This investigation revealed a lot of McLeods in Scotland who turned out to have another name entirely.
I was investigating the Burns family who came from Ireland to work in the fireclay industry in Garnkirk near Glasgow by June 1856 (birth of James Burns)
Ancestry tree http://trees.ancestry.co.uk/tree/26613651/person/1881074595
If you have an ancestry account in another country you should change the co.uk to the appropriate country eg .com .ca .ie
In 1861 they were living at 42 Garnkirk
John Burns 30 fireclay miner
Ellen Burns 32
John Burns 10
William Burns 8
Elizabeth Burns 6
James Burns 4
Ann Burns 3
In 1871 they are living in Garnkirk Workhouse which seemed to function as lodgings for those working in the fireclay works. The 2 Mcleods are listed as their lodgers.
John Burns 41
Mary H Burns 36
John Burns 21
William Burns 19
Elizabeth Burns 17
James L Burns 14
Annie Burns 13
Martha Burns 9
Samuel Mcleod 21 b 1850 stonemason
James Mcleod 16 b 1854 mason labourer
All apart from the three youngest children were born in Ireland. The McLeods were stonemasons.
And the wife appears to be different.
First wife was Helen McLeod daughter of William McLeod farmer and Ann McLeod (McLeod is also her maiden surname), both deceased. She died aged 41 on the 7th June 1869 of shock and haemorrhage after a confinement. Presumably the infant did not survive either as he/she is not present in 1871 census.
John married again in October the same year to Mary Ellen McLeod (another one!) a widow of Garnkirk. Perhaps John was struggling to raise the baby. Could Mary Ellen be a relation of first wife Helen? Her parents are recorded as Hamilton McLeod farmer and Margaret Waters (both deceased). John's parents were David Burns carrier and Elizabeth Johnston (both deceased).
No mention of Mary Ellen's first husband. Witnesses to the marriage were Charles McLeod and Jane McLeod. (So far we have 9 different Irish McLeods in the story)
Mary Ellen died in 1911. The informant was her stepson William Burns who would not have known much of her origins. He gives her first husband as James McLeod mason (McLeod no 10) and her parents as James McLeod and Jane Hamilton. This differs from the marriage certificate information which would have been provided by Mary Ellen herself so her information is more reliable.
I looked for the 1871 lodgers Samuel and James McLeod. I pick up Samuel in 1881 and 1891 in Coatbridge but single so no further family information.
At this point I change tactics and look for the McLeod with the most unusual name. That would be Hamilton McLeod. He may have stayed in Ireland but there could be a son or grandson with the same name in Scotland. I find a Hamilton McLeod born 1875 to James and Jane McLeod. James is a stonemason. This is looking likely.
Familysearch.org has his birth: Hamilton Mcleod birth 02 Nov 1874 Bridgeton, Glasgow;
parents James Mcleod, Jane Mccready
In the 1871 census in Glasgow we have
James Mcleod 32 b 1839
Jane Mcleod 30
Ann Mcleod 4
Joseph Mcleod 2
Elizabeth Mcleod 4 month
Edward Mcleod 20 lodger mason b 1851
James Mcleod 20 lodger labourer b 1851
Catherine Mccrady 16 niece ( of Jane)
all born Ireland except the three children
I am now beginning to lose count of the McLeods. (13, not counting the wife Jane and the 3 children)
Could Jane Mcleod be the witness 2 years earlier to the wedding of Mary Ellen?
look for James McLeod's death and find it in 1902 on scotlandspeople.
His parents are Hamilton McLeod and Margaret Watterson. This is close
enough to Mary Ellen's parents (Waters rather than Watterson)! They are
I had a look at the birth certificates of John Burns and first wife Helen's children.
Two of them provided interesting information:
Martha's gave a marriage date of 27 Dec 1850 in Ireland
James's gave his mother's maiden name as McLurg. The others had McLeod
as expected. Could this just be the registrar's mishearing of the Irish
pronunciation of McLeod? I file this information away in my mind!
the family is at Store Row, Cadder
John Burns 61 fireclay miner
Mary Ellen Burns 56
Janet Burns 10 dau b Glasgow 1881
James Donaldson 44 boarder
Robert Hinds 1 boarder
and after the death of John
in 1901 in High Row
Mary E Burns 66 housewife
Janet Burns 20 dau general servant
Michael Masterton 19 visitor railway porter b Ireland
Much later I have another look at the origins of the McLeods. I had help from a descendant of James McLeod and Jane Mcready. She tipped me off regarding his will.
James who died in 1902 in Glasgow had a will recorded in Belfast in the name of McClurg from the town of Crossgar in Co Down. Type in Mcclurg, James 1902 here on Proni
It turns out that all the McLeods were McLurg/McClurgs from the parish of Kilmore in County Down.
I used Ros Davies's site for County Down to find
the marriage of John Burns to first wife Helen McClurg
Miss Ellen McClurg ; daughter of William McClurg ; married John
Burns 9 Jan 1850 (not quite the date on Martha's birth cert but the
James McClurg, son of Hamilton McClurg, to Jane McReedy 21 Nov 1859
A tip off from another McClurg descendant finds the will of William McClurg, also on Proni, father of John Burns's first wife Helen who pre-deceased her by two years in 1867. He left her a shilling. It also lists his other living children. Wonderful!
Mary Ellen McClurg daughter of Hamilton McClurg married in 1852 in Belfast, would you believe it, Andrew McClurg son of Andrew McClurg. (on familysearch ) (McClurgs nos 15 and 16!)
They may be the parents of Ellen born 1856 in Killyreagh.
A look on proni for a death of Andrew finds a possible will of Andrew senior in 1862. He was a mason in Crossgar and had a wife Betty, sons Hugh, Andrew and James. The will is worth a read to see who gets his youngest cow!
There is a death also for an Andrew in 1864 aged 32 which could be Mary Ellen's husband, but no will.
I still have to work out the identities of the lodgers, and to find the birth certificate of Mary Ellen's daughter Janet Burns b 1881 in Glasgow.
I don't know why the McClurgs changed their name to McLeod in Scotland. I believe others that went to America did the same. Was it because of prejudice against the Irish? Or was it just easier to spell?
Update 3 July 2014
Burns descendant Angus has found Mary Ellen in the 1911 census just before she died. She has a hitherto unknown daughter living with her Mrs Margaret A Rutherford age 57 born Ireland making her a daughter of the first husband that I believe to be Andrew McLurg. Angus found her marriage certificate to George Rutherford in June 1871. She was 18 and living in Garnkirk and her parents are Andrew McLeod (confirmation of name) and Mary Ellen McLeod maiden name McLeod. Witnesses Samuel McLeod (who was a lodger with Mary Ellen in 1871 census and Ann Jane unrecognisable surname.
I found George Rutherford in the 1871 census in Shettleston but no sign of Margaret Ann although her address in June of that year is Garnkirk.
It is good that so many of us are working on the case and pulling the threads together!