2 February 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 8 - Good Deeds

This is my eighth post in the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge set by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small.
This week's challenge:Week 8 (Feb 19-25) - Good Deeds. Does this mean a generous ancestor or one you found through land records? You decide.
I'm not aware of any Altruistic Ancestors - none of them had any money to give away, though one cousin did start to train to be a Nun and I was a missionary. Neither of us are ancestors though, so those are stories for the next generation to write.
Also, as far as I'm aware, it is mostly recent generations that started to own property, so no historic land records to research.
But Scotland does have Valuation Records and one ancestor is recorded as living at the same property (as a Tenant Occupier) across many years, so this week my focus is on William Howie Dempsey, my great grandfather's brother.
William is yet another of my many ancestors who served in the military - but, as you will see, he had more service than most, so let's call that a Brave Deed.
Born in 1869 he is the son of Thomas Dempsey and Mary Howie. Thomas died in 1878 and Mary in 1880, so by age 11 William is an orphan. In the 1881 census he has 2 siblings still living of the 7 he had: Mary, aged 20, who is a Domestic Servant and Thomas, aged 17, a Coal Carter/servant. William is not living with either of them. There is a William Dempsie (note spelling) aged 11 listed as a boarder living with a family in Campsie Stirlingshire, who was born in Glasgow - and this may well be "my" William, but there is no way to tell.
William firsts enlists in the Military in 1886 at age 17 and serves for nearly 8 years. He then becomes a Shipyard Labourer. His discharge papers have him going to the Reserves
In 1895 he has a daughter, Alice, with Helen/Ellen Harvey who he later marries. He has at least 6 other children with Helen. The last recorded child, Mary, was born in 1911 when William was 42.
William is called upon to serve in the Reserves for 12 months from 1900 - 1901 and then re-enlists in 1902 when he serves until 1905.
Immediately after this 3rd discharge, he enlists again and stays until 1907. He goes to both Halifax and India in this service period.
In 1914, at age 45, he enlists for a 5th time and serves until 1917. During this time he apparently serves as part of the British Salonika Force in Greece. He was wounded in action and at age 48 eventually discharged as being unfit for service.
Those are some Brave Deeds.
Now on to those other deeds - the land ones. Not as lengthy a story here, but an unusual one for most of my Scottish ancestors who seemed to move at the drop of a hat (though mostly in the same area and often in the same street). William and Helen lived at 129 Abercromby Street Glasgow from at least 1911 until 1951 (Helen being there the last 8 years as a widow after William's death).
That's 40 years in the same place! The Dempsey's house was owned by the North British Railway Company (later the London & North Eastern Railway Company). In 1915 the rent was £8 a year. By 1920 it had increased to £10 5s and in 1925 £11 15s.
Unfortunately the house is no longer there and has been replaced with part of the Bridgeton Health Centre - per this Google Maps image.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder whether you will find a connection between your DEMPSEY folk and the family with whom young William DEMPSIE was boarding in 1881. I am a great believer in the FAN Principle (Friends Associates Neighbours) advocated by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

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