Happy Birthday Granny Rae – Margaret Dalziel Dickson 1907-1966

Margaret Dalziel Dickson

Today would have been my paternal granny’s birthday. I never met her as she died before I was born. I really didn’t know much about her. I do know that she and my mother didn’t get along and, as a result, I haven’t really heard any positive stories about her.

Margaret was born in the family home in Glasgow Road, Wishaw. She was the eldest child of Livingston Russell Dickson and Mary Lockie Calderhead and she was named after her maternal granny. The paternal side of my family do like to use ancestors’ surnames as middle names and that can be very useful in helping track them down.

Her birth certificate is one of few original documents that I have and it’s quite a treasured possession. I like that I have the addition of her baptism details which were added to the record at a later date.

I knew that Margaret had a sister, Annie as I remember visiting Auntie Annie when I was young. At the time I don’t think I knew how she fitted into the family.

It turns out that Livingston and Mary had 5 children but only Margaret and Annie survived past their first year. While researching the cemetery records I found an unnamed baby born in August 1909. The record shows that this was a stillbirth and the child was buried in a public plot in Cambusnethan cemetery.

I found brother Thomas quite by accident when walking through the cemetery and I spotted this headstone. I recognised the names of my great grandparents immediately but the inscription shows that their grandson Tom is also buried in the plot. (I know it’s quite difficult to read) Baby Tom was just 8 months old when he died. This loss must really have been felt by Margaret who was almost 6 when he died. I can imagine her and Annie looking after their wee brother and proudly helping push his pram on outings.

Little sister Elizabeth was born on 6 November 1917 when Margaret was almost 10 years old. She died just 5 days later. Elizabeth was buried with brother Tom and her grandparents but for whatever reason her name is not on the headstone.

So it would be fair to say Margaret’s childhood was touched by tragedy. Of course there must have been happy times and I wish I knew more about her early years.

After school my granny worked in the “sweetie factory”. Her marriage certificate shows her occupation as confectionery worker. It must’ve been the Kings factory which was in Wishaw for many years before eventually closing in 1990. I remember the Kings shop in Wishaw with all the jars of sweets behind the counter. Happy memories for everyone who grew up in the area. I wish I could’ve asked my granny about her time there.

She was just 18 when she married my grandfather, Archibald Smith Rae in June 1926. She was pregnant when they married and I’m sure there were some who thought it wouldn’t last. I do think they make quite a handsome couple.

Sadly they didn’t get to grow old together. Archie was just 48 when he collapsed and died in 1952. He had a massive heart attack at work at the Lanarkshire Steelworks. Margaret never remarried. She died in 1966 having seen both her children marry. She also welcomed 4 grandchildren.

For such a close relative I know so little. I’m posting this today to remember her on her birthday but it has made me realise I need to find out more.

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