Tag Archives: McCalman

#52Ancestors #30 Margaret Turner – on the record in 19th century Argyll

Tayvallich from Kintallen, Argyll

Tayvallich from Kintallen, Argyll

Margaret Turner would never have had the opportunity to go off the grid.

Born in 1836 in the small village of Bellanoch, in North Knapdale parish, Argyll, Scotland, she was the lawful daughter (ie born in wedlock) of John Turner and his wife Lillias (nee Stewart). John was a teacher in Bellanoch and I have recently discovered that he was also a registrar.

Later, by the 1841 census, her father was teaching and living in Tayvallich, North Knapdale.  In 1859, aged 22, she married Donald McCalman, also a teacher. Perhaps she come across him as her father’s new colleague.  Actually I suspect it would have been a small enough place for everyone to know everyone else’s business, whether they worked together or not.

Signature of Margaret Turner

Signature of Margaret Turner

Nine months later Margaret Jnr, their honeymoon baby, arrived.  She was followed fairly regularly by Lily Ann, John, Donald Jnr, Mary, Catherine, Stuart, Isabella and Annie, born 1876.

Donald was also a local Registrar.  After he died in 1880 the role was passed to Donald Jnr.  Donald Jnr had the pleasure of recording his sisters marriages: Lily Ann’s to William Govan in 1883 and Isabella’s to James Ferguson in 1900.

52 ancestors logoAfter Donald Snr’s death Margaret stayed close by to Tayvallich School, working as a crofter and receiving an annuity from her husband’s work.  She was described on the 1905 Valuation Roll as a farmer who had to pay an annual rent of £12 [2005 equivalent rate is £688].  By 1911 she was living with her daughter.  Her Registrar son Donald Jnr had sadly died in January 1911 so the 2 April 1911 census identifies Margaret’s daughter Mary as the Registrar.  Nice one Mary, a bit of responsibility for a woman in the early 20th century, but a huge shock having to take over the reins just before a census whilst still in mourning.

Grave of Donald McCalman, Margaret Turner & Donald McCalman, Inverlussa Church, Archnamara, Argyll

Grave of Donald McCalman, Margaret Turner & Donald McCalman, Inverlussa Church, Archnamara, Argyll

I’ll have to wait until the 1921 census is available online before I know more about Margaret’s twilight years, but she lived to the good old age of 88, dying in a nursing home in Rothesay on the Island of Bute.

She did, however, return to Argyll when she was buried with her husband in the church in Inverlussa in Achnamara, across the loch from Tayvallich.

By the time of her death, her life had been formally recorded by her father, husband, son and daughter.

© Text copyright Lynne Black 5 August 2014
First published:
https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/margaret-turner/

#52Ancestors #29 Donald McCalman, Schoolmaster and Registrar

Tayvallich from Kintallen, Argyll

Tayvallich from Kintallen, Argyll

Donald McCalman was born in Kilmore, Argyll, in 1820, the first year of the reign of King George IV and the same year Florence Nightingale was born.  He was the son of a farmer called John McCalman and his wife Margaret Campbell.

I’m still to track down Donald on the 1841 census but by 1851 he was a schoolmaster, lodging in North Knapdale, at a place I can’t quite make out in the Registrar’s handwriting – Barnagad, maybe.  The following entry was for a family in Achnamara so I’ll check the old maps on the National Library of Scotland and see if I see anything nearby.

52 ancestors logoSo why wasn’t he listed in the 1841 census? Perhaps a someone’s scrawl has been mid-transcribed, or the census recorder misheard Donald’s surname.  Or maybe he was away studying before becoming a teacher?  One to find out…

Donald did not marry Margaret Turner, my great-great-great-grandmother-in-law, until the age of 39 in 1859, but they went on to live together for 21 years and have 9 children: Margaret, Lily Ann, John, Donald, Mary, Catherine, Stuart, Isabella and Annie.  Maybe he married late, or maybe there is a whole previous family of children out there to discover!

He was again recorded as a schoolteacher in 1861, living in Tayvallich, North Knapdale [my photo is old and doesn’t do justice to its beauty], but when they’d married in 1859 he’d been recorded as being a Registrar.  I’m curious as to how this came about – was it a government or Kirk decision that Schoolteachers carry out this role, or did he apply for this?  Something else for the To Do List!

Finding this info can be done online with Scotland’s People, an amazing Scottish Government resource which actually provides scans of the certificates and register entries – what a treat!  Sometimes I see my pay-as-you-go credits counting down really fast – I can go through them like a hot knife through butter when I’m on a roll – but it’s such good value for money for the information it provides!  I think when I come to research some branches of my Scottish family with more common names I’ll need to go back through to the General Register Office for Scotland at New Register House, Edinburgh and spend a day searching.  It would be a fee for a day rather than pay-per-view so I can get a lot done, but for Donald, whose name is handily uncommon, pay-as-you-go works well, and I can just sit and work through the biographical details for his children.

Inverlussa Church, Achnamara, Lochgilphead, Argyll, c Google 2014

Inverlussa Church, Achnamara, Lochgilphead, Argyll, © Google 2014

Donald died in November 1880 of a nasty-sounding inflammation of the knee, only four years after their youngest child was born.  He was buried in Inverlussa Church, curiously enough across the Loch from Tayvallich – not a handy journey for church on a Sunday.  Possibly to do with religious denominations – this query list is getting longer and longer!

Their second son Donald later took on the role of Registrar and was carrying out this role in 1891 census; in the 1881 census Donald Jnr was recorded as having been a farm servant – an unusual career change!

© Text copyright Lynne Black 27 July 2014
First published https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/donald-mccalman/

#52Ancestors #28 Christina McVicar, washing the linen in the loch

Kames Bay, Lochgair, Argyll

Kames Bay, Lochgair, Argyll

Christina McVIcar, my great-grandmother-in-law, was born in 1882, the daughter of fisherman Niven ‘Sandy’ McVicar and Jane Dewar.

She was the sixth of nine children and at the time of both the 1881 and 1891 censuses the family all lived in a house where only one room had a window.  The window tax law had been repealed 30 years previously, so either it was a small house or they’d not been in a position to open up the sealed windows!

Christina, who had long, thick, wavy brown hair which she usually wore secured up in a big roll on the name of her neck,  was used to hard work. By the time of her wedding to Stuart McCalman, aged, 20, she had worked as a domestic servant at Ardrishaig Manse, as a cook in the nearby (Lochgilphead) mental institution, and also assisted informally supporting the local midwife.  When doing the washing, she would have to lay out the sheets and clothes to dry on the rocks on the shore of Loch Fyne – it must have been a fine art to balance washing, weather and tides!

52 ancestors logoHer new husband Stuart needed to move through to Clydeside for work; he was working as a ploughman in Inverkip when their first child arrived. Baby Donald was born 11 months after the wedding in Kelly Stables, so she must have had a stressful time, moving away from home and family to look for work with a rapidly growing bump.

Donald was followed speedily by Neven, born on Fancy Farm, Gourock, and after a move round the coast Archie and Peggy were born in Greenock.  The family suffered tragedy when, aged 6, Donald died of TB.  Shortly after that they moved house within Greenock and went on to have a further seven children: Christina, Stuart, the war babies Peter, Tom, and Donald, next Colin and finally Duncan in 1922.

They lived on together, watching their family grow up, living through the severe bombing of Greenock, where burning whisky from the bombed warehouses ran gold down Baker Street, mapping the town for the enemy above.

Christina died in April 1955 in Greenock aged 73, four years after her husband Stuart.

© Text and photo copyright Lynne Black 9 July 2014

#52Ancestors #27 Stuart McCalman, from the Highlands to the Clyde

Stuart McCalman, born in March 1873, (my great-grandfather-in-law) grew up in Tayvallach, in one of my favourite areas of Scotland.  He was the youngest son of crofter and local schoolmaster Donald McCalman and his wife Margaret Turner, one of their 9 children (2 brothers, 6 sisters).

Tayvallich from Kintallen, Argyll

Tayvallich from Kintallen, Argyll

Tayvallich is in North Knapdale, Argyll, in the west of Scotland. It sits on the Loch a’ Bhealaich, an inlet on Loch Sween.  Stuart spoke both Gaelic and English.

He married Christina McVicar aged 28 in December 1902, in Kames, Lochgair where Christina had grown up and where he’d been working as a ploughman.

The two of them moved through to Greenock where Stuart worked, again as a ploughman, on Fancy Farm until 1914 when the Land Army took it over.  Later he worked as a carter for Greenock Council. At lunchtime he would take home his horse and cart, and ‘park’ the horse with its nosebag outside the house while he popped inside for his own lunch. Their house had a smart black phone, but it was for incoming calls only for Stuart’s work, as it was really an extension of his work phone.  No escape!

52 ancestors logoStuart and Christina had 9 sons and 2 daughters.  In their later life, when discussing matters in front of their grandchildren, they would switch to Gaelic to prevent the children listening in!

Stuart died in 1951 in Greenock Infirmary.

© Text and photo copyright Lynne Black 2 July 2014