Coubrough/Cowbrough Project Update 22 March 1999

Happy Spring, Everyone:

Just when you thought you had heard the last of me! It occurred to me that some of you may still be interested in what I have found on the project over the past months since I last reported. Things have been busy on the tree project front, and we actually seem to be making some progress. At the very least, we have some "new" Coubroughs on board.

William Coubrough married Margaret Gourlay in about 1780, in Campsie parish, Stirling, Scotland. William's parents were another William Coubrough and Agnes Wright who
were married, we think, about 1750, probably also in Campsie. There is a strong possibility that this William (m Agnes) was the son of William Coubrough and Mary Moir, and who was probably born about 1723, but we have not yet been able to prove this beyond his being "the right age in the right place at the right time." I have recently spent many hours
with the microfilm copy of the Campsie parish records for the period 1646-1820, but so far have no proof of this particular connection. The old records often contain very little information. For example, the Campsie parish baptism record for William C and Margaret Gourlay's third son, James, (6 May 1787) reads:

Coubrough , James Lawful son of William Coubrough and his spouse in
Clachan Margaret Gourley. Born 23r of April

The marriage record for this same James (May 9th, 1813) is equally

Coubrough Jas. Coubrough and Janet Adam both in this parish owned their
irregular marriage and paid their fine.

Very interesting reading, but very slow going.

Unfortunately, we have no further connections for anyone else at this time, though we have come across a few tantalizing clues. For example, my particular line seems to be the only one containing the name Matthew. So far, we have proven our line back to one James Coubrough, b. abt.1750-1765, who was married to Jean Muir. Said James and Jean had seven sons and one daughter that we can find. The sixth son was named Matthew, presumably after a close relative, and it is this Matthew, b 1805 in Eastwood parish, that was my 4th great grandfather. I have found a number of other Matthews, but have not been able to connect any of them,
though I am sure they must be ours. The Scots naming convention of the time called for naming the oldest son after his father's father, the second son after his mother's father, the third one after the father, etc. A similar procedure was followed for the girls: The first was named for her mother's mother, the second for her father's mother, the third for her mother, etc. Sometimes this order varied, depending on the names of the grandparents (obviously if the children had two grandfathers and a father all named James, somebody would have to bend the rules). Since
James and Jean named their children, in order of birth, James, Malcolm, John, William, Robert, Matthew, Barbara Muir, and William, it is likely that James's father was named James. The only trouble is, I have been able to find record of only one James who was born about the right time,
and whose father was named James. This is the son of James Coubrough who was married to Elizabeth Boyd, but since they and most of their family were in Strathblane, he is probably not the right one. There was also a James b 1752 in Campsie, but his father's name was Malcolm. This does not mean that he was not the right one, but the children's names would not then be following the convention. The search continues.... 

This particular family has another troubling gap: The first five children were all born only a couple of years apart (James 1785, Malcolm 1787, John 1789, William 1791, Robert 1795), but then there is an unexplained gap of 10 years before the next child, Matthew, was born in 1805,
followed by Barbara 1808, and another William in 1810 (the first one must have died quite young). I have come up with several theories to explain this, but have been able to prove none of them. First, James and Jean could have had a long separation (e.g., military service, since
this was about the time that Napoleon decided to take over Britain), one of them may have had a very long illness, or a combination of the two. Second, the family could have moved out of Scotland for a while, then come back, or third, there could have been other children born who were not registered in the parish register as this was (I think) about the time when there was a tax on having one's child's baptism recorded (or something such; I'm not sure of the details). The search continues....

As I mentioned a bit earlier, I have been been attempting to read the microfilm copy of the Campsie parish register. From what I have been able to figure out so far, there seems to have been three brothers/cousins and their families in the parish of Campsie in the mid-1600's, all of the fathers of which families seeming to have come from the Falkirk area as this seems to be where the earliest records are from. I have not yet examined the Falkirk films so I cannot say this is certain. In Campsie, between 1650 and 1670, there seems to have been eleven Coubroughs having children baptised. All of these 11 seem to fit into three families headed by men named Malcolm, James and John. However, this is all speculation on my part, based on the way the children were named and who the recorded witnesses of the baptisms were. I have assumed that people who named their children in the same order and who witnessed the baptisms of each other's children in the same town were probably siblings. If anybody is interested in scrutinizing my guestimates for errors, I would be happy to send you any of the
information I have so far.

One of the more exciting things I have found on this film is the christening record of one Mathew Coubrough, chr. Dec. 1700. He was the son of John Coubrough and Isobel Lyle, but his name is not in any of the record indexes that I have seen. I believe him to be the same Mathew who
married Jonet Morison in 1725. I think that his son, James, b abt 1732 is probably the father of our James who was married to Jean Muir, though of course I have yet to prove the connection. I believe also that he (Matthew chr 1700) is either the father of the Mathew who was married to
a woman named Jean, or the same man with a second wife. Said Jean and Mathew had a son William baptised in 1754, so it seems more likely that Mattew chr. 1700 was William's grandfather than his father.

On another line, I also found the marriage date for Thomas Coubrough and Catherine Wylie. Thomas, b. 1826, was the youngest son of Henry and Wilhelmina Cowbrough, and the grandson of James Coubrough and Elizabeth Boyd (on his father's side) and of William Coubrough and Jean Auld (on his mother's side). Thomas married Catherine at Tulliallan, Perth, Scotland, on September 21, 1854.

In February, I travelled with my mother to Australia for a month. (For you northern hemisphere folks, it was lovely and sunny and HOT!) Anyway, while we were there, I took the opportunity to visit the Australian War Memorial, which is an excellent military history museum. They also have a family history section, where I took advantage of their computer database to see if there were any Coubroughs in it. Given the apparent tribal wanderlust, there just had to be some. There were two: Victor Thomas John and his younger brother, Alexander. They appeared to be sons of one "R.E. Coubrough" of Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia. Unfortunately, both are no longer with us (Victor d 1916 at the Somme in France, and Alexander in 1972, at home in Launceton, Tasmania), so I was unable to find any further information at that time. There was however, a William Coubrough, age 33, who sailed on the SS Great Britain from Liverpool, England, to Melbourne, Australia in 1869. This William could have been the grandfather of Victor Thomas and Alexander, as the town they came from, Fitzroy, is now a suburb of Melbourne. Or he might not!

Also while I was in Australia, I went fishing for Coubrough's in the telephone books of all the cities I was in. I found about a dozen of them, all related to each other, but not directly to the Melbourne crew above. These people, nearly all from Sydney, seem to be the descendants 
of another William who came to Australia about 1890-1900 from the Campsie area of Scotland. Again, not much of a lead, but I hope to get to them eventually.

Carolyn Willis, of Tallahassee, Florida, is the descendant of one John MacDonald Coubrough who was born in Eastwood parish, Renfrew, Scotland, in about 1854 (?), and moved to England, where he married an English girl, Ann Inwood, in 1870. Said John was the descendant of one Thomas Coubrough, born about 1788, in Airdrie, Scotland. While my line is also from Eastwood parish, we have not been able to establish a connection so far.

One more find: I found on the Internet I found the cemetery record for one Jessie S. Coubrough, b. abt 1832, and married to Beaumont M. Burrell. She died in 1892, in Montana, USA, but I have not been able to connect her to anyone else yet.

That's about it for this time. If you know the answer-or even have any extra clues-to any of my puzzles, please, please take pen, pencil, keyboard in hand and let me know. Even if you have nothing new to report, I would love to hear from you anyway.

Top of page - Home - IntroE-mail - Pictures - Newsletter - Family Tree Index - Links

Search - Reunion Index -  Sign my guest book - View guest book - Mystery People