Coubrough/Cowbrough Project Update 1 June 2003

Hello Everyone:

Here it is! The e_mail you ve all been waiting for:


Readers of these monologues will recall that the first ever International Coubrough Family Reunion took place in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, in the middle of a heat wave and an accompanying drought. Things could hardly have been different for the second edition in far away New Zealand. Held this past Easter weekend in Katikati, New Zealand, this year's reunion was accompanied by two days of cold, driving rain. For a variety of reasons, many folks just couldnít make the trip, so our crowd was a little smaller this time, but the rain and the chill didn't manage to dampen anyone's spirits, and we had a great party.

My own journey started in Kingston, with a short break at Edmonton, Alberta, to collect my mother. In these days of instant everything, the 22_hours it took us to get from Edmonton to Christchurch was a long trip. Compared to the three or four months of sea travel it took the first Coubroughs to get from Scotland to Otago, on the South Island of New Zealand, in 1864, our travels were but a moment. But we got there in one piece each, and it was absolutely wonderful to finally meet so many people with whom I had only had e_mail contact. Everyone we met was wonderfully friendly and helpful; New Zealand is definitely on the list of places to visit again. And now, back to the party.

Saturday morning, April 19, dawned grey and drizzly, but not terribly cold. Around 10 AM, about 30 people gathered at the Katikati RSA hall for coffee and muffins and Talk! Some of us were young (under 20 years) and some had been around a little longer 80 years or more. As last time, we were from all walks of life; we were housewives, farmers, nurses, personal_care workers, students, businessmen and women, lawyers, biologists, pilots, historians, environmentalists, Churchmen, and soldiers. Once again, we were from three of the four main branches so far identified just not the same three branches as last time. As one might expect, nearly all those present were New Zealanders, mostly descendants of Malcolm Coubrough and Jean Buchanan (married 1796). Some of the "locals" were the fourth generation born there, some were newcomers who had moved there within the last year or two, and one was the sole representative of the Strathblane line (John Coubrough and Jonet Buchanan, married about 1703). We were a few "foreigners," too: a couple of native New Zealanders who had abandoned civilization to move to the end of the world (also known as Australia); and five from beyond the edge of imagination __ two Canadians and three Americans, representing the descendants of James Coubrough and Jean Muir (married about 1785).

By this time, everyone knows that there are hundreds of Coubroughs all over the world, but that didn't stop anyone from discussing those vague, shadowy Scots ancestors. As starting points, there were printouts of the Malcolm Coubrough_Jean Buchanan family tree, with computerized versions of the others, and lots and lots of pictures to talk about. And talk we did, for most of the afternoon, until about 3PM, when, under the guidance of ladies from the local tourism office, we went for an hourís stroll to enjoy murals of the townís history. It was just starting to spit rain when we returned to the hall for tea and a lovely chocolate cake, which bore the traditional greeting "ceud mile fŗŪlte!"(a hundred thousand welcomes!).

Of course, you canít have tea and cake without more talk, so thatís what we did. The time before supper was filled by telling each other a bit about our own lives, our immediate families, and how we got where we are. Most of the talks were fairly short. Yours truly, however, never one to pass up a captive audience, gave a short spiel with a bit of the family history and a condensed version of the Coubrough surname project. (Victims opinions may differ!) By the time we had finished, the folks at the RSA kitchen had supper ready. A buffet supper of ham, chicken, and vegetables was followed by dessert of pavlova, fruit salad and brandy snaps, all accompanied by ... you guessed it: more talk. By about 9 pm, everyone seemed to be all talked out at last. The end of the evening was marked by a mass exodus into a driving rainstorm.

A gentle downpour on Sunday morning wasn't enough to stop our party_goers from boarding a bus for a scenic trip (with stops for lunch and shopping, of course) to Tiaru, located in the west_central North Island. It was here that Malcolm Coubrough, son of Archibald Coubrough and Margaret Pairman, settled when he moved to New Zealand in the last quarter of the 19th century, and where he took his new bride, Alice Blackman. (Alice and Malcolm were great_granparents of our reunion host.) Strangely for us northern hemisphere folks, Easter is late fall in New Zealand. Stranger still is a climate where everything was greener in the fall than we have in the spring. In spite of its being almost winter, the "home farm," with thick, intensely green grass covering its rolling hills, was breathtakingly beautiful__even in the rain. The farm is still in the family today, operated by one of Malcolm and Alice's great_grandsons, and by one of their grandsons.

Upon return to the RSA, we found that supper was once again ready. (Are you detecting the theme here? I think we spent most of our time in New Zealand eating!) After supper and more talk we made our farewells amid hugs and promises to write.

I would like to thank our hosts, Geoff and Donna, for giving us such a great time. Thank you also to everyone who brought pictures, and contributed updates and/or corrections to the family trees. We couldn't do it without you. All in all, I would have to say that it was another successful reunion.



Survey time again:

There is a possibility of another edition of the reunion, to be held August 2005. The location would be Scotland (or possibly England, depending on circumstances). I would like to know how many people would be interested in attending such an event before we go to the trouble of arranging it.

I would greatly appreciate hearing from as many people as possible. Please e_mail me ( with your opinions, ideas, suggestions, so we can get started with planning.

And now, on to the slightly more distant past.



In the summer of 1943, many Scots were in the British Army, doing their parts to defend their way of life. Some were close to home, at posts in England or even Scotland, and others were much further away, in France, Belgium and Africa. Some of them got home on leave occasionally, and some were gone for years. Among the ranks of soldiers were many of the Coubrough name, some of whom still carry the memory. One of those British soldiers who was far away from home was a young man named Thomas Joseph Coubrough, a motor driver in Field Marshal Montgomeryís Africa Corps of the Royal Army. The African deserts are a long way from Scotland, and who knows how long it had been since he had last seen his family. Imagine the heartbreak he must have felt when he received a letter from his wife, Pauline Cormick perhaps months after the fact that their 3_year_old daughter, Anna Theresa, had died on August 20, 1943, of whooping cough, bronchitis, and convulsions while Thomas was away on active duty. Annaís Aunt Anne Behan reported the death to the registrar at Rothsay, in Bute, but I am not yet sure of which branch Thomas was a member.



Thanks to Mr. Bruce Hosie, who generously took time to look up marriage records in Edinburgh for us, we have connected some mystery people and a few more living, breathing Coubroughs to their branches of the tree.

Some time ago, my cousin John Coubrough began a hunt for two men named Walter Coubrough. One was soon identified as the son of Henry Coubrough and Marie Shellard; the other was somewhat more elusive. In the hope of tracking him down, John contacted a Katherine Coubrough who appeared to be from the same general area as we believed Walter had lived. She had married into the tribe, and was, at the time John contacted her, visiting relatives in Walterís home territory. Katherine said that her husband, George Coubrough, had been lost at sea in 1964, but that he had been the son of another George Coubrough and a woman named Martin. She thought her father_in_law had been born in about 1904, probably in Scotland, and that he had been the son of still another George Coubrough, whose wife had been a Thompson. Not much to go on, but ever optimistic, we kept looking anyway.

Neither George nor Walter is a particularly common name in the Coubrough tree, so when I came across the a George Coubrough in the index of the Ellis Island immigration site, I had to investigate. Paydirt! Not only was this 20_year_old Scottish railway workerís first name George, but his middle name was Thompson. Moreover, his brother Walter, a 21_year_old engineer, was on the same ship. They landed in New York December 23, 1924, on their way to Chicago where they intended to stay with their sister, Mrs. Agnes Hodgkinson. I just had to dig deeper.

I searched the on_line marriage indexes, hoping Agnes had been married before she left Scotland. Luck was with us once again: At the top of the list was an Agnes Coubrough who had married a Frederick D. Hodgkinson, in 1920. While I was debating whether solving this little mystery was worth the £10 ($25) needed for a photocopy of the registration, Bruce Hosie kindly offered to do look ups on his next trip to Edinburgh. It was from Bruceís register extracts that we learned Walter and George, being sons of Walter McFarlan Coubrough and Agnes Thompson, were also Ellrigs. Walter McFarlan, son of William Crawford Coubrough and Margaret McKim, was the brother of the Arthur Coubrough who had gone to Chicago in 1911 (see Sept 2002 edition of this rag).

When she died on December 19, 1923, Agnes Thompson was the widow of Walter McFarlan Coubrough, Plumber. Agnes and Walter had been the parents of four children: Agnes, about 1898; Margaret, about 1900; Walter, abt 1902; and George, 1904. Margaret may have stayed in Scotland, but the other three all moved to the United States. Both sons died in Los Angeles, California: George in 1956, and Walter in July 1973. I havenít yet found out what happened to either of the girls.



In January 2001, I had a telephone call from a Jim Coubrough, of Drymen (Glasgow), who told me that his father had been in Canada at some time in the 1920s, and that his (Jimís) mother had been born Elizabeth Badger. At that time, no on_line indexes had marriages later than 1901, so there didnít seem to be any hope of finding anything about them without visiting Edinburgh. Then, in the summer of 2002, the General Register Office (Scotland) [GRO(S)] published an on_line index of marriages up to 1926. I found an Elizabeth Badger who had married a David Coubrough in 1922, but again being too cheap to fork out for the certificate, they were returned to the space alien list. I did write to Drymen Jim to ask if they were his. My letter came back saying the addressee had moved.

Enter Bruce: David Coubrough, born 1893, son of David Coubrough and Jane MacDougall, had married Elizabeth Young Badger in Alexandria, Dumbarton, on March 11, 1922. Jane MacDougallís husband was the eighth of ten children of Mary Ewing and John Coubrough, who inturn, was the second son of John Coubrough and Euphemia Stewart Park. John and Euphemia you will recognize as the parents of Anthony Park Coubrough and James Hannah Park Coubrough. (Anthony owned the Blanefield calico factory and Jamesís son James moved to Australia in 1883.)

The index also listed the 1922 marriage of a John Coubrough to a Margaret Ross, in the same place as that of David and Elizabeth Badger. As one might expect, John, born about 1898, was Davidís younger brother, but I havenít yet found out anything else about him or his wife. Unfortunately, I still havenít been able to contact Jim from Drymen, so I havenít been able to tell him all this.



Quite some time ago, I had an e_mail from Caroline Bell, asking if I had any information on her family. She knew her grandmother had been born in Glasgow, and that her grandmotherís parents were James Coubrough and Agnes Docherty. Again, there were no marriages later than 1901 available on_line so again, the inquiry went on the back burner (which is pretty crowded these days). I did eventually find James and Agnes in the on_line index last year, and Bruce looked them up to find that James Coubrough, b 1874, had married Agnes Docherty on July 8, 1912, in Glasgow. James was the only child of John Coubrough and Marion Miller, who had been married in Glasgow in 1873. John, born 1851, died before James was 7 years old. Marion remarried twice, but I donít know if she had any more kids. John (1851) was the 4th of nine children of Margaret Kennedy and James Coubrough, b 1817, and 3rd of eight children of James Coubrough, b 1787, and Janet Adam. Janetís husband was the next older brother of the Malcolm who married Catherine McFarlane, so James C and Agnes Dochertyís children are Ellrigs. (See item VI below.)



I have long thought that William Crawford Coubrough, husband of Margaret McKim, was an Ellrig, but I had not been able to prove it. I have also known for some time that William Coubrough and Bethia Lancaster McMillan had three sons, but both Margaretís and Bethiaís husbands were space aliens; I had no idea who their parents were. Enter the on_line death registrations: I recently found both Williams, and it seems my hunch was correct.

William and Bethiaís eldest son, Malcolm, was an unmarried apprentice blacksmith when he died of tuberculosis in November 1863. Their second son, Daniel, married Mary Wylie at Glasgow in 1887 and had 7 kids, two of whom died in infancy. The death registration for Margaret McKimís husband gave his parents as William Coubrough and Bethia McMillan, so he was off the alien list, but it wasnít until I read the registration for Bethiaís husband William, who had died November 1, 1877, that I discovered they were in fact Ellrigs. Williamís parents were Malcolm Coubrough and ? Coubrough, Maiden Surname McFarlane. Catherine McFarlane was the only woman of the right name at the right age at the right place at the right time who was married to a Malcolm Coubrough so she had to be Williamís mother. Malcolm, born 1789, was the 4th son of yet another William Coubrough and Margaret Gourley. Margaretís husband was the great_grandson of John Couburgh and Helen Stevenson, our original Ellrigs.



Still on the family of William Coubrough and Margaret McKim, we know they had nine children, but it was not long ago that I discovered most of them had ended up in the United States. Ann Holding, a granddaughter of William and Margaretís son Daniel, says her grandfather and his oldest brother, William (1868_1946), were the only ones who stayed in Scotland. A search of the available records seems to bear this out.

Robert, the second son, b 1870, married Maria Akhurst in 1898, in Sussex, England. They had at least one son (probably another Robert), and one daughter, Marie, born 1899, in Brighton, England. Robert Sr., Maria, and Marie landed in New York in September 1923, on their way to his brother Arthur in Chicago. They gave their next of kin in England as Son, Mr. R. M. Coubrough , of Brighton.

Walter McFarlan, the third son, doesnít seem to have gone to the US himself, but his daughter Agnes and sons Walter and George did. (Item III above.)

Thomas, the fourth son, died in 1876, sometime before his first birthday.

Bethia, Margaretís fifth child and oldest daughter was born about 1877. She married Joseph Foy in Glasgow in 1898, and they had at least 5 kids. Joseph, a plasterer by trade, went to the US in 1909, probably to work. The immigration record had an address where he was going to be staying, but I couldnít read it. However, since he went to Chicago on his next trip, in February 1911, it seems probable that he had also gone there on the first trip. At any rate, Bethia and their five kids joined him in May 1912.

Malcolm, the sixth child, was born in Glasgow about 1881, but thatís all I know about him.

Arthur, born 1882, was child #7. We already know he married Ann Morrison and went to join his brother_in_law, Joseph Foy, in Chicago in 1911. (See e_mail, Sept 2002).

Daniel, born 1887, married Evelyn Cowie in about 1923 or 1924. They had 5 kids, but Daniel and Evelyn never left Scotland. Daniel was Ann Holdingís grandfather,

Ann, born about 1889, was the baby of the family. She may also have gone to the US, but I donít know anything else about her.



An interesting little tidbit I found on one of my Internet searches said a man named A.C. Coubrough was the 1922_23 Chairman of the Institute of Engineers in India. He may have been Anthony Cathcart Coubrough, grandson of the calico factory owner, Anthony Parks Coubrough, but I have not yet established this.



While we are on the calico family, I have found another little piece of the puzzle. I have long known that Isabella Veitch was the wife of John James Howard Coubrough, son of James Coubrough and Christina Colquhoun, and grandson of John Coubrough and Euphemia Stewart Park. I also knew that John and Isabella had at least three children. I later found the widowed Isabella and five children in the 1891 Scots census, so I assumed that John had died before that. According to that census, Isabellaís two youngest children had been born in England, so they had obviously been there for some time before she and the children came home to Scotland. And there the matter rested.

In September 2002, I answered a post, on an Internet message board, which was looking for clues to the identity of the James Coubrough who had married Sarah Elizabeth Hewish. The poster, Maureen Allen, had been searching the English archives for a couple of years with no luck at all. I had James and Sarah in my files, but all I knew was that they had a son named William James born in 1877. From that meagre beginning, Maureen has come up with nearly the whole family tree, which we will get to shortly.

In the meantime, in keeping with our premise that all bearers of our name are related to each other somewhere along the way, Maureen made note of other Coubroughs she found. One of the men she noticed in passing was 35_year_old John Howard Coubrough, who had died at Barnet, Hertfordshire, in 1881. A couple of months later, I found John C and Isabella Veitchís children in the 1881 English census, where they were visitors in the home of Thomas and Agnes Steele. (Isabella Veitchís motherís name was Jane Steele, so Thomas was probably one of Isabellaís relatives.) We knew from this census that John and Isabellaís two youngest children, Stephen and Nellie, been born in London, England. We were surprised though, to find records for an Agnes Coubrough, daughter of John Coubrough and Isabella Veitch, who had been born in London in 1874. She had died in 1876, aged 2 years, which was why I hadnít seen her in the 1881 census with the rest of the family. Agnesís birth in London in 1874 also meant that her parents must have gone there sometime before she was born, but after her brother James Park, who had been born in Glasgow, in January 1873 which would explain why they seemed to have disappeared from the Scots records.

John died either very late in 1880 or very early in 1881, so at the time of the March 31st census, the children had probably just lost their father. Their mother was not listed with them, so they may have been staying with her family while she looked for a place to take them home to. In March 1891, Isabella was back in her hometown, New Milns, Loudoun, Ayrshire, Scotland. I donít know how well_fixed for money John had left her, but the 1891 census showed all the kids, except James, were still at home and all working. Isabella was a dressmaker, working out of her home. Daughters Jeanie and Nellie were lace curtain designers; middle daughter, Christina, was a lace curtain calenderer, and son Stephen was a lace curtain salesman. (Perhaps lace curtains were popular in 1891?) At any rate, they must have been fairly well off compared to their neighbours. Isabella and her children had their whole house to themselves, while the house next door was home to three families.



And now back to James and Sarah.

Maureen had spent much time fruitlessly searching for the family of James Coubrough and Sarah Hewish before I answered her message with the name of their oldest son. Once she knew his name, William James, with his christening date and place, it was a simple matter to go to the records for that area and track down his whole family. It wasnít long until we knew that Williamís parents had been married March 2, 1877, at Chesterton, England, and that William had been followed by at least five other children: Richard David, John Robert, Harry Hewish, Bessie Emma, and Horace.

Williamís father, however, remained a space alien. His marriage record said that he had been 25 years old at that time, and that his father was one Robert Coubrough, cloth finisher. Based on his age, profession and fatherís profession, I thought James might have been the son of Robert Coubrough and Margaret Clark MacDonald, of Thornliebank. The English records gave only the names and occupations of the fathers of the wedding couple, so we had no idea who Jamesís mother was. The ages given in the only other records I had for Margaret McDís son (1851 & 1861 census) were off by about four years from that of Sarahís husband, and James and Sarah had not called their first son Robert, all of which gave me serious doubts as to whether he could really be Margaret MacDís son.

Maureen was not ready to give up so easily, so we both kept looking. It was worth the effort: We not only found Jamesís family line, but the location of his oldest brother, who had also disappeared from the Scots records. The key was Maureenís discovery in the 1901 census of a 5_year_old boy named Stanley MacDonald Coubrough, said to be the son of Sarah Coubrough, age 54. Common sense told us that Stanley was more likely to have been Sarahís grandson than her son, especially since Sarahís husband had died in 1890! At first we thought that one of Sarahís sons must have been the boyís father. Sarahís daughter Bessie was only 14 when the boy was 5, but William James was 24 and certainly old enough to have been Stanleyís parent, however unusual it was for a single father to have custody of his child. The boyís middle name, though, was what really attracted our attention.

A quick search of the 1881 census index came up with Maggie M. Conbrough, the 2_year_old daughter of James and Sarah. The purchase of Stanleyís birth registration showed his name as Stanley MacDonald, born 6 June 1896, and his mother as Maggie MacDonald Coubrough. A girl who was two in the spring of 1881 would have been 16 or 17 in June 1896, and so to Maggieís own birth registration: Maggie MacDonald Coubrough, born November 1, 1878, was the daughter of James Coubrough and Sarah Elizabeth Coubrough, formerly Hewish. We were now pretty sure that Stanley was Sarahís grandson, and again, it was the MacDonald that convinced me that Stanleyís grandfather must have been the son of Margaret MacDonald.

The James Coubrough who married Sarah Hewish had been born in Scotland. He was a draper by trade, was the son of Robert Coubrough, cloth finisher, and had called his daughter Margaret MacDonald. The only Robert Coubrough I knew of who had been a cloth finisher (cloth lapper in Scotland) was the one from Thornliebank (son of John Coubrough and Catherine Andrew), who had been married to Margaret MacDonald and Mary Sandilands. Taken all together, these made me think that Sarahís husband must indeed have been Margaret MacDonaldís son. James was 40 years old when he died of peritonitis on June 12th, 1890. Sarah was 64 when she was taken by pneumonia on August 27th, 1908.



When Mary Sandilands, age 34, and widow of both William Gunn, and Robert Coubrough, appeared in the 1861 census, all of her living children and step_children were still at home, with one exception. Margaret MacDonaldís oldest son, Robert, who would have been about 19 or 20 in 1861, had left home, but we had no idea where he had gone. Was he one of the Robert Coubroughs in various other Scots records? Had he emigrated somewhere? Was he even still living? We had no real answers, but clues kept coming up.

During the search for James and Sarahís family, we came across a number of other Coubroughs, one of whom was a Robert in the 1901 English census. Some further digging yielded a great haul. Not only had this Robert been married twice, but he was a tailor and draper (cloth_seller) who had been born in Scotland, and he was exactly the same age as Margaret Clark MacDonaldís son should have been. Moreover, he had called his oldest daughter, b 1869, Margaret MacDonald.

A perusal of the English records turned up a birth index entry for a Margaret Coubrough, registered early in 1869, who was much too old to have been Sarah Hewishís daughter. Further study showed her to have been born October 24, 1868, the daughter of Robert Coubrough and Mary Ann Bowers, who had been married August 23, 1866. (The birth registration gave the childís name only as Margaret, but the 1871 census clearly showed her name to be Margaret MacDonald Coubrough.) Mary Ann Bowerís husband was a draper by trade, and the son of another Robert Coubrough, cloth finisher (deceased). The combination of his age, his birth place, his fatherís name and trade, and his daughterís name made him a pretty good candidate for the son of Margaret MacDonald. Robert had gone to England early in his life, perhaps looking for work, and had stayed there. Possibly he was the reason both his younger brothers went there: John (m. A. Inwood) to be an insurance salesman and James (m. S. Hewish) to become a cloth salesman.

Our Robert was a lusty sort who seems to have worn out his first wife. Poor Mary Ann must have been pregnant for nearly her whole married life. Her first child, born late in 1867, was a stillborn son. A year later came Margaret MacDonald, mentioned above, then two boys less than a year apart: Robert, very early in 1870 and another stillborn son at the end of the same year. They were followed by James in the late summer of 1871, and Eleanor in the summer of 1872. The late fall of 1873 saw the birth of another son, Arthur Robert, but Mary Ann would have no more children, for in the spring of 1874 she too passed on. She had borne seven children in the seven and a half years she was married and she was 29 years old when she died. Only two of her children survived their first birthdays: Margaret MacDonald, and Arthur Robert, who was thought to be feeble_minded.

Robert, aged 34, married again in November 1876, to Catherine Amelia Channer, 24, and had another large family. Again, the first child was stillborn (a girl this time, in the spring of 1877). She was followed by Jessie, 1880, Amelia, 1882, Mabel Catherine, 1884, Gertrude Mabel, 1887, Alexander, 1889, Kate, 1891, Thomas James, 1892, and (probably) Constance, born in 1897. Except the first girl and Mabel Catherine, all of this family seems to have survived at least until the 1901 census, where they were all listed. Robert died in 1912, at the age of 70.

Both James Coubrough (m. S. Hewish) and Robert Coubrough (m. M. A. Bowers & C. Channer) named their oldest daughters Margaret MacDonald Coubrough. John Coubrough (m. A. Inwood) also gave that name to his own first daughter. Given the relative ages of all three men, the facts that they were all born in Scotland and that their fathers were all cloth finishers named Robert, I donít think it is too much of a stretch to think that they must all have been brothers, and sons of Robert Coubrough and Margaret Clark MacDonald. Thanks, Maureen, for not letting me give up on my hunch.



Everyone will recall that Margaret Clark MacDonaldís husband Robert (the cloth lapper/cloth finisher) was the son of John Coubrough and Catherine Andrew. Having just talked at great length about Robertís children, letís turn now to his Aunt Barbara, sister of Robertís father.

As far as we have been able to learn, she was the only daughter in her family. And she was the original of the mysterious name Barbara. (I really have no idea where this name came from. Barbara is of Gemanic origin, and was not all that common in Scotland at the beginning of the 19th century.) That was all we knew, and seemed to be all we were likely to know, except that every generation of Coubrough women since has at least one girl named Barbara. Then, in 2002, I found and downloaded a copy of a death registration for a Barbara Coubrough, age 67, who had lived in Eastwood parish.

Barbara, daughter of James Coubrough and Jean Muir, had been a power_loom weaver who never married. Perhaps she had worked in the same factory where her brother Mathew was a colour printer. She certainly lived near him; her residence at the time of her death from old age and debility, on July 22, 1876, was 47 Heriot Street, Pollokshaws. Mathew had lived at 22 Heriot Street. Barbaraís death was reported to the registrar by her nephew_in_law, James Campbell, who lived with his wife Jane Coubrough, at 44 Main Street, Pollokshaws. Jane, daughter of Barbaraís brother Mathew, was the younger sister of the authorís great_great_grandfather, James Coubrough.



From the time I first began researching the Coubrough family tree (about 30 years ago), I have been looking for the marriage date and place of my great_great_grandparents, Jim Coubrough and Annie MacDonald. The general consensus was that they must have been married in Scotland before they moved to Canada, but no on seemed to know for sure. Though Annie MacDonald is still a space alien, I long ago found out that her husband was the grandson of yet another James Coubrough and his wife, Jean Muir, and that he was the first of the Coubrough name to come to Canada, probably very late in 1853 or very early in 1854. A family story had it that Annie had just barely made it ashore in time for Matt to be born. (Matt, born January 8, 1854, was Jim and Annieís oldest child, and my great grandfather.) I knew, too, that they had been in Halifax at some time, but not exactly when or for how long. Last December, however, a chance encounter with an index changed everything.

One night in the National Archive, I was flipping through a book listing birth, marriage, and death announcements that had appeared in 19th_century Nova Scotia newspapers. I was looking for references to my husbandís MacKays, when the book happened to fall open at the C page of the index. A casual glance at the bottom of the page revealed a familiar name. I looked again, and sure enough, there was Couborough, James. I was so excited that I could hardly turn to the page indicated. I managed that little feat, only to be startled again: Not only had Jim and Annie been married in Halifax, rather than Scotland, but the date was September 21, 1851, which meant they had to have been in Canada for at least two years longer than anyone had suspected.

Of course, every answer brings more questions. Now I just have to find out if they met in Halifax, or if they knew each other in Scotland. If they met in Halifax, how long were they there before they were married? Jim was in the British Army (unit uncertain), and there was a posting rotation on June 10, 1851, when the 42nd Highland Regiment arrived in Halifax, from Bermuda, to replace the 88th Regiment (Connaught Rangers), who sailed for home three days later. Was Jim part of one of those regiments? Did he transfer to the 42nd from another outfit so he could stay in Halifax? Too bad we canít go back and ask!



Several years ago, I found an 1876 marriage for a Barbara Coubrough and an Alexander McHutcheson in an index. The indexes donít give parents names, so Alexís wife remained on the alien list. Then, during my hunt for Jean Muirís daughter in the on_line indexes, I came across a death registration entry for another Barbara Coubrough. I wasnít sure who she was, but knowing she must be one of us, I downloaded the certificate. She was certainly ours: I was more than a little surprised to find that Alexander McHutchesonís widow was the daughter of Malcolm Coubrough & Ann McKinnon.

Alexander McHutcheson, Step_son, reported Barbaraís death to the registrar, so her husband had at least one son from a previous marriage. I found no records of any children for Barbara, but this is probably not all that odd. She was at least 45 when she married Alexander, and her death registration gave no evidence that she had ever been married to anyone else.



Another discovery in the same family, which to me was even more surprising, was that of Malcolm Coubrough who had married Mary Cameron in 1856, at Rutherglen, Lanarkshire. I had thought Mary Cameronís husband to be the son of Ann Boyd & Malcolm Coubrough, but I could find no proof. There was apparently a good reason for this there was none!

In December 2002, I received an e_mail from Gordon Johnson, of Kinhelp, with an index entry of the death of a Malcolm Coubrough, whose wifeís name was Mary Cameron. I downloaded the certificate, and found Malcolmís parents were Malcolm Coubrough & Ann McKinnon. At the very least, this Malcolm had to be the brother of Barbara McHutcheson, but & (in this business, there always seems to be a but ) I can find no record of a Malcolm Coubrough married to any Ann McKinnon.

An Agnes McKinnon had married Malcolm Coubrough, son of James C & Jean Muir, in Eastwood parish, in 1807, but no Ann that I could find. Malcolm and Agnesís first son, James, was born in 1809, but Robert, the next known child, was not born until 1821! Judging by the gap between these two sons, I felt there must be other children, but I could not find any record of them. Maybe they just hadnít got around to baptising their kids, which we all know seems to have been an unfortunately common occurrence. Then came Barbara, who was born about 1829, and Malcolm, born about 1830, both children of Ann McKinnon, and I was more confused than ever.

With two children belonging to Malcolm C and Agnes McKinnon, and later two more belonging to Malcolm C and Ann McKinnon, all from approximately the same area, I began to wonder if perhaps Agnes had died and Malcolm had married Ann, who could have been Agnesís cousin or even her sister. More likely, I think Ann and Agnes were the same person. I have found other records where the mother of a family was sometimes listed as Catherine and sometimes as Margaret. If those two names can be confused, surely there is a case for Agnes/Ann? Either way, Malcolm and Agnes/Ann had at least four children. While still I think there must be others, I believe that Mary Cameronís husband, born about 1830, was probably the youngest. If Agnes McKinnon was his mother, she was 40 50 years old by the time Malcolm was born. Anyone else have any ideas?



Once again, we must ask blessings on the census takers and their pointy pencils. If not for them, we might never have known that there were Coubroughs living in Wales in 1901. John, 29, was a calico printer at Carnarvon, where he lived with his three older sisters: Isabella, 41; Agnes, 37; and Violet, 33. He was seems to have been the only one who was employed, with his sisters said to be living on own means. I donít know when they went to Wales, but they were all at home with their parents in 1881, so it was sometime between then and when I found them at Carnarvon in 1901.

John and his sisters were the offspring of Agnes Morton and Robert Coubrough, born 1832, second son of Matt Coubrough and Jean Allan. (That is, Robert was the older brother of Jane m. James Campbell, above.) Robert Coubrough and Agnes Morton had at least eight children. Their first son, Mathew, was 13 months old when he died of hydroencephalus on January 28, 1856. Agnes and Robertís first daughter, Isabella, was born three months later, on May 9, 1856. She was followed by Jane, January 28, 1858; Agnes, January 19, 1860; Barbara, November 12, 1861; Violet, September 4, 1863; Robina, about 1866; and John, abt 1871. The first six children were all born in Eastwood parish, where Agnes and Robert had been married on January 3, 1854, but the youngest two were born in England. They must have moved sometime between Violetís birth (1863) and about 1866_1867, when Robina was born, which may be why they disappeared from the Scots records.

The census doesnít say why they moved, of course, but like so many others, Robert may have gone looking for work. The 1851 & 1861 Scots census said Robert was a colour maker in a calico factory. In the 1881 English census, he was a salesman to a calico printer. Had the chemicals used to make the colours caught up to him, or did he just take what ever job he could get? Peole moving to a new country often go where they have friends or family. Did Agnes and her Robert go to England because his cousin Robert (son of Margaret MacDonald) was already there? Cousin Robert was a draper (cloth_seller) who had already been several years in England and so was probably well_established there. Perhaps he had given Agnesís Robert a job? At any rate, the 1901 census is the only indication we have of what had happened to any of their kids after they left home. And I havenít yet been able to find out how long they stayed there, or if they ever left.


Besides the finds above, I have connected quite a few of the Mystery People on the web site to their branches of the family. The site has been updated with links to tell you who they are and where I think they belong. I havenít by any means found all or even most of them, so donít be shy about telling me if you find someone you know.

You can also find a group picture from the reunion (courtesy of Geoff) on the site, along with a copy of the shpiel at the beginning of the great document you are now reading. I was so busy gabbing at the reunion that I didnít get any pictures of my own; if you have any to share, I d be grateful.

I expect to have revised editions of some of the family trees up sometime over the summer, so be sure to stop by once in a while to have a look. And be sure to tell me if I have made mistakes.

That's about all the news that is news, for now. I d be happy to hear everyoneís comments on my ramblings. Please be sure to let me know if you get two copies of this rag, or if you prefer not to receive any copies.

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