Five years ago today, the Hamilton Advertiser covered the story of Historic Hamilton. It was my 1 year anniversary of setting up the Facebook page & website and to celebrate, I put together a small video to showcase all of the fantastic pictures that you all had sent in over the first 12 months.
Back then, when the Advertiser asked to write my story, for me it was a proud moment as I had always backed the Hamilton Advertiser and I loved the fact that our town had its very open newspaper based in Hamilton that brought us all the local weekly news of the area.
Since then Historic Hamilton has brought to you hundreds of of old forgotten Hamilton stories. All of the things that I write about tells you about Hamilton’s past, good & bad! I have researched many people’s family history and reunited people who lost touch many years ago. I have told you about old Hamilton Buildings long gone and today we have readers from all over the world who frequently come to my Website & Facebook page.
For those who never managed to read the story, the Advertiser hosted it on their parent company, the Daily Record website (Link Below). Perhaps it’s time to make another short video and share the memories that Historic Hamilton has brought you all over the past six years. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the Facebook page over the last six years and to all who have sent me their old pictures. I have a long term plan to run the website and everything that is sent to me is hosted for future generations to see.
Garry McGowan sent us this fantastic picture of the Burnbank Windsor Social Club members. Garry told us: “This is a photo taken possibly in the late thirties of the Burnbank Windsor Social Club,centre in the white T-Shirt is Tam McGowan (Joe Gans),Walter McGowan the boxers dad. Three boys in the front seated are my dad Bill McGowan (at right) and his brothers Hughie and Tommy McGowan”.
James Mason went on to tell us that this picture was actually taken at the Caledonia Pub at Montrose in 1937. This pub still stands today and i have attached a recent picture.
Do you have an old Hamilton picture that you would like to share with us? If you do, then please send them in.
Tracey Tomlinson got in touch as she was trying to do some family research for a friend, and she asked:
“Hi Garry, please could you advise me I am trying to help a lady from Lithuania trace her ancestry graves and any history. I have names and believe they lived in Burnbank. Any advice would be much appreciated.
The Information the lady gave me is as follows. Burnbank near Hamilton family Vincas Jankauskas: Scottish names 3 brothers William, Anthony and yosef. And she only knows that there is a death in 1902. This I’m afraid is all she has; I would be most grateful of any help. Regards Tracey.”
So, unfortunately, I never found any trace if this family living in Burnbank or Hamilton, so I cannot give you any help with narrowing down a Burnbank-Hamilton connection. The name Jankauskas is not a common one in the area and I did find some connections with this family name! Here is what I found.
In 1911, there was three Russian families living at 7 & 8 Monkey Rows in Hollytown/Carnbroe. The family with the Jankauskas surname was Evea (25), Antanas (31) & Tonas (20). The other families living here went by the names of Granas? & Orbanawwich? I put question marks next to these names as I am uncertain of the correct spelling.
In 1906, I found the death of a 1-year-old girl, who was called Ona Jankauskas and her father was called Autauas? (could be the same person from the 1911 Census). This wee girl died at 71 Whifflet Street in Coatbridge.
I then found a 71-year-old man who went by the name of Francius Jankauskas who died at 48 Wingate Street in Wishaw in 1947.
Other names with the surname of Jankauskas that I found in Scotland are as follows:
Magdalene Jankauskas Married John Maczulaitis in Kilbirnie 1900.
ANNA JANKAUSKAS Married HUGH HERON Glasgow 1982.
LAURA JANKAUSKAS Married MARK ANDREW Perth 2011.
RIMA JANKAUSKAS Married BALLAV KARKI in Gretna 2012.
RASA JANKAUSKAS Married MUHAMMAD MUDASS BEGUM Gretna 2019.
RASA JANKAUSKAS Married MUHAMMAD MUDASS FAROOQI in Gretna 2019.
These are the names of Jankauskas that are closest to Hamilton and it could lead you to another clue with your research, however, as I cannot find a link to Hamilton, then I will have to leave my research at this point. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch and let me know if you find any other hard evidence of the family living in Hamilton and once again, thank you for your donation to the page.
Shannon Broughton from Toronto in Canada got in touch and asked:
“Hi Garry, I’ve been looking into our family history for my grandmother, and I’ve hit a block with her grandfather. His name was Peter McKie, and the only clue I have is that he lived at 14 Grammar School Square in Hamilton in 1921 when his daughter was born. Is there anything you can tell me about that address that might help me find out more about him? Thank you!.”
Hi Shannon, So, here is what I can tell you about Grammar School Square. If you have researched your family History and if some of your ancestors were living at Grammar School Square or Portwell, during the census, then this is how some of the houses & buildings at the auld toon would have looked between 1841 & 1901.
The Old Town of Hamilton, or better known to us locals as the ‘Auld Toon’ was an area built up on higher ground just up the road from the Hamilton Palace. Grammar School Square took its name form the old Grammar School that was built in 1714.
THE OLD GRAMMAR SCHOOL 1714-1848
The old Grammar school No longer existing as an independent institution, Hamilton Academy had a history going back to 1588 when it was endowed by Lord John Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Hamilton.
The school, then known as the Old Grammar School of Hamilton (not to be confused with the present Hamilton Grammar School) stood near the churchyard adjoining Hamilton Palace until in 1714 Anne Hamilton, 3rd Duchess of Hamilton, great-granddaughter of the Founder, re-located the school to a new building on the newly named Grammar School Square also in the lower part of the town, and presented this to the Town Council of Hamilton.
The Statistical Account of Lanarkshire of 1835 notes of this school building that it “is a venerable pile, near the centre of the town, containing a long-wainscoted hall, emblazoned with the names of former scholars, cut out in the wood, as at Harrow.
The old school building of 1714–1848 In 1847 this old school building on Grammar School Square was sold for £253 and survived until its demolition in 1932. So, this building would have been familiar to your 2 x great grandparents.
A plaque commemorating the site of the Old Grammar School of Hamilton (which was renamed Hamilton Academy in 1848) was commissioned by pupils of Hamilton Academy and unveiled by the Academy’s rector, David Anderson MC, on 21 March 1932 at a public ceremony in the presence of Academy pupils and teaching staff: the Provost and members of the Town Council, and members of Hamilton Civic Society.
Also, in the year 1885, 14 Grammar School Square was owned by his Grace, the Duke of Hamilton and the first tenants of the building was a man named Bernard MacCusker. At the rear of the building there was a man named John Robertson who owned a Bark Mill & Drying Shed.
I did have a look to see if I could find Peter in between censuses, however, the name appears in quite a few places. Can I ask was he a Hawker by Trade? During the time when Peter lived at Grammar School Square, it was a real poor place to live, it was damp, and people lived in cramped conditions and sometimes you would have 13 people in a family sharing the one room.
I myself had many family members who lived in Grammar School Square during this time and my family would have probably known your family.
When doing family research, we often hit what is called a “brick wall” and sometimes no matter how much you search, you will never find the people who you are looking for and the reason for this is because we have to rely on information provided in census returns, newspaper advertisements and so on and if the information is not there, then as we only go on facts, we hit the old brick wall.
Shannon, if I could give you any advice to track down your ancestor, it would be to expand your search and not get too hung up on the family living at Grammar School Square. In some instances, people lived at one address for a week and then in a house around the corner for a month two days later. This happened in my family and I sometimes found it hard to pin them down to one location.
Good luck with your family research and if you do see what become of the family, then let me know. And once again, thank you for your donation to Historic Hamilton, its much appreciated.