Copyright (C) 2020 by Patrick's People all rights reserved Updated 25 January 2020
(About 1790-)
(About 1795-)
McGUNNIGAL, James DNA Linked


Family Links

1. HARKEN, Margaret DNA Linked

McGUNNIGAL, James DNA Linked 1 2

  • Born: 1820, Ireland
  • Marriage (1): HARKEN, Margaret DNA Linked in Ireland
  • Died: 18 into 19 January 1888, during the night, High Rows, Chapelhall, Holytown, Lanarkshire, Scotland 3 4

   Cause of his death was recorded officially as not known.

   Other names for James were McGANIGLE, James,5 McGONAGLE, James,6 7 McGONEGAL, James,8 McGONIGAL, James,9 10 11 McGONIGLE, James 12 13 and McGUNIGAL, James.

  General Notes:

No birth or baptism record for James McGunnigal has been found as yet. Family tradition considers his place of birth to have been County Donegal. A birth record of a child, Catherine whose parents were James McGonigle and Margaret McGonagle formerly Harkin, was registered on 2 August in Malin, Co Donegal, in 1865. The original certificate shows that the child's father made his X mark. The address for the couple at that time was Gortnacool.

In 1865 a man called James Gonninill [sic] was, along with Mary Quigley, a witness at the marriage of Maria McClean and John Donnally in Chapelhall. Maria's father and John's father were both labourers at the local iron works. The surname may be a particularly variant version of McGonigle. If so, and it was this James, then it was a grandson of James who later married a daughter of John Donnally. However, since the wedding was 17 August 1865, and the date (see above) of the registration of his daughter Catherine's birth was 2 August 1865, it perhaps was not this man, although it does not completely rule him out.

In 1869 James' daughter, Mary McGunigal, married at the age of 19 years. Her address was recorded as Bellside Row, and this may have been the family home. Her father, James, was recorded as a labourer at the iron works.

In 1871 the census for Chapelhall, in Holytown district, in the parish of Bothwell, recorded James McGunnigal, his wife and five children, living at an address rendered as 'East of Biggar Road'. All of them were born in Ireland including the youngest, Michael, aged 7 years. All of the children named were unmarried. The dwelling had one windowed room. James was recorded as 50 years old, and he worked as a labourer in an iron work.

James McGonigle's son, Patrick McGonigle, was married to Mary Ann Fox in 1873. In their marriage certificate, James was recorded as being a 'labourer at iron works'.

In January of 1881, James McGonagle's son, Patrick McGonagle, who had been widowed, remarried. James was recorded in his son's marriage certificate as a farm labourer.

In the 1881 census for Holytown District in Bothwell parish, James McGonegal was living with his wife and three sons in Biggar Road, Chapelhall. His occupation was recorded as 'general labourer'. He was aged 60 years and he had been born in Ireland, His wife and three sons, John, James and Michal [sic] were also born there. The family were living in Biggar Road, Chapelhall, near Airdrie.

In 1882, at the marriage of his son, James McGonegal, James senior's occupation was recorded as 'agricultural labourer'

James McGonigal was recorded as a 'general labourer' on his son, James McGonigal's death certificate, dated 19 January 1888. James senior predeceased his son, James, by hours only. He was noted therefore as 'deceased' on his son's death certificate. A sad fact is that the father's and the son's death certificates had consecutive numbers, consecutive numbers but differently spelled surnames. The death record of the father, James McGunnigal, was entered as number nineteen for the year 1888 in Holytown District, Lanarkshire, and that of his son, James McGonigal, was entered as number twenty for the same district in the same year.

In his own death certificate of 1888, James McGunnigal's occupation was noted as having been 'formerly a labourer at iron works'. He was the husband of Margaret Harken. His home was at High Rows, Chapelhall, and his age at death was recorded as 58 years. Both of his parents, whose names are recorded only on this one document, Mary Kelly and Michael McGunnigal, were already deceased.

In 1891 James' daughter, Mary O'Donnell, a widow, remarried. James was recorded in her marriage certificate as 'labourer at Iron Works deceased'.

When his daughter, Mary McGinlay, died in 1919, her father, James McGonigal, was recorded in her death certificate as having been a general labourer.

The death certificate of his son, Patrick McGunnigal, in 1920, recorded James McGunnigal as a farm labourer by occupation. 14 15 16 17 18 19

  Research Notes:


The 1851 census for Bothwell parish, Holytown district, in Lanarkshire, Scotland recorded a 'James McGanigle' living at the home of the Clarke family, as a lodger, at 55 Upper Row, Carnbroe Ironworks. He was unmarried and aged 21 years. He was a coal miner and like everyone else at the address and many in the surrounding area, he had been born in Ireland. Along with him and the four members of the Clarke family, were a cousin of the Clarkes, Pat McNulty, and two other lodgers, Pat Cairns and John Campbell, all in their 20s and unmarried.

There is no more than a probability that this James is the one cited here, but some circumstantial evidence suggests it could be him. An 'Edward Harkins' aged 25 years, further along, was visiting at the home of Denis, aged 32 years, and Sally Campbell, aged 30 years, and their two daughters, Mary, aged 7 years, and Nelly, aged 4 years, all born in Ireland. Harkins was the surname of James' wife Margaret.

Against the probability that this man was the James we are citing is the fact that the man in the census was recorded as still unmarried in 1851, though in group records like this it is not unusual for all the men in the group there to be recorded in similar terms. Nevertheless we would expect our James McG to have been a bit older than 21 years in 1851.


The Old Biggar Road at Chapelhall, instead of turning towards Newhouse, went straight up the hill, and so passed to Cleland and the south. In the vicinity of Newarthill, the road is still officially 'Biggar Road'.


This was owned by the Monkland Company, later the Monkland Iron and Steel Company. A few details about it form an entry in Grace's Guide: British Industrial History:

"Iron Works: Chapelhall
Location: Bothwell
Started: 1825
Closed: 1886
Number of blast furnaces:
1830 1839 1843 1848 1869 1880 1901 1951
2 3 3 3 3 3 - - "

This family appear to have found work in the Iron Works, and later switched to coal mining. 20 21

  Medical Notes:

The death of James McGunnigal occurred between 8.00 pm on Wednesday, 18 January, and 8.30 am on Thursday, 19 January 1888, at his home in High Rows, Chapelhall

James was found dead in bed, and no other details were known. There was no medical attendant.

The informant was the deceased's son, John McGunnigal, who notified the death before the registrar, William Richard, on 19 January 1888, at Holytown, and made his X mark. 15

  Noted events in his life were:

Immigration: from Ireland, About 1865, Scotland. In 1871 the family were included in the census living in Chapelhall. All the children named were recorded as having been born in Ireland, including Michael, whose age then was recorded as 7 years.

James married Margaret HARKEN DNA Linked, daughter of Patrick HARKEN and Sarah? Margaret? HARKEN MS UNKNOWN, in Ireland. (Margaret HARKEN DNA Linked was born in 1830 in Ireland and died 11 March 1904 at 4.00 am in High Rows, Chapelhall, Holytown, Lanarkshire, Scotland 22.). The cause of her death was bronchitis and syncope.

  Marriage Notes:

No marriage record for James McGunnigal and Margaret Harkins has been uncovered so far.


1 Glasgow or Paisley, General Register of Poor: Parish of Bothwell Lanarkshire 1888.


3 GRO Scotland, Holytown district 1888.

4 GRO Scotland, Holytown district.

5 1851 UK census, Bothwell parish 625/11/19/15 Upper Row.

6 GRO Scotland, Marriage certificate RDS 625/2 No 13 Holytown 1881.

7 (, Civil Birth Record.

8 1881 UK census, Holytown District Chapelhall Biggar Road.

9 GRO Scotland, Death certificate Holytown 1904 RDS 625/2 No 46 wife Margaret.

10 GRO Scotland, Deaths Holytown district 1904 RDS 625/2 No 46.

11, Web: Ireland, Census Search Forms 1841, 1851 website:

12 GRO Scotland, Marriage certificate RDS 625/2 No 72 Holytown 1873.

13 Internet Site, Ireland Civil Registration Indexes, 1845-1958.

14 1881 UK census, Holytown district.

15 GRO Scotland, Holytown.

16 GRO Scotland, Death certificate 1920 RDS 652/2/267.

17 GRO Scotland, Marriage register 1869 RDS 625/2 No 28/daughter Mary.

18 GRO Scotland, Marriages Chapelhall Holytown district Bothwell parish 1865.

19 (, Malin District, Innishowen Union, County Donegal Civil Birth Record 1865.

20 varied, <i>A Composite Picture of the Life of a Scottish Burgh</i> (1954 Jackson, son & Co.), page 275.

21 Internet Site,

22 GRO Scotland, Death certificate Holytown 1904 RDS 625/2 No 46.

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