Cai Maver's Family History

The Murrays of Scotland

Alex Murray (on the right) and an unknown friend c.1919

As a rule, I have decided not to research maternal lineages beyond those of my grandmothers until after I have 'finished' the four major lineages that I am working on now. The Murray family is the exception to this rule though for the reason that there are so many stories about the Murray family that it has been a fairly easy task to trace and verify the records for all of the stories I have heard about this colorful family.

My grandma Jane once said that I could probably write a whole book just about my Great-grandma Madge and judging by all that I've found, I think Jane was right. Madge liked to tell lots of stories to entertain us and the stories were not always true, which has made my research more difficult if not more interesting.

As it turns out, I have traced the Murrays back to Madges grandparents, Alexander and Roseane Shields. They were married on January 7, 1870 in Neilston, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Alexander, Madges father, was born July 6, 1875 in West Arthurlie, Barrhead, Scotland.

The Murray family

The Murray family, taken about 1912 in Scotland

In 1897, Alexander the younger married Agnes Guild who came from nearby Glasgow. The 1901 Scotland Census lists Alex's occupations as, "agent for home furnishings and jewellry, laborour at home, and (bre????) machine" so he certainly seemed to ba a jack-of-all-trades. Alexander is the one in the right of the photo. Alex and Agnes had several kids in Scotland; Annie, Elizabeth, George, Marjorie (Madge), Richard, Alexander, and Jeanie.

Around 1909, Alexander left for America, presumably, like many Scottish families at the time, to find better work. What is known for certain is that he ended up at 222 Grant Ave. East Newark, New Jersey (just a couple houses down the street from the Mavers). On February 17, 1913, Alex's daughter Elizabeth made the ocean voyage alone to join him in America. Just a couple months later, on September 28, 1913, his wife Agnes and three of their kids, Annie, George, and the young Jeanie also made the voyage to America. For some reason, Madge, Alex Jr. and Richard stayed behind in Scotland for almost a year. Madge used to tell us that she lived with her grandmother (whose name appears in one ship record as Rose-something; the writting is difficult to read) at this time in the apartment above the candyshop that her grandmother ran. Just before the outbreak of the first world war on June 29, 1914, Madge and her two younger brothers made the trip alone on the RMS Campania to join the rest of their family in America. Madge also used to tell the story about how embarassed she was during the trip when she got sea-sick and threw-up all over some guys head (view the ship manifest).

Great Grandma Madge and me

My great-grandma Madge and I

When World War 1 broke out, Alexander traveled back to Scotland to join the british army. I havn't found anything about Alex's involvement in the war though at some point he earned the nickname 'Red'.

Very little else is known about this family although I am talking to my great-aunt Mary to learn whatever else I can. I already owe her and her daughter Joanie a debt of gratitude for helping to point me in the right direction to figure out this much.