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THE ANCESTRY OF JAMES RENNIE STODDART
by Ian Stoddart
Research on the Stoddart family commenced on the basis of the following information:
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
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
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:
4 April 1881
52 Allison Street, Govan, Glasgow Lanarkshire
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
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
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
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
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.
1851 census then provided further information on the family:
31 March 1851
Street, Sanquhar, Dumfries-shire
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.
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:
8 April 1861
Main Street, Sanquhar, Dumfries-shire
entry added yet another child to the Stoddart family – William who was
born circa 1857.
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)
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
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.
3 April 1871
High Street, Sanquhar, Dumfries-shire
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.
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
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
Thomas Stoddart married Margaret Anderson in Old Cumnock in 1806: 21 March 1806
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
R E F E R E N C E S
of Archibald Stoddart and Elizabeth Harvie Ingram Tradestown,
Census for Glasgow 6444/88 page 14
Census for Glasgow 64412/94 page 11
of Robert Stoddart OPR
of Robert Stoddart and Ann Cook - OPR Sanquhar 848/2
Census for Sanquhar 848/2 page 24
Census for Sanquhar 848/1 page 19
of Ann Cook for Stoddart – Sanquhar8481/20
marriage of Robert Stoddart - Old Cumnock 610/10
Census for Sanquhar 8481 page 13
of Agnes Hamilton or Stoddart - Sanquhar 848/28
of Robert Stoddart – Sanquhar 848/10
of Robert Stoddart – OPR Old Cumnock 610/2
of Thomas Stoddart and Margaret Anderson OPR
Old Cumnock 610/2
Census for Old Cumnock 610/3 page 13
Census for Old Cumnock 610/2 page 36
of Thomas Stoddart – Old Cumnock 610/10
of Margaret Anderson or Stoddart – Old Cumnock 610/8
of Thomas Stoddart – OPR Old Cumnock 610/2
of Robert Stoddart and Helen Patrick – OPR Old Cumnock
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