Alexander Mullan and Mary McNeil 1717 Ireland Marriage Records

+3 votes
First off, this may be useful to someone other than me:

Mary McNeil and Alexander Mullan were married August 17 1717 in Ireland. Somehow, though, when the name hits Massachusetts, it gets transformed into MackMillion (like really? It seems unlikely and doesn't seem that they would be trying to go more 'American' and less 'Irish' or 'Scottish'?) Then down the line they add in a Mc? It doesn't help that the name has 41 variations according to Irish National Archives.

There is Alexander Mullan (Dr.), Allistair (His son?) and the guy from Scotland (MackMillion) who was brought over as a POW from a war with England, who was caught fornicating.

They happen to have all lived in Salem, MA. MackMillion started out as a slave in Saugus Iron Works.   

Help needed, if anyone knows how to sort out tangled webs.

Kindly, Calista
WikiTree profile: Alexander Mullen
in Genealogy Help by Calista Massey G2G1 (1.0k points)

1 Answer

+2 votes
Best answer

Calista, it's likely that the various facts you cite in your question come from the lives of several different men named Alexander Mullen/Mullan/McMillen/etc.  Those first and last names are not unusual, so it stands to reason that there were multiple people by that name in Ireland, Scotland, and New England in the 1600s and 1700s. It's rather common for people to try to patch together a collection of facts from people who share nothing more than a name, and as you say it can create a tangled web.

The profile you linked to in your question (Alexander Mullen born in 1643) is unlikely to represent a man who emigrated to America from Ulster circa 1718 or later (he would have been 75 years old in 1718; men that age seldom emigrated). And the man who was married in Dublin on 14 August 1716 (the date on the marriage record you linked to) is very unlikely to have been an Ulster Scot who later went to America, since Dublin is not part of Ulster, and the marriage does not appear to have been in a Presbyterian church (Ulster Scots were Presbyterians). The man who was imported as a prisoner to work in the Saugus Iron Works would have arrived in America in 1650 or 1651, so he was born well before 1643, and he is much more likely to have been from Scotland than Ireland.

As for the names, remember that few people could read and write in the 17th and early 18th centuries, and consistent spelling was a concept that hadn't yet been adopted. Names are spelled in diverse ways in the records (sometimes the same name is spelled differently within one document), and there's rarely any significance to the spelling variations we see.

If you've been collecting records about people with this name, I suggest that you compile all of the records and facts in a list -- document each record you found and what information it contains. Don't think of the facts as relating to one person -- it's just a list of facts about people with this name. For those facts that have dates, you might want to sort them in chronological order. Some of us use WikiTree free-space pages as places to compile collections of notes like these to use for reference.

But your main interest in this name probably relates to an ancestor of yours. What do you know about your ancestor and how do you know it? You haven't added your ancestry to WikiTree yet, so I can't tell what information you have about the generations that sit between you and Alexander...  For best results, work backwards in time!

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
selected by Calista Massey
Thank you so much, Ellen. I will have to use the list-making of events by date to track as I move backward through this tree.

I guess I should clarify, this Alexander is a cousin and it is my understanding they were from New England generations before moving "west". But people were putting in lots of mullen variations as family and it was a jumbled mess back several generations before this Alexander (and yes, there were many Alexanders, possible Allistairs, and possible Archibalds).

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