McNeur Family Home
The Australian branches of the McNeur family

Alice's Heritage - descended from Alexander and Margaret Crawford McNeur

John Crawford McNeur, 6th child of Alexander McNeur and Margaret Crawford was born 19 April 1842 and worked as a ship's carpenter. By the age of 27 he was listed as foreman joiner at the Strathclyde shipyards. When King Edward VII visited the shipyards, john, as a workman, shook hands with the King and was given a cigar - so runs the family story!

On 18 April 1864, he married Sophia Dewar at The Glen near Port Glasgow in the parish of Greenock, home of the bride. According to the 1854 census, Sophia was born in Renfrewshire, the 2nd daughter of David Dewar and Mary Ritchie, and she has a well documented genealogy rooted in Fifeshire. Sophie's mother had died when Sophia was 16 years old and the father didn't seem to care. Sophia, aged 19 years, brought her 6 months old daughter, Mary, to the marriage. Although Mary was born after the wedding, she is listed as their daughter. Mary later married Robert Buchanan and played an important role in the lives of the other children, of whom 5 were born, including Alice's grandfather John.

At some stage between 1877 and 1887, John Crawford McNeur and his wife Sophia moved from Port Glasgow to Greenock. He was remembered as being a gentle, white haired man, fond of walking. He survived a broken hip during his late years and was soon walking around Greenock again. He died at 22 Antigua St, Greenock on 16 March 1930, and was buried at Port Glasgow. He had been a widower for 38 years.

Their 2nd child Alexander was born 1865 and died 1887, presumably without issue. Nothing more known about him.

John McNeur/McNair was born 04 February 1869. He was also a joiner, but he had a fine singing voice, and fancying his chances, went to America to try his luck. He was back by 3 July 1896 to marry Helen Symington at the Western Hall, Greenock. Helen was the orphaned daughter of Robert Symington and Isabel Cooper of West Port, Edinburgh. From the wedding onwards, he used the spelling "McNair".

He was described as a journeyman joiner and worked on ship interiors at Greenock until after the birth of their third child in August 1901 - another John. He then went to Belfast, where, along with thousands of others, he worked at the Harland and Wolfe shipyards, building the ill fated Titanic.

John continued to sing and was a member of the Belfast Male Voice Choir for many years. His wife died in Belfast on 08 February 1936, and John died there on 31 August 1942.

The next generation:
John and Helen had 5 children, and it was the marriage certificate of the eldest, Margaret Crawford McNair (Aunt Etta) showing her birth at Greenock, which put Alice on the trail to Port Glasgow, Inveraray, and all the ancestors along the way.

Presumably the 3 older children married, had children and remained in Belfast.

Alice's father, Alexander Symington McNair was their 4th child, born 23 April 1904 at Belfast, Northern Ireland, during a time of unemployment. After having enlisted in the RAF at 14 years old, he was finally discharged and as soon as the B Special Police unit was formed in 1922, he joined up and stayed with them for the 4 years they functioned. In 1926 he emigrated to Australia under the Big brother movement.

Alexander met Margaret McConnell in Belfast during the 3 months before he sailed, and so sponsored her. She sailed for New South Wales, Australia, the following year. They married on 24 December 1927, 1 week after her ship docked.

Their three children are Alice Ellen, Dorothy Patricia and Peter Alexander. They live(d) in Sydney.

Alice married Geoffrey Collins and had 4 daughters, living in Blaxland NSW.

Alexander had never mentioned that he was of Scots descent , and it took some time for Alice to discover his roots. She spent many years of holidays in Scotland tracing his family, and it was the happy coincidence of seeing Ian McNeur's letter on a researcher's desk that led her to combine all she knew, with what Ian was finding out.

There are currently 7 families living in Australia descended from this branch of the family. 2 still carry the McNair name.

John (Jack) (born 1901) and Etta (born 1897) McNair c. 1915

Jack Crawford McNair (born 1901) + Alexander Symington McNair (born 1904)

Helen Symington (1864 - 1936) and 1 of Etta's daughters.

The McNairs, 1948. Alec, Alice, Meg, Peter, Dorothy. Alice, later Alice Collins, did much of the research for this story.

Margaret Crawford McNeur (Etta), circa 1913

John MCNair (1869 - 1942) + son Alexander (Alec) (1904 - 1964)

John (Jack) McNair (born 1901)

Meg McNair's 100th birthday, April 2003.
With her Grandchildren:
Back Row: Kate McNair, Deirdre Mowat, Jane Leishman, Kelly McNair, Holly Simmonds, Michael Whitty, Vicki Box, Angela Collins.
Front Row: Sam McNair, Meg, Tom McNair

Great grandchildren:
Ian Box, James Leishman, Alexandra Box holding Sophie Leishman, Lucy & Emily Mowat
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