Sunday, February 23, 2014

52 Ancestors #8: Immigration Redux

Ancestor Name: Robert Orr Muir Airlie

I almost got seasick following my second cousin twice removed back and forth across the Atlantic. He was born 8 June 1905 at New Aberdeen, Nova Scotia, which was on the eastern tip of Cape Breton Island on Glace Bay. The neighborhood was developed in the late 19th century to house the miners working at the Dominion No. 20 coal mine near West Avenue. His parents lived in Canada for 20 months but had returned to East Whitburn, West Lothian, Scotland soon after his birth.

From Belcher's Province of Nova Scotia map

Not surprisingly, Robert became a coal miner when he was old enough to work. At the age of 24, he made his second trip across the Atlantic aboard the Anchor Line's transatlantic twin-screw steamship Cameronia.

Anchor Line wharf on sailing day

On 3 October 1930 Robert married 19-year-old Annie Lee Muir, his second cousin, at Findleyville, Pennsylvania. Her father had immigrated in 1902 and was working as a miner for Montour Mines at the time of their marriage. About three weeks after their marriage they boarded the Anchor Line's S/S Transylvania in New York. They arrived in Glasgow, Scotland on 27 October 1930 after making stops in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Londonderry, Ireland. This was Robert's third trip across the Atlantic.

Anchor Line Steamship Transyvlania; this is the second Anchor Line ship named Transylvania.
The first sank with loss of life after being torpedoed in 1917

The couple lived in Scotland until 1937. Robert's parents lived at the village of East Whitburn in the parish of Whitburn, West Lothian. Annie's grandparents had lived in the same village. Perhaps they lived there and Robert worked in a mine in the area.

British Ordnance Survey of East Whitburn; the coal mines are just to the north

On 12 November 1937, Annie and Robert boarded the Anchor Line's S/S Caledonia; they arrived in New York 10 days later. This was Robert's fourth trip across the Atlantic. By 1940 they were living in Floyd County, Kentucky, where Robert was a track man at a coal mine. They rented their home and Robert made $570 a month. He had worked for 41 weeks the previous year, which was very good as the Depression was not quite over.

In 1948 the couple made another trip to Scotland, however, this time they traveled by air. They returned to the U.S., leaving Prestwick, Scotland, on Royal Dutch Airlines flight 631 and landed at New York on 12 August. This was Robert's sixth trip across the Atlantic.

By 1958, the couple had moved to Hollywood, Florida, where several of Annie's siblings had settled. Annie's brother, James Lee Muir, owned a construction company, which built several hotels, apartments and churches in the area.

Robert's wife, Annie, died on 5 August 1978 and was buried at Fred Hunter's Memorial Gardens East in Hollywood. The next year on 14 August 1979 Robert married Mary Madeline Kenny. He died on 23 April 1981 and was buried beside his wife.

Fred Hunter's Memorial Gardens

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge.

Robert Orr Muir Airlie was born on 8 Jun 1905 at New Aberdeen, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to Andrew and Martha (Muir) Airlie. He married Annie Lee Muir on 3 October 1930 at Findleyville, Washington, Pennsylvania. They were second cousins. Her parents were Robert and Annie Robertson (Lee) Muir. They had no children. After Annie died, Robert married Mary Madeline Kenny at Broward County, Florida. Robert died on 23 April 1981 at Hollywood, Broward, Florida, and was buried beside his first wife at Fred Hunter's Memorial Gardens East.

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