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Ann Begley

Generation 4




1841 Census

1851 Census

1861 Census

1871 Census

1881 Census

1891 Census

1901 Census














Ann has caused me some problems in validating all of the early records I found for her. Initially, I found her Marriage Certificate through the reference to its date on her son, Thomas McKay's Birth Certificate. This showed her parents to be William Bueglay and Jane Wilson. I then found a Birth Certificate for an Ann Begley in the correct period, but with a mother's name of Jane Hill. Later, Ann's Death Certificate was also found and it showed her mother as Jane Wilson. So, at that stage, I was confident that I had the correct Marriage and Death Certificates for Dad's Granny, Ann, but uncertain about the birth, although the year of birth was in accord with the age given on Ann's Death Certificate.

So, did I have the correct Ann's Birth Certificate and was Jane Hill and Jane Wilson therefore one and the same? Or was Ann mistaken in naming her mother as Jane Wilson on her Marriage Certificate - a mistake that was then compounded by her daughter, Barbara McKay, when she registered her mother's death? Or was the Birth Certificate simply mistaken? I needed more information from other source records!

So, I searched for a Marriage record between William and Jane Hill, but appeared at first to draw a blank, because the search was made in the period prior to Ann's apparent birth in 1856. Then I had a bit of luck when I started looking for William in the Census records. First, I found William Begley and his wife Jane in the 1881 Census living at 1 Chalmer's Close, Trinity College Parish, Edinburgh. William's age was given as 52 which would have made him 27 when Ann was born - a credible age to have been, if this ws the correct William. However, the seeming clincher was that Robert and Ann McKay and their daughter Jane (aged 10 months) were boarding with them at the time of this Census. They definitely appeared, then, to be the correct Robert and Ann, because I knew that they had given birth to Jane Baiglie McKay 10 months earlier. Now, the Census record does not state that Ann was William's daughter, but it would surely be too much of a coincidence if she wasn't.

Also recorded as living at 1 Chalmers Close in the 1881 Census were William and Jane's other children, Jane (16), Elizabeth (14) and William (7). I found young William's Birth Certificate and discovered that he was born illegitimately, but that the birth had since been legitimised through the subsequent marriage of his parents, William Begley and Jane Hill, on 25th August 1873, aged 43 and 42 respectively. 1873? Couldn't be Ann's parents ..... could they? So, I searched further into William and Jane's' other children. Those born before 1873 showed no date for their parents' marriage, whilst those born after 1873, showed 25th August 1873 as their parents' date of marriage.

Next, a real piece of luck! In searching for Jane (Hill) Begley's death, I found one that took place in 1889 for a girl aged 20 whose parents were William Begley and Jane Hill. Her address was recorded as Morrison's Close, 117 High Street, Edinburgh - right next to Chalmer's Close where our William and Jane had previously lived. Could this be the same Jane Begley as recorded in the 1881 Census as William and Jane's daughter? OK, the ages were a little out of kilter, but .......... the 1891 Census clinched it. I found William Begley and Jane "H" living at 117 High Street, Morrison's Close. They had to be the parents of the Jane whose death I had discovered and if they were, they had also to be Ann's parents.

This still doesn't answer the question of why 'Jane Wilson' was named as Ann's mother on two separate certificates, nor why William was shown as 'Deceased' on Ann's Marriage Certificate. The 'Wilson' on the Death Certificate could be easily explained by Barbara not actually knowing her Grandmother's maiden name (how many of us do?) and simply got it wrong by taking it from her Mother's Marriage Certificate, thus perpetuating a previous error. But, if the name on Ann's Marriage Certificate was an error, why? Pure speculation, but perhaps Ann had fallen out with her parents over their decision to finally marry only three months before her own wedding, thus legitimising other of their children, but not her? On the other hand, we know Jane was illiterate - could that have had something to do with it, particularly if her mother wasn't present and able to give her the correct information? We'll never know!


Birth - 20th February 1856

Ann Begley was born at 7.10 am at 327 Canongate, Edinburgh. Her parents were named as William Begley, a Labourer, and Jane Hill.

Birth Certificate details.

24th April 1858

Ann's sister, Margaret Begley, was born at Stevenlaw's Close, High Street, Edinburgh. Although her mother is described as "Jane Begley, M/S Hill", no date or place of marriage between her and William Begley was entered (lending credence to them not being married at all, at this time). William was employed as a 'Quarries Labourer'.

13th December 1860

Ann's brother, William Begley, was also born at Stevenlaws Close. Once again, Jane Begley's M/S is recorded as Hill, but no date or place of marriage is mentioned. On this occasion, William is described as a 'Stonebreaker'.


The Census shows that Ann Baigley, aged 5, lived with her parents, William and Jane Baigley, at 11 Stevenlaws Close, Edinburgh. Also living there were her sister, Margaret (3) and her brother, William (4 months).

Census Details

27th August 1861

Sadly, Ann's brother, William, died aged only 8 months. He died at home in Hasties Close, Edinburgh. (So, they must have moved there sometime after the Census.)

1871 Census

The Census records that Ann Begley, aged 15, lived at Hyndford's Close, 18 Old Church Edinburgh, Canongate, Edinburgh. She lived with her parents William Begley (41) and Jane Hill (36). Also living there were Ann's siblings - Margaret (11), Jane (5) and Elizabeth (3).

View the record.

1st July 1873

Ann's parents had another son called William, born just outside of wedlock, but legitimised 20 days later, when William and Jane were finally married.

19th August 1873

Ann's parents, William and Jane, married at the Free Church on the Mound in Edinburgh. This was some 17 years after Ann's birth. Her mother, Jane was aged 43 and her father, William, was 42.

Marriage Certificate details.

Marriage - 11th November 1873

Ann Bueglay married Robert McKay at 3 Regent Terrace, Edinburgh. She was aged 18 and was employed as a 'Gardener's Worker'. She lived at 10 East Richmond Street, Edinburgh, the same address given for Robert. Here parents were William Bueglay, a 'Road Surfaceman', and Jane Wilson. As noted above, her father was described as "deceased", but this was not so. (See above for possible explanations.) The witnesses were named as Charles Munro and Frances Nicholson, who also witnessed Ann's "X" mark on the certificate.

Marriage Certificate details.

27th May 1880

Ann's daughter, Jane Baiglie McKay, was born at 152 Pleasance, Edinburgh. Her husband, Robert, reported the birth and provided his "X" mark. His occupation was given as 'Coal Dealer'.

1881 Census

The Census shows Robert and Ann living as lodgers with William and Jane Begley. Annoyingly, Ann is not described as 'Daughter' in her relationship to the 'Head', William, but she has to be. At this time they are living at 1 Chalmers Close, Edinburgh and their daughter, Jane, aged 10 months, is also living there. as are three of William and Jane's other children. Ann's place of birth is shown as 'Canongate, Edinburgh'.

Census Record details

17th January 1883

Sadly, Ann's daughter, Jane Baigley McKay, died in infancy at the age of 2 years, 7 months. The death took place at 8 James Place, Greenside, Edinburgh. On this occasion, Ann's maiden name was recorded as 'Baigley', so at least was consistent with the middle name of her daughter. was present and he reported the death. At this time he was again a Coal Dealer.

14th February 1887

Ann's son, Thomas Dow McKay, was born at 14A Salisbury Street, Edinburgh. Ann's maiden name was recorded as Baigley.

20th October 1889

Ann had another son, John Campbell McKay, who was born at 17 Whitehorse Close, Edinburgh. On this occasion, Ann registered the birth, whereas it had been Robert who had done this for their earlier children. This time Ann's maiden name was recorded as 'Bueglay', the same as it was on her Marriage Certificate.

1891 Census

The Census shows Robert and Ann now living in 18 Anderson Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow - presumably having only moved their recently? Also living there are their children, Thomas (4) and John (1).

Census Record details.

27th April 1892

Ann's daughter, Barbara Rennie McKay, was born at 2 Anderson Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow. Again, it was Ann who registered the birth. I don't know whether there is anything to be read into this, though.

19th November 1893

Now apparently living back in Edinburgh (at least the Death is registered there), Robert and Ann suffer the loss of a second child. John died in the City Hospital, Edinburgh. He was aged just 4 and died from Scarletina. At the time they were living at 1 Baillie Fyfe's Close, Leith.

1901 Census

According to the Census, Ann's relationships to the 'Head of the Family' was 'Wife' and her Condition was recorded as 'Married'. In other words, she herself was not the 'Head'. That suggests that her husband, Robert, was still alive and living with Ann, but was absent on the day/night of the Census. Ann lived at 212 St. James Street, Kinning Park and was recorded as being aged 43. Also living there were her children Thomas (14), a 'Grocer's Message Boy' and Barbara (8), a scholar. She also had a boarder, one John Thompson, a Navvie, aged 38 ....... hmmm?!

Census Record details.

2nd April 1911

According to the Census, Ann is the 'Head' and her Condition is 'Widow'. Her name is recorded as "Annie B. MacKay" - this is the first time she is recorded as 'Annie' and the first time a middle initial is recorded (the 'B' might stand for 'Begley'?). It is also the first time any 'McKay' has been spelled as 'MacKay'. However, this is definitely the correct Ann, as I have found a record of her daughter 'Barbara Rennie McKay' marrying a 'Robert Ireland' in 1908 and they both lived in 'Smiths Land'. In the Census, Ann lived at 2 Smith's Land, Leith and was recorded as being 53. Also living there were her daughter, Barbara Ireland (18), whose Condition is 'Married and whose Occupation is a 'Mill Worker' in a Rope Works, and her granddaughters, Jeannie W. Ireland (2) and Annie B Ireland (9 months).

View the record.

Death - 12th May 1930

Ann died, aged 74, at the Eastern General Hospital in Edinburgh. She died from a 'Cerebral Haemorrhage and Cardiac Failure'. She lived at 6A Elbe Street, Leith. She was recorded as a 'Widow', (although I have not yet traced details of her husband's death). Her death was reported by daughter, Barbara, whose address was 5 East Cromwell Street, Leith.

View details.


Ann certainly moved about a lot in her life - most of the time in and around the Closes of Edinburgh's High Street. An interesting little point is her choice of middle names for her children - apart from 'Baiglie', none so far have been found in her earlier line, but may give me clues as I delve further back.