Author Topic: James & Margaret Davidson - Motherwell to South Africa  (Read 301 times)

Offline KennethDavidson

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James & Margaret Davidson - Motherwell to South Africa
« on: Wednesday 09 January 19 20:36 GMT (UK) »
Hi,

For several years I have a been searching for the descendants of a James Davidson (b 1891 in West Lothian). I thought that after WW1 James emigrated from Motherwell to South Africa, married and brought-up a family there. My father met with some of that family in 1943 while traveling to India and Burma.

Last summer I had a breakthrough (with help from RootsChat regulars), when I discovered some letters between my parents and two of James’ daughters. This allowed me to contact several of the next generation.

All was well.

The elephant in the room was that I knew nothing about James’ wife Margaret. So I searched SP and came up with 16 possible marriages, none of which ‘looked right’. I then looked at Ships Passenger Records for SA between 1920-1930 and found that there was a family (minus father) of:

Mother: Mrs. Margaret Ann Davidson
Child 1: William
Child 2: Mary Helen
Child 3: Robert Edward
Child 4: John
Child 5: Susannah

who were travelling from Motherwell to Capetown.

The names of the children match with the names already supplied by current family members from SA. I obtained the original Birth Certificates (from SP) for William, Robert Edward and Mary Helen Davidson, and discovered that the mother, Margaret Ann Davidson (ne Williams) was married to a William Davidson!

And I cannot find any other list of names in Scotland that match.

So, has anyone got any ideas as to where else I can check?


Many thanks,

Kenneth.
Davidson, Gibson, Douglas, Cairns, Robertson, Stanners, Anderson, Edmond, Samuel, and many more!

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Offline ColC

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Re: James & Margaret Davidson - Motherwell to South Africa
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 10 January 19 11:33 GMT (UK) »
I note the marriage & children you mention.

DAVIDSON WILLIAM - WILLIAMS   MARGARET ANN   1914   Dalziel

Children Registered Dalziel.

Child 1: William 1915
Child 2: Mary (Helen) Ellen 1916
Child 3: Robert Edward 1918
Child 4: John 1925
Child 5: Susannah 1924

I checked Robert Edward & Susanna/h but no others of those names born in Scotland, some of each of the others elsewhere.

Do you have the birth record for James?

Just to check he was not William James or the other way around.

On the 1901 census there is a James born West Lothian, plus two brothers same, parents William & Mary living in Govan, Glasgow, might be worth a look?

Colin
Clarke, Trickett, Orton, Lawless, Norton, Detheridge, Kirby, Goodfellow, Wagstaff, Lowe, etc.

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Offline KennethDavidson

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Re: James & Margaret Davidson - Motherwell to South Africa
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 10 January 19 13:32 GMT (UK) »
Hi Colin,

The SP Birth record for James Davidson gives him no middle names. He was born in Queensferry (Mid Lothian) in 1891.

The 1901 Census records him with his parents (William & Mary) and his surviving siblings in Haldane Street, Govan.

He was missing in Motherwell for the 1911 Census, so I assume he had left home. I've not been able to trace him since.

I'm assuming he married about 1914-15, and joined the Army around that time also. I also searched the SP records for 'Mary (H)ellan, 'Robert Edward' and 'Susannah' These correspond with the names provided by the Davidsons in SA.

Before Christmas, I did a quick search on Ships Passenger records for James which showed nothing. I will go back to Kew Records sometime in the next few weeks, otherwise I really don't know what to do next.

All comments appreciated!

Thanks,

Kenneth.
Davidson, Gibson, Douglas, Cairns, Robertson, Stanners, Anderson, Edmond, Samuel, and many more!

Offline ColC

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Re: James & Margaret Davidson - Motherwell to South Africa
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 10 January 19 17:17 GMT (UK) »
You sure do have a bit of a puzzle. Do your contacts in SA agree the father of the children you mentioned was James?

I note the family in Daziel in 1911 minus James it looks likely that his parents died towards the end of the 1920s. I cannot find a Military Service record for him, if he was in the Army it may not have survived. Could James have changed his name to William?

DAVIDSON    WILLIAM   74   1928   Dalziel

DAVIDSON    MARY   68   1925   Dalziel

There are Valuation Rolls there in 1915/1920/1925 for a James & William Davidson

I can only find one birth record for Margaret Ann, below, in Scotland but several in England & Wales.

WILLIAMS   MARGARET ANN   1887   Burntisland

Sadly a large number of William Davidson’s.

Colin
Clarke, Trickett, Orton, Lawless, Norton, Detheridge, Kirby, Goodfellow, Wagstaff, Lowe, etc.

Offline ColC

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Re: James & Margaret Davidson - Motherwell to South Africa
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 10 January 19 17:57 GMT (UK) »
As I mentioned there was only one Margaret Ann born in Scotland of about the right age. There was also only one marriage for Margaret Ann, the one to William

WILLIAMS   MARGARET A   1911   23   Newington   Midlothian
No other Williams on that record.

By co-incidence there was a 22 year old William Davidson in Newington in 1911
He was with others about his own age, including a James and two possible fathers William 54 or Donald 58

There were no James, William or Margaret Ann of the right age Dalziel in 1911.

No Margaret Ann Marriage 1913 +/- 2 in England & Wales.

Colin

Clarke, Trickett, Orton, Lawless, Norton, Detheridge, Kirby, Goodfellow, Wagstaff, Lowe, etc.

Offline MonicaL

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Re: James & Margaret Davidson - Motherwell to South Africa
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 10 January 19 19:36 GMT (UK) »
Hi Kenneth and Colin

Kenneth, how have you been able to confirm that James was born in 1891 with family in West Lothian?

What was James' occupation around the time he was with a young family and in later years?

Colin, the ages you listed for the children, are these from the shipping manifest heading out to SA?

There is an entry on 20 June 1921 arriving at Southampton for passengers returning to the UK. Point of origin is South Africa (Cape Town port of departure):

Mr and Mrs J Davidson. J aged 39 and wife 38 (or maybe 28 as also indexed).
Mr J Davidson's occupation is showing as Chief Storekeeper, Crown Mines.
Two children, unnamed. Girl aged 5 and boy aged 2.
Planning to return to live in South Africa.

Monica
Census information Crown Copyright, www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline KennethDavidson

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Re: James & Margaret Davidson - Motherwell to South Africa
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 10 January 19 20:09 GMT (UK) »
Hi Monica and Colin,

Yes, I have the birth certificates (SP) for James (b 1891), and children William, Mary Helen (Ellen) and Robert Edward.

James moves away from the rest of the family sometime between the 1901 Census and 1918 & 1919, when he posts a notes to the Motherwell Times regarding the deaths of two of his brothers.

I have several possible James' for his military career still to research. He was awarded MM sometime between 1915-1919, and I assume he was with a Lowland Regiment.

The years of birth for the children were estimated based on the likely marriage date of 1914-15, and the fact that the youngest child (Margaret) was born in 1926, in SA. The Ship Manifest (for June 1925) shows ages for each of the children in the right order and with generally consistent ages. James did not sail with the family. I assume he traveled out earlier to start a job. That would put his voyage as being between 1919 and June 1925.


Comments from my SA cousins:

James (Jim) married to Margaret (Maggie).

William (Bill) Davidson is the eldest of Jim’s (James’) kids, married ……..
May (Mary Ellen) b 7th Dec ?, married …..
Robert (Bob) Edward Davidson married  …..
John (Jock) married  ……
Susannah (Sue) married  …...

The children's names on the Ships Manifest match those used by the present-day family in SA, and also those names in the SP search (except that they have the father named as William!).

I'm still confused!!

Thanks,

Kenneth.

Davidson, Gibson, Douglas, Cairns, Robertson, Stanners, Anderson, Edmond, Samuel, and many more!

Offline MonicaL

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Re: James & Margaret Davidson - Motherwell to South Africa
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 10 January 19 20:16 GMT (UK) »
What was James' occupation on his children's birth certs and then in SA?

See Family Search has potential deaths for Jim and Maggie as c. 1960 and c. 1968.
www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/2:2:3CR8-4TW

Monica
Census information Crown Copyright, www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline MonicaL

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Re: James & Margaret Davidson - Motherwell to South Africa
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 10 January 19 20:19 GMT (UK) »
Kenneth, the Scottish birth certs you have viewed should include date and place of parents' marriage.  What do they say in respect of this? Did it match the details that Colin posted re the marriage in Dalziel in 1914?

If so, have you considered looking at the marriage reg to double check details there? Would include full details on bride and groom's parents to help further verify.

You mentioned that James was born in 1891 in West Lothian. Should this be Hamilton? With the Davidson family you have, James Russell Davidson shows as born in 1890 in Hamilton (as showing also in the 1891 and 1901 censuses). James shows as James R Davidson in his 1901 census entry.

Monica
Census information Crown Copyright, www.nationalarchives.gov.uk