Aussie search for burgh forebears

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australia flagAN AUSTRALIAN airport engineer is searching for information about his Helensburgh and district forebears.

Ian Scott has been doing his research from his home in Melbourne, Victoria, since he retired in 1996, and has been interested in family history research for 25 years.

He said: “It all started when my wife received from an uncle a quite comprehensive tree of her Cornwall ancestry. Naturally, being a male, I was not going to be outdone, and began research into my own family background.

“I have found that genealogy has contributed to keeping me active and alert mentally, and hopefully it will continue to do so for quite some time.”

Ian has worked as a research assistant at a church for 20 years, and has also contributed transcriptions of Isle of Coll Parish Registers, Census and Shipping Lists to the Tiree and Coll Genealogy Website.

He has discovered that all his great-grandparents migrated to Victoria during the 1800's, the last arriving in 1872.

They were from quite diverse parts of the country — Stirling (Helensburgh), McLean (Isle of Coll), Hamilton (Arran), Scott (Auchtergaven), Thomas and Lewis (Glamorgan), and Reynolds and Sparkes (London).

The local connection is with the Stirling and McAuslan families.

Ian said: “My great-grandmother was Catherine Stirling, born around 1832, the only daughter of John Stirling, a mason, and Helensburgh-born Janet McAuslan who married at Row — now Rhu — on April 30 1832.

“It appears that John Stirling had been married previously to a Margaret Govan and that they had three children, William born about 1815, Margaret and John.

“The information about Margaret Govan came from the death certificate of William, also a mason, who died at Row on June 18 1869.

“I have been unable to find the marriage of John Stirling to Margaret Govan in the Scotland’s People website, or the births of their children.

“John Stirling Snr died at Helensburgh on January 14 1834, and I have no information about his age, place of birth or parents.”

His second wife, Janet McAuslan, is shown in the 1842 Census as aged 45, living in a Washer’s Lodging in Clyde Street with her locally-born daughter Catherine and with an Alexander McAuslane, a 54 year-old fisherman.

By the 1851 census Janet had become a seamstress, but Ian has been able to find nothing more about her.

After investigating McAuslan families in the parish, he has found two possible Janets. One was born on April 6 1807 to Archibald McAuslan and his wife Isabel Cochrane, and the other born on September 16 1814 to Alexander McAuslan and his wife Mary McFarlane.

But which one was the mother of his great-grandmother?

That is the question Ian is seeking an answer for, and he says he would very much appreciate any information about John Stirling and Janet McAuslan. If you can help, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of this website.