This page is an attempt to outline what I know about our Dougal ancestry in as "readable" format as possible. Please note whereas I try to ensure that what I publish is correct, and to differentiate between what is supported by documentation etc, and what is, in my opinion, a reasonable assumption, everything should be treated with caution. IF you have come across information that you believe is relevant to your own research please either verify it independently or drop me a line to confirm its validity. Equally if believe something is incorrect, or if you wish to add any details or discuss please get in touch using the Contact Form.

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The furthest back we can trace our Dougal family tree with certainty is to the marriage sometime in the 1820's of a James Dougal, to a Helen Young. According to his age on his later death certificate James was born about 1803 and his parents names were given as James Dougal and Margaret Grant. However I believe that James was actually born "the lawful son to James Dougal and Marg't CANT indweller in Burnhole" was born 2nd Sep 1804 with the birth recorded in the Ecclesmachen OPR, and that "Grant" was an error either by his son or possibly a mishearing of the mothers surname by the registrar. This belief is supported by DNA connections to other descendants of James Dougal and Margaret Cant. The marriage of James Dougal and Margaret Cant was recorded in the OPR of Muiravonside, Stirling on 10 October 1794, as were the subsequent births of their first two children - Alison Dougal born on 16 February 1796, baptiseed on 28 February 1796, (Indexed in Scotlandspeople as - Elison Dougald - James Dougald/Margaret Cant) and Marion Dougal born on 5 March 1798, baptised on 18 March 1798. Sometime after the birth of Marion the family seem to have moved into West Lothian as the birth of their next child Margaret Dougal on 17 September 1801 was recorded in the OPR for Livingston, West Lothian, follwed by the birth of the aforementioned James Dougal whose birth on 2 September 1804 was recorded in the Ecclesmachen OPR. A further two children are recorded in the Ecclesmachen OPR - Elizabeth Dougal born 19th August 1808 and Hugh Dougal born on 9th November 1810. Both these entries are indexed in Scotlandspeople with the mother's maiden name wrongly transcribed as CART. Both entries identify the father as a "carrier", although the later death certificate of his children identify him as "dairyman", "Hay Dealer and Farmer", "Farmer" and "Carrier". One further birth is recorded to James and Margaret, that of a second Hugh Dougal born on 11 March 1813 and registered in the OPR of Livingston, West Lothian. The birth of this second Hugh would seem to suggest the first may have died in infancy (For further details of James Dougal, Margaret Cant and their children - Click here.)

According to her later death certificate Helen was the daughter of James Young, a gardener, and Agnes Black. In later census records her place of birth is given as Uphall Parish, Livingston, and from her ages recorded in these various sources Helen would have been born circa 1799/1804. No record of the birth of a Helen Young to James Young and Agnes Black around these dates has been found yet and this might just indicate that the parents names on her death certificate are in fact incorrect. (For further thoughts on the parentage of Helen Young - Click here.)

The where and exactly when of the marriage of James Dougal and Helen Young is not known, but they seemed to have been married by 1823, as their first child, a daughter, Christian Dougal, identified as their daughter from her later death certificate was listed in later censuses as born circa 1823, in Kirknewton on the border of Linlithgowshire and Midlothian. No record of this birth has been identified. Similarly no record been found for the birth of their second child, James Dougal, again identified as their son from his later death certificate, listed in later censuses as born circa 1825 in Houston, Linlithgowshire.

Over the next fifteen years James and Helen produced a further seven children all of whose births were recorded in the Livingston parish register, Margaret Dougal on 17th September 1826, Hugh Dougal born on 14th September 1828, Helen Dougal born on 12th July 1830, William Dougal born 9th December 1832, Catherine Dougal born on 5th November 1834, Margaret Dougal born on 22nd January 1837, (the first Margaret had presumably died an infant), and Alison Dougal born on 27th July 1840.

The census of 7th June 1841 finds the family living in Dechmont, Livingston, Linlithgowshire.

1841 Census (7th June)  Livingston (669)  Book 2. Page 7.

Dechmont Village, Livingston Parish.

Name Age Occupation Where Born
James Dougal 35   Yes
Helen Dougal 25   Yes
Helen Dougal 10   Yes
William Dougal 8   Yes
Margaret Dougal 4   Yes
Alison Dougal 4 months   Yes
Margaret Dougal  60 Publican Yes
Catherine Dougal 6   Yes

Listed along with James Dougal and his family is a Margaret Dougal, aged between 60 and 64, who one would suspect is his mother, Margaret Dougal, nee Grant, but as relationships are not given in the 1841 census one cannot be certain. It could for example be an aunt. No occupation is given for  James Dougal, but Margaret Dougal, the elder, is listed as a publican.

By the census of 31st March 1851 James Dougal and Helen Young's family had increased by one, a son, John. His birth does not seem to be listed in the Livingston parish register, although this census, and later ones give his place of birth as Livingston parish. Going by his age in later records he was born sometime between 1843 and 1847, with the later inscription on his headstone giving his date of birth as 1844.  This John Dougal is the next generation in our family history. (For further details about the children of James Dougal and Helen Young - Click here.)

1851 Census (31st March)  Livingston (686)  Book 3. Page ?.

Dechmont Village (entry No 32), Livingston.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
James Dougal Head 45 Publican / Labourer Ecclesmachen, Linlithgowshire
Helen Dougal Wife 47   Uphall, Linlithgowshire
William Dougal Son 18 Labourer Livingston, Linlithgowshire
Catherine Dougal Daughter 14 Scholar Livingston, Linlithgowshire
Ellison Dougal Daughter 10 Scholar Livingston, Linlithgowshire
John Dougal Son 8 Scholar Livingston, Linlithgowshire

Margaret Dougal, (the  elder), is no longer listed and as she would have been aged over 70, it is quite probable that she had passed on. Whatever relationship she was to James Dougal, he seems to have taken over her role as publican, supplementing his income with labouring. James and Helen's eldest daughter, Helen, who would have been aged 20 is not included in this census.

In the census of 8th April 1861 James Dougal and Helen Young have only two children, Alison and Catherine, listed in their household, but two grandchildren are also included. Helen Headridge was the daughter of Helen Dougal and Peter Headridge who were married on 18th Jun 1854 in Uphall.  James Scoular was the illegitamate son of a ???? Scoular and Catherine Dougal.

1861 Census (8th April)  Livingston (669)  Book 3. Page 5.

Dechmont Village, near Livingston.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
James Dougal Head 58 Publican / Labourer Ecclesmachen, Linlithgowshire
Helen Dougal Wife 60   Uphall, Linlithgowshire
Allison Dougal Daughter 20   Livingston, Linlithgowshire
Catherine Dougal Daughter 16   Livingston, Linlithgowshire
Helen Headridge Granddaughter 8   Mid-Calder, Edinburghshire
James Scoular Grandson 2 months   Livingston, Linlithgowshire

John Dougal, their son, is not at the family home but there is a John Dougal, a ploughman, aged 18, born in Livingston, listed in the household of William Scott, a farm foreman, and his wife Elizabeth, close by the Dougal family home.  As age and birthplace match that of our John Dougal, I think we can assume they are one and the same.

1861 Census (8th April)  Livingston (669)  Book 3. Page 5.

Dechmont Village, near Livingston.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
William Scott Head 55 Foreman on farm Covington, Lanarkshire
Elizabeth Scott Wife 54    Covington, Lanarkshire
Adam Scott Son 25 Ploughman Carnwath, Lanarkshire
Mary Scott Daughter 18 Dressmaker Crammond, Edinburghshire
William Scott Grandson 6    Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Alexander Scott Visitor 26 Teacher of music Moffat, Dumfries-shire
John Dougal Servant 18 Ploughman Livingston, Linlithgowshire

It is certainly our John Dougal who, seven years later, on 24th January 1868, married Isabella Johnston, a domestic servant. The marriage took place in Dechmont, and was carried out by the Rev. William Johnston, no relation of the bride as far as is known. Isabella was born in 1844 in Uphall parish, the daughter of Robert Johnston, a blacksmith, and Isabella Thorburn. From around 1850 onwards her family had lived approximately ten doors along the road from the Dougals in Dechmont, so presumably had known each other from childhood. (SEE ONLINE JOHNSTON FAMILY HISTORY).

On 27th December 1867, four weeks before her marriage to John Dougal, Isabella Johnston gave birth to a daughter, Isabella. The name of the father is not given on the birth certificate, so it is not known if John Dougal was the father, but it would seem likely.

Two years later John's father, James Dougal died on 4 November 1869 in Dechmont, aged 66 according to his death certificate. He was identified as a Spirit Merchant married to Helen Young, and the son of James Dougal, a Dairyman, and Margaret Grant, both listed as deceased. The death of "General Debilty - 5 Weeks" was registered by James his son, and the maiden name that is given for his father's mother of "Grant" obviously does not agree with the assertion that James was the son of James Dougal and Margaret CANT but all the evidence confirms that "Grant" was an error either by his son or possibly a mishearing of the mothers surname by the registrar.

This was the start of what must have been a sad and trying six months for John Dougal and Isabella Johnston as, only three weeks later, on 28th December 1869, their (?) daughter Isabella died of Scarlet Fever, one day after her second birthday. (On her death certificate her father's name is given as John Dougal).

Then three months later, on 10th April 1870, their newly born daughter, Helen, died only nineteen days after her birth on 22nd March in Dechmont. Finally John's mother, Helen Dougal, nee Young, died on 30 May 1870, in Dechmont aged 70 according to her death certificate. She was identified as the widow of James Dougal, an Inn Keeper, and the daughter of James Young, a Gardener, and Agnes Young, maiden surname Black, both listed as deceased. No record of the birth of a Helen Young to a James Young and Agnes Black in has been found. (For further thoughts on the parentage of Helen Young - Click here.) The informant was James Dougal, residing at 3 Bowling Green Street, Leith.

For the census of 3rd April 1871 John Dougal and Isabella Johnston were still residing in Dechmont, (close by the home of Isabella's parents, Robert Johnston and Isabella Thorburn), and were running a grocery business supplemented by John Dougal's labouring.

1871 Census (3rd April)  Livingston (669)  Book 3. Page 6.

Dechmont Village, near Livingston.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
John Dougal Head 28 Labourer & Grocer Livingston, Linlithgowshire
Isabella Dougal Wife 26 Grocer's wife Livingston, Linlithgowshire

At the time of this census Isabella must have been eight months or so pregnant, for, on 5th May 1871, she gave birth to a son, James. Over the next ten years a further three children were born, Mary on 24th July 1873, Margaret on 7th January 1876, and Jean on 20th April 1879, all in Dechmont. On the birth certificate of Jean, in 1879, the occupation of her father, John Dougal, has changed from labourer to forester. This is confirmed by the census return for 4th April 1881 for the Dougal family, still resident in Dechmont.

1881 Census (4th April)  Livingston (669)  Book 3. Page 8.

Dechmont Village, Livingston.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
John Dougal Head 37 Forester Livingston, Linlithgowshire
Isabella Dougal Wife 34    Uphall, Linlithgowshire
James Dougal Son 9 Scholar Livingston, Linlithgowshire
Mary Dougal Daughter 7 Scholar Livingston, Linlithgowshire
Margaret Dougal Daughter 5 Scholar Livingston, Linlithgowshire
Jane Dougal Daughter 2 Scholar Livingston, Linlithgowshire

Ten months after this census, on 17th February 1882, Isabella Johnston Dougal, the next generation in our family history, was born in Dechmont, to John Dougal and Isabella Johnston. Her birth certificate records her father's occupation as "general merchant", so it seems likely that the grocery business had continued to run during John Dougal's period as a forester.  A further daughter, Elizabeth, was born on 19th September 1884, in Dechmont, with this time John Dougal's occupation being given on the birth certificate as "dairyman". (For further details of the children of John Dougal and Isabella Johnston - Click here.)

On 6th December 1887, John Dougal and Isabella Johnston's only son, James, an apprentice joiner, died of "tubercular peritonitis", aged 16. He died in Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary, although his usual residence was given on his death certificate as Dechmont. (With his father's occupation still listed as dairyman).

Sometime after this date and before the census of April 1891, the family left Dechmont and moved to Leith. Whether the fact that there were already Dougals living in Leith, as recorded on John Dougal's mother's death certificate, had any bearing on this move is not known, but it is at 3 Dalmeny Street, Leith, that we find the family for the census of 1891, with John Dougal working as a saw-mill labourer.

1891 Census (    April)  Leith (692-2)  Book 18. Page 1.

3 Dalmeny Street, Leith.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
John Dougal Head 44 Saw-mill labourer Livingston, Linlithgowshire
Isabella Dougal Wife 42    Uphall, Linlithgowshire
Jane Dougal Daughter 11 Scholar Livingston, Linlithgowshire
Isabel Dougal Daughter 8 Scholar Livingston, Linlithgowshire
Elizabeth Dougal Daughter 5 Scholar Livingston, Linlithgowshire

Sadly the next record we have is of the death of John Dougal on 17th March 1892, aged 45 according to his death certificate. His death, (due to a cerebral haemorrhage), must have been sudden, as a pre-cognition, (a sort of inquest), was held, the result of which was confirmation of "death by natural causes". His occupation seems to have changed again, being recorded as "lorryman", but what this entailed is not known. The death occurred at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, but his usual residence was recorded as still being 3 Dalmeny Street, Leith. John Dougal's estate was valued at a total of 127-10-11. Interestingly included in the inventory are the rents due - "John Drysdale for Cottage, offices and ground at Dechmont. For half year from Martinmas 1891 to Whitsunday 1892 = 7-0-0" and "Mrs Robertson for cottage and garden at Dechmont For half year from Martinmas 1891 to Whitsunday 1892 = 2-5-0." - suggesting John owned property back in Dechmont. (Possibly the original family property?). (For a transcript of this inventory - See Click here.)

For the census of 1901 the widowed Isabella was living at 17 Royal Crescent in Edinburgh with her occupation listed as "Letting Appartments", with her three elder daughters listed as "Drapers Assistants.  As to the occupation of Bella (Isabella) nothing is listed.

1901 Census (7th April)  Edinburgh(685/2)  Book 102  Page 11.

17 Royal Crescent, Edinburgh.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Isabella Dougal Head 52 Letting Appartments Dechmont, Linlithgowshire
Mary Dougal Daughter 27 Drapers Assistant Dechmont, Linlithgowshire
Margaret Dougal Daughter 25 Drapers Assistant Dechmont, Linlithgowshire
Jean Dougal Daughter 21 Drapers Assistant Dechmont, Linlithgowshire
Bella Dougal Daughter 18   Dechmont, Linlithgowshire
Lily Dougal Daughter 15 Scholar Dechmont, Linlithgowshire
David Stiven Boarder 20 Gas Engineer Student St. Thomas, W. Indies

Five years after this census on 15th October 1906 Isabel Dougal, Isabella's second youngest daughter was married to John Alexander Findlay, a shipping agent, , in Edinburgh, at Greenside parish church.  John Alexander Findlay was born on 12th February 1861, at Clachnaharry, Inverness, the son of Thomas Findlay, a foreman of works on the Caledonian Canal, and Elizabeth MacDonald, (both deceased by 1906). (SEE ONLINE FINDLAY & MacDONALD FAMILY HISTORIES).

Isobel Dougal and John Alexander Findlay's first child, Isabel Edythe Johnston was born on 27th January 1907, at the new family home, 4 Anwoth Villas, Corstorphine, Edinburgh.

Sadly, four months after the birth of this grandchild, on 5th June 1907, Isabella Johnston, Isabel's mother, now aged 63, died. At the time of her death she was resident at 373 Albert Road, Langside, Glasgow, probably with her daughter Jean. A James Johnston, electrical engineer, is also listed at this address in the electoral rolls form 1904 to 1910, and it is possible that this was Isabella Johnston's younger brother (See Johnston Family History - 1861 & 1871 censuses) with whom she had gone to live some time after the death of her husband.

Isabella Johnston was laid to rest in the graveyard of Livingston village church, alongside her husband, John Dougal, and the three children that had predeceased her, Isabella (the first), Helen, and James.

Inscription on Dougal headstone in Livingston parish church graveyard

DIED 28th DECr 1869 AGED 2 YEARS
BORN 1843 DIED 21st MARCH 1892
BORN 1844 DIED 5th JUNE 1907

Over the next eight years Isabel Dougal and John Alexander Findlay's family grew to four, with the additions of James Alexander born on 11th March 1909, Alfred George born on 20th June 1911, and finally Beatrice Bernice born on 24th January 1915, all born at 4 Anwoth Villas, Corstorphine.