I posted a message on the Wigtownshire message board at Ancestry.com about Margaret McDonald. I gave probably more details than anyone could want, hoping that someone would read it and suggest some piece of research that I had overlooked. What I got was beyond anything I expected! Sincere thanks to Bruce McDowall of Melbourne, Australia, for the following research tips he posted:
Margaret and Joanne made good suggestions. One would certainly favour the information from a marriage registration, but that is also sometimes incorrect.
I think I may have found the baptism record for your Margaret McDONALD in the Inch OPR. I have transcribed the following records from the LDS film:
“McDonald or Robinson / Charles McDonald and Barbara Robinson at Cairnryan had an illegitimate daughter born 17th July 1848 and baptized 6th Augt 1848”
“Jane McDonald / Charles McDonald and Margaret Adair Cairnryan had a lawful daughter named Jane born 22nd January 1849 baptized 11th Feb 1849′
“Charles McDonald / Charles McDonald and Margaret Adair at Cairnryan had a lawful Son named Charles born 25th December 1850 and baptized 11th Feb 1851”
“Thomas McDonald / Charles McDonald and Margaret Adair at Cairnryan had a lawful son named Thomas born 15th November 1852 and baptized 28th November 1852”
“Charles McDonald & Margaret Adair / Charles McDonald and Margaret Adair residing at Cairnryan were three times proclaimed in the parish Church of Inch 30th January 1848, in order to marriage, in presence of John Brown and Jane Brownlee residing at Kirk of Inch and William Wilson tailor in Stranraer.”
Unfortunately, the child to Barbara Robinson was not named in the register, but she does look like a very good candidate for your Margaret McDONALD. She would have been 2 years and 8 months on 31st March 1851, when the census was taken. I took a look at the LDS film of the 1851 census, and noted that, whist they are both given a 2 year olds, Margaret is listed before Jane.
Assuming Barbara Robinson carried her child full term, she would have conceived in November 1847. Presumably, none of those attending Church during the proclamation period in January 1848, knew that Barbara Robinson was pregnant to Charles. Perhaps she didn’t know herself. If this scenario is correct, there would have been considerable fuss when the facts came out.
Joanne Croft has already suggested that you pursue the Kirk Session records. This adds weight to that recommendation. Assuming Charles and Barbara were members of the Church, they would have been called before the Session, probably on three occasions. Hopefully, this is the case, and further, that there are surviving minutes. They are currently only available from the National Archives of Scotland, so if you can’t get to Edinburgh, you may want to hire a professional researcher to do a search for you. (They are being scanned with the view to being online via Scotlandspeople, but with no index, I’m not sure how this is going to work.)
A complication here is that 1848 was a time when many Wigtownshire folk had left the mainstream Church for the Free Church, so this couple may have been called before the Session of that Church.
I see that there is an unmarried 23 y/o Barbara ROBERTSON at Craigcaffie in the 1851 census. Perhaps she is the above Barbara Robinson.
Hope this helps, and I will be interested to know if you find the answer from the Kirk Session records. I had a similar situation, and resolved it through Kirk Session minutes.