James Donald

My Maternal 2nd Great-Grandfather

Donald grave in Helensburgh Scotland

"We are who we are because they were who they were. . ."  Unknown


James Donald (1850-1939) was my great-great-grandfather on Maggie Donald's (my maternal grandmother) side of our family.  He was born in 1850 in Auchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland to Peter Donald and Ann Davidson.  His sister, Catherine, was born two years before him.

The 1851 Scotland Census lists James (8 mos.), born about 1850 in Rattray, Perthshire.  He was the son of Peter (24) and Ann  Davidson (23), sister - Cathrine age 2, lodger William Davidson (25). William was likely Ann's brother.

To date, Peter and Catherine have not been found in any further census. 

In 1855, Ann Davidson married John Miller in Auchterarder, Perthshire. It could be that Peter died between 1851 and 1855; he would have only been in his 20's.

In 1861 - James Donald (10) born about 1851 Rattray, Perthshire; stepson of John Miller and son of Anne Miller both 33, working at a Brick Work. Address: "Shave Two No 5 Schedules in a Mis Lake".  He was also living with John Miller (5) and Isabella Miller (5 mos.), children of John and Ann.

On June 9, 1868, James Donald married Jane McLaren at Trinity Gask Parish Church in Perth, Scotland.  Together they had 9 children, including my great-grandfather, Arthur  Peter Mclaren Donald.

In the 1871 Census - James (20) is listed as head of house living with spouse Jane (24), of Auchterarder, Perthshire.  Occupation: Postboy; children: Colin (2), James (4); living at Main St.

The 1881 Census lists James Donald (31), spouse Jane (37) living in Carnwath, Lanarkshire. Occupation: Coachman. Colin 12, James 10, Arthur 8, John 6, Maggie, 3 and Andrew G, 1 are the children listed.

The 1891 Census shows James Donald age 40, (Head) born about 1851 in Rattray, Perthshire, wife Jane (44) living with children: James (20), Andrew G. (14), Anna (11), Bella (7), William (4).  Mother-in-law, Margaret McLaren(73).Occupation: Coachman, living at Harperfield Coachman's House, Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire.

In the 1901 Census, James Donald and his wife Jane are found in Bothwell Lanarkshire. Main St 13 Royal Buildings with sons James (30), Andrew G. (21), William (14), and grandson John Taylor (2).

The 1911 Census has James, 60 years old, living at West Clyde St., Helensburgh with Jane (60), Bella (22) and grandson, John Taylor (10).

James marrried Jane Reid Brown sometime after Jane's death in 1913 (who was reported to be his nurse).

We have located a copy of James' will written after the death of my great-great grandmother, Jane.  He bequeathed his assets to his surviving children and to the descendants of his children who had pre-deceased him. I do not know if my grandmother ever knew this as she never mentioned him; in the will she was left 1/12 of a small amount of money.

James died in 1939 of Bronchitis and "Senile Decay" at the age of 89. He is buried in Helensburgh Cemetery, marked by a large headstone memorializing his predeceased children. Persons in the Lair with James: 1908 - son, James Donald Age 36. 1913, wife, Jane Donald. I visited the grave this past year and placed a small Canadian flag by the headstone to represent his surviving family "across the pond" whom he'd never met, but who now know a little bit about him.


Left: Annie Jane Donald and James Peters. Right: James and Jane Donald, holding grandson John Taylor Jr., with daughter Maggie and husband John Taylor (about 1900).
Trinity Gask Parish Church, Perthshire Scotland, where James Donald and Jane McLaren were married in 1868.

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Mary | Reply 09.01.2016 06.14

Yes very interesting. No worries will have to do some research on it to see what I can find. Thanks for your reply

Mary | Reply 08.01.2016 09.52

I have also found ancestors living at this address in 1861 census. Alexander & Janet McKay with family.Do you know if this was related to a row of cottages?

Karen 08.01.2016 10.32

I don't know. It's an interesting address isn't it? Sorry. Not much help. Karen

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09.10 | 13:33

Hello Peter - please email me at grannykba@gmail.com

23.08 | 15:28

Hi Karen, If you are still maintaining this page, please drop me a line. William and Mary were my great, great, grandparents. Best Regards,

29.08 | 18:46

John. Can you email me at grannykba@gmail.com - then we can connect directly. ..

16.08 | 11:58

Hi Karen, if you are interested, please visit my facebook page
regards john crome.

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