Thinking “out loud” online

Do you ever have the feeling that your more distant branches on the family tree are rather like Swiss cheese, full of holes with tenuous structure? Please bear with me while I think online – I’d be interested in any feedback other genimates can offer.

I’ve been revisiting my McCorkindale (aka McCorquodale and many variants) branches and correspondence with a Canadian cousin. In a lightbulb moment I’ve concluded, tentatively, that I was missing a sibling for my 2xgreat grandfather, James McCorquodale later McCorkindale.

I absolutely love Scottish Records for their broad information especially when one gets to civil registration from 1855. Another virtue is that the woman’s maiden name is retained in the documents (generally). McCorquodale etc is a relatively uncommon name except in their heartlands of Argyll so maiden names can be very helpful. And then there’s the traditional Scottish pattern for the children’s names. However, can you be sure you have the first, or only, marriage for your person?

Let me get down to nuts and bolts, but first let me give you a summary of the cast of this story. Throughout this post the surname McCorquodale can be implied unless otherwise stated.

The cast

I was lucky to have received a copy of my great-grandfather’s (James’s) baptism record from my grandmother. It was also obliging of him to state his birth place, on the census, as Inistrynich near Cladich on Loch Awe. This gave me confidence that Duncan McCorquodale at Cairndow was my correct ancestor.

This enabled me to find his parents Duncan#1 McCorquodale (aka MacQuorquodale etc) and Anne Campbell who married in the parish of Glenorchy and Inishail on 25 April 1791. Son James was born on 14 March 1808 and only today have I deciphered where the register says his parents lived: the Gatehouse near Cladich. Previously I had Drimuirk.

Given we’re in Campbell country my chances of pinpointing the correct parents for Ann are slim to none. Searching the LDS microfilm for the parish of Glenorchy and Inishail, I long ago identified the following children to Duncan #1 and Ann[i].

  Birth Christening Place Parish Married
Hugh 7 Nov 1791 9 Nov 1791 Tervean G&I Ann (Nancy) Bell
Mary 19 Jan 1794 20 Jan 1794 Achnacarron G&I Nicol McIntyre in Glasgow in 1823
Anne* 27 Dec 1798 Illegible G&I Unknown
Sarah** 4 April 1802 4 April 1802 Cladich G&I Unmarried to 1851
Betty 12 Feb 1805 13 Feb 1805 Cladich G&I John McDonald
James 14 Mar 1808 Drimuirk G&I Isabella Morrison

But wait, was Duncan’s marriage to Ann in 1791 his first marriage? And was his father therefore called Hugh?

There is another marriage of a Duncan#1 McCorquodale to Margaret Keith/McKeich and this couple had two children: Dougald b 8 March 1788 christened 20 March 1788 and Sarah b 2 Jan 1790 christened 4 Jan 1790, both in Glenorchy and Inishail.

There are no further children to this couple and for some time I’ve considered the possibility that Margaret died after Sarah’s birth, and that Duncan’s marriage to Ann Campbell was his second. Unfortunately, our research at this time is constrained by the absence of burial registers and I found no indication of mort cloth rentals in the Kirk Session records for Inishail. This ambiguity will probably remain into the future.

I’ve managed to find marriages and/or death records for James’s siblings and there is a track record of longevity in the family.  Duncan#1 is shown as 80 on the 1851 census[ii], making it feasible that the marriage to Margaret could be his. Unfortunately he dies between 1851and the comprehensive certificates of 1855….drat!! However, his children’s death certificates (from Scotland’s People[iii]) all show his occupation as a weaver, even though he listed himself as an ag lab on the census records…possibly seasonal occupations.

Duncan and Ann’s son, James, my ancestor, married Isabella Morrison from Strachur in 1832. The family lived on/near the Ardkinglas estate on Loch Fyne for many years. James and Isabella’s children were:

Name Birth date Christening Place
Catherine 16 Aug 1832 Strachur
Anne 21 April 1834 Strachur
Euphemia 3 July 1836 Kenmuir
Malcolm 15 Sept 1839 Strachur
Duncan #3 31 Oct 1841 Baichyban
Janet (Jessie) 16 Feb 1845 Kilmorich
Isabella 14 Sept 1847 Kilmorich

You’ll notice that Duncan #3 here is the second son, named after his father’s father whereas the first son is named after Isabella’s father, Malcolm Morrison. James’s brother Hugh had also had a son named Duncan #2 who was born on 20 Feb 1832 at Inveraray.

My Canadian cousin sent me two transcribed letters ten years ago. Somehow, at the time I missed the relevance of a key point in the letters. In 1851 Duncan McColl (Duncan #4) writes to his cousin Duncan#2 McCorquodale at Inveraray Castle where the latter worked as a gardener. In his letter Duncan#4 McColl speaks of his own family and their experiences since arriving in Ontario, Canada in 1850. His cousin had asked him about gardens where he lived in Ontario and Duncan#4 McColl refers to Kenmuir (Kenmore) where his family had lived before emigrating. He also tells his cousin that “We all join in sending our kind love to your Father, Mother and Sister not forgetting yourself and our friends at Cladich and Grandfather and all enquiring friends”. The mention of Cladich and grandfather in one sentence rang bells with me and sent me off tracing Duncan McColl’s family. But first…

The cousin written to, Duncan McCorquodale #2, is the son of Hugh (above) and grew up near the McColls and was a similar age to Duncan#4 McColl. Duncan#2 was a gardener. He is found with is another cousin, Malcolm (born Strachur, son of James) working as a gardener with Duncan #2 (born Inveraray) at Kilbride in the parish of Dunoon, Argyll in 1861. Malcolm and Duncan#2 are cousins[iv], which tends to imply that Duncan#4 McColl is also a cousin of Malcolm’s[v], my ancestor James (Malcolm’s brother), and Duncan #3[vi]. The nice thing is that Duncan#2, who received the letters, is the great-grandfather of my Canadian cousin.

1861 Census McCOrquodale Duncan and Malcolm

1861 Census Piece: SCT1861/510 Place: Dunoon & Kilmun -Argyllshire Enumeration District: 3
Civil Parish: Dunoon & Kilmun Ecclesiastical Parish, Village or Island: Dunoon
Folio: 0 Page: 58 Schedule: 318, Address: 12 Kilbride on freecen.org.uk

So, my question became: Is Duncan#4 McColl a cousin through his father or his mother? Allan McColl had married Catherine McCorquodale in 1829 in Inveraray and Glenaray Parish. By the time of the 1841 census, they had four children: Duncan#4 born 1830, Dugald born 1833, Nancy b 1835 and Evan born 1838. Catherine was 35, making her YOB between 1801 and 1806[vii].  The family don’t appear in the 1851 Scottish census and this is clarified by the notation on Canadian census records[viii] which state Duncan#4 McColl arrived in 1850.

1841 freecen McColl

Image from freeCen.org.uk

Allan McColl is the son of Dugald McCall and Mary Cameron so that eliminates the cousinship at paternal first cousin level at least. This in turn adds weight to Catherine McCorquodale being a sister to Hugh and James, and daughter of Duncan#1 and Ann Campbell. The birth years of the other children don’t preclude her being part of this family, but it’s unfortunate that I’ve not found a suitable baptism for her when I trawled the parish registers. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to locate a death for Catherine McCorquodale McColl in Canada…this may be down to my novice experience with Canadian records, or her death may fall in the pre-1869 period when civil registration didn’t apply (experts please feel free to add/correct).

I’ll be writing more about the McColls in another post. However, meanwhile I’d appreciate my genimates’ opinions on the logic behind my argument, thoughts for proving it somehow, and any other feedback. And if you’re confused about all those Duncans and Hughs, you’re not alone…and that’s without getting into the Catherines, Euphemias etc. How I’d love to visit the Duke of Argyll’s archives at Inveraray Castle…one day.

———————————

[i] Parish records of Glenorchy and Innishail, microfilm 1041008, Items 1 – 3

[ii] Piece: SCT1851/512 Place: Glenorchy-Innishail -Argyllshire Enumeration District: 6
Civil Parish: Inishail Ecclesiastical Parish, Village or Island:
Folio: 401 Page: 7 Schedule: 31 Address: Drimuirk on freecen.org.uk

[iii] https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[iv] Verified by Scottish Marriage certificate 1859 644/7 124 of Duncan (#2) McCorquodale and Jane Ann Shaw in Glasgow.

[v] As an aside, Malcolm and his wife would later migrate and raise his family in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire before emigrating to Sydney, Australia. Throughout Malcolm retains the original surname spelling of McCorquodale. I wondered sometimes if this was too big a leap of faith in the connection, however his death certificate in Sydney records his parents correctly as James and Isabella. Not at all coincidentally he had named his home “Cairndow” after the home of his youth.

[vi] Meanwhile, James’s second son, Duncan#3 (confused yet?) migrated from Argyll to Glasgow, typical of the era. Duncan#3 was my great-grandfather. He died in Glasgow but his widow and all but one of his family emigrated to Australia in 1910.

[vii] This census rounded down the ages of adults to the nearest 5 years.

[viii] 1901 Census, Ontario, District 95 Northumberland, Village of Campbellford.

A family word cloud

Inspired by a post by Aillin at Australian Genealogy Journeys I had to give this a go, using Wordle to produce a cloud of my families’ names and places. Haven’t figured out how to deal with double-word places eg Charters Towers but it was fun.

Wordle: A FH cloud2

And another of just my family names:

Wordle: A fh cloud3

And some places from my husband’s families’ places of interest:
Wordle: FH for u

Inishail Kirk Sessions -Scandal & Delinquency

I’ve recently been transcribing the copies of some pages I got on the Inishail Kirk Session records when I was in Scotland late last year. My focus was on trying to dig out a little more on my earliest ancestor in that area, Duncan McCorquodale. I had searched the fencible lists in the Argyll Archives at Lochgilphead without success so decided to switch my focus on whether there was anything in the records regarding his status as a pauper at the time of the 1851 census.

The Kirk Session Records include, inter alia, reports on Delinquency -all the ones I saw were illegitimacies; and Scandal -where there might have been an actual or perceived misbehaviour/breach of church rulings and the Poor’s Funds, which I’ll post on separately.

I was lucky in all these areas. I knew one of his daughters had had two illegitimate children & I found the brief report on one of these pregnancies: all dealt with fairly quickly and without a great deal of fuss, except for the £2 fine payable by the acknowledged father. On the down side it didn’t add much to what I’d already found out in the parish baptismal records.

A Delinquency report on the illegitimate birth of another McCorquodale girl from the northern side of Loch Awe involved various members of my own McCorquodale branch and their families. In the course of this very extensive Kirk Session Report various family connections were mentioned but so were many other residents from both sides of Loch Awe. So even though any given report on illegitimacy might not involve one’s own ancestry, the reports can be a gold-mine of information about other people from the area including their occupations, residences, places of employment. Sometimes people placed the timing of an event in terms of another event eg Mrs Walker late of Annat’s Roup (auction of belongings) or Angus Sinclair’s late at Barcheanvoir’s death, pinpointing years of death for people completely unrelated to the case in point.

The issue of Scandal was also something of a gold mine: the Session focused on a report of inappropriate behaviour by Sarah McCorquodale and a man from across Loch Awe who was visiting at Cladich.

Extract from the Inishail Kirk Session Records CH2/968/1 The National Archives of Scotland

What did I learn?

1. That my 3x great grandfather lived in a “small house” at Drimuirk near Cladich –I had known where he lived from the census but the repeated reference to his small house highlights that it must have been tiny even by the standards of the day.

2. That on the evening under discussion, the McCorquodale family had an Irish pedlar staying with them – having recently seen the surviving footprint of the house, it defies the imagination that three or more adults and one child could live there, let alone have a “visitor” staying there

3. There was a reference to my 3x great grandmother being present at the time, as well as Sarah’s small daughter

4. That my 2 great-grandfather was apparently also present at the Cladich Inn on the night in question

5. That people moved readily back & forward across the Loch for work or socialising, making me feel much more comfortable about the fact that Duncan & Ann’s first children were born on the north side & the last few on the southside. The Kirk Session ultimately exonerated Sarah McCorquodale and the man in question of wrong doing but advised them to be more circumspect in their behaviour in future.

About this point in my reading I thought of how my Scottish McCorkindale grandmother had a habit of watching the activities in the street from behind her curtains –shades of her family’s history in the Highlands perhaps?

These documents are only available at The National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh and are reference CH2/968/1.