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James Orr/Margaret Allan Research Notes

All of the events mentioned below occurred in western Scotland, in the pre-1974 counties of Ayr and Renfrew (Map).  Both counties are bordered on the west by the Firth of Clyde.  Renfrew is bordered on the north by the river Clyde and on the south by Ayr.  They are both bordered on the east by the county of Lanark, where Glasgow is located.

The parish of Kilbirnie is located on the north eastern border of Ayr, and borders Lochwinnoch in Renfrew.  On the western border of Kilbirnie is Dalry, Ayr.  Kilbirnie is only about 10 miles from Paisley, where Agnes Orr lived in 1841.  Also see Ayrshire Roots.

The parish of Kilbirnie was divided into three baronies: Kilbirnie, Ladyland, and Glengarnock.  The barony of Kilbirnie was the largest, at around 5500 acres, and had the most fertile quarter with 3000 acres of arable, pasture and woodland.  An excerpt from the Roy Military Survey of Scotland, 1747-55 (original) shows most of the various placenames mentioned in the records.  According to GordonPOrr, a contributor to Family Search Family Tree, "Lochridge ... is a farm and is listed in the "Estates Gazzateer of 1850".  It is a small ways from Kilburnie, Ayr, Scotland."

MA numbers refer to the ahtentafel numbers in the chart: The Ancestors of John McKaig and Margaret Allan

The Problem  Finding the parents of Agnes Orr (MA15) who married James Rodger (Church of Scotland, Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, Parish register for 1814 p.86, and Houston & Killellan, Renfrewshire, Parish register for 1814).  Agnes resided in Kilbarchan at the time of her marriage.  Kilbarchan is the next parish northeast of Lochwinnoch.

The death record of Agnes Orr, (Scotland Deaths 1865 Johnstone, Renfrewshire p.33), names her parents as James Orr and Margaret Allan.  Various records provide mixed information regarding her birth:

  • 1841 census of Paisley, Renfrew: age 50 (born about 1791), born Renfrewshire
  • 1851 census of Johnstone, Renfrew: age 61 (born about 1790) born Kilbirnie, Ayr
  • 1861 census of Johnstone: age 71 (born about 1790) born Dalry, Ayr
  • 1865 death record: age 76 (born about 1789)

A search of Family Search Indexes [Agnes Orr, daughter of James Orr, born Scotland 1788-1792] identified only one Agnes Orr, daughter of James, baptized in Renfrew or Ayr.  She was baptized 21 May 1791 in Kilbirnie, daughter of James Orr and Margaret Allan (Church of Scotland, Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, Parish register for 1791, page 2).

James Orr and Margaret Allan  James Orr (MA30) and Margaret Allan (MA31) were married 13 Jul 1781 (Church of Scotland, Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, Parish register for 1781).  Baptism records have been found for eight children, all baptized in Kilbirnie (parish record indexes in Family Search; all included the mother's name):

  1. Margaret Orr, baptized 18 Nov 1783
  2. James Orr, baptized 16 May 1785
  3. Jean Orr, baptized Sep 1787
  4. Janet Orr, baptized 1 Jul 1789
  5. Agnes Orr, baptized 21 May 1791; died 23 Jul 1865 Johnstone, Renfrew; married to James Rodger
  6. Patrick Orr, baptized 27 Nov 1793
  7. Jean Orr, born 17 Jun 1796, baptized 19 Jun 1796
  8. John Orr, born 7 Jun 1801; christening date not indexed

Which James Orr?  A search for James Orr (MA30) assumed that he was born after 1740 (in case his 1781 marriage to Margaret Allan was not his first), and that he was born before 1765 (at least age 17 at his 1781 marriage).  Family Search and Scotland's People birth/baptism indexes for Ayr identified nine possibilities, all in Kilbirnie parish:

  1. Christening Date: 25 Mar 1744; Father: William Orr; Mother: Agness Aitkin
  2. Christening Date: 24 Feb 1745; Father: Hugh Orr; Mother: Mary Duncan
  3. Christening Date: 07 Feb 1748; Father: David Orr; Mother: Kathrine Dougal
  4. Christening Date: 19 May 1751; Father: John Orr; Mother: Margarat Orr
  5. Christening Date: 31 Aug 1755; Father: John Orr; Mother: Anna Allan
  6. Christening Date: 26 Jun 1758; Father: James Orr; Mother: Jean Orr
  7. Christening Date: 15 Feb 1761; Father: James Orr; Mother: Margarat Allan;
  8. Birth date: 20 Jun 1762; father: Robert Orr; mother: Margaret Gulliland
  9. Christening Date: 9 Apr 1763; Father: William Orr; Mother: Isabel Law

There are no death records for Kilbirnie that would help to narrow down the field.  Typical Scottish naming patterns, as applied to children of James Orr and Margaret Allan, helped to narrow the field:

  • 1st son named after paternal grandfather - 1st son=James
  • 2nd son named after maternal grandfather - 2nd son=Patrick
  • 3rd son named after father - 3rd son=John - 1st son already took father's name
  • 1st daughter named after maternal grandmother - 1st daughter=Margaret
  • 2nd daughter named after paternal grandmother - 2nd daughter=Jean
  • 3rd daughter named after mother - 3rd daughter=Janet - 1st daughter already took mother's name

From the naming pattern, the likely set of parents would be James Orr and Margaret Allan.  So we have James Orr [Jr] and Margaret Allan [Jr] as the parents of Agnes Orr, and probably James Orr [Sr] and Margaret Allan [Sr] as the parents of James Orr [Jr].  The suffixes of Jr. and Sr. do not appear in any records.  They have been added here to keep the two generations straight.

Although the marriage of James Orr [Jr] and Margaret Allan [Jr], has already been identified, the possibility of an earier marriage by James [Jr] was explored.  In Kilbirnie, there was a James Orr in a number of other marriages and there were children of those marriages baptized:

  1. James Orr and Jean Orr were married 27 Sep 1755 in Kilbirnie.  Their children: Margaret 1766, Elizabeth 1768, Mary 1771, male 1774, Robert 31 Jul 1781.  Even if Jean Orr died after son Robert was born, it is unlikely that this James Orr would have remarried before his son was baptized.
  2. James Orr and Janet Orr were married 13 Nov 1770 in Kilbirnie.  Their children: Agnes 1771, Janet 1774, James 1781, William 6 Oct 1783, Margaret 6 Oct 1783, Robert 1785, John or William 1790
  3. James Orr and Mary Shedden were married 6 Feb 1778 in Kilbirnie.  Their children: Janet 1780, Margaret 1783.
  4. No marriage was found for James Orr and Ann Huston.  Their children: Robert 4 Aug 1802, William 1809, James 1812.  It is possible that Margaret Allan [Jr] died following the 1801 birth of her son John Orr.  However, a probate record for James Allan who was a Farmer at Lawmarnock, Parish of Kilbarchan mentions his wife Margaret Allan.

A probate record for James Orr who was a farmer at Lawmarnock, Parish of Kilbarchan, Renfrew (Scotland Probate Records, Paisley Sheriff Court, SC58/42/5, p.363-64), contains several facts of interest.  One is his date of death, 25 Sep 1828.  He died intestate and his estate was valued at £118.  Most of the value was in livestock and farming utensils, both of which the executrix (Margaret Allan) had already sold.  There is no indication that he owned any land, or had a lease on land.

The Orr family resided in Lochridge, Kilbirnie, perhaps the same place as the The_Lands_of_Lochridge.  Since they were farmers, the family probably had a leasehold or some other tenant arrangement.  The older son, Patrick, may have taken over the farm.  While the parish records show James [Jr] as residing in Lochridge at the time of his children's baptisms, his daughter Agnes was in Kilbarchan by 1814, as she was of that parish at the time of her marriage.

Summary-James Orr [Jr]  There appears to be sufficient evidence to support identifying the James Orr (MA30) who married Margaret Allan (MA31) in 1781 as the same person as the James Orr baptized 15 Feb 1761 Kilbirnie, son of James Orr [Sr] (MA60) and Margaret Allan [Sr] (MA61) (Church of Scotland, Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, Parish register for 1761).

  • Agnes' father, James [Jr.], was living in Lochridge at the time of her baptism.  James [Sr.] was a farmer in Lochbridge at the time of James [Jr.]'s baptism.
  • James [Jr.]'s death in Kilbarchan parish is consistent with Agnes' marriage in that parish.
  • There are several persons named James Orr in that area of Scotland, but only two, father and son, married a Margaret Allan.
  • The selection of James [Jr.]'s parents is consistent with traditional Scottish naming patterns
  • Most Ancestry Family Trees agree, although sources are not cited.

Which Margaret Allan [Jr.]?  The search for the mother of Agnes Orr followed the same steps as the search for her husband.  The search for Margaret [Jr.] (MA31) assumed that she was born after 1751 (age 50 at birth of last child in 1801), and that she was born before 1766 (at least age 15 at her 1781 marriage).  Family Search and Scotland's People birth/baptism indexes for Ayr identified many possibilities, six of them in Kilbirnie parish:

Baptized in Kilbirnie parish:
  1. Christening Date: 16 Feb 1752 Kilbirnie, Ayr; father: Robert Allan; mother: Margarat Orr
  2. Christening Date: 26 May 1754, Kilbirnie, Ayr; father: John Allan; mother: Anna Macky
  3. Christening Date: 24 Mar 1760 Kilbirnie,Ayr; father: George Allan; mother: Mary Barr
  4. Christening Date: 7 May 1761 Kilbirnie,Ayr; father: Robert Allan; mother: Jean Stirret
  5. Christening Date: 8 Oct 1762, Kilbirnie, Ayr; father: James Allan; mother: Margarat Kirkwood
  6. Christening Date: 3 May 1764 Kilbirnie,Ayr; father: John Allan; mother: Elizabeth Orr

Baptized in nearby parishes:

  1. Birth Date: 26 Apr 1752 Low Church, Paisley, Renfrew; father: William Allan; mother: Mary Hodgert
  2. Christening Date: 13 Mar 1754, Port Glasgow, Renfrew; father: William Allan; mother: Janet Graham
  3. Birth Date: 13 May 1754; Christening Date: 19 May 1754 Irvine, Ayr; father: George Allan; mother: Ann Livingstone
  4. Birth Date: 22 Nov 1756; Christening Date: 25 Nov 1756 Stevenston,Ayr; father: William Allan
  5. Christening Date: 16 Jul 1758 Kilmacolm, Renfrew; father: William Allan; mother: Margaret Killoch
  6. Birth Date: 26 Sep 1758; Christening Date: 27 Sep 1758, Kilwinning, Ayr; father: Hugh Allan; mother: Ann Glasgow
  7. Christening Date: 29 Apr 1759, Riccarton, Ayr; father: John Allan; mother:J ean Fulton
  8. Christening Date: 4 Mar 1760, Lochwinnoch, Renfrew; father: John Allan
  9. Birth Date: 20 May 1760; Christening Date: 25 May 1760, Ardrossan, Ayr; father: Thomas Allan; mother: Ann Colvin

To narrow the selection further, the Scottish naming patterns described above for her husband suggest that her father probably was Patrick or James, and her mother was Margaret.  This combination fit only one of the above possibilities: James Allan and Margaret Kirkwood.

No other clues were available.

Summary-Margaret Allan [Jr]  There appears to be sufficient evidence to support identifying the Margaret Allan [Jr.] (MA31) who married James Orr [Jr.] (MA30) in 1781 as the same person as the Margaret Allan baptized 8 Nov 1762 Kilbirnie, daughter of James Allan (MA62) and Margaret Kirkwood (MA63) (Church of Scotland, Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, Parish register for 1761).

  • The selection of Margaret Allan [Jr.]'s parents is consistent with traditional Scottish naming patterns

James Orr/Margaret Allan Research Notes-Fifth Generation

Return to James Orr [Jr.] in McKaig Notes
Return to Margaret Allan [Jr.] in McKaig Notes


© 2014 Shirley York Anderson