I started with no knowledge whatsoever of my grandfather. I do not remember my father talking about him nor have I any photos of him.
The only source of information originally available to me was my father's birth certificate. This provided several items of interest:-
- my grandfather's name was Thomas Roberton and he was a blacksmith.
- my grandparents were married on 5 June 1874 in the parish of Meigle.
Their marriage certificate provided the following information:-
- Thomas Roberton's parents were,
Thomas Roberton, clerk, deceased
Janet Roberton, ms Taylor, deceased
- Thomas Roberton was a widower at the time of his marriage to Helen McIntosh. (Subsequently I obtained the certificate for his first marriage which was on 19th July to Agnes Abercrombie).
- The witnesses were James McIntosh and Annie McIntosh. Anne McIntosh appears in the 1881 census as sister in law to Thomas Roberton but this is the first time James McIntosh appears. Is he a brother in law?
- Thomas Roberton was a blacksmith and Helen McIntosh was a domestic servant.
- Thomas Roberton's usual address was recorded as 17 Levenbank Terrace, Jamestown.
From the IGI at Huddersfield I obtained the information that Thomas Roberton was born on 4 March 1841 at Renfrew/Eastwood and that his parents were Thomas and Janet (ms Taylor) Roberton.
This date of birth is in conflict with the age quoted in his two marriage certificates.
- In the certificate of his first marriage on 19th July 1870 his age is given as 25, but if he was born in 1841 he would have been 29 by this date.
- In the certificate for his second marriage on 5th June 1874 his age is given as 30 but if he was born in 1841 he would have been 33.
The 1881 census showed his living at 55 Levenbank Terrace, Jamestown in the parish of Bonhill, Dunbartonshire. His birthplacewas recorded as Renfrewshire, Pollockshaws. His age was quoted as 38 years but again if he was born in 1941 he would have been 40 at the time of the census. Also quoted in the census as living at the same address were:-
- Helen Roberton, wife, age 30, born Forfarshire, New Tyle
- Thomas, son, 5
- Henrietta, daughter, 4
- James L, son 1
- Charles, son, x days (my father)
- Anne McIntosh, sister-in-law
Levenbank Terrace was one of three terraces built by the owners of the textile mills as homes for their workers. When I was at primary school in Jamestown the three terraces had become almost representative of three different levels of class. Milton Terrace was at the lower level followed by Napierston Terrace while the 'better people' lived in Levenbank Terrace.
In the Alexandria cemetery the gravestone for the familly plot carries the following inscription:-
"In Memory of
Died 31st July 1898 aged 57 years
Died 30th April 1927 aged 77 years
Wife of Hugh Paton
Died 12th February 1904 aged 27 years
2nd daughter of above
Thomas and Helen Roberton
Died 19th February 1966 aged 82 years
Died 4th June 1968 aged 81 years"
In a search of the 1851 census for the parish of Eastwood I found an entry for a Roberton with the head of the house a Thomas Roberton, a widower aged 45, with 2 sons and 2 daughters. The youngest son was a Thomas aged 10. This ties up with the age my grandfather would have been in 1851.
My grandfather had eight children (four sons and four daughters) and died on 31 July 1898 at the age of 57 years. He is buried in Alexandria cemetary.
His wife, Helen (nee McIntosh) lived a further 29 years after his death.