The Ramsay Room is dedicated to my grandfather, Robert Alexander Ramsay (1884-1970), who, along with my grandmother Nina Allshouse Ramsay, cared for me from the time I was born until each of them departed from this life.
My work is also dedicated to my aunt and mentor, Marjorie Ann Ramsay Carson Laing, as well as the other women in my clan. Generally, little has been written about their lives and their impact on their families. Of course, this neglect is not limited to the Scots. Historically speaking, women's roles were basically regarded as marginal or ornamental. With that assertion in mind, and feeling a bit whimsical, I titled this graphic:
Not Just a Highland Fling
In detailing the descendants of William and Janet Thomson Ramsay, 1760-2004, I have taken care to substantiate my information with birth, marriage, death, census and family records. If the reader finds any errors or has additional details, please email me. My 112-page register report encompasses nine generations of the descendants of William and Janet.
Scottish records show that William and Janet were living in Dunfermline in 1785. William was employed as a coal miner at the Berrylaw Colliery which, according to an 1856 map, was located about two miles west of Dunfermline . The birth records of their children show that the family lived variously in Dunfermline , Torryburn and Dalgety. They may have eventually settled in Dalgety parish since their last three children were born there. The parish consisted of six villages, including Fordell which had a large colliery where William may have worked. Like so many other Scottish men, William made his living mining coal, or, "black stanes" as the substance was once known in the British Isles.
It was also coal that lured the Ramsays away from Scotland. William and Janet's grandson, also named William, was the first in our branch of the family to leave. On April 23, 1852, the Ramsays embarked on the first trip to America, sailing from Glasgow, Scotland to New York , USA . In America, William and his sons sought employment in the Pennsylvania coal mines. The family settled in Port Perry, Allegheny County , PA , and later moved to New Brighton , PA. However, these Scots found that America was not what they had hoped it would be. Wages were not much better than those in Scotland, three of their infants died as a result of poor sanitation in their mining camp, and they could not adjust to American customs. Disheartened, the Ramsays returned to Dunfermline in 1855.
Yet eight years later, increased miner's wages during a Pennsylvania coal boom lured my great-great grandfather William and his family back to America in 1863 during the Civil War. At that time, there was a shortage in the American workforce when the need for coal was high. The hope for higher wages was renewed. Consequently, the family sailed from Liverpool , England to Philadelphia in 1863 on the packet ship Tuscarara, captained by Richard M. Dunlevy.
The copy of the manifest was sent to me by my aunt, Marjorie Ramsay Laing. The format in which I received it was a faint black and white Xerox which I then modified and framed for aesthetic purposes. Unlike many ship's lists, and not clearly visible in this rendering, the Tuscarara's manifest contains the names, sex and age of all passengers.
Following this second emigration, William and his young sons Robert, William and Morris all worked together at Hay's coal mine near Six Mile Ferry, Allegheny Co, PA. William later accepted a better position and moved to Larimer, North Huntingdon Twp, Westmoreland Co, PA in August 1864. This time, the men found that their hard work was amply rewarded and they were not confined to the status of common laborers. The sons of William Ramsay became well-paid mining superintendents. In fact, when my great-grandfather Morris Ramsay died, one of his pall bearers was coal baron Henry Clay Frick. Morris Ramsay's nephew, Erskine, became a millionaire.
The Ramsay family's journey and descendants are detailed here through genealogy reports, related files and photographs. This page is an ongoing research project. Please enjoy your visit here and return from time to time to check for additions to this site.
Design and Navigation Notes
The centerpiece in the animation above is the Ramsay Blazon of Arms.
The plaid used in the left border is the Ramsay tartan.
The blue plaid background behind the dancer at the top is a variation of the tartan.
The dagger animation indicates that a section is incomplete.
Click the sword banner divider at the end of each section to return to the top of the page.
With the exception of the historical maps and any logos for the websites of others, I have created all of the graphics on this site. If you find a broken link, please take a moment to let me know by email.
The following links take you to the various sub-sections in the Ramsay Room. A short version of the site map appears at the top of the page.
Genealogy Reports and Articles
Westmoreland County Links
BBR's Other Sites and WebRings
The British Isles
The circled area on my embossed Scotland map above represents the locations where my ancestors were known to have lived: principally, in Dunfermline, Dalgety, Fordell, Crossgates, Auchterderran and Cowdenbeath.
Where the Ramsays settled
Mt. Pleasant area, Westmoreland County, PA, 1867
Atlas of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
Dunfermline, Scotland, 1828
[I cannot find the source of this historical map. If anyone recognizes it, please email me.]
Genealogy Report: The Descendants of William and Janet Thomson Ramsay
My Ramsay genealogy report spans nine generations from 1760 to 2004. It is offered here in two formats. Use Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the 112-page PDF. If you do not have the reader, you can download one for free by clicking on the Adobe link The Rich Text Format document was produced in Microsoft Word. My data is not available in a text-only format or as a GEDCOM. When you are finished with the file, use the back button on your browser to return to this page.
Adobe Reader 6.0
Our Wedding Day
Barbara Beck-Ramsay and Mark J. Silvestri
August 30, 1975
Archbald, PA, USA
Since our wedding almost thirty years ago, we have had six children and three grandchildren. Our photo albums have been filled many times over. In addition to our descendants, I have collected many images of our ancestors as well. In that regard, my aunt, Marjorie Ramsay Laing, has graciously shared with me her family pictures and files. The Ramsay Gallery is being redecorated at the moment. Please check back later for the link.
The Ramsay CyberCemetery is a compilation of headstone photographs presented in the PSP Photo Album format. Visitors who are not familiar with this type of research may think the CyberCemetery concept is morbid; however, headstone hunting is commonplace. These visual records can sometimes provide information that may not exist elsewhere. Be cautious though: even on tombstones, names are misspelled and dates are incorrect.
The headstones documented here are in cemeteries located in Westmoreland County, PA, USA. The album contains contains photos of the markers for, and additional information about, the following individuals: William and Elizabeth Sharp Ramsay; Morris and Sadie Helman Greer Ramsay; Maria Ramsay Angus; William Sharpe and Janet Bonnar Ramsay; George and Jean Ramsay; Robert Alexander Sr. and Nina Allshouse Ramsay; Robert Alexander Ramsay, Jr.; Marion June Graham Ramsay Degitz; and Gretchen Ramsay.
The thumbnails above are images, not buttons. If you let your cursor hover over a stone, you can find out the name of the person whose grave is marked. To see the full-sized, captioned pictures, click on the link below and remember that your browser will be working double-time to load the pages.
This link will take you to the Dalhousie Castle website. BBR's castle history is coming soon.
Update on the castle:
"Guests forced to flee fire-hit hotel (Mon 21 Jun 2004)
BLAZE at a historic luxury hotel forced dozens of wedding-goers to flee wearing
only their bed clothes.
More than 70 guests at the Dalhousie Castle and Spa were sent scrambling for safety after an electrical fire broke out at around 7.40am yesterday.
As smoke filled the building, staff immediately evacuated the complex in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian - which for decades has been a refuge for the rich and famous.
Firefighters were able to confine the blaze to the A-listed hotel's spa area, but much of the converted 13th century castle suffered extensive smoke damage.
It is thought an air conditioning unit may have been to blame. No-one was injured.
Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade officials remained on the scene for more than five hours before giving the all-clear at 1pm.
Sleeping guests were shocked when alarms sounded early yesterday morning. Ron and Hilary Gray, from Perthshire, had attended a wedding on Saturday at the four-star venue.
Mrs Gray said: "All of the lower rooms were filled with smoke. It's such a beautiful building, it would have been terrible if the fire had taken hold."
It is understood a bride-to-be was sent to the County Hotel in Dalkeith to be dressed prior to her wedding yesterday, which proceeded as planned at the site's chapel."
BBR at Dalhousie Castle
Coal Miners Memorial Southwest Mines
Cousin Susie's Page on the Ramsay-Sharp(e) Branch
Susie's Page on Robert Ramsay's Patents
The Morewood Mine Riot
Massacre at Morewood Mines
Mammouth Mine Disaster
How to Have a Traditional Scottish Christmas
Robert Burns Country
Gazetteer for Scotland
Westmoreland County Links
Western Pennsylvania Old Photos
Westmoreland County Genealogy Project Biography
Westmoreland County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project
Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania
Westmoreland County Pennsylvania
issues, public records and on-line record searches of real property, civil,
marriage and estate records
The Westmoreland County Historical Society is an educational organization dedicated to acquiring and managing resources related to the history of Westmoreland County. These resources are then used to encourage a diverse audience to make connections to the past, to develop an understanding of the present, and to provide direction for the future....The Society also administers Historic Hanna's Town, which was the site of the first English Courts west of the Allegheny Mountains.
BBR's Genealogy Pages and
The Ramsay Clan and Related German Families
Genealogy reports, photographs, related files and links for these surnames: Ramsay, from Westmoreland County, PA and Fife, Scotland; Sharp, from Clackmannan, Scotland; Allshouse, Altman, Baughman, Beck, Graham, Greer, Helman, Long, Mathias, Rugh and Wilkins from Westmoreland County , PA and Germany.
The Genealogical Research SiteRing
The Scottish Genealogy SiteRing
The Westmoreland County History & Genealogy WebRing
BBR's Guest Book
BBR's Winter Home Page
You are listening to a shortened version of "Lady Ramsay's Theme" from Duncan Chisholm's Redpoint
Some photographs and content were provided by Marjorie Ramsay Laing and Susie Holderfield.
Unless stated otherwise, all of the text, content and graphics in the Ramsay Room were created by Barbara Beck-Ramsay.
October 25, 2004