Elizabeth DOWNIE (Pettigrew)

Born:- 1774, Arran, Bute Died:- ?

Child of: Daniel and Flora DOWNIE

Marriage: John and Elizabeth PETTIGREW

Biographical notes

The information about Elizabeth Downie (or Dounie) is derived from several sources. Her marriage to John Pettigrew is recorded in the Newton on Ayr parish register. However the spelling in the register is John Petticrew and Elizabeth Dounie. Subsequent birth entries in the Newton on Ayr registers perpetuate this spelling. Hence for Flora (1796), the parents are given as John Petticrew Elizabeth Dounie. For Alexander (1797) the parents are John Petticrue and Elizabeth Dounie.

For all other eight children born after 1797 the Parish Register is that of St. Quivox and the father's name is spelt consistently as John Pettigrew whilst there is some variation of the mother's name between Elizabeth and Elisabeth Downie. This leaves open the very slight possibility that Elizabeth Dounie and Elizabeth Downie may refer to two different people in the adjacent parishes of Newton on Ayr and St. Quivox. However, this is very doubtful and in all other respects the births follow logically with the couple being married and having their first two children christened in Newton on Ayr, before moving to St Quivox where the rest of their children were christened.

Further evidence from the Census records of 1841 and 1851 show the children Alexander, Elizabeth, James, William and Archibald with their own families all living in Content Street, Wallacetown. Elizabeth Pettigrew (nee Downie) reappears aged 77 in the 1851 Census as the head of the House in in which her son Alexander and his wife are living. This entry is of crucial importance as it is the only citation where Elizabeth's birthplace is given as Arran, Bute. Her age is given as 77 which is consistent with the other evidence from the Parish Registers. She is living with her son Alexander (aged 54, b. 1797), his wife Mary and their son Alexander (described as Elizabeth's grandson). There are two other grandchildren, Robert Park (18), and Alexander Park (18), and these are the sons of Elizabeth's daughter, Elizabeth Pettigrew who was born in 1810 and who had four children by James Chalmers Park.

This begs the question as to where Elizabeth was recorded in the 1841 Census? Looking at the same household (Alexander and Mary Pettigrew), there is no Elizabeth Pettigrew, but a female with the surname Pettigrew (of recorded age 70) has a first name recorded as Jn (Widow). The most likely interpretation is that the Jn is an abbreviation of John and she is the Widow of John Pettigrew, which has been used by the Census Enumerator instead of her given name Elizabeth. Other evidence supporting this is in the 'Where Born' column which is given as 'Outside Census County (1841)' which correlates with the Arran (Bute) place of birth given for Elizabeth in the 1851 Census.

Tantalisingly, the available parish registers for Arran are very patchy but show that there were several families by the name of Downie living on the Island at Kilmory in the mid 1700's. There is apparently no record for the birth of an Elizabeth Downie at any time.

A search of possible parents includes DANIEL DOWNIE and FLORY MCCURDY, married in Kilmory on the 9th June 1773. On the 25 March 1776, the christening of CHIRSTIAN DOWNIE to parents DONALD DOWNIE and FLORA MCCURDY is recorded and on 16 November 1777 the christening of ANN DOWNIE to DONALD DOWNIE (mother un-named). Anne's parents on the statutory register of her death (in 1856) are given as Daniel Downie and Flora McCurdy. FLORA was the name given to the first child of John and Elizabeth Pettigrew and a subsequent child was named DANIEL (but there are none with the name Donald). This may suggest that DANIEL (or DONALD) DOWNIE and FLORA (FLORY) MCCURDY were Elizabeth Downie's parents. If ELIZABETH was born in 1774 she could have been the first child of DANIEL and FLORA.

Interestingly in Scottish genealogical references to individuals, the names DANIEL and DONALD were frequently used interchangeably for the same individual.

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