Helen Thomas contacted me in March 2016, commenting, “I am descended from the Pollock family of Blantyre. I am the great, great, grand daughter of George Pollock. This is what we have found out about George Pollock’s parents, Marion and John. Any more information would be greatly appreciated. Marion born 1801, John born 1818. They lived at Blantyre Works Cross Row”
Now, the Pollock family are a prominent and large family dating back to the 1600s in Blantyre, so I knew this may get complex, but I was able to send the following reply back to Helen.
“Hi Helen – I thought something was amiss here, as there is a generation gap between Marion and John, and it would be surprising for a 23 year old man to marry a 40 year old woman, back then, although the reverse was quite common! This prompted me to look into this more.
The John Pollock you mention born in 1818 actually married Sarah. In the 1851 census, John is 33 years old, Sarah is 32 and they are living at Blantyre Works at Cross Row. John was a dyer, and in that year, they had an 8 year old daughter Marion (named after the grandmother) and a 9 year old daughter Elizabeth.
As such the John in your email below, was actually the son of Marion, born in 1801. The 1841 census, shows Marion living at Cross Rows, Blantyre Village works, living with her 6 sons, of which John was the eldest. Her sons were in order of age, John, James, William , Andrew and George. Their daughter Christina was also born in 1820. There is no sign or mention of a man of the house and the grown up boys working in the mills were most likely supporting their mother Marion. Importantly, this means George Pollock, your g,g,grandfather was Johns brother, not son. In 1841, George was only 12, meaning the father was still around in 1829.
By 1851, John Pollock is 43, Sarah is 32 and they have moved a short distance, still within Blantyre works to Front Row. Elizabeth has grown up and left home, Marion is then 18 and by then they had another 3 children. Isabella 7, William 6 and John 2. Now, the reason I’m going on about John, is that I have his death certificate in 1893, which shows his mother Marion (dec) and his father, the missing man who was also George’s father, as being Mr. John Pollock (also dec) who was a road surfaceman. This was more than a street cleaner, it was a person to keep the dirt tracks free from stones and mud. It days before tarmac, it was considered an important job to keep people and carts moving.
So you are right in that John Pollock is George’s father, but its a different John from the one in your email below.
Lets get back to George then.
George Pollock, was born in 1829 from parents John Pollock (b1781in Dalserf) and Marion Robb (b1797 in Glasgow)…not 1801, the word “about or abt” suggests the census was estimating her age or that Marion herself wasn’t sure (as could sometimes be commonplace). The Blantyre Mills opened in 1785 and absolutely attracted people to the area. It would have been a great place to live when Monteith developed Blantyre village with its own shops, wells, good housing right beside the mill. I suspect John and Marion married around 1817, and their first son John followed shortly after.
When George was born in 1829, his mother was 32 and father was 48. As you know, they lived at Blantyre Works in 1841 when George was 12. He was likely a scholar at the new Blantyre Works Church School which opened in 1828. This would have been seen from the windows of their house, it was so close.
John and Marion may have had a little baby girl who died upon birth, prior to the arrival of their first son John in 1818, named honouring his father. George was the youngest of 6 sons and i see Marion MAY have had another girl also called Marion in 1844, although there is the surname Leath associated with her, suggesting that by 1844, not only had John Pollock the father passed away, but Marion had remarried. (I’m assuming here he passed away rather than moved away or separated). George would have been 15 when this step sister was born.
In 1851, Marion is living still at Blantyre Works but with her son Andrew and daughter Christina. Looking back between 1841 and 1851. She didn’t pass away until 1869 at the age of 72. There is no sign of George at that household, who would have been 22 years old by then, making his own way in the world.
Picking up George’s trail, I would need to know whom he married to go any further, as there are around 5 possibilities of men with the same name who went off in all other directions, some of them towards Glasgow.
Hope this all helps!