Duncan MacDonald - probably born 1760

Duncan was reputedly born in Glenurquhart in 1760 but there is no record of his baptism. He was also said to be over 90 when he died. My grandfather's notes suggest he may have been born about 1740 and died in 1833

We know from his son John's death certificate that the maiden name of Duncan's wife was Ann McGregor. A 1789 marriage record includes 'Duncan son to John McDonald Balnalurig and Ann daughter to James McGregor Balbeg Inchbraon'.

When was Duncan born?

In grandfather's notes, Duncan's father was called John.

There are 3 possibilities for Duncan. The OPR show two Duncans born in Urquhart and Glenmoriston, with fathers named John MacDonald, between 1725 and 1785:- one in 1740 and the other in 1780. An 1851 census record includes a 91 year old Duncan born in 1760 and for reasons set out below this is almost certainly our Duncan.

1. Duncan born 20 Feb. 1740
Grandfathers notes support this possibility. The place of baptism is difficult to read and trawling through maps has revealed no likely place in Glenurquhart or Glenmoriston. Daughter Elspet was born in 1818 at which time Duncan would have been 75. Did Duncan really marry a women so much younger than him? Unfortunately there is no baptism record for an Anne MacGregor born in the years which would have allowed her to be both married and fertile when Elspet was conceived. It would seem unlikely that this was our Duncan.

2. Duncan born about 1760
At the 1851 census of Urquhart and Glenmoriston a 91 year old Duncan was living with his 57 year old son Duncan, his son's wife Jean and his grandchildren Ann, Donald and George.
91 years before 1851 was 1760 suggesting this is the Duncan alluded to in my grandfather's notes. He did not survive until statutory reporting of deaths began four years later so the presumption must be that he died around age 93.
Unfortunately this record does not give an address but the enumeration district was only about 6 miles across and there were only eleven households between Duncan's and that of his other son John so they must have been close to each other in or around Balnain.
The census record suggests Duncan, his son, was born about 1795 - he was actually baptised in 1808. His death certificate states he was married to Jane Anderson. Were Jean and Jane the same person? The answer must be 'yes' because the OPR clearly identify the same Ann, Donald and George born to Duncan MacDonald and Jane Anderson.
We must conclude that this is our Duncan. The census record places him with John's brother Duncan when widowed and in retirement.

3. Duncan born 19 Dec. 1780
His baptism record states that he was born in Inchbraon which supports his selection but he was only 78 when he died in Milltown in 1758. An 1851 census showed him married to an Ann MacDonald who was the same age. It would seem very unlikely that this was our Duncan.

Page last updated - 8/2/14