Blogovus: Genealogy of an Extended Family: William Girvan (1872-1919)


Family Crest from South Ayrshire, Scotland


William Girvan of the




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

And Gloria Girvan Akin (1922-2003)

And Photos and Report by

Hassan Girvan



 William Girvan (Click photo to magnify)


The Second William was the elder son of the Second Thomas and his wife Mary Ann. His sister was Margaret and his brother Thomas Henderson. They all lived at the Oxford (Pen) property in the Parish of St Thomas, Jamaica. William was only 8 years old when his mother died in 1888.

William, Margaret and Thomas were sent to their aunt Margaret in Maybole, Scotland. We are not sure if his father, Thomas ever saw his children again, Very likely he did. Sadly, however, he died 6 years after Mary Ann.  The children were then orphans at 14, 11 and 10 years of age.

In the Second Thomas’ will, he left the “Old Manse” property in Maybole, given to him by his uncle John, to William plus the sum of 1,000 pounds. It was further stipulated in the will that should William choose to follow the profession of his father, that of engineer, he would have his tools and his books. The will further stated that the inheritance could not be given until the youngest child, Thomas Henderson, was of age.

When Thomas Henderson did reach his majority, he was unable to take charge of his business affairs. William was then charged with administering Thomas Henderson’s part of the inheritance.

We know that Thomas Henderson died in the Philippines although details of his travels after leaving Jamaica are currently unknown. After Thomas Henderson’s death, William gave a part of Thomas’ inheritance, the two properties in the Parish of St. Thomas, Oxford (Pen) and Ireland to his sister Margaret. The remaining portion of the inheritance that the First John had given to his daughter Mary Ann was the property called Tanarchy. William was informed by his aunt Margaret of a letter written by a cousin in Jamaica, a Mrs. D’Aguilar, regarding this particular house and property which was in need of attention and maintenance.  William apparently went to Jamaica and gave this property to David Girvan, the First John Girvan’s grandson and William’s cousin.

By Gloria Girvan Akin


William’s story can now (May 2017) be more accurately reported thanks to one of William’s grandsons, Hassan Girvan who contacted the blog site recently and sent photos as well as a brief report on William, by William’s son, Billy Girvan Jr. Here below is the account by Billy Girvan, grandson of William Girvan about the life of his grandfather after he left Jamaica for Scotland.


A Brief History of William R. Girvan

In the Philippines

By Billy Girvan Jr..

Sometime in the early 1900s, 2 brothers arrived in the Philippines, William R. Girvan and Thomas Henderson Girvan. They settled at Massinluc, Zamboanga, Philippines.

In July 13, 1903 Thomas Henderson Girvan died at the age of 27 and was buried at Massinluc, Zamboanga, Philippines. After the death of his brother Thomas, William returned to Scotland and in 1909 he went back to the Philippines to visit the  remains of his brother and to marry Saiba, a native of Massinluc. In 1910 Cristina, their first child was born. After the birth of Cristina, William returned to Scotland and went later to England. In 1912 he returned to Massinluc. (Contrary to what was published in caribbeanroots, Canada in January 2015, which speculated for lack on information  that William had died in Scotland in 1912). A year after William and his daughter returned to Massinluc, on the 16 of August 1913, Billy, the second child of William and Saiba was born. On February 20, 1919 William died and was buried at Tumaga Old Protestant Cemetery in Zamboanga, Philippines.


William’s Family in the Philippines

Photos and report below by Hassan Girvan,

Great grandson of

William Girvan


Billy Girvan at his father’s headstone, Mindanao, Philippines


Billy and Christina, children of William Girvan of the Philippines with Saiba, their mother


Massinloc, property in Mindanao, Philippines, once owned by William Girvan, now called Arena Blanco, Burial place of Thomas Henderson Girvan



Two medals left by William Girvan of the Philippines


Report from Hassan Girvan on his family

William Girvan had two children, namely Billy and Christina. Billy, my grandfather also had 2 children, namely Billy Jr. and Dorothy. Billy Jr. is my father. I am the youngest of 5. Billy 111, Attimar, Omar and Fauzi are my elder brothers and sister. We are the only Girvans here in the Philippines. My sister (Attimar) was the one who was then exchanging chats with Dr. Norman Girvan before he died in 2014. William was married to a native Filipina and died 1919. (See Billy Girvan Jr.’s account of William’s life in the Philippines above).


5 thoughts on “Blogovus: Genealogy of an Extended Family: William Girvan (1872-1919)

  1. Please come and know about us descendants of the second William Girvan in Philippines. My father Billy Girvan Jr. is the only grandson left by William. My father is very willing to take dna test needed. A native family here in Zamboanga Philippines hides all the information to my father and his sister.They hide and secure 2 Medallions to be given to the legitimate grandson which is a will of William. The two Medallions named is the only proof that is still with those village family. They just let my father take photos but didn’t give him. Sad to say until now that family is financially stable. My father wishes to settle everything before he’s gone.It is too painful for me as a son to see my father and hear from him.The honor of William Girvan which he once wished to regather as well as Thomas Henderson Girvan.

    • Thanks for the invitation but I no longer travel outside of Canada. I am old and not physically well enough to travel. This blog is simply an activity to pass on to the future, what an uncle and an aunt started 50 years ago when some family members started to leave the Caribbean area. We live modestly and have no power, nor wealth enough to change the lives of others. All we can do is inform other families of the existence of descendants of the original 3 brothers from Scotland who came to Jamaica in 1825.

      • Regards sir, deep from my heart the gratitude having you all our family.Wishing you all the best health. Hoping to see you..

    • Hello Catriona. So nice of you to volunteer to “do what you can”. Let me introduce myself. I am Garry Girvan, a 77 year old, retired man who, for some 20 years or so, has been collecting information about 3 brothers who emigrated to Jamaica from the area around South Ayr in 1825. I received information about the lives and times of their descendants. I am one of the many descendants who was born in Jamaica and who has emigrated to other parts of the globe. For some 6 years I have put their stories gathered from an aunt, Gloria Girvan Akin, my adopted mother and an uncle, John Girvan on this blog site. My Uncle John even visited Girvan in the nineteen seventies, checked the registry at Maybole for information and explored the possibility of setting up a business there before he died in the late nineteen seventies, if memory serves
      me. We have a lot of information already, garnered from birth and death registries, church records and a great deal of oral history of the extended families who lived in Jamaica. Stories of these ancestors have been put into categories on this blog site. (See link below) It has been a fascinating project, to say the least. I have encountered along the way, descendants in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and recently the Philippines, apart from the extended family from the Caribbean with whom I am still in touch, from Panama, Trinidad and parts of Canada. I live on Vancouver Island and some years ago I met an Archibald Girvan who was an Indigeneous man who lived close to where I now live. Archie was so proud of his ancestry in South Ayr that he had what would amount to a little shrine of memorabilia about your region!. He gave me a replica of Penkill Castle before he died. The take away from all of this is that the area around your town of Girvan has contributed significantly to the qualitative and quantitative richness of interesting human beings on the planet. Once again, thanks for you interest.

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