Monday, 6 April 2009

Ayrshire females

On 14th March in this blog I included a photograph of a Memorial Inscription and on 22nd and 25th March I listed the earliest clan members in Ayrshire. I can now add a few details which almost certainly expand our earliest Scottish family by asking whether the female clan members who married local lads had any children. Helen who is named on the gravestone certainly had children. She and David Mitchell married in Kirkmichael and then moved to the next village, Straiton, a separate parish. There they had three children baptised: John on 1st January 1699, Margaret on 6th December 1702 and Isobell on 9th February 1707. They are all recorded there as children of David Mitchell and Helen McIlhagow. On the Kirkmichael gravestone, in addition to Helen there are two John Mitchells, possibly the same person, though possibly uncle and nephew. First a 'John Mitchel' is named as spouse to Agnes McKluray (McIluray?) who is buried in the Kirkyard. Then at the end of the inscription is added 'Iohn Mitcel' with the only death date on the stone, 'Febr 13th 1738 age 37'. This age gives us a birth year of 1701. However, given that often at that time people would be uncertain of their birth year and hence how old they were, this could refer to John the eldest son of David and Helen who was actually born in 1699.

We also know of two earlier and one later marriage of clan females. On 15th December 1655 Agnes McEllhagow married William Baird in Kirkmichael. It is highly likely that two children born to 'William Baird' and baptised at Kirkmichael are theirs, though in this case the mother isn't named in the Registers. On 29th June 1662 we have Katherin Baird and on 6th January 1667 William Baird. Another Ayrshire female, Jennet McElhagow, also of Kirkmichael, married James Lochart there on 26th January 1673. There are three children in the Old Parish Records (OPRs) with James Lockart as father, the first two in Kirkmichael: William on 12th April 1672 and Margaret on 2nd December 1673. The third child was born in Mauchline, a town some 20 miles to the north to where, presumably, they had moved. He was John, on 6th February 1677. Finally we have the marriage of Jennet McIlhagow and Thomas Craig on 26th November 1700. Now we know from the Will of Jennet (or Jonet)'s younger sister Annable that by 1733 she and her husband had no surviving children. However the OPRs do record no fewer than seven children with a father Thomas Craig in Ayrshire between 1702 and 1722. Six are in the parish of Beith, quite a distance north of Kirkmichael, and one in Galston in mid-Ayrshire. We cannot tell whether any of these children were born to 'our' Jennet but there is a possibility that they were. They are Thomas, 8th November 1702; Margaret (of Galston), 31st December 1704; Thomas, 3rd June 1708; John, 27th August 1710; Janet, 26th June 1713; Mary, 6th December 1719 and William, 11th February 1722. The fact that there are two Thomases is likely to mean that the first died in infancy and the fact that by 1733 Thomas and Annable had no surviving children raises the possibility that tragically all had died. The other possibility is of course that there were two or more Thomas Craigs and that Thomas and Annable were in fact childless.

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