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Agnes Cochran Research Notes

Contents  Agnes Cochran; children of Agnes Cochran and Archibald McKaig; William Cochran and Margaret Watson, parents of Agnes Cochran; Probable children of William Cochran and Margaret Watson Timeline; Summary

Unless otherwise indicated, all of the events mentioned below occurred in the city of Paisley, in Renfrewshire, Scotland.  Renfrewshire is now part of Strathclyde.

Background that helps to understand church records:

The Statistical account of Scotland, Vol. 7, Paisley, County of Renfrew (1834-45), p.225-226  (Follow the instructions to use the link "Browse Scanned Pages")  Although the church records come from different churches, that does not necessarily mean that the people moved.  Until 1736 Abbey Parish included Paisley and the surrounding towns.  In 1736 the burgh of Paisley was "erected", separated from Abbey Parish, and a church was built.  In 1756, a second church was built.  Built on the height called Oakshawhead, it was called the "High Church" and the older church became known as the "Low Church".  But they were still considered one Parish.

In 1781 a third church was built near the High Church and was called "Middle Church".  At this time, the Paisley Parish was divided into three parishes, each named for their church.  In 1798, six chapels were built, including a chapel known as the "Gaelic church", intended for the Highlanders in Paisley.  The Gaelic church apparently was not a separate parish.

Wiki re Paisley Methodist Church:  Paisley’s first Methodist chapel was opened on George Street in 1812. A new chapel was built some years later. Paisley was missioned from Glasgow until 1838 when it became a separate circuit. No further history is known.   (Source: Methodism in Scotland, by Wesley F. Swift, pub. 1947. FHL book 941 K2sw.). [The marriage record of Archibald McKaig and Agnes Cochran says "both ME".  Presumably, ME stands for Methodist Episcopal.]

Scottish Way of Birth and Death - Marriage, University of Glasgow   A 'regular' church marriage, requiring marriage banns to be read in the church some weeks in advance, was the usual practice, and from 1834 'priests and ministers not of the established church' were also allowed to conduct legal marriage ceremonies.  [suggesting that before 1834, marriages in nonconformist churches were not recognized]


In his 1915 death record, John McKaig's parents are named as Archibald McKaig and Agnes Cochran.  Family sources say John was born in Paisley.  John had several children who never married and lived at home with their parents.  This provided an opportunity for relatively accurate passing down of family information.

Records for John's Parents Records have been found for the 29 Oct 1802 baptism of Archibald McKaig (Parish registers for High Church, Paisley 1802), and the October 1824 marriage of Archibald McKaig and Agnes Cochran (Parish registers for Middle Church, Paisley 1824).  Archibald left Scotland without his family, and apparently died "fighting in Mexico".

Agnes Cochran: The Problem No baptism record has been found that could be confirmed as belonging to this Agnes Cochran.

The note in the marriage record of Archibald McKaig and Agnes Cochran, and the almost complete absence of baptisms in the records of the Church of Scotland for their children and grandchildren, suggest that the baptisms probably took place in a Methodist church.

The life of Agnes Cochran Many details of her life are known, because of her Poor House Case, filed 2 Dec 1841.  She has also been found in Census Records in 1841 as Agness McKeg, and as Agnes Cochran in 1851 and 1861, living with and apparently keeping house for her brother William Cochran.  Note that the 1851 household also included a sister, Christina.  The presence of the McKaig children confirms that these are the correct census records for Agnes.  The children's ages in the 1841 census are a close match to the ages Agnes reported later that year in her Poor Law record.

Agnes Cochran, widow of Archibald McKaig, died 20 Sep 1871 in the Middle Parish poor house in Paisley (Scotland Deaths 1871).  For background information on the Poor House, see Paisley, Renfrewshire Poor House.

The children of Agnes Cochran Her son John apparently lost contact with all of his siblings.  One family source thought his brothers might have gone to Australia.  Family records also indicate that he wrote to his mother.  However her March 1868 poorhouse record says she has had no word from him in the last 10 years.  The following information is from family records unless otherwise indicated:

Margaret  bap 1 Jan 1826 in Paisley (Middle Church Parish Register).  Age 15, employed in Carlile's warehouse earning 6/ (mother's Dec 1841 poorhouse record).  Millworker, res Abercorn St.

She married Robert McGregor 5 May 1848 in Paisley Middle (OPRI).  He died certainly before 2 Mar 1868, and probably before 1855.  No record has been found in the statutory deaths, which began in 1855, and deaths or burials are not recorded in Paisley church records.  According to the 1855 birth record of his daughter Helen, he was a soldier in the 46th Regiment.  That regiment fought in the Crimean War.

No record has been found for Robert or Margaret in the 1851 census.  Their son William was living with his grandmother, Agnes Cochran (1851 census).  In the 1861 census.  Margaret was age 28, a widow and cotton winder, living with her mother and uncle William.

Margaret married, second, William Gray 27 Apr 1870 (Scotland Marriages 1870 Paisley Middle, Renfrewshire p.21).  No record of her death has been found.  She may be the Margaret McGregor, age 76, living in Paisley in 1901.

According to her mother's Mar 1868 poorhouse record, Margaret and Robert had at least two children, perhaps referring only to living children.  Possible children include:

  1. William McGregor, age 3 [b.c.1848] living with his uncle, William Cochran in the 1851 census.  No further record has been found.
  2. Agnes McGregor, age 11 [b.c.1850], living with her great-aunt Christina (Cochran) Crawford in 1861.  No further record has been found.
  3. Helen McGregor, age 7 [b.c.1854], living with her aunt Mary (McKaig) Rodger in 1861.  She died 15 Jan 1871 in Paisley and her death record confirms that she was Robert and Margaret's daughter (Scotland Deaths 1871 Paisley Low, Renfrewshire p.17).



John born 22 Feb 1831 in Paisley according to family records created before his death, Canadian and U.S. censuses for 1861, 1871, 1880, and 1910; and his death cert.  (See Photo, Allan Family Photo #1.1, Notes, Text) Named for Archibald's father, John McKaig.

There is a family story that John ran away from his apprenticeship as a blacksmith and immigrated with false records.  Some versions of the story even have him originally named Archibald.  As far as his name is concerned, the Scottish records do not support the story.

But the story might explain why the Scottish records show earlier birth years: age 13 in his mother's 1841 poor record and in the 1841 census [b.c.1828], and age 22 in the 1851 census [b.c.1829].  This is a better fit with the other children than the 1831 birth.

John died 2 Jul 1915 in Detroit MI (Michigan Vital Records, Wayne Co. Deaths 1910 no.4226).  He was a blacksmith.  He was married 10 Sep 1859 in Guelph ON, to Margaret Allan.

John and Margaret's children and the sources of their names (William Cochran and Margaret Watson and their children are in red):

Agnes Cochran  First Name:both grandmothers (Agnes Cochran, Agnes Rodger);
mother's sister (Agnes Allan)
Middle Name: paternal grandmother's maiden name (Agnes Cochran)

Margaret Watson  First Name: father's sister (Margaret McKaig);
mother's sister (Margaret Allan);
paternal grandmother's mother (Margaret Watson)
Middle Name: paternal grandmother's mother's maiden name (Margaret Watson)

Archibald AllanFirst Name:paternal grandfather (Archibald McKaig)
Middle Name: mother's maiden name (Margaret Allan)

Mary BeithFirst Name:paternal grandfather's mother (Mary Beith);
father's sister (Mary McKaig);
mother's sister (Mary Allan);
paternal grandmother's sister (Mary Cochran);
Middle Name: paternal grandfather's mother's maiden name (Mary Beith)

James WilliamFirst Name:father's brother (James McKaig);
maternal grandfather (James Allan);
mother's brother (James Allan);
paternal grandfather's brother (James McKaig)
Middle Name: see William George

Janet FergusonFirst Name:mother's sister (Janet Ferguson Allan)
Middle Name: mother's sister (Janet Ferguson Allan)

JohnFirst Name: father (John McKaig)
mother's brother (John Allan);
paternal grandfather's father (John McKaig)
paternal grandmother's brother (John Cochran);

William GeorgeFirst Name: father's brother (William McKaig);
mother's brother (William Rodger Allan);
paternal grandmother's brother (William Cochran);
paternal grandmother's father (William Cochran)
Middle Name: 

George AllanFirst Name:
Middle Name: mother's maiden name (Margaret Allan)

See The Descendants of John Rodger and Janet McFarlane for further information about John McKaig, his wife and their children.
Mary born c. 1831 (age 10 in 1841, 20 in 1851).  Mary worked in Carlile's mill for 3/ (mother's Dec 1841 poorhouse record).  She died 23 Feb 1872 in Greenock, Renfrewshire (Scotland Deaths 1872 Greenock, Renfrewshire p.50).

Mary was married, 17 Jul 1857 at Paisley, to William Rodger, slater (Scotland Marriages 1857 Paisley Middle Church, Renfrew p.18).  A slater is a person who tiles roofs with slates.  William was born in Ireland, the son of William Rodger and Mary Dicksen.  There is no known connection to the descendants of John Rodger and Janet McFarlane.

According to Agnes Cochran's March 1868 poorhouse record, Mary McKaig and William Rodger had three children, but a fourth child was born shortly after that record:

  1. William Cochran, born 12 Feb 1860 (Scotland Births 1860 Greenock, Renfrewshire p.19).  He was a slater like his father.
  2. Archibald, born 21 May 1863 (Scotland Births 1863 Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire p.18).  He was also a slater.
  3. John, born 2 May 1866 (Scotland Births 1866 Tradeston, Glasgow, Lanarkshire p.263).
  4. Agnes, born 24 May 1868 (Scotland Births 1868 Tradeston, Glasgow, Lanarkshire p.299).

See My Cousins Family Tree (Ancestry.com) for further information on the descendants of Mary McKaig.


Agnes Mentioned in family records, but not mentioned in the poorhouse records, died young?
James b.c.1836 (1841 Census/mother's Dec 1841 poorhouse record).  Plasterer.  Married [--?--], who died before March 1868.  1 child (mother's Mar 1868 poorhouse record)
William b.c.1838 (1841 Census/mother's Dec 1841 poorhouse record).  Weaver.  Left Paisley with wife and 2 children by March 1868 (mother's Mar 1868 poorhouse record).  William was married, 19 Jun 1863 at Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, to Agnes Leitch Whiteford.  They had 7 children.

See Jim McKaig's McCaig Family Tree (Ancestry.com) for further information on William and his family.


William Cochran and Margaret Watson  There were several clues to the parents of Agnes Cochran: the sibling relationships in the Census households of Agnes and her children; her son John naming his second daughter Margaret Watson; a marriage record for a Margaret Watson to a Cochran.

William Cochran and Margaret Watson were married 30 Aug 1788 Paisley Low Church (Parish registers for Middle Church, Paisley 1788).  Later civil records provided confirmation that they were the parents of Agnes Cochran:

  • Named as the parents of her sister Christina on the record of her marriage to James Crawford; and on her death record.
  • Named as the parents of her brother William on his death record. On the same record, Agnes is the informant and named as "Agnes McKaig or Cochran", his sister.

William Cochran's occupation: thread manufacturer (son William's death record); linen manufacturer (Christina's death record); manufacturer, Old Sneddon Street (newspaper notice of his death).  Also see William Cochran Research Notes

William died 12 Oct 1832.  Margaret died prior to 1841 (Agnes' poorhouse record).

Probable Children of William Cochran and Margaret Watson  See The Descendants of William Cochran and Margaret Watson

There is a marriage recorded for William Cochran and Margaret Speer on 7 Mar 1807 in Low Church and again on 8 Mar 1807 in Middle Church.  No children have been found for that couple.  But, if Margaret Speer is Agnes' mother, why would Agnes' son John name his daughter Margaret Watson?

Or, is 1806 when the family became Methodists?

Timeline  The known and estimated events for the William Cochran and Margaret Watson family are as follows:

1788   William Cochran and Margaret Watson were married 30 Aug 1788 in Paisley Middle Church.  They both resided in Paisley Middle Church Parish.
1789 John Cochran, son of William and Margaret, was born 16 Jun 1789.  He was baptized 19 Jul 1789 in Paisley Low Church.  He probably died young.
1791 William Cochran, son of William and Margaret, was born 9 Mar 1791.  He was baptized 10 Mar 1791 in Paisley Low Church.  He probably died young.
1793 William Cochran, son of William and Margaret, was born 14 Apr 1793.  He was baptized 18 Apr 1793 in Paisley Middle Church.
1795 Mary Cochran, daughter of William and Margaret, was born 21 Jan 1795.  She was baptized 22 Jan 1795 in Paisley Middle Church.
1796 Mary Cochran, daughter of William and Margaret, was born 26 Oct 1796.  She was baptized 27 Oct 1796 in Paisley Middle Church.
1805 Christina Cochran, daughter of William and Margaret, was born about 1805 in Paisley.  No record of her baptism has been found.
1806 John Cochran, son of William and Margaret, was baptized 17 Dec 1806 in Paisley Middle Church.
1809 Agnes Cochran, daughter of William and Margaret, was born about 1809 in Paisley.
1818 Jean Cochran, possibly a daughter of William and Margaret, was born about 1818 in Paisley.
1824 Agnes Cochran and Archibald McKaig, "both ME", were married 26 Sep 1824 in Paisley Middle Church.
1826 Margaret McKaig, daughter of Archibald and Agnes, was baptized in Paisley Middle Church.
1828 John McKaig, son of Archibald and Agnes, was born about 1828 in Paisley.
1831 William Cochran, father of Agnes, died 12 Jul 1832 in Paisley.
1832 Mary McKaig, daughter of Archibald and Agnes, was born about 1831 in Paisley.
1836 James McKaig, son of Archibald and Agnes, was born about 1836 in Paisley.
1838 William McKaig, son of Archibald and Agnes, was born about 1838 in Paisley.
1840 Archibald McKaig, husband of Agnes Cochran, "went out to New York in June, 1840."
1841 In the 1841 census, Agnes was living at 3 Maxwell St. with all five of her children.  In a separate household, also at 3 Maxwell St., were William, Christina and Jean Cochran.  (Both households were listed on the same page, with only one household, the McGregors, between them.)

A Poor House case was opened for Agnes Cochran McKaig on 2 Dec 1841.  Her parents were deceased.

1848 Margaret McKaig and Rob McGregor were married 5 May 1848 in Paisley Middle Church.
1851 In the 1851 census, Agnes was living at 3 Maxwell St. with 3 of her children, John, Mary and William.  They are living in the household of her brother William, along with her sister Christina, and William's "nephew" (probably the son of his niece), William McGregor.
1855 Christina Cochran and James Crawford were married 21 Dec 1855 at Paisley High Church.  It was about this time when John McKaig emigrated to Canada.
1857 Mary McKaig and William Rodger, slater, were married 17 Jul 1857 at Paisley.
1861 In the 1851 census, Agnes was living at 3 Maxwell St. with her daughter Margaret in the household of her brother William.  Her son William was living in Lochwinnoch with James and Christina Crawford.
1863 William McKaig and Agnes Leitch Whiteford were married 19 Jun 1863 at Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire.
1868 William Cochran, son of William and Margaret, died 18 Aug 1868 in Paisley.
1871 Agnes Cochran died 20 Sep 1871 in the Middle Parish poor house in Paisley.  She is not listed in the 1871 census.  Her siblings have not been found in the 1871 census.

Summary  The evidence to support naming William Cochran and Margaret Watson as the parents of Agnes Cochran:

1 There are two major sources that aided identifying Agnes' parents: a) her Poor House Case, filed 2 Dec 1841; b) Census Records for Agnes, her brother William Cochran, and her sister, Christina in 1841, 1851 and 1861.  The presence of the McKaig children confirms that these are the correct census records.  Their ages in the 1841 census are a close match to the ages Agnes reported later that year in her Poor House record.

Other sources include the marriage records of William Cochran/Margaret Watson, and James Crawford/Christina Cochran.


2 No record of the birth of Agnes Cochran has been found in the parish register.  Two documents not subject to the variability of ages in census records, place Agnes Cochran's birth c.1809: a) she was age 32 in her 1841 poorhouse record, and b) she was age 62 on her 1871 death record.  Since she died in the poorhouse, the information on the death record probably came solely from the poorhouse records.

Her age as recorded in the census: 1841 age 30 [b. c.1811], 1851 age 46 [b. c.1805], and 1861 age 61 [b. c.1810].

Her birthplace, as recorded in the 1851 and 1861 census records, was Paisley, Renfrewshire.  In all three of the known census records, she was living in the Middle Church Parish in Paisley, and she died in the Poorhouse in Middle Parish.


3 Agnes was the sister of William Cochran and Christina Cochran as recorded in the 1851 and 1861 census records.  And in her Poor House record, Agnes stated in 1865 that she was sister to William Cochran, fisher and weaver.

The death records of both William and Christina name William Cochran and Margaret Watson as their parents.  William's record names "Agnes McKaig or Cochran", his sister.

The age of William Cochran, as recorded in the census: 1841 age 40 [b. c.1801], 1851 age 54 [b. c.1797], and 1861 age 67 [b. c.1794].  His birthplace, as recorded in the 1851 and 1861 census records, was Paisley, Renfrewshire.  In the Old Parish Register, there are two births of William Cochran, son of William Cochran and Margaret Watson, one in 1791 and one in 1793.  The 1791 baptism was at Paisley Low Church and the 1793 baptism at Paisley Middle Church.


4 Agnes' son John named his first child Agnes Cochran McKaig and his second child Margaret Watson McKaig.  His third daughter was named Mary Beith McKaig.  John McKaig and Mary Beith were the parents of Agnes' husband Archibald McKaig.  There is no known Watson in the lineage of John McKaig's wife, Margaret Allan.
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© 2011 Shirley York Anderson