- Birth*: Margaret Woods Johnston was born on 13 January 1876 at 27 Overgate, Dundee, Forfarshire, Scotland, ; 1876 births in the district of St Clement in the burgh of Dundee, ref 105; Margaret Woods Johnston born 1876 January Thirteenth 8h 30m pm att 27 Overgate Dundee, female, parents William Johnston bottler and Euphemia Johnston ms Stewart marroed 1871 April 28 Dundee; signed William Johnston father, registered 1876 February 1 at Dundee signed Dav Scott registrar.2,1
- She was the daughter of William Johnston and Euphemia Stewart.
- (Witness) Note for Web: Margaret Woods Johnston and William Johnston, Christina Grubb, Henry Grubb, Janet Forgan, Lewis Johnston, Helen Grubb, Euphemia Stewart, Jessie Johnston, Agnes Barrie Johnston, Christina Johnston, Euphemia Stewart Johnston, Isabella Thomson Black Johnston, Georgina Keir Paterson Johnston, Andrew McGlashan, Henry McGlashan, Janet McGlashan and Robert McGlashan was mentioned with William Johnston. Facts and Hypothesis re William Johnston born about 1848 who says his parents are William Johnston, shipwright, and Christina Grubb:
From various records one could assume that William is born about 1848 in either Fife – maybe Crail, maybe St Andrews – or Dundee. All these possibilities have been explored in the name of Johnson, Jonsen, Johnston(e) and variants; and Grubb without finding a birth/baptism that fits.
On the 30th March 1851 census there is a 4-year-old child recorded as William Normand living in St Andrews with Henry Grubb and his wife Janet Forgan and who is described as ‘Grandson’ and born in Crail, Fife. No marriage between a Grubb and Normand can be found, and no William Normand was recorded as born/baptised in Scotland in the time frame. So a query exists that this might be William Johnston. But there are likely to be other grandsons who could fit this description. But no other William Johnson or Grubb that fits the profile.
On the 7th April 1861 census William is declared as 'nephew' aged 13 with Lewis Johnston as head and Helen Grubb as wife, who are living in Fish Street Dundee. William is described as a mill worker born in St Andrews Fife. So William is nephew to whom? It should be stated as relative to the head of the house - Lewis Johnston. Or is it his wife, Helen? Christina Grubb is Helen’s younger sister. Is she William’s mother? Does Lewis Johnston have a brother named William? – Not found.
On the 2nd April 1871 census William Johnston is found boarding at 7 Keys Close (which is at 18 Nethergate) Dundee, with Elizabeth Morrison as head of the household. William states he is born Dundee, aged 22 and working as a brewer.
On his marriage three weeks after the census night, on 24 April 1871, William Johnston signs his name and states his parents as William Johnston, shipwright & Christina Grubb, his address as 18 Nethergate Dundee (see census above), his age as 22 and his occupation as bottler.
On informing of Lewis Johnston's death in 1878, William states he is nephew and his address is 27 Overgate, Dundee. William also states Lewis’ parents as Ormond Johnston, a ploughman, and Euphemia Pratt – no information about this couple or any other similar Johnston family can be found.
When his 4th daughter (of 7) is born in March 1881, she is named Christina – but this is not an uncommon name of the time.
On the April 1881 census William states he is 34, and iron work labourer and born Dundee.
In 1886, on birth of twin daughters, William is living at 27 Overgate, states his occupation as marine stoker and his marriage date as 24 April 1871.
On the April 1891 census William states he is 46, born Dundee and occupied as a fireman.
But on his death in 1899, William's wife Euphemia Stewart states his occupation as builder’s donkey engineman, his age as 51 and his parents are Lewis Johnston, seaman, and Helen Grubb. (Because they raised him?)
On his wife’s death in 1913, his eldest daughter Jessie, says that he was a merchant seaman – but she also records her mother’s age as 49, when she was probably about 62.
So who to believe?
If Christina Grubb was Wiiliam’s mother – how would that look?
Christina Grubb was born about 1828 (no birth/bapt found, but other records suggest this)
If William is born about 1847/8, then Christina would be aged about 19/20.
Christina marries Andrew McGlashan in January 1849 in Liverpool. Christina is probably aged 21.
Christina and Andrew have a son, Robert McGlashan, who is born in Dundee in August 1950.
The family are recorded in March 1851 in Fish Street Dundee. Christina’s age is stated as 22, Robert as under 1 year.
Christina and Andrew have a daughter, Janet, in November 1852 in Dundee.
When both Christina’s parents die within months of each other in 1855, Christina’s age is recorded on both occasions as 27.
The next time this family is found is in Australia when a headstone in Geelong Eastern Cemetery records Christina’s death in May 1885, aged 57, along with Andrew McGlashan, aged 74, in 1891 and a son, Henry, aged 28, in February 1886. In the absence of records, it is presumed that the family emigrated about 1853.
It could be hypothesised that Christina Grubb, sister of Helen Grubb, and William Johnson, brother of Lewis, are the parents of William Johnston born about 1848 and that he was probably born in Dundee, probably whilst Christina was staying with her sister Helen and brother-in-law Lewis.
Further – Christina marries far away from home in Liverpool, but returns to Dundee to live and have her family – at least for a while. In 1851 Christina is living close by to her sister Helen in Fish Street Dundee. Helen has only one surviving child at this time – Jessie – three others have died in infancy, followed by another two who do not survive after 1851. It would make sense for Helen to take in her sister’s child – William Johnston – especially when Christina and her husband (who presumeably is not William's father) emigrate to Australia.
Extensive research has produced nothing to support any of this suppostition.
Additionally - there is a document for a William Johnston who is aged 14 and volunteering for the Navy. It is signed in Birkenhead and witnessed by the boy's uncle Edward Clancy and aunt Mrs John Bird. Neither of these people have been found to be related to our William Johnston. The boy's signature is typical of the era and there is a similarity to the older William's when he signs first his marriage register and later still his daughter's birth records - but not conclusively so.
- [S14] General Record Office for Scotland, online www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Record Office for Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland), GROS Statutory Births 1876 Dundee St Clement 282/3 105 image held [Oct 2016].
- [S30] LDS 1881 Census FHL Film 0203483 GRO ref vol 282-3 Enum Dist 5 page 21.
- [S17] General Record Office for Scotland, online www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Record Office for Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland), FHL Film 0203483 GRO ref vol 282-3 Enum Dist 5 page 21.
- [S9] Website Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk) Source Citation: Parish: Dundee; ED: 5; Page: 21; Line: 17; Roll: cssct1881_84; Year: 1881. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1881 Scotland Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Scotland. 1881 Scotland Census. Reels 1-338. General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland. [Sept 2011]
- [S9] Website Ancestry.co.uk (www.ancestry.co.uk) [Oct 2010].
Margaret Woods Johnston1
Mother*: Euphemia Stewart b. a 30 Mar 1851, d. 7 Apr 1913