Genealogy was a lifelong interest of Weber Read Walker, a grandson of early British converts to the Mormon Church. His WALKER side featured a Scottish ancestry, his grandfather James Craig Walker having been born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1833. Over many years - several decades - his passion for genealogy and to learn just
what had been the ancestral story, never faded. The WALKER line was a particular interest to him. After
several attempts during the 1950s onwards to find out more about his Scottish Walker ancestry, the
possibility of going beyond knowing the basic details of names of his grandfather's parents and
grandparents, seemed minimal, yet still he had a feeling that more was there to be found.
A renewed attempt began in the late 1980s by engaging a genealogist actually based in
Glasgow, Scotland from where his Walkers had come. Soon, many ancestral findings
were made in original Scottish records taking the pedigree of James Craig Walker
back several generations. No stone was left unturned in searching all available
records to further the ancestral story and James Craig Walker's ancestry
was extended, within Glasgow but also to Edinburgh, Scotland where early
direct Walker ancestors lived; and also to Belfast, Ireland.
A huge collection of proven ancestral records has been the result and still research is
ongoing, through interest of some of Weber Read Walker's children, and positive
results include the hope of extending the Walker line further still. It was his wish that the research continue.
Now, in 2023, the current focus is not only on continued research but on gathering all the ancestral records discovered over the last 35 years into a written family history. This will be done this year and all interest from
descendants of James Craig Walker, original emigrant Mormon ancestor, is welcomed. The aim is to publish
the resulting history as a physical book and copies will be placed in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City
and elsewhere, such as The Library of Congress, in recognition of the lifelong interest in his genealogy, of Weber Read Walker; and as a lasting record of the results of intense research for his descendants.
This advertisement for the Walker genealogy project, is published here on the business website of the original genealogist (from 1988 onwards) Gordon McPhail, based in Scotland, who continues to work on
the research and who is engaged to write the family history to be published, hopefully, later this year. All
interest in ongoing RESEARCH, but also in the project to bring the published book to fruition, is welcomed.
Above: The 1734 baptism record of direct ancestor Kennoway Walker (the first) at Edinburgh, Scotland
James Craig Walker b.1833
Above: Scottish newspaper notice in 1818 for heirs of direct ancestors James Walker & Isobel Crombie
A section of Kennoway Walker's application for US citizenship in 1833 at Oneida County, upstate NY when age 71. Here he lived with a daughter Jean and her husband, the Joseph Cochran who also appears on the record as applying for naturalization at the same time. By 1835 the process was complete and Kennoway Walker was a citizen of the USA. Here we can see his original and comparatively large signature! Here too we learn that he had been born in County Antrim, in the north of Ireland around 1762 and that he had emigrated to NY by sailing from Belfast, in Co. Antrim, Ireland. He had however spent many years in Glasgow, Scotland where all the children to both his wives - Jean Thomson then Elizabeth Cross, the latter whom he married there in 1800 - were born. This includes his youngest son James Walker, born 1808 in Glasgow, who removed in 1840 to live at the coastal settlement of Whitehouse, not far north of Belfast, with his brother Robert Stevenson Walker (b.1808 Glasgow) who owned and operated a local dyeworks there. The brothers James and Robert lived out their days there and did not join their father Kennoway Walker in America. However, James Walker's only son to live to adulthood and produce his own family, James Craig Walker (born 1833 Glasgow) emigrated to the US in 1854, as a young man, having joined early the Mormon church in both Glasgow and Belfast and became the original Mormon emigrant on the Walker line, settling in Utah.
Amazingly, though James Craig Walker's own father James Walker remained at Whitehouse, near Belfast until his own death in 1872, we can see from the above record that his paternal grandfather, the distinctly named Kennoway Walker had already reached the USA around 1820.
The slide images above change every few seconds to show a small selection of ancestral documents and images of ancestral locations
Weber Read Walker (b.1916) and wife Druscilla
There's more to the story.........
As Weber Read Walker discovered, there was a lot more to the story of his grandfather's ancestral background than mere names and dates - events, inheritances, close links to well-known persons - all are destined to be included in the book for publication later this year.
Below are some images of ancestral places and a tiny selection of the many, many ancestral records found that will be used to write the ancestral story. Among these are links to the famed author Robert Louis Stevenson's family, the writer's great-grandfather, a young merchant named Allan Stevenson from Glasgow who died young, in 1774, in his 20s, whilst engaged in his business dealings, in the West Indies - before he died he left a son Robert Stevenson (b.1772 Glasgow), who became a famed civil engineer responsible for the construction of many deep sea lighthouses. Allan's eldest sibling was a sister named Agnes Stevenson (b.1744 Glasgow) who had married a Mr Walter Cross and their daughter Elizabeth Cross married Kennoway Walker in 1800 at Glasgow - the grandparents of James Craig Walker, of Utah.
Apart from common heritage with well-known figures, the individual direct ancestors of James Craig Walker, our young Mormon pioneer in the story, are worthy of the pages of a written family history - the WALKER line itself has been traced back to a merchant called James Walker who at one time lived in the village of Giffordhall, in east Lothain, not far from Edinburgh where he had Walker relatives who were Town Officers in the city council. James Walker (the great-great-great-great grandfather to Weber Read Walker) himself was a man with a colourful history - around 1732 he had married Isobel Crombie and their son Kennoway Walker (The 1st) was born in 1734 at Edinburgh. By 1758 the young Kennoway was a Soldier in the Royal Scots regiment of Foot, of the British Army, stationed at Belfast in 1758 where he married. One of his sons he named Kennoway Walker (b.c.1761) whose US naturalization paper is seen above. Returning to James Walker, the merchant and father of the first Kennoway Walker : a very recent new research finding has shown that part of his story was that he was financially in debt in the 1730s and took steps to gain what was known as 'sanctuary' within the bounds of what is known as the Abbey of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. This was a particularly rare course of action available in Scotland and few merchant debtors actually took full advantage of applying for a place to live (for which they paid a fee) within the grounds of the Abbey of Holyroodhouse, but James Walker did and here he could escape, for a time, full force of the law and avoid imprisonment for debt. These details have only now emerged with the most recent research, still funded by some of Weber Read Walker's family (June 2023) and a historic newspaper advertisement has also been newly discovered (as shown immediately below) from 1818, in which living descendants of the said James Walker and his wife Isobel Crombie, through their only son Kennoway Walker (b.1734 Edinburgh) were sought in connection with the death of a distant cousin who had never married and had no immediate heirs....and so, James Walker's story, as the earliest direct Walker ancestor so far proven, is still not fully told - new research this year will hopefully find who his parents were, therefore extending the WALKER line and this too may be included as part of the written family history.
The WALKER roots: Edinburgh's HIgh Street (also known as The Royal Mile) today with many of the old buildings intact, such as this one, from the 16th Century, that would have been familiar to the JAMES WALKER, merchant (father of Kennoway b.1734), the earliest known direct WALKER ancestor of James Craig Walker (b.1833 Glasgow). Ongoing research is very close to finding new information on James Walker with a view to finding who his parents were and extending the WALKER line......
Images in Time - (immediate left) two pages from a Glasgow, Scotland inheritance record from 1826 in which we learn that direct ancestors '...the deceased Elizabeth Cross and Kennoway Walker [her husband] sometime warper in Glasgow, now resident in America.......Agnes Stevenson, her mother , spouse of Walter Cross...'
Below: portrait of full cousin to Elizabeth Cross, Robert Stevenson (b.1772 Glasgow), a respected civil engineer, lighthouse designer and grandfather of author Robert Louis Stevenson; the tree images next to the portrait show pages from a family history published in 1867 by a Stevenson cousin in which he confirms as cousins 'Mr Walker of Whitehouse, Belfast...'
Above: Death certificate in 1872 of James Walker, Dyer at Whitehouse near Belfast (father of James Craig Walker); photo of the church at Giffordhall where early direct ancestor James Walker, merchant, lived in the 1730s; historic sketch and modern photo of the Palace and Abbey of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, where James Walker took 'sanctuary' from his situation of debt as narrated in two of the records above, only a small part of a much larger collection of sources found that will be used to write the WALKER FAMILY HISTORY
Above: The first marriage of Kennoway Walker in Glasgow 1790
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The faded image used as background to the text above, depicts Trongate in Glasgow city, a main street there, around the time that original Mormon emigrant ancestor James Craig Walker was born in the year 1833. Here his father James Walker (b.1809 Glasgow) and mother Mary Connell (b.1812 Glasgow) lived, in a street that ran off the Trongate (just beyond the church steeple in the left of the painting) called Old Wynd, a collection of small house properties and small shops and businesses. James Walker lived here in 1833 in part of several house properties there he owned, left to him by his maternal aunt and uncle Margaret Cross (his mother Elizabeth Cross's sister) and James Craig after whom he named his son, the above James Craig Walker. A smaller, more defined image of this painting can be viewed below.
Above: Aerial view 1926 showing the ancestral location of Whitehouse where James Walker (father of James Craig Walker) lived; The shore (Belfast Lough) at Whitehouse today; Whitehouse with Cavehill in the background c.1900
WALKER FAMILY HISTORY : A genealogy project to record the story of the ancestry of original emigrant Mormon ancestor James Craig Walker, who was born in 1833 in Glasgow, Scotland and who emigrated from there, to Utah as an early LDS in 1854.