Blogovus: Genealogy of an Extended Family: Patriarch and Matriarch of the Modern Tribe


Family Crest from South Ayrshire, Scotland


David Thom Girvan


Josephine Adelela Delevante Girvan


By Gloria Girvan Akin (1922-2003)

David Girvan

David Thom Girvan: Click photo to magnify


Josephine Adele Delevante Girvan: Click photo to magnify


Eager, excited, thrilled and with great anticipation, we as a family accept the opportunity to tell the story of the lives of our beloved Papa and Mama, David and Josephine. Do we remember? Yes indeed we do remember! Now as we recall the years we spent with them, memories sweep over us.

Those memories, so loving, vibrant, poignant, humourous, powerful, endearing, modelling and strong are etched and stamped on the hearts and minds of their children and some grandchildren. Amazingly too, our friends, who delighted in being the recipients of their understanding and wisdom, have their own private and wonderful recollections of their own “Father and Mother G.”

We never tired of the many stories our parents told us and despite the passing of time, these remain as fresh as when they were first told.

Screen shot 2015-02-06 at 9.48.48 AM

Josephine and David Girvan, 1947 Kingston, Jamaica

Though sadly we do not have firsthand the interesting early life experiences of Papa and Mama’s first three children, Thelma, Gaston and Thom, we are blessed that their fourth child, Edna and our cousin, Marie Saunders-Leon, Papa’s niece, have shared some recollections of that time. In Psalms 90, verse 9, (King James Ed.) a significant truth is expressed. “We spend (live) our lives as a tale that is told.” It is sobering for us to realize that we too are daily writing our own life story.We trust that as many of us recall our memories of Papa and Mama, the intricate pattern of their lives so beautifully woven by them will show their “tale as it is told.”

They were very well matched. Both highly intelligent, well educated, independent individuals, yet they achieved a completeness in their love and respect for each other, with a unity of purpose that enabled them to face together the many ups and downs, the good and and hard times, the sorrows and joys of life.

How did they accomplish this? There is no doubt that it was because they shared the same foundational base. Their families knew each other. They had strong Christian values, standard and morals, a joined sense of integrity, honesty, honour, a remarkable concern for people no matter their stratum in life; the fact that they always found some good in everyone; their community service particularly expressed in helping the underprivileged; their uncanny ability in building self-esteem, confidence and vision in developing their potential; their enjoyment in hospitality; their generous and gracious courtesies; their desire to seek peace instead of strife; their art of diplomacy. Above all they placed an importance in love for their family and for the extended family.

In many ways they were years ahead of their times in outlook, relationships and philosophy of life.They were born and lived in another era with another way of life yet they were able to adjust to what we now call the “modern age”of the twentieth century: the amazing discoveries in medicine, in science, in transportation, in communication. They lived through two World Wars and the initial stages of the Nuclear Age; saw the radical changes in international and national politics and in social mores. They kept up to date and avidly followed the news and enjoyed discussions on the local, national and international scene.

We recognize, of course, that with all their attributes they were, after all, only human. They made mistakes. They had weaknesses. However their positives far outweighed the negatives.

Through the research of John Thom McKinley Girvan and the narratives from Girvanopedia we have explored the historical past of Papa’s family. It would be desirable to do the same for Mama’s family in future.


Family Gathering circa 1947

Family Gathering circa 1947: Click photo to magnify

Same Gathering close up shot

Same Gathering close up shot: Click photo to magnify

Undifferentiated Mass of Pickney, Cousins and Siblings, late 1946 (Click on Photo)


Post Scriptum: David Thom Girvan’s siblings, (children of John Thomas ‘Jack’ Girvan and Jane Thom) and their families:

  • Elizabeth Girvan b. 1858: married Ernest Radlein: children: Alfred, Thomas David, Rudolph, Mary, William and Annie.
  • Emily b. 1860: died in childhood.
  • Mary (Aunt Meme) b. 1861: did not marry.
  • Martha Ann Girvan b. 1863: married Herbert D’Aguilar: children: Edith Eugenie, Clarissa, Daphne, Herbert.
  • David Thom Girvan (Papa) b. 1868: children: Thelma, Gaston, Mary (died in infancy), Thom, Edna, Beryl, Linnette, John Thom, Gloria.
  • Ann Girvan b. 1869: married Emille Saunders: children: Muriel, Eric, Daisy, Lilla, Marion (Marie), Aubrey, Dottie (died as a baby).


3 thoughts on “Blogovus: Genealogy of an Extended Family: Patriarch and Matriarch of the Modern Tribe

  1. Hello my name is Denise and Martha Ann Girvan was my great grandmother who married
    Herbert Fitz-Albert D’Aguilar, my great grandfather. My grandmother was Eugenie Edith D’Aguilar who married W Duncan. my email

    • Hello Denise,

      I am delighted that you took the time to communicate with me. I am a grandson of David Thom Girvan, brother of Martha Ann. I send below some information which came to me from an uncle and an aunt who were children of David Thom Girvan. The information below comes from documents and from the memories of the children of the generation after Martha Ann in Jamaica. The first 2 paragraphs speak about Jane Thom, Martha Ann’s mother and the third paragraph adds her father, JohnThomas Girvan to the story.

      If you have any more information on Martha Ann’s family to share I would love to include her story on the blog. The information about “when” and “where” and “who” of immigration and children and their lives could make an interesting post to go along with the posts about her parents.(below). I have 1 photo of Martha Ann already on the blog so any photo or article of interest could be added.

      In any case thank you for taking the time to reply.

      Garry Girvan
      Jane’s father was from Scotland, a man whose surname was Thom, who came to Jamaica and married a mixed blood Jamaican. Jane’s father and his family lived in or near the town of Girvan in Scotland. It is possible that the Girvans and the Thoms knew each other in Scotland, but they most certainly did in Jamaica. This would then explain the desire and the encouragement of the First John Girvan to have his son, John Thomas marry Jane Thom.

      Jane’s paternal grandparents seem to be James Thom and his wife, Mary Dunlop. Mary was born in 1766, married at age 21 in 1787, had nine children, eight of whom were still living when she died in 1839 at 73 years of age. From the memorial on her headstone, she was truly loved, appreciated and missed. One of her sons was Jane’s father. She had many cousins in Scotland, among them Archibald, John, Jane, Mary, Samuel and Alfred.

      John and Jane’s children were: Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, David Thom and Ann. Mary their second child, was a source of strength, acting beyond her years as she helped her father bring up the younger brothers and sisters on the death of their mother. Everyone who knew the Girvan sisters was impressed with their integrity, strength of character and their caring for others


    • Hello to the person researching D’Aguilars in the parish of Clarendon, Jamaica. I recently consulted a website called and found many references to D’Aguilars in the area around Chapelton in the parish of Clarendon. Jamaica in the 1920s and 1930s. I only subscribed for 1 week because the website charges close to $10 per week and if you overstay the week they tend to assume that you are theirs for ever! As I recall there were many references to H. D’Aguilar. Since Martha Ann is part of our family line it stuck in my mind that the D’Aguilars were part of the social base of the Girvan lineage and that the area around Chapelton was the base of operation in the 1920s and 1930s. I was boen in that area of Jamaica in 1939, hence my interest in the place and the era.
      Cheers, Garry Girvan Here are 2 of the references to H. D’Aguilar form the post: The text is difficult to decipher but if you click on the article called Jazz concert at Chapelton, there will be a couple of mentions of Herbert who performed as did my father. Best of the season to the family who shared a part of the world with my father and my cousin Martha Ann in the early twentieth century.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s