Should this surname be Mycall or Micall?

+2 votes

I think I know the answer to this, but it's best to ask.

[[Mycall-2|James Mycall or Micall]] probably belongs to the Puritan Great Migration. He married Mary Farr and they had a daughter Rebecca, who was apparently his only child.  She currently has three Wikitree profiles: [[Mycall-1]], [[Micall-1]], and [[Micall-2]]. However their last name was spelled, the name seems to have died out in Massachusetts after her marriage.

I'm trying to figure out which spelling to adopt as the LNAB for these two profiles.

The name "James Mycall" apparently appears briefly in The Great Migration Begins. It also appears (with that same spelling) in Savage's Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England. I think this indicates that the "Mycall" spelling is the one to use -- or is there some reason to choose "Micall"?

WikiTree profile: Rebecca Thayer
in Policy and Style by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
retagged by Jillaine Smith
Because of your query, I dug into James Mycall, cleaned up his narrative, detached him from the wrong Mary Farr, recreated a new spouse (and mother of Rebecca), and cited the heck out of the recent research distinguishing the two Mary Farrs. Fun.
I added "scottish clans" as a tag in hopes of catching the attention of that project. This is really interesting history.

A whole collection of Scottish prisoners were sent to Massachusetts about 1651 after their defeat at the Battle of Dunbar. I found a bunch of links on Google about this, and listed some of them on the profile of James Mycall.

Fascinating... (Thanks again, Ellen...)
Jilliaine, all I can say is "wow!"
This information also may begin to supply a coherent context for the mess of confusing information (and misinformation and mistaken inferences) related to the [ Dorothy Pray] (putative daughter of [ Quentin Pray], who appears to have been a foreman or manager at the iron works) who married the Richard Thayer of another generation.

All this then sent me researching Richard Thayer...

The Richard3 Thayer who married Rebecca Mycall was grandson of the immigrant Richard1 Thayer of Thornbury, Gloucester, England who emigrated about 1641. (Also too late for PGM.)

While documenting HIM, I came across this:

"Ancient Iron Works in Taunton," in NEHGR 38:266

In 1653, an iron works was being formed in Taunton. There is reference to the suspension of an iron works in Braintree (home of the Thayers) in 1653 (!)

"Additional records show the names of ... [many men]... Richard Thayer of Braintree-- contributing from L20 to L5 each, for whole, half and quarter shares." 

This is referring to a document from 1653, and implies that one of the (many) Richard Thayers was investing in the iron works. Later text implies this was Richard2 Thayer, son of the immigrant and father of the husband of Rebecca...


I think I'm getting the picture...

Richard1 Thayer m. Dorothy Mortimer. He was an investor in the Taunton Ironworks. His son:

Richard2 Thayer m. Dorothy Pray. Her supposed father Quentin Pray was a foreman or otherwise staffed at the Taunton Ironworks. Their son:

Richard3 Thayer m. Rebecca Mycall, daughter of a forge workman at the Iron Works, James Mycall, also a Scottish prisoner who had fought at the Battle of Dunbar, was among thousands marched from Scotland to England (only about a third of whom survived the march), then shipped off with a batch of his countrymen to Massachusetts and Maine.
And there are several more Richard Thayers (sons and cousins) that have not been added to Wikitree yet... And that's not to mention the conflation of Thayers with Thatchers that is evident in profiles like and

We need to be very careful about the Thayers. Research published in 1906 and subsequently for many decades relied on what turned out to be inaccurate transcriptions of the Thornbury parish records-- and even some old wills there. I added this to the immigrant's profile:

Clifford Stott published in 1998 a serious and critical review of past research done on the Thayer family, and pointed out MANY errors of previous transcriptions. He re-analyzed the original parish records of Thornsbury, and published a new, corrected transcription of them. He also transcribes early probate records.

Source: Clifford L. Stott, "The Gloucester T(h)ayer Ancestry," in TAG,73(1998):82-86

There's also a 1995(?) genealogy of the Thayer family, but it's not online; no hard copy at Library of Congress, but NEHGS in Boston has a copy.



One doesn't need to go to Thornbury to find issues in the Thayer history. There's a lot of confusion -- particularly on the Internet -- regarding Thayers in America, too.

2 Answers

0 votes
it depends where they are from bbut i would say mycall
by anonymous G2G Crew (300 points)
0 votes
Nice work, Ellen.  

It's Mycall throughout NEHGS's online database of its records. In a few places it's written McCall. supposedly, he was a Scottish prisoner.  

He appears to have come over too late to be part of PGM.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (757k points)
Hi All,

If he was a Scottish prisoner then the spelling would be McCall or McColl. However the way it sounds when a Scot pronounces it would sound like MiCall  to non Scots ears. If the name was written down at that point it would explain the change in spelling.

All the best

Hi All,

A quick search of Scotlandspeople OPR between 1619 & 1621 show the following 6 births. Have a check at the spelling variations in the records & you'll see what I mean.

3/04/1620    MACALL    PATRIK    ROBERT MACALL/JONET BATHKET FR26 (FR26)    M    HADDINGTON    /EAST LOTHIAN    709/00 0010 0020     



02/10/1621    MCCALLA    THOMAS    ALLAIN MCCALLA/JONET AULDCORNE FR132 (FR132)    M    KELSO    /ROXBURGH    793/00 0010 0256    

09/12/1621    MCCALLA    THOMAS    JOHNNE MCCALLA/JONNAT ALANE FR462 (FR462)    M    CANONGATE    EDINBURGH CITY CITY/MIDLOTHIAN    685/03 0020 0336        


If I was to hazard a guess if one of these was the profile in question I'd look at this one a bit more:



All the best


A place to check for the court records of his would be the National Archives of Scotland & England (  & )

All the best

Billy, thanks for coming over here. I continued to read up on those prisoners. There were thousands who were captured and marched south into England, something like 30% died en route?!! And then some subset of the balance was shipped off to the colonies.

I saw a couple of references (in records contemporaneous to the period) to James Mycall is "M'call" with an apostrophe.

Poor James didn't live long after his emigration to the new world.

Anyway, I think this would make for a great sub-project of the Scottish clans-- what happened to the Scots who emigrated en masse like this? There were at least two waves that I know of-- maybe three? This early 1650s one, early 1700s after some horrendous battle (or did the Scots win that one?) and then Culloden resulted in a wave of Scots being shipped off to the colonies...

Anyway, fascinating history... I have no Scottish blood myself; my husband has a few drops... but they came (from Stirling, Polmont, Lanarkshire) to the US much later-- about 1800...
Hi Jillaine,

Regarding the McCall surname it depending on his ancestry he may not be a member of a Scottish Clan as some of the McCalls are affiliated to the O'Callahan Clan in Ireland.

Regarding some of the subsets that were shipped off to the colonies that was done in a number of ways e.g transportation as part of their punishment; passage paid for by being an indentured servant, worker or appentice tradesman; highland clearances where the landowners cleared the land to make way for sheep & other animals; emigration, migration & so on.

1650 was the battle of Dunbar & unfortuantely the English won that round :)

All the best

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