My father used to talk about an Uncle Brash and I assumed that he was referring to a relative he knew as a child but after some research have concluded that he must have meant William Brash who was born in 1841 and died in 1915, two years before my father was born. William was the last of this branch of the Brash family in the UK and he appears to have a higher social status than the Smiths. He was employed as a clerk in an office and in his will he left items which a gentleman might possess: a gold Albert and Seal, watches, and a silver headed cane. It also appears that the vague connection the family had with Jamaica is through his grandmother Sarah Affleck.

The story begins with his grandfather also called William.


William Brash

He was a seaman who with Janet Herdman, the daughter of John Herdman a sailor of Kirkcaldy, Fife, gave up their names for marriage on 12 April 1804 at Canongate, Edinburgh.

It appears that the Kirkcaldy baptism register was originally filled in leaving a gap at the bottom of each page so that late baptisms could be recorded on the correct page for the child's birth date. The entry for David is at the bottom of the page for the correct year of his birth but it just gives his date of birth, his parents' names and states that he was baptised. As he was born before his parents' marriage this is possibly a record of an adoption by one parent, a statement of fact, naming the legal parents, not a record of his actual baptism. The next three children were all baptised at the same time.

By 1809 William was a ship owner and described as a merchant from 1811. The four eldest children were all baptised at the same time.

Children all baptised in Kirkcaldy:-

  1. David Brash born 23 September 1802
  2. Andrew Brash born 25 January 1805

    More information about Andrew's life is a little further down this page

  3. William Brash born 25 December 1806
  4. Catherine Brash born 10 July 1809
  5. John Brash born 10 July 1811

    Baptised 28 July 1811 witnesses Archibald Simpson Smith and William Michie Taylor

  6. Isabel Brash born 24 October 1813

    Baptised 25 November 1812, witnesses Archibald Simpson Smith and Ann Herdman the child's aunt

Andrew Brash 1805 - 1858

He was born on 25 January 1805 and baptised 7 August 1809 witnesses Archibald Simpson Smith and Ann Herman, his aunt.

On 15 June 1841 in the parish of St Cuthbert, Edinburgh, Andrew married Eliza Gray. His occupation was writer (solicitor) and they were both living at 10 East Adam Street, Edinburgh. Eliza was the daughter of Alexander Gray, sometime flesher of Edinburgh, now residing in London and Sarah Affleck.

Eliza died of typhus fever at 21 Heriot Place, Edinburgh and was buried on 13 April 1848 at St Cutherts. Their youngest child died a month later.

Andrew died from a stroke on 3 June 1858 at 2 Darlings Building, Edinburgh. He was buried in the Grange Cemetery.

Children from 1851 census all born Edinburgh:-

  1. Eleanora Brash born 1840

    In 1861 she was a pottery warehouse woman living at 3 Yoolls Place, Duddingston, Portobello with her grandmother Sarah Gray and her brother William.

    On 31 December 1863 at Portobello she married Robert Smith

  2. William Brash born 1841

    'Uncle Brash'. He joined The 77th regiment of Foot in 1860 and in 1861 he was living in Chatham Barracks, Kent. On 3 November 1863 at St Margaret's Rochester, Kent William married Sarah Illsey, they had four children all of whom died in infancy. His wife died in 1869 on the Isle of Wight. In 1871 William was a Sergeant living in Aldershot. By 1880 he was a Chelsea Pensioner and in 1881 he was living with his sister Eleanora's family in the Old Iron Works, Gladsmuir, East Lothian.

    He then settled in Edinburgh and was a clerk in the office of the Accountant of Court, General Register Office when he died on 26 March 1915 at 15 Montgomery Street, Edinburgh the home of his niece Catherine Gaines (Smith). He left a will but only £24 8s half of which was his salary due to him. He also left items which were attributes of a gentlman, a gold albert and chain, a silver headed cane and two watches to various nephews and great nephews.

    Children:-

    • Andrew George David Brash born 1864 Medway died 1866 Medway
    • Alexander John Brash born 1866 Medway died 1867 Alverstoke
    • William Brash born 1867 Alverstoke died 1870 Medway
    • Rebecca Brash born 1869 Isle of Wight died 1870 Medway
  3. Alexander Brash born 1844

    In 1861 he was an apprentice potter living with his sister Eleanora and grandmother, Sarah Gray at 3 Yoolls Place, Portobello.

    Alexander, like his father, went to sea, gaining his second mates certificate in 1870, first mates in 1873 and his masters certificate in 1881. In 1879 he married Mary Reid in Edinburgh. She was born on 13 April 1848 in Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire. He crossed the Atlantic several times and the family emigrated to the USA in 1890. By 1900 they were living in Hudson, New Jersey. In 1919 Mary applied for a US passport and returned to Scotland, dying the following year in Glasgow.

    Child:-

    • Douglas William Brash born 20 June 1883

      baptised 9 September at All Hallows, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, London. Father's occupation is Marine Officer

  4. Andrew Brash born 1845

    Andrew was a seaman when on 18 December 1871 at 138 Constitution Street, South Leith he married his cousin Sarah Gray. She was the daughter of his mother's brother, William Affleck Gray, a doctor, and Mary Hill. I have been unable to discover what happened to Andrew after he married. In 1881 Sarah was boarding in Edinburgh and in 1891 she was a widow, working as a nurse in The Helena Home, Brownlow Road, Reading, Berkshire. Sarah died on 6 January 1919 at Littlehampton, Sussex. She left a will but as the executors were her brother's children it is unlikely that she had any of her own.

  5. Eliza Brash born 1847

    Buried 23 May 1848 St Cutherts


Sarah Affleck

On 7 December 1816 in the parish of St Cuthbert, Edinburgh, Sarah Affleck married Alexander Gray. Her father is given as the late John Afflect of Jamaica. The marriage did not last and in 1827 Sarah initiated a 'process of separation' in which her father is recorded as James Affleck, deceased, carpenter in Green Island, Jamaica.

Sarah and Alexander's two children were baptised at the non-conformist St James Place Relief church in Edinburgh:-

  1. Elizabeth Gray born 12 October 1817

    She married Andrew Brash

  2. William Gray born 22 September 1821

    In 1841 he was a medical student living with his mother in the home of his married sister.

    On 13 February 1844 in Edinburgh he married Mary Hill. In 1851 William is a surgeon living with his family at 17 Bristo Street, Edinburgh

    Children up to 1854:-

    • Agnes Gray baptised 6 December 1844 Edinburgh
    • Sarah Gray baptised 25 May 1848 Edinburgh

      She married her cousin Andrew Brash on 18 December 1871 in Edinburgh

    • Alexander Gray baptised 25 May 1848 Edinburgh
    • William W Gray baptised 13 March 1850 Edinburgh

      Two of his children Beatrice Agnes and Ethel were made executors of their aunt Sarah Brash's will.

    • Mary Cecilia Gray baptised 17 April 1854 Edinburgh