Barnes Family Tree.
Margaret Barnes contacted the page to ask if I could help her with her family history. She had very little info to go with and could tell me who her grandparent were and Margaret told us:
“Hi, I’m trying to do my family tree and wondered if you could help? My father was born in Hamilton 1902 and lived in Gateside street, his father left when my father was about 8 he was an only child, he never spoke about his father but I managed to get my grandmother’s marriage certificate her address was Almada street, and my grandfather’s was ‘Greenhome Farm”? Have you any idea where that was,? Googled it says it was a tannery?
After my grandparents split, him and my grandmother moved to tollcross, and she got a job as a servant I have written references she got. The story goes that my grandfather died in cowdenbeath a pauper. My father never spoke about his father, I know my grandmother was pregnant with my father and had to get married and she was Catholic and he was protestant, and nobody seems to know much about the marriage only that it was all hush Hush!!
Hope you can help. Margaret Barnes”.#
So, I started with the information that you had given me, and I got the marriage certificate of your grandparent’s marriage. Your grandparents were called James Stirling and Mary Annie Stapleton and when they married James was 24 and Rose was 25. The one thing that immediately stood out for me was that both the witnesses were related to your grandmother!
They were called James & Mary Stapleton, now why was this unusual? Well in most typical weddings the people who are getting married usually have their own best man or bridesmaid and you don’t see very often both witnesses that are related to one side of either the bride or groom. James was a coal miner and Mary worked as a domestic servant.
So, to answer your question about where James lived; well at the time he was living at Greenside Home. Greenside Home was a lodging house that was situated in Church Street and it was the type of place that you would live if you were homeless, It was not as bad as the Hamilton Poorhouse, as some of the people living here did support themselves, however, they were referred to as “Inmates”.
It was not a very glamorous place and you would pay for the bed for a night. The people who tended to live here were alcoholics, thieves, and rough ones and, in many cases, when this name of the home pops up in newspaper reports, its for thefts, or people dying in the building. Now this is not to say that your grandfather was a thief, or a drunk, he may just have fallen on hard times and that could be why he was living here.
I found that your grandparent’s marriage did not last for too long, where in December 1904 your grandmother sadly applied for poor relief. It appears that your grandfather abandoned his wife and child.
James deserted from the family and on the 14th of December 1904 Rose, or Annie as she was known as applied to get help from the parish of Dalziel and the outcome probably was not what she was looking for. In fact, instead of getting money from the poor relief fund, they offered her on the 30th of December an admittance to the poorhouse. I can only imagine that the pregnancy out of wedlock must have put a strain on your grandmother and your great grandparents. This could be the reason why the family did not assist her, or perhaps your great grandparents had financial struggles of their own.
Being admitted to a poorhouse was a last resort for anyone as it was a horrendous place to be and certainly would have been really a frightening experience for your dad, as he was only 2 years old.
At this moment, I can’t tell you if she did get admitted to the poorhouse but if you want to find out the exact details of what went on in the marriage, then once lock-down is over, you can visit the Mitchell Library in Glasgow who hold all of the parish poor records for Scotland.
It was at this point during my research that I found that it was not the first time that your grandmother had been offered admittance to the poorhouse! I found that when she was only 4 years old her mum also applied for poor relief and in this instance, your great grandfather does not seem to be present.
The application states that your great grandfather also deserted his family and that he himself was admitted to the poorhouse 5 or 6 years ago. Once again, if you can please visit the Mitchell library where you will find every exact detail on this. Sadly, the next year in 1884 your great grandmother again applies for more poor relief and was once again her and the kids are admitted to the poorhouse.
I did trace your grandfather’s death and in 1921, he still had no home of his own. He sadly died alone at a lodging house. I found that he died on the 20th March 1921 at 21 Elgin Road, Cowdenbeath. The cause of his death was Syncope.
I did find that he had a brother who was called Matthew, so perhaps he moved to Cowdenbeath to be closer to family; but one thing that was noticeable on his death certificate was that he was recorded as still being married to your grandmother, so even after all the years that they were apart, he still classed his self as a married man.
I looked to see what had become of your grandmother and when I next found her on the 1911 census, I was pleased to see that she was supporting herself. In fact, she and your dad were living in their very own house. They lived at 109 Causewayside Street at Tollcross, Baillieston. She was working as a Charwoman, or in todays meaning, she was a house cleaner or Housekeeper. This was also the occupation of her mother.
Your grandmother continued to live at 109 Causewayside Street for the rest of her days and on the 21st of June 1955 she died at her house. She also was listed as being married to your grandfather and your dad at the time was living just up the road at 130 Causewayside Street and he was the person who registered your grandmother’s death.
Margaret, it is unknown why your grandparents came to Hamilton, however their time here in the town was short. As the wider family lived in places outside Hamilton, I have ended my research here and secondly I know that you are actively researching your family, so I will leave the rest for you to uncover.
I hope that what I have found for you answers some questions and I have set out a path for you to continue your research. Please do get in touch if you find anymore information on your family which connects it to Hamilton and I hope that you have fun researching your family in the coming days, weeks & months.