The Glassfords

Untitled

The Glassford's are an old family that have many lines and connections with as many stories and "legends" as there are people. The spelling of the family name as well as where its located has changed and reappeared many times. This site's purpose is to :


Origin Story
 
 The following  (story) about the origin of the name Glassford is the one which is best known among my line and comes from a  Genealogical Chart prepared by my 2nd cousin 5 times removed William Glassford, who was a teacher as well as a Scriptor / Genealogist, in 1834. The text is as it appears on the original document.
 

 
Rothsay Castle - Scotland 
"When King Robert Bruce of Scotland was scrambling for the kingdom and fighting his way in the west (circa 1306-1329) he was opposed by Argyle and other Highland Chiefs. At the time alluded to, he had come from Ayrshire, and had accomplished a landing in the island of Bute. His followers were few, and fewer still appeared to join his standard in the island, till GLASS of Ascog with sixteen retainers, and another small Laird with a few more retainers, joined him. By their example many others turned out and gained a battle, or skirmish it might perhaps be called, and in the evening, when Bruce returned to Rothsay Castle, which he took possession of, he was so pleased with the conduct of GLASS and his neighbours, that he caused his "learned clerk" to make out Free, or Crown Charters, in favour of the lands they held, i.e. he granted them the lands Free, for which they formerly paid rent or mail. These Charters are in existence to this day, bearing date from Rothsay Castle. GLASS's family, by this Grant and Royal Favour, became highly respectable, the Laird being now a small Baron. The junior members of the family, however, had to shift for them selves. Three of them came up to Clyde, and with the property they possessed, either rented or bought land as best they could make a bargain. One of them, who is said to be our Progenitor, took a large tract of land not far from the Castle of Erskine, nearly opposite Dunglass, where in those days there was a ford for men and cattle; owing to this circumstance, to the name Glass was added a cognomen "of the Ford" in contradistinction to the other brothers, settled higher up the river. Hence, he was called Glass o'the ford, or Glass o' ford; and when names began to be written it came to be signed Glassieford or Glasso'ford, and latterly, as it is at present, GLASSFORD. 
 
 "Surnames of Scotland  - Their Origin, Meaning and History" by George F. Black identifies " Glass of Ascog in Bute existed as one family locally called Barons from the 15th century till recently [5th printing of the book was in 1979]. In 1506 there is a record of as grant of lands of Langilculcreich in Bute to Alexander Glass."  These records appear to validate Williamís account of the existence of a Glass of Ascog although not the tie to the Glassfords and the dates would appear to extend back to the 14th century not just 15th.

A similar story about the origins of the name is told by another branch of the family and was provided by Ethel Glassford in a1938 letter in which she relates a story told by her husband's grandfather (Ethel's husband's line was included in Williamís original chart so this may be just a passing down of information;


Historical Occurrences of the Glassford Name "Surnames of Scotland"  by George F. Black provides the following information in a section titled "Glassford, Glassford, Glasfurd." In the information, numerous spellings were used, often referring to the same person, but recorded by a different scribe and therefore creating their own spelling based on the pronunciation that was heard. Many of these references predate the story line included by William in 1834 with his genealogy chart and suggest that multiple families were using the name Glassford or its variations including both Gaelic/English spellings prior to 1300. However,  the geographic area referred to overlap that of William and may suggest that the division from the Glass family and the battle referred to by William may have occurred prior to Robert the Bruce taking the Scottish crown in 1306.
 Genealogical Records
One of the most difficult thing in tracing a family  (unless you happen to be a peerage family) is finding all the records you need. The Glassford Family is perhaps luckier than most as we have had members interested in tracking the family for at least almost 200 years. William Glassford of         born        and died       , was not only a teacher but also a scriptor and genealogist. In 1834 William published to the known lines of the family a chart showing the linage of all the Glassford's that he was able to track down and verify. This chart include some    Glassfords some with information on their spouces and their children, in addition it included the story of the family's connection to Robert the Bruce (Robert I of Scotland). Copies of this chart are known to exist throughout Canada and the USA as well as in Australia with expansion of its information related to specific family lines.



Coat of Arms and Crests
The use of Amorial Bearings (Coats of Arms) is governed by the Act of 1672 and it is the Lord Lyon King of Arms in Edinburgh who administers the law. In Scotland, there are no such things as "Family Crest" or "Family Coat of Arms" which anyone can assume, or the whole family can use. Arms, are as personal as a person's name, they are used to define and identify a person. They are a form of individual heritable property, devolving upon one person at a time by succession from the grantee or confirmee, and thus descend like a Peerage.  "Burke's General Armoury" officially documents the Coats of Arms and Crests for England, Scotland , Ireland and Wales,  and in the the 3rd imprinting (1967) it  identifies three (3) Coats of Arms related to the Glassfords.
 
  The one which appears to be the base  is associated with Glassford's from Lanark county and no date is given for its origin although the location fits with the story told by William Glassford for the Progenitor of the family. This Coat of Arms and family has no crest or motto included with  it and is described as: (the shield by itself is the Coat of Arms) 

"AR. A BEND ENGR. BETW. TWO SPUR-ROWELS GU"  

When translated this means: "Silver shield with a red engrailed (scalloped edged) diagonal running from right to left between two red  spur-rowels". 

 
Glassford of Douglastoun Crest
A second Glassford described in Burke's is identified as related to Glassfords from the Douglastoun area and was assigned in 1769. The Coat of Arms is the same as the basic one, however, a crest (this crest is shown on the front of this journal as well as in Figure 5) and motto are associated with this line. The crest includes above the shield a helmet which is described as : 

"Two hands conjoined issuing out of clouds grasping a rod of mercury ensigned on the top with a cap of liberty between two cornucopias, all naturally coloured." 

The Family Motto is: "PRISCA FIDES"  this translates to "Ancient Trust" and can be traced to John Glassford Tobacco Lord. 

 
Glassford Crest Identified by William Glassford Scriptor 
in 1834.
The third Glassford Burke's identifies also includes a twist in the spelling of the name although the spelling is one which  George F. Black's "Surnames of Scotland" references . Burke's indicates that the spelling used was both Glassford as well as Glasfurd. This Coat of Arms was assigned to a Glasfurd living in Borrowstouness, Scotland and was assigned in 1672. This Coat of Arms is described as: 

  "AR A BEND ENGR BETW TWO SPUR ROWELS IN CHIEF GU AND A BUGLE HORN IN THE BASE OF THE SECOND, STRINGED AND GARNISHED SA." 

This translates to : Silver shield with a red engrailed diagonal running from right to left between two red spur-rowels in the upper half and a horn in the lower half." 

The Family Motto is: "MENTE ET MANU" this translates to  "With Heart and Hand". 
It is this Crest (with the bugle removed)  that William Glassford, the Scriptor of 1834 identifies as his although it is not listed in Burke's. The horn modification of the  original and the movement of the rowels to a single area suggest a cadet branch of the original family.  The omission of the horn from Williamís Arms suggest a cadet branch of the Borrowstouness  line. 

 


 

Statistics
The section provides data on NamesAges  and Life Span, Family Sizes of Glassfords that are in my database.
Given names Used by Glassfords. (as of July 1997)

The first and middle names used by the Glassford family vary widely, depending upon the point in history names from which we are looking. In the early history of the family generally a son or daughter was named after the father, mother or grandparents and should a child die in fancy the name was reused. However, as the number of children living past infancy increased the names used became  more extensive.  In addition, the family name of a mother was often used  as a middle name to carry on that family.

The family can be traced in unbroken line back to James Glassford who  was born in 1623 in Erskine Parish Scotland and he was the first of the recorded 35 Glassfords to have the name James. Other  common male names include William (36), John (33), Robert (28), and George (19), Thomas (13) and David (12). The most common female Glassford offspring names of the James (1623) line include Mary (21), Margaret (17), Elizabeth (Eliza) (18), Ann(a)(ie) (16), Jan(e)(et)(ice) (19), Christian (Christine(a)) (7)., and Jean(ie)  (7).

The following chart  lists by order of occurrence names that have been used the most by members of the Glassford Family. Where different spellings have been used they have been grouped together and  shown in (), common contractions or nicknames of a name i.e. Larry for Lawrence, other endings such as Ann (e)(ebelle ) (ie) for Ann, Anne, Anneblle, Annie have been treated similarly. The chart also indicates the earliest record use of the name within the Glassford family. (a full chart contains 110 names used by males and 94 used by females. is available on request)

Most Common Names
 
Name No Earliest Used  Name  No. Earliest Use
William  36  1714 Mary  21 1690
James  35 1623 Jan (e,et,ice)  19 1789
John  33 1712 Eliza, Elizabeth  18  1780
Robert  28  1655 Ann(a,e,ie),Annebelle  16 1795
George  19 1695 Margaret(ta)  17  1690
Thomas  13  1785 Christian, Christina(e) 1790
David  12  1860  Jean(ie)  7 1780
Mathew, Matthew  1755 Agnes  1795
Alexander  9 1790  Linda, Lynn(e), Lynda  1905
Age as a Factor in the Glassford Family Journey
The average age expectancy of an adult Glassford varies depending upon the specific line that you investigate and to be statistically valid requires additional information on the date of death than I currently have on record (of the approximate 1350 individuals I have recorded only 128  or 9% include a death date with  the majority of these being male). However, using the data that is available some interesting analysis can be done.

The current database contains death dates and birth dates (confirmed  and estimated) for 128 individuals both male and female members of the Glassford family with the  oldest Glassford dying at the age of  94 . Spouses of Glassford males have not been included in the analysis and the validity of the female life span is suspect as  not much information is generally available after marriage specifically during the period prior to the 20th century.

The following charts provide greater detail, but current data suggests that a Glassford on the average can expect to live to at least 54 , however if he/she were to pass infancy (live past 10) their life expectancy would become at least 60 and if they made it through their teenage years, they could expect to see at least 65 years.

Life Span
 
 Age at Death   Number 
 All  Female  Male  All  Female  Male
Average Age  52.6  49.9 53.7 128  36   92
Exclude <11 60.1 54.4  62.5  112 33  79
Exclude <20  64.8 61.9 65.9 104 29 75
 
( Additional information on the distribution by era i.e. prior to 1800, 1900, 1950 and 1950+ is available of request)

Family Size
The size of the family varies as much as the ages of the member of the Glassford tree, with 503 children identified in the database (348 from the male or fraternal line and 155 from the female or Glassford maternal line). Of these, 290 were male and 213 female.

The range of recorded size per Glassford family is 0 to 13 from a single spouse and the individual size varies depending on the era reviewed. Table 5 provides some details on the number of families for which children data is available by era and the maximum family size that has been recorded for each era.

Family Size by Era
The following table identifies family information  by era identifies that the largest recorded family is 13 children (this was from two spouses).
 
 
No of Families
 
 
 
Era 
 Glassford Female
Glassford Male
 Total
Max. Family Size
 
<1700
5
7
13
 
1700 - 1799
14
21
35
11
 
1800 - 1899
13
27
40
9
 
1900 - 1949
12
26
28
9
 
1950 > 
7
9
16
7
 
Totals
48
88
136
 
The following table identifies  by era and on a composite basis, that the average number of children per family varies depending if the Glassford family relates to a fraternal or maternal Glassford family and by the era in which the family lived. When all  families with children  are considered the average is  3.7 children per family (this compares to 3.2 when only maternal families are considered and 4.0 when only fraternal families are used). The composition of the  averages is 2.1 male children and 1.6 female children.

The current database only contains 1 instance of an adoption. No data has been located that identifies any occurrences of bastardy.

 Family Size Averages
 
 
 
Average Family Size
 
 
Sons per Family
 
 
Daughters per Family
 
Era
 Glassford Female
Glassford Male 
Totals
Glassford Female Family
Glassford Male Family
Average Sons per Family
Glassford Female Family
Glassford Male Family
Average Daughters per Family
<1700
1.5
5.0
4.0
0.5
3.0
2.3
1.0
1.0
1.7
1700-1799
3.9
6.0
5.1 
1.9 
3.6 
2.9 
2.0 
2.0 
2.2 
1800-1899
 3.2
3.3 
3.3
1.5 
2.2 
2.0 
1.8 
1.8 
1.3 
1900-1949
3.3 
3.3 
3.3 
1.8 
1.9 
1.9 
1.6 
1.6 
1.5 
1950 >
2.3 
2.3 
2.3 
1.4 
1.3 
1.4 
0.9 
0.9 
0.9 
Total All
3.2
4.0
3.7
1.6
2.4
2.1
1.6
1.6
1.6
 



The Parish of Glassford
 
 The "topographical Directory of Scotland" identifies that a Glassford Parish is in the middle ward of the County of Lanark about 2.5 miles northeast of Strathaven and containing the the villages of Westquarter and Chapelton. In the area the population is about 1700. The parish has no historical significance and is quite small being only 8 miles long and of irregular form with a width at one end of 4 miles and at the other 2 miles and in the centre about 0.5 miles. In 1995, the site was visited by a two family member (Bernard Glassford [ Born in Beaverton Ontario 1915 and who attended the University of Glasgow to do post graduate work as a mining engineer] and his brother Arthur born 1921) and during this visit they found found the Glassford Inn and the propietor identified to them them Glassford had not been seen in the area as long as they could remember.



 The Tobacco Lord
Glassford's may be considered to some degree to be the cause or at least a contributor to what is considered today by the civilized world to be an extremely bad habit and health problem.
Right after the ascension of James Stewart to the throne of England, Scottish merchants (who became known as Tobacco Lords) took advantage of their favoured access to the sea and easier passage to the continent and America's to create a very successful business. They became the managers and owners of the Tabacco trade between the American colonies and Europe. One trait that they capitalized on was their willingness to go and deal directly with the colonists unlike their English counterparts who insisted that "trade" was beneath them and insisted on using intermediaries. One of the riches of these was John Glassford (1715 to August 27, 1783). His impact on Scotland and his home city of Glasgow are shown by the existence of a Glassford Street in Glasgow and the existence of the above oil painting  which hangs in the Peoples Place Glasgow Green in Glasgow. With the American Revolution, the lands owned in the 13 Colonies was lost to all who supported the Crown and as a result John and his peers moved to other businesses such as banking. Some relatives who acted for John in the colonies who supported the crown became United Empire Loyalists and moved to Canada to influence the growth other that nation along with others who came directly from Scotland, while those supporting the rebellion stayed behind and   together with their cousins who came later worked to build the United States.

John is known to have had three wives, the last two of which were "highborn" . ( Anne daughter of  Sir John Nisbet of Dean [Henry Glassford  a son from this marriage was the MP (Member of Parliament) for Dumbartonshire 1806-1810], and Lady Margaret MacKenize of Surce daughter of the Earl of Comarty). John had many holdings in Scotland , and the colonies including the West Indies. In Scotland, he purchased extensive lands in Douglaston Dumbartonshire in 1767 and greatly improved the estate by planning and building. although no records of the extent of his West Indies land is currently known the impact of his family is, there are many families of colour who trace their roots to plantatons owned by John and use the name Glassford.

Connecting John to other Glassford's included in William's 1834 geneological chart has not been successful although one line poses an interesting possiblilty. The Tobacco Lords and many other successfull members of the merchant class followed the example of the peerage families in the establishment of "political" marriages, one of the other Tobacco Lord was James Buchanan and one of the Glassford lines show 2 unions with the Buchanans this may be evidence of "political" unions.