As we saw in the main article on the McLeay family, we have never been certain as to which one of John & Janet McLeay’s children was a parent to my g-g-grandmother Margaret McLeay. That person (my g-g-g-grandparent) could, technically, have been any one of five siblings: Alexander, Jane, Margaret, Jessie or Helen (see the article “The Missing Link”). However, recent 4th–6th cousin DNA matches via Ancestry.com tends to indicate that Margaret and  Alexander are less likely to be the biological parent of my g-g-grandmother. Jane, Jessie and Helen had always seemed unlikely starters, but we had no specific information that could preclude them. Recent DNA matches, surprisingly, now favour a pre-teen Helen as being the mother of Margaret McLeay and, hopefully, more DNA matching and some additional research may solve this riddle. It’s now time to tell the story of Helen McLeay.


Helen McLeay – our missing link?

Helen McLeay was the seventh of John & Janet McLeay’s nine children, but only the second to be born in the town of Keith, nearly two years after Jessie (baptised Janet) arrived. It is almost certain Helen came into the world at the inn on what is now Reidhaven Square, where, in 1841, her father was recorded as the “Inn Keeper”. There is little doubt that the heady atmosphere of pub life was to influence the lives of many of her siblings, as they grew up in close company with large numbers of itinerant young workers, particularly railway labourers, who lodged at the family inn. In the following records, direct ancestors are marked in purple:

1840 SCOTLAND BIRTHS: Keith, Banffshire 1Source: McLea, Helen; 1840 Scotland O.P.R. Births; 159/ 50 295; Keith, Banffshire.

Keith 24th March 1840
Helen Lawful daughter of John McLea and
Janet Mair in Keith was born 16th inst and bap-
tized this day. Witnesses John Campbell and
Janet Ross both in Keith.

1841 SCOTLAND CENSUS: The Square, Keith, Banffshire 2Source: McLea, Hellen; 1841 Scotland Census; 159/ 2/ 3; Keith, Banffshire.

John McLea; 35; Inn Keeper; born Banffshire
Jannet Meare; 33; born Banffshire
Margaret McLea; 5; born Banffshire
Jannet McLeay; 3; born Banffshire
Hellen McLea; 1; born Banffshire

By 1851, all of John and Janet’s children were born and the family was still living at the Square — and the first of a series of illegitimate children, Elizabeth Duff (daughter of Jane), makes her appearance:

1851 SCOTLAND CENSUS: Square, Keith, Banffshire 3Source: McLea, Helen; 1851 Scotland Census; 159/ 4/ 14; Keith, Banffshire.

John McLea; Head; Mar; 49; Farm Labourer; born Dingwall, Ross-shire
Janet McLea; Wife; Mar; 47; Farm Labourer’s Wife; born Cairnie, Aberdeenshire
Jane McLea; Daur; Unm; 24; Farm Labourer’s Daughter; born Cairnie, Aberdeenshire
Helen McLea; Daur; Unm; 11; Scholar; born Keith, Banffshire
Isabella McLea; Daur; Unm; 7; Scholar; born Keith, Banffshire
Elizabeth Duff; Step Daur; Unm; 5; born Keith, Banffshire
Elizabeth McLea; Daur; Unm; 5; Farm Labr’s Daur; born Keith, Banffshire

While John McLeay is recorded as a “farm labourer” in this census, there is no one else living at The Square in 1851 marked as an ‘inn keeper’, and his daughter Mary marks him as such on her marriage certificate in 1855.4Source: McLeay, Mary & Baillie, George; 1855 Scotland Statutory Marriages; 685/3 125; Castle & Portsburgh, Edinburgh. However, Helen was was just on the verge of becoming pregnant because, if the DNA evidence is correct, her illegitimate daughter, Margaret, was born the following year (see the article “The Missing Link”). The father of Helen’s child is completely unknown, but Helen could only have just turned 12 when the baby was born — very young indeed for motherhood, though possible (the age of consent in Scotland at that time was 12).

1861 SCOTLAND CENSUS: Square, Keith, Banffshire 5Source: McLay, Margaret; 1861 Scotland Census; 159/ 2/ 35 & 36; Keith, Banffshire.

John McLay; Head; Mar; 59; InnKeeper; born Dingwall, Ross-shire
Janet McLay; Wife; Mar; 57; born Huntly, Aberdeenshire
Isabella McLay; Daur; 19; Domestic Servant; born Keith, Banffshire
Margaret McLay; Grand daughter; 9; Scholar; born Botriphnie, Banffshire
Agnes McLay; Grand daughter; 8; Scholar; born Keith, Banffshire
Elizabeth Smith; Grand daughter; 5; born Edinburgh
Plus 2 agricultural workers; Lodgers
Plus 6 railway workers; Lodgers

As can be seen in the 1861 census for the hotel on the Square, Helen’s child Margaret (my second great-grandmother) was recorded as a nine-year-old living with her grandparents at the inn on The Square, but Helen’s whereabouts is completely unknown for this year. Four of her sisters (Anne, Jane, Mary and Margaret) were by then mostly married and living in Edinburgh, and it is possible Helen had moved there to join them leaving her child to be brought up by John and Janet. Helen’s parents had brought up or cared for at least four other of their daughters’ illegitimate children: Elizabeth Duff (now living in Huntly), Janet Alexander (died in 1851), Agnes Duff Watt and Elizabeth Smith — so Margaret’s arrival was certainly not an unusual event at the pub on The Square. To quote from one study:6“Vulnerability among illegitimate children in nineteenth century Scotland”; by Alice Reid and others, 2006.

[Research] during the later nineteenth century has shown that it was a common pattern for unmarried women, in widely differing regions of rural Scotland, to leave their illegitimate infants in the care of their own mothers while they moved elsewhere in search of work … illegitimate infants who could be traced to a census were far less likely than legitimate infants to have been living in the same household as either parent.

From this information, we can imagine a scenario. There is a publican in a small town with a tribe of daughters. Staying in the hotel at various times are a number of men working on the Huntly to Inverness railway, or in the fields thereabouts. No doubt these workers found themselves in a hotbed of promise with so many young females about, and much ale on the table after work. In these circumstances, it is not hard to believe that a young Helen might be beguiled by one of these itinerants, especially given the example set for her by her older sisters. To quote further from the study mentioned above:

The reasons behind the wide differentials in the illegitimacy ratio of the different Scottish regions have been the subject of considerable speculation and discussion. Scottish courtship frequently took place after dark, indoors and in bed. In areas, such as the North-East, where the prevailing agricultural systems led to groups of young people of both sexes employed on farms away from home and with minimal supervision, a good deal of pre-marital conception ensued. With high mobility between jobs and often a shortage of accommodation for married couples, the chances of marriage and legitimisation were small, and high illegitimacy resulted.

However, a 12-year-old bearing a child would have been, undoubtedly, an eyebrow-raising impropriety in nineteenth-century Presbyterian Scotland. Therefore, it might also be easy to imagine that John and Janet sent Helen to a neighbouring parish (Botriphnie?) to deliver the child (who was neither registered nor baptised), and then dispatched their wayward daughter to live with her sisters and work in Edinburgh to avoid scandal at home. There are plenty of examples that fit that script, and may explain why written records for baby Margaret are so scarce.

Whatever the truth of the situation, we next find Helen in 1862, living with her married sister Jane at 26 Simon Square in Edinburgh. Also living at that address was a man from Auchterarder, Peter McLaren — and he married Helen in October of that year — but Helen was already six-months pregnant, so she must have arrived in Edinburgh no later than April of 1862:

1862 SCOTLAND STATUTORY MARRIAGE: St Giles, Edinburgh 7Source: McLeay, Helen & McLaren, Peter; 1862 Scotland Statutory Marriages; 685/ 4 264; Saint Giles, Edinburgh.

married: 22nd October 1862   at: Nº5 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh
After Banns, according to the Forms of the Church of Scotland

Peter McLaren, Mason (Bachelor) age: 27 years   of: 26 Simon Square, Edinburgh
father: William McLaren, Mason
mother:  Mary McLaren M.S. Cunningham

Hellen McLeay, Domestic Servant (Spinster) age: 23 years   of: Same place
fatherJohn McLeay, Innkeeper
mother:  Janet McLeay M.S. Mair

minister: Alexander McLaren, Minister of Buccleuch
witnessesJohn Muir; Janet Drummond

Two views of Simon Square, Edinburgh. This is where Helen McLeay and her married sister Jane were living in 1862 – Helen’s future husband, Peter McLaren, also lived there. Interestingly, this was also where the Scottish essayist, historian and philosopher (and later Burgher minister) Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) lived when he first came to Edinburgh in the early 1800s.

Auchterarder, Perthshire

William, the first born of nine to Helen and Peter, arrived on 27 January 1863 at 26 Simon Square,8Source: McLaren, William; 1863 Scotland Statutory Births; 685/5 136; Newington, Edinburgh. the same address in Edinburgh where her sister Jane lived at with her husband, James Stewart. The couple’s second child, Jessie, was born over three years later, and the address given on her birth certificate was Feus, Auchterarder.9Source: McLauren [McLaren], Jessie; 1865 Scotland Statutory Births; 329/ 64; Auchterarder, Perthshire. The Feus is a continuation of Auchterarder’s High Street and runs northeast to the village of Aberuthven.

Peter McLaren had been born in Auchterarder in 1834,10Source: McLaren, Peter; 1834 Scotland O.P.R. Births; 329/ 40 77; Auchterarder, Perthshire. the seventh child of nine to William McLaren, mason, and Mary Ann Cunningham of County Down, Ireland. At that time, the village was simply a long, stretched-out row of buildings perched high on a hill with enchanting views of the surrounding countryside. This decidedly elongated settlement (2.5 km, or 1.5 miles, end-to-end) is often called ‘The Lang Toun’. The history of Auchterarder goes back to the 11th century when Scottish king Malcolm III built a hunting lodge at the site — and even the infamous Edward I of England stayed at the castle in 1296, during the Wars of Independence. It was also here, in 1559, that Marie de Guise (then Regent) granted the Protestant Lords of Scotland freedom of worship (that, as history relates, was not to last!). When Peter was born, the village had a population a little over 3,000 souls; but when he returned from Edinburgh with his wife and first child around 1864, there were over 4,000  inhabitants recorded — however, these numbers were to decline again by 1881.

In all, from 1863 to 1882, Helen and Peter were to have nine children, eight of them born in the Feus, Auchterarder:

After having an illegitimate child around 1852, Helen McLeay had joined her sisters in Edinburgh by 1862 when she married Peter McLaren; they had their first child in 1863. By 1865, however, this couple had returned to Peter’s hometown of Auchterarder, Perthshire, where they lived the rest of their lives and delivered a further eight children between 1865 and 1882. It is unlikely that Helen ever had any further contact with her illegitimate daughter, Margaret, who was brought up in Keith, Banffshire, by Helen’s parents, John McLeay & Janet Mair.

1871–1901

Once married, Helen and Peter quickly got to work producing a gaggle of children — in fact, at an average of one child every 27 months. Peter, like his father, was a mason, and worked in Auchterarder at that trade for the next 30 or 40 years. The 1871 census recorded their first five children, with the eldest, William, at school:

1871 SCOTLAND CENSUS: Feus, Auchterarder, Perthshire 11Source: McLAREN, Helen; 1871 Scotland Census; 329/ 9/ 14; Auchterarder, Perthshire.

Peter McLaren; Head; Mar; 36; Mason; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Helen McLeay; Wife; Mar; 31; born Keith, Banffshire
William McLaren; Son; 8; Scholar; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Jessie McLaren; Daur; 6; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Peter McLaren; Son; 3; born Auchterarder, Perthshire 🧬
David McLaren; Son; 1; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
John M. McLaren; Son; 1 mo; born Auchterarder, Perthshire

By 1881, Helen had given birth to eight of Peter McLaren’s children, but only six appear in the census record for that year. William, now 18, was working on a farm at North (Nether) Strathy, just 6 km (4 miles) northwest of the family home. Interestingly, this is the same farm that Robyn’s 6g-grandparents, Alexander Littlejohn and Catherine Smitton, were working at 140 years previously, and where three of their sons were born (including 5g-grandfather, Richard [1] Littlejohn, born 1 Jun 1735). Also missing from the record is Helen’s son James, who was born in 1874, but died of a wasting disease (tabes mesenteric) when only just one year old. James was the only child of Helen and Peter’s to die as an infant.

1881 SCOTLAND CENSUS: Feus, Auchterarder, Perthshire 12Source: McLAREN, Helen; 1881 Scotland Census; 329/ 9/ 13; Auchterarder, Perthshire.

Peter McLaren; Head; Mar; 45; Mason; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Helen McLaren; Wife; Mar; 41; born Keith, Banffshire
Jessie McLaren; Daur; 15; Wool Winder; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Peter McLaren; Son; 13; Scholar; born Auchterarder, Perthshire 🧬
David McLaren; Son; 11; Scholar; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
John McLaren; Son; 10; Scholar; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Mary Ann McLaren; Daur; 4; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Alexander McLaren; Son; 2; born Auchterarder, Perthshire

A decade later, we start to see the family home becoming less occupied as the older children move on. There was only one new child (Robert, born 1882 at Feus),13Source: McLaren, Robert; 1883 Scotland Statutory Births; 329/ 6; Auchterarder, Perthshire. but another son, John McLeay McLaren, aged only 14, had succumbed to the dreaded phthisis pulmonalis (tuberculosis) in July 1885.14Source: McLaren, John; 1885 Scotland Statutory Deaths; 329/ 59; Auchterarder, Perthshire. At that time, the family had moved from their long-term address at Feus, and were now living at 16 Ruthven Street, which was closer to the main part of town off High Street.

1891 SCOTLAND CENSUS: Ruthven Wynd, Auchterarder, Perthshire 15Source: McLAREN, Helen; 1891 Scotland Census; 329/ 8/ 7; Auchterarder, Perthshire.

Peter McLaren; Head; Mar; 54; Mason; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Helen McLaren; Wife; Mar; 49; Outdoor Worker; born Keith, Banffshire
David McLaren; Son; 21; Baker (employed); born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Mary Ann McLaren; Daur; 14; Scholar; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Alex McLaren; Son; 12; Scholar; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Robert Carmichael McLaren; Son; 8; Scholar; born Auchterarder, Perthshire

By this time, son William (27) was lodging in Anderston, Glasgow,16Source: McLaren, William; 1881 Scotland Census; ED: 39, p.25/6; Barony, Glasgow. and working as a contractor’s carter. Jessie wasn’t to marry until her late 40s, and the younger Peter not till 1898, but neither were at the family home in 1891; however, all the surviving younger children were living with their parents at Ruthven Wynd. This exact place cannot be found on the old maps, but is likely to be off Ruthven Street. By the 1901 census, Helen and Peter had moved into High Street, but there were only two of their now-adult children still living at home:

1901 SCOTLAND CENSUS: 35 High Street, Auchterarder, Perthshire 17Source: McLAREN, Helen; 1901 Scotland Census; 329/ 7/ 12; Auchterarder, Perthshire.

Peter McLaren; Head; Mar; 65; Mason (worker); born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Helen McLaren; Wife; Mar; 60; born Keith, Banffshire
Alex McLaren; Son; 21; Joiner (worker); born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Robert Carmichael McLaren; Son; 18; Postman – Government Office (worker); born Auchterarder, Perthshire

Looking north towards the Feus from High Street in Auchterarder, which was known as  ‘The Lang Toun’. This is where Helen McLeay lived for 40 years, and she would have easily recognised this scene.

Final curtains

The 1901 census was to be Helen’s last. Her first 12 years had been as a child at the family’s inn in Keith, Banffshire. If the DNA evidence is correct, then her childhood came to an abrupt end when she became an adolescent, pre-teen mother in 1852. However, the next decade of her life remains a mystery, as no records have been found for her until she married in 1862. Helen had obviously spent at least a year or more in Edinburgh before settling into married life in the town of Auchterarder, where she spent the best part of the next 40 years. She had, in all probability, given life to 10 children, but almost certainly had given up all contact with her first, the illegitimate Margaret McLeay, whose own life was to become an enigma. Sadly, in her final months, Helen developed pernicious anaemia, a serious deficiency in B-12 that leads to unsteadiness and muscle weakness, and often depression and dementia.

1903 SCOTLAND STATUTORY DEATHS: Auchterarder, Perthshire 18Source: McLAREN, Helen (McLeay); 1903 Scotland Statutory Deaths; 329/ 55; Auchterarder, Perthshire.

Helen McLarenMarried to Peter McLaren, Mason
died: 22nd August 1903 (11:05 pm)   at: 83 High Street, Auchterarder  age: 63 years

father: John McLeay, Innkeeper (deceased)
mother: Janet Mair McLeay M.S. Morrison (deceased) [sic]

cause: Pernicious Anaemia, 8 months   doctor: Nicol Jamieson M.B. Ch.B.
informant: William McLaren, Son (present)

Ruthven Street, Auchterarder.

Peter McLaren

Helen’s husband was a widower for just over 15 years. At the time of the 1911 census, he was still living at the same address where Helen had passed, and only two children and a lodger shared his home. His yet unmarried daughter Jessie was there (though she married Alexander Martin the following year), as was the youngest child, Robert, who still worked as a G.P.O. postman:

1911 SCOTLAND CENSUS: 83 High Street, Auchterarder, Perthshire 19Source: McLaren, Peter; 1911 Scotland Census; 329/ 7/ 7; Auchterarder, Perthshire.

Peter McLaren; Head; Wid; 76; Retired Mason; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Jessie McLaren; Daur; Single; 44; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Robert McLaren; Son; Single; 28; Postman, G.P.O.; born Auchterarder, Perthshire
Alexander Ross; Boarder; Single; 24; Police Constable, City Council; born Meigle, Perthshire

World War 1 came three years later, but seems to have generally passed this family by — future research may tell us more about any service the McLaren children may have given. The war was just two months from finishing when Peter died, bringing to a close our family’s connection to Auchterarder:

1918 SCOTLAND STATUTORY DEATHS: Auchterarder, Perthshire 20Source: McLaren, Peter; 1918 Scotland Statutory Deaths; 329/ 47; Auchterarder, Perthshire.

Peter McLarenMason
Widower of Helen McLeay
died: 11th September 1918 (9:15 am) at: 16 Ruthven Street, Auchterarder  age: 83 years

father: William McLaren, Mason (deceased)
mother: Mary Ann McLaren M.S. Cunningham (deceased)

cause: Heart Disease    doctor: Rob S Forrest M.B.C.M
informant: Robert C. McLaren, Son   of: 18 Ruthven Street, Auchterarder


The Children of Helen McLeay

Margaret McLeay (illegitimate, 1852), was Helen’s first child, delivered when she was about 12 years old. The father is unknown, and what we know of Margaret (my great-great-grandmother) can be found here.

William McLaren was conceived in Edinburgh about April 1861, six months before Helen married his father, Peter McLaren, a mason. He moved with his parents to Auchterarder before 1865, and was living with them there in 1871. However, William next became a farm labourer, and was working at North Strathy in 1881 at the Mitchell farm.21Source: McLaren, William; 1881 Scotland Census; 329/ 2/ 1; Auchterarder, Perthshire. By 1891, though, William had moved to Anderston, Glasgow, lodging in Houldsworth Street, and working as a contractor’s carter.22Source: McLaren, William; 1891 Scotland Census; 644/10 39/ 25; Anderston, Glasgow. The following year, he married Mary Combs McNeillage, a domestic servant, who had been born in Dunochter, Dunbartonshire. William and Mary lived in the Anderston district for the rest of their lives and had seven children by 1911;23Source: McLaren, William; 1911 Scotland Census; 644/10 17/ 22; Blythswood, Glasgow. only five of these survived. William died from TB in 1922 (aged 59),24Source: McLaren (McNeillage), Mary Combs; 1937 Scotland Statutory Deaths; 644/9 1063; Kelvingrove, Glasgow. and his wife in 1937 (aged 66 years).25Source: McLaren (McNeillage), Mary Combs; 1937 Scotland Statutory Deaths; 644/9 1063; Kelvingrove, Glasgow.

Jessie McLaren was born at The Feus, Auchterarder, in 1865, and lived with her parents until at least 1911. She got married in 1912, at the age of 45, to a joiner and widower, Alexander Martin.26Source: McLaren, Jessie; 1912 Scotland Statutory Marriages; 329/ 4; Auchterarder, Perthshire. Little is known of Jessie, but she lived all her life in Auchterarder, and died of cancer in 1919 (aged 53).27Source: McLaren [Martin], Jessie; 1919 Scotland Statutory Deaths; 329/ 49; Auchterarder, Perthshire. Her husband died in 1936.

Peter McLaren 🧬 was born at The Feus in 1867.28Source: McLaren, Peter; 1867 Scotland Statutory Births; 329/ 95; Auchterarder, Perthshire. Like his father, he became a mason, and in 1891 was lodging in Muthill, Perthshire, where we was working as a mason and hewer.29Source: (McLaren, Peter; 1891 Scotland Census; 386/A 7/ 13; Muthill, Perthshire. He married Jessie Glasgow in 1898 at Auchterarder, where they lived the rest of their lives.30Source: McLaren, Peter & Glasgow, Jessie; 1898 Scotland Statutory Marriages; 328/ 4; Auchterarder, Perthshire. By 1911, Peter and Jessie had five children.31Source: McLaren, Peter; 1911 Scotland Census; 329/ 10/ 8; Auchterarder, Perthshire. Jessie died aged 73 in 1940,32Source: Glasgow [McLaren], Jessie; 1940 Scotland Statutory Deaths; 329/ 37; Auchterarder, Perthshire. and Peter lived till the ripe old age of 88, dying of a stroke in 1956.33Source: McLaren, Peter; 1956 Scotland Statutory Deaths; 329/ 39; Auchterarder, Perthshire. It is the DNA of two descendants of Peter and Jessie that seems to establish that I am also a descendant of Helen McLeay.

David McLaren was born in 1869,34Source: McLaren, David; 1869 Scotland Statutory Births; 329/ 65; Auchterarder, Perthshire. and lived the rest of his short life with his parents. He became a baker, but died of phthisis (TB) at his parents’ home in Ruthven Wynd in 1891 — he was just 21 and unmarried.35Source: McLaren, David; 1891 Scotland Statutory Deaths; 329/ 42; Auchterarder, Perthshire. The next child born at The Fues was John McLeay McLaren, who arrived in 1871.36Source: McLaren, John McLeay; 1871 Scotland Statutory Births; 329/ 26; Auchterarder, Perthshire.  John began work as a mill worker after he left school, but died of TB at Ruthven Wynd in 1885, aged 14 years.37Source: McLaren, John; 1885 Scotland Statutory Deaths; 329/ 59; Auchterarder, Perthshire. James McLaren was born in 1873,38Source: McLaren, James; 1873 Scotland Statutory Births; 329/ 14; Auchterarder, Perthshire. but died of TB the following year aged only 13 months.39Source: McLaren, James; 1874 Scotland Statutory Deaths; 329/ 23; Auchterarder, Perthshire. These three children were the only ones to die young.

Mary Ann McLaren was the only child of Helen and Peter to leave Scotland. She was born in 1877,40Source: McLaren, Mary Ann; 1877 Scotland Statutory Births; 329/ 20; Auchterarder, Perthshire. and was still living at Ruthven Wynd when she was 14.41Source: McLAREN, Helen (McLEAY); 1891 Scotland Census; 329/ 8/ 7; Auchterarder, Perthshire. In 1907, Mary sailed out of Glasgow for Montreal, Canada, aboard the S.S. “Numidian” when she was 30, and gave her occupation as ‘domestic’. She married Frederick Ewens, a farmer from Brôme, Québec, in 1909. They actually married in North Troy, Vermont, which is just across the Canadian border. In 1911, they were living with four of their five children in Bolton East. Frederick died aged 55 in 1934; however, Mary Ann lived till she was 89, and died at Waterloo, Québec, in 1966. She had been a widow for nearly 33 years.

Alexander McLaren was born in 1878,42Source: McLaren, Alexander; 1878 Scotland Statutory Births; 329/ 80; Auchterarder, Perthshire.  and was still at Ruthven Wynd in 1891. By 1901, the family had moved to 35 High Street, and a 21-year-old Alex was working as a joiner.43Source: McLAREN, Helen [McLEAY]; 1901 Scotland Census; 329/ 7/ 12; Auchterarder, Perthshire. Sometime before 1915, Alex had moved to Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, but married Sarah McDonald in that year at Anderston, Glasgow (where his brother William was living).44Source: McLaren, Alexander; 1878 Scotland Statutory Births; 329/ 80; Auchterarder, Perthshire. They had at least one son, and Alex died at Kilmacolm in 1947, aged 68.45Source: McLaren, Alexander; 1947 Scotland Statutory Deaths; 569/ 6; Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire. Sarah died on Christmas Eve, 1950, at Paisley.

Robert Carmichael McLaren was the last of Helen McLeay’s children, and he was born at The Feus on 21 December 1882.46Source: McLaren, Robert Carmichael; 1883 Scotland Statutory Births; 329/ 6; Auchterarder, Perthshire. We know little about his life, but he was still living with his widowed father in 1911, and working as a postman for the G.P.O.47Source: McLaren, Peter; 1911 Scotland Census; 329/ 7/ 7; Auchterarder, Perthshire. He seems to have served in the Labour Corps with the Cameronian Highlanders during World War One, and is known to be living in London in 1931. However, no marriage or death records have been found for Robert, but we know from a burial record that he died in Auchterarder on 15 November 1936 — he was aged 53.

References[+]


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