Blogovus: The First Thomas Girvan (1796-1841)


Family Crest from South Ayrshire, Scotland


Thomas Girvan



 From the Research of John Thom McKinley Girvan (1920-?)

And Gloria Girvan Akin (1922-2003)


  • Over the years we had heard that two Girvan brothers had come to Jamaica. However although we knew for sure that John was one of these, we could not find concrete proof as to the names of the other. On receiving a chart from Inga Margaret (Girvan) Hunter from Australia, we saw three names: John listed first, then Thomas and finally William.
  • A reference in a letter left to John Thom McKinley confirmed what Inga’s chart had stated that:
  • Thomas was two years older than John.
  •  Thomas was an engineer.
  • The brothers arrived in Jamaica in 1825.
  • Thomas settled in St Ann, in 1825.
  • Thomas had 2 children, John and Agnes.
  • On Thomas’ death in 1841, the children, John and Agnes inherited a plantation whose name appears to be Harkistonel at Hazelwood in St Ann.
  • Thomas’ wife apparently being deceased, all proceeds of the estate were willed to his children John and Agnes and to his brother the First John in Clarendon.
  • There is no more information on Thomas’ family.
  • A land title search in the Parish of St Ann may shed some light on John’s children if they remained in Jamaica.
  • If they returned to Scotland to be with family we do not know that part of the story.
  • The three brothers John, Thomas and William were undeniably very close. This closeness is reflected in the names given to their children in each of their families. John , the First named his first son John Thomas; William named his son Thomas, then Thomas’ son named his son William.


Family Crest from South Ayrshire, Scotland

Family Crest from South Ayrshire, Scotland


Post Scriptum 2015: A search on the Jamaica Family Search website for the year 1840 shows Thomas Girvan as owner of 140 acres in the Jamaica Almanac for St Ann Proprietors. A Sarah Girvan  is listed as Matron of Parochial Hospital in the 1865 Almanac for Parochial Officers and again in 1870. Sarah Girvan would appear to be evidence that the First Thomas’ line did continue in the Parish of St. Ann after the death of Thomas in 1841 despite our lack of information about the First Thomas’ line. Here is the link below to the Jamaica Family Search site.


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