How can we correct a pre-1500 profile when neither I nor (apparently) the profile manager are pre-1500 approved?

+8 votes
See the profile for the exact details regarding the skipped generation.

I do plan to apply for pre-1500 certification myself, but have not been a member yet for long enough to request the badge.


WikiTree profile: John Guthrie
in Policy and Style by J G G2G6 Mach 8 (84.7k points)
retagged by John Atkinson
I've just added a few extra tags to get this question/comment noticed a bit more

2 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer
I have checked out the tree and it does look like errors have been made. There are no biographical details and no  sources have been added in support. These pre-1500 profiles are the very ones that most people look at and it is a pity that the wrong information appears to have been added and locked in.
by I O G2G6 Pilot (224k points)
selected by J G
Yes. The information is almost certainly wrong - or at best unsourced. It is frustrating to see so many ancestral profiles lacking any biographical details or sources and not be able to do anything about it.

Some excellent and helpful advice here:

When you find an error on a Pre-1500 profile and the current profile manager does not have a Pre-1500 Badge, putting a note on the profile will not help.  The profile manager cannot fix the issue and no one with a Pre-1500 badge will see your request.   Here is what to do:

On G2G post a very clear message about what needs to be fixed, why, and the source of the information to back up the change.   Make sure to add the TAG Pre-1500.   Those with Pre-1500 badges will work these items.

Also, Data Doctors without a Pre-1500 badge can leave the Pre-1500 errors to the Data Doctors who have the badge.

+5 votes

I notice that the suggested change is based on Burke's Landed Gentry publications.  They actually aren't particularly good sources for pre-1500 profiles, as they don't usually cite any primary documents to support the genealogy.

Before any changes are made it would be better to try to find other sources that discuss this family, and only use Burke's as a last resort.

by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (481k points)

Thanks Julie and Iain for the thank yous.  I have started to do what I can with the pre-1500 profiles in this line.  Unfortunately I don't get much time during the week, but will try to do some more next weekend.

A couple of questions though - 

Sir Alexander Guthrie, currently has a birth date on Wikitree of about 1468, but given he had sasine of his father's lands in 1474, I presume he had to be an adult, so maybe a birth date of 1450-1455?

Then John of Hilton (Hilltoun/Hiltoun?) if he is the 4th son a very rough estimate of about 1485?  But this then puts all his descendants dates out.  Given his great great great grandson John Guthrie, Bishop of Moray, had to have been born mid-1570s, that's 6 generations in about a 100 years which seems too many.  Do we know if all the intervening generations are definitely father to son?  

Back to Alexander, all the secondary sources state he married Margaret Lyon, daughter of John Lyon, 3rd Lord Glamis, and Elizabeth Scrymgeour, but in The Scots Peerage, vol. 7, page 277, Margaret married someone else.  So do we know who is Alexander's wife? There is a Agnes Falconer who was contracted to Alexander Guthrie of that Ilk on 15 April 1567.  See here 

Thanks, John. You make an excellent point regarding generations, and there does seem to be a great deal of confusion regarding dates of birth of that lineage due to there being insufficient sources. My own version makes rather more sense but some of the dates look a little contrived:

 I have Sir Alexander Guthrie down as being born ca 1447 at Guthrie (but unsourced). This is 20 years earlier than the entry on WikiTree and would mean he was 66 when he was killed at Flodden.

I don't have a date for Sir Alexander's son, Alexander Guthrie, 4th of Kincaldrum but if his father was born ca 1447, a birth date of ca 1468 for him might make sense. Have they been confused?

I have Sir Alexander Guthrie's son, John Guthrie, 1st of Hilton as being born ca 1466, but again unsourced.

Sir John, second of Hilton I have as being born ca 1485 at Kincaldrum. One site has him as being born at Trabzon, Turkey (

David Guthrie, 3rd of Hilton I have as being born ca 1505 at Hilton.

Charles Guthrie born ca 1525

Patrick Guthrie born ca 1550 at Saint Andrews.

And then the Rt Rev. John Guthrie, 11th Baron of Guthrie, Bishop of Moray, born 1577 and gaining his MA at Saint Andrews in 1597.

I would take all these dates with a pinch of salt.

That is an interesting find regarding Margaret Lyon. (The Scots peerage; founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's peer...)

The possibility of her marrying Alexander Guthrie and James Rynd are not necessarily mutually exclusive - her great (x2) grandmother Lady Jean, daughter of King Robert II was married three times.

However, the date of her marriage contract (10 Jun 1495) quoted there is coherent compared to those of her elder sisters, and does rather throw the cat amongst the pigeons regarding the accepted theory that it was she who married Sir Alexander Guthrie.

The discovery of the Agnes Falconer who was contracted to Alexander Guthrie of that Ilk on 15 April 1567 is again very interesting.

Her husband may have been Alexander Guthrie, 4th of Guthrie who would have been Guthrie of that Ilk in 1567. In this case it would seem to be a second marriage as he already had an adult son. (see below).

Another possibility would be his son, Alexander Guthrie, 5th of Guthrie. But he did not gained the title until 07 January 1569 upon the resignation of his father. 


Interesting posts. In a more general point, I believe that the number of years between generations may have been overestimated. Many seem to make the assumption that men generally married when they were aged 25 and women when they were aged 20.

My own observations of the East Lothian coal mining community suggests that these men married generally when they were 20, giving five generations every 100 years, rather than four for the general assumption.

Nobility often married young with the emphasis being on producing an heir to the title. Margaret Beaufort is believed to have been born in May 1443 (disputed). If that is correct she would have been just 13 at the birth of the future Henry VII of England.,_Countess_of_Richmond_and_Derby

Another point to bear in mind  is that:

Before 1929, Scots law followed Roman law in allowing a girl to marry at twelve years of age and a boy at fourteen, without any requirement for parental consent. However, according to one early 20th-century source*, marriage in Scotland at such young ages was in practice almost unknown. No doubt if marriages between children had become common, there would have been public pressure to raise the legal minimum age of marriage earlier than 1929. The Age of Marriage Act 1929 (applying in Scotland, England & Wales but not in Northern Ireland) made void any marriage between persons either of whom was under the age of sixteen. Sixteen remains the lower age-limit today, contained in the current legislation, the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977. Scots law still has no requirement for parental consent.

*Source: Vital registration: a manual of the law and practice concerning the registration of births, deaths and marriages. (G T Bisset-Smith. 1st edition. Edinburgh: William Green & Sons, 1902)
Even with a 20 year generation, that's means we have to assume  the eldest child is always the son who succeeded and that there weren't children who died young or a daughter born first?

If Alexander was born in 1447 (and I think that is too early, given he was from the second marriage), then it is almost impossible, John, 1st of Hilton was born in 1466, given he was supposedly the 4th son.

I think either there is an extra generation in there somewhere, or John is actually the son of David and brother of Alexander?

I've been looking but so far haven't been able to find any genealogy for this family that doesn't rely on Burkes.
I may have misunderstood, but I think the implication being made was the generations might be 15 years or so rather than 25, the logic being that most people assume men get married at 25, but miners in the 17th century often got married at 20. In Scotland it was legal for a boy to marry at 14 and a girl at 12, and we have the example of a noblewoman who allegedly gave birth at 13 in the 15th century.

I take your points, John. Yes, I agree that we need to find alternative sources. As you so rightly pointed out at the start, Burkes are not the most reliable, and you've found additional evidence that questions the Lyon Guthrie marriage.

And no, the eldest son did not always succeed. 

According to our family tradition, Sir Alexander 2nd of Guthrie, 3rd of Kincaldrum was killed at the battle of Flodden Field in 1515, along with his eldest son and heir, David (who was named after his paternal grandfather Sir David Guthrie, 2nd of Kincaldrum/1st of Guthrie according to traditional Scottish naming patterns). So in this case it was his grandson, Andrew Guthrie, 3rd of Guthrie  who was served heir to his grandfather.

However, I don't understand about Alexander being from a second marriage. I think we may have been discussing two different Alexander Guthries who were living a century or so apart? Agnes Falconer was contracted to Alexander Guthrie of that Ilk on 15 April 1567

I just wanted to add that I used to know a wonderful man named Ken Cargill  who had been head of news at BBC Scotland. He lived at Frockheim very close to Guthrie Castle and he kindly sent me various documents regarding the castle and chapel - unfortunately I don't know the sources.

His wife had close connections to Guthrie Castle and used to welcome Clan Guthrie USA who used to have an annual reunion at the castle, which had been sold by the Guthries and turned into a wedding venue. Recently it was in the news here as someone had been double-booking weddings and then ran off with all the money. Not the greatest of days for Guthrie Castle.

Sadly Ken passed away a few years ago after a sudden illness. He was a truly wonderful man and almost like a second father to me.

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