Maggie Douglas first appeared on a travel record for my great grandmother. She claimed to be the cousin of my 2nd great grandfather. That record began a research journey that has been both fascinating and frustrating.
In part one, I wrote about the travel record and the details I learned about Maggie. In part two I shared the search strategies I tried based on the information I had from the travel record. Sadly I found nothing and had to walk away from the Maggie Douglas puzzle. Today’s portion of the story is full of unexpected discoveries that bring me right to the brink of finding Maggie Douglas.
Time had passed. I wasn’t thinking about or working on figuring out who Maggie Douglas was. She had slipped to the back of the research files. Her puzzle had become silent in my mind.
And then, last Mother’s Day I enjoyed some quiet research time – heavenly. Even better were the results of that time. I stumbled across a mess in Family Tree on familysearch.org. A mess created by someone else. A mess that prompted me to fully source my, at that time, current end of line individual – James Young. In sourcing and sorting out the tangle, I ended up searching once again for his death record and I found it. This added another generation to my tree, another James Young and his wife Janet Robertson – my 5th great grandparents.
After pushing back a generation I did what I always do, I worked on searching for their descendants. I have identified 8 children. So far I have found spouses for 4 of those children, children for 3 of them, and spouses for several of those children. Among the children of James Young and Janet Robertson is a daughter named Margaret Young.
Margaret was born in 1845 in Renfrew, Renfrew, Scotland. In 1869, she married Alexander Marshall Douglas in Renfrew. The name Douglas caused a little niggle in the back of my mind. A niggle that wasn’t enough to bring to mind why that name mattered but a niggle none-the-less. I spent several days working on learning about Alexander and Margaret. Slowly I identified their children – 9 in all. I discovered that Alexander died at the age of 41 leaving behind Margaret and several living children. She lived 7 more years. At the time of her death none of her children were married.
I focused my research on their oldest son Barclay Douglas because of his less common name. I found a 1915 marriage record to a Mary Cameron Muir. Again with the niggling, Muir – not a name in my direct line anywhere but I have a few Muirs that married into my tree, I wondered if that was what I was thinking of…? I didn’t know so I returned my attention to Barclay. I found him on the 1901 Scottish census as the head of household with 4 of his siblings and a housekeeper. In 1911 I found him living with his younger brother William in the household of David & Isabella Muir.
There was that Muir name again. I wondered if David was brother to Mary Cameron Muir, Barclay’s future wife. After several records I was able to prove that David and Mary were in fact siblings. The proving also established that David’s wife Isabella was Barclay’s sister. A brother and sister from my Douglas family had married a brother and sister from a Muir family.
I went back to the 1911 census and studied it more carefully to see if I could identify any other siblings living on that street. First thing I checked was the name of the street – Dock Street, in Yoker.
And then all of those nigglings came crashing together. Douglas, Muir, Dock Street, Yoker. Maggie Douglas? Oh yeah, Maggie Douglas!
I started clicking like a mad woman opening up all sorts of tabs so I could compare documents and facts. I suddenly wondered if Maggie Douglas was the youngest child of Alexander Marshall Douglas and Margaret Young. Alexander and Margaret had a daughter named Margaret Young Douglas born 1877, died 1878. Maybe they had one more child at the end that they named Margaret? Maybe she was so young when her mother died she didn’t stay with her older siblings? I scoured the 1901 census looking for a Maggie/Margaret Douglas that matched the facts I had about Maggie Douglas from the travel record. No good matches!
And then after a feverish 45 minutes or so I more carefully reviewed that travel document again and saw that it said Maggie Douglas was married. Married?! Darn it, I missed something important again? Married. Douglas? Not her maiden name? I knew Maggie was somehow tied to this family. The Douglas family, the Muir family, and the Young family. But I didn’t yet know how. I was so close. So incredibly close.
Who is Maggie Douglas?
to be continued…