Sorbie was born 26th October 1863 in Stonehouse. She was the eldest of Thomas Sorbie and Jane Robertson's
nine children and the granddaughter of Andrew Sorbie and Jane
Millar; married 14th November 1841. Andrew, born 1814 was the 5th
son of Thomas Sorbie and Janet Thomson, from whom many of today's Sorbies are now descended.
Thomas and Jane moved with their family
from Stonehouse to
Lesmahagow around 1868 and then finally settled in Blantyre in 1880. It was here that Agnes married Robert Downie
on 28th September 1883.
He was a coal miner
had come to Scotland from his native Ireland, although the exact place of origin
is uncertain. Born in 1854, Robert was the son of Thomas Downie
and Elizabeth McAllister.
Agnes and Robert had five children, Jean, Elizabeth, Thomas, Helen and Agnes; all born in Blantyre. Thomas,
the only boy
was born on May 19th 1888 and spent his early life growing up at the family home
of 5, Calder Street. Most of the Victorian housing in this area has been
demolished, but the local school is still used by present day children
Street school in Feb 2001
married Margaret Irvine in Livingstone Church Hall, Blantyre on 14th July 1908.
Margaret was a Domestic Servant from the neighbouring town of Hamilton. They had
four children; two girls and two boys including Francis Irvine Downie in
November 1921 who was born in Broompark Road.
1929 the decision as made to emigrate to North America. Thomas went first,
sailing from Glasgow on the passenger liner, 'S.S. Athenia' which landed in
Quebec, Canada on 27th May. Incidentally, ten years later, this vessel had
the distinction of being the first sunk in World War Two. It was torpedoed by U-boat 'U30'
in the North Atlantic on 3rd September 1939, only hours after war had been
declared. 112 lives were lost out of 1,103 civilians aboard, in what seems to
have been a case of mistaken identity.
Downie and three children followed the following year . They sailed on the ship
'Letitia' that landed in Canada on 8th June 1930. It seems they made straight
for Toronto were Thomas was waiting for them. Their eldest child Isabelle, now
aged 19, remained in Blantyre and married a local man. It appears they later
emigrated with to the U.S.A. and settled in Phoenix, Arizona.
June 1941, Francis married Agnes Sommerville in Toronto which was Agnes'
birthplace. They had two children, Mary Ann and Frank Leslie. Agnes Downie died
in 1989 and Francis in 1996, both in Ontario, Canada.
and Agnes Downie
Downie, who became a salesman, married Diane Lillian Deeth also in Toronto, on 23rd April 1973. They had
three daughters; Nicole, Michelle and Lindsay.
Downie born 1948
married Timothy O'Connor, who himself has Scots/Irish ancestry, on 8th July 1995
in Brampton, Ontario. They have two girls, Emily Nicole and Faith Margaret. Nicole is an active
member of our 'Sorbie e-mail group' and extremely interested in her Downie
lineage. She is in regular contact with Debi Sewell in Maryland U.S.A. who is
also a descendant of the Sorbie/Downie line and is her 3rd Cousin.
Nicole and Family - Pictured in 2003