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THE ANCESTRY OF JAMES RENNIE STODDART

 Researched by Ian Stoddart

          Research on the Stoddart family commenced on the basis of the following information:

 

James Rennie Stoddart was born on 4 October 1918 at Cross Hill, Glasgow, the son of George Ingram Stoddart.  George Ingram Stoddart was born on 15 April 1892 at 27 Victoria Road, Govanhill, Glasgow, son of Archibald Stoddart, confectioner and baker, and Elizabeth Harvie Ingram who were married on 18 November 1870.   

Statutory registration was introduced in Scotland in January 1855 and from that time onwards all births, deaths and marriages have been registered by district registrars who forward the registers to Edinburgh, where indexes (now computerised) are compiled for the whole of Scotland.  Unlike the English system, registration was compulsory from the time of the start of civil registration and in Edinburgh, access to the certificates is granted to anyone who purchases a pass.  

A great deal of information is contained in Scottish certificates and therefore the first step in tracing back the history of the Stoddart family was to consult the marriage certificate of Archibald Stoddart and Elizabeth Harvie Ingram.  The following details were given there: 18 November 1870 at 44 South Portland Street, Glasgow, after banns according to the forms of the Church of Scotland – Archibald Stoddart, baker, journeyman, bachelor, aged 26 of 23 Oxford Street, Glasgow. Son of Robert Stoddart, baker, master and Ann Cook (maiden surname) deceased

AND

Elizabeth Harvey (sic) Ingram, spinster, aged 20 of 44 South Portland Street, Glasgow. Daughter of James Ingram, weighing machine manufacturer and Elizabeth Walker (maiden surname).

Witnesses – R.C. Stoddart and Elizabeth H. Walker. 

Decennial censuses were instituted in the whole of Britain in 1801 but those taken from 1801-1831 were in the main just head-counts.  From 1841 onwards there are personal returns for all of Scotland, though the information contained in the 1841 census is limited.  From 1851-1891 (there is a one hundred years’ restriction on access), the enumerations are a very valuable source of detail for family historians.   

The 1881 and 1891 censuses are now indexed which in most cases makes it possible to locate a family.   When the 1881 census was taken, Archibald Stoddart and his family had moved further south in Glasgow to Govanhill where they were living in accommodation described as having three rooms with one or more windows.   The following particulars were given for the family:

 

Census 4 April 1881

52 Allison Street, Govan, Glasgow Lanarkshire

Archibald Stoddart

head of house

aged 36

foreman confectioner

born Sanquhar, Dumfries

Elizabeth H.    

his wife

aged 30

 

born Glasgow

James I.           

his son

aged  7

scholar

born Glasgow

Archibald        

his son

aged  5

scholar

born Glasgow

Thomas           

his son

aged  2

 

born Govanhill

John I.             

his son

aged  8 mths.

 

born Govanhill

Ten years later the family were found at a different address in Govan but very near where they had been living in 1881, though it is clear that for some years they had been living in Dumfries-shire: 

Census 6 April 1891

15 Dixon Avenue, Govanhill, Glasgow

Archibald Stoddart

head of house

aged 46

confectioner

born Sanquhar

Elizabeth      

his wife

aged 40

 

born Glasgow

James           

his son

aged 17

jeweller’s apprentice

born Glasgow

Archd            

his son

aged 15

clerk, metal merchant

born Glasgow

Thomas        

his son

aged 12

scholar

born Glasgow

John             

his son

aged 10

scholar

born Glasgow

Ann              

his daughter

aged  9

scholar

born Glasgow

Jean              

his daughter

aged  8

scholar

born Moffat, Dumfries

William        

his son

aged  6

 

born Moffat

Elizabeth      

his daughter

aged  4

 

born Moffat

According to the details given on census returns and on his marriage certificate, Archibald Stoddart was born circa 1845 in Sanquhar – a parish in Dumfries-shire.  Before 1855 registration of births and marriages (or of baptisms and proclamations which were often the actual events recorded) was made in the registers of each parish, usually by the session clerk or minister.   Registration was not compulsory and many of the registers were deficient – badly kept or with gaps over a period of years.   There was no set form for entries (as in the statutory registers) and the amount of information given depended on the whim of the recorder.  Another reason for not finding relevant entries is due to the fact that the Old Parish Registers, as they are known, were mainly concerned with members of the Established Church of Scotland and increasingly throughout the eighteenth century, there were a great many dissenters.  Fortunately all entries of birth and baptism, proclamation and marriage which have been made in the parish registers are indexed.  Burial records were the least well kept of the parish registers and are not indexed. 

The index to births and baptisms for the Dumfries-shire registers was now searched for an entry concerning Archibald Stoddart and this was found, duly recorded in Sanquhar in 1844: Robert Stoddart, Baker in Sanquhar and Ann Cook, a lawful son Born 1st July 1844.  Baptised 26th currt. Named Archibald

The family was a large one and the baptisms of eight other children were recorded in Sanquhar:

Thomas baptised 31 August 1834    Isabella baptised 8 June 1838    John baptised 5 June 1840    Margaret baptised 8 July 1842    Robert Cook baptised 4 November 1846    Mary Jane baptised 1 May 1849    David Crighton baptised 11 June 1851    Ann baptised 20 November 1853 

The proclamation of Robert Stoddart and Ann Cook was also registered in Sanquhar: January 30th 1831.  This day Robert Stodhart (sic) and Ann Cook both of this parish were proclaimed in order to marriage for the first time. A marriage should have been proclaimed three times but often this was not done and only one proclamation was recorded for Robert and his wife-to-be.  

The 1851 census then provided further information on the family: 

Census 31 March 1851

High Street, Sanquhar, Dumfries-shire

 

Robert Stoddart

head of house

aged 44

master baker employing 3 men

born Cumnock, Ayrshire

Ann           

his wife

aged 39

 

born Sanquhar

Thomas     

his son

aged 16

baker, apprentice

born Sanquhar

Marion      

his daughter

aged 14

 

born Sanquhar

Isabella     

his daughter

aged 12

scholar

born Sanquhar

John          

his son

aged 10

scholar

born Sanquhar

Margaret   

his daughter

aged  8

scholar

born Sanquhar

Archibald 

his son

aged  6

scholar

born Sanquhar

Robert      

his son

aged  4

 

born Sanquhar

Mary Jane “

his daughter

aged  1

 

born Sanquhar

Also in the household were an apprentice baker of sixteen who acted as house servant and Robert’s nephew, named Archibald Kerr, aged 13 and born in Sanquhar. 

No entry had been found for the birth or baptism of Marion Stoddart circa 1836 but the parish register of Sanquhar contains a number of gaps. 

Ten years later the Stoddart family appear to be in the same house but by this time Robert was a widower:

Census 8 April 1861

Main Street, Sanquhar, Dumfries-shire

Robert Stoddart

head of house

aged 52

widower, baker, master, empl. 2 men and 1 apprentice

born Old Cumnock

Thomas      

his son

aged 26

unmarried, baker, journeyman

born Sanquhar

Isabella     

his daughter

aged 22

unmarried

born Sanquhar

Margaret   

his daughter

aged 28

 

born Sanquhar

Archibald 

his son

aged 16

baker, apprentice

born Sanquhar

Robert      

his son

aged 14

scholar

born Sanquhar

Mary Jane “

his daughter

aged 11

scholar

born Sanquhar

David      

his son

aged  9

scholar

born Sanquhar

Annie      

his daughter

aged  6

scholar

born Sanquhar

William   

his son

aged  3

 

born Sanquhar

This entry added yet another child to the Stoddart family – William who was born circa 1857

The family’s accommodation comprised five rooms with one or more windows – spacious housing for the time. 

Ann Cook or Stoddart died in 1857, possibly at the time of the birth of her youngest child: 30 August 1857 at Main Street, Sanquhar, aged 46.

Ten years later, Robert Stoddart married for the second time: 29 January 1867 at Cumnock, after banns according to the forms of the Church of Scotland – Robert Stoddart, baker, widower, aged 56 of Sanquhar. Son of Thomas Stoddart, gardener deceased and Margaret Anderson (maiden surname)

AND

Agnes Hamilton or Smith, staymaker, widow, aged 30 of Cumnock. Daughter of George Hamilton, sheriff officer deceased and Margaret Wood (maiden surname).

Witnesses – Thos. Gibb and Mary Gibb. 

Robert and his new wife continued to live in Sanquhar, with a number of Robert’s children and by his second wife he had a daughter named Mary Jane.  It seems likely that the child of this name born in 1849 had died in childhood – she was still alive in 1861. 

Census 3 April 1871

High Street, Sanquhar, Dumfries-shire

Robert Stoddart

head of house

aged 62

baker

born Old Cumnock

Agnes        

his wife

aged 35

baker’s wife

born Old Cumnock

Margaret    

his daughter

aged 28

unmarried

born Sanquhar

David        

his son

aged 19

baker’s apprentice

born Sanquhar

Annie         

his daughter

aged 17

 

born Sanquhar

William    

his son

aged 13

baker’s apprentice

born Sanquhar

Mary Jane “

his daughter

aged  3

 

born Sanquhar

 

Five year later, Agnes Hamilton or Stoddart died: Agnes Stoddart, married to Robert Stoddart, baker, master, died 16 July 1872 at High Street, Sanquhar, aged 35.

Robert Stoddart only survived his second wife by less than two years: 9 February 1874 at High Street, Sanquhar, aged 65.

According to information gathered from statutory certificates and census returns, Robert Stoddart was born in the Ayrshire parish of Old Cumnock circa 1809 and his birth and baptism were duly recorded in the parish register in 1808: twenty first of March 1808.

The christian name of Robert’s mother had always been given as “Margaret” but in this family there seemed  to have been an unusual interchange between Margaret and Isabella.   The births of two other children to Thomas Stoddart and his wife were registered in Old Cumnock – Isabella born on 24 August 1806 and John born on 28 May 1811.   Isabella’s mother was again named as Isabella (baptised on 31 August 1806) but on the birth of John (to Thomas Stodart, fettler in Cumnock Potteree), who was baptised on 7 June 1811, his mother’s christian name was given as Margaret.    There is no doubt that this is the relevant family.   The term “fettler” – given as the occupation of Thomas – is also uncommon.  It would appear – on consultation of a number of Old Scots dictionaries  - that a fettler was one who tidied up and therefore Thomas was probably a general handiman – which would fit with his later description as a gardener.   

Thomas Stoddart married Margaret Anderson in Old Cumnock in 1806: 21 March 1806

It was noted, for possible interest, that there was one other Stoddart family recording the baptisms of their children in Old Cumnock at this time – John Stoddart, a weaver, and Agnes Aitken in Village.  According to a tombstone in the parish burial ground, John died on 15 May 1848 at the age of 69 and later research showed that almost certainly he was Thomas’s brother. 

At the time of taking the 1841 census, Thomas Stoddart, then aged 50-54, was living in Old Cumnock Village with his wife Margaret (aged 45-49) but they had no children with them.  Thomas was described as an agricultural labourer.   Ten years later they were still there, at Townhead, Old Cumnock.  Thomas’s age was given as 64 and he was a gardener, born in Cumnock: Margaret was aged 63 and born in Kilmarnock.

In the hope that Thomas Stoddart and his wife survived into the period of statutory registration, a search was made of the General Index of Deaths in Scotland from 1855 onwards and it was then found that he died in 1864: 13 January 1864 at Townhead, Cumnock, aged 78.

His wife outlived him by ten years and died in 1874: 24 January 1874 at Townhead, Cumnock, aged 87.

There is a tombstone for the Stoddart family in Old Cumnock burial ground.  The following is an abridged form of the inscription: February 1847, in memory of his wife Isabel Stoddart – died 3.4.1826 aged 19. 22.11.1836 aged 20. His father Thomas Stoddart died 13.1.1865 aged 77. His mother Margaret Anderson died 4.2.1874 aged 87.

There are several discrepancies in the dates and ages given on the tombstone when compared with the death certificates of Thomas and Margaret.   It is not unusual to find mistakes in monumental inscriptions – the result either of difficulties in reading the inscription or sometimes errors made by the mason.  Despite the indication that John who died in 1836 was born in 1816, it is probable that this was the child born in 1811 though there could have been two sons of this name in the family, the older one having died in infancy.   It was interesting to note that Robert’s sister married a baker – which may have started the family connection with the bakery business. 

Knowing the names of Thomas’s parents, it was possible to identify his birth which took place in 1785 in Old Cumnock: 29th of August and baptised the 4th of September 1785.

Two other children were recorded to this family in Old Cumnock –  

Marron born 23 October 1771, baptised 27th October

John born 12 January 1780, baptised 17 January 

It is probable that there were other children as it was normal for a couple to have a child on average every two years.   The parish register for Old Cumnock appears to have been rather irregularly kept and this may account for the gaps in the family.  There were no other Stoddart families recording the births or baptisms of their children in this parish around this time – though there was an entry for the proclamation for the marriage of John Stoddart and Marron Hoatson on 2 February 1772

The final proclamation of Robert and Helen was duly recorded in the parish register – there are no entries for the earlier proclamations: Robt. Stoddart and Helen Patrick were proclaimed in order to marriage last time June 10th 1770. 

Robert would almost certainly have been aged at least seventeen at this time and would therefore have been born before 1753.  The index of births and baptisms recorded in all the Ayrshire parishes was searched under Stoddart and all possible variants but no entry of possible relevance was found.   The parish register of Old Cumnock is unfortunately very deficient around the time when Robert might have been born with a gap between 1746 and 1751 and another between 1752 and 1753.  Lacking knowledge of the names of his parents or his approximate date of birth it was not possible to prove this ancestry further back.  Research was therefore halted, having traced the family through five generations back to the great-great-great grandparents of James Rennie Stoddart. 

R E F E R E N C E S

 

Marriage of Archibald Stoddart and Elizabeth Harvie Ingram Tradestown, Glasgow 6449/556 

1881 Census for Glasgow 6444/88 page 14 

1891 Census for Glasgow 64412/94 page 11

Birth of Robert Stoddart OPR Sanquhar 848/2 

Marriage of Robert Stoddart and Ann Cook - OPR Sanquhar 848/2 

1851 Census for Sanquhar 848/2 page 24 

1861 Census for Sanquhar 848/1 page 19 

Death of Ann Cook for Stoddart – Sanquhar8481/20 

Second marriage of Robert Stoddart - Old Cumnock 610/10 

1871 Census for Sanquhar 8481 page 13 

Death of Agnes Hamilton or Stoddart - Sanquhar 848/28 

Death of Robert Stoddart – Sanquhar 848/10 

Birth of Robert Stoddart – OPR Old Cumnock 610/2 

Marriage of Thomas Stoddart and Margaret Anderson OPR Old Cumnock 610/2 

1841 Census for Old Cumnock 610/3 page 13 

1851 Census for Old Cumnock 610/2 page 36 

Death of Thomas Stoddart – Old Cumnock 610/10 

Death of Margaret Anderson or Stoddart – Old Cumnock 610/8 

Birth of Thomas Stoddart – OPR Old Cumnock 610/2 

Proclamation of Robert Stoddart and Helen Patrick – OPR Old Cumnock  610/2 

 

 

   
 

 

 

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