I have been researching the Thorburn family in Ayrshire starting with James Thorburn b 1835 Ayr and wife Margaret Ramage
James and Margaret
James's parents were William Thorburn and Mary Begbie and the Begbie name is continued down through the generations.
However it was hard to find his parents William and Mary again. Son James with wife and family are in Galston, Ayrshire in the 1861 census.
Someone using the search facility on ancestry found a William Thorburn and wife Mary in Delhi Township in Ingham County in Michigan, USA. He and wife Mary had gone out about 1879 to join other members of his family who had been there since 1860s.
Previously to that, they had been in Leshamagow and the censuses reveal that Mary was born about 1831 in Cambusnethan Lanarkshire - too young to be Mary Begbie, the mother of James b 1835. This William Thorburn was born in Douglas, Lanarkshire in 1813 so this Mary is a second wife. More digging revealed an earlier wife Ann Sandilands whom he married in 1842 in Douglas, Lanarkshire. I am still happy to go along with that.
However I am looking for James b Ayr in the 1841 and 1851 censuses. The only ones I can find are
1841 in Kilwinning
at Doura House
Wm Thorburn 25 coal cutter born Scotland not Ayrshire
Janet 15 b Ayrshire
James 5 b Ayrshire
Margaret 3 months b Ayrshire
The 1841 census does not give relationships.
in 1851 there is a family at Holmes Colliery which is near Galston (where James and Margaret are in 1861 census)
And, interestingly, it gives William's place of birth as Stranraer in Wigtownshire, nowhere near Lesmahagow in Lanarkshire.
I have a look for possible births for William Thorburn about 1814 in Stranraer. Wouldn't you know it, there are 2.
By now I'm pretty sure that "our" William is not the one in Michigan.
I found a marriage to Janet Stewart in Kilwinning in 1841
I found a likely burial for Mary Begbie in Ayr in 1837 although she is down as Mary Biggar wife of William Thorburn labourer. Biggar could have been Begbie misheard.
I look for William, Janet, Margaret Wm jnr and Daniel in 1861. Daniel seems a good name to search on, being a less common name.
I find him at Loudoun Kirk (near Galston) in the house of an uncle Robert.
Robert Thorburn 35 coal miner b Ayr
Elizabeth Thorburn 32
Mary Thorburn 5
Sarah Thorburn 10 Mo
William Thorburn 46 coal miner b Stranraer
Daniel Thorburn 16 coal miner b Kilwinning
Finding that William had a brother Robert allows me to find the right family in Stranraer.
Robert Thorburn and Mary Milwrick /Millrick
I found a death certificate for William. It appears he fell into the river Irvine at Galston in the evening of January 4th 1870 and his body was found near Dundonald on the 29th January. No relatives' names are on the certificate but he is 55. Other online trees have him dying in 1890 in Michigan.
One person gets it wrong and everybody else takes it as gospel and copies it without any further thought. It is well worth checking out the censuses and the other family members.
So unless I can get further back and establish a link to the Lesmahagow/Michigan Thorburns they are different families.
The Michigan Thorburns
and see update here