Saturday, September 17, 2011

Soga/Burnside family history

Janet Soga m.s. Burnside (1827-1903)
Janet Burnside, wife of Tiyo Soga, was born to Alan Burnside and Isabelle Kirkland on 18 March 1827, Hutchesontown, Glasgow. Scotland. Her father was a weaver, Janet and her sister Margaret were yarn winders, another sister, Anne, was employed at a gingham warehouse and their mother was a dressmaker.

The 1851 Census reveals that the Burnsides were then living in the Saltmarket area of Glasgow. Janet and family were part of the congregation of Hutchesontown Relief Church.

Tiyo Soga was at that time studying at the United Presbyterian Church College in Edinburgh, financially supported by the John Street Church, Glasgow. It seems likely that he and Janet met through church circles.

1857 was a turning point for the couple: they married, Tiyo Soga was ordained in February and in April he and Janet sailed for South Africa on the Lady of the Lake, arriving in Port Elizabeth 3 July 1857.  Soga founded a mission station at Mgwali, remaining there until 1867 when he moved over the Kei to Tutura, where he died.   

Their children were:

WILLIAM ANDERSON SOGA, b. January 5, 1858, South Africa; d. July 15, 1916,
South Africa. [He was 13 years old when his father Tiyo Soga died. Medical missionary; established Miller Mission nr Elliotdale, Transkei; 1885 married Scotswoman Mary Agnes Meikle. Their son Alexander R B Soga followed his father into the medical field, qualifying at Glasgow in 1912; he practised at Elliotdale and subsequently at Idutywa.]

JOHN HENDERSON SOGA, b. February 10, 1860, South Africa; d. March 11, 1941,
Southampton.[Trained for the ministry in Edinburgh, qualified 1893, returned to South Africa, established mission station at Mbonda; married Isabella Brown, daughter of Christina (m.s. McKay) and David Brown. See previous post on this blog.]

ALAN KIRKLAND SOGA, b. November 24, 1861, South Africa; d. 1938, South
Africa. [His forenames a combination of Janet Burnside's parents' names. He studied law, became a magistrate in Transkei; later he became editor of a South African newspaper; married Ellen Mba of the Xhosa. Their son De Villiers Soga became a Presbyterian Minister.]

ISABELLA MCFARLANE SOGA, b. May 10, 1864, Inverkip Renfrew; d. March 16,
1884, South Africa.

JOTELLO FESTIRI SOGA, b. 1865, South Africa; d. December 12, 1906, South
Africa. [Qualified as a veterinary surgeon at Dick College, Edinburgh in 1886 and returned to South Africa; he played an important role in the fight against rinderpest in 1897. Jotello married Catherine Watson Chalmers; they had three daughters: Catherine, Margaret and Doris. For further information on Jotello Soga see]

FRANCES MARIA ANNA SOGA, b. February 10, 1868, South Africa; d. September
20, 1942, South Africa. [Missionary.]

JESSIE MARGARET SOGA, b. February 8, 1870, South Africa; d. February 23,
1954, Glasgow. [The youngest of the children, was only a year old when her father Tiyo Soga died in August 1871.]

There was one other child who was stillborn; Tiyo and Janet Soga had 8 children in total.

Janet died on 1 September 1903 in Glasgow. Although she had limited education, she was an intelligent woman: this is borne out by the fact that after Soga's death the Foreign Mission Committee of the United Presbyterian Church offered her a position as one of their missionaries in the field.


Dr. Seán Damer said...

How do you know that the United Presbyterian Church offered Janet Burnside Soga a post as a missionary in South Africa following the death of her husband?

Mole said...

Source: private family information