Some notes on the ancestry of W. K. Berry born 1915

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This profile contains a transcript of a document type-written by Kitson Berry Berry-15055. It cannot have been started before 1957, and was probably complete by the early 1970's. I have left out some irrelevant comments that some, these days, might find mildly offensive.

Some of the document consists of a transcript of a report commissioned by Kitson Berry Berry-15055, dated 12 Aug. 1957. That part could be considered, itself, a secondary, reliable, source, in that it states where the information was found. Other parts include personal memories of family members, and transcripts of letters. and would therefore be primary sources for information otherwise not available. However, bear in mind the possibility of personal bias on the part of the author(s), and the vagaries of memory.

Before commenting on this, please note that it represents the state of Kitson Berry's research at the time it was written. Subsequent research by his sons have filled in some of the gaps, which will be recorded in the profiles of individual ancestors.

Before using this as a source, please review carefully. It is always best to go back to the original documents (Parish Registers, etc.)

Copyright William Kitson Berry (deceased) Berry-15055, now vested in William George Berry Berry-15051.

The following is the transcript.



The normal practice of genealogists is to work backwards; but I have presented the results of investigations to date in historical sequence. The State registries of births. marriages and deaths began in England in 1835, but not until 1855 in Scotland. In both countries censuses began in 1841. English parish registers appear to be scattered all over the place,[1] but the Scottish registers are collected in Edinburgh. They refer to, respectively, the Church of England and the Church of Scotland. Adherents of other denominations would not register with the parish priest/minister, and in consequence separate registers would have to be sought and searched. Some of the following information was obtained in 1957 by the Scots Ancestry Research Society.[2]

1) The earliest entry in a parish register of Paisley or Kilbarchan relates to persons whose connexion with the family remains unknown. William Berrie and Agnes Eston had a daughter Agnes, born 5th July 1759.

2) Hugh McLean and Christian McLauchland had a daughter Sarah, born 8th November 1751 in the Paisley Low parish.

3) Sarah married at some unknown date Robert Berry, harness weaver. This is a weaver who not only operates a loom himself but also supervises at least one other semi-skilled weaver. They had only one known child:-

4) William. Date of birth either 1785 or 1791, place "Renfrewshire", but not in any of the following parishes:- Cathcart, Earlswood, Eaglesham, Erskine, Greenock, Kilbarchan, Houston, Paisley, Port Glasgow, or Renfrew.

5) William (4) may have had a brother Robert, whose banns to Margaret Cowan were announced in Paisley Abbey on the 13th April 1811. It is possible, but not established, that this is the Robert Berry found in the Army List. Assistant Surgeon Robert Berry obtained a medical education in Dublin (there were trade links between Dublin and Paisley at this era) but no degree or diploma. Appointed Hospital Mate 11th Jan 1810. Posted to 21st Regiment (later the Royal Scots Fusiliers) in 1811 for service in Sicily. It is tempting to suppose that he got married in Paisley before being posted overseas. [3] I have not investigated English census or other records. He retired from the Army in 1838.

6) Agnes Broadfoot (date and place of birth unknown) married William (4) at some unknown date. They had children:-

7) William, born 1st June 1812. Died on the 27th April 1877[4].

8) Robert.[5] Known only as the author of two letters formerly in the possession of my uncle Deans[6] and written from Canada. Robert had mentioned former Army service, search for which led to Robert (5), but they are obviously not the same man.

9) Agnes, born c. 1821, married a Mr. Johnson and died c. 1847, on the evidence of Robert (8)'s letter.

10) Jessie b. c. 1835; and

11) Murdoch, b. c. 1838. On the evidence of Robert (8)'s letter, these two may have died in early childhood.

12) Mary Muir, according to my mother, was first wife to William (7), married 1835, no record yet traced. [7] They had children:

13) Agnes, born c. 1839. According to my mother, she married a James Anderson.

14) Janet, b. 14 Dec. 1840. Dad's "Aunt Jessie" featured in some photos taken in Alloway about 1905. Married William Garrow; he died 1912 and by the time his widow died about 1938 he had gradually been canonised. No children.

15) Ann Muir, b. 11 Jan. 1843. Married Duncan Ritchie, went to live in Leytonstone, died somewhere between 1920 & 1926. They had six children.

16) Elizabeth, born c17th February 1848.

17) William, born, according to my mother, in 1845. He could not be found in the 1851 Paisley census because his father's address at that date was unknown, and not at 52 Old George St. He married Charlotte Grindley, and their descendants live in Canada.

18) Mary Gillies and

19) Margaret. Mother gave no information except the names of their respective husbands; James Adam and David Andrew.

20) Janet Barr, second wife of William (7); date and place of birth unknown; married 26 March 1851. She is probably the old lady of the Alloway photographs. By this marriage she had:

21) Jean, b. 1852. Married Matthew Morrison and had several descendants living in the Paisley area.

22) Robert, my grandfather, b. Paisley 24th April 1854, 20th April 1883 to Marion Lawson Deans, then on 29th Dec. 1892 to Sarah Helen Thomson (nee Gunn), (widow)[8]

23) James b. 24th April 1857. Nothing more known; may have gone to Australia.

24) John, b. 5th April 1861. Nothing more known.

25) Adam Barr, b. 29th May 1864. Latterly a bank manager in Paisley. Retired to live with his step-sister Janet Garrow at Arkleston Rd. Paisley, and died there c. 1937.Unmarried.

26) Marion Lawson Deans, wife of Robert (22), by whom she had four children and died of pulmonary tuberculosis on the 11th November 1891 at the age of 31. Daughter of a wine and spirit merchant in Tollcross, Glasgow.

27) Sarah Helen Gunn, born in the West Indies. Father Edward Gunn, mother Matilde Marthe Pencheon. [9] Both my father and my aunt Chrissie spoke very highly of her efforts to keep the family together. No children of her own; she did not re-marry. She features in some photographs my father took during a trip to her relatives in 1912, and died not many years later.

28) Christine, first child of Robert (22) born 1885, went to Canada about 1911, married a James Duncan, by whom she had one child, a daughter Helen Jean. Died before 1960.

29) Janet, b. 1887, died aged about 10.

30) William, my father, born 21st April 1888. Married Ruth Eunice Kitson on the 24th Sept. 1914, had two children and died Aug. 1945.

31) Effingham Deans, b. 1889. Insisted on being known as Deans, and said to have threatened mayhem to fellow-schoolboys who called him Effie. Married Ethel Anderson, by whom he had five children, all born and living in Canada. Died about 1973.

32) Myself. William Kitson, called Kitson to avoid confusion when my mother called out "Bill!"; born 17th September 1915 in Winnipeg, Canada; taken to Denver, Colorado, when a year old, and, for a prolonged visit to my grandfather Kitson in 1920-21; finally settled in Scotland in May 1926.

33) Ruth Garrow, my sister, born 31st Oct. 1918 in Denver, and won't admit to any age greater than 29, except for the purpose of obtaining Senior Citizen discounts.

I have some information about other branches of the Berry family, but since I have not greatly troubled to keep in touch, I do not propose to enumerate it here. I have some information about my mother's side of the family; but I have warned my cousin Harford that trying to sort out Kitsons in Yorkshire is like trying to sort out the ramifications of Evans in Wales, he being interested in tracking down Kitsons.

Your mother has given me some information about her forebears. Since they all seem to have been very prolific, the situation is potentially far more complicated.

K(1) William Kitson, farmer, West Ardsley, Yorkshire (near Dewsbury); my great-grandfather.

K(2) Sarah Harford, his wife.

K(3) Reuben Kitson, son of William, b. 11 Jan. 1842; m. 1st Sept 1866 Harriet Bailey, dau. of George Bailey, shoemaker. At this date, Reuben described his father as a stone merchant and himself as a rag dealer. Second wife Dora Vaughan, m. 29th March 1873. Died 1927 (will admitted to probate in Glasgow, 7th June 1927, and in Wakefield 9th Feb.1928).

K(4) Harriet Bailey born c. 1840, died 8th Jan 1872 three days after giving birth to her third child; probably the Oliver who died in infancy that my mother told me about[10].

K(5) Mark, her son, born 1867, married 1900, had one daughter and five sons, died in his late 80's. Born in England, but went to Scotland with his parents some time before his mother's death, and spent the rest of his life in the Glasgow area.

K(6) Sarah, her daughter, b. late 1860's, probably around Wakefield. Married Thomas Pollok and at one time lived in South Africa. Two children Dora and a son who was confined to a mental hospital near Larbert (Scotland). Died around 1920.

K(7) Dora Vaughan, second wife of Reuben (K3). I have not found a record of her birth about 1850: it is not in any Scottish parish register, and since she was a Wesleyan Methodist an official at New Register House suggested a search of Methodist records. In her marriage certificate she stated that she was the daughter of Stephen Vaughan, Clerk, H. M Customs (decd.), but the Customs Office archives in London have not been able to trace him. Her mother was Dorothy Whelan, who died in Glasgow in 1868, aged 59, of asthma. She had six children, plus a seventh who died in infancy.

K(8) William, born about 1874, married Margaret Barton, died childless in early 1950's.

K(9) Dora, b. about 1877, m. James Smith, d. 1946 without issue.

K(10) Emily, b. 1879, d, childless somewhere about 1955.

K(11) Ruth, b. 1881, d. infancy.

K(12) George, b. c. 1887, d. childless about 1956-60.

K(13) Ruth, my mother, b. 10 Feb. 1889, m. 24 Sept. 1914, d. 11 Jan 1954.

K(14) Reuben, b. c. 1881, m. Beatrice Anderson: they had four children, Beatrice, Reuben Haig, Douglas (Jock) and Robert. Died c. 1945.

Letter dated 9 May 1846

See image, to right.

Letter dated 12 June 1847

See image right.

In reply to further correspondence the Society later reported:

Ref. B/9873 11 October 1957

With reference to our letter of the 21st August 1957, we have now been able to investigate the further research as outlined therein.

1) The old parochial registers of Paisley, which at this period comprised the parishes of Abbey and Low Paisley, were first searched from 1765-79 for the marriage of Robert Berry and Sarah McLean, but this was not found.

2) The old parochial registers of Paisley, which at this period comprised the parishes of Abbey, High, Mid, and Low Paisley, were then searched from 1800-12 for the marriage of, and from 1806-19 for the births of children to, William Berry and Agnes Broadfoot, but no entries relevant to this couple were found to have been recorded in any of these parishes. The following entry, however, was noted in the old parochial registers of Abbey being of possible interest:

Robert Berry and Margaret Cowan, both of this parish, were booked in order to marriage and proclaimed 13th April 1811.

As no further research could be carried out on this line we were reluctantly compelled to halt our search at this point.

In their letter of 21st August stating their proposed investigations they mentioned that there are no death records of Paisley prior to 1855, so that search for the death of Agnes Berry or Johnston is not possible.

The Keeper of Local History in Paisley wrote that much of the information sought would be found in the Scottish Record Office in Edinburgh - valuation rolls, parish records, census returns and Commissary Court records. Directories for Paisley are kept at the Museum, but a longer run is kept in the Local History section of Paisley Library, which also has files of local newspapers. Application should be made to the Local Historian for information about archival material.

The Public Record Office, Chancery Lane, consulted Musters and Pay Lists for the Renfrewshire Militia 1812 (WO 13/1809), and found William Berry as a Sergeant. No details of birthplace or next-of-kin. No data about him in Militia - Soldier's Documents (WO 97/1092). I seem to remember reading that the Renfrewshire Militia was the then equivalent of a Territorial Battallion of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, but this could be checked from regimental histories of the type commonly found in public libraries.

My Aunt Chrissie (Christina Scott Deans Berry) wrote a long letter dated 28th Jan. 1955, as follows:


After some purely personal chat, she continued:

You did ask for information about your Dad - where he started work, etc. As I remember, he left school at about the age of 14[11], quite usual in those days; but necessary in our case as our father died when I was 12 and left very little insurance.

Your father worked with Hunter Barr & Co. wholesale drygoods merchant in Glasgow. In November 1910 he sailed for Canada, going to Winnipeg. Worked for a short time with Galts Ltd. Drygoods[12] and them got a position with Tooke Bros. Winnipeg Agency for the Montreal firm of the same name. I came out to Canada in April 1911 and joined him in Winnipeg but the firm I worked for (a magazine called Canada Monthly) transferred their office to Toronto and I went with them in early 1912. I did not return until your uncle Deans and our stepmother having decided to come to Canada also arrived sometime in May 1918. I went up to Montreal and met them and went back to Winnipeg and we got an apartment and were all together until the summer of 1914 when your Dad went home on a trip and he and your mother were married.

Incidentally my stepmother was going down to the West Indies to visit her sister in Montserrat so your dad went with her and spent a week or so and then went on to Scotland. When he came back to Winnipeg with his wife he went back to Tooke's. Early in 1916 I again went to Toronto to work for the same magazine (the manager had been killed over in France and they wrote offering me a good job as I knew more about bookkeeping, advertising, etc. than any of the newcomers (so they informed me).

I am not sure just when, but it may have been in 1916 I think you Dad and Mother and little Kitson left for Denver where they had often spoken of going as they didn't like the cold winters in Winnipeg, and you Mother didn't seem to like the place at all. They then went on to California and after a time your Mother and the two children went back to Scotland as one of her parents was ill. Your father saw them off at New York and then came up to Toronto and stayed a few days with Mother and me and returned to Los Angeles. Perhaps you know as much of what happened after that, probably more than I do; but from the odd letter I got from your Dad his family wouldn't get on the quota to get back to the US for about two years, and then your mother wanted him to go back to Scotland and try and settle there. He came up to Vancouver to see us before he went home and the rest you know better than I do.

Before I close, I would like to mention our step-mother. She was a fine woman and had a very interesting and varied life. Born in St. Kitts, B. W. I. where her father owned a sugar plantation, she and a younger brother had been sent home to Scotland at the age of 7 years to attend boarding school. Her father was a Scotsman, from Elgin and his wife was West Indian born of French parents. After a few years in Scotland, both parents died and the two children stayed on there with an uncle. After Mother grew up she went back to the W. I. and stayed her only sister in Montserrat for a couple of years. Then she returned and went yo South Africa as a companion to the wife of a Dr. Stewart - a medical missionary at Lovedale. On her return after several years my father met her at one of my aunts' home and as he had just lost his wife she came out to look after us until he could get a suitable housekeeper. A year later they were married and we owe her a great deal so far as our upbringing was concerned as she was a cut above the people around Shettleston. After my father died she kept us together as a family and had a pretty hard time and didn't have much money; what little she had she used without grudging it. She came out to Winnipeg as I have already said, and after my brothers married came with me to Vancouver where she died in 1924 in her 80th year. The brother above mentioned went out to Valparaiso Chile for health reasons but died there later.


  1. True in 1957. Thank you to all who, since this document was first written, have been photographing registers onto microfilm, and transcribing them onto various websites.
  2. This appears to be now (2019) defunct. See Discovery at the UK National Archives (accessed14 November 2019)
  3. Text crossed out in original: "while living at Lydd, in Kent."
  4. William Berry Berry-15101
  5. Berry-15139
  6. Effingham Deans Berry Berry-15088
  7. Married 1833 - seeMuir-3218
  8. The marriage register entry says "Thomson or Gunn". Her marriage to George Thomson was found on Scotlands People (1890 GUNN, SARAH HELEN (Statutory registers Marriages 644/14 248)) 1 October 1890.George appears to have died in 1891
  9. The original states that Sarah Helen was a widow when she married Robert Berry. This is supposition. There is no documentary evidence of a previous marriage. In the Clan Gunn Centre at Latheron, Caithness (in an old church), there are many Thompson graves alongside Gunns.
  10. No registration found for this child, neither birth nor death, on See University of Glasgow "Scottish way of Birth and Death", accessed 14 Nov. 2019.
  11. About 1904.
  12. Drygoods is the N. American term for textiles and related merchandise. In Glasgow Hunter Barr was described as a Drapery warehouse.

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