Dunbartonshire (1677–1725)

Note: To help with the following story, all names in purple are my direct ancestors. Any blue text [inside square brackets] has been inserted by the author to provide additional information, or corrections to the records — that text did not form part of the original documents.

My paternal 3g-grandparents were John Craig and Rachel Hannah (Heny).  John’s ancestors were descended from families in Rutherglen and Hamilton, but Rachel had lineage on her mother’s side that takes us back to families that lived and worked in farms and villages on the eastern side of Loch Lomond, and even earlier to farms in Dunbartonshire (to the south of the loch). Her father was John Hannah, a weaver — his background is essentially unknown, but he was almost certainly Irish Catholic (more about him later). However, we can start Rachel’s family tree with a marriage at Bonhill in 1677:

1677 SCOTLAND O.P.R. MARRIAGES: Bonhill, Dunbartonshire 1Source: ALLAN, John & McALPIN, Kathren; 1677 Scotland O.P.R. Marriages; 493/ 10 305; Bonhill, Dunbartonshire.

                                  June 12 1677
Allan &            John Allan & Kathren NcAlpin

This very simple entry in the Bonhill Parish register is one of only a handful of records we have for our family from the 17th century.  The record is early enough for the female version of  “Mac/Mc” (‘son of’) to be still in use: “Nic” or “Nc” is Gaelic for “daughter of”, and this marriage entry is the only example of its use in our family tree. The ‘McAlpin/MacAlpine’ name is a very old one in Scotland, going back to the 800s when Kenneth MacAlpin was King of the Dál Riadan Gaels and conqueror of the Picts (it’s doubtful, however, that we would be descendants of that royal family!).

Over the next 16 years or so, John and Kathren had at least four children: Janet (1687) and William (1684), both born at the Auchencarroch farm; John (1686) born at Blairvault; and my 8g-grandmother, Margaret, born at Napierstown in 1693:

1693 SCOTLAND O.P.R. BAPTISMS: Bonhill, Dunbartonshire 2Source: ALLAN, Margaret; 1693 Scotland O.P.R. Baptisms; 493/ 10 75; Bonhill, Dunbartonshire.

March 3
Margaret daughter to wright John Allan & Kathren
NcApin in Napierstown was baptised the child’s grand father John
Allan undertaking for the child. Witnesses Donald McAlpin &
Robert Allan.

Napierston Farm c.1950

This record has several interesting pieces of information. Firstly, we find out that John Allan was a “wright”, which in those days meant a ‘skilled woodworker’, and we also find out he had the same name as his father, which gives us another generation. Donald McAlpin and Robert Allan are likely to be Margaret’s uncles, as this was a common practice at baptisms. We are also given the place they now lived: “Napierston”. Like Auchencarroch and Blairvault, Napierston is a farm holding just north of Bonhill proper and within the parish (see the map here). These all lie less than 3 km (1.8 miles) south of Loch Lomond.

Margaret was still living in the Bonhill parish when she married James Cunninghame in 1714:

1714 SCOTLAND O.P.R. BAPTISMS: Bonhill, Dunbatonshire 3Source: CUNNINGHAME, James & ALLAN, Margaret; 1714 Scotland O.P.R. Marriages; 493/ 10 361; Bonhill, Dunbartonshire.

                                                             Febr. 5
Cunninghame         James Cunninghame in the parish of Kil-
          &                   -maronock & Margaret Allan in this
     Allan                  parish gave up their names to be proclaimed
                               in order to marriage. Married.

We know nothing of James Cunninghame, but he and Margaret had at least six children between 1715 and 1725, all of them at Bent Farm, which was about 10 km (6 miles) to the northeast in Kilmaronock parish. Although the parish entries are now almost unreadable, their children were: James (i) (Jan 1715); Janet (Nov 1715); Marie (1717); James (ii) (1719); John (1721; and Christian (1725). Like her mother, Christian (my 7g-grandmother) was the youngest child in the family:

1725 SCOTLAND O.P.R. BAPTISMS: Kilmaronock, Dunbartonshire 4Source: CUNNINGHAME, Christen; 1725 Scotland O.P.R. Baptisms; 497/ 10 82; Kilmaronock, Dunbartonshire.

[Novr. 4]
James Cunninghame & Margaret
Allan had a Lawfull Daughter Baptd
Called Christen.

Parish of Buchanan, Stirlingshire (1725–1800)

When Christian Cunninghame married Archibald [2] McNicol, a blacksmith, in 1752, she moved to his home village of Buchanan in Stirlingshire.  Archibald had been born there in 1725:

1725 SCOTLAND O.P.R. BAPTISMS: Buchanan, Stirlingshire 5Source: McNICOLL, Archibald [2]; 1725 Scotland O.P.R. Baptisms; 474/ 10 154; Buchanan, Stirlingshire.

                                                     March 2 . 1725 Arcd. [1] McNicoll
at Buchanan and Jean Bryce spouses had a son baptized called Archibald.

Kirk of Buchanan. Built in 1764 to replace the older church (the 6th Duke of Montrose is buried here).

I have found a baptismal record in Inveraray, Argyllshire, for 7 Oct 1705 that may be Archibald’s father. It can’t be confirmed, but it gives his grandparents as “John McNichol” and “Janet Tayleor”, though no record of that marriage has been found. I also haven’t been able to find a record of his parent’s marriage, but I assume it is likely to have been in Drymen, Stirlingshire, around 1721, because that’s where Jean Bryce and Archibald [1] McNicol had their first child, Daniel, in 1753.

Archibald [2] was their second child, and like his four younger siblings, he was born at the Kirk of Buchanan (picture right), and his father seems to have worked at the Kirk given the occupations recorded for the various witnesses to these births. As mentioned above, he married in 1752 (exactly 197 years before I was born!):

1725 SCOTLAND O.P.R. MARRIAGES: Buchanan, Stirlingshire 6Source: McNICOL, Archibald [2] & CUNNINGHAM, Christian; 1752 Scotland O.P.R. Marriages; 474/ 20 121; Buchanan, Stirlingshire.

                         Novr. 18th 1752
Archibald [2] McNicol in this parish & Christian
Cunningham in the parish of Kilmaronock
Listed their names to be proclaimed in order to marriage.

The Buchanan Smithy.

Archibald [2] and Christian moved about a bit before settling back at the Kirk of Buchanan. They had at least six children between 1753 and 1765, and their first child, William (1753), was born at Buchanan Smithy (pictured left), 2.5 km (1.5 miles) east of the Kirk; however, their second child,  James (1755), was born 10 km (6 miles) northeast at Borland Farm. The next four children were born back at the Kirk of Buchanan, the first of these being my 6g-granny Jean (1758); then Archibald [3] (1762); Margaret (1763); and Anne (1765).

    Nothing else is known of their lives, and there is no record of McNicol burials at the Kirk. However, when Jean McNicol married in 1775, she introduced another major branch to my paternal lineage: the McFarlane family.


McFARLANE Family of Cashel Farm

As we saw above, Jean McNicol was born in 1758 …

1758 SCOTLAND O.P.R. BAPTISMS: Buchanan, Stirlingshire 7Source: McNICOL, Jean; 1758 Scotland O.P.R. Baptisms; 474/ 10 310; Buchanan, Stirlingshire.

                        Janr. 15th 1758
Archibald [2] McNicol at Buchanan and Christian
Cunningham spouses had a lawfull Daughter
Baptized called Jean. Witnesses Archibald [1] McNicol
& John McKoune in Borland.

… and her future husband was born a few years earlier at Cashel Farm, which lies a bit over 5 km (3 miles) northwest of Buchanan, overlooking the east bank of Loch Lomond:

1753 SCOTLAND O.P.R. BAPTISMS: Buchanan, Stirlingshire 8Source: McFARLANE, Andrew; 1753 Scotland O.P.R. Baptisms; 474/ 10 292; Buchanan, Stirlingshire.

                             Novr. 2d 1753
Robert Mcfarlane in Cashel, Janet Hunter
Spouses had a Lawful Son Baptized called Andrew
witnesses Andrew Mcfarlane in Solochy & Humphrey
Sagen in Blair.

Andrew’s father, however, was working a bit further north along the loch at Blairvockie Farm when he married Janet Hunter in 1733 (this is still 12 years before the Jacobite Rebellion): 

1733 SCOTLAND O.P.R. MARRIAGES: Buchanan, Stirlingshire 9Source: McFARLAN, Robert & HUNTAR, Janet; 1733 Scotland O.P.R. Marriages; 474/ 20 95; Buchanan, Stirlingshire.

Married at Blarvoc- |   Also the sd day Robert Mcfarlan in Blairvockie and Janet
        -kie decemr 3 |   Huntar alias Campbell gave up yr names to be proclaimed in order
                    1733 |   to marriage both parishioners.

Present-day Cashel Farm looking west to Loch Lomond (Luss can just be seen over Inchlonaig).

This couple’s first two children, Anna (1735) and Walter (1736) were born at Blairvockie, and from Anna’s baptismal record we discover that Robert had a brother Andrew working at Craigenturie (on the opposite side of Loch Lomond). Walter’s witnesses include a Malcom Hunter (possibly an uncle), and someone from Half Merk, near Balmaha. The four remaining children were all born at Cashel Farm: Katherine (1739); Malcolm (1741); Janet (1744); and my 6g-grandfather Andrew (see above).

    Nothing else is known of the family until Andrew McFarlane married Jean McNicol in 1775:

1775 SCOTLAND O.P.R. MARRIAGES: Buchanan, Stirlingshire 10Source: McFARLANE, Andrew & McNICOL, Jean; 1775 Scotland O.P.R. Marriages; 474/ 20 184; Buchanan, Stirlingshire.

Decr. 16th 1775
Andrew McFarlane & Jean
McNicol both in this parish gave
up their Names to be proclaimed
in order to marriage. – – | £ | 8s | d

Between 1776 and 1800, Andrew and Jean were to have at least 10 children, all of them born at Cashel Farm: Christian (1766); Duncan (i) (1778); Archibald (1778); Jean (1781); Duncan (ii) (1782); Agnes (1785); James (1787); Janet (1790); Andrew (1793); and Margaret (1800). As you can see, my 5g-granny Christian was, for a change, the first-born child of the family:

# SCOTLAND O.P.R. BAPTISMS: Buchanan, Stirlingshire 11Source: McFARLANE, Christian; 1776 Scotland O.P.R. Births, 474/ 10 350, Buchanan, Stirlingshire.

                                      Decr. 19th 1776
               | Andrew Mcfarlane & Jean McNicol spouses in Cashill
Christen | had a Daughter Baptized called Christian

As with all her younger siblings, there was no information regarding witnesses, so we know nothing more until Christian married in 1794:

1794 SCOTLAND O.P.R. MARRIAGES: Buchanan, Stirlingshire 12Source: FINLAY, David & McFARLANE, Christian; 1794 Scotland O.P.R. Marriages; 474/ 20 217; Buchanan, Stirlingshire.

febr. 22. 1794 David Finlay & Christi-
an Mcfarlane both in this parish gave
up their Names for proclamation in
order to marriage on two Sabbaths

FINDLAY Connections

David [2] Findlay was one of five children born to David [1] Findlay and Ann Stevenson. Their first child, Alexander (1763), was born in Hillhead, Kirkintilloch. The next two were both called Ann (1767 & 1768), so obviously the first one had died, and the name re-used for the third child. Both of these girls were born at Falkirk in east Stirlingshire. By the time our David was born, the family had moved to the parish of Old Kilpatrick in Dunbartonshire:

1770 SCOTLAND O.P.R. BAPTISMS: Old Kilpatrick, Dunbartonshire 13Source: FINDLAY, David; 1770 Scotland O.P.R. Baptisms, 501/ 20 99, Old or West Kilpatrick, Dunbartonshire.

David Son L to David [1] Findlay and Ann Stevenson born
Septr 20 Baptized 23
                                They live at Dunnoter Iron Works

“Dunnoter” should have read “Dalnottar”, and these Iron Works were established in Duntocher in 1769 by Glasgow merchants, the name being taken from an earlier works at Dalnottar in Old Kilpatrick. They made a wide range of agricultural implements and small tools including hammers, chisels, spades and axes, mainly for export to America. David [1] and Ann were still there in 1772 when their last child, John, was born.

Somehow, David [2] had made his way to Buchanan by 1794, because that’s where he was when he married Christian McFarlane (see above). They had four daughters, the first being my 4g-grandmother Catherine Findlay, who was born at Gartincaber, just north of the Milton of Buchanan:

1794 SCOTLAND O.P.R. BAPTISMS: Buchanan, Stirlingshire 14Source: FINLAY, Cathrine; 1794 Scotland O.P.R. Births; 474/ 10 370; Buchanan, Stirlingshire.

October 10th. 1794. David Finlay and Christian
Mcfarlane Spouses in Gartincaber had a la[w]ful
Daughter Baptized Called Cathrine.

The second daughter was Christian (1802), born at the Spittal of Drumakill, just north of Drymen village, while Jean (1805) and Margaret (1807) were born at Dalnair, a few hundred meters south-east of the village. David was obviously working on farms in the district. The story for this family will now follow the daughter Catherine, who lived into the time of Scottish statutory and census records, and whose own daughter connects directly to my Craig ancestors (that story starts here). The only other information we have of David [2] Findlay is that his daughter Christian married Duncan Turner in 1827, and we find from their marriage record that David was already deceased, and had been working as a weaver at Gartness:

1827 SCOTLAND O.P.R. MARRIAGES: Drymen, Stirlingshire 15Source: Findlay, Christian & Turner, Duncan; 1827 Scotland O.P.R. Marriages; 477/ 20 113; Drymen, Stirlingshire.

Duncan Turner Servant at Gartness in the Parish of Killearn
and Christian Findlay daughter of the deceased David [2] Findlay
late weaver at Gartness in this Parish, listed for proclamation
of Banns this 8th of Decr. 1827


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2. Loch Lomond: 1670–1830 — 1 Comment

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