My Family History Review of 2019

First of all I’d like to wish you all a very happy new year. I hope that 2020 brings happiness and success in all you do. The start of a new year is always a time to look back on the previous year and think about what we’ve achieved. It’s also a time to look forward and plan. I’m going to be thinking about some genealogy goals for 2020 but for now here are the plans I had for 2019 which I documented in this post. Let’s see how I got on.

  • I’d like to find out more about my 3 x great grandfather, John Brawley. Is he the John Brawley who died in Glasgow City Poorhouse in 1859? I suspect that he is but I need further proof.

Yes he is. Some time spent at the Mitchell Library helped to prove this theory. Unfortunately the record of John’s time in the poorhouse no longer exists but through other family records I was able to make the link. I also found a new wife and more children! More to follow on that story.

  • I need a trip to Edinburgh to check out the trial records of Margaret Brawley who was transported on a convict ship to Australia.

Done. I spent a most enjoyable morning going through the original records from 1833. Amazing they still exist and even more so that they are made available to the public. You can read more about Margaret here.

  • I’d like to identify the father of Matthew and Edith Cran who were adopted by my 2x great uncle Matthew Brawley. It seems that their father may have been a Brawley too.

I have a theory about this that I’ve been working on. I believe the father was indeed one of the Brawleys. The trouble is that I might never be able to prove it. I will write it up though in the hope a DNA match might help.

  • I’d love to know more about the early life of my great great grandfather, James Brawley. Just this week I discovered a sister I hadn’t known about via a DNA match.

I’m still working on this. James’s early life was pretty complicated and I can’t find any records of his mother. That is very frustrating. Having found out more about his father John (see above) I do have a better picture.

  • My great great grandmother, Grace Halliday Rae, left Scotland for Australia leaving my great grandfather behind. I want to know more about her and the life she found Down Under. An Australian cousin (another DNA match) was able to fill in some of the blanks and had information I would never have found on any official records.

I haven’t had the time to focus on this one so I’ll be moving it forward to 2020.

  • Identify the father of my 4x great grandfather, James Rae. Census records show James’ birth place as Dumfriesshire but could he be the James Rae born in Northumberland in 1804?

I’m closer to believing that he is the son of Benjamin Rae and Isabella Wishart born in Northumberland but I need a DNA match to prove it.

During 2019 I also discovered a lot of new stories and family members that often distracted me from my main goals. Of course, one of the joys of doing this for a hobby and not a living is that I can enjoy these new finds and not feel too pressured to stick to a timetable. I’m pretty happy with my year. Here’s hoping for good things in 2020.

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