My reason for starting family history research.

Dear blog post reader, this blog post explains why I started family history research 31 years ago.

When my grandfather died in 1990 the whole family were quite shocked that his mother, Euphemia Barr, was not buried in the family plot in St Kentigern’s cemetery, Glasgow.

I then made it my goal to find out where Euphemia was buried.

So, the lady herself ….. Euphemia was born in 1882 in Glasgow to George Barr from Pollokshaws and Margaret McIntosh from Dull, Perthshire.

Euphemia went to Oatlands School and then worked in the Scottish Co-Operative Wholesale Society (SCWS) factory in Shieldhall where she met and fell in love with my great-grandfather William Armour.

Euphemia Barr as a teenager/young woman.

However William Armour is still remembered as a ‘lady’s man’ to this day. In 1903 a SCWS colleague Louisa Milne got pregnant by him but died giving birth to his son, James.

In 1914 Euphemia and William married and Euphemia had 3 children in quick succession, William (my grandfather), Frances and Elizabeth. However Euphemia was not strong at the best of times and died in Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital 8 days after giving birth to Elizabeth (Elizabeth was far stronger than her mother and only died 6 years ago).

William Armour senior, Euphemia Barr and William Armour junior.
The remains of Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital.

My great-grandfather remarried in 1919 to his housekeeper, Elizabeth Welsh. Apparently the social pressure was such in Kelvinbridge that they were practically forced to marry!

Anyway, by the time I got this far with my family tree research, an Australian descendant of Euphemia’s brother Jack contacted me and confirmed that Euphemia was buried in the Eastern Necropolis cemetery with many Barr babies who had died tragically young. We now try to take Euphemia flowers twice a year (excluding global pandemics) and we’ve placed a small monument to the Barr family as no headstone exists.

Euphemia Barr’s grave.

Euphemia might have died over a hundred years ago but I’ve inherited a remarkable collection of her possessions.

I have school-books, laundry lists, favourite poems copied out in her best handwriting, 2 boxes of her postcards and letters including letters from her brother Jack pleading with her to emigrate and her brother George’s job application, newspaper clippings re medication, the last surviving piece of china hand-painted by Euphemia and finally and, most poignantly, the last letters Euphemia wrote to my grandfather during her final days of life at Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital.

Euphemia Barr’s hand-painted china.
Euphemia Barr’s school prize book.
A poem that Euphemia Barr wrote out.

Euphemia might not have survived on this earth for very long but she was a wonderful lady who inspired me to do, so far, 31 years of family history research …..

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