Thursday, March 27, 2014

From Scotland to America

She Came to America

Fearless Female Ancestors Series by Lisa Alzo:
March 27 — Do you know the immigration story of one or more female ancestors? Do you have any passenger lists, passports, or other documentation? Interesting family stories?

Most likely, poverty and loneliness, inspired this fearless woman, Janet McKechnie, wife of George Craig to come to America.  This is part of the passenger list of 1895 that shows widowed Janet and her three children coming to Fall River, MA.

Tracking her in Scotland is harder than I expected. Longriggend (see above) is a village name, I think. 

My mother-in-law told me she was a recent widow and she came to America at the urging of her closest sibling, Catherine who married, in Scotland, John Duff. The mill he worked in in Scotland wanted him to come to America to set up business in Massachusetts. 

In 1891, Janet, who could not read or write but who was "good with numbers" is listed in the census with her twin children, James, my husband's grandfather and Margaret. Younger teenage child, Janet, was working on a dairy farm just as it says here. She is listed with a farm family in the 1891 census.

Can you imagine leaving home, with three teenagers, when you can't read or write?

Janet McKechnie Craig's husband , George, died in 1891 after the census and she must have struggled to make ends meet. My mother-in-law's note say she worked in a company store, in the mining community where her husband worked before he died. It takes a fearless woman to work when she can neither read nor write. 

Five years after arriving in America, Janet's son, James, got married and  the couple moved in with the wife's parents. Janet was angry and took it out on her two daughters.  They worked to support their mother until she died in 1918. More fearless than their mother, they made their way in the world and never married. My husband remembers them.

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