’s signature is large and laboured. Daughter Catherine was 20 by this time so whilst she was young, she was not an orphaned child (though her sister may have been only 15). However there would undoubtedly have been extra hardship caused to the family by his death.

The 1881 census shows the same McLachlans at 53 Crawford St, Greenock. The head was a widow, Mary, born in Tobermory, Argyllshire and four children: Catherine (21), Colin (15), John (13) and Duncan (7). 

The missing 17 year old Mary Ann seems to have been a cotton weaver, boarding with an Irish family named Kane in Barrhead and Levern, Renfrewshire (Census 572/02 006/00 013). A lot of penstrokes have failed to copy well and I cannot read the address.

Mother Mary died in March 1894 at Greenock Poorhouse, aged 52. Her parents are given as Hugh Carmichael, a mason, and Catherine McIntyre. She died of apoplexy. I understand that apoplexy may have included strokes, heart attacks and other sudden deaths. Unfortunately there are few records available for the poorhouse at this time. Unfortunately I have been unable to find time to view the archives and the efforts of Lynsey Green, archivist at the Mitchell Library, have been unsuccessful. She has searched using both married and maiden name.

There is a website which gives more information about the Greenock workhouse:

Image of Greenock Workhouse (photo by Peter Higginbotham)

The website provides a vast array of information about workhouses across the UK. It tells us about the coarse uniforms worn as inmates’ own clothing and any possessions they owned were taken away and put into storage. Inmates could leave the poorhouse but this required notice given (some 3 hours, is seems, was sufficent) so Mary may have been able to visit her surviving relatives on occasion. Attending baptisms was approved usually.

Greenock in 1896, showing Dalrymple St, the Vennel and Harvie St. The McLachlans lived at houses in all 3 streets. Union Court is close to top left but unmarked. Image taken from another family tree site,