Above: Part of the Burgess Roll of Glasgow showing the 1737 entry for Thomas Phillips, Weaver (father of Janet Phillips, maternal grandfather of James McAllister as already found in other records above). It reads:

"Philps B&GB [Burgess & Guild Brother]...The sd [said] day, Thomas Philps, Weiver [Weaver] is made Burgess & Guild Brother of the as eldest lawful son to Jon [John] Philps, Weaver, Burgess & Guild Brother, who has pd [paid] his [freedom] fynes and given his oath as use is.."

From this we learn Thomas Phillips' father's name - John Phillips, and that he too was a Weaver and Burgess of Glasgow, allowing his entry to be located (1716) as well as his wife's name, (janet Pollock) as his Burgess status was linked to his father-in-law, Thomas Pollock, as shown below, taking the line back even further. These details were also used to verify and locate Thomas Phillip's baptism in 1718 in Glasgow and his parents' marriage there in 1715

Continuing with selected research finding on this case, we will conclude the search on the McAllister side by looking at a brother to the client's direct ancestor Thomas McAllister (b.1829 Glasgow). Being the youngest of 12 children, this concerns his much older brother James McAllister (b. 1811). The example shows one of the uses of historical newspapers and that most ancestries reveal several 'stories' from the past - this case revealed that James had re-married two weeks before his death......from laundanum poisoning....three local newspapers reported on the incident.

Above: 1880 Census for Glasgow, Scotland, showing that John Campbell had returned to Scotland from New Jersey, USA. Our research also deals with ancestor's human nature - emigration was not always a final farewell. Passage to USA and other countries became easily affordable to families of average means. Whilst research showed that John Campbell died in 1895 in Glasgow, his children re-emigrated to USA in the years after 1914.

(left) an older image of Glasgow Cathedral (High Church) churchyard as James McAllister would have known it and (right) a modern photograph of the same

Left: The death registration of Mary Ann Goldon Sharpe, aged 8, the 7th of 9 children born to Jason Sharpe and his wife Mary Jane Campbell. The child's birth had been found in 1873 registered as Mary Ann Goldie Sharpe, a mistake in recording by the registration clerk. Here in 1881, her father Jason provides the correct spelling of the relatively rare middle name.

In this name lay the clue to establishing the Irish place of birth of Jason Sharpe.

Children were often named after obvious relatives - grandparents, aunts, uncles, sometimes cousins or other family members.

A search for a Mary Ann Goldon revealed one such woman, who died in Glasgow in 1891 - further research revealed her own (pre-married) surname as Carr. She had married a George Goldon, at 1845 in a rural parish in Co Fermanagh, Ireland - Devenish parish, west of Enniskillen town. Her death record in Glasgow recorded her mother as Isabella Ingram, who we established as a sister of Jason's mother, Dorothea Ingram. Thus, Jason had named his daughter after his cousin.

A search of parish baptisms for Devenish, Co. Fermanagh then located (below) the baptism records for Jason Sharpe and his siblings. The family tree was then extended within Ireland.

Original Irish baptism record (Church of Ireland) for 1830, showing the baptism of Sarah Sharpe, a daughter of Robert Sharpe, Constable, within Devensih parish, Co Fermanagh and his wife Dorothea Ingram. At this time they lived at a small collection of rural houses called Derryvarry.

Continuing research looked at the Campbell branch - Mary Jane Campbell, a great-great-grandmother of the client, and wife of Jason Sharpe.

A search into her ancestry revealed that she had come to Glasgow around 1847 too, like her husband - she too was Irish born, and by 1851, as a young girl, lived in Glasgow's Castle Street, near Glasgow Cathedral, with her parents William Campbell and Jane Kennedy and three older and one younger brother.  Emigration would feature in the Campbell family - two of Mary Jane's brother's emigrating to USA but not remaining there - one would move onto St. John's Quebec, to found his own pottery business and be featured in a publication 'History of Quebec' as a prominent figure; our research revealed the other brother returned to Glasgow Scotland, from USA (with a wife and family in tow)  Perhaps tellingly, all of his children when grown, later emigrated to the USA permanently.

Marriage record of the

parents of John Sharpe (b.1871), in 1858 in Glasgow, Scotland: Jason Sharpe, aged 22 and Mary Jane Campbell, aged 20. At this time Jason was recorded as a Labourer; by 1861 (census record, not shown here) he had begun an apprenticeship as a Slater, an occupation he maintained all his life.


Marriage record here also records his address, his parents names (Robert Sharpe and Dorothea Ingram, both deceased by 1858.

The census records revealed that the family were of Irish birth, but where in Ireland?

The record of burial of William Cassidy, at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Cemetery near Glasgow. William had died in 1871 after being only a few years in Glasgow, from his native rural Co. Donegal. He was a great-grandfather to our client's grandmother (Helen McAllister).

The grave plot number is shown here which, together with a Will found for Edward Cassidy 30 years later (in 1899), an unmarried son of William, referred to a family gravestone being erected - this led to further ancestral finds.

Further research on William Campbell and his family resulted in not only finding record of his death in 1922 (shown left) but led to living relatives in Quebec whose knowledge of William's life in Canada led to locating an entry for him in 'A History of Quebec', as a prominent figure, in terms of the Methodist Church and in business - owning his own pottery company (shown below).

Further results of this part of research led to a 'reunion' of the client and the relatives in Quebec, who were also keenly interested in their genealogy.

The death certificate of

David McAllister's only sister

to survive to adulthood; and below, her burial place located

in the register of Glasgow Necropolis, with lair number

(Quintus 255), which research showed to be a family burial plot purchased two years before (1897) by David when his mother Elizabeth (Betsey) Low passed away.

Above, an extract from the 1911 Census showing the client's grandmother Helen McAllister as a child, aged 6, living at No. 6 Glebe Street, Glasgow, with her parents and brothers and sisters. A brother, Thomas, aged 4, was absent from the census but was located on the census record for the nearby hospital (Glasgow Royal Infirmary) where he was a patient on the night the census was taken.  This in turn led to discovering some hospital/health related records which added further information to the family background.

Kirk Street, Townhead, Glasgow, around the time when Jean Carrick's (wife of James McAllister) parents lived there. The spire of Glasgow Cathedral shown in the background

The 1901 Census record for Drumadoney, Co. Donegal, showing John Lahan (or Lawn) brother to Grace Lawn, wife of James Cassidy, the client's grandmother's (Helen McAllister) maternal grandparents.

Shown on this census is a son John Lawn, aged 17. A historic passport record was located for him (above) showing a photo of him in 1912. Having emigrated (like others of his family) to Massachusetts, USA, he returned to Donegal in 1912 when his father, John Lawn, died.

"The change in the family's fortunes down the generations was what I found fascinating. So many different occupations followed in the one family, a brother who made his fortune back in the 18th century whilst the others remained in the ranks of the masses. The large families and the frequent movement from one address to another until they were settled...just a tiny part of the ancestral story we were presented with by Ancestry Doctor's seasoned professionals...couldn't recommend them highly enough"

​Mrs. Janice Mulligan, Edinburgh, Scotland

Above and Below: Photographs inside John Sharpe's place of work, the Caledonian Railway Company's waggon building works at St. Rollox, Glasgow.

A record of the gravestone inscription for Elizabeth Low's (McAllister) parents, William Low and Isobel Irons.

A fortunate discovery as the cemetery concerned, called the New Howff or Constitution Road Cemetery, Dundee, had been destroyed in the 1960s. Upon the ground was built a car park (parking lot). Bizarrely, the more ancient Old Howff ws untouched. 

Notes of what are written on our ancestor's gravestones are very valuable and often lead to locating the actual stone - though not in this case. 

Right: Extract from Roman Catholic marriage register Co. Donegal ( in Latin), located by us as part of our research into the Irish branch of the client's ancestry.

The final entry shows the marriage of John Lawn (from Drumadoney) to Margaret Devenny from nearby Cormullion townland - groupings of various sized small farms.

John's parents are recorded as John Lawn and Ann Mulhern, proof that he was a brother to our client's direct ancestor (great-great-grandmother) Grace Lawn, wife of James Cassidy, whose 1907 death record in Glasgow, recorded the same parentage.

Yes, it's about People..

Our research example so far has dealt with a variety of records. By now you will see that what we

find is about people. The events that shaped their lives.

Below, are further examples within the same client case, to illustrate the extent of findings that can be made for one family - records we use to

trace your family history.

These deal with events - happy....sad.....

details of life at work


Beyond the start of this example search, family connections lead

not just to Scotland but Ireland, England, the USA, Canada.

Note: We also deal with European and Native American and African-American cases,

though not shown in this one example.  By clicking on the buttons at the bottom of this

page you can see examples of our work on such cases.

(Left) The Baptism in 1718, Glasgow, of Thomas Phillip, son of John Phillips and Janet Pollock


Research into the names of the witnesses (Sponsors/Godparents) provide further family links.

                                                                   About Us                                                          Prices

                                                                                                      Contact Us

ABOVE:  A family group chart showing the father of John Campbell Sharpe (b.1904), called John Sharpe (b.1870) as one of 9 children born to his Irish-born parents.  That they had been born in Ireland had been found from census searches (not shown here). Our expert research then went to work on locating the actual place of origin of in Irealnd of the family.

The starting point in this case was the marriage of the client's grandparents. Their names and date and place of marriage had been found from the client's mother's birth certificate:

The census records also record immediate neighbours, several of whom are found to be relatives.


 Above: The 1871 birth, in Glasgow, of Ann Cassidy, grandmother of the client's own mother. Her parents' place of origin is referred to in the information given for their place of marriage - Drumadoney, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Below: the 1881 census at 262 Garngad Road, Glasgow, showing around 20 members of the Cassidy family living at different apartments within the building here. The client's  great-grandmother, Ann Cassidy is recorded, aged 9. 

Continuing on the McAllister line, an inheritance type record was located (shown below) concerning James McAllister's mother Janet Phillips, claiming heirship to her deceased father, Thomas Phillips, Weaver in Glasgow.  A related house/land type ownership document (not shown here) was also found concerning a small piece of ground and a house that Janet Phillips formally inherited from her father. Such records are the proof to effectively extending a family tree.  

The inheritance type record below, though primarily concerning Janet's inheritance from her father, also contains information that her husband Peter McAllister (father to above James) was once a Weaver in Glasgow but had enlisted as a Soldier in the 71st Regiment of Foot.

Many family trees include an ancestor who was in the army, navy etc.

In this case, further research revealed that Peter McAllister had in fact been last recorded in Glasgow at the time of baptism of his youngest daughter in early 1776 and that the 71st Foot Regiment (a British army regiment) had been raised later that year and sailing from Greenock, Scotland, had become involved in the War of Independence in America. Research then dealt with original records for this regiment's movements etc.

Above and Left: three opening pages from legal type records involving the sequestration (bancruptcy) of the Low family 'estate', mainly their house and business properties.

This too led to discovering the exact locations of the houses they had owned and further genealogical detail.

And below (3 records shown), a return to the more basic sources in ancestry research: the baptism record in 1794 at Dundee of William Low, and his parents' marriage, also there in 1794 (Thomas Low, a Brewer and his wife Margaret Deuchars). William had died in 1843, as noted, leaving a large family, and his wife Isobel Irons, only two years later, in 1845. But a sister of his - Ann Low, whose death record was located by us in 1880 (below) recorded both her parentage, and showed the family member who registered her death as her nephew Peter Low, then in Glasgow. This provided record evidence that William's parents were also Thomas Low, Brewer and Margaret Deuchars, and his baptism was searched for and found in 1794 as noted.

The above record of David McAllister's passing led to various searches - an obituary was located, naming his employers which in turn opened up further investigation (not shown here). His place of burial was also published in the obituary (Glasgow Necropolis),

The following are further records found on this family tree, discovered via various methods of research which we use.  Among the records discovered - David McAllsiter recorded as a boy of 11 on the 1881 census with his family (immediately below); followed by his parents shown on the 1861 census in Glasgow (9 years before David's birth); and his father's death in 1876 (Thomas McAllister) when David was aged 6. As the death had occurred at the City Poorhouse this opened up research into a range of very detailed records narrating a period of several years when the family had fallen on hard times (shown below) 

This, however, was not the end of the 'story' - though fallen on hard times, as a boy, David McAllister's ancestral background was revealed to have included grandparents who were property (house) and shop owners, who through sudden deaths in the family, faced bancrupty.

Such changes on fortune across generations vary from case to case but they are not uncommon. Every reserarch into a family's ancestry reveals previously unknown situations.

Above: Marriage record 1867 of John Campbell (brother to client's great-great-grandmother Mary Jane Campbell) and his wife Elizabeth Baird, at Trenton, New Jersey, USA

Above: the Proclamation/Marriage record for James McAllsiter's parents, Peter McAllister & Janet Phillips. As research locates older records that are perhaps difficult to read, our research work will also provide a typed transcription. As above:

July [1764]: McAlister & Philp: June 30th: Peter McAlister, Weaver in this parish & Janet Philp, l.d. [lawful daughter] of Thos Philp, Weaver in Glasgow, book'd for proclamation of Banns [of Marriage]  and being thrice proclaimed & no objection offered, were Married July 17th.

​[The practice of being three times proclaimed, a practice of various churches, over usually a two week period, was a common preliminary to marriage, as it still is today]

The Testament of Isobel Irons, wife of William Low, who died 1845 at Dundee. Though she did not leave a Will, it was this testamentary type inventory, listing, among much other genealogical detail, rents owed to her by around 40 tenants, over several house properties she had her husband had owned, that led the professional researcher to be able to turn to property type records and the entries in the historical newspapers (above)

As research progressed on the McAllister line, it was found that Thomas's father (David's grandfather) James McAllister, a Shoemaker, had belonged to the Incorporation of Cordiners (Shoemakers) in Glasgow. His wife's father, Robert Carrick, had also been a member. Both men were also recorded as Burgesses of the town. Immediately below is shown the Burgess record followed by an old Trade Directory for Glasgow from the 1820s showing that James McAllister had paid to advertise his small business.

We can read from the Burgess record below:  "Robert Carrick, Cordiner in Glasgow having paid his freedom fine as having served a regular apprenticeship with James Notman, Cordiner, Burgess and Guild Brother of the Burgh of Glasgow, is admitted a Burgess and Guild Brother of the said Burgh.."

Above the 1773 baptism record of James McAllister, the client's great-great-great-grandfather

McAlister:  Peter McAlister, Weaver and Janet Philp, a l.[awful] son James born the 3rd [January].

Wit[nesses]: James & Finlay McAlister

(Below) Mary Ann's burial record, found in the registers for the Southern Necropolis, Glasgow, in a lair where her maternal grandparents (Campbell) were also laid to rest

A Map of Glasgow showing the various ancestral locations 

and below, for those interested in the social side of research,

two architectural drawings located during research (from the 1890s) of  addresses (6 Glebe Street, Glasgow) where the client's ancestors lived.

Ancestry Doctor

Using the records found so far that have allowed the McAllister line to be extended (with record proof - the sign of professional research) onto James McAllister's mother's line (Janet Phillips), further trade type records and earlier baptisms and marriages were located, (below) verifying the names of the earlier generations. Here is shown only a small part of the findings, dealing with the client's direct ancestors.​​

Bring Your Family Tree.....

The above records display just a part of this client's research report. It shows that a branch can be extended through the knowledge of the professional genealogist - in terms of availability of these historical sources, where to find them and most importantly, professional methods of research .

Below, this section of the example report will conclude with some further types of records dealing with some of the more recent McAllister family members.

The mark of a professional researcher is that work can move back and forth between generations, gradually adding and verifying new family detail.

Some further research on this client's family tree is shown briefly below - returning to the client's grandmother, Helen McAllister (b.1905 Glasgow, Scotland), as noted already, her father's McAllister and related lines was fully investigated. Her mother's side was Irish - her mother Ann Cassidy having been born in Glasgow in 1871 a couple of years after her parents had left their native rural Co. Donegal in north west Ireland.

In this case, Ann's birth record (below) recorded an Irish place as her parents place of marriage - Drumadoney, Co. Donegal.  This led our research into historic sources for that area, concerning both family who had remained there and those who had left, for Glasgow, Scotland, some others for USA.

Gravestone Inscription

Dundee: New Howff Cemetery

(Contitution Road)

Erected by William Low, Flesher,

Hilltown, Dundee


Isobel Irons

his wife

in Memory of their daughter Ann who died 4 June 1841, aged 20 years.

Also their daughter Jane who died 7 February 1842 aged 18 months.

The above William Low died 14 February 1843, aged 48 years 5 months and his widow Isobel Irons

died 27 January 1845 aged 47 years.

His grandson William Low died

​16 November 1860 aged 21 months

The detailed historical sources used to research and put together a professional family tree are wide and varied. Some basic sources, others and their use in genealogy known to professional researchers. In our sample reports alone, here on our website we have shown:






CENSUS RECORDS: Detailing  ancestral households



TENANCY RECORDS (concerning rural ancestors before they perhaps migrated to a larger town or city)

OLD MAPS: Pinpointing ancestral locations

LOCAL HISTORIES: The social and political times your ancestors knew




TRADE/OCCUPATION RECORDS specific to ancestral jobs



MILITARY RECORDS: ARMY, NAVY, MILITIA for individual ancestors

CRIMINAL RECORDS: Court Records/Prison Records




RELATIVES TRACED Who Share same ancestry

​Below, part of the series of lair ownership records discovered for the family that allowed the ancestry to be extended 

A photo of David McAllister, the client's great-grandfather, in 1930 on holiday at the coastal Scottish town of Largs. This was obtained from a second cousin of the client whose location we traced.

The client's great-grandmother Annie Cassidy as a young woman in the 1890s

The clients great-grandfather, David McAllister (b.1870) as a young man in 1898, with his wife Ann Cassidy.

The death record of James McAllister (brother to the client's great-great-grandfather) and three local newspaper articles reporting on his suspicious death and his second wife whom he had only married two weeks before

Left: A Valuation record from the 1850s, showing the tenants of small farms within various townlands. Here, is shown Drumadoney where John Lahan and Grace Lahan (ancestors of the client) leased 5 and 18 acres of land respectively.

Historic records for such rural estates, often owned by prominent families in the neighbourhood, can then be consulted to add further ancestral detail.

The following are sample sections from an actual report for clients whose family tree we have traced. They are intendedto give a good view of the wide range of  historical record sources we use in our work, from different countries - far beyond internet sources - and to highlight the benefit of hiring a professional genealogist/historian to trace your family history................

This case deals with the genealogy of a client whose mother had recently passed on. She had been born around 90 years ago - in 1928 - in Glasgow, Scotland and the client was keen to learn the actual detail of the ancestral background. The search involved discovery of several Irish ancestral branches, tracing these back to exact locations in Ireland; and the extension of a Scottish branch back several generations to around 1700. Some siblings of direct ancestors were found to have emigrated to the USA and to Canada.

As well as the fascinating findings of our general research - what the ancestors worked at, where they lived, their social and financial standing - several other findings were made, reflecting both human nature and the times duringwhich these ancestors lived -

an ancestor who went to prison for a short time - his family background revealed as the youngest of twelve children; his wife's family, financially comfortable shop and house property owners, yet she ended up in the poorhouse, reliant temporarily on parish support; and a direct ancestor, a Weaver in Glasgow, Scotland in 1776 who enlisted as  Soldier and fought in the American War of Independence;

These are only some of the wide range of findings made during this search. The records shown below are a good representation of those we deal with regularly to create your Family History.

​As shown below, all of our reports are fronted by a family tree 

and where possible, we obtain images of all the original historical sources

in which we find details of your ancestors lives.

A full report is also fronted by a cover letter with a narrative summarising the findings.

The Report itself displays all the historical records found with a connective narrative

to help the client understand what has been discovered.

Some of our other research reports for other clients can also be viewed by clicking the buttons at the end of this example display of records - these deal with a variety of research work, from standard searches to more specialised, detailed work.



Ancestry Doctor

Trongate, Glasgow, at Glasgow Cross, as the client's ancestors Thomas Phillips and family would have known it

(Right) extract from historical hospital records, for Glasgow Royal Infirmary, narrating Jane McAMllister's admission 3 days before she died; the circumstances of her life at this time; and the genealogical detail that she had in fact had two sisters who died in infancy. This was new information to the search. The death record of the other sister was found (shown below) as was her place of burial - the already mentioned family lair at Glasgow Cathedral (High Church) where at least 5 generations of family had already been laid to rest

Specialised research and use of such records then helped to locate and verify the more basic baptism/birth record for James McAllister in January 1773 and his parents' marriage in 1764, still in Glasgow

both shown below

The 1834 Trade Directory for Dundee showing one of the entries over several years for William Low, Butcher, the father of Elizabeth Low (McAllister). As today, such listings were not automatic. The person would need to be in business and advertising as such. This clue led to discovery of business related records, below - Wills; bankruptcy records etc.  And to the more basic records for the family - the baptism of William Low himself in 1794 and his parents' marriage, which allowed the ancestry to start being extended, as always with exact historical record evidence.

Below, the baptism/birth record of Thomas McAllister located in 1829 in church-based records (Glasgow, Scotland). We learn that he was the 12th (and it turned out final) child of the family; the names of the witnesses (Godparents) are also shown.  A local newspaper from the time (the day before he was born) The Glasgow Herald, gives a flavour of local and national events as well as an insight into the times - a touch of social history - the front page of the edition is shown below

The above first page of the inheritance type document from 1798 records "...Janet Philips, daughter of the said Thomas Philips, who was married to the deceased Peter McAllaster, sometime Weaver in Calton [a village barely a half mile east of Glasgow town], thereafter Soldier in the Seventy-First Regiment of Foot..."

Before the family place of Irish origin was located by us, a variety of both basic sources and specialised records were unearthed along the way. Some are shown here.

To the left and below, the initial 4 pages of a Fatal Accident Enquiry concerning the father of John Campbell Sharpe (John Sharpe b. 1870). Our searches had found that he died in 1921 as the result of an accident at work. The corresponding Fatal Accident Enquiry, dealing with industrial accidents, narrated a lot of new information to add to the ancestral story - from precise details of his job at the Caledonian Railway Company in Glasgow (a locomotive builder) to names of his workmates who were called as witnesses. Here John Sharpe's exact words were recalled, almost bringing the incident to life.

Though taken to the local hospital, further research showed that sadly he died a week later during surgery, under anaesthetic.

Many family trees when thoroughly researched contain both ancestors involved in some manner of accident/local incident; and ancestors who joined the army or navy. Such records are rich genealogical sources and add to what we can discover for our clients.

Gateway into the Southern Necropolis, Glasgow; and within the cemetery

Ancestry Research......so much more than  a collection of records from the past.  Walk where they walked........where did their lives take them? Where will your search take you...................

© Copyright


Take A Walk Into The Past : Meet The Ancestors : Your Unique History

                                                                                                                                                                     Contact Us

​Returning to David McAllister (b. 1870 Glasgow), the father of the clients maternal grandmother Helen McAllister : research had already revealed that David had been the youngest of 6 children.

One brother had died in infancy, the other brother had died the same year as David (1934) and had been recalled from family memory by the client's grandmother - his Will is shown below.  Of  David's three sisters, one (Isabella) had died in early infancy, her brief existence recorded in the poor relief records already shown above. His remaining sister, Jean Carrick McAllister, died in 1899 in her 30s and was buried at Glasgow Necropolis in a lair owned by her brother David.

 However it was the circumstances surrounding her death that revealed a further sister, not shown on the census or in poor relief applications, who had also died in infancy - Jean had been a patient at Glasgow Royal Infirmary before her death and a detailed record (case notes) from old health board archives (shown below) narrated that she had had one brother who died as a child, two brothers living as adults (David and his brother Thomas) and not one (as thought), but two sisters who had died in infancy. This new information proved vital in linking up the generations as - whilst no birth record was found for this child, her death record was located, in Glasgow in 1859 - this recorded her place of burial as High Church (Cathedral) Old burial ground. Research then turned to the register of burials for that churchyard (also shown below) which confirmed that she had been laid to rest in a privately owned family lair owned by the McAllister family - this in itself provided valuable proof that her father, Thomas McAllister, was of the family who had been buried here for at least a further 5 generations beyond himself.

"Gordon McPhail's skills as an historical and genealogical researcher are unsurpassed. Gordon is a dogged researcher but also an innovative thinker who uncovers pathways for research previously unknown. He has an instinct for storytelling that enlivens his efforts by linking disparate facts that make his research compelling. Also his incredible commitment and attention to clients' needs - which we sometimes are not knowledgable enough to be aware of ourselves - are extraordinary. Gordon is genial, prompt, trustworthy and a joy to work with"

Glenn Smith, Austin, Texas published author of works with a historical and political theme.

[client with our 'research for authors/media service']

"The sheer range of historical records that were used is what amazed me - not just standard basics like births, deaths and marriages and census, but old newspapers naming our forebears, even old medical records from the 1850s, narrating a fascinating history of one ancestor's trials. And old Wills, even when we did't expect them - it wasn't just the most well off people who left them. But the tracing back from Canada into our British roots was what made it all worthwhile...our family oral history proven at last, come to life"

Andrew Campbell, Toronto,


Photographic Archives of all sorts are used in our research. Here is shown two photos of the same location for comparison. Above - from the 1890s, the foot (bottom) of Hilltown, Dundee at its junction with Dudhope Wynd (later Street). Research had shown this was where the Low family had lived in the 1820s-1840s until the parents early deaths in their 40s leaving a large family behind. The photo to the left, from a few years before the image above, shows the old building (middle of photo) that was replaced by the 1890s. Its discovery allowed the client to see the very house where the Low family had lived in the 1820s-40s

Right: Section of a map from the 1830s showing the various Townlands (small farming settlements) in the neighbourhood of Donegal Parish, Co. Donegal, including Drumadoney, a couple miles east of Donegal Town at Donegal Bay.

Research continued and located (below) the marriage of his parents, 26 years before his birth, in 1803, still in Glasgow.

The entry is very brief but provides recorded confirmation of their date and place of marriage, which helps with our further investigations. Sometimes these historical records show other persons (unrelated to our ancestors) on the same page, but these can be interesting as we get an idea of the trades and occupations of people at a particular time and location. We can also see changes of spellings of surnames over the years - now McAlaster (1803) as compared to the later McAllister, a common feature of genealogy.

The family gravestone, at Glasgow Necropolis in recent years - resting place of the client's grandmother Helen McAllister (Sharpe) and her parents David McAllister and Annie Cassidy.

Research in original records revealed earlier generations to be buried here too (among these David McAllister's mother, the client's great-great-grandmother, and his sister, whose passing (1890s) predated the erection of the current headstone in 1937.

From dawn until dusk our ancestors lived their lives, building a future - a future that extended beyond them....to You! That is their Story. And it is Your Story too...........

Below - read examples of such ancestral stories, compiled by us, professionally, from a wide range of historical sources in which your ancestors left a record of their lives.

Also take a look below at what a small sample of our past clients have to say. An Ancestral Story is Unique to you and Your Family, give it the treatment is deserves by being researched and compiled   


Two Photographed at local archives during research, relating to the client's great-grandfather David McAllister: on the left

an early photographic view of Glasgow Cross and High Street (1868), as David would have known it in boyhood. He was born in 1870 at McPherson Street, a street which ran off High Street facing the Tolbooth Steeple which dominates the photo.

​On the right: a photo of No. 16 Kirk Street, Calton, Glasgow (a short distance from Glasgow Cross) where research revealed David, his mother and sister lived for several years in the early to late 1890s.

A Photograph of the client's maternal grandparents at home in the 1940s, from the client's mother's own photo collection, now used to illustrate our set of record findings.

"Although I had grown up in the city, we knew that both my paternal grandparents  family had come from a village in the south of England. We didn't dream when we commissioned research that among much else, part of the family tree would go back six generations in that same village, providing us with many new found 'cousins' along the way.

But the research itself, which took us to all our ancestral locations in England, and a branch in Scotland, was well worth the effort"

​Anderson Family, near London, England ​ 

Above, a record from 1835 from the Incorporation of Shoemakers (Glasgow) collection, showing the contribution they made towards paid up member James McAllister's funeral.

And below, the entry of his death and burial at High Church (Glasgow) burial ground, attached to Glasgow Cathedral. Attention to detail in our research leads to other records known to the specialist genealogist - in this burialexample, we learn that James McAllister was a Shoemaker, resident at Calton, a village a short distance east of Glasgow town (now part of Glasgow city). We learn the name of the undertaker (George Clark) whose records may shed more light on the ancestry and that James died aged 63 from asthma; but we also read that he was buried in the lair owned by James McAllister, in the Old section of the Catherdral Churchyard. It is this information that allows further research in original records held at a local archive - records of the ownership of the family burial lair which, following detailed research, provides the information allowing this branch of the family tree to be extended back in time a further 4 generations (to around 1715) from James McAllister.

...To Life!

Left and Below: the registration of the death of Mary Ann Goldon (after whom the child Mary Ann Goldon Sharpe was named), recording her parents as George Carr and Isabella Ingram.

Her marraige to George Golden or Goldon, located in 1845 at Devenish parish, Co. Fermanagh, Ireland; and an application for financial relief in Glasgow of a brother of Mary Ann's (George Kerr or Carr) as an elderly man, recording his birthplace as Derrygonnelly, Co. Fermanagh, also in the region of Devenish parish.

Research then located in Devensih parish records, the baptism of the client's direct ancestor (great-great-grandfather) Jason Sharpe, and his siblings, revealing that their father Robert Sharpe had been a local Constable, and tenant of a small farm in the parish before coming to Glasgow.

Among much else that can be further searched for from this point, we learn the marriage date of Helen's parents - 1897 - and the address where she was born in 1905: 6 Glebe Street, Townhead, Glasgow. this was Glasgow's ancient historic area, where stood the great Cathedral. Note also that by 1926 her family had removed to (the much larger house - as discovered by further investigation) No. 2 Glebe Street.  Such historical and local history can gradually be woven into the record details for the individuals ancestors and their families.

And so, following a search, the 1897 marriage record was located, recording the bride and groom's own parents (among much other detail used for further work) taking the family tree back a further generation in terms of names. Filling out the branches of the tree is very much the job of the professional genealogist and local historian. Professional research is not just about adding earlier names to the family tree. It is about discovering who your ancestors were, what they did, where they lived, how they lived.

Thank You

for reading these samples of our research work for clients.

To proceed with

research on your own ancestry and have us trace Your Family Tree

scroll to the end of the page

To see some further examples of research reports

click on the appropriate buttons to the sides

of this image.

Some research into an ancestor's trade or occupation - here, the example is an extract from a published history of the Incorporation of Weavers in Glasgow, which relate to the client's direct ancestors - great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Thomas Phillips and his father John Phillips, both of whom research had shown to be Weavers and members of the said incorporation.

Such historical information on our ancestors applies to many and varied occupations and can be incorporated into our research reports

At such a point, research can now either go down the line of one branch or another. Our job is to deal with as many of your direct ancestors as possible as all are equally important. 

Going down  the line from David McAllister, above, age 27 at marriage in 1897. His birth record was found in 1870 in Glasgow, the parents' names matching those (as expected) on his marriage record:

Above: Local newspaper advert (Dundee, Scotland) for 1845 showing the auction notice for sale of house and business items of the late William Low (who had died 1843) and of his wife Isobel Irons who had died this year in 1845. One of their large family of 14 children was Elizabeth, then aged 14, the client's great-great-grandmother, who later married Thomas McaAllister in Glasgow. 

Below: The first marriage of John's brother, William Campbell in 1860 in Glasgow, Scotland;  the 1870 USA Census showing the couple at Lawrence Township, Mercer Co., New Jersey - here William was clerk at a pottery and owned $2000 of real estate. William did not return to Scotland like his brother, but after his wife's death in 1879, went to St. John's, Quebec.

Above: the death record for the second McAllister sister, who died in infancy, aged 11 months on Aug 12th 1859 at King Street, Glasgow.  Though her birth record was not found, she appears to have been the eldest child born to Thomas McAllister and his wife Betsey Lowe.  Not mentioned on the 10 yearly census or even in the previously discovered historical poor relief records concerning the family, her existence was only known through the 1899 hospital case notes for her sister, who died that year in her 30s.

Her place of burial (High Church, Glasgow) was proof needed to link back to the earlier generations.

(Below) her burial record

Above: Extract from an index to Wills and related legal records, for David McAllister's brother Thomas (b.1864), who died in 1934, a few weeks before his only brother David.  His recording in this index led to his Will, shown directly below, which revealed, among other details, that three of his daughters (full cousins to the client's grandmother) had emigrated - two to the USA and one to Canada, by the time he had made out his Will in 1928, six years prior to his death.

​Ancestry Doctor

​Much further research was carried out on this branch of the client's ancestry. For the purpose of this example report, we can now look at the client's other branches - these include Irish branches, notoriously difficult, in terms of records available and locating the actual place of origin in Ireland of an immigrant ancestor. However, AncestryDoctor has

years of experience in dealing with records for various countries and (in this case) Irish locations and original records can often be found for our clients.

Above: The 1880 Census for St. John's, Quebec, Canada, showing William, his daughter Jane, 20, who had been born in Glasgow, Scotland and a daughter Mary Sharpe Campbell, aged 12, who had been born in New Jersey. The girl's middle name was reference to William's brother-in-law Jason Sharpe, back in Glasgow, Scotland, his sister, Mary Jane's husband (the client's great-great-grandparents)


(Still Following our client's sample report)

Ancestry Doctor

Three further historic newspaper noticed above: one from Feb. 1845 calling in the monies owed to Mrs Isobel Low or Irons, shortly following her death.

And two notices from later in the 1840s advertising her house properties for sale.

This was part of a wider action that resulted in the deceased couple being declared bancrupt.

A newspaper notice from 1850 (left) refers to this

(which was researched in fuller detail than shown here) and lists all of the couple's surviving children, including Betsey or Elizabethy Low, our client's great-grandmother, who, as shown already, had fallen on hard times by the late 1860s, ending up temporarily in the poorhouse in Glasgow.

Above: Record of death for Ann Cassidy's grandfather, William Cassidy, three months before her birth, also at 154 Garngad Road, Glasgow. The family had only left Co. Donegal, Ireland a couple of years before this date. William's parents names are recorded - Patrick Cassidy, a Farmer and Hannah Gallagher, the information provided by his son, James Cassidy (Ann's father), the client's direct ancestor.

Whilst Ann's birth record of 1871 in Glasgow (above) had provided the place name Drumadoney, which research showed to be her mother, Grace Lahan's (Lawn) family residence, a fortunate discovery from a surviving extract of the otherwise destroyed 1851 Irish census (shown left) showed Ann's father's (James Cassidy) family at the Townland of Cormullin, a mile or so across fields of small farms, from Drumadoney.

Returning to more record-based research (as distinct photos etc to illustrate the findings), the death record of David McAllister was located in 1934 (below) 

Below, a variation on the standard family tree - showing three generations and various branches of the client's ancestry.

This example has so far death with the McAllister branch of the client's family tree. Below are now shown a variety 

of other historical records we use to build up a good, detailed picture of an ancestry. These deal with another branch of the same client's family tree - the Low side of the family: the mother of the above David McAllister (b.1870), who was known as Betsey (Elizabeth) Low: her ancestry was traced to the town of Dundee, Scotland where research revealed an upbringing of one of 14 children born to parents who owned several house properties

By 1861 when Jason Sharpe, then aged 25 registered his sister's death in Glasgow, the fuller extent of our research had shown also that his father had died in 1850 in the city, his mother Dorothea (also referred to as Dolly in records) Ingram in 1856 and his sister Margaret, in 1855 in childbirth. Our precise and detailed research work revealed that the family had come to Glasgow from Ireland in 1847.

But where in Ireland?

We followed a clue on the naming of one of Jason Sharpe's own children, shown below:

Returning to the marriage record in 1926 of the client's grandparents (shown near the top of this sample report), we see that Helen McAllister married John Campbell Sharpe. So far this sample has followed Helen McAllister's father's line; her mother's line  (Cassidy) was Irish.  But her husband (John Campbell Sharpe) also had Irish branches as our research revealed, including family members who had emigrated (via Scotland) to USA and Canada. 

Part of the census record for 1841 showing Elizabeth Low, aged 9, one of the younger children of her parents William Low, a Flesher (Butcher) and Isobel Irons.  Their names had been found already in the poor relief records for Elizabeth in Glasgow, as wife of Thomas McAllister in Glasgow in the 1860s-70s.

Further research, however, revealed that her origins were as part of a business-minded family in Dundee as further records verified.

Note also the nearby street Dudhope Wynd, written on the left side of the page. Research revealed the house that the family lived in was at the 'foot of Hilltown'  at the junction with Dudhope Wynd. In the Glasgow poor relief records Elizabeth had given her birthplace around 1831 as Dudhope Wynd but it had been written phonetically (as it sounded) as 'Dibbot's Wynd'. Likewise her pronunciation (in what must have been a thick Dundonian dialect) also resulted in the relief clerk recording her married surname as 'McCulster'  which (as shown in the already referred to detailed record of relief above) was later scored out and re-written as McAllister.

Above: The Irish marriage record in 1845 of Mary Ann Kerr (or Carr) [cousin to Jason Sharpe, the client's direct ancestor], at Monea Church in the Parish of Devenish. The family were Church of Ireland members (as distinct from the Roman Catholic faith which was prominent in Ireland) and by the family surnames - Sharpe, Ingram, Kerr, Carr, Golden, Graham - would have been descended from Scottish and English 'incomers'  at a point within the previous 200 years.  

​Some historical information on this subject was then incorporated into the research report.

To have us proceed and research your ancestry please



In 1835 shortly after James McAllister's death, the record to the left narrates his eldest son Robert McAllister, claiming ownership of the family burial lair at the Cathedral. Robert was the eldest brother to our client's direct ancestor (gt-gt-grandfather) Thomas McAllister who as shown above was the 12th and youngest of his family. He was still only a boy of 6 years in 1835 whilst Robert his eldest brother was 18. That the lair was kept for broader family use, is evidenced by Thomas's infant daughter Elizabeth being buried there in 1859.

Reference here to earlier registers and pages, leads to these records which effectively extend the family tree, including below, the 1746 entry for James McAllister's great-grandparents, John Phillips and Janet Pollock.

Their son Thomas Phillips, a Weaver in Glasgow, had in turn inherited the burial lair and his daughter Janet Phillips had married Peter (also known as Patrick, the names being interchangeable in Scotland at this time) McAllister, thus bringing the lair into the McAllister family from that point onwards).

His entry on the 1870 United States of America Census, showing that he still carried on the trade of Potter as he had done since boyhood in Glasgow. His brother, William Campbell, was also in Trenton with his wife at this time. Both had emigrated from Glasgow in the 1860s. They did not remain here, however. Research revealed that William went to Quebec, Canada, after his wife's death in 1879 in New Jersey, whilst John returned, with his wife and American born children to Glasgow. The 1881 Census for Glasgow, Scotland shows the family there.

Above: By 1835, the family, still within the parish of Devenish, lived at nearby Giltagh townland (a rural grouping of small farms) - above shows direct ancestor Jason Sharpe's baptism in 1835

Burgess Record (Glasgow) for John Phillips, 1716 (father to Thomas Phillips, grandfather to Janet Phillips (wife of Peter McAllister)

"9 April 1716:  The sd [said] Day John Philp [Phillips], Weiver [Weaver] is made Burgess & Guild Brother of the Burgh, as marrying Janet Pollok, lawfull daughter to Thomas Pollok, merchant burgess & guild brother yrof [thereof] who has payd his fynes and given his oath as use is.."

From the marriage certificate alone, we can see the names of the bride and groom, their ages at marriage, what they worked at, where they lived (usually in those days still with their parents and siblings), the church where they were married, the names of the witnesses (commonly known as best man and bridesmaid etc), but most importantly the names of the couple's own parents, including their father's occupations, their mother's maiden (pre-marriage) surname and whether they were still living at the time of the marriage.

From this  certificate - for the seasoned, practised professional genealogist - there are many immediate leads to follow: historic census records which will show all members of the couple's respective families back to childhood; occupation type records; when the parents died - death records, where they may be buried, gravestones etc. 

And most importantly it allows a search to be made for the births and baptisms of the couple, then a search for their parents marriage and working back in time in such a way over the previous generations..............

A search was made for the birth record of the above Helen McAllister, (the client's grandmother), daughter to David McAllister and Annie Cassidy. As Helen was 20 at marriage in March 1926, as expected the birth record was found around 1905:


On the previous generation, direct ancestor Jason Sharpe's sister, Elizabeth - her death record in 1861 when still a young woman and a corresponding medical case note record from 1859-60 during her time as a patient at the Infirmary in Glasgow. Her death record was signed by her brother Jason. 

"I started by my own online efforts, thinking this was the 'full picture' but soon had a feeling that half the records were not in fact online as advertised in various media. In fact in turned out that only the basic building blocks of Scottish, and other British and Irish ancestries are online; and without the help of Ancestry Doctor as a professional research business, whose founder Gordon McPhail has 30 plus years in the business, we would never have found or even known about many of the amazing, detailed record sources"

Jan Butler, California