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The mysterious William & Jean Aitken.....

Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 4:22 am
by dano
Hello again,

In the 1841 census for Polmont I have my 3x great grandfather John Aitken at Bellsrigg Farm. He as widowed at the time and he died Nov 1842

With John was 93-year-old Agnes Marshall possibly a sister of his mother Mary Marshall. Also there were Jean Aitken aged 4 &
William Aitken aged 8. I have no idea who these children are.

The census indicates that they were not born in Stirling. They are not to my knowledge the children of John’s sons. John married Agnes Waddell 1801 in Slamannan and they had the following children

John b 1802 Falkirk – no trace of him since birth
William b 1804 Polmont – did not marry until he was 66
Thomas b 1806 Falkirk – Not his children
Robert b 1809 Falkirk – died 1855 Lanark 1 daughter only
Henry b 1811 Falkirk – married but no children
James b 1813 Falkirk – not his children

Is there another son I have missed? I can’t find the pair in the 1851 census in Stirling and am not sure how to trace them.

Anyone with any fresh ideas?


Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 2:47 pm
by HeatherH
Hi Dano,
Glad you took my advice and joined us.hope we can put a dent in your brick wall.
Happy Hunting,
HeatherK aka Wee Bairn

Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 1:41 am
by dano
Good Morning,

I certainly hope someone can help me as I have now found another stray Aitken on another census. So that now gives me - in 1841

William aged 8 & Jean aged 4 on Bellsriff farm Polmont with the Grandfather? John Aitken

and John aged 11 on Glenrigg at Falkirk (John's other farm) with John's sons James b 1813 & Henry b 1811

There was a John b the same year (out of wedlock) to James Aitken & Catherine Neil but I found him safely tucked up with his mother in 1841 so another dead end there.

I have down downlaoded the OPR births for every John, Jean/Jane & William +/- 2 years anywhere in Scotland to try and match at least 2 of them with parents and still no joy.

I fear the more I search the more non existent children I will find.


Posted: Fri May 19, 2006 10:30 am
by WilmaM
I've been interested in these Aitkens of yours Dano - simply because of their location - near me!

I don't think I can be of much help, but I did have a look at Tom Paterson's site:


1841 you have a John aged 11 on Glenrigg at Falkirk

going backward... there's a John aged 52 in 1881 Falkirk- Landward census:
Parkfoot Falkirk, Stirling
AITKEN John Head M 52 M Labourer In Ironworks born Ceres, Fife, Scotland

He must have married a widow by the name of Jean Anderson as there are stepdaughters by that name living there.

possibly 04 DEC 1874 Polmont or 27 SEP 1875 Falkirk looking at these marriages could rule him in or out as to your family.

I can't see any other likely John or William in the area's 1881 census.
You'll know that by then the Bellsrigg farm was in the hands of a widow LIDDELL Archibald (Mrs) , but the Glenrigg one was still with the Aitken family : AITKEN James Head W 68 .

I don't know how familiar you are with the geography of the area, but some points to perhaps bear in mind:
The boundaries for Parish , census etc here tend to 'wobble' a bit.
Bellsrigg for instance is between Shieldhill and California villages, sometimes they are both in Polmont but other times California is in Muiravonside - where Bellsrigg fell as far as boundaries go I'm not sure.
Equally Glennrigg is in Falkirk landward census for 1881, but is rather near both Slamannan and Polmont parishes. So don't be too rigid in your search areas.

Bellsrigg is now known hereabouts as ' The Ponds' - it was a coal mine at a time and that's all that seems to be left - though I've never ventured that far into the Moss.

If you would like any 'local' knowledge' drop me a PM and I'll see if I can help.

Posted: Sat May 20, 2006 1:55 am
by dano
Hello Wilma,

Thank you for taking an interest. Sorry it took so long to respond and say thank you. You may have given me a vital clue that was right under my nose the whole time. Having just spent another 48 pounds on Scotland’s People. I am drawing some conclusions. Perhaps it is a long bow but here goes.

"John aged 52 in 1881 Falkirk- Landward census:
Parkfoot Falkirk, Stirling
AITKEN John Head M 52 M Labourer In Ironworks born Ceres, Fife, Scotland"

John died in 1889 and was the son of John Aitken & Agnes Jack.

John & Agnes Jack had the following children all born Ceres – which is why I discounted this John as part of my family several times.

Thomas b 1827 d 1876 never married
John b 1830 married Jane Snaddon died 1889
Mary b 1830 married James Gordon Cunningham died before 1881
William b 1832 – notified his mothers death 1872 but no trace of a marriage or death
Jean b 1835 – no trace since

1841 census we find

Thomas age 15 at Grange Steel # 5
Mary aged 10 in Falkirk with her mother Agnes, a Merchant, and I assume widowed

Where were the other 3?
William aged 8 with his Grandfather at Bellsrigg
Jean aged 4 with her Grandfather at Bellsrigg – the birth year is out but only a little
John aged 11 with his uncles at Glenrigg farm – although it clearly looks like a yes on the census form indication born in this county, census often contain errors.

I am betting that John Aitken m to Agnes Jack is my missing John b 1802 to John Aitken & Agnes Waddell. Does this sound realistic to you? John's death is the only way I will no for certain but since it was pre 1855, that won't happen.

You mentioned the change of hand of Bellsrigg
“You'll know that by then the Bellsrigg farm was in the hands of a widow LIDDELL Archibald (Mrs) , but the Glenrigg one was still with the Aitken family : AITKEN James Head W 68”.

Mrs Archibald Liddell is Agnes Duncan. Archibald Liddell is the Nephew of Agnes Waddell m to John Aitken. Archibald’s mother is Mary Waddell the sister of Agnes, that is he is a 1st cousin to James at Glenrigg so I guess it really did stay in the family.

Again, I can't thank you enough for thinking outside the box and giving me that fresh view on things I had been looking at for ages.

Kind regards

Re: The mysterious William & Jean Aitken.....

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2024 3:12 am
by Ruthie254
Dano -- I am hoping this reaches you in Australia as the orignal author of this post.
My Great-Great-Grandfather is William Aitken b-July-1832 at Ceres, Fife. He was married to Isabella Cassels[Cassils] b1836 at Rutherglen, New Lanarkshire.
I have William's father as JOHNAITKEN born around 1803, and when William was born in 1832, John Aitken was a farm labourer at Muirhead; and mother AGNES JACK born around 1804. The 1851 Census shows Agnes as a Widow, age 47, having been born at Stirling, Falkirk and living then (in 1851) at Airdrie, New Monkland. It appear that John Aitken and Agnes were married in 1828. I found a parish death record for John Aitken as having died on January 27, 1838 of Influenza -- at the age of 35.

I am looking for more detail on my information of JOHN AITKEN and AGNES JACK (and I think "Jack" may have been a middle name?).

You state that "I am betting that John Aitken m to Agnes Jack is my missing John b 1802 to John Aitken & Agnes Waddell."

You also indicate that WILLIAM b1832 reported his mother's death?? -- Where did you get that record?

You also indicate that when William was aged 8 -- he was living with his Grandfather (WHO???) at Bellsrigg -- you have this from a Census ??

I am trying to continue backwards . . . and as you know, once we get earlier than 1855 and try to dig through church-parish records, things can become much more complicated.

PLEASE, if you have any documents, records, dates of these folks -- starting with John Aitken and Agnes Jack . . . and then John Aitken & Agnes Waddell -- I would LOVE to have that information.

THANKS VERY MUCH for any leads that you can give me.

Melissa from Decorah, Iowa USA -- Great-Great-Granddaughter of William Aitken b1832 at Ceres, Fife.

Re: The mysterious William & Jean Aitken.....

Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2024 5:42 pm
by Ruthie254
Wilma, I attached a compressed JPG image of my "Summary" tree - - - the TOP level is where John Aitken & Agnes Jack are located. Can't add an attachment to a private message, had to compress it to a smaller image to help here. Thought maybe the extra info would give you a hint that I am not seeing (??) Everything I have is confirmed from a Scotland's People record.
Thank-you very much for any thoughts, hints you might have to send me further back in this tree.
Decorah, Iowa USA