The Russell Children

Isn’t this sad? A memorial erected by parents for four children who died before them.

Lockdown means I can’t go to far from home for my daily exercise so my usual route takes me through the local cemetery. Cambusnethan Cemetery is the final resting place of many of my ancestors on both sides of the family.

Today on my travels the above memorial caught my eye. The name Livingston(e) features on my dad’s side and it’s an unusual enough forename that when I see it I check it out. In this case it didn’t take much to confirm my suspicions. The memorial is engraved on two sides.

David Russell is the brother of my great, great granny Ann Shaw Russell. He’s buried along with his wife, Janet Wilson and the second of their sons who was called Livingstone. David was already on my family tree along with some of his children but finding this grave made me have another look at my research.

The first record I checked was John’s death record and his mother was a surprise. She is recorded as Christina Smith. So David was married before he met Janet. Sometimes I ignore the wives of uncles and am happy just to know their names but in this case, if I’d checked Janet’s year of birth I would have seen that she was too young to have a child in 1855. David and Christina had two children, Robert and John, before Christina’s untimely death in 1863. David want on to have 9 more children with Janet.

So, the children are as follows:

  • Robert Born 1855
  • John Born 1858
  • David Born 1866
  • Jane Born 1868
  • Annie Born 1869
  • William Born 1871
  • Livingstone Born 1874
  • Adam Born 1877
  • James Born 1879
  • Livingstone Born 1880
  • Janet Born 1883

So what happened to the 4 children I spotted on the headstone? Livingstone was just 8 months old when he died of blood poisoning at the family home in Wishaw.

Wee James was just hours old when he died on 26 May 1879. I’ve only just checked this record now and it is so sad.

Five years later, in April 1894, the family lost 16 year old Jane. A young girl,with her whole life ahead of her. I imagine her with a bubbly personality chatting to the customers in the grocers shop where she worked.

John, a tailor, died of pneumonia on 8 January 1894. Single and still living with his parents at the time of his death, he would have been greatly missed.

Every headstone has a story. I’m glad I found this one and was able to discover more about the family.

9 thoughts on “The Russell Children

  1. Indeed, so very sad! I see you have read both my blog posts on my great uncle John Dickson, born John Russell. His birth mother was born in Cambusnethan. He and my grandfather were both born 1882 and were adopted cousins, from birth parents of entirely different families. Another set of Russell, who spent years in Cambusnethan were also prominent in my book, but not my blog. I learned something very valuable about researching Russell from the latter – due to the way double “s” used to be written, those who have interpreted the BMD in today’s hand, get it wrong – searching for Rup* often finds some lost souls.


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