Coubrough/Cowbrough Project Update 24 June 2001

Hello, 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 has been happening on the Coubrough/Cowbrough surname project over the months since I last reported. I seem to have been very busy, but I'm not sure how much progress we have made. There are a couple of new connections to old lines and more "new" Coubroughs are appearing all the time. The reunion plan is coming along well: We are expecting 50 people to attend, which just goes to show that there are a lot more people interested in finding out who we were than I had once thought. More on this later.

Over the years, I have reported a number of connections found and searches ongoing. It seemed possible that you might be interested in hearing what has happened to some of them, and whether anything new might have been added. Though the search for the "original" Coubrough continues, we have had some success in connecting some of the branches and some of their living, breathing descendants.


One of the longest lines we have is that of John Coubrough and Jonet Buchanan. John, born 1660, married Jonet about 1703, probably in Campsie parish. John's birthdate is from the huge granite memorial in the Strathblane churchyard, but I don't know anything about Jonet except her name and that she had at least eight children. She was probably born between 1676 and 1689, assuming that she was at least 15 when she had her first child in 1704 and not more than 47 when her youngset child was born in 1723. Either way, she was a lot younger than John, and I am not sure she was his first wife. So far, there is no evidence either way. John and Jonet's children were all baptised in Campsie parish, so John and Jonet may have been married there, though I did not find them in the marriage register there.

Sometime after January, 1723, John and his family moved to the Strathblane area. There is no mention of Jonet on the Strathblane memorial so she may have passed on before John moved. Perhaps he went to live with one of his sons after Jonet died. I have so far only tracked down one of Jonet's children: Her fifth child and oldest son, another John, born 1717, married Agnes Edmonston (daughter of Sir Archibald Edmonston of Spittal) in Strathblane, in 1742. Whether the whole family moved then or whether John went by himself is still an open question.

John and Agnes had at least two children: Agnes in 1745 and Archibald in 1747. Agnes probably died soon after that as John was married to Agnes Lapslie in 1752, also in Strathblane. There were no children of this second marriage. It seems probable that the second Agnes was of robust health. John was married yet again in 1760, so his second Agnes had likely died sometime before that.

John's third wife, Jean Livingston, seems to have been made of sturdier stuff than her two predecessors. Born in 1732, the youngest child and only daughter of Janet Markham and John Livingston, she, too, was at least 15 years younger than her husband. I have not found any record of when she died, but she lived at least long enough to have six children. Jean's two boys, yet another John, born 1761, and James, born 1766, managed between them to send the Coubrough name to quite a few places. John married Euphemia Stewart Park, eldest child of Anthony Park and Sarah Hannah, in 1806, in Renfrew parish. James married Jean McIndoe, daughter of Robert McIndoe and Bethia Duncan, in 1796 in Strathblane. One of their descendants is Esther Osborne, of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

You may also recall this item from an earlier edition of this spiel, when I wondered if James might be the forebearer of the Coubroughs who now live in Sydney:

In "A Directory of Scots in Australasia, 1788_1900", I found this family:

CONBROUGH, JAMES, his wife and four children, Glasgow, emigrated from Dundee on the clipper ship DUNTRUNE, master, John Rollo, 1.9.1883, landed at Moreton Bay, Brisbane, Queensland, 12.1883. [DPL.MS.405]

Which long stories lead me to a couple of new connections. Some time ago, I "wondered aloud" how the Coubroughs of Sydney, Australia, were connected to their Scots roots. None knew where their emigrant grandfather's family had called home; they knew that his name had been William and that he had had a son called James, but not where or when William had been born, or who his parents might have been–or even what his wife’s name was.

I did have one other clue: I suspected that their family tree might include Anthony Park Coubrough (the first ever Anthony Coubrough), but I had no proof and nothing else to go on so they stayed in my rather large bin of very short trees. Then, about two months ago, I was ego surfing (searching on my own name) on the Internet. One of the sites in the search results was an on_line index of Australian vital statistics_and there they all were in a nice, tidy list, just waiting for me to find them.

I had suspected that Grandfather William was the son of a James Coubrough, but I was astonished to discover that said James was James W. Coubrough, one of the "four children" of the James Conbrough who had emigrated from Dundee on the DUNTRUNE, in 1883. The elder James Coubrough and his wife were James Wilberforce Coubrough and Alice Paterson, who had been married in Edinburgh in 1871. Their four children were Helen, born 1872; John Paterson Howard, born 1874; James W., born abt 1877; and Mary, born 1881. All of the children were born in Edinburgh, except James, who was born in Glasgow.

And, at last, the connection: Alice Paterson's husband was the second son of Christina Colquhoun and James Hannah Park Coubrough, James being the younger brother of Anthony Park Coubrough. James and Anthony were sons of Euphemia Stewart Park and John Coubrough. John, of course, was the son of Jean Livingstone and the grandson of Jonet Buchanan. Thus, Ian Coubrough, of London, England, and his brother, Ronnie, of Hertfordshire, England, are third cousins once removed of the men that I spoke to in Sydney.

You will also recognise the name of Anthony Park Coubrough as the owner of the Blanefield Printworks in Strathblane. This factory employed as many as 500 people in its heyday of calico printing, but I have not yet discovered if Anthony Park bought the factory, inherited it, or started it from scratch. I do know that he bought a home called Blanefield House, in about 1846, which he enlarged to suit his status as a wealthy business man. The house was apparently a bed and breakfast operation for a while in the 1960's, but was demolished in about 1974 to make way for a block of apartments. There was an explosion and fire at the Printworks in about 1864. Seven people were killed and several others injured when a boiler exploded. The factory was rebuilt and operated for several more years before being sold to a larger company in the 1880's.

Anthony Park Coubrough and his sons were said to have been quite generous with their money in support of their community. They gave money for schools and hospitals, and when Anthony Park died in 1883, his sons funded an extension to the local primary school and placed a plaque in his honour. This plaque was removed several years ago when the school was renovated, but thanks to the efforts of Ms. Amanda Dryden of the Strathblane Heritage Society, it has been located and re_installed in the school. The official unveiling ceremony will take place in August in Strathblane. Anyone interested in attending may contact Ms. Dryden.

I still don't know who were the parents of John Coubrough who married Jonet Buchanan, but I do have another new theory. He would have been the right name at the right place at the right time to have been the husband of Helen Stevenson before he married Jonet. Since John was past 40 when he married Jonet, I have long thought that she might not have been his first wife. If he was about 21 or 22 when he married Helen (as he would be if he was the son of Margaret Steinson), he would have been about 42 or 43 when he married Jonet in 1703, which fits pretty close to the facts. There is, though, the small matter of the various parishes: Margaret Steinson's child was baptised in St. Ninians; Helen Stevenson's children were baptised in Falkirk, and Jonet Buchanan was married in Campsie. Anyone have any ideas?


I have mentioned in past editions that I had encountered a couple of "geographical features" that bear the name Coubrough, to wit, Coubrough Street in Midrand, South Africa and Coubrough Point, in Fiji. Over the past few months, I have discovered the Coubroughs for which both places were named. First, Coubrough Street, in Midrand, was named for James Coubrough, eldest son of Archibald Murdoch Coubrough and Annie Smillie. He is the same man who built Stoneleigh House in Johannesburg. (Midrand is apparently a district of Johannesburg.)

James of Midrand, born 1875, was also the older brother of Malcolm Coubrough, born 1889, who "went farming in Canada." Malcolm married Hattie Jean Smith in Portage_la_Prairie, Manitoba, Canada. Archibald Murdoch Coubrough, who married Annie Smillie, was the youngest of the four children of James Coubrough and Margaret Murdoch. James was, in turn, the third son of Malcolm Coubrough and Jean Buchanan. Descendants of Malcolm and Jean's other sons are in Australia, New Zealand, England and Scotland.

I still haven't figured out who were the parents of the Malcolm Coubrough who married Jean Buchanan in Killearn, in 1796, but thanks to Jim Coubrough of Drymen, Glasgow, we now know who Jean's parents were. She was born in 1775, the fourth of six children of John Buchanan and Mary McKean of Wester Cameron, Drymen, Stirling, Scotland. These Buchanans seem to have been quite well off as they apparently felt the need of such things as post_nuptial contracts and wills concerning the dispersal of land holdings and other assets. Assuming that the daughters would not be expected to marry too far beneath their own social stations, Malcolm Coubrough could be assumed to be of similar status, but, again, I have no idea of the rest of his family. Some of the index records I have seen for his children's baptisms have the parenthetical notation 1771 after Malcolm's name. I have assumed that this was his approximate birthdate. It is the genealogical standard marrying age of 25 years for men, but given that Jean's birthdate was 1775, it may not be far off the mark.

The other feature bearing our name is Coubrough Point, in Fiji. It was once a 50,000_acre freehold copra plantation belonging to Adam Adair Coubrough, but has since been sold. Adam Adair was one of the Strathblane Coubroughs, being the fourth of seven sons of Anthony Park Coubrough and Hannah Butler. (Anthony and Hannah also had one daughter, Mary, fifth of their eight children.) Rumor has it that there was also a "Coubrough Tavern" there. Andrew Coubrough, Detroit, Michigan remembered visiting there during the Second World War, but did not, at the time, know the man it was named for.



In a previous edition of this edifying monologue (12 Dec 1999), I said that I thought John Couburgh (of Ellrig) and Helen Stevenson had probably been married in Falkirk. After a careful search of the Falkirk parish marriage records film for the years 1675_1685, I can find no indication of marriage for John and Helen. Since their first child, John, seems to have been baptised in February, 1683 and the second in December 1684, I assumed that they would have been married by the time that the second child was a year old. But, since I didn't find them, they must have been married earlier, later, or somewhere else.

The fact that Helen's youngest child was christened in 1689 leads me to believe that she was born not earlier than about 1640, since not that many women have babies after age 50. She could likely have been born as late as about 1667, assuming she was at least 16 when the first child was born. Assuming that John was not more than 60 when his daughter was born in 1689 and not less than 19 when the first one came in 1683, he must have been born sometime between 1629 and 1664. Since I found no marriage record and no baptism record for either John or Helen, it seems likely that they moved there after they were married.

They may have had other children before 1683 John, but if they were born somewhere else, of course, they wouldn't be in the Falkirk records. After all that, we still only know that they had at least 4 children, the first of whom (John) likely died very young, since his younger brother was given the same name less than 4 years after the elder one was born. They had only one daughter, about whom I know nothing beyond her name (Margaret) and christening date (25 Aug 1689).


I still haven't found the parents of John Couburgh of Ellrig who married Helen Stevenson, but I have a new theory. It is still just a theory because I haven't yet seen the St. Ninians parish register and I welcome other opinions on the subject. As mentioned above, I think John of Ellrig was born 1629_1664 and probably closer to 1664 than 1669. In the International Genealogical Index is a boy named John Cubrughe, christened December 5, 1661, St. Ninians, Stirling; son of John Cubrughe and Margaret Steinsone. The spelling is a little weird, but the names of the other children in this family were given in the same index as Isobell, Christian, and Malcom Cowburgh, baptised 1654, 1657, and 1660, all in St. Ninians. This John Cubrughe, 1661, would have been about 21 when Helen Stevenson's first child was born, and would be the right name at the right time. Helen's first son was called John, presumably after her husband's father, so Margaret Steinson's husband would be the right name also.

Margaret Steinson and her husband would have been contemporaries of Matthow C & Jonet Sheirer; Malcolm C & Margaret Smyth; James C & Agnes Lapsley; John C. & Agnes McCoull; Geills C & William Wardlaw; Christian C. and William Graham; Christian C. and Robert Robieson; Margaret C. & John McIlhose; Jonat C. & James Kessane; Margaret C. & James Browne; Jonet C. & John Robisoun; Ewphan C & James Broun; and Ewphan C & William Gairner, all of whom had children christened in Campsie parish between 1650 and 1670. Again, though, no connections have been proven, I do have some ideas based on how children were named and where they families lived at the time of the children's baptisms.

I believe that Matthow m. Jonet Sheirer was the older brother of Malcom m. Margaret Smyth and that their father was named Malcolm. Both Matthow and Malcolm may have been the younger brothers of John m. Agnes McCoull, but John and Agnes didn't have enough children to indicate what John's mother's name might have been. Most likely, some of the women were also their sisters, but I haven't got all the women sorted out yet. Most of them didn't have enough children recorded to indicate who their parents were and some of them seem to have been married more than once, though it is hard to tell from the sketchy records. (See item IV, above.)




Another Internet search netted this man from the US WWI Draft Registration database:

COWBROUGH, Peter McIntyre born 7 Sep 1887 in Kincardine_on_Forth, Scotland, registered in Santa Rosa, FL. I have records of a Peter Cobrough who married Mary McIntyre in Doune, Stirling in 1852, but they don't seem to have had any sons. I also found an ancestral file on the the LDS (Mormons) Internet site which lists a boy named Peter McIntyre Coubrough who was born about 1893, in Santa Rosa County, Florida. Possibly he is a cousin? Or even the same lad? Does Peter M. look familiar to anyone? There seems to have been quite a few Cowbroughs in Ireland in the 19th century, and the Peter m. Mary McIntyre was born there. Possibly they went looking for work?



I have managed to connect a couple of generations of a family for which I know of no living descendants at this time.

William Coubrough married Euphame Alison in November 1742, in Wemyss parish, Fife, Scotland. They had four children: Janet, b. 1743; Thomas, b. 1745; Euphaim, b. 1747; and Isabel, b. 1749. Janet married James Thomson in 1763, and they had nine children. Thomas married Margaret Thomson in 1773. They seem to have only one daughter, Margaret. Euphaim married Thomas Wilkie in 1770, and they also had nine children. I have not found any record of Isabel either marrying or having children. It would seem that Thomas was the last to bear the Coubrough name from this line (unless he had sons of whom I have found no record) so any descendants of this line would have a different name.

I would guess that William was born sometime between 1689 and 1723, but I have no idea which line he belonged to. The best guess so far is that he was the youngest son of John Coubrough and Jonet Buchanan, b . He would have been the right name at the right time though Wemyss seems a long way to travel from Campsie for the time. Another John Coubrough in Kirkintilloch, in Dunbarton, seems to have had a son named William born in 1690, but that is all I know about them. There was no indication of the mother's name, or when she married the father. Or, since William and Euphaim named their only son Thomas, William may have been the son of an as yet undiscovered Thomas. There are very few men named Thomas in the tribe, so they should be easy to track down, but have as yet not found any in Scotland born before about 1750. (There was a Thomas Cobrah in Berkshire in England who was born about 1670_1700 that would have been the right age, but I am not sure this spelling was really a variation on Coubrough, though I have seen people spell MY name that way. And Berkshire is even further from Fife that Campsie is.)


Quite a while back, I found a marriage date (1889, Kilmaranock, Dunbarton) for a Malcolm Coubrough and Isabella Hosie. I had thought that he was the son of David Coubrough and Mary Ann Brazier and that he was the Malcolm Coubrough who lived in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Usually my hunches turn out pretty well, but I was completely out to lunch on this one. Thanks to Bruce Hosie, who lives in Wales, and who is researching his own surname, I recently discovered that there were two men named Malcolm Coubrough married to women named Isabella and I had the wrong one. Bruce found the marriage and birth records which showed that Malcolm m. Isabella Hosie was really the son, born 1853, of William Coubrough and Margaret McEwan. Malcolm and Isabella both died in Scotland (in 1919 and 1916, respectively), so they obviously could not be the ones who lived in Brantford in 1919. Three of Malcolm and Isabella Hosie's descendants (their grand_daughter, Isabelle Hosie MacPherson and her daughter, Marguerite Anderson, and Isabelle's niece, Margaret Voerwood) have contacted me in the past few months and provided details of Malcolm and Isabella's children.

David Coubrough and Mary Ann Brazier did have a son named Malcolm and he was married to a woman named Isabella, but her maiden name was Markie. This Malcolm was born in 1870 in Springburn, Lanarkshire, but moved to Canada about 1910. He moved his family here about five years later. One of Malcolm's grandsons, John of Brantford, Ontario, says that his father remembered their ship going to the rescue of the LUSITANIA (torpedoed in 1915) during their crossing of the Atlantic. Malcolm and two of his sons were both in the Canadian Expeditionary Force of the First World War. Malcolm and his younger son David both lied about their ages to join up: Malcolm, who was 45 when he signed up in 1915, gave his age as 40, since that was the maximum age for recruits; David, born in August 1901, gave his birthday as 1898 when he tried to join up at Brantford in the spring of 1917. He must have run across a sharp_eyed recruiter, though, because there is another attestation paper for him dated six months later from London, Ontario. Even there, they must have been suspicious, because there is a later notation on his documents where the birthdate of 1898 is crossed out and 1901 written in, with the note that the authority for the change came from his birth certificate. At anyrate, they all survived the war, but I don't know anything about them since then.



Reunion Update: The reunion planned for this summer (August 7_9) here in Kingston, Ontario, is definitely on. Forty_six people have registered so there should be enough for a party. The registration deadline was May 31, but we still have room for about 4 people, should anyone be interested. If you are, please let me know immediately as I have to confirm numbers with the caterer on Monday, July 16. (Cost is $90 Canadian, to cover a buffet supper, three lunches, hall rental, photocopying, postage, etc.) Everyone is welcome at the party, but I can't promise to feed you if I don't have your name by Sunday, July 15.

Now for the news you've all been waiting for: I have at last run out of stuff to rattle on about, so I shall quit this until next time.


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