The Brave Sherry Family Of Scotland
My eldest brother believed that our Sherry history was part of the fabric of Scotland’s often turbulent and bloodied history.
For reasons only known to himself, he believed we had ancestors who fought with William Wallace at Bannockburn.
Moving forward, our 18th Century relatives were Jacobites who escaped or fell at Culloden.
In 2012 I delivered some bad news to big brother. It was unlikely a Sherry would have taken part in those battles.
Big brother’s version of family history was as authentic as Mel Gibson’s Braveheart.
Before 1832, a chap called Arthur McSherry (ABT 1810 – Before 1856) moved to Glasgow from Ireland.
At the time of writing, I have not been able to 100% confirm that Arthur McSherry appears in surviving Irish Records.
If I can prove a few theories then I will update this post at a later date.
The first piece of recorded information is his marriage to Isabella McFadyen/McFadden (ABT 1815 – EST 1873 ) on 20th January 1832 at St Andrews Cathedral, Clyde Street, Glasgow.
It recorded that Arthur originally came from the parish of Clonfeacle which is a Civil Parish in County Tyrone and County Armagh. The parish has 122 Townlands.
More information on the parish: Clonfeacle Wikipedia
Isabella claimed that she was from County Tyrone. In a future post, I will delve into what I know about Isabella’s life, which raised eyebrows in my family!
The Catholic Parish Register for the marriage does not record names of parents or birth dates. This information wouldn’t be legally required until Statutory Records began in 1855.
Arthur & Isabella’s Children
Looking into the Parish Registers, Arthur and Isabella had at least seven children:
|Patrick||1834 - 1902|
|Helen||1843 - 1869|
There are other Sherry entries in records and Family Trees on Ancestry have recorded them as ancestors. But still, I can’t confidently confirm they were directly related.
Right now, I’m pretty certain that only Patrick and Helen survived childhood.
McSherry To Sherry
After Patrick’s birth, Arthur dropped the ‘Mc’ and the Surname became Sherry. Why?
During Arthur’s lifetime in the 19th Century, Irish Immigrants experienced discrimination in Glasgow, which still reverberates to the present day.
So in a bid to fit in and improve job and social prospects, immigrants surnames altered their surnames This may have well been the reason why the McSherry became Sherry.
However, I wouldn’t rule out the influence of those who recorded information during that time.
For example, Census Information: Many immigrants were illiterate, Enumerators helped them complete the forms.
Couple this with heavy accents, the Enumerator’s best guess could have influenced surnames changing.
Speaking of Censuses…
1841 Scotland Census
Arthur and his family appear in the 1841 Census. His surname documented “Shirra” I will assume that his accent was an influence on the Enumerator.
Arthur was a coal miner living in Rutherglen Loan, which was in the Gorbals area of Glasgow:
|Arthur Sherra||Age 25|
|Isabella Sherra||Age 20|
|Patrick Sherra||Age 7|
|John Sherra||Age 5|
|Thomas Sherra||Age 3|
|Arthur Sherra||Age 6 Months|
|Mary Sherra||Age 40|
|Michael Sherra||Age 40|
|Daniel Sherra||Age 12|
|Margaret Sherra||Age 30|
|Mary Sherra||Age 14|
But who exactly was Mary, Michael, Daniel, Margaret, and young Mary?
They are relatives, but how close? There are some records for them but this McSherry generation is difficult to establish facts.
1851 Scotland Census
Arthur’s final appearance in Scotland’s Census Records was in 1851. He and Isabella and remaining family were lodgers living in Main Street, Dunlop’s Land, Tollcross.
As Cherry is the recorded surname was it the accent that confused the Enumerator?
|George K Steven||Age 21 - Head|
|Christina Steven||Age 19|
|Mary Steven||Age 5 Months|
|Arthur Cherry||Age 40|
|Isabella Cherry||Age 34|
|Patrick Cherry||Age 16|
|Helen Cherry||Age 7|
Arthur and Patrick are Coal Miners.
The Unanswered McSherry Questions
I wonder if I will be able to learn more about Arthur and his life. I regularly go over previous research to see if I can find new angles to find new information.
But Arthur and the McSherry ancestry remain a mystery.. for now.
Who were Arthur McSherry’s parents?
Who exactly were the other Sherry relatives listed in the 1841 Scotland Census?
Did other Sherry children survive?
What happened to Arthur McSherry?
As an unskilled worker with the wrong accent and religious belief in 19th Century Glasgow, life must have been grim for Arthur McSherry.
It’s pure luck that many families descended from Irish Immigrants are still in existence today. Our ancestors had nothing.
They lived in horrific dwellings, had no money and worked in dangerous working environments.
Those 19th Century families bore children who never lived long.
We are the fortunate ones.
Years of Arthur McSherry’s life are currently lost in the thick mist of time.
When Arthur’s son Patrick got married Alice Drummond in November 1856. His marriage recorded Isabella was still alive. Arthur deceased.
I hope one day the thick mist clears. Perhaps you can help clear it?