Desperate to find Parents and Birth of William Buchanan of Scotland!

+4 votes
This has been my brick wall for years. I am desperate to tear down the wall! Please help if you are able...

I believe he was born circa 1806 in Scotland. William married Jean (Jane) Calder on 24 January 1830 in Barony Parish, Lanarkshire, Scotland. They had 5 children born between 12 June 1828 and 27 March 1836, all baptized in Barony Parish. He is listed as being a Mason in Maryhill, Stockingfield, Wyndford and Springbank prior to emigrating from Scotland to Ontario, Canada.

I was given a copy of a family story written by his granddaughter Jennie, in the late 1800's, that fills in many gaps in our family history, including a possible family connection to a Moses Buchanan - ship builder and shipping agent with an office on Buchanan Street in Glasgow. This connection is based on a letter her father (John Calder Buchanan) received from Moses, claiming kinship and recalling particular shared memories and time spent together in their younger years. His granddaughter Jennie, thought she recalled that Moses was a cousin to her father (nephew of William), but it seems unlikely he is a literal 1st cousin to her father as that would make William Buchanan's mother (Agnes Youle) in her mid to late 50's when he was born. Not impossible, but not altogether likely either. I could not find a record for such a thing anyhow so I have tentatively ruled that out. I figure that in this case 'cousin' might mean 2nd cousin or something a bit more loose than a 1st cousin relationship. I have been able to find the parents and birth of Moses Buchanan but have yet to find the connection to my William Buchanan aside from the description in Jennie's family story of the letter sent from Moses to William's son John Calder Buchanan.

William died in Ontario, Canada 20 August 1882. His parents and a birth date are not listed. The death filing I found simply states he was 76 years old with an estimated birth year of 1806.
WikiTree profile: William Buchanan
in Genealogy Help by Rayan Turner G2G Crew (930 points)
edited by Rayan Turner
Might be an idea to add 'Scotland' to your question so the right people see it.
thank you! great call.

5 Answers

+4 votes
if you have an ancestry account you can get the names of his parents.
by Living Jones G2G6 Mach 2 (20.0k points)
I have an ancestry account! But no such luck. The only parents I ever found listed for him were a William Buchanan and Agnes Youle. Agnes being the previously mentioned lady, born in 1747 - nearly 59 years before my William's birth circa 1806. These people were very likely attached as William's parents, by a distant relative of mine, who also had a copy of our 'family story' and because of the Moses Buchanan cousin link. William and Agnes are the parents of Moses' father.
Hi there,

There is a possibility I may be linked to William Buchanan, the same one here who emigrated from Scotland to Canada.

The Agnes you mention, is it possible her name might be Agnes Young, rather than Agnes Youle?

Do you have the names of William Buchanans siblings, especially if they remained in Scotland?

Many thanks,

+6 votes

Scotlandspeople have two William Buchanans baptised in Barony around that time. One in 1802 and one in 1804. Here is a link to the search I ran. You can search for free, but would need to buy credits if you want to view the images. If neither of these two is the man you are looking for then try extending the search to Lanarkshire, where I found 14 William Buchanans born between 1800 and 1810. 

by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (678k points)
Thank you Lynda! I have a Scotlands People acct (the best!) and have very likely purchased every single one of those records (I will double check though). I run into trouble in trying to figure out which is him. No particular record jumps out as definitely being the one. None of them provide an obvious tie to Moses Buchanan and there are several of them that are decent possibilities. I simply can't seem to find anything further to solidify any of them.

Also, both Moses and his parents were born in Stirlingshire. I went down that rabbit hole as well, given the connection in some way to my William, but I am just not sure how to find the correct one.

Any particular tips or tricks you might know that can help?

I do have one other possible lead from the family book, which I just remembered and does ring true as far as I can tell... Jennie the author of the book mentions that all first born girls are named Mary. I know that William named his first born girl Mary and both of his sons did as well. In fact Jennie is a nickname for Mary Jane, making her one of those first born girls.

I figure this either means William has a sister named Mary or his mother's name is Mary or some derivative. Sadly, Mary is a common name.

If I were male, I suppose my DNA tests might give me a greater lead on this. My mom and aunt are the last in our particular Buchanan line and my Grandpa has been gone for many years.

Any tidbits you might know of to help me narrow things down or zero in on the correct record are so greatly appreciated! Heeeellllpppp! LOL!
Have you searched your autosomal DNA results on surname, both for him and for collateral lines? That may lead you to a relative who has more information about him.
+4 votes
Tricky one!

Given his age is shown in the 1841 census as 30, that would suggest he was born between 1806 and 1811. Those dates aren't always accurate, but it's possible he is slightly younger than later records suggest.

The names of his children suggest he should be the son of Robert and Mary (or Jean), if they were sticking to traditional naming patterns, but their eldest daughter isn't named after Jean's mother, so it looks like they weren't.

The 1841 census also has him born in Lanarkshire, but I wouldn't rule out him having moved there as a child.
by Suzanne Doig G2G6 Mach 3 (39.2k points)
I forgot about that census! Thank you! I will see if I can find it again. I kept it on standby since it had the wrong ages listed for William and Jean, but it has been nearly 3 years since I considered it and I know a lot more about the family now. Where were you able to see it? Scotlands People or Family Search?

Also yes to the naming traditions. I have hoped that would help me narrow it down, but not so much... Robert, Mary and John (the name of William's second son are all such common names that nearly every possibility for his parents has one or more of them. Ugh.
The ages in the 1841 census were listed within 5 years of the actual birth.  So you find a lot of people looking like they were born in 0 years or 5 years.  see this for how to understand census data for Scotland

Don't get hung up on a birth date looking younger or older from that census
Yes, the 1841 census is on Scotland’s People, although I checked the transcript on Ancestry rather than there. The information is a bit sparse in the 1841 census compared to later ones, but the children in the family matched (plus from memory there was another child not in your list who presumably died young). As Laura says, the ages were rounded down in 1841 for adults, but children’s ages are usually more accurate.

Have you found all the census entries for Moses to check whether he has any elderly relatives or visitors staying with him who might provide a clue?
Thank you so much! Yes this is them for sure now that I know the rounding down of ages took place.
I have quite a bit of info on Moses including a moderate amount on his family but it has still been difficult to connect the dots between these two supposed branches of the same family. BUT, I will absolutely be going back over everything with a fine tooth comb. It has become more obvious to me that this is something that should be done, every now and then. Even a small amount of knowledge changes the entire context of the information.

Aside from the ages listed for William and Jean on the census, there are also two extra children - one or both of them must have died young because one of them has the same name as a child that is recorded later who is said to have been born at sea during their migration to Canada. This also threw me off at the time. But now I believe that she was either - actually born earlier in Scotland - or as with their first two children, she died young and they named a future child, the same name. The latter is probably more likely.

I will be attempting to fill in as many gaps through Moses as possible and see if I can't find the connection, and I have gone over the 1841 Census to see if anyone of the same last name lived anywhere near William. So far, no luck.
Hi sorry I am coming to this late. Moses Buchanan shipping  agent is my husbands 2x great grandfather. His father was also Moses Buchanan. His parents were William Buchanan and Agnes Youle. He died in 1859. My husbands 2x great grandfather died in 1895. He was born around 1828.  I hope that helps
Hi me again.

I knew I had other information that I needed to confirm. My fathers 3x great grandfather Moses had a child william in 1799. He was born out of wedlock and his mother’s name was Elizabeth Miller. That would make him my husbands 2x great grandfather his half brother. Not sure if this is any help.
+2 votes
I am assuming you have solved this now as there is an entry on ancestry for his parents.
+2 votes Mac Farlane Clan gives the connections back into Irish Kings

nn Buchanan
Birthdate:    circa 1568
Alexander Buchanan
Birthdate:    circa 1592
James Buchanan
Birthdate:    circa September 26, 1624 You will have heard of Rob Roy
Robert 'Rob Roy' Buchanan (Buchanan of Trean)
Birthdate:    1650
John Buchanan Of The Offrans
Birthdate:    March 10, 1680 Robert B Buchanan Scotland
Here are some links that trace back over the pond. Good Luck!

by Deborah Probert G2G Crew (510 points)

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