As mentioned in a number of earlier posts, George Robb, the brother of my 3 x great grandfather Charles Edward Stuart Robb, married Penelope Thomson in Glasgow in 1805. The record describes George as a merchant and the ceremony was conducted by another brother, Rev. William Robb.

I’m interested in George because his story may throw some light on the missing years in the life of Charles Robb, who married Margaret Ricketts Monteith in Glasgow three years earlier. It’s likely that the two brothers moved in the same social circles, and there’s even a suggestion of a link between the families that they married into.

Some confusion has been created by the fact that the records contain references to a number of different George Robbs and a number of John Thomsons and Penelope Thomsons. However, thanks to my discovery of the records of two court cases involving family members in July, 1851, I think I’ve begun to unravel some of the connections. The muddle is partly due to the fact that some of those involved married more than once, while others married cousins, and there seems to have been repeated inter-marrying between Thomsons, Robbs and Youngs.

I’ll return to the court cases on another occasion, and I’m sure I’ll need to correct the following information, but here’s my first attempt at clearing up the confusion:



John Thomson, probably of Hillhead, Glasgow, married at least twice:

By one wife, he had a daughter, Elizabeth Thomson, who was probably unmarried and who died in January,1847.

By another wife, possibly Marion Leitch, he had a son, Henry Thomson, who may have been born in 1785, and who died before 1851.

By either the same or a third wife, he had a daughter, Penelope Thomson, who was born in 1777 and died in December 1847.


Henry Thomson had at least two children:

JOHN THOMSON became a wine merchant, living in Blythewood Town, and married Penelope Young (born 1815), daughter of John Young, Esq. of Meadow Park, in 1832.

John’s and Penelope’s children included another Penelope, born in 1834 (the family was now living in Meadow Park). The witnesses at her baptism were Archibald Grahame Lang and George Robb junior (see below). The couple’s other children included Joan or Joanna Thomson, perhaps born in 1836, and possibly George Thomson, born in 1838.

JANE THOMSON, probably born in 1815, married George Robb in 1831. George is described as a ‘writer’. However, the couple’s details match a record in the 1851 census, which describes George, born in 1806, as a veterinary surgeon. This George Robb may be the son of George Robb and Penelope Thomson (see below) – in which case Jane married her cousin or half-cousin.

The same census records that they had three children: George (1833), Jane (1834) and Penelope (1840). The name of the latter child perhaps makes it likely that this is the ‘right’ George and Jane Robb.


Penelope Thomson married George Robb senior. It is likely that this is my 3 x great unclde, a merchant, born in about 1767 to George Robb and Jean Syme of Auchterless, Aberdeenshire, in which case the marriage took place in 1805. George died before 1830.

George and Penelope Robb had three children:

George Robb who may be the same George Robb who married Jane Thomson – see above – and was probably born in 1806.

Jean Robb who married Archibald Grahame Laing, a merchant, in 1830 (see above).

Elizabeth Robb who married John Burns, a merchant, in 1836. They had a daughter Penelope Burns, who emigrated to America.

On the death of her husband George, Penelope Robb formerly Thomson married again, to someone with the surname of Young. Possibly his name was John, as this was the name given to their first son, but his relationship with the John Young whose daughter married Penelope Robb’s nephew John is unknown.

However, a clue may be offered by the 1841 census, which shows Penelope Young, 64, living with her niece Penelope Thomson, 25, and her children Joan,5, and George, 3, at Regent’s Terrace, Glasgow (George Robb and his wife Jane were living in neighbouring Hope Street). Both Penelopes are described as ladies of independent means, and it is almost certain that both were widows by this stage: the younger Penelope (formerly Young) the widow of John Thomson junior, the older Penelope (formerly Robb, formerly Thomson), the widow of both George Robb and (John) Young.

Penelope had three children by (John) Young: John, who predeceased her; Penelope, who married William Meikleham; and Janet, who also died before 1851 but whose married name was Walton and who had two daughters, Mary and Jackson Walton.