I felt so tantalizingly close!
I knew Maggie was somehow connected to the Douglas family. One strong possibility was that Maggie had married one of the sons of Alexander Marshall Douglas and Margaret Young. With this in mind I started researching each of those boys. I purchased their birth records first to get a precise birth date and full name. Then with this information I looked for death records for the boys knowing that the death records would list their spouses.
Slowly I was building the details of this family when I found this death record.
Alexander Marshall Douglas, son of Alexander Marshall Douglas and Margaret Young, brother of Barclay Douglas who lived on Dock Street in Yoker, died 2 February 1910. His cause of death was a comminuted fracture of the skull. He died in Western Infirmary in Glasgow and his usual residence was 19 Trafalgar Street in Dalmuir. He was 31 and a Journeyman Ship Plater at the time of his death. But the big deal, the cause for excitement, is that he was married to a Margaret Tait!
Margaret Tait just might be my Maggie Douglas!
My next step was to get Alexander and Margaret’s marriage record to compare her age to my Maggie Douglas.
Hot dog! Margaret was 20 at the time of her marriage in 1905 giving her an approximate birth year of 1885. Based on the travel document that started it all, Maggie Douglas has an approximate birth year of 1884. An excellently close match.
The last fact I could confirm was Maggie Douglas’ place of birth. On the travel document she listed her birthplace as Clydebank, Scotland. The record I needed to confirm that Margaret Leckie McPherson Dempster and Maggie Douglas were the same person was Margaret Leckie McPherson Dempster’s birth record.
It was pretty easy to find with that big old name. Margaret was in fact born in Clydebank. She was the illegitimate daughter of Robina Dempster and Archibald McPherson.
I found Maggie!
Maggie was born to unmarried farm servants. At the age of 20 she was working as a Machinist in Yoker when she married Alexander Marshall Douglas. She was married for 4 1/2 years before she was widowed. Her husband died in February of 1910 and in October of 1910 she left Scotland for America. She traveled with my great grandmother Mary Brown Young, Mary’s mother Catherine and other siblings. Maggie was traveling to her cousin James Young in Montana. James is actually the 1st cousin, once removed of Maggie’s husband. James is my 2nd great grandfather. Maggie’s husband Alexander is my 1st cousin 5 times removed.
So why all the fuss about Maggie?
She’s not one of my ancestors. She’s not even one of my relatives. She married into my family. Why does she matter?
She matters because I could feel her story. I didn’t know what that story was but I could feel it.
Here was a young woman who left the country of her birth bound for America in 1910. She traveled with my great grandmother who was 7 years old. Can’t you just see Maggie holding Mary’s little hand, helping her board the ship? Can’t you just see the little lot of them – Maggie, Catherine and the children – saying goodbye to their homeland, standing on the deck of a large ship watching the shore fade into the mist? I can see them. Maggie was part of Mary & Catherine’s story. Maggie helped my ancestors make it to America. Maggie matters to my story.
Since beginning my series on Maggie Douglas, a cousin of mine read my first post and sent me an email with the following details:
“When I was showing Mary [my great grandmother] one of the photos of the my grandmother [my 2nd great grandmother Catherine] and family, there was a lady dressed in a kilt. I had asked Mary Costello about her
and Mary said that was probably Maggie Douglas. She said that “she was always around”. She said the kilt (uniform) was her dad’s and that Maggie was wearing it. She said that Maggie moved to southern Idaho.
Attached is the back of a postcard from Maggie to my grandmother. Notice the post mark of Idaho and the date of 1914. I know my dad was interested in contacting Maggie as well and it seems to me that Hamer was mentioned.”
And here is the post card:
“Dear Katie, I have not time to write you I am so busy tell all the folks I was asking for them having nice weather hoping to see you soon Alex & Walter send their…”
Oh boy! Alex & Walter? I’m thinking Maggie may have remarried and had a child. I may have figured out who Maggie Douglas is, how she fits into my tree, when and where she was born and a rough idea of why she traveled with my family to America, but I don’t know the end of her story.
Maybe my cousin can dig up a few more clues for me from the family archive. Maybe the names Alex & Walter and Idaho will be enough for me to find an ending.
I have more research to do!
Maggie’s story definitely has more.
But for now I am so delighted that I finally know the answer to the question Who is Maggie Douglas?
Thank you to pastsmith who prompted me to write this series with her question: “Have you ever had to start midstream, so to speak, in research?”