- Occupation*: Mary was "Howdie Wife" (midwife.)
- Birth*: She was born on 13 April 1879 at 7 Kinloch Street, Dundee, Forfarshire, Scotland; 1879 births in the district of St Clement in the burgh of Dundee; ref 294; Mary Fisher Conway; 1879 April Thirteeth 8h 20m am, 7 Kinloich Street Dundee; f; James Conway bakers' van driver, Agnes Conway ms Fisher, 1861 June 7th Troon; James Conway father present; 1879 April 29 at Dundee Dav Scott registrar.1
- She was the daughter of James Conway and Agnes McKenzie Fisher.
- (Witness) Marriage: Mary Fisher Conway witnessed the marriage of James Gibson and Janet Meney Conway on Wednesday, 7 June 1911 at Mathers Hotel, Dundee, Angus, Scotland; 1911 on the 7th day of June at Mathers Hotel Dundee after banns and publication according to the forms of the Presbyterian Church of England James Gibson slater master bachelor, 30, 76 Main Street Kilwinning, fath James Gibson insurance agent, moth Agnes Gibson ms McPhail (dec), and Janet Meney Conway housekeeper spinster, 34, 20 Bank Aveue Downfield, fath James Conway jute mill night watchman, moth Agnes Conway ms Fisher, signed John Conway, S M Conway, A H Charlton ministers Dundee, wit Janie Conway, Mary F Conway, James F Conway, reg 1911 June 9th at Dundee Thos Meek registrar.2
- Newspaper Article*: Mary Fisher Conway was mentioned in a newspaper article COMFORTABLE furnished room and scullery to let; own key. Apply Miss Conway, Wonacy, Blebo Craigs. on 7 July 1934.3
- (Informant) Death: She registered the death of Jeannie Conway on 21 May 1938 at Royal Infirmary, Dundee, Forfarshire, Scotland; 1938 deaths in the district of St Clement in the burgh of Dundee, ref 430; Jeannie Conway, nurse, retired, single; 1938 May Twenty First 10h 40m pm Royal Infirmary Dundee (ur: Wonacy, Blebo-Craigs Cupar Fife); female aged 70 years; parents James Conway commercial traveller (dec) Agnes Conway ms Fisher; carcinoma of stomach as cert by David Sinclair MBChB; informant Mary F Conway sister 11 Gray Street Broughty Ferry; 1938 May 23rd at Dundee W H Phillip registrar.4
- (Informant) Death: Mary Fisher Conway registered the death of Agnes McKenzie Fisher on 14 December 1938 at 11 Gray Street, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Angus, Scotland; 1938 Deaths in the District of Broughty Ferry in the County of Angus, # 112; Agnes Conway widow of James Conway, Commercial Traveller 1938 December 14th 8h 0m AM 11 Gray Street, Broughty Ferry female aged 96 years Father John Fisher (sic), carpenter (deceased) Mother Marion Fisher ms McKenzie (deceased) senility - age 96 9/12 cardiac failure as certified by David Mann MB, FRCS Ed informant Mary Conway daughter present registered 1938 December 14th at Broughty Ferry John R Dryden registrar.5
- Newspaper Article: Mary Fisher Conway was mentioned in a newspaper article HOUSES TO LET.
UNFURNISHED county cottage to let, 2 rooms and scullery. Apply Dr Conway, Wonacy, Blebo Craigs. on 21 July 1943.6
- (Witness) Photograph: She is in this photograph taken on 1 July 1950 at St Paul's Church, Nethergate, Dundee, Angus, Scotland, along with Rhoda Nicolson Miller, Hope Myra Conway Miller, Florence Annie Fisher Conway.7
- Photograph*: Mary Bell Goodlet and Mary Fisher Conway are in this photograph taken on 1 July 1950 at St Paul's Church, Nethergate, Dundee, Forfarshire, Scotland.8
- (Deceased) Death*: She died on 1 January 1962 at Royal Infirmary, Dundee, Angus, Scotland, at age 82 1962 deaths in the district of Dundee West in the burgh of Dundee, ref 11; Mary Fisher Conway nurse retired single, 1962 January First 5h 55m am Royal Infirmary ur Pinegrove Perth Road Dundee, female aged 82 years, parents James Conway baker's vanman (dec) and Agnes Conway ms Fisher (dec), strangulated fermoral hernia 21 days, intestinal obstruction 3 days, terminal inhalation pneumonia 1 day as cert by R Lindsay Doig MBChB, signed Alexander Miller nephew 25 Perth Road Dundee, registered 1962 Janaury 3rd at Dundee ... ... assit registrar initialed JEC [John E Cant registrar].9
- Note for Web*: Mary Fisher Conway from the pen of Marion C Miller (1983) :
Under the Rose
'Under the rose, Kate, under the rose', my great aunt Mary would frequently whisper to my mother. Many years were to elapse before I understood that information imparted subrosa (under the rose) was only intended for tried, tested and trustworthy ears. At the advance of avid young listeners, X-certificate conversation would come to an abrupt halt. My great aunt would suck her teeth back into their normal position with a sharp, resounding and final click. As age had withered her fuselage, the teeth no longer fitted snugly into the contours of her mouth. With the porcelain in position she was quite unable to chew. Always allocated prime position next to my father at the head of the table, she removed her teeth just after grace and before demolition commenced. She was not given to secreting her discarded treasures in the folds of her lavender-laced handkerchief. No ... she was a forthright sort of person. Her teeth, both sets, were planted on her side plate where they glared relentlessly at my father, assaulting his appetite and inducing temporary anorexia.
There was no wine at table in my childhood, and glasses for water or lemonade were only in evidence on high occasions. There was always a glass of water for great aunt Mary. No ... she didn't drink it ... but she liked to rinse her teeth before returning them to the ill fitting aperture, when the repast was over.
At that time we thought she must be very old, but she was in fact still in her lively seventies and had many a tale to tell. She had been an upper crust 'howdie' before trained midwives were commonplace. Entering the homes of the renowned and rich prior to the event, she supervised the birthing process, hurrying the event along with her own secret concoction of raspberry leaf tea. She would remain in residence for at least a month after delivery and often for much longer. If her departure was at all delayed there was every chance that there would be another child on the way soon to guarantee her continued employment.
Great aunt Mary liked to dress in black and indeed it showed off her pure white hair to greatest advantage. She also used her sombre dresses as a backcloth against which she could display her many swinging chains of beads, multi-coloured neckerchiefs, and large brooches set with precious or semi-precious stones, all donated by thankful parents.
'When I was with Sir Andrew and Lady X', she would commence and you knew you were about to have a glimpse of life in a society in which you were never likely to mingle. She had been accustomed to a life of refinement, but she was wiling to share her treasured memories with those in humbler circumstances. But she was not all prim and proper. She loved a party and she could jangle her beads in a neat-ankled Charleston which left mouth agape. Nowadays she would have been accorded the title of 'great old swinger'.
If we thought she was old, what of the ancient monument? Her mother was still alive and maintained in a state of semi preservation by another spinster daughter in a rambling house in the country. My great grandmotther was open for viewing between the hours of 3 and 4pm. The old lady was like a mechanical toy which had seen better days, there being residual movement in her head, one arm and those searching piercing eyes where ambition still flickered. She might be dessicated almost mummified, but when her hand beckoned from within the folds of her many shawls the recipient of the gesture approached with a degree of trepidiation and a touch of reverence.
The eyes below the lace-capped head would search for evidence of her genetic contribution. These eyes had seen a lot of life. The offshoot of an immigrant Irish family fleeing from the potato famine she had been fortunate to find work as a "tweenie" in an Ayrshire mansion. Crossed with my great grandfather of similar peasant origin she was to produce a brood of thirteen children of whom nine survived. The unashamed ambition which hovered behind her eyelids had seen three of her sons launched into the ordained ministry. In her lifetime she had seen the strength of her genetic contribution raise her descendants from menial tasks in the dusty mills to solid middle class. As she started to fadde into insignificance heer off shoots embraced the church, the law, medicine and commerce. She missed her hundredth birthday and her royal telegram only by a short head. If she knew her great great grandson whilst still a schoolboy had been selected because of his inate talent in communication to sit next to a royal prince at a private dinner ... she would have been pleased, but not I think surprised. I doubt whether she would have subscribed to the theory that the stars govern your fate ... I think she knew that she handed something on ... and if it's the blarney ... it's genetically dominant.
What was it that reminded me of great aunt Mary ... it was a word association! It's quite a popular party game but the technique is also used by psychiatrists to probe the mysteries of the mind. You may reveal too much by a straight swift answer, so I always allow the word to linger in my cerebral pathways until multiple cross connections have suitably disguised my tortuous mental process.
I know ... I was in the kitchen waiting for the beans to heat. Lovely to think that the good old 57s are enjoying a comeback in the high fibre diet. The radio was muttering away in the background, but I heard only one word 'ROOTS'. My first thought was teeth, because that canine has been knawing away for months, then followed swiftly the thought of origins and ancestors ... finally there was the closing snap reminiscent of gnashing dentures and my brain had solved the equation Roots + Teeth = Great Aunt Mary.
Sometime I must sweep some more of the dust from my cerebral computer and write more of my forebears ... or is it all too confidential? Could I perhaps just whisper it to a few of my friends ... 'Under the rose' of course..14
- [S14] General Record Office for Scotland, online www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Record Office for Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland), GROS statutory births 282/03 0294 [Jul 2010].
- [S64] General Record Office for Scotland, online www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Record Office for Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland), GROS statutory marriage 1911 Dundee [Jun 2004].
- [S54] Website findmypast.co.uk (www.findmypast.co.uk) Newspaper & Periodicals 1934-07-07 Dundee Courier [Oct 2015].
- [S50] General Record Office for Scotland, online www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Record Office for Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland), GROS statutiry deaths 1938 [May 2004].
- [S50] General Record Office for Scotland, GROS statutory deaths Broughty Ferry 1938 [May2004].
- [S54] Website findmypast.co.uk (www.findmypast.co.uk) Newspaper & Periodicals 1943-07-21 Dundee Courier [Oct 2015].
- [S133] Interview with unknown informant (unknown informant address). Unknown repository (unknown repository address), CNM DGA Wedding Album .
- [S43] CNM DGA Wedding Album .
- [S50] Interview, General Record Office for Scotland, GROS statutory death 1962 Dundee 282/02 0011 [Aug 2011].
- [S17] General Record Office for Scotland, online www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Record Office for Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland), FHL Film 0203484 GRO ref vol 282-3 EnumDist 20 page 45.
- [S17] General Record Office for Scotland, GROS census 1891 Civil Parish of Dundee, Parish of Rosebank, 6th Burgh Ward of Dundee; 11 Dons Road; [Jun 2004].
- [S17] General Record Office for Scotland, GROS census 1901 [Jun 2004].
- [S17] General Record Office for Scotland, GROS census 1911 Longforgan 377/ 1/19 [Nov 2016].
- [S33] Interview , MCM Copyright 1983.
Mary Fisher Conway
Mother*: Agnes McKenzie Fisher b. 14 Mar 1842, d. 14 Dec 1938
Carson, Jane c 1790 descendants
Conway, Hugh c 1780 descendants
Fisher, Charles c1765 descendants
Maitland, Agnes c1766 descendants
McConnell, Helen c1765 descendants
McKenzie, Robert c1770 descendants
McWilliam, William c1765 descendants
Pollock, Marion c1770 descendants
Waugh, James c1790 descendants