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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by USCRx1977 View Post
    I can't thank you enough, Grisel, for your 'digging' for information for me! The above information is fascinating! I also received the following response from Mr. Weir, of the Heritage Centre, Paisley, for your info:

    Thank you for your enquiry on your McLean ancestors. The family tradition of your Maclean ancestors coming to Paisley from Mull is plausible as the MacLean name is associated with Mull. Family records in the Renfrewshire area, including Paisley seldom go back much further that the 1770's so I am not surprised that you cannot trace your relatives beyond this date. However family records in small communities often survive better than in large industrial towns such as Paisley. It might be worthwhile finding out what records are available from the Mull side of your family. I would expect that the name, Alexander MacLean would have been fairly common on Mull and that could make further research difficult.

    Regarding the Heritage Centre. We are now closed at our historic location of Central Library, High Street Paisley but we should be open at our temporary location (until 2022) by November of this year at the Mile End Mill, unit 907, 12 Seedhill Road, Paisley PA1 1JS. Our newspaper collection will come with us and be available for research from our opening date. Our newspaper collection starts from 1824 and therefore will not be of assistance to your research. The only documents that we have access to from the 18th Century are OPRs which you have already traced. You are welcome to visit the Heritage Centre on your visit to Scotland. however I don't think that our records can assist in your research which would require earlier records than those we have in our collection.
    Hello again. Glad Mr Weir replied but a pity he was unable to help. I hope you can find a fhs or similar in Mull. However even if you cannot directly link your actual ancestor you should be able to find out about the Mcleans in general, how they lived on Mull in the 18th Century and what led them to move to the lowlands.
    I must say I am enjoying ferreting about in Paisley history, especially as I too have some ancestors who were weavers!

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    Interestingly, the only Alexander McLean that shows up in the OPRs (ScotlandsPeople) being born in 1736 is an Alexander McLean, born in Blair Atholl, Perthshire. His parents are described as "Donald McLean soldier in Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochnell's company and Margaret McDougal his wife."
    I hesitate being certain that this man is my descendant, Alexander McLean, because Blair Atholl is over 100 miles away from Paisley, and I'm not certain folks back then traveled these long distances frequently. It's also interesting that there are no other children in the OPRs with Donald McLean and Margaret McDougal as parents.
    Does anyone have any thoughts about this? Also, anyone know about Sir Duncan Campbell and his company of soldiers?

  4. #23
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    Did you check all the Church denominations on Scotland’s People? That was the start of the new national sport - splitting Church denominations into smaller groups. Not all of their records are included on SP. Also, have a look on GENUKI to see what records have survived....
    It’s not a rare name, you have to be careful.

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    I would hesitate in claiming this Alexander as there seems to be no evidence to link him to Paisley. There are also some records of Alexander Mcleans marrying in Blair Atholl in 1770s and 1790s tho not necessarily that one.
    If you extend the year of birth and use variant spellings there are some other candidates apart from this Alexander in OPC baptisms, but again none of these linked to Paisley.
    Although your Alexander has no baptism record in Paisley it does not mean that he wasn't born there. Not all babies were baptised. Equally he could have come from Mull or indeed any other part if Scotland. And even if he had been baptised not all church records survived. Also as Lesley suggested he may have been part of some church other than Church of Scotland.

    I know how frustrating it is to meet that brickwall. Perhaps the Laigh Kirk session records will shed some light on Alexander's family. He may even have had siblings in the town.
    Similarly with his wife Ann Lang - the name is just too common. Though I suspect it is more likely to be a lowland name from Renfrewshire or Ayrshire than a Highland one.
    Sorry not to be of more help.

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    Thanks so much, Lesley & Grisel. I totally agree with your cautions. The Alexander McLean whose birth I referenced just didn't seem to have a connection to Paisley. I will continue to research this, using your suggestions, and see if anything turns up. I'm well aware that, because I'm looking so far back, I may never have a certain answer to Alexander's birth, parents, siblings, etc.
    Kind regards.

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    Super Moderator Lesley Robertson's Avatar
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    The trouble is that if someone lived quietly and paid their rent on time, they left a very simple paper trail - just baptisms, marriage (s) and burials. If their Church was one of the obscure off-shots, if the Minister used the common cheap paper and acid ink or the Church was damp, the records may not have survived. Churches near the Border with England were frequently burned. Record keeping was not a major priority - I know of a case where the Parish clerk was sacked, and took the marriage registers with him. There’s a couple of decades in my One Parish Study where the Minister was obviously failing (neighboring Ministers had a rota for giving communion) and the numbers of registrations dropped. Then, when a new guy came in, he had to spend a couple of years playing catch-up with whole families’ registrations listed together on one page.

    The point of all this is that we just don’t know what happened, and many registrations no longer exist. That’s why I keep telling people to check the parish on the GENUKI website - many of the site admins have listed record survivals.

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    An intriguing OPR baptism entry in Bothwell, Lanarkshire is for an Ann Lang, born 30 Nov 1734, baptized 23 December 1734. Her parents were John Lang of Carfin Miln or Bridgend and Helen Nasmith. The reason this is intriguing is that Bothwell is much closer to Paisley (20 miles), Alexander McLean and Ann Lang's first daughter was named Helen, and this Ann would've been 28 years old at her marriage in 1763. Again, this is speculation, but it's a much more likely possibility than the Alexander McLean previously mentioned.

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    In addition, of the many OPR baptisms for a Ann Lang between 1733 and 1743, only 2 have mothers named Helen, and this baptism is the closest to Paisley. The other one is from Hawick.

  11. #29
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    Hereís the Devilís Advocate again - how many entries have the right Father but no names for the Mother?

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    Touche, Leslie!

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