I spent the day yesterday trying to track down my husband’s great-great grandmother. I know a lot about her, and have a solid family tree leading back to her. I also know a lot about the people that I think were her parents and siblings, and have started a family tree for them. My current concern is establishing a firm connection between the two trees.
Margaret McDonald was born in Inch, Wigtownshire, Scotland sometime between 1848 and 1854, specifically in the Village or Cairn, or Cairnryan. She married William Welsh on 1 Nov 1878 in Wallacetown in Ayr. Together they had eight children, one of which was my husband’s great grandmother, Margaret, better known in our family as Granny Mackie.
All this is well documented through census records, and birth, marriage and death registers. However, the mystery begins with the latter records. Margaret McDonald’s death register (dated 8 July 1931 in Lochrutton, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland) says that her parents were Charles McDonald (who was a fisherman) and Margaret McDonald (maiden name McDonald), and that she was married to William Welsh. Her marriage register to William Welsh, however, says that her parents were Thomas McDonald (who was a fisherman) and Margaret McDonald (maiden name Adair). I have been unable to find a birth record for her.
After searching census records for a couple with both names, I found that there was a Charles McDonald married to a Margaret Adair who just happened to live in the Village of Cairn in Inch, Wigtownshire between 1848 (when they were married) and 1874 (when Charles died). Charles’ occupation was also listed as “fisherman” for the last two censuses of his life. Finally, the 1851 Scotland Census shows that this couple had a daughter named Margaret who was two-years-old at the time.
Putting all this together, I determined that this two-year-old Margaret McDonald had to be the same person. Unfortunately, though, I have been unable to find ANYTHING else that would connect her to this family. She is not listed with the family in any other census and was presumably working as a domestic servant (as some of her presumed brothers and sisters were doing at that young age). I have traced this family from the 1851 to the 1901 censuses, and have found birth registrations for all the children listed in the censuses (and have even found one son that is not listed with the family in any census). Of course, the only child that I have been unable to find a birth registration for is Margaret. In fact, I have been unable to find a birth registration for ANY Margaret McDonald that could remotely be the same person.
So, yesterday was spent finding records for her presumed brothers and sisters to see if I could find any connections to Margaret. I did find one marriage record that listed Margaret McDonald as a witness. However, the bride’s mother (and Margaret’s, for that matter) was also named Margaret McDonald, so I can’t say for sure if the witness was her sister, Margaret, or her mother, Margaret.
So, right now the whole connection is pretty circumstantial, and based on very little evidence. But since there is a lack of other possibilities, I’m pretty confident that Margaret McDonald is the daughter of Charles McDonald and Margaret Adair. Still, it would be nice to find something solid to confirm that.