View Full Version : New to Scottish Genealogy

03-01-2006, 7:49 PM
I have finally been able to contact the widow of my late grandfather's brother. She was able to provide me with many dates of birth and death for my grandfather, his siblings, uncles, aunts, and grandparents from the Family Bible. However, it appears my grandfather's father's side of the family was from Scotland. I have always done English genealogy, as most of my family originates in England (except for one side from Ireland). So, Scottish genealogy is new to me.

I have traditionally used the Ancestry census records and IGI. This has been free for me as the local historical society that I am a member of has kindly allowed me to use their computers for over a year now, enabling me to greatly expand my English family tree. However, they do not have access to Scottish records.

I am only a high school student and have very little funds, I was wondering how much it would cost me to look up Scottish census records?

The only clue that the family Bible had about my grandfather's Scottish heritage is it listed his grandfather as:
Joseph Johnstone
Born: 1858 in Glasgow, Scotland
Died: 1945
Married Mary Carr, born 1862, died 1928

Apparently, the name changed from Johnstone to Johnson when he made a mistake on my great-grandfather's birth certificate, and the name stuck. If you could help or have any suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.

03-01-2006, 8:34 PM
Sorry, I can't help with costs for using Scottish records as I haven't needed them. However, I do have the 1881 census transcripts on CD. I've tried searching the Lowland disc but cannot specifically locate your chap on the information given. You mentioned that you have names of siblings, if could you post these along with any rough years of birth, I'd be happy to try again. There are people of the right name born within a few years in roughly the area.

As to Mary Carr born 1862, if she was born Glasgow then this might be a match:
644-4 ED77, page 8
26 Main St, Barony, Lanark
John CARR, hd, mar, 56, P L Tenter out of employement, bn Stonehouse
Helen CARR, wf, mar, 51, bn Glasgow
Mary CARR, dau, unm, 18, fancy goods saleswoman, bn Glasgow
Janet CARR, dau, unm, 14, fancy goods saleswoman, bn Glasgow
Isabella CARR, dau, 11, scholar, bn Glasgow
Annie CARR, dau, 3, bn Glasgow
Jane CARR, dau, unm, 19, Cotton P L weaver, bn Strathaven


03-01-2006, 9:06 PM
Thank you for your help. As I have little information, it could quite possibly be her. However, I think my great-aunt mentioned that she thought Mary's mother was named Helen, but she could be wrong.

These are the children and dates for the children of Joseph Johnstone and Mary Carr:
William Johnson
DOB: 19 April 1887
DOD: 5 April 1927
POD: Newcastle, England
OCC: Shipyard Joiner
DOM: 1911

George Johnstone
DOB: 1885
OCC: Carpenter

Elizabeth Ann Johnstone
DOB: 1880
DOD: 1940

Edward Johnson
DOB: 1890
DOD: 1962
OCC: Army in WWI, Ship's Chandler
DOM: 1925

Sarah Johnson
DOB: 15 April 1890
DOD: 22 March 1981

Isabelle Johnson
DOB: July 1901
DOD: October 1985

Joseph Johnson
DOB: 1899
DOD: 1971
OCC: Carpenter, Merchant Navy

DOB = Date of Birth
DOD = Date of Death
POD = Place of Death
OCC = Occupation
DOM = Date of Marriage

As you can see, some of the children used the last name Johnstone (or perhaps Johnston) and others used the last name Johnson. What interests me is two of the sons became carpenters. So, perhaps it is possible that their father was a carpenter as well? Perhaps, I'm not sure. My grandfather was raised by his Aunts Sarah and Isabelle, who never married, after his mother died when he was 6. My grandmother thinks this is because his father could not afford to keep the children himself after his wife passed away.

Once again, thank you for your help with the Carrs. I'll leave it open as a possibility.

03-01-2006, 10:11 PM
I use this site: scotlands people

The records are very good, and you pay by credit card - 30 credits for 6 British pounds. Each page of a search that you view costs 1 credit, downloading records from 1855 and on costs 5 credits, except 1881 census records cost 1 credit to download. You can send for certified copies for an additional fee, if you wish.


04-01-2006, 12:51 AM
That looks like a good website and the price doesn't seem too unreasonable. When I eventually have some money, I'll look into it.

04-01-2006, 8:45 AM
As I have little information, it could quite possibly be her. However, I think my great-aunt mentioned that she thought Mary's mother was named Helen
That would fit nicely with the 1881 census return.

As to Joseph and Elizabeth (the only two you mention who would be living in 1881), I can't find an entry which positively links them on the 1881 census.

The 1881 census transcript includes:
Joseph JOHNSTON, bn 1855, engine driver bn Cadder
Joseph JOHNSON, bn 1856, mole catcher, bn Muckhart
Joseph JOHNSTON, bn 1857, tailor, bn Ireland
Joseph JOHNSTON, bn 1858, engine drvier, bn Kildare, Ire
Joseph JOHNSON, bn 1858, bleacher, bn Northumberland (living Govan)
Joseph JOHNSTON, bn 1860, grocer, bn Maryhill
Joseph JOHNSON, bn 1860, soldier, bn Staffordshire (in barracks at South Leith)
Joseph JOHNSTON, bn 1862, clerk in engine works, bn Glasgow
Joseph JOHNSTON, bn 1862, coal miner, bn Wishaw

04-01-2006, 8:48 AM
part 2......
Those who were in the merchant navy may turn up in the Board of Trade discharge papers. These can be searched online using TNA's catalogue:
in the first field enter 'Johnson AND Glasgow' (enter it exactly this way with uppercase AND, you'll have to search for variant spellings) in the last field, 'department or series code' enter BT372. If you find a match, you can order copies of documents online, but these will cost you.


Mary Young
04-01-2006, 10:28 AM
Thank you for your help. As I have little information, it could quite possibly be her. However, I think my great-aunt mentioned that she thought Mary's mother was named Helen, but she could be wrong.

These are the children and dates for the children of Joseph Johnstone and Mary Carr:
William Johnson, DOB: 19 April 1887
George Johnstone, DOB: 1885
Elizabeth Ann Johnstone, DOB: 1860
Edward Johnson, DOB: 1890
Sarah Johnson. DOB: 15 April 1890
Isabelle Johnson. DOB: July 1901
Joseph Johnson. DOB: 1899
Dear Richard
I hope we can all help to clear the ground for you before you venture onto Scotlands people!
Firstly, is there a typo in DOB Elizabeth Ann Johnstone? 1860 makes her a generation older than her siblings.
Personally, I would forget about the census meantime. As you know, prime rule for family history is maintaining your chain. Which of these people is your direct ancestor, born in Scotland? Assuming you have proof of their parentage and age from their own marriage or death certificate, you can find and view their birth on scotlandspeople.
Scottish records are far superior to English! We started later (1855) and got it right <satisfied smile>.
The birth will show: Name, place of birth, usual residence (if different), gender, father's name, mother's maiden name, place and date of marriage.
The parents' marriage will yield :Place and date, and (for each party): name, occupation, age, residence, father's name, mother's maiden name.
A quick search shows two Joseph Jo*nsto*n* births 1899 in Glasgow. But I couldn't find a marriage between Joseph J. and Mary or Helen Carr.

04-01-2006, 12:38 PM
I'm sorry. Elizabeth Ann Johnstone was born in 1880 and died in 1940.

My great-grandfather out of this lot is William Johnson, who I know emigrated to Newcastle, Northumberland by at least 1911. However, I could not find him in the 1901 English census. So, I don't think he emigrated before then.

Unfortunately, Johnson/Johnston/Johnstone are all quite common names. So, I understand Geoffer's difficulty in finding a positive match for Joseph.

I actually had thought that Scottish records would be more vague. I'm glad that they're not. :)

Mary Young
04-01-2006, 2:21 PM
I'm sorry. Elizabeth Ann Johnstone was born in 1880 and died in 1940. Well this is a real puzzle. Dozens of Elizabeth Johnston(e)s in Scotland 1880, but none with father Joseph. Several living apart from family as boarder, niece or grandchild. Too many to investigate at 1 per view

My great-grandfather is William Johnson, who I know emigrated to Newcastle, Northumberland by at least 1911. However, I could not find him in the 1901 English census. So, I don't think he emigrated before then. Don't assume your family came from Scotland, and moved (once) to England. People moved around a lot in the late 19th century, England-Scotland-England. Or even UK-Oz-UK! If they went round the world and back between 1881 and 1891, you would never know unless you had family info.
It bothers me that I couldn't find a marriage in Scotland, are you sure Joseph Johnstone (snr) didn't marry in England?

Unfortunately, Johnson/Johnston/Johnstone are all quite common names. Yes, for William Johnstone (including variants) birth 1887, there are 75 matches!!! Even for plain William Johnstone, there are 22. Too many to look up online unless you win the Lotto.:)
Someone, somewhere is already researching your Scottish branch, so -
(1) Sow the seed - Post your names and dates everywhere you can (surname lists, regional lists and forums etc.).
(2) Register at lostcousins and list all family known on 1881 census.
Perhaps someone else can add to this advice?

Chasing Caseys
04-01-2006, 4:03 PM
Hello Richard

My search on Scotlandspeople for some of your names given the years

William Johnson (no T as you have written it (William Johnson DOB: 19 April 1887) brings back only 3 results. Johnston 53 and Johnstone 22.

Sarah Johnson DOB: 15 April 1890 brings back nothing but Johnston brings back 3 results and Johnstone 4.

Isabelle Johnson DOB: July 1901 - nothing for Isabelle using T or E in sir name but Isabella Johnson 1 result , Johnston 8 and Johnstone 6.

I would have a peak at Johnson first. When you search on scotlands people it costs you one credit to view your results. Those results will show you the DOB and parents names (99.9% of the time ! ) so if it doesnt match you dont have to waste 5 more credits viewing the certificate. As you know the dates of some it could be the best 6.00 for 30 credits you ever spent.

04-01-2006, 8:41 PM
Thank you so much, but please you don't have spend your money on me. I will surely save up eventually and be able to buy some credits.

My great-aunt said that due to the confusion with the last names, some of the children kept the last name Johnstone/Johnston and others took the new name Johnson. Which, I suppose complicates things even further. Once again, thank you all so much for your help.

04-01-2006, 8:47 PM
It bothers me that I couldn't find a marriage in Scotland, are you sure Joseph Johnstone (snr) didn't marry in England?
Unfortunately, I can't be sure of too much. You see, my grandfather was motherless by the age of 6, and he didn't live with his father. My grandfather also died in 1977, so I never met him. My father and grandmother say that he spoke very little of his family because, in the words of my grandmother, "Jack [my grandfather] didn't keep too much contact with his family. Seeing that his parents died when he was so young and the rest of the family moved about the place. He did have some wealthy uncle on one side of his family who died during the War [WWII] and left them some money, but because Jack, Eddie [my great-uncle], and Bill [my great-uncle] were serving in Europe, the money didn't get to them until much later. And by that time, most of it had been spent searching for them."

I can't be sure if Joseph Johnstone did or did not marry in Scotland. The only single clue is the family Bible lists him being born in Glasgow, Scotland. I have written to my great-aunt to see if she has some more clues, but as she is getting on in years these days, it takes her a while to reply to me.

Mary Young
04-01-2006, 11:30 PM
The only single clue is the family Bible lists him [Joseph] being born in Glasgow, Scotland. Well that is encouraging :) Keep us posted if you learn any more.

04-01-2006, 11:48 PM
Have you considered the spelling variants for 'Carr'? I have Kerr's in my family and it's pronounced the same as Carr - and on one census they were listed as 'Kear' - although this may only expand your problem...

Debbie ;)

04-01-2006, 11:50 PM
I suppose it's possible, but the family Bible lists her as "Carr."

Mary Young
05-01-2006, 8:58 AM
Have you considered the spelling variants for 'Carr'? Yesterday I double-searched for marriage 1875-1885, Johnson and Carr. That is, I ticked soundex for both, and also tried various combinations of spellings. Alas no result. |banghead|

05-01-2006, 1:00 PM
On the Carr/Kerr both are right.Remember that surnames are modern inventions then not forgetting the Clan names too. My GGGrandmother was Ellen/Helen Kerr/Carr depending on where you look. She was illiterate,Irish living in Scotland so depending on how somebody else interepreted her accent was how her surname was spelt....if that indeed was her name but that is another story!
Also consider that they might not have had a documented marriage as common-law marriages,irregular marriages are part of the fabric of Scottish family History.

09-01-2006, 6:33 PM
Interesting, thanks for the information.

09-01-2006, 7:03 PM
Of the 6 Joseph Jo*ns*on* born in 1858: 1 was born in Shetland, 1 (William Joseph) was born in Perth, 1 (Joseph) was born in Perth, 1 was born in Angus, 1 was born in Kirkcudbright, and 1 (Joseph Sinclair) was born in Edinburgh. So, either the birth of your Joseph was not registered, or the year in your records is off a bit.

I looked in the 1861 Scotland census for Joseph Jo*ns*on*, age 2-3, living in Glasgow, and found only 1 that fit:

At 176 Main Street, Maryhill, Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland:

Matthew Johnston, head, married, age 22, printfield laborer, b: Ireland
Elizabeth Johnston, wife, married, age 23, , b: Maryhill, Lanarkshire
Joseph Johnston, son, unmarried, age 2, , b: Maryhill, Lanarkshire

Birth record for this Joseph shows date of birth as 1 June 1859, Maryhill, Lanarkshire to Matthew Johnston, a calico printfield laborer, and Elizabeth (maiden name: Topping) Johnston. The birth was at 14 Reid Street, Maryhill.

Do any of these names, places, or dates ring a bell?


09-01-2006, 7:09 PM
Wow thank you. I don't know if it's a match or not, but as it is the only one you found it very well could be. What makes me more interested is my great-aunt said that Joseph Johnston(e)'s family came from Ireland originally. This could be he! How would you suggest I verify this?

09-01-2006, 7:30 PM
Looked up marriage for Matthew and Elizabeth: it took place on 11 Mar 1859, in Maryhill, rites according to James of the United Presbyterian Church, Mary's mark was witnessed (she could not write her name for herself, so made a mark that was then witnessed by others). One witness was James Topping (brother?). Parents were: Joseph Johnston, master shoemaker, and his wife Jane (Williamson) Johnston; Hugh Topping, Clock (?) deceased, and his widow Jane (looks like McQuabe) Topping.

Who knows, maybe some of these names show up in your tree, lending a bit more wieght to this being they.


09-01-2006, 7:33 PM
To verify the accuracy of this being the right Joseph, you must locate his marriage to Mary Carr. That will list his father's name. If it's Matthew, it just could be the right one.


09-01-2006, 7:45 PM
In 1871 census, Maryhill, Glasgow, Lanark:

Matthew Johnston, head, mar, age 31, Iron stock-taker, b: Ireland
Elizabeth Do, wife, mar, 31, , b: Barony, Lanarkshire
Joseph Do, son, 11, Scholar, b: Do
Hugh Do, son, 9, Scholar, b: Do
Jane Do, Daug, 7, Scholar, b: Do
William Do, son, 1, , b: Do

So, if this is he, he's still in Glasgow. Will check out 1881...


09-01-2006, 7:56 PM
In 1881, Joseph is still living at home:

263 Gairbraid Street, Maryhill, Lanark:

Matthew Johnston, head, m, 42, iron stocktaker, Ireland
Elizabeth ", wife, m, 42, , Maryhill, Lanark
Joseph ", son, unm, 21, grocer, Maryhill, Lanark
Hugh ", son, unm, 19, draper, Maryhill, Lanark
Jane ", daug, unm, 17, , Maryhill, Lanark
Agnes ", daug, unm, 8, scholar, Maryhill, Lanark
Rebecca ", daug, unm, 4, , Maryhill, Lanark

William is not there, perhaps he died by this point.
Will check 1891. If Joseph is still there, it's the wrong one...


09-01-2006, 8:02 PM
In 1891, Matthew and family have moved to Cambuslang, Lanarkshire. With him are wife Elizabeth, and unmarried children: Joseph, Jane, Rebecca, and William (age 10). Matthew is now a Spirit Merchant, and Joseph is his assistant.

So, if your Joseph was married prior to 1891, this is NOT he. Oh, well. At least it shows how you need to follow through over the years to see if it's still a possibility!


09-01-2006, 8:45 PM
Bad luck, I'm afraid. Joseph's first child was born in 1880. Good work, though. It was very exciting to read the events post by post. :)