Which County is this? [closed]

+9 votes


This is a Ships passenger list for a ship that left Glasgow in 1876.

I think this county name is Ross - as in Ross and Cromarty, Scotland?

Another possible interpretation could be ROFS - maybe short for something - perhaps Roxburgh or some Irish county name I am not familiar with.

 Can someone please clarify?


closed with the note: Answer received
in The Tree House by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
closed by Robynne Lozier
I think you’re right with Ross. That long-looking double s is not unknown.
Definitely the long s.  Ross and Cromarty, as you guessed.

4 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer
In my opinion (as I have allot of Scottish ancestors) it may look like "Rofs", but I believe it's actually "Refs" as I've seen Refs used to shorten up the word "Renfrewshire".

~Brian Kerr
by Living Kerr G2G6 Pilot (312k points)
selected by Linda Wooddell
Renfrewshire does make sense, since they did emigrate from Glasgow.

I will try and find some census records for the family in that county,

Thanks Brian.
No Mclennans in Renfrewshire in the 1871 and 1861 census records. This county seems to be ruled out.
Please keep in mind that there's many cases where individuals had to temporarily reside in a location at/near a port till the vessel their going to board arrives (or a similar situation).

For example, there's a few ancestors who (for whatever reason) came from Scotland, boarded a vessel in Ireland, sailed to Canada and then came to America from there.

Just a few things to consider based upon my experience.

~Brian Kerr

Renfrewshire, in my experience (and according to listed abbreviations on Place-Names Gazeteer), is usually abbreviated Renf, not Roſs - which would be for Ross-shire aka Ross and Cromarty.

Your referring to "Official Abbreviations" that isn't typically used for those handwritten documents an individual fills out on many occasions (in this case, every time one is filled out for each Voyage/Vessel).

This is one example how so many last names are changed after an individual has arrived from another country.

For example... I've got one relative whose last name was "McLay" from Scotland, but upon arrival & processing in America, the last name was spelled "Maclay" and that was what the individual had to use from there on. This was because it had to match the documents here.

~Brian Kerr

It doesn't change that the scribe on Robynne's document used the long s that looks like an f without a crossbar - frequently used on its own, or paired with a following s and that the letter directly prior is an "o", not an "e". ſ

My name as decided upon by the US is not my name and I do not have to use what they had.  I made them change it.

+6 votes

There's a good help page here: 

Scottish Handwriting

Use the third example on this (linked) page of handwriting examples of the old Secretarial script, the last word on the line, which is your example of the combination of a long s and a short s.

So, using that example, your word is definitely "Ross."

If you'd like more information about the place, please see Scotland's Places where Ross has a lot of detail.

by Bobbie Hall G2G6 Pilot (260k points)
Majority vote seems to be Ross, whiich is kind of good and kind of bad.

The bad thing is there are not too many census records for that county that are not behind a paywall and that also cover the years I need.

Those census records I can find (freeCEN) are the 1841 and 1851 census records which are before the parents got married which really dont help, because I have no speccific place of birth or marriage for them.
+6 votes
I read Ross as well. Also in some old German handwritings they wrote the double "ss" in that way.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)
Thank you Dieter.
+4 votes

I have access to Ancestry.com, which has transcripts (but not images) for the 1861 and 1871 censuses.

For 1871 it lists a Rodrick Mclennan, age 41, shepherd, living at the shepherd's house in Barvas, county Ross and Cromarty, born in Kintail, Ross-shire, together with wife Helen (age 43) and children Hugh (18), Peggy (14), Duncan (15), John (12), Helen (10), and Christina (8).

For 1861 this person is listed as Roderick Mclennan, age 31, farm grieve, living at Upper Barvas in parish of Barvas, born in Glenshiel, Rossshire, with wife Helen (age 34) and children Hugh (11), Duncan (6), Margaret (4), John (3), and Mary (2).

Appears to be same family as your emigrants. Ages of John and Helen slightly older than on passenger's list; two of the children on passenger list are also on 1871 census (oldest child Mary is absent), and the old-enough child is on the 1861 census.

The citations (for those with Scottish census access elsewhere) are Parish: Barvas; ED: 4; Page: 7; Line: 4; Roll: CSSCT1861_11 and Parish: Barvas; ED: 4; Page: 1; Line: 15; Roll: CSSCT1871_15

by Living Geschwind G2G6 Mach 8 (83.9k points)
At least the ancestry.com suggestions suggest that this person is the same as the Roderick McLennan buried 16 March 1898 at Riversdale Cemetery in Riversdale, Southland, NZ
Thank you so much for those census details!!!

Assuming that Rosshire and Ross & Cromarty are the same county, I will go with that.

Thank you again!!
One more thing to note, the McLennans had 2 older sons in the Single Mens section of the passenger list. Duncan aged 21 and John aged 17.

And yes Roderick is buried At Riversdale in Southland, NZ.

Hugh and Peggy I am not familiar with. Either they didnt emigrate on the same voyage or they came out on another ship. Must look into those names.

If you haven't come across it yet: yes, per Wikipedia Ross and Cromarty was formed in 1832 (i.e., two years after Roderick's birth) by the union of Ross-shire and Cromartyshire.

For the parish of Barvas, see Wikipedia - located on the remote island of Lewis, even today the area with the highest concentration of Gaelic speakers in Scotland.

For Glen Shiel, part of the Kintail area on the Scottish mainland, see Wikipedia and Wikipedia. Sure looks romantic!


There is a picture of Roderick McLennan's Grave in the find a Grave if you don't already have this I have included it here.

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