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David Purves Campbell

Generation 5




1841 Census

1851 Census

1861 Census

1871 Census

1881 Census

1891 Census

1901 Census



1841 to 1844












David Purves Campbell proved to be a difficult ancestor to track down completely, mainly because his middle name,' Purves', does not appear on all of his records. At the start, that sowed little seeds of doubt that I always had the one and same person. However, over time, as the evidence began to build, I became confident that everything I had was for the correct person.

I first got his name through  Isabella Fraser Brand Campbell’s death certificate which recorded Isabella's father as David Purves Campbell. Isabella’s death occurred on 25th May 1928 and the certificate gave her age as 61 which led us to a birth year of 1866 or 1867. On searching I found her date of birth to be 14th October 1866 and the name of her father on her birth certificate was also David Purves Campbell. On both these certificates Isabella’s mother was given as Margaret Campbell nee Richmond.

I then searched for the birth, death and marriage records of David Purves Campbell himself. I first found the death record of a David Purves Campbell, one which indicated he had died in 1919 and had been married to Margaret Richmond. This gave his age as 75, indicating a year of birth of 1843/44. The record also cited his parents as David Campbell (6) and Isabella Campbell nee Brand. My next search was for his marriage to Margaret Richmond and I assumed it would be before Isabella’s year of birth. I found the marriage record of David Purves Campbell and Margaret Richmond in 1864. This also gave David Purves Campbell’s parents’ names as David Campbell and Isabella Campbell nee Brand.

Although the marriage record gives David Purves Campbell’s age as 22, and therefore a birth year of 1841/42, the fact that David’s mother’s maiden name is Brand is too much of a coincidence and suggest that David’s daughter Isabella Fraser Brand Campbell is named after her. I have, however, been unable to find a record of David's birth, nor that of any of his siblings. It seems likely that the Campbells were just not church members and felt no need to have their children baptised.

The only other record I can find that refers to a David Purves Campbell is the birth record of his son and Isabella Fraser Brand Campbell’s brother. He is also called David Purves Campbell.

Although I have found all of the Census records for David, the 1911 one eluded me for ages. There were two reasons for this - firstly the fact that David married twice set me off track and secondly, even once I had that information, the fact that his age was incorrectly recorded in the 1911 Census completely threw me off the track. However, in trying to track it down, I firstly looked for Margaret Rintoul's 1901 Census record. This was before she married David and went under the name of Margaret Porter. I found her and the reason I was confident it was her was that she lived at 2 Anderson Place, the same address that was recorded for both David and this Margaret on their marriage record in 1907. The 1901 Census gave me details of Margaret's children, including William, Fanny and David. What followed was one of those pieces of fortune that sometimes occur in this genealogy stuff. I decided to see what I could find in the 1911 Census for "David P Campbell", hoping that might lead me to David Purves Campbell. It did, but in a roundabout way. I found a reference to a "David P Campbell" aged 20. This obviously wasn't my David, but as it was in Leith I thought I'd take a chance. David P Campbell was living at 2 Anderson Place with his parents cited as David and Margaret Campbell. Also living there were "Willie P Campbell" and "Fanny P Campbell". All four of these siblings were the age you would expect from the 1901 Census. So, same address, same children's names and same ages, including Margaret's. Clearly the "P" in their names was a reference to their birth surnames, "Porter". The fly in the ointment was the age ascribed to David himself - 47. However, his place of birth was given as Aberdour and his employment in the docks is consistent with other records. So, I have no doubt at all that this is the correct David and that the Enumerator simply made a mistake.

Interestingly, none of the Census records refers to David Purves Campbell, but two of them refer to David P Campbell (1881 and 1891) and others to David Campbell, all of which I am fully satisfied belong to this David.


Birth - 1841 to 1844

Details from Censuses and other records suggest that David was born in this period in Aberdour, Fife. However I have, so far, been unable to find a record of his birth.

1851 Census

The Census records David as living at 3 Wightman's Land, Duke Street, South Leith. David is aged 7 and is living with his Father, David aged 38, and his mother, Isabella aged 36, along with his siblings - Janet (13) and Isabella (2). The fact that this is the correct David is supported both by the father being described as a 'Cooper' and that both father and son were born in Aberdour, Fifeshire. David's father David is described as a Cooper, aged 38 and his mother Isabella is aged 36. Interestingly, David's siblings, born either side of him, were born in Leith/Edinburgh.

View Record.

1861 Census

The Census records David as living in Yardheads, Leith, in a close that looks like 'Sheridan's Close'. David is aged 17 and is a Ship Builder's Labourer. He is recorded as having been born in Aberdour, Fife. Also living there is father, who is cited as David, who is once again described as a Cooper/Journeyman and aged 48 and his mother Isabella, aged 46. Some of David's siblings are also living there - Isabella, aged 12 and a Scholar, William (9) and Georgina (7).

View Page 1 of Record.

View Page 2 of Record.

David Purves Campbell is at the top pf Page 2; his parents are at the foot of Page 2

Marriage (1st) - 17th June 1864

David married Margaret Richmond at 2 Gilchrist Lane, Greenside Row, Edinburgh. The record says he was aged 22, although he may actually have been a couple of years younger. He lived at 11 Easter Road, Leith and was employed as a Labourer. His parents, who were still alive, were David Campbell and Isabella Brand. Margaret was 25 years old and lived at 7 Comely Green Park, Edinburgh. Their witnesses were James hart, Barbara Hart and James Wallace.

View the record.

10th December 1864

David's first child, Daniel, was born at 2 Gilchrist Lane, Greenside Row, Edinburgh - the same place given as David's place of marriage. Given that David and Margaret both lived at different addresses at the time of their marriage, I'm wondering if this might have been some kind of institution, rather than a home address. Greenside Row runs from behind Leith Street to Royal Terrace, and Gilchrist Lane would have been a lane off of it, probably leading to Leith Street. David was present at his son's birth and was the Informant on Daniel's Birth certificate. At the time, David was employed as a Boilermaker's Labourer.

14th October 1866

David's daughter, Isabella Fraser Brand Campbell, was born in Gillon's Close, Giles Street, Leith. At that time, David was a Tanner's Labourer. Once again David was the Informant on the certificate, having signed it with his mark, "X".

20th September 1868

David had another daughter on this day - Margaret, born at 4 Kemp's Close, Giles Street, Leith. David was still a Tanner's Labourer, described as "A Labourer in a Tan Work". He reported Margaret's birth and was still signing with his "X" mark.

18th August 1870

David's son, John Richmond Campbell, was also born at Kemp's Close Leith. David's occupation was recorded as Hammerman Journeyman; (sounds like a step up). Again David reported the birth, but this time he signed his own name.

1871 Census

The Census records that, David, aged 27 and his wife Margaret (34) lived at 8 Kemp's Close, Leith. The dwelling only had one room with windows in it. David was a Hammerman and his place of birth was given as "Fifeshire, Aberdour". Also living there were his children Daniel (6), John (7 months), Isabella (4) and Margaret (2).

View the record.

15th June 1872

David's daughter, Georgina Campbell, was born at 40 Hillhousefield, Leith, (the site of the present day Trafalgar Lane). David was again described as a Hammerman and again it was he who reported the birth. On this occasion, he was noted as having been present at the birth.

30th June 1874

David's son, David Purves Campbell, was born at 18 Old Church Street, Leith. David (the father), was now a Labourer.

27th March 1876

Another daughter, Mary Jane, was born at Mary's Court, Yardheads, Leith. David was a Labourer. Having signed on previous occasions as 'David Campbell', this time his signature read 'D. P. Campbell'.

8th August 1878

And yet another daughter, Davina, born at 15 Hillhousefield, Leith. David was by then, a Mason's Labourer.

1881 Census

The Census records his name as David P Campbell, a General Labourer, aged 37. His wife was Margaret, aged 42. They lived at "15 Hillhousefield or Trafalgar Lane", in Leith. Their children living with them were, Daniel, an Apprentice Boilermaker (aged(17); Margaret, a Scholar (12); Mary Jane (5); and Davina, aged 2. (Actually the last entry reads more like 'Decenia', but given the age of the child, it is almost certainly a poorly written Davina. (Wonder where Isabella, Margaret, John, Georgina and David were staying and who with?).

View the Record.

12th November 1882

And finally, after an uncharacteristic gap of 4 years, another daughter - Williamina - was born at 24 Trafalgar Lane, Leith. David was by then, a Hammer's Labourer, (a bit of a comedown from a Hammerman Journeyman?)

26th April 1889

David's daughter, Isabella, married William Roger, at St Thomas Manse, Leith, according to the rites of the Church of Scotland. David was recorded as a Labourer.

1891 Census

This Census also records David as "David P. Campbell" and curiously, his wife as "Margaret R". They lived at 4 Breadalbane Street, Leith and were aged 47 and 50 respectively. David was a General Labourer. Mary Jane (15) and Davina (12) were both still living with their parents as was Williamina, aged 8.

(Note that as each Census goes by, Margaret seems to lose a couple of years on her age - vanity; forgetfulness; carelessness?)

View the Record.

14th January 1898

David's daughter, Mary, married Vans Agnew Dove (great name), at Lorne Street Hall, Leith, according to the rites of the Free Church of Scotland. Mary was living with her parents at 113 Bonnington Road at the time. On the certificate, David was described as a Tanner.

1901 Census

The children had, by now, all flown the nest and David and Margaret Campbell lived at 113 Bonnington Road. They had a boarder living with them, but the name was indistinct. By this time, David was employed as a Farmyard Labourer - not sure how many farms there were in Leith in those days, so maybe he had a bit of traveling to do? David is recorded as being 57 and Margaret as 62.

View the Record.

19th September 1901

David's first wife, Margaret Richmond, died aged 61, at home in 113 Bonnington Road, Leith. David, who was a Labourer at the time, did not report the death. That was done by his daughter, Mary Dove.

View the record.

1911 Census

This Census record eluded me for some time, mainly because the Enumerator got David's age wrong. I've noted above why I am confident this is the correct record. So, David is recorded as being 47, when in fact he would have been 67. Living with him, at 2 Anderson Place, Leith, are his second wife, Margaret (Rintoul) and three of Margaret's children from a previous marriage - Willie (23), Fanny (16) and David (10). David is recorded as being a "Dock Sweeper" and his place of birth os given as "Fifeshire, Aberdour".

View the record.

Marriage (2nd) - 21st June 1907

David Purves Campbell married Margaret Rintoul, previously "Cleghorn (M/S Porter)". The marriage took place at the Salvation Army Hall in Leith, according to the rites of the Salvation Army; (I wonder if either of them were actually in the Salvation Army?) This was Margaret Rintoul's 3rd marriage. By this time David was aged 63, but his new bride was only 43, (lucky guy ???). David was living at 2 Anderson Place, Leith, as was Margaret and he was a Dock Labourer. Their witnesses were, Euphemia Beaton and John Sinclair and they were married by a Salvation Army Major. His parents were recorded as David Campbell and Isabella Campbell nee Brand.

View the record.

Death - 16th February 1919

David Purves Campbell died in Anderson Place, Leith at 11.30 p.m. He was aged 75 and his occupation was recorded as a Labourer. The cause of his death was Bronchitis. David's parents were recorded as David Campbell and His death was reported by his (step) grandson, David Porter, of 64 Pitt Street, Leith.

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10th January 1938

David's second wife died, aged 75, at the Eastern General Hospital. Despite having been married three times by the age of 43, Margaret did not marry again after David's Death in 1919. At the time of her death she still lived at 2 Anderson Place, Leith - the same address she had when she first married David. On Margaret's Death Certificate, all of her previous husbands, including David, were described as Tanners. Her death was reported by her son, William Porter who lived in Bonnington Road, just round the corner from Anderson Place.

View the record.