View Full Version : John Macdonald of the Rifle Corpse

31-01-2015, 10:29 AM
On 26th December 1818 in Inverness "John M'Donald of the Rifle Corpse and Marg Jack" were married.

What does "of the Rifle Corpse" tell us about John?

Subsequent children (Inverness)
Margaret 1824
Isabella 1828
Alexander 1831
Lydia 1831
Julia 1839

Donald Macdonald's death certificate indicates that his parents were John Macdonald and Margaret Jack and that he was born c1824. I suspect that the age given on the death certificate is incorrect and that he was probably born before Margaret. I have not been able to locate his birth.
Any assistance gratefully accepted

Allan F Sparrow
31-01-2015, 10:58 AM
Assuming that this reads, or should read, Rifle Corps, it means he was a soldier in a particular regiment of the British Army. If this is correct, the couple could have moved about quite a lot as the regiment was re-posted. Have you got evidence for the birth-places of the other children?

Lesley Robertson
31-01-2015, 3:19 PM
The family is in Petty St, Inverness in the 1841 census. They all show birth county as Inverness. Remember that in the 1841, adult (not children) ages were supposed to be rounded up to the nearest 5 years, but not everyone did it. The children are given in order of age:
Margt 15
Isabella 12
Lydia 8
Alexr 8
Julia 1

There's no mention of Donald, but since I've found Julia working away from home at the age of 12 in the 1851, I suspect he'd gone to work for someone. Note that they have one set of twins - Lydia & Alexr, so it's possible that Donald & Margt were also twins.
Alternatively, Donald could have been born earlier. That's a long gap between the wedding and Margaret's birth! People were much less accurate about ages than we are.

Allan F Sparrow
31-01-2015, 4:51 PM
I tried for a Donald baptism at familysearch, and found at least a dozen sons of John baptised between 1818 and 1824 in Invernessshire alone - but only one had a mother named Margaret, and her maiden name was wrong.

If John was in the Rifle Corps, it might have been before his marriage, in which case it would have no direct bearing; but if he was a soldier when he married, then Donald (and even others) could have been born outside Invernessshire.

31-01-2015, 7:29 PM
Thanks Allan and Lesley
The record was written as "Corpse" (I always transcribe 'as written') but must be "Corps".
The delay between the marriage and Margaret's baptism is 6 years so I want to put Donald in there but, as always, I shall be guided by whatever evidence I can turn up. And I should be extending my search outside Inverness
Thanks again

Allan F Sparrow
31-01-2015, 8:45 PM
I wish you luck! The trouble is, as I'm sure you're aware, that looking for a Macdonald in Scotland is like looking for a Smith in England or a Jones (to name but one family!) in Wales. At least you have some hard facts, and some records to work outwards from.

If you do a web search for "Rifle Corps" you will find plenty of stuff on the history of the regiment, and possibly some indication of where they served. Some of them were certainly with Wellington in the Peninsular War, 1807-1814, not long before John's marriage.