The Brown family’s origins can be traced back to Ireland. William Brown, born around 1842, was the son of Robert Brown and Mary McLean, as indicated on his marriage certificate.
Prior to 1871, William relocated to Scotland, and the first documented record we have of him is in the 1871 census. During this time, he resided in West Calder, earning his livelihood as a shale miner.
The late 19th century marked a significant era for shale mining in the West Calder region. The area witnessed numerous active shale pits, forming an arc from the western outskirts of West Calder to its northeast. Remarkably, the Gavieside refinery produced approximately 4.5 million liters of oil annually. However, the decline of shale mining commenced in 1962, mainly due to the stiff competition posed by oil imports from the Middle East.
In 1871, at the age of 28, William Brown married Annie Whyte, who was 20 years old at the time. Annie hailed from Bathgate, born around 1852. Interestingly, her parents’ names on official records vary from her marriage certificate to her death certificate. Initially listed as Robert and Mary, they also appear as James and Annie. This discrepancy in her parents’ names raises questions about her lineage. An Ann White is noted in the 1861 Bathgate census as residing with a Robert Millar and Mary Millar. These Millars had a daughter named Mary, who could potentially have been Annie’s mother, or Annie may have been unrelated to the Millars, adopting their names as her own due to her uncertain parentage.
William and Annie made their home in West Calder for several years, and it was within the boundaries of an area known as Happy Land that five of their children were born.
Robert Brown and Mary McLean
William Brown and Annie Whyte’s children
William Brown and Janet Arbuckle’s children
William Brown b 1904 in Rutherglen d 1908 in Rutherglen
Catherine Simpson Brown
Peter Arbuckle Brown
Annie White Brown b 1912 in Rutherglen d 1984 in Glasgow
John Kennedy Brown b 1915 in Rutherglen d 1981 in Rutherglen
John Brown and Margaret Coyle’s children
William Brown b 1900 in Glasgow
Mary Brown b 1902 in New Monklands d 1920 in Strathmartin
Annie Brown b 1904 in Cambuslang d unknown
Margaret Brown b 1906 in Cambuslang d unknown
Annie White Brown
James Brown and Annie Martin’s children
Elizabeth Cook Brown
William Brown b 1909 in Rutherglen d unknown
James Brown b 1911 in Rutherglen d unknown
Thomas Brown and Lizzie Martin’s children
Annie Brown and James Rodger’s children
Alexander Charles Rodger b 1911 in Rutherglen 1989 in Glasgow
William Brown Rodger
James Rodger b 1914 in Rutherglen d 1915 in Cathcart
Thomas Rodger b 1918 in Rutherglen d 1992 in Glasgow
Catherine Rodger b 1919 in Rutherglen d 1922 in Rutherglen
Annie Brown Rodger
Marion Robertson Rodger
Charles Rodger b 1925 in Rutherglen d 1997 in Kilmarnock
Catherine Cherry Rodger
Catherine Simpson Brown and William Dick’s children
Peter Brown and Elizabeth McEwan’s children
Annie White Brown and David Adams Monk’s children
Thomas Brown and Emily Peacock’s children