Artisans in Industrial Scotland

Jenny Blain
Copyright © J. Blain 1988, 2005
I My mother's family
  1. Janet Lynch, her parents and siblings and their home life
  2. The Pendleburys and Fishers
  3. The Lynch family
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I. My mother's family

The Lynch family

(See fig. 3 )

The antecedents of Thomas Lynch, my mother's father, are obscure. The record of his marriage, in 1891, to Margaret Pendlebury, lists his parents as Thomas Lynch and Margaret Lynch, maiden surname Lowe [Ed comment: this is a family 'mystery': as she was Margaret Cassidy but the records say 'Lowe'], the elder Thomas being described as some sort of turner, possible ? Iron Turner? (NRH) Both parents had died prior to this 1891 marriage. The elder Thomas Lynch has [Ed. from family accounts] also been an engineer in a cotton mill, dying when his son was aged 18, that is, around 1888. (JPB) [Ed. death record 1889.] He and Margaret Lowe [Ed: Cassidy] had 2 chidren, Thomas and a younger sister Margaret Lowe Lynch, who was a weaver in Camlachie, Glasgow, prior to her marriage (CB, JPB), the mother dying at the birth of a third, non-surviving, child [9].

The elder Thomas Lynch did not remarry. An elderly neighbour, Mrs Hepburn, looked after the children (CB), Thomas and Margaret. the elder Thomas's work latterly took him away from home periodically [Ed note: this needs looking at], and he wrote to the children in a beautiful copperplate hand, letters addressed to 'Dear little people' (JPB: the letters were apparently for some time in the possession of her elder sister Marion). He taught his children to read, write and spell (CB), and his son Thomas' winning of the Glasgow Schools Medal must be at least partly accredited to his influence. [Ed: more so now that I have more information. Thomas Lynch, senior, was repeatedly said on children's birth and marriage and his own death records to be a labourer, the kind of 'labourer' varying amongst trades.] He was a member of the Bridgeton Baptist church (CB). Both his children were married by Congregationalist ceremony [10], but the younger Thomas and his wife Margaret ceased religious practice, becoming essentially agnostic and declaring themselves as 'freethinkers'.

My grandfather Thomas Lynch must have been born in 1869 or 1870 [Ed note: 17 Nov. 1868, registered in December 1868] as at his marriage in 1891 he was 21 years of age. My mother recollects mention of Lochee (now part of Dundee) as a possible birthplace [Ed note - confusion of generations: this must be for elder Thomas Lynch]. Agnes Barrowman suggests Meigle as a possible place of origin of the family. However despite an excellent indexing system in New Register House, Scotland, of births and marriages after 1855, I have found no trace of my grandfather's birth, or of the marriage of the elder Thomas Lynch and Margaret Lowe [10a Ed note]. Family stories suggest that the family name was not originally 'Lynch', but that this name was adopted by the elder Thomas: it is possible that this change, if it occurred, did so after the births of his children and that they were originally registered under some other name [11] [Ed note: we have found these births now]. The elder Thomas Lynch probably possessed a degree of literacy unusual in a mill worker, passing this on to his son Thomas (who had apparently read many of the 'classics', and who spoke English, while understanding Glasgow dialect) , but we do not know who he was, or from what part of the class spectrum he originated: nor do we know his reasons for changing his identity, if indeed he did so.

[9] My mother knows little about the Lynch or 'Lowe' family, but has attempted to gain infromation from Cissie (Agnes) Barrowman, daughter of Margaret Lowe Lynch and her husband John Barrowman, and almost all the information given in this section is from this source.

[10] A church that seems to have been favoured by weavers (and other artisans).

[10a] Ed. note. This is where things get rather complicated. The long-term partner of Thomas Lynch (senior) was Margaret Cassidy (not Lowe). She died on 21 Feb 1879, after a third childbirth. The two children are both in the records as 'illegitimate' and her death record shows her as 'single' - all of these attested by Thomas Lynch, present as signatory. The death record of the younger Thomas Lynch shows Margaret Cassidy as his mother (though his marriage record says 'Lowe'. The 1871 census has Thomas (38), Margaret (30) and the two children in Bridgton, both Thomas and Margaret born in 'Forfarshire - Dundee' and Thomas as labourer in a chemical works. The 1881 census shows the household of Thomas Lynch, now engineer's labourer, and his two children, giving Thomas's birthplace as Dundee. His death record (16 April 1889) gives his parents as Margaret McTaggart and Michael Lynch, and he is described there as widower of Margaret Cassidy. What particular pattern of social class relationships is inherent in all of this I have no idea, simply that there is one... Further access to complete census records for 1841 and 1851 (for Lynch antecedents), could help this. In the 1841 census material online there is no sign of either (Margaret may have been born just after the census, but Thomas would have been born in 1832-33 hence aged around 7-9. The only child named Thomas Lynch in the Angus 1841 census is in Auchtenhouse, in what seems to be a poorhouse or orphanage, age given as 12. I do not have access to the Glasgow area census.

[11] Family stories, which should be essentially regarded as having the status of rumour, mention possible names, and also mention letters kept for several years, eventually disintegrating, relating to Thomas Lynch's origin and inheritance, and an advertisement said to have appeared in a newspaper, searching for the family. However speculation at this juncture is pointless. [Ed note: I'm not sure now that it is pointless - and whoever Thomas Lynch was, it seems fairly evident that he was not, actually, a labourer. But there are many reasons, in many times, for people to keep their identities veiled.]

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