Page 18 The Bennetts- An Industrial Family

William Bennett – ship’s plumber and traveller

Charles Alexander Douglas married Mary Bennett in 1922. The Bennett family were a long-established family in Glasgow (although, ironically, her father and uncle were born in Dublin) whereas most other branches of the family were from the countryside.

Her father William Bennett was born in Dublin around 1860. Being an Irish birth, a record has not survived, unfortunately (until 1864 there was no statutory registration of births in Ireland). It may be that the family did not have him batised. I presume the family were in Ireland in 1861 and thus the census has not survived. We do know there were 2,452 Scottish people living in Dublin in 1861. As I cannot find a trace of William on the 1871 census perhaps the family were still in Ireland (or perhaps back in Ireland); for all we know they had lived there for the whole decade or more.

I know that by the time of the 1881 census he was a boarder at 2 Watt Place, Middle Greenock Parish, Renfrewshire. The household was headed by a John Cunningham. This was where William lived next year when he married.

William joined the Union Society of Boilermakers and Iron Shipbuilders at the age of 23 in 1881, Govan Branch (MSS.192/BM/2/1/2).

He married Catherine McLachlan who was a merino mill worker in September 1882 in Greenock. William was an apprentice plumber.  Catherine lived at Tobago St, Greenock. His own brother George (unfortunately also born in Ireland) married her sister Mary Ann Beaton McLachlan! Mary Ann herself witnessed William and Catherine’s wedding. William could write his own name as he signed several registrations.

William and Catherine must have lived somewhere in Greenock at first. William may have been working on a ship at this time or he may have worked on fitting and fixing plumbing on ships. The children born between 1882 and 1886 were born at Greenock. I have not located William on the Valuation Rolls, however. His brother George was living in Greenock between 1892 and 1902, deduced from the same source.

At some stage William was a ship’s plumber on a ship at sea. This is family history passed down by daughter Mary (Gran) and there are mementoes of it. He sent home or brought home a tourist folder of places in Vancouver and Victoria and I am told he brought back a pair of Japanese or Chinese vases. Mervyn Douglas may have one of these now. It seems, then, that his voyage was a considerable one. Perhaps this helped inspire his eldest son, Willie, to travel. I believe he travelled on the SS Valetta.

Having been told that William’s ship was part of the Anchor Line Shipping fleet I used the website to help me further. It shows the Valetta was a cargo ship, built by Alexander Stephen and Sons of Glasgow at Yard no 86. The engines were by Finnieston Steamship Works of Glasgow. It was built in 1865 and launched in September 1865. Tonnage was 656 grt, it was 205 feet long. It was indeed owned by the Anchor Line of Glasgow; in 1874 it was sold to Hugh McLennan of Montreal; after that it had three Montreal based owners before being wrecked on Black Rocks, Port Mouton, near Liverpool in Nova Scotia in April 1883. This presents a problem: I have a copy of William’s discharge certificate and it is dated 30th September 1884. William’s certificate rates his character for ability as “very good.”

SS Valetta was crossing the North Atlantic on April 27th 1882 arrived in St John’s from Boston and reported ice 120 miles SSE of Louisbourg.

In 1891 WilliamCatherine and children Margaret (mis-spelled), Duncan and George were at 12 Dover Street (Census 644/09 033/00 690). Baby George was less than a month old. It is interesting that eldest son William was not at home. There is an 11 year old William Bennett as a patient at the Glasgow City Hospital, however, his birthplace recorded as Greenock. It is highly likely that this is our William. Even more interesting is that there are two more Bennett boys in the hospital- John aged 8, James aged 5. The ages and places of birth make it likely that these are indeed three brothers, all in hospital at the same time. There were two rooms with windows in the Dover Street house.

The Valuation Rolls tell us that William Bennett, plumber, was paying £16-0-0 in rent at 8 Pembroke Street in 1905 (VR102/570/524).

In 1911 William, Catherine and 5 children were still living at 8 Pembroke Street, St Vincent’s, Glasgow. The census entry tells us there were 4 rooms with windows. William was a foreman now. Margaret was a shopkeeper for a stationer, James and Duncan were both ship’s platers at a shipyard. From the Valuation Rolls for 1915 we know they still lived at this address and William paid £18-0-0 a year in rent.

He drew up a will in May 1918, naming Catherine as executrix. The estate was valued at £420-4-7. When she died intestate in 1926 there was £345-0-0 left. William died at The Bungalow, Caldercuilt Road. My Dad has always believed that the The Bungalow was built for his parents, but if that is the case it was obviously not for their sole use as Mary’s father died there and it was given up for one of her brothers in the late 1920s. It may have been a loan to Charlie and Mary to help them when they married. Son John Bennett was next of kin.

The 1921 electoral roll has Mrs Catherine Bennett, Duncan M Bennett, William Bennett and Thomas Bennett in Ward 14.

Family Tree of William Bennett:

Studio portrait of William Bennett, 1860-1924 (from family collection)

James Bennett

James Bennett was born in 1886 and died in 1958. He was a ship’s plater. Jim married  Christina Sutherland, known as Auntie Tina. They had children Willie and Flora. Flora maried a man called Bill Baxter in 1954. A newspaper cutting shows that he was involved with the Boys’ Brigade at this time. Bill had been a Sergeant Major in the Army during WW2. My brother visited them once in England when he moved there in the 1980s. Son Willie met a tragic end, however. Dad was warned growing up to be careful in graveyards in case a headstone fell on him as had happened to his cousin. This was indeed his fate, though it seems to have been at a place where gravestones were made and engraved rather than a cemetery. The family lived at Russell Place. The poor boy was not yet six years old. Cause of death was “suffocation due to pressure on chest.”

Photo of a Bennett group out cycling; William Bennett (centre) holding Mary; standing on his right is son William; behind left is John and front left is either Duncan or Jim (from Bill Douglas)

Find My Past’s union records include James Bennett aged 24 joining the Union Society of Boilermakers and Iron Shipbuilders Govan 2 branch (MSS.192/BM/2/2/11). His number was 72633.

Duncan Bennett

Mary’s brother Duncan Bennett was a small man, Dad remembered. He was born at 12 Dover Street in Glasgow in 1889. Duncan married Catherine Coleman Gillies, a confectioner, in December 1923. They were both living at No 3 Block, Eastfield, Rutherglen at the time. They moved to Northamptonshire around 1930 where he worked in the steelworks in the 1930s. I have not found any trace of him from that time on.

I found that Duncan M Bennett, born c1890, died at Kettering, Northants in May/June 1967 on Ancestry.  Scotlands People has the death of Robertina Gair Walker Bennett at Barrhead, East Renfrewshire in 1987 (SR 649/00/0147) aged 91. So it seems that she moved back home after her husband’s death.

Further information comes from the recently opened 1939 National Register. Unfortunately only English and Welsh records have been transcribed and released but I paid Find My Past the £6.95 to release the information on this Kettering family. This shows Duncan McL Bennet (with 1 t) and Catherine G Bennet and Mary Cathie Bennet. Duncan was described as “feeder steel tube galvaniser” and Catherine did “unpaid domestic duties.” For some reason the index says both are widowed rather than married to each other. Daughter Mary Cathie Bennett was born on 7th May 1927 (SR 644/01/0571) and was at school. Unfortunately, the fact that her information has been released means that she has been demonstrated to have died. I think I have found her birth record on ScotlandsPeople but it is not available to view online unless at their centre in Edinburgh. I believe Mary married a man named Frederick A Howlett in 1951 in Kettering and would love to make contact with any relatives out there.

What Dad did not know until I came upon a link on Ancestry was that Uncle Duncan had joined the 2/9 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders on 16th September 1916. His service no was 258924. Later he transferred to the Royal Engineers, presumably making the most of his background as a ship’s plater. Duncan’s service record has survived and from this I know that he was 5 feet 1and 1/4 inch tall. His chest measured 33 inches and he suffered from psoriasis. His medical category was B2. Duncan was 24 years 10 months old at the time of enlistment. He was in hospital on two occasions (eg 3/1/18) but I could not decypher the faded, possibly water-damaged writing. I found no disciplinary offences. His number in the RE was 341313 and he was a sapper. There is a reference on 3rd March 1917 which is hard to understand: it says “Inland and Water Transport”.  The implication, however, is that he was transferred quickly from ASH to RE. A letter of June 1917 records the transfer of Pte D Bennett to Inland Waterways and Docks RE as a sapper. So Inland Waterways/Inland Transport was a section of RE. Was the paperwork slow or did he not join the unit until June? The former- it says he is approved for transfer from 2nd March last.  There is a certificate of 28 day furlough but the date is hard to read. It may say 21/10/1918.

Unfortunately I have not been able to find The Bungalow on the Valuation Rolls for 1925 to see who was paying the rent. Perhaps it was not registered or the value was below the threshold.

Tommy Bennett‘s address was given as The Bungalow, Caldercuilt Road in December 1923 when he witnessed brother Duncan‘s wedding and again when he married 3 years later. Dad recalls that Tommy moved into The Bungalow after his own family left.

William Bennett- hairdresser and traveller

Mary had several brothers and sisters, the eldest of whom was 20 years her senior. She was a child when he left Scotland to seek his fortune in North America. He was born in May 1881 in Greenock. In 1901 this Willie Bennett was a hairdresser living at home with his parents. I have a photo of him sitting facing the wrong way but with an air of confidence about him. He has a fine moustache and dark, bushy hair. He is smoking a cigar. The story from Dad is that he went to the west to find gold and was never hear of again.

Uncle Bill’s story is more detailed and includes a postcard sent from his ship to his parents. It refers to the Clarion Scouts not working him too hard. I believe this to have been a left wing organisation which may have sponsored his passage. The Clarion Scouts were formed in the 1890s and provided a mixture of cycling, socialism and weekend visits to the countryside. He was in Vancouver in 1912 standing as a Socialist candidate in the 13th BC Legislative Assembly elections. Willie gained 2.45% of the vote, 1134 people voting for him. There were 5 Socialists on the ballot, each elector was entitled to vote for 5 candidates.  After this he lost contact with home and his name does not appear on the ballot again.

I tried to find some information on him when in Victoria, BC around 2004 to no avail. Using Ancestry’s worldwide resources has produced some clues. He may be on the 1911 census in Vancouver, but there is some confusion as to quite when he emigrated. A William Bennett is recorded at 927 Main Street, Vancouver (District 12, sub district 24). He is a lodger, born in May 1881 in Scotland but now Canadian. William was a painter, employed at houses, working 44 hours per week. He had been employed at this for 6 weeks. I am not sure if this meant he had changed employer or if this was a new job. William earned $200 from this employment the previous year. This would put him down considerably from other lodgers in the house.  He could read and write English.

There is also a record of his travel to Canada. He sailed from Glasgow on 1st December 1906 and arrived at St John’s, New Brunswick, on 13th December. The passenger manifest, which bore a heading saying it was of alien passengers for the US immigration officer, showed him as last having lived in Liverpool and being a decorator. The final destination has a tick, which I presume means same as last written above, which was Frisco. He said he had a ticket for this onward travel and there is a tick to answer the question of who had paid for this. It seems to say that he had $50, a mark and change obscure it. He said he had never been in US and was not joining a friend there. His health was good and he had no marks of identification. William was 5ft 6 ins tall. Where other entries are easy to read, his is cramped: I cannot read his complexion, hair colour or eye colour.

Possibly he left Vancouver and went via Montreal to Detroit in 1920 to work in the car manufacturing industry. He have not had more success after this and have not located his death. There are two possible records from Canada: 19th January 1957 Vancouver and 31st December 1949 Vancouver. I would need someone in Canada to access these records to help clarify if either of these is William.

A rather confident looking Willie Bennett in a studio portrait, perhaps taken at the same time as his father’s portrait. He is posing on the same chair. From family collection.

 From Ancestry I have found that Willie apparently entered USA on a visit atLewiston in New York state in 1927. He completed the required form which give a brief description of himself (5 feet 5 inches, medium complexion, brown hair and blue eyes) and his background (entered Canada via Quebec in 1906 on the SS Cassandra, “Scotch” ethnic origin) and his address was given as Hawkes Avenue, Vancouver. It seems, then, that he did not enter USA in 1920 to work in Detroit- unless he returned to Canada again. Presumably he intended to see Niagara Falls from the American side.

HMS Benbow, a dreadnought class battleship which was built at the yard Duncan worked at before WW1. Duncan may have worked on the ship (from

Duncan Bennett in RE uniform (below) From Bill Douglas

John Bennett

John Bennett was born in Dempster Street, Greenock and married  a millworker named Jean Graham or Brown in 1910. His brother James was a witness. They had a honeymoon on the Isle of Man. On the 1891 census John is said to be a “pitmaker, apprentice”. Perhaps this is meant to say “platemaker”. He was an engine pattern maker, journeyman. She was a carpet sewer. When they married it was at her home, 35 Dover Street. He was living at 8 Pembroke St at the time, his parents’ home. John may have been a freemason as a photo of him wife and daughter says “at Masonic fete possibly 1921.” There is a photo of John dated 2nd Feb 1907. The pose and small portion of frame surviving suggests it is from the same studio as that of his father and brother Willie so it may help date those pictures.

John appears well dressed in many photos, often in a 3 piece suit with a watch on a fob. His wife also appears well dressed.

In October 1915 Jean gave birth to Agnes Jean Leitch Bennett, known to her family as Nessie and to me as “Aunt Nessie,” though she was a second cousin. As he was heir to his mother’s estate there is a record that the family lived at 271 Springburn Road in 1926. I have a photo he entered for a competition, dated 22nd June 1922. The address given there is 271 Coburg Place. Dad explained to me that this was the old name for the Springburn Road. The photo shows 6 year old Nessie and her cousins Flora and Willie. From the Valuation Rolls I know they were not at that address in 1920. Rent was £11-5-0 in 1925 (VR 102/1367/117).

Nessie married rather later than most people, meeting widower Jimmy McKinlay (James Dowie McKinlay) on a cruise. They did not have children as Nessie was 54 when they married in 1969 (SR644/04/0095). I knew Nessie from when I was a small boy and I always found her smiling and welcoming. Her little tenement home at 314 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, had books that interested me greatly. I remember one time when the grown-ups talked I sat and copied out Egyptian hieroglyphs and on another I read about the theories about the identity of the man in the iron mask. I have inherited two enormous dictionaries from Nessie. Nessie was a prolific writer of short stories, published in women’s magazines. She also liked to paint small landscape watercolours, one of which I am proud to own now. Nessie was a scrupulously honest woman; she wrote her stories on reams of paper from the office she was secretary in and among her papers was a receipt from her employer. She could have taken paper or been given it free but Nessie insisted on paying.

My father has Nessie’s filofax. It sets out some events from her later life. It was rarely a diary and more of an inventory of possessions interspersed with bank details. Nessie, like myself, was not good at writing in large print and it is a struggle to read her writing at times. She tells us that her mother died on  19th January 1967 following which she we went on the cruise on which she met her husband to be:  “July 1967 By Sea Norway met J“; Nessie spent New Year 1967/8 alone at Petershill Drive.  On 1st May 1968 she and Jimmy became engaged. “March 1 1969 London honeymoon By air Strand Palace.”  In July 1968 they went by sea and bus to Lauzanne in Switzerland and the next year to Paris. New Year 1970 was spent at Largs and in the spring they went to Castle Douglas. Jimmy and her bought the flat on Dumbarton Road in 1971. Nessie and Jimmy celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in 1993 but Jimmy died on 4th April 1994. I remember Jimmy as a slightly built, quiet man. He was pleasant, kind and courteous. The last time I saw him he had driven me around to the Queen Street railway station, I have a feeling I was getting a bus somewhere rather than a train. Unfortunately I was unable to attend his funeral.

One of Nessie’s watercolour paintings

From Nessie we inherited many old photos, many labelled clearly but with others it is unclear who they are of. How I wish I could ask her about them now. Sadly, when I still had the time my interest was with the Douglas side. I think somehow I thought she would always be there to ask. One photo is double sided, it is so faded  that it was years before we realised that it had John on one side and Jean on the reverse. Another photo shows them on a horse and carriage, apparently at Broughty Ferry. Someone has written 1900 on the back. This would place John around 17 years of age and was 10 years before they married. I think the date is wrong.

John died on 19th May 1946. Of course, photos can be labelled wrongly or confusingly, too. One photo shows a man in plus fours with a pipe and is labelled Uncle Jimmy whilst another of the same man with a woman says Uncle Tommy.

Some of the photos are of Nessie’s grandfather and others may be of him at different stages of life. Some may be her mother and grandmother. There are photos of a woman who, to my mind, looks like Dad with his hair in a bun. He, however, says it is a Mrs McGarrigle, which would be Aunt Martha’s mother.

Nessie had spent summers when she was young in Northern Ireland, around Waterloo Gardens off the Antrim Road and Poyntzpass, staying with a family called the Keiths. Willie Keith was a civil servant in NI, apparently something to do with water. Many of the photos relate to his family. Nessie may have been related to them in some way.

Dad says that when he was growing up there were relatives of Nessie living in the same tenement but had the impression that contact between them was limited.

Nessie Bennett’s maternal grandparents, Jim Brown and his wife (from family collection)

Generation X: Grandchildren of William Bennett and Catherine McLachlan

James Bennett married Christina Sutherland and they had two children, William Bennett (1918-1926) and Flora Bennett (born 1922)

John Benett married Jean Graham or Brown and had a daughter, Agnes Jean Leitch Bennett (1915-2003)

Thomas Bennett married Robertina Gair McLeod Walker and had 4 children: Georgina (1929-1929), Thomas (1930-1930), Agnes (born 1932) and Gordon (born 1935)

Picture below, from Bill Douglas, shows Willie Bennett apparently dressed in a cowboy hat. Was this taken after he crossed the Atlantic or was it before then? Several Bennett pictures show members in fancy dress.

Below is a picture of Flora Bennett in rather formal dress, found among Dad’s pictures.

A description of Duncan is given on a transfer paper dated 15th Dec 1917 at Richborough: brown hair, brown eyes, ruddy complexion. His height is different from that recorded earlier by 1 inch: now he was 5 ft 2ins. It says on this that he worked for William Beardmore for 3 years at Dalmuir before enlisting. Beardmore and Company was a Scottish engineering and shipbuilding company based, active from 1886 to the mid 1930s.  Dalmuir was the largest and most advanced shipyard in hte world according to Wikipaedia. Duncan may have worked on the dreadnought HMS Benbow, both built at Dalmuir in the run-up to the War. The shipyard closed in 1930 and this is likely to have led Duncan to move to England.

The form used was actually a Medical Report on an Invalid, so it may be that there was an attempt on his part- or by doctors- to take Duncan out of the services. It is unclear if this is the case- it may be the wrong form was used, for the disabled part is blank other than a handwritten “not applicable” and discharge is crossed out and replaced with “transfer.” The word “compulsory” seems to be given as reason for transfer to RE.

The statement of service says Duncan was attested on 12/12/15, to Army Reserve on same date, mobilised 13/9/16 and posted 13/9/16 as a private in Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The implication is that he had not enlisted voluntarily but was given warning that he was being conscripted, though that word was not used.

His weight is given as 110 lbs (less than 8 stone- very light by today’s standards). He had a slight defect under chest, a history of psoriasis and history of stomata.  One report says his eyes are brown but this one says blue. Stomata means mouth-like openings or surgical incisions for drainage from the stomach or a pore. Presumably this last is not likely to be recorded on an army medical form. It will be interesting to find out if Duncan had been in hospital for stomach-related issues which led to the incisions being created.

He seems to have been assessed and found fit at Sandwich on 3rd Feb 1918 but it is hard to read the writing so it may just be a letterhead of Sandwich as that was the RE HQ.

As when he was formally discharged in January 1919 he made no claim to have been disabled in the War so resumably this related to a medical issue. He was transferred to section Z, which suggests he was a low priority for recall.

I could not find a record of his medals, unfortunately. Dad says he worked at Stewart and Lloyd’s Steelworks in Glasgow. Uncle Bill knew of the military link, as he had a photo. Duncan M Bennett, born c1890, died at Kettering, Northants in May/June 1967. This could be the same man. This from Ancestry. Scotlands People has the death of Robertina Gair Walker Bennett at Barrhead, East Renfrewshire in 1987 (SR 649/00/0147) aged 91. So it seems that she moved back home after her husband’s death.

Photo below of John Bennett is not in good condition (family collection). It is likely to have been taken at the same studio and at the same time as his father and brother Willie.

Below: Mary Douglas nee Bennett, born 1901. Photo taken when she was around 18 years old (from Bill Douglas)

John Bennett in a work photo. Note the uniformity of the clothing. John is at the bottom extreme right (family collection)

Generation IX: Family of William Bennett and Catherine McLachlan:

1. William Bennett born 1881, Greenock

2. James Bennett, born 1886

3. Margaret Bennett, born 1888

4. Duncan McLachlan Bennett, born 1889

5. George Bennett, 1891-92

6. John Bennett, born 1893

7. Robert Bennett, 1893-95

8. Thomas Bennett, born 1897

9. Mary Bennett, born 1901

Below: Nessie McKinley and her grandfather, Jim Brown (from family collection)

Below: Flora Bennett in a rickshaw (family collection). Did this come back with William Bennett from his travels? Or was it a fad in the 1910s to have one of these?

Below is an election flyer from Willie Bennett’s time in Vancouver, BC. I believe he was unsuccessful and may have moved on to live in Chicago but am unsure.

Gran’s final brother was Tommy. He was born in 1897 at Lumsden Street in Glasgow. He became an engine fitter though later was described as marine engineer. Tommy married Beatrice Walker (Auntie Beatty) at the Maryhill United Free Church Manse. She had quite a full name: Robertina Gair McLeod Walker! She was a tea-room waitress. Both were living at The Bungalow, Caldercuilt Road, Springburn at the time (1926). They had two children, Agnes and Gordon, that Dad knew of but I have found there were two more, Georgina who died at birth in 1929 and Thomas who lived only 2 weeks in 1930. Mother in law Mrs Walker lived with them, Dad remembers. Tommy died in 1953. At the time he and Beatty lived at Househillmuir Road. I believe that Gordon died in 1990 at Barrhead, Renfrewshire (SR649/00 0088).

William and Catherine also had a boy named  George who died aged one in Dover Street, Glasgow in 1892. His death certificate seems to say that he died of pneumonia following a burn to the face and arm at the Western Infirmary. There was also Robert who died at one and a half in 1895. As John was born in April and Robert in August 1893 it seems likely that Robert’s was a premature birth.

There is a mystery person. Dad had an Auntie Maggie growing up. She married a dentist called James Alfred Hamilton (Alf) and Dad had the impression that his parents and other family members did not approve of him. Dad saw him differently as he gave him a shilling on one occasion. Dad thinks Alf was some connection with Petershill FC. Petershill FC was supported by many of the Douglas family. When we went to visit it’s grounds a few years ago I was impressed by the new grounds and facilities: Dad wanted the ground to look as it had in the 1930s.

Maggie Bennett with my grandmother, Mary Bennett; the boy is Duncan or Jim (from Bill Douglas)

There are three Margaret Walker Bennetts. One was born to George Bennett and Mary Ann McLachlan (who was born in Feb 1898 and died in June 1899 so Dad’s Auntie Maggie certainly wasn’t her).  I have a birth record of a Margaret Walker Bennett to William and Catherine on 11th March 1894 at Shaw Street in Greenock. Common sense says this is Dad’s Auntie Maggie.

However- I cannot find her wedding to Alf Hamilton. It would state who her parents were. We can overcome that absence by assuming they did not actually marry. That would perhaps explain the air of disapproval Dad sensed from his family around Alf. Maggie’s death certificate raises problems, however. Margaret Walker Hamilton died on 6th February 1946, at home on Campsie Street, Springburn. The cause of death was a cardiac syncope. Apparently Alf found her body in bed at 8:30 am. She had last been seen at half past midnight. Does this mean she died in her sleep and he found her when he woke up? Or does it mean that he was out of the house all night?

This death certificate says her father was a John Bennett, plumber. It also says her mother was  Margaret McLachlan. So either Alf gave both names wrongly or Maggie was not who Dad thought she was. There is a correction to the death certificate so I thought, “Ah, that’s been fixed” but the correction was actually about the time of death.

Now- William Bennett from Dublin had a brother George, mentioned above, a brother James AND a brother named John, who was born in Thistle Street, Hutchestown, Glasgow in 1856 (SR 644/10 0619). So it is possible that Maggie was indeed the daughter of someone else and brought up for some reason by William and Catherine. I have no found no trace of this John’s marriage or death, unfortunately, so the mystery cannot be solved that way. John’s birth certificate includes his mothers’ signature, so we know she could at least write her name.

It even raises the slight possibility that THREE Bennett brothers married three McLachlan sisters. I think it more likely that Alf got both Christian names wrong when he registered her death. As I have not found their marriage I do not know whether Alf would even have met either of them.

The third complication is that the death certificate suggests Margaret was born around 1889- that’s five years out from the age of William and Catherine’s daughter.

On the 1901 census William Bennett, wife Catherine and children William (19), John(17), James (15), Margaret (13) and Duncan (11) were living at 8 Pembroke Street, Kelvin.

This age for Margaret is consistent with her being born around 1888/9, and on the 1891 census Margaret is said to be 3. The 1911 census shows her as 22 and living with her parents still. So- birth around 1888/89 seems likely and any marriage came after that date.

Possibly the Margaret born to them in 1894 died and I have not found her death for some reason (despite several searches) and another of the same name was born a few years later- or they informally adopted a Margaret who was in reality a niece.                                                 

As for Alf Hamilton, he died at Lenzie, near Glasgow in 1964. Alf was 74. His normal address was 135 Campsie St, Glasgow, where he had lived with Maggie. This would place his birth around 1890. On the 1911 census he was an apprentice dental technician living with his widowed mother Helen Hastie Hamilton at 23 Melrose Street, Springburn.

The 1881 census includes a John M Bennett, aged 25, boarding at 275 Main Street, Bonhill, Dumbarton. He is described as an engine fitter, born in Glasgow. This could be the mysterious John Bennett, or it could be a coincidence of name, place of birth, age and job type. In 1901 a 47 year old John Bennett, marine engineer, is found living with his sister and her husband in Luss, Dumbartonshire. Their name is McGibbon.

Below: SS Valetta. This ship was owned by Anchor Line and might be the one William Bennett sailed on (from,d.d2s&psig=AFQjCNE7ShrB5mnfjkZgxWssrZNQ1pjl-g&ust=1423085379814492

Below: picture of Nessie Bennett, Willie Bennett and his sister Flora Bennett (from family collection). Willie was killed in a tragic accident as a boy.

Generation VIII: Family Of Maria Bennet and John Whitehead

1. John William Whitehead, born 1856

2. James Bennet Whitehead, 1858-1937

3. Margaret Maria Whitehead, 1865-1865

4. Rebecca Whitehead, born 1860

Generation IX:

Grandchildren of Maria Bennet and John Whitehead

John William Whitehead married Elizabeth Craig and they had a son named John George Whitehead in 1879

James Bennet Whitehead married Anne Kilpatrick and they had 4 children. These were John Glen Whitehead (born 1889), Maria Bennet Whitehead (born 1891), James Kilpatrick Whitehead (born 1893) and Ann Agnes Scott Whitehead (1894-1896)

Advert for William Beardmore, where Duncan Bennett worked before the war and presumably afterwards

Another of Nessie’s paintings:

Studio portrait of Nessie Bennett as a child.