Research on John McColm Born ca 1787, Ayr, Ayreshire, Scotland

The book written by Wm R. McColm in 1978 on the McColm Family of New Richmond provides the family descendents in Canada of John McColm and his wife Margaret Sinclair and their seven children who immigrated to Canada. The following information outlines the research undertaken to trace the family history in Scotland and determine the parents and grand parents of John McColm.

Update on Children of John and Margaret

The following information supplements the data in Wm. R McColm's book.

  1. John 'Jock' McColm was christened on October 13, 1812 in Straiton, Ayreshire. He was christened as John McComb, father John McComb, mother Margaret Sinclair. (IGI)

  2. Janet McColm. Janet was born April 10, 1814, christened on April 15, 1814 in Ayr, Ayreshire, (IGI). She did not immigrate to Canada and it not listed in the book. So far I have been unable to trace her. She would have been 19 when John and Margaret immigrated to Canada and therefore probably stayed in Scotland.

  3. Helen McColm was born June 7, 1816, christened on June 12, 1816 in Ayr, Ayrshire. She was christened as Helen McComb, father John McComb, mother Margaret Sinclair, (IGI).

  4. William McColm was born March 29, 1818, christened on April 12, 1818 in Ayr, Ayreshire as William McComb, father John McComb, mother Margaret Sinclair. (IGI)

  5. Thomas McColm was born July 16, 1820, christened on July 30, 1820 in Ayr, Ayreshire as Thomas McComb, father John McComb, mother Margaret Sinclair. (IGI)

  6. Mary McColm was born August 30, 1823, christened on September 14, 1823 in Ayr, Ayreshire as Mary McComb, father John McComb, mother Margaret Sinclair. (IGI)

  7. Margaret McColm was born ca 1827. Unable to find registration in the Scottish Church records.

  8. Alexander 'Sandy' McColm was born June 29, 1828, christened on July 13, 1828 as Alexander McColm in Ayr, Ayreshire.

In summary, five of the children were baptized as McComb. Therefore, a variety of spellings of our family name have been recorded in the official records.

It should also be noted that all the children were born in Ayr or towns within 15 miles of Ayr.

John McColm's Death

John McColm died in New Richmond, Quebec, Canada on September 15, 1866. The church record outlines the following: "John McColm, Sr., Farmer, Town of New Richmond, Province of Quebec, died in Town of New Richmond, August 15, 1866, buried 18th August 1866. A native of Ayreshire, Scotland, Aged 79 years."

Therefore, John was born in 1786 after August 15 probably in Ayreshire.

IGI Search

There is no John McColm or John McComb in the IGI records or the Ayr Scottish Church records born around this time frame in Ayr or Ayreshire, which is the County around the Ayr area except for the following: Thomas McColm in Newark Estate and Grizel McMaster, his spouse, had a son born in lawful marriage, baptized John, July 21, 1787. This is a possibility since the birth year is correct and Newark Estate is the name of a property immediately outside Ayr.

Naming Convention

Most of the Scottish families in the 18th and 19th centuries tended to name their children in a specific pattern, which can give some guidance to family names. This naming convention was utilized to try to trace the parents of John McColm.

The parents of Margaret Sinclair, John's wife, were readily found in the IGI and Scottish Church records. Her parents were William Sinclair and Janet Blair.

The naming convention is as follows with the names added for Margaret Sinclair's parents.

Table 1 Naming Convention
MALES

First Born SonFather's father 
Second Born SonMother's fatherWilliam Sinclair
Third Born SonFather 
Fourth Born SonFather's eldest brother 
Fifth Born Son

Father's 2nd oldest brother or mother's oldest brother 
FEMALES

First Born DaughterMother's motherJanet Blair
Second Born DaughterFather's mother 
Third Born DaughterMother 
Fourth Born DaughterMother's eldest sister 
Fifth Born DaughterMother 2nd oldest sister or Father's oldest sister 

William is the second son and Janet the first daughter of John and Margaret. Therefore, it appears that the naming convention is being followed and therefore John parents should be John and Helen. Therefore, the possibility that Thomas McColm and Grizel McMaster were his parents was ruled out.

The IGI was searched and no John McColm or McComb was registered in the church records with parents of John and Helen. Therefore, spelling variations of McColm were searched and the following was found in the Ayr Scottish Church records, film 1041330 in births 1790-1808. The note in the church records states that the registration records were misplaced by parent neglect:

John Macome, son law of John Macome and Helen McClelland, born September 22, 1787, baptized 26th by Dr. Dalrymple.

Therefore, the naming convention is correct and the birth date is the proper year.

Headstone Confirmation

Two cousins were in Scotland in 1980, Shirley MacLeod (nee McColm) and her sister Eileen Spencer (nee McColm). They went to Alloway, which is immediately south of Ayr, and to the Auld Haunted Kirk Cemetery where they found the following headstone:

Headstone - South side
Photo: Dave McColm
INTERRED HERE
JOHN MCCOLM
LATE FARMER IN BRIDGE-END-OF-DOON
WHO DIED APRIL, 1828
AGE 82
HELEN MCCLELLAND
HIS SPOUSE
DIED 11TH APRIL, 1817
AGED 66
ALSO
SARAH MCREADIE, SPOUSE OF THOMAS MCCOLM, LATE FARMER IN GLENAYS WHO DIED 18TH AUGUST 1860 AND JAMES, THEIR SON WHO DIED 17TH MAY, 1830, AGED 2 YEARS.
Headstone - North side
Photo: Dave McColm

On the reverse of the headstone is the following:

HERE LYES INTERRED
THOMAS MCCOLM
LATE OVERSEER AT DOONSIDE, WHO DIED 18TH, DECEMBER. 1794,
AGE 84 YEARS
AND
JANET MCSKIMMING
HIS SPOUSE WHO DIED 14TH JULY, 1765
AGED 50 YEARS

Doonside was an estate directly across the road from Newark and is now Doonside Gardens and is no longer used as a residence.

Therefore, the headstone confirms that there was a John McColm (Macome) married to a Helen McClelland. They also had a son Thomas McComb, born October 28, 1780 to John McComb and Helen McClellan. (IGI). Note spelling of last names.

Update on Naming Convention

The naming convention has been utilized for the remainder of the naming of the children and explanations offered when the naming convention was not followed.

Table 2 Naming Convention
MALES

First Born SonFather's fatherJohn McColm
Second Born SonMother's fatherWilliam Sinclair
Third Born SonFatherDid not want two Johns so skipped
Fourth Born SonFather's eldest brotherThomas McColm
Fifth Born Son

Father's 2nd oldest brother or mother's oldest brother 
FEMALES

First Born DaughterMother's motherJanet Blair
Second Born DaughterFather's motherHelen McClelland
Third Born DaughterMother 
Fourth Born DaughterMother's eldest sisterMary?
Fifth Born DaughterMother's 2nd oldest sister or Father's oldest sister 

Other Interesting Notes

According to the headstone information, the parents of John McColm who immigrated to Canada in 1833, had both died by 1828. Therefore, there was no longer a parental responsibility to stay in Scotland to look after aging parents.

Harold McColm

October 2001


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