Who’da Thunk? Canada Births Found In Scotland Old Parish Records


This blog has a section “Not My Ancestor; Maybe Yours”. We post no story there, just data found from trips down rabbit holes. Information that would otherwise be deleted. Search engine evidence shows that others do access the information.  So, this entry could easily have gone there, but for the surprise find, alluded to by the title.  A broader audience may find this a useful tip.

Here is a little bit of the story to show where the data fitted into our research effort. Our grandfather was found to be adopted and his adoptive family was fully explored. Then a hunt ensued for his biological parents. We established they were likely not biologically related to the adopters. Also, that the most likely father was a John Kelly born 1859 US, who was found only once by census, that of Scotland 1881.1 He was a farm servant whose census entry was next to Lauchope House, of the landed proprietor James Roberton.

The next ploy was to find associates of John, on whose account he decided to make a trip to a Scotland farm and so, to determine from whence he hailed in the US. Now, James Roberton was noted as off to London, but his Irish wife Anastasia (Hopkins) was in residence. She showed children who had been born in Canada.1

“Give that up”, you say. John was born “somewhere” in the US and Anastasia’s children, “somewhere” in Canada. How might their paths have ever crossed?

As it was, one of the hundreds of available John Kelly to consider was of a farm family in Wayne County MI.2 His parents were Irish. Turns out they married in Glasgow and spent a minimum decade and half in the area.1 Some Hopkins were immediate neighbors, who might bring forth the sought association. Before his birth in Michigan, five siblings had been born in Scotland – and one in Canada.2

The Canadian Kelly was born around 1851, about the time of Roberton issue there.3 But, where in Canada, eh? Definitely not easy to nail down through Canadian records, so the matter was put aside. We returned to Scotland to monitor Roberton movements through potential births there, to find they had moved back by 1854, when this popped up:


Note that each Canada-born child is separately entered, but all to the same data piece. So, Roberton were recorded to Township of Thurlow, County of Hastings, Victoria District of Upper Canada and Bellville, Victoria District. Thank you Scotland.

We never searched for the Canadian Kelly and eventually took the Roberton’s off our radar screen. Oh, and the Wayne County John Kelly, too.

Posts authored by Doublegenealogytheadoptionwitness are © copyright marileewein.com 2018-2019. All rights reserved.

Notes and Sources:

1 Statutory Registers Birth Marriage and Death, Scotland Censuses 1841-1911, and Old Parish Records of BMD found at www.scotlandspeople.uk.gov are Crown copyright © National Records of Scotland. Specific citations, but not limited to, are:
1881 KELLY, JOHN (Census 625/2 12/ 23) Page 24 of 25
Catholic Registers Banns and Marriages: Kelly John (-) Catharine 31/7/1838 Glasgow St Andrews.
Catholic Registers Births and Baptisms 10/6/1841 Glasgow St Andrew’s to 15/12/1848 17/12/1848 Glasgow St Mary’s for John Kelly/Catherine Collins.
08/11/1847 ROBERTON, VICTORIA (Old Parish Registers Births 625/ 30 479 Bothwell) Page 479 of 496
2 Documents accessed at Findmypast Ltd. www.findmypast.com © Brightsolid online publishing Ltd., © 2017 Findmypast and with thanks for Findmypast www.findmypast.uk.com
US Censuses 1860-1900 from United States Archive and Record Administration (NARA) www.archives.gov for John Kelly born 1857 Michigan and located in Wayne County.  Father: John Kelly born about 1816 Ireland, Farmer. Mother: Catherine Kelly born about 1817 Ireland.


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