20 April 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 17 - Prosper

Week 17 (April 23-29) – Prosper. Which ancestor has a rags-to-riches story? Which ancestor prospered despite the odds?

None of the ancestors I really know about could be said to be prosperous in a financial sense. But sometimes it's all about perspective:

If you talked to some of my Dad's relatives, our family was "rich" - Dad and Mum owned their own house, had a car, had jobs, had a few overseas trips and a cruise, their kids had jobs, they travelled etc etc


If however you talked to my Mum's relatives, our family was "poor" - my grandmother married "below her station", my Mum and Dad had to work, the house was "small", they didn't vacation a few times a year (or even every year), didn't have holiday homes etc etc

So today instead of talking about who was rich, I'd like to talk about a family who prospered in another way - perhaps we'd call them fruitful instead of prosperous.

Let me introduce you to Joseph Martin and Elizabeth Speirs. Joseph is my great grandfather's eldest brother.

Joseph was born on February 3rd, 1855 in Beith, Ayrshire Scotland to James Martin and Jane Fields. Joseph later went by the name Joel Martin - tracking him down proved quite a challenge (and the story may well turn up in a post later this year)

Elizabeth was born on August 19, 1858 in Paisley, Renfrewshire Scotland to Jane Frew and an unnamed father. She later took the surname of her stepfather Alexander Speirs.

1911 Census. Source Scotland's People

They married on December 31, 1875 in Paisley, Renfrewshire Scotland and from the 1911 census (above) we find that they went on to have 15 children:


  1. James (1876 - 1884)
  2. William (1878 - 1942) m Rachel Thomson. Had at least 4 children
  3. Jane (1880 - ?)
  4. Elizabeth (1882 - ?)
  5. Isabella Speirs (1884 - ?) m David Wilson
  6. Mary Kirkland (1886 - 1961) m William Borthwick Sibbald. Had at least 5 children
  7. James Miller (1890 - 1948) m Charlotte Paton
  8. Joel (1892 - 1916) died of wounds in France during WW1
  9. John Allison (1893 - 1947) m Elizabeth Slaven. Had at least 1 child
  10. Robert Kirkland (1895 - 1909)
  11. Marion Cowan (1896 - 1961) m Walther Graham
  12. Philomina (1899 - 1981) m John Tierney
  13. Rachel Thomson (1901 - 1979) m William Townsley. Had at least 1 child
  14. Unknown Child 1 - still to find
  15. Unknown Child 2 - still to find








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