This page is an attempt to outline what I know about my Stewart ancestry in as "readable" format as possible. Please note whereas I try to ensure that what I publish is correct, and to differentiate between what is supported by documentation etc, and what is, in my opinion, a reasonable assumption, everything should be treated with caution. IF you have come across information that you believe is relevant to your own research please either verify it independently or drop me a line to confirm its validity. Equally if believe something is incorrect, or if you wish to add any details or discuss please get in touch using the Contact Form.
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The furthest back we can trace our Stewart family history is to John Stewart and Jane Pollok of Mearns, Renfrewshire. No record of their births or subsequent marriage has been found but we know of them through the births of their children recorded in the Mearns parish register and the later death certificate of one of those children. Five children were recorded as born to John and Jane - Mary, born on 23 May 1800 at Craigend, Thomas, born on 25 February 1802 at Craigend, Robert, (next generation in our family history), born on 25 February 1804 at Craigend, Agnes, born on 6th July 1806 at Craigend, and William born 23 December 1817 at Shilhill. The death certificate of their son Robert names his parents as the aforementioned John Stewart and Jane Pollok, giving his father's occupation as "Farmer" which would fit with the birthplaces of their known children as Craigend and Shilhill (or Shielhill \ Shieldhill) were farmsteads around the Capelrigg area to the north of Mearns. There is a record of ‘John Stewart at Shillhill’ paying horse tax in 1797-98. This may be "our" John Stewart and this could suggest that he farmed both Craigend and Shilhill, possibly as one unit.
Although we have no record of John Stewart other than the birth of his children, there are two John Stewarts (or Stuarts in this case) recorded as born\baptised in the Mearns parish register around the time one might expect our John Stewart to have been born. Obviously we are very much into the realm of guesswork here as he could also have been born elsewhere or even born in Mearns but not recorded. However it is worth noting these two possibilities. If the first four children recorded as born to John Stewart and Jane Pollok were actually their first four children and if they followed the traditional naming convention of the day one would expect John's parents to be Thomas and Agnes (first son after paternal grandfather, second daughter after paternal grandmother). There is a record of a John Stewart born to a Thomas Stewart and an Agnes on 12 December 1769 (baptised 17 December 1769) at Green, Mearns, a farm around a mile to the west of Craigend. This would make John about 27 at the time of his marriage assuming Mary born in May 1800 was their first child giving an estimated marriage date of 1798'ish. However there is also a record of a John Stewart born to a John Stewart and an Enaple Alison on 11 May 1775 (baptised 28 May 1775) in Crofthead, Mearns, a farm about a mile and a half to the south of Craigend. This would also fit with an estimated marriage date of 1798'ish.
What is intriguing is that one can say with little doubt that my ggg grandparents were acquaintances of my wife's gggg grandparents Robert Allison and Agnes Gilmour and ggg grandparents James Allison and Margaret Ritchie who farmed at Malletsheugh, Mearns. All the aforementioned farms, Malletsheugh, Craigend, Shilhill, Green and Crofthead are within one or two miles of each other and as part of a small rural community and attending the same church it would seem certain they would have been well known to one another. (The Rev Patrick recorded that in 1831 there were 456 families in total in Mearns parish with 149 of them "chiefly invoved in agriculture".) However the connections possibly go beyond that with the surname Pollok on both sides and even more so if "our" John Stewart was one and the same as the John Stewart born to John Stewart and an Enaple Alison!!
Robert Stewart became a cotton bleacher, no doubt learning his trade at one of the bleachworks in and around Mearns. On 31st December 1832 in Abbey parish (Paisley) Robert married Janet Beith. Despite the fact that Janets death certificate states that her parents were William Beith, a weaver, and Janet Lochhead, it seems almost certain that she was actually the daughter of James Beith and Elizabeth Lochhead, born in Paisley on 6th August 1809. This parentage is supported by my DNA connection to a confirmed descendent of the aforementioned James Beith and Elizabeth Lochhead. (For further details of James Beith and Elizabeth Lochhead - see Appendix A)
Robert and Janet had their first child, a son John, was born 2nd June 1833 in Abbey parish, Paisley, as was their second, Robert, born 12th January 1835. Sometime after the birth of Robert but before 1837 the family moved to Lochwinnoch parish, as the birth of their third child, a daughter Jean, is recorded on 18th April of that year in the Lochwinnoch parish register. It is still in Lochwinnoch parish, at Bowfield, that we find the family for the census of 7th June 1841, with the addition of a fourth child, Elizabeth, having been born circa 1839, although her birth does not seem to have been recorded in the parish register. John their first born is not included in this census which may signify his death in infancy.
1841 Census (7th. June) Lochwinnoch (570) Book 11. Page 10.
|Name||Age||Occupation||Born in County|
|Robert Stewart||35||Operating Bleacher||Yes|
A further two daughters were born to Robert and Janet at Bowfield in Lochwinnoch parish, Janet born 7 August 1842, and Agnes (next step in our family history) born, according to her age from census records and later marriage and death certificates, circa 1845. (For further details of the known children of Robert Stewart and Janet Beith - See Appendix D). Sometime after 1845 Robert Stewart and his family quit Bowfield, and moved to live in Lintmill Cottages, Neilston, again with Robert Stewart Snr. working as a cotton bleacher as it is there that they were living for the census of 31st March 1851. Agnes Beith, Aged 34, born in Paisley, listed in this census as visitor was actually Janets sister. I assume that the child Agnes Gibson, niece, aged 6 months, was the daughter of Janets sister Mary and her husband Andrew Gibson. Mary seems to have died in the previous six months and Andrew Gibson and the rest of his children by Mary were living in Glasgow with his in-laws, (Janets parents) John and Elizabeth Beith, although Andrew is wrongly recorded as John.
1851 Census (31st. March) Neilston (572) Book 5. Page 20.
Lintmill Cottages, Neilston.
|Robert Stewart||Head||47||Boiling house worker||Neilston, Renfrewshire|
|Janet Stewart||Wife||42||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
|Robert Stewart||Son||15||Carter||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
|Jean Stewart||Daughter||13||Scholar||Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire|
|Janet Stewart||Daughter||8||Scholar||Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire|
|Agnes Stewart||Daughter||6||Scholar||Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire|
|Agnes Gibson||Niece||6 months||Glasgow, Lanarkshire|
|John Sim||Visitor||30||Seaman||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
|Agnes Beith||Visitor||34||Laundresser||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
For the census of 3rd April 1861 the family were still living in Neilston, but at "Parkhill Land", next door to the Wheat Sheaf Inn. Of their children only Jane was still living with them working as a "Shirt dresser". As with the 1851 census Agnes, Janets sister, Agnes, is recorded in the household. Now recorded as Agnes Sime she had married the John Sim recorded as "visiting" with her in the 1851 census, four months afterwards on 29th August 1851, in Govan. Their son Peter, also recorded in this census was born on 23rd February 1855. The previously mentioned Agnes Gibson, is again also recorded in the household.
1861 Census (3rd April) Neilston (572) Book 5. Page 31.
Parkhill Land, (next door to Wheat Sheaf Inn), Neilston.
|Robert Stewart||Head||58||Cotton bleacher||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
|Janet Stewart||Wife||54||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
|Jane Stewart||Daughter||22||Shirt dresser||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
|Agnes Gibson||Niece||10||Glasgow, Lanarkshire|
|Agnes Sime||Visitor||44||Sailors wife||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
|Peter Sime||Visitor||6||Scholar||Glasgow, Lanarkshire|
Their daughter Agnes was not listed in the family home and was recorded for this census as living along with her big sister Janet, with her widowed maternal grandmother Elizabeth Beith at 32 Nelson Street, Govan, in Glasgow. Both were working as a laundresses.
1861 Census (3 April) Tradeston (644-2) Book 41. Page 11.
32 Nelson Street, Govan, Glasgow.
|Elizabeth Beith||Head (Widow)||72||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
|Robert Beith||Son||30||Bill Poster||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
|John W. Beith||Son||27||Wood Carver||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
|Janet Stewart||Granddaughter||19||Laundress||Bowfield, Renfrewshire|
|Agnes Stewart||Granddaughter||17||Laundress||Bowfield, Renfrewshire|
|James Gibson||Grandson||16||Clerk - out of Employment||Glasgow, Lanarkshire|
Agnes was still living with her grandmother at 25 Clyde Place, Glasgow working as a domestic servant when on 31st August 1866 she married William Adam. William was a railway locomotive fitter, born circa 1837 in Newton-upon-Ayr, the son of James Adam, a shoemaker, and Jane Burns,. (SEE ONLINE ADAM FAMILY HISTORY).
By the time of the census of 4th April 1871 Robert Stewart and Janet Beith had moved to 21 Herriet Street, Pollokshaws, in Eastwood parish, where Robert presumably worked in the bleachworks close by.
1871 Census (4th April) Eastwood (562) Book 11. Page 19.
21 Herriet Street, Pollokshaws.
|Robert Stewart||Head||67||Cotton bleacher worker||Mearns, Renfrewshire|
|Janet Stewart||Wife||63||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
Four months after this census, on 17th August 1871, whilst still resident in Herriet St., Robert Stewart died, Aged 67.
For the census of 1881 the widowed Janet, was living with her already widowed daughter Elizabeth. Elizabeth had married Walter MacDonald 8th March 1861, and had borne at least two children, John, born 19th January 1862, and Robert Stewart, born 15th February 1864 - both born in Tradeston. Glasgow and both included in this census. (One would guess that Walter MacDonald had died mid to end 1860s. )
1881 Census (4th April) Govan (644-11) Book 10. Page 15.
327 Crown Street, Govan, Glasgow
|Elizabeth McDonald||Head - Widow||41||Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire|
|Janet Stewart||Mother - Widow||72||Paisley, Renfrewshire|
|John McDonald||Son||19||Warehouseman - Dyers||Glasgow, Lanarkshire|
|Robert S. McDonald||Son||17||Clerk - Stockbrokers||Glasgow, Lanarkshire|
Janet Beith outlived her husband by 13 years, dying on 22nd September 1884, Aged 76. She had been confined to bed for 5 months, and at some time in the previous 3 years had moved to live with her eldest daughter, Jean, and her son-in-law, David Saddler, (a sewing machine manufacturer), at their home at 2 Morris Pl, Glasgow.