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On the trail of Gordon and Brown

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Quite justifiably, the Mitchell Library is a landmark in Glasgow. Even in a city full of grand old buildings it stands out, a baroque structure occupying a whole block and topped by a copper dome. Its interior, with some 1.2 million reference books, is equally impressive.

For two days last week the Mitchell was my base—as it will be for much of the remainder of my time here. In its archives of Scottish family history I’ve been able to find the death certificate of architect George Brown, and the baptismal register of William Gordon Gordon, the two men I’ve come to Glasgow to research. 

I’ve also spent an afternoon reading the will, list of debtors and stock in trade of one William Cuthbert, a Scottish merchant who had lands and stores in San Fernando and died in 1881. There’s much more material available on Scots in Jamaica than Trinidad, so it is instructive to learn about Mr Cuthbert’s holdings, giving me a sense of the island William Gordon Gordon and George Brown lived in.