brian mckay's family tree
Boy, has William (and his wife, Jane Hill), led me a merry dance. I first discovered them on Ann Begley's Birth Certificate - they were recorded as her parents. However, their details did not wholly accord with the details found earlier on Ann's Marriage Certificate (to Robert McKay), wherein her mother was recorded as Jane Wilson. Later, Ann's Death Certificate was also found to have shown her mother as Jane Wilson. So, at that stage, I was confident that I had the correct Marriage and Death records for my Dad's Granny, Ann McKay, 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 Birth Certificate and were Jane Hill and Jane Wilson one and the same, or, was Ann mistaken in naming her mother as Jane Wilson on her marriage record, a mistake compounded by her daughter, Barbara McKay, when she registered her mother's death??? Or, was the Birth record mistaken?
On searching for a record of a marriage between William Begley and Jane Hill, I appeared to draw a blank, because the search was made for the period prior to Ann's apparent birth in 1856. Then I had a bit of luck when I started to try to find William in the Census records. First, I found a William Begley and his wife, Jane, in the 1881 Census living at 1 Chalmer's Close, Trinity College Parish in Edinburgh. William's age was given as 52 which would have made him 27 when Ann was born - a credible age to have been. But the seeming clincher was that Robert and Ann McKay and their daughter, Jane (aged 10 months), were boarding with William and Jane. They definitely appear to have been the correct Robert and Ann as they had given birth to a Jane Baiglie McKay, 10 months earlier. Now, the Census record doesn't actually 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 with William and Jane were their children Jane (aged 16), Elizabeth (14) and William (7). I found young William's Birth record quickly and discovered that he was born illegitimately, but that the birth had been legitimised through the subsequent marriage of William Begley (aged 43) and Jane Hill (42) on 25th August 1873.
1873? Did this mean that they couldn't be Ann's parents after all? Further searching, however, revealed other children born to William and Jane. The records for those born before 1873 showed no date of birth for their parents marriage (as had Ann's), while those born after 1873 showed the 25th August 1873 as their parents' date of marriage.
Next, a real piece of luck. While searching for Jane (Hill) Begley's death I found one for the death of a Jane Begley, aged 20, in 1889, whose parents were William Begley and Jane Hill. Her address was given as Morrison's Close, 117 High Street, Edinburgh. Could this be the same Jane shown as William and Jane's daughter in the 1881 Census? 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 20 year old 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 records, nor why William was shown as deceased on Ann's Marriage record. The 'Wilson' on Ann's Death record could easily be explained by Barbara McKay not actually knowing her mother's maiden name and simply taking it from her parents' marriage certificate, thus perpetuating a previous error. If, though, the name on the marriage certificate was an error, how came it to be so? This is pure speculation, but I wonder if the fact that she recorded her father as being deceased suggests that Ann had fallen out with her parents over their decision to finally marry only three months before her own wedding, thus legitimising the other children, but not her? Also, I know that Ann was illiterate, so could that have had something to do with it, particularly if her mother wasn't present at the wedding? We'll never know!
KEY EVENTS AND DATES
Birth - 1829
From the ages assigned to William in his Marriage record and Censuses, William must have been born in this year. According to the Census records he was born in Leith, although they disagree whether it was North or South Leith. Unfortunately, I have yet to find the actual record of his birth.
24th November 1831William's sister, Margaret Bigley, was born in Davidson's Mains, Cramond. Her parents were Robert Bigley and Margaret Grinton, the same as those named on William's Marriage record, (see below).
The Census records that William Bigley, aged 12, lived at "Dean Village" with his parents, Robert and Margaret Bigley, as well as his siblings, Margaret (9), Peter (7) and Robert (5). His father, Robert, was a Roads Labourer.
The Census records that William Beglie, aged 20, lived in "The Village of Water of Leith", with his father, Robert Beglie, aged 58. (Although these ages and surnames appear to be not quite right, all the other information is consistent with other records I've found. It is not uncommon for ages to be reported incorrectly and as discovered throughout my researches, it is fairly common for spelling variations of names.) William was a Labourer and his place of birth was recorded as, Edinburgh, St Cuthbert's.
20th February 1856
William Begley's daughter, Ann Begley, was born at 7.10 a.m. at 327 Canongate, Edinburgh. William was recorded as being a Labourer.
24th April 1858
William's second daughter, Margaret, was born at Stevenlaw's Close, High Street, Edinburgh. Although Margaret's mother is recorded as "Jane Begley, M/S Hill", no date or place of marriage between William and Jane is recorded (lending credence to their not being married at that time). William was recorded as being a Quarry Labourer.
13th December 1860
William's son, William, was also born at Stevenlaw's Close. Once again Jane Begley is given a maiden name of Hill, but no date or place of marriage. On this occasion, William is described as a Stonebreaker.
The Census records that William Baigley lived at 11 Stevenlaw's Close, Edinburgh with his wife, Jane. William is recorded as being a Labourer aged 31. Jane was aged 30. Also living there were their children Ann (5), Margaret (3) and William (4 months).
View the record.
27th August 1861
Sadly, young William, aged only 8 months, died from Bronchitis, at home in Hastie's Close, Edinburgh. William, (the father), was still employed as a Stonebreaker.
The Census records that William Begley, aged 41 and Jane Hill, aged 36 lived at 18 Hyndford's Close, Old Church, Edinburgh. Both are recorded as unmarried, despite there being four of their children living there - Ann (15), Margaret (11),Jane (5) and Elizabeth (3). William was employed as a Mason's Labourer. Ann, Margaret and Jane were all described as Scholars. William's place of birth was Leith; Jane's was Cramond and the girls were Edinburgh.
1st July 1873
William and Jane had another son, also named William, born just out of wedlock, but legitimised 49 days later when William and Jane were married. William was a Road Labourer and lived at 1 Chalmer's Close, High Street, Edinburgh.
Marriage - 19th August 1873
William and Jane Hill were married at the Free Church College on The Mound in Edinburgh. This was some 17 years after the birth of their first child, Ann. William was aged 43 and his 'new' wife, Jane was 42. William was employed as a Road Labourer and he and Jane still lived at 1 Chalmer's Close. His parents were recorded as being Robert Begley (deceased) and Margaret Grinton (although it looks more like 'Grunton' on the certificate). Their witnesses were Hugh Walker and Robert Begley (probably William's brother?).
11th November 1873
William's first daughter, Ann Bueglay, married Robert McKay at 3 Regent Terrace, Edinburgh. Her parents were shown as William Bueglay, a Road Surfaceman, and Jane Wilson. William was described as being deceased when plainly he wasn't and I'm sure that Ann would have been aware of that, (see above).
The Census shows William still living at 1 Chalmer's Close along with his wife and children Jane (16), Elizabeth (14) and William (7). Also living there, as boarders, were Robert and Ann McKay and their daughter, Jane (10 months). So, despite having claimed her father as deceased 8 years earlier, here she was living with her parents in the same house that her parents would have inhabited at the time of Ann's wedding! At this time William was a General Labourer, aged 52. His place of birth was shown as South Leith.
The Census shows William, aged 61 and Jane, aged 58 now living at 117 High Street, Morrison's Close, Edinburgh, which was the next Close up the High Street from Chalmer's Close. His daughter, Elizabeth (22) and son, William (17) were still living with he and Jane. William was employed as a Labourer, Stonebreaker. William's place of birth is recorded as North Leith.
Death - 6th December 1892
William died at 8.40 a.m. at 1 South Foulis Close, High Street, Edinburgh. This, incidentally, was the same address at which Ann McKay's daughter, Jane Baiglie McKay, later died in 1894, (perhaps suggesting that William was by then living in his daughter's house?). William was recorded as being aged just 62 and was shown as being married to Jane Hill and employed as a Stonebreaker. His parents were named as Robert Begley, a Toll Keeper and Margaret Grinton. The cause of his death was recorded as Plithesus Pulmonalis, Mitrual Stenosis and it was reported by his son, William.
3rd June 1894
William's wife Jane died 1 South Foulis Close, High Street Edinburgh. Her age was recorded as 54, which is clearly out of kilter with the ages recorded for other events. However, there is no doubt this is the same Jane - she lived at the address where she was at the 1891 Census; her deceased Husband's occupation was Stonebreaker and her father's and son's names are William. I can only assume that her son, William, who registered the death, was unsure of her date of birth.