I grew up in Newmains, Lanarkshire as did my mother and her parents before her. I knew that I had strong family ties to the village. My husband, however is not from North Lanarkshire and prior to meeting me had only ever driven through Newmains on the way to somewhere else.
Having listened to me talk about my family history he decided to take a look at his own family tree. He started with his paternal grandfather to whom he was very close. He believed the family to be of Scottish Protestant descent. My Newmains family are of Irish Catholic descent.
We had only gone back a couple of generations when we discovered a branch of his family living in Newmains. We were both genuinely surprised. Newmains is not a big place. My husband was also surprised to find an Irish connection which he had never heard mention of before.
If we were surprised by that imagine then our shock when we found his great grandmother’s birth record. When I saw the address where she was born I knew it rang a bell. I double checked my grandfather, Hugh Brawley’s birth record from March 25 1899. He was born within the family home at 8 Store Row, Newmains. And that is where 31 years before, almost to the day, that my husband’s great granny, Susan Cain was born. It’s the same house!
What are the chances? So our ancestors were in Newmains at the same time. The census of 1871 shows both families living in the row housing provided by Coltness Ironworks. The picture above is of Furnace Row where the Brawleys were living in 1871. The two families would have known each other. Susan (as she was known) and her siblings were very similar in age to my great grandfather and his siblings. They might have played together. Quite a coincidence, don’t you think?