Alexander Lauder was a blacksmith, as was his father before him, who spent his whole life in Paisley Renfrewshire Scotland. His parents were Robert Lauder and Helen Forsyth and Alexander was baptized on 8 July 1810 in the High Church parish in Paisley. Alexander was the oldest of seven children.
On 29 November 1835 in Paisley Abbey Alexander Lauder married Margaret Brown. It is believed that Margaret was also born in Paisley circa 1814.
In the 1836 Renfrew directory for Paisley Alexander Lauder is listed as copper and tin-plate worker at both 17 High Street and 21 New Smithhills Street. He lived at 91 High Street. In Pigot’s 1837 directory Alexander is listed as a smith at 17 High Street.
Alexander is found in the first three Scottish censuses. In 1841 he is living at 10 Smithhills Street in Paisley. He is 30 years of age, a smith and born in Renfrew. His wife, Mrs. Lauder, is 25 and born in Renfrew. There are two children in the family Robert aged 4 and Margaret aged 1. They are both born in Renfrew.
In 1851 Alexander is 40 years of age and a smith master; he employs four men in his smithy. His wife Margaret is 35 and born in Paisley. The children are Robert age 13 who is already an apprentice smith, Margaret age 10, Elen [Helen] age 8 and Alexander age 5.
The family is living at 6 Cotton Street in the 1861 census. Alexander is 50, a widower, and an engine smith. His new job description is a sign of the changing times and the industrialization of the country. Robert, his son, is 24 and an engine smith. Margaret age 21 and Helen age 19 both are both spooler’s in a mill. Janet McNair Lauder is 10 and a domestic servant. Alexander is 16 and he is a plumber’s apprentice.
Although the census records do not show this, Alexander went through a lot in the years between 1851 and 1861. His wife Margaret was buried on 11 November 1851. She was 37 years of age and died of decline.
Since Alexander was left with a young family that needed caring for he remarried. Alexander married Flora McDonald on 27 December 1853 in Abbey parish in Paisley. Flora died prior to 1861 so he was widowed twice in less than 10 years.
Alexander died on 13 April 1865 in Paisley. He had been ill for six months with Phthisis. His son Robert Lauder was the informant.
Margaret Lauder married John Rankin. Helen Lauder married Robert Neil. Alexander Lauder married Margaret Paton and Janet Lauder, or Jessie as she was known, married George Forsyth. It is believed that Robert Lauder married Margaret Clark.
Paisley was known for the weaving industry and in particular the Paisley shawl but with industrialization many weavers were put out of work. The change of Alexander’s job description from smith to engine smith shows he was keeping up with the times. There is also a long history with thread making and up until the late part of the last century the industry was thriving. Paisley is also an ancient town and with the Abbey was a centre for learning. Paisley is one of the largest towns in the country and the largest town in Renfrewshire. There is also a strong connection with the Royal Stewart family. Its history reaches back past the sixth century.
High Street, Smithhills Street and Cotton Street are near the centre of Paisley and fairly close together so the family did not move far. They stayed close to the White Cart Water which flows through Paisley.
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