I’m writing this blog post partially in frustration I must admit. Over the last 3 years of research I’ve been continuously troubled by the mixing up, conflating, carelessness or what have you of the “researchers” on Ancestry.com over these two gentlemen. So, I’ll write this blog post in an attempt to clarify, once and for all, the distinction between these two men.
On one level, it is easy to see why there is confusion. Both Johns were born in roughly the same period and it was the distant past. Both married Camerons (and they were sisters). Both had sons named John. And, both were from the western part of Scotland. They were, by my reckoning, cousins. Here the similarities end. There is certainly enough information available for a researcher who cares to find the information to perceive the distinction.
John McLaurin was born about 1645. We have this from the G.G. McLaurin book “G.G. McLaurin and Some of His Kin.” The age is deduced and approximate. It is deduced from the tradition mentioned in the very old letter he had that John attended the coronation of Charles II, at Scone on 1 January 1651. So, the question is, “How small a child?” This we can’t know, so the birth year is put at approximately 1645 which would have made him about 5 years old. He may have been two or three years older or maybe a couple years younger but certainly born in the 1640s.
John MacLaurin, by contrast was born in 1658. How do we know this? Well, his sons were famous so we have the advantage that some care was taken in obtaining the specific information relating to the circumstances of their birth and that of their parents. This database entry provides the information about Rev. John MacLaurin, http://histfam.familysearch.org/getperson.php?personID=I28502&tree=Fasti. He was born in 1658. His wife was Mary Cameron. And, we even get a marriage date of 2 December 1690. Mary Cameron since she was also the daughter of a minister, we know her parents names were John Cameron and Mary Campbell.
The children. I think we get even more confusion because both their first sons were named John. John McLaurin’s first son was John (known as John of Culloden for having been killed in that battle at 65 years old) and was born in 1680. Rev. John MacLaurin’s son John was born in 1690 and would become the next Rev. John MacLaurin and publish many works of religious significance. Their other children, Rev. John had John, Daniel and Colin. Daniel died young. Colin and Rev. John’s lives are well documented. John McLaurin’s children were John, Duncan, Christian, Hugh and Dugald. Of these, I go back to Hugh, known as Hugh of Glennahyle, and Christian. Duncan I have verified though DNA with a match from a cousin at 66/67 markers. Our Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) is John McLaurin. The information concerning the names comes from G.G. McLaurin’s book referenced above. As I said, we’ve since validated this information with DNA so it appears to be correct. Hopefully this information will be of some assistance to my fellow researchers and perhaps cousins.