Use of the surname Findlay as a second name has become a tradition since the birth of grandfather, James Findlay Baird [the first] on 15th September 1894 at Campbelltown, Argyll, one hundred years and eleven months after the marriage of his great great Findlay grandparents.

  • James the first named his second born son, James Findlay [the second];
  • James the first’s first born son, Joseph named his second born son, James Findlay;
  • Joseph’s first born son added Findlay James to his first born son’s name; and
  • Joseph’s first born son’s third born daughter, named her second born child, first son, Cooper James Findlay

James Findlay, the second, known as Jimmy didn’t have a chance to carry on the naming tradition.  Keen to take his new car for a run on New Year’s Eve 1964, Jimmy was involved in a head on crash with a London doctor and his wife.  The Londoners’ survived, albeit the doctor did while his wife became a permanent resident of a nursing home.  Jimmy was survived by his widow, Sadie, son Michael and daughter Susan [or Shelia].  Perhaps, out of these tragic circumstances and in memory of his father and brother, the second born son of Joseph was so named.

The roots for this family branch, originate in Montrose, Scotland where on Sunday 27th October 1793, Seaman, Robert Findlay married Helen Knows.  Children were not quick to follow, possibly because of Robert’s occupation but eventually Helen was kept busy with little people.

  • James Findlay 15 August 1797;
  • Robert Findlay 8 June 1799;
  • Jean Findlay 3 August 1801;
  • Helen Findlay about 1811(source: 1841 census)
  • Mary Findlay about 1816 (source: 1841 census)
  • Elizabeth Findlay (source: IGI father James Findlay mother Helen Knows?)

Great great great grandfather, Robert Findlay [the second], like his father was a seaman, but from 1841 found employment on shore, as a coal merchant’s labourer, living in Castle Street with sisters, Helen and Mary and their daughters.

In later years, Robert boarded at daughter Ann’s residence, also in Castle Street, until his death on 12th July 1875.  Most notable about the death certificate is Robert’s marital status of Single and Ann’s relationship to the deceased – “occupier”.

Census records indicate that Ann Findlay’s birth was about 1833 and her 1907 death certificate identifies her mother as Barbara Reid, deceased.  Barbara is another cold case, did she die during childbirth; were they even married; but more disturbing is not being able to locate 7 or 8 year old Ann Findlay in the 1841 census.  Assuming Barbara was out of the picture, did Robert place his young daughter in an orphanage because he couldn’t care for her or was she being cared for by her mother’s relatives?

Alexander Herd, Seaman of High Street, Montrose and Ann Findlay of Castle Street were proclaimed in order to marriage [sic], no objections offered and were married on the 7th June 1853.

By 1861, Ann widowed with three young children, Annie age 4, three year old Isabella and Alexander, age 1 supported her family employed as a house-keeper.  She never remarried and died from cerebral haemorrhage on 20th May 1907.  And unlike his mother who placed an “X” in the signature column when registering her father’s death, Alexander’s signature in cursive handwriting fills that space on his mother’s death certificate.

Nine months later, Alexander suffered the same fate [as his mother] and passed away at 2.50pm on the 5th February 1908.

Alexander Hird, a baker by trade, twice married was only 48 years at the time of his death.  Married first to Francis the couple were recorded in 1881 at 36 Wharf St, Montrose with one year old daughter Annie.  In May of 1892, Alex married Mary Anderson Mitchell and his fourth child, Alexander was born in 1900.  For a period the family lived in a cottage at Sunnyside Royal Lunatic Asylum where he was employed as a baker.

A notable inmate was Charles Altamont Doyle.


Alex’s first born daughter Annie married James Wilkie who registered his father-in-law”s death.  While I haven’t followed up on Annie and James a burial at Rosehill Cemetery on the 14th January 1936 for:  Hird, Annie Wilkie died on 10th January 1936 was located at

Isabella Hird was the mother of James Findlay Baird and her sister Ann Hird, that’s an immigration story, complete with newspaper articles for a later date.