A friend of the family Janis Martin was talking to my mum and she said that she would like to know more about her family history. Janis told me that her grandfather was born in Germany and that on another side of the family were a family of butchers in Hamilton.
Janis here’s what I found.
I started with your grandfather who was called Frederick Crahner and as you already knew he was German. I found that he was born on the 14th of August 1878 at Württemberg. He was born to parents John Frederick Crahner who was an Inn Keeper & Barbara Pfannkuck. I found little on your Great grandparents and it is unclear if they came to Scotland along with your grandfather.
Your grandfather did however move to Scotland along with his brother John Frederick Crahner and they moved at some point before 1893. It is possible that your great grand parents moved to Scotland as the brothers were quite young, but as I stated I found no records or documents of them being here in Scotland or the UK.
Frederick was a hard-working man he had many jobs throughout his lifetime and the first job that I found him doing was working as a labourer. He was 16 years of age and on Monday the 21st of January if found an article in the Greenock Telegraph & Clyde shipping Gazette, where he plead guilty at the Greenock police court of stealing a jacket from the property of a man named Hammond. He was given the choice of either 5s or three days in Jail. It is unclear as to what option he had taken.
The next record which I find on Frederick is when he was 22 years old and he got struck on the face by his angry employer. This was also reported in the Greenock Telegraph. At the time he was working as a van man steering a horse and cart. I will come back to Frederick after I tell you about your grandmothers’ side of the family.
I have to tell you that his brother John Crahner was not a law-abiding citizen. I found many newspaper accounts of him being at court. Some of his crimes which he committed were forfeiting a breach of the peace fine in May 1893 and he went to jail for three days and another charge that he had was in March 1915 where he did time in jail for battering his wife.
Your grandfather met your grandmother at Greenock and her name was Janet McLachlan Orr and she worked as a shop assistant. Janet was born around 1887 at Dumbarton. They married on the 2nd of August 1912. The wedding took place at the United Free Church and the witnesses were James Orr & Jeanie Bell. I found it strange that Frederick did not ask his brother john to be his best man! Perhaps there had been a fall out with the two brothers?
Your great grandparents on your grandmothers’ side were called John Orr & Agnes McLachlan. John was born in Ireland around the year 1840 and his parents who were your 2 x great grandparents were called John Orr, who worked as a farm labourer & Mary Dempsey. The trail goes cold for this side of your Orr family and I believe that they did not move to Scotland with your great grandfather.
Your great grandmother Agnes was born at Leith in Edinburgh around the year 1846. Your great grandfather John had at least three different jobs which included a boatyard labourer, Riveter & Boiler Maker. In 1861 when he was working as a boat yard labourer, he was living at Port Glasgow and lodging at Black Bulls Close with a lady called Martha Hamilton.
He met your great grandmother Agnes McLachlan at Port- Glasgow and they married on the 2nd of January 1865 in the same town. They continued to live at Port Glasgow until 1880 where they then moved across the water to Dumbarton. They lived at 144 High Street in Dumbarton and lived at the same address until about 1901. Between them they had Six sons & Four Daughters including your grandmother Janet.
I did manage to find a picture of one of your great aunts, who was called Elizabeth Orr and she was your grandmothers’ sister. This lady married a man named Walter McDonald and this side of your family later moved to Shettleston.
Your great grandfather John Orr died on the 2nd of March 1906 at 11 Meadowbank Street in Dumbarton. He was 66 years old and the cause of death was a haemorrhage.
Your great grandmother Agnes McLachlan died at the same address seven years later on the 6th of August 1913. Her cause of death was liver cancer.
Going back another generation on your great grandmother Agnes’s side, her parents were called Michael McLaughlin & Margaret Snipe. These were your 2 x great grandparents of the McLachlan family. They were a family of Sail weavers and this is why I believe that your great grandmother was born at Leith, your 2 x great grandfather would have been working at the docks mending sails and he would have went where the work was, hence he moved from the west coast to the east coast and back again.
Michael McLachlan was also born in Ireland c1801 and again this line of the family shows that you have strong Irish roots, most people in Hamilton can trace their roots back to Ireland, my family included. Michael lived at Leith from 1841 where I found him living with his wife at James lane and he moved the family from Leith to Port Glasgow between 1846 & 1847.
In 1861 I found him living at Princes street in Port Glasgow.
Michael died at is home in 13 Princes Street Port Glasgow on the 5th of March 1873. He died at 6:50pm and he was 72 years old and the cause of his death was bronchitis. His son James was the person who registered his death. I have no other information on this part of your family and the reason for this is because your 2nd great uncle James did not have any information on who his Irish grandparents were. The only info which I have on Michael’s parents is that his father was also a sail maker.
Your 2x great grandmother Margaret Snipe was born on the 22nd of March 1801 at Port Glasgow. Her parents were called William Snipe & Mary Muir. She had five other siblings. Other than this fact I couldn’t really find much on her. Her death is also a bit of a mystery and for now I can’t give you an answer on where or when she died and all that I can tell you is that she died before her husband Michael in 1873.
Margaret Snipes parents who were your 3 x great grandparents were married on the 19th of April 1900 also at Port Glasgow. Their names were William Snipe & Mary Muir. William was born around 1783 at Port Glasgow & Mary Muir was born around 1776 at Inchinnan.
I did manage to go back another generation to your 4 x great grandparents on Mary Muir side. They were called Matthew Muir & Janet Orr! And yes, this means that you have two sets of Orr in your bloodline. Are you confused yet?
So, I said that I would go back to Frederick Crahner!
So, as I explained to you, he married your grandmother Janet in 1912 at Greenock. In 1915 I found him on the valuation roll of that year and it is around this time that he changes his German name from Crahner to the more British version of ‘Crainer’. It is this name that has passed down to you before you married Jim.
As you will know, WW1 broke out on the 28th July 1914 and everybody was suspicious of a German person living in the UK. Your grandfather moved to Scotland at a very young age and it would be doubtful if he even still had a German accent, however, to avoid conflict people did change their name and after all, your grandfather probably did not even feel that he was in anyway a German citizen.
Your aunty Agnes when she was born was registered as Agnes Crahner and she was born in 1913 at Greenock and between this year & 1919, your grandparents leave their life at Greenock and they move to Dalserf.
Dalserf would have been a little Eden compared to Greenock with its picturesque houses and rich landscape next to the Clyde, it would have been the perfect location to raise a family. The reason as to why Frederick moved so far from Greenock is unknown! I do have a feeling that it could have been to do with his brother. When you research people, you read through documents and certificates and sometimes this paints a story in your mind and I just get the feeling that Frederick & John never saw eye to eye. However, this is just my opinion and as there is no actual evidence of this, then we will never know the true facts.
In this picture is 15 Market Street and it was taken in 1935. 15 Market Street is where your great uncle John Frederick Crahner lived when he married his wife. Its not very often that you uncover a picture like this, but your grandfather would have known about this house and perhaps visited it. One note that I also have is that your grandfather was also not the best man at his brothers wedding, which again leaves me to think that the two brothers didn’t get on?
I said that Frederick’s reason for moving to Dalserf could have been something to do with his brother! His brother John Crahner lived for a brief period in Motherwell. I found John Crahner and his wife lodging with the Burt family. They lived at Grieves Land on Argyle Street (An old street now demolished) and John was working as a butcher.
On the 13th of December 1919 your dad John Orr Crainer is born at Dalserf. Your grandparents are living at 11 Greens buildings and your grandfather is working as a coal miner. Between 1920 & 1930 your grandparents move to Hamilton and they are living at 1 Arthur Street. He lives at Arthur Street to at least 1939 and it is in this year that I find Frederick’s enemy alien exemption form. Even though Frederick had lived in Scotland he was still vetted by the government to prove that he wasn’t a spy for the Germans.
Hamilton was now home for your grandparents and they continued to live in the town for the rest of their years. They later move to 5 Bothwell Street and Your grandmother Janet Orr dies on the 17th of February 1959 at Hairmyres hospital. She died at 09:10 am and the cause of death was Bronchitis & Pneumonia. Your grandfather registered her death.
Your granddad fell on hard times after the death of your grandmother. Grief-stricken, he seems to get lost in his ways and eventually his is living at the Model on 7 Birdsfield Street. The model as most people will know was a bed for a night that helped homeless men.
Your grandfather becomes ill and is sent to Stonehouse hospital where he dies aged 89. The cause of death was cardiac failure & deep vein thrombosis. Your father registered his death.
Janis, you had an older sister which I believe you knew about? Your older sister was born at the Oakbank Hospital on Maryhill Road. The address for this was 63 Possil Road and it was situated at the Maryhill side.
Your sisters name was Mina Crainer and she was born premature on the 1st of February 1951. Sadly, she died 1 hour later. Your father registered her death. At the time when this happened, your parents were living at 13 Windsor Street in Glasgow.
Your mum Euphemia was born on 3rd of January 1928 and your grandparents were called John McTavish & Wilhelmina Spiers. Your grandfather was born c1892 and he was born in the miner’s rows at Greenfield. Where your house sits just now is on the same land as where the miner’s rows once stood! What a strange coincidence that you live there now!
Your grandparents were married on the 31st of December 1913 at the Manse in Bothwell. There best man & bridesmaid were called William McTavish (Your great uncle) & Ids Spiers (Your Great Aunt).
They both lived at Bothwellhaugh, which as you will know is the old mining village that Strathclyde country park now occupies. Your granddad at the time lived at 33 Brandon Place and your grandmother 11 Haugh Place.
Your Great Grandparents on the McTavish side were called Thomas McTavish & Euphemia Davidson. Thomas was born to parents John McTavish & Helen Smellie. He was born at Cambusnethan on the 2nd of April 1865. Thomas moved with his parents to Hamilton between 1865 & 1881 and his father gained employment at Greenfield Colliery, so you have two generations of your family who worked and lived where you currently are now. Your great grandfather and his father were coal miners.
Thomas McTavish left Scotland and he went to Virginia, USA where he died in 1969 at the ripe old age of 104. It is unclear if he ever returned to Scotland for a visit.
Janis, I found this picture (See below) and the people in the picture are your 2 x great grandparents John McTavish & Helen Smellie. I can see a resemblance to you in John. John was born on the 28th of December 1830 in Motherwell. He was a coal miner and later lived in Ann Street, Burnbank and then Greenfield. He died at 13 Greenfield Road and the cause of death was senile decay.
Your 3 x great grandparents on the McTavish side were called Tavish McTavish & Mary Margaret McNichol. Tavish was a Watchman & Gatekeeper (Possibly at the Palace?) Your 4 x Great Grandparents on the same family line were called Peter McTavish & Janet Menzies. This family line takes you back to the year 1786 as peter was born on the 1st of January of this year in Perth.
Your 3rd great grandparents on the Smellie side were a family of weavers from Hamilton. They lived at 9 New Wynd.
Janis for now this is just a quick draft of your family story. I hope that you have found this interesting and in due course I will add to it in more detail. Let me know if you have any questions. Garry,