Author Topic: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?  (Read 1027 times)

Offline mcalpinehastings

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How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« on: Monday 26 June 17 18:05 BST (UK) »
Hello Rootsnet!

So glad I found this place.  I've been pulling my hair out looking for ancestors using first Ancestry.com then National Records of Scotland after visiting them on Princes St. in Edinburgh and being told that Ancestry is worthless!

My problem is this: there is a middle name that has been handed down in my family for three generations ending with my father.  The name was, we thought, "MacAlpine" but turns out that's wrong it's actually "McAlpine" but was mis-recorded when the family came to America as these things are.  The woman whose maiden name gave this middle name to my family, Mary McAlpine (b. I think in 1839 d. 1919 but I've not been able to find birth certificate this info comes from census records) was never married to the father of her six children who whom as far as I can tell she lived with until he died.  That man's name was James Gow Hastings (1835-1887). 

I managed to find on Mary's death records that her parents names were Jane Ker McAlpine (but then it says "M.S. Walls" I assume that's her maiden name?) and father James McAlpine.  Because we're pre-1855 at this point there are no more civil records, only church records.  since Mary McAlpine and James Gow Hastings were never married, there are no church records.  I can find no birth info for Mary McAlpine, Jane Ker Wells McAlpine or James McAlpine, which leads me to believe that possibly Mary's parents weren't married either.

That was a very long lead up to my two questions.  1) How common was it for couples to live together, cohabitate and raise a family without being married? and 2) How do you research ancestors pre-1855 if there are no church records?

If I've posted in the wrong place please advise.  I'm new to Roots Chat and am happy to be redirected.  I hope very much that you can help!!

Sharon Castellanos Alamo, CA
Hastings, McAlpine, Smith, Brown, Walls, Gow, Stewart, Culross

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Offline jim1

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #1 on: Monday 26 June 17 18:14 BST (UK) »
Hello & welcome.
You are in the right place on both counts.
you said:
Quote
I can find no birth info for Mary McAlpine, Jane Ker Wells McAlpine or James McAlpine, which leads me to believe that possibly Mary's parents weren't married either
It's quite possible they were Baptised under their their mother's name but were known as McAlpine if they weren't married.
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
Census information is Crown copyright,from
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

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Offline mcalpinehastings

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #2 on: Monday 26 June 17 18:18 BST (UK) »
Thank you Jim for your speedy reply! 

So what do you suggest I use as surname for Mary's baptismal records if her mother is listed as "Jane Ker McAlpine/ M.S. Walls".  does that mean that Walls is surname and Ker is a middle name?

Also, if parents weren't married, would the church have baptised the baby?

Thanks again.

Sharon
Hastings, McAlpine, Smith, Brown, Walls, Gow, Stewart, Culross

Offline jim1

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #3 on: Monday 26 June 17 18:25 BST (UK) »
OK first of all just because you can't find a marriage doesn't mean they didn't. They could have been Non-Conformists ie. various types of Methodists or Baptists whose records are more difficult to find.
M.S. Walls does appear to be her maiden name so you could try looking again under that.
Ker(r) is her middle name. It's quite common for all sorts of reasons for people to have surnames as middle names.
Illegitimate children were Baptised usually with a note added that was not always very complimentary.
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
Census information is Crown copyright,from
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Offline mcalpinehastings

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #4 on: Monday 26 June 17 18:38 BST (UK) »
Thank you!  Well it does say on the birth records of the first Joseph McAlpine Hastings (son of Mary McAlpine and James Gow Hastings) "illegitimate" so I'm guessing Mom and Dad weren't married   :)  All the later census records list James as "head of household" and her as "boarder" and also "unmarried", and she never was listed as Hastings on any record I can find up to her death, so I don't think they ever got married which I find curious but I don't know much about the social customs of mid 19th c. Scotland which is partly why I'm here.

So I've now searched through RCC and CoS baptisms with fuzzy name matching for "Mary Walls" born between 1835 and 1845, as well as "Mary Ker/r" and I didn't find anything.  :(

Thanks again for your advice.  I'm not sure what else to try.
Hastings, McAlpine, Smith, Brown, Walls, Gow, Stewart, Culross

Offline jim1

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #5 on: Monday 26 June 17 18:45 BST (UK) »
For all things Scottish this is where to look (if you haven't already done so):
https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/search-our-records
It's a pay-per-view site but you can buy credits.
Can you give us a few more details?
Where in Scotland were they ?
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
Census information is Crown copyright,from
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Offline mcalpinehastings

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #6 on: Monday 26 June 17 18:50 BST (UK) »
That's where I've been doing all my searching lately.  I've found a ton of info and pertinent docs on Hastings there but I've run into a brick wall when it comes to the McAlpine family.

Several census records indicate that Mary McAlpine was born in Dundee, but I've also found Arbroath listed as well.  She and James spent most of their lives in Arbroath, though her last child (my ancestor Joseph McAlpine Hastings) was born in Brechin, and Mary also died in Brechin in 1919.  I imagine she must have some connection there that brought her back several times.
Hastings, McAlpine, Smith, Brown, Walls, Gow, Stewart, Culross

Offline jim1

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #7 on: Monday 26 June 17 19:14 BST (UK) »
I've had a scout around without much luck so far, however I notice in 1861 Mary is in lodgings with a Helen McAlpine b. 1845 Arbroath. Have you tried to find a marriage for her as she may be a sister?
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
Census information is Crown copyright,from
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

Offline MaureeninNY

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #8 on: Monday 26 June 17 19:15 BST (UK) »
1841 census Dundee
Address: Blinshal St   
James McCalpin   40
Jean McCalpin   30 born Ireland
William McCalpin 10
Robert McCalpin   8
Mary McCalpin   2
Erskin Mills   20
Ann Mills   20
Susan Mills   2 Mo

I wonder if something happened to the parents as the children were all lodgers with other families in St.Vigeans by 1851.

Maureen

Welcome from me as well!