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Brick wall - John Bryan and Isabella Ferguson.

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Brick wall - John Bryan and Isabella Ferguson.

Postby paulr1949 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:27 am

Apologies in advance for a long story. John Bryan and Isabella Ferguson were my great great grandparents on my mother’s maternal side. Although I have much of the information concerning them, I have so far been unable to find out exactly when and where they married and some details of the birth of their first son. I only got into family history properly after my father died: in his papers were those of my great-aunt Florence Lamin, who looked after my mother because her mother (Flo's sister) died when my mother was just under 3 years old. I hadn’t seen the will before, but 2/3 of the estate was left to my mother and 1/3 to someone I’d never heard of. I started doing some investigation and discovered that Elizabeth Bryan had an illegitimate daughter, the father was almost certainly her future husband (Henry Lamin), and this daughter had married and had a son - who my great aunt had left some money to.

John Bryan was born in Arnold, Notts in 1841/2 - he was 9 in the 1851 census - first (and I think only) child of James Bryan and Elizabeth Welthdale, framework knitter/seamstress. By the time of the 1861 census, he was a framework knitter, although James was now a newsagent. There is no record of John on the 1871 census - see below.
Isabella Ferguson was born c1847 in Hawick, Roxburghshire. In the 1851 census, she is living with parents William Ferguson and Margaret Elliot in Hawick aged 4, together with elder sister Margaret (6) and younger sister Jane (2).William was a framework knitter. In the census she is named Isobel. By the 1861 census, she is a wool framework knitter and has two further siblings (Thomas 3 and Martha 1) and is named Isabella, living at no. 3 Back House, 29 High Street, Hawick. There is no record of her on the 1871 census, but with her parents in 1871 is Mary Ferguson, granddaughter, whom Scotland’s People records as granddaughter and her birth record shows Isabella as being the mother - no father recorded - and born on 9th May 1867. Mary is 3 in the census. Mary continued to live with one or both parents until at least 1891.

The next relevant census record is in the 1881 census. John Bryan and Isabella Ferguson are married and living at 125 Front Street in Arnold, Notts. They have children John jnr (11), Elizabeth (8), James (7) and Isabella jnr (5) - plus James Bryan, John’s father (shown as grandfather on the census). John and Isabella are still framework knitters. John is shown as born in Scotland, Elizabeth, James and Isabella in Ireland. I managed to crack an earlier brick wall when I found that Elizabeth (my great grandmother) was born in Balbriggan, near Dublin (as were the younger two) and I have the birth details of all three of them.

What I cannot find is any information on John and Isabella’s marriage - which, assuming there was one, must have been between 1868 and 1871 and most likely in Scotland. There is no matching record on Scotland’s People. Likewise there is no record on Scotland’s people of John junior’s birth. In the 1881 and subsequent 3 censuses, he is consistently shown as born in Scotland (no place, but probably Hawick) and 11/21/31/41 years old. He went into coalmining and lived in/around Langwith, Derbyshire. There is a possible record of him in the 1939 register as widowed, born 19 February 1870, although a tree on Ancestry has a date of 9th March 1870 but no source.
I have searched SP records in the Edinburgh centre and in Hawick (a couple of weeks ago) and neither I or the very helpful lady in Hawick could find anything.

It would appear that John (snr) went from the Nottinghamshire knitters to Scotland, perhaps to find work (the article on framework knitters in the last WDYTYA magazine was helpful here). On the way, he found a wife, had a son and they then moved to Balbriggan, which around that time was known as the silk capital of the world, and then back to his birthplace of Nottinghamshire.

Thanks for reading - any thoughts as to whether I can go anywhere else would be appreciated, but I rather fear that this is destined to remain a brick wall.
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Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:13 pm

Re: Brick wall - John Bryan and Isabella Ferguson.

Postby Amazinggrace » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:23 pm

Hi Paul,
Family search are listing three marriages for an Isabella Ferguson.
One in 1868 Lisburn
One in 1869 Belfast
One in 1871 Antrim
Unfortunately there is no names for the spouse.
Good Luck
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Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Brick wall - John Bryan and Isabella Ferguson.

Postby MayHam » Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:19 am

The following is the only (name variant) match I found.
Longtown, Cumberland, England is about 35 miles SW of Hawick.

Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Marriages Sep 1865
Brown John Longtown 10b 575
Ferguson Isabella Longtown 10b 575
Potts Margaret Longtown 10b 575
Ross Andrew Longtown 10b 575
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Re: Brick wall - John Bryan and Isabella Ferguson.

Postby paulr1949 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:09 am

Thank you both for the replies. I had seen the Longtown records but have discounted them because the marriage is too early. I will have a closer look at the Irish records, although my Isabella was in Balbriggan, north of Dublin, rather than what is now Northern Ireland

Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:13 pm

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