FERGUSON, Goldie, Campbell and Hemphill (of Cumnock); Phillips and Hornebrook (of Cork, Ireland).
McKERROW, Hodge, Hannah, Mitchell and Samson (of Auchinleck & Old Cumnock).
HARDMAN, Frankland, Butterworth and Warburton (of Middleton, Lancashire).


When Thomas Barr Galt married Margaret McKerrow Ferguson in 1905 at Brisbane, Queensland, the two main branches of Robyn’s maternal family finally came together. Our earliest Fergusons can be found in Cumnock, Ayrshire, in the 1700s, and James Ferguson married Katharin Goldie in 1765:

1765 SCOTLAND MARRIAGES: Parish of Old Cumnock, Ayrshire

Jas. Ferguson & Gouldie | *
James Fergusson indweller in Cumnock
and Katrine Goldie were allowed the privilege
of proclamation in order to marriage –
Febry 2d 1765 married 19th
                               [ * note the different surname spellings in the margin!]

“Sweeter after difficulties.”

Kathrine was likely the fifth of at least eight children to John Goldie, a miller who worked around the district, and his wife Janet Hemphill; she was probably born at the Borland Mill around 1736. She was to have an illegitimate child, Janet Murray, in 1757.  James and Kathrine, though, had five children, and the youngest, Walter [1] Ferguson, married Anne Phillips, the daughter of a “revenue boatman” in Cork, Ireland. Walter joined the army in 1799, and with his wife Anne in tow as an ‘on-service wife’, served for six years throughout Ireland (where they had and lost four children), and 14 years in the Cape of Good Hope, Mauritius and Calcutta. During their time in South Africa and India, they had six more children, before returning to Cumnock in 1820. The story of Walter,  Anne & the 72nd can be found here.

Walter [1], who was a sergeant when discharged, spent the rest of his life as a Chelsea out-Pensioner. His son Walter [2] Ferguson, who had been born as an army brat on Mauritius in 1814, married Margaret McKerrow in 1836, and had nine children between 1836 and 1858. Margaret’s family had lived in Holmhead, Auchinleck, and later at Woodhead — her parents were John McKerrow and Jean Hodge, who married in 1796. However, in 1862, Walter [2] and Margaret boarded the “Jessie Munn” — and, with 7 of their 9 children, sailed for Queensland. Walter [2] Ferguson and Margaret McKerrow have their own story, which starts on this page.

This family settled in Cedar Creek in the Gold Coast hinterland, where Walter [2] worked as a timber-getter. Their son David married Emma Alice Hardman at Brisbane in 1877. Emma was from Middleton in Lancashire, and had migrated to Queensland with her parents and five siblings in 1863 aboard the S.V. “Wanata”. Her father, James Hardman, had married Mary Ann Frankland, daughter of a clogger (shoemaker), in 1828. You can start reading about the Hardman family by clicking on this link.


“Strong in both faith and war.”

I can find nothing authoritative about the origins of the McKerrow name at any of the genealogical sites, but there is plenty that seems simply ‘made up’. One explanation that seems plausible is that it an anglicized form of the Scottish Gaelic “Mac Cearrach” (son of the gamester), but that can’t be certain. More substantive is the identification of the name being found in Ayrshire, Dumfries, and Galloway, and early records of the name in its current form in Auchinleck and New Cumnock — and, of course, some of our McKerrows came from Auchinleck, so that fits the narrative.

Indeed, our earliest family connections to the name come from Darmullock, in Old Cumnock, with the 1751 birth of James McKerrow. His son John married Jean Hodge in 1796, and all of their children were born in Auchinleck Parish in the districts of Underwood and Boo’d Scotland, which lie close to the River Lugar across from the town of Cumnock. Margaret McKerrow, Robyn’s 2G-Grandmother, was born in Underwood Street in 1815.

There is no tartan, clan badge, or mottos registered with the usual authorities for the name McKerrow, and the few examples you do find on the Internet are almost certainly fanciful. So, if others can make them up, then why can’t I? My version of the family badge draws on elements from the few examples you do find on the Web, often ones claiming Irish connections for the name — but I really only offer it as a decorative illustration: it ain’t real, folks!

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