Laughland is a very rare last name. We are not sure but some say the name means Land of Lakes in Icelandic. My Dad years ago went to Salt Lake City and found as much as he could about Laughlands from Kilmarnock. He did not have a great deal of luck making all the connections. My dear cousin Barbara Reid in Wallasey has found out more than my Dad was able to. So I am going to concentrate on the Laughlands of Southampton England. William and his wife Margaret McGuigan left Scotland with two or three children in about 1880. They traveled all the way south to Hampshire where he started to establish himself in the tailoring trade. They went on to have 13 children although at least one of them died shortly after birth.
William eventually ran a successful tailoring business and did much business with the British Navy and their officers. He also became involved in politics and became a councilman on the Southampton Town Board. He was an outspoken Scotsman and at formal events would wear his kilt. Maggie became known as the “Belle of Southampton” and was quite a lovely looking woman.
Maggie was born in 1855 and died in 1925. She was suppose to be a cousin to William although we have not found any basis for that relationship. Some of her family that we have found were from Northern Ireland and were involved in training race horses. More research is needed on her side of the family as we know very little really.
James was born in 1855 and died in 1929. Most of his sons were up and out of the house and the business at that time and it was left to his son Norman to run the business. As it turned out he did too many jobs with a promise to pay later and ended up losing the business. I am sure he was never trained in running the place as the others would have been more in charge since he was the youngest son.
Several of his sons went on to successful careers and his grandchildren also did well for themselves. One of the well known grandchildren was Bruce Laughland who was a successful barrister in London and defended clients some of whom were well known, such as Clive Ponting who was tried after being accused of leaking documents on a highly sensitive affair. John Laughland is a professor and writer for the Guardian – he is Director of Studies at the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris. Nick Laughland is a director of TV shows on the BBC and some films. His children are successful as well – son Oliver writes for the Guardian and daughter is an actress. Norman’s gr granddaughter is Alexa Chung the TV presenter and style icon. And I am sure there are others as well.
Some of his descendants live in the US, and Canada although there are many still in England. We actually don’t have a complete family tree on this side so we have much work yet to do to find out where everyone is. Since being young we have known Norman’s children who moved to Canada and are in touch with his grand and gr grandchildren who still live in Ontario. I have known the English side of that family since 1967 and we do see them occasionally.
The final wonderful story about William is about his death. Yes I know that seems weird but truly he was having a heated argument with a Mr. Kimber at a public meeting. In the midst of this argument he fell over and died. Now that all seems very sad I know but years later it turns out that his granddaughter Pat married Fred Kimber the grandson of the man he was having the heated discussion with. One time when I was with them and they were discussing something Pat looked at Fred and said for him to remember that his grandfather had killed her grandfather. It was hilarious to hear the two of them go on about the grandfathers I am sure neither of them really knew.
Pictures – first line – William and his wife Margaret
Second line – William and his sons and a family event with Margaret in the center of the picture and William just behind her.
third line – A Laughland Wedding and Norman and his three sons Ken, Peter and Norman
fourth line – My Grandfather James Vint in court in Liverpool with his head wrapped after being beaten by the police, and his sister Peggy who worked on ships crossing the Atlantic
Fifth Line _ Laughland Crest and a promotion of the scheme William had for Southampton