M*call Families of Edinburgh, Pencaitland and Haddinton 16th and 17th centuries

+3 votes
I'm researching the M*call families who lived in Edinburgh as early as at least 1561. In this year, John M'Call (aka Johne Makcall) became a member of the Burgess by right of his wife Isobell Macmorane, daughter of William. From what I've been able to piece together, John and Isobell may have had these children:
Quintigern Mungo McCall (1576-1658) m.Isobell Cochrane, David McCall (1590-1639) m. Christian Wight, John McCall (    -    ),     William McCall (    -    ), Catherine McCall (1560-    ) m. Hew Crawford, and Margaret McCall (    -    ) m. Alexander Crawford.  (1, 2)

I think that descendants of John and Isobell ended up in Pencaitland and then Haddington, but have yet to document this.

In 1639, David McCall died in 1639 in Pencaitland. In his Last Will he gave over 12,000 merks to pay for a week-day preacher (3) for Tron Kirk (4) for which he had been treasurer, and also gave money to the poor in Pencaitland. I think that David was a son of Mungo.

In 1675, William McCall-  "Disposition by William McCaull, burgess of Hadingtoun, to Alexander Maitland, factor and chamberland to the Duke of Lauderdaill, and Katherene Cunynghame, his spouse, of doucat standing on the south side of the yard adjacent and belonging to the said William McCaull's tenement of land lying on the east side of the Sydgait, in burgh of Hadingtoun." (NRS: GD1/199/65)

I've many other documented facts about the many members of this family with numerous spelling variations and would like to sort them all out. I believe that one of these descendants will be George [Mackall-173] born about 1640 who married Ann Hepburn of Haddington. George and Ann came to the colony of Maryland by 1661. George is likely brother or cousin of Jane Mackall [Mackall-174] and related to James Mackall [Mackall-4]. {Jane is my 8th great grandmother.}

Has anyone researched these M*Call families and be willing to collaborate with me?
Or does anyone know if there is already a published family history of these families?
Also, does anyone know for sure which Clan they belong to?
I've found differing answers across the internet.

Thanks so much for any assistance!

1. Brown James J., "THE SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC INFLUENCES OF THE EDINBURGH MERCHANT ELITE, 1600-1638: Volume I and II" (dissertation University of Edinburgh, 1985), http://hdl.handle.net/1842/6860.
2. "Roll of Edinburgh Burgesses and Guild Brethern,"  database, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/scottishrecordso46scotuoft : accessed ); extracted from Watson Charles B. Boog, ed., Roll of Edinburgh Burgesses and Guild Brethern: 1406-1700 (Edinburgh, Scotland: Scottish Record Society, 1898, 1929)
3. Wood, Marguerite. The Tron Church; The Book of the Old Edinburgh Club Vol. 29; 1956. pp. 96-99, 110. http://www.oldedinburghclub.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/BOEC-OS/Volume-29.pdf
4. Tron Kirk https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tron_Kirk A well-known landmark in Edinburgh along the High Street.

cross posted to WikiTree's Scotland Project
WikiTree profile: Jane Smith
in Genealogy Help by Beth Golden G2G6 Mach 1 (16.8k points)

1 Answer

+2 votes
My understanding is that MacColl (Caln Cholla) ceased being a formal clan when its leaders were killed in 1602 by a band of McPhersons (no hard feelings).

Originally the MacColls were associated with clan MacDonald, but when the Stuarts established themselves in Appin (granted by King James III in 1470), the Appin MacColls shifted their allegience to the Stuarts of Appin.  It appears that the MacColls were in frequent conflict with the Campbells to the south, but were friendly with the MacDougalls around Oban and the MacDonalds to the north.  There seems to have been a major movement of MacColls from Appin to the Island of Lismore  in the1700s.

Some statistics based on Scottish birth records are revealing:  Ca. 1800, "McColl" was about twice as frequent as "McCall" (the "Mac-" form was not yet common), and 75% of the McColls were from Argyll.  Of the Argyll portion, about half were from Lismore and Appin, and the rest were widely dispersed.  The "McCall" form was quite rare in Argyll, but common in Lanark.

Frequency of the "McCall" form shows a sudden jump (a doubling in one decade!) about 1860, with little change in the frequency of the "McColl" form.  I haven't tried to trace that event, but I suspect there may have been some re-patriation from Northern Ireland, where the "McCall" form is prevalent, to the Glasgow area.

Apparently there are some other family lineages that converged on similar spellings, but I have never been able to make much sense of it, and they are comparatively few in abundance.

I did this analysis maybe 10 years ago (in much finer detail), and never thought anyone else would have much use for it.  Hope it helps!

Comparing Scottish birth records by parishes
by Alec MacCall G2G1 (1.3k points)

Thank you so much, Alec! Great information and I'm glad that you previously researched this and saved the results. Do you have any information about earlier, especially in the Edinburgh area? My ancestors had left Scotland in the 1650s. Their surname was spelled a variety of ways: Makcall, Mackall, McCall, Macall, MacCaull, McGaell, and even more.

An adjunct question regards Clan McCall (Caithness) which has a yDND project at FTDNA. The administrator states that this clan originated in Ireland. "It is unknown when our family came to Ireland, but we were there before the Milesians (present day Irish) and the Scoti (present day Scots)."

Forebears  does show individuals with the surname MacCall living in Edinburgh and who seem to be related to the M'Call men I've found. The article attributes this family to Clan MacKall (Caithness). Citations for the article include Ray McCall, Captain & Arimger of Clan MacKall (Caithness) and "The Surnames of Scotland" (1946) by George Fraser Black (1866-1948). "they are exiled with the 3 Collas brothers in 326 AD for killing the Ard Ri of Ireland in 323 AD. They are exiled to Scotland with the 3 Collas brothers and the other Clans that supported the Collas Rebellion. In 329 AD the 3 Colla brothers along with 9 retainers each are allowed to return to Ireland, but the Clans that helped them are still exiled." -Ray McCall

Thanks again!

First of all, the spelling of my name is sort of a mistake.  My ancestral McColl's were cleared from Lismore in the 1850's, and changed the spelling to McCall upon arrival to the US.  Then, in the 1920's my father wanted to emphasize that we were Scottish and changed it to MacCall, but he had no idea that the new spelling was associated with an entirely different lineage from southern Scotland.  Nowadays it is usually spelled MacColl in Argyll.

The Irish McCalls are a puzzle; perhaps the experts can enlighten us.  I have been unable to find any clear or even fuzzy connection to their Scottish counterparts, and I feel that the evidence supports the Scottish MacColls being a separate lineage (traditionally, founded by one of the sons of Somerled and therefore post-12th Century).

I know nothing of the early McColls that left Argyll, but there was clearly a diaspora in the mid-1700's when something bad happened.  About the only source I can recommend would be the MacColl Society Journals and other documents created by Hugh Geoffrey MacColl.  The best collection is at the Lochaber Archives in Ft. William, but a few other worldwide institutions seem to have sets of the Journal.  I have never seen one.

Good luck! --Alec
Thanks again, Alec. Good for your dad to change the spelling of your surname, even if it wasn't technically the correct spelling. I appreciate the lead to the MacColl Society Journals by Hugh Geoffrey MacColl. Here's a link to the Lochaber Archive Center. One can email them to request information. https://www.highlifehighland.com/lochaber-archive-centre/

Another link  to a nice little story of the MacColl family of North Carolina visiting. https://www.highlifehighland.com/lochaber-archive-centre/

all the best and good luck back to you!
Hi, Beth--

I can't resist telling you a little about Hugh G MacColl (and hope I have the story right).  He was a fanatic about MacColl genealogy.  In addition to founding the Clan MacColl Society and editing the Journal, he contacted an enormous number of MacColls, internationally, and compiled family trees for many different lineages (e.g., I am from "C6").  Laura Gloag, who is the genealogist for Lismore, has been impressed with the accuracy of his work.

Hugh died tragically in an automobile accident in 1947.  His genealogical trees had disappeared--people knew they once existed, but no one knew where they were.

Just a few years ago the trees were found in an abandoned hut near Glencoe.  They are now part of Hugh's massive collection at the Lochaber Archive.
Hi Alec, thanks so much for the 'back story'! How wonderful that someone found Hugh's work!!
That link to the McCalls of N. Carolina took me to the Lochaber Center in general.  Where to go from there?

The few people I know that have used the archive went there in person (which is just about impossible for me).  The web site says "If you would like further information on the collections please contact us via email on lochaber.archives@highlifehighland.com or telephone 01397 707050" so that would presumably be the next step.  It looks like the center has only recently re-opened, and its operations may still be limited.  Good luck!  And if you learn something useful, please post the rest of us!

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