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© Paul R. Swan    10 May 2016 15:09 Return to Home Page Hide All Notes Swan~Hartzell Family History


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The three generations of our Gulliland ancestry are documented in the Kilbirnie Parish Registers of Ayrshire, Scotland. These records were extracted and are available on the Family Search website (originally on their International Genealogical Index (IGI) for the British Isles [Batch Number C115962]).

It is interesting that the middle one of our three Gullilands, David born 1689 and whose mother was Agnes Whitefoord, himself married a Whitefoord, Janet. I do not know what the relationship might have been between Agnes and Janet, but have no doubt that in that small town of Kilbirnie they were in some way relatives.

On the web page of the Clan Gilliland we can read that the Gilliland name, or MacGill'fhaolain in the Gaelic language, comes from Scotland and Ireland. There are many different spellings, but they all lead back to one spelling Gill'fhaolain, ancient spelling Gylfhalan. Gill'fhaolain means servant or steward.

There is an interesting web site entitled "Gilliland Trails, A Family Genealogy Forum". In particular, they have a page entitled The Gullilands of Ayrshire which has an extensive discussion of the spelling of the Gulliland surname, as well as of details of the families in Kilbirnie. (Although our particular line doesn't get mentioned there.)

A map of this part of Scotland made in 1745, two years before Agnes Gulliland married John Brown, is shown here. It is a detail from "The Shire of Renfrew with Cuningham" by Herman Mole, Bowles and Bowles, London, 1745. The inland areas were so poorly known at that time that "Kilbirnan" and its adjacent "Kilbirne" Loch are shown far to the east of their actual location. Cuningham, showing diagonally across the image, is the name of one of the three districts from which Ayrshire arose.

IMAGE: Kilbirnie_1745.jpg
Kilbirnie, Scotland, 1745

The hearth tax of 1691 for Kilbirnie listed three men named David Guliland (without the double "l") and one recorded as David Gulieland. Assuming marriage no earlier than age 20 (in order to be the owner of a home with a hearth in 1691), these four must have been born before 1670, so all are candidates for our progenitor David Gulliland.

Two of these men owned homes, one identified as "in Stonyholme", which were taxed for two hearths, indicating more than just the minimum housing. (The Laird of Kilbirnie was taxed for 20 hearths in his manor; of almost 100 homes in the parish, only 15 had two or more hearths.) The hearth tax, incidently, was levied to provide funds for the relief of the poor of the parish.

There is a record of the marriage of David Gulliland to Agnes (Whitefoord) in Kilbirnie on the web site. The date is given as 23 6th month 1688, and the source is said to be OPR records in Glasgow. I assume a date given in this form means the month of August, although the other Kilbirnie records I've seen don't use this notation, but specify the month by name. I'll record the marriage as in August, but warn that this may be in error.

David Gulliland  &  Agnes Whitefoord
David 1, David 2, Agness 3   Top  

David Gulliland was born about 1665 in Scotland. 

David and Agnes Whitefoord were married 23 Aug 1688 in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, Scotland. 

Agnes Whitefoord was born in Scotland. 

The two children of David and Agnes (Whitefoord) Gulliland:   David and George. 

1    Gulliland, David was baptized 23 Jun 1689.    

2    Gulliland, George was born in Scotland and baptized 25 May 1692 in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, Scotland. 

David Gulliland  &  Janet Whitefoord
David 1, David 2, Agness 3 Whitefoord Top  

David Gulliland was born in Scotland and baptized 23 Jun 1689 in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, Scotland. 

David and Janet Whitefoord were married 6 Aug 1723 in Kilbirnie. 

Janet Whitefoord was born in Scotland and baptized 17 Mar 1700 in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, Scotland.  She was the daughter of Hew and Jeane (Mackie) Whitefoord.

Aside from his baptism, marriage and fatherhood, I know nothing else of this second generation Gulliland ancestor of ours.

Janet's name at her own birth was spelled Whitefoord, but at the birth of her daughter Agnes her name was spelled Whiteford.

IMAGE: Janet_Whitefoord_birth.gif
Janet, Lawfl daughter to Hew Whitefoord wea___
and Jeane Mackie ead. d.

The record of her marriage gives her name as Jannet Whiteford.

A daughter of David and Janet (Whitefoord) Gulliland:   Agness

1    Gulliland, Agness was baptized 21 Jun 1724.    

Agness Gulliland  &  John Brown
David 1, David 2, Agness 3 Brown Top  

Agness Gulliland was born in Scotland and baptized 21 Jun 1724 in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, Scotland. 

Agness and John Brown were married 8 Feb 1747 in Ardrossan, Ayrshire, Scotland. 

John Brown was born about 1724 in Scotland. 

That John Brown and Agnes Gulliland are the parents of William Brown is somewhat less well established than later generations discussed in the introduction to this lineage, because William named his first and only son Alexander, not John. However, the naming conventions may not have taken root quite this early, but the lack of this particular kind of evidence as to Alexander's grandfather must be cautionary.

On the positive side, the date and location of the birth of their son William, born in Crofthead and baptised in Ardrossan in 1748 are what one could reasonably expect for our William's parents.

IMAGE: William_Brown_Ardrossan.gif
John Broun weaver in Crofthead & Agnes Guileland had a lawfl Son called
William born Jany ye 11th baptized the 24th 1748

I had originally believed that this "Crofthead" referred to a town just north of the town of Kilwinning. However, Margaret Scott points out that there defintely was an area called Crofthead in Saltcoats. It is now called Manse Street, and it houses among other establishments the North Ayrshire Museum and a graveyard. She notes that if the town Crofthead were meant, the birth record in Ardrossan would have stated "Crofthead, Kilwinning". Manse Street is west of the dividing line in Saltcoats between Ardrossan Parish on the west, and Stevenston Parish on the east, so the record in the Ardrossan Parochial Register would not have explicitly named a parish in conjunction with the designation Crofthead.

Another John Brown reasonably close to Ardrossan was the son of John and Margarat Brown born in Irvine, five miles down the coast, on 12 Jan 1724. He would have been 24 at the time William was born. I'm leaving the question of John's identity completely open at this time since John and Agnes could have moved to Crofthead from somewhere else before the birth of William. In Northern Ayrshire, within eight or ten miles of Ardrossan, there were over two dozen John Browns born between 1722 and 1732!

Identifying the marriage of John and Agnes was made somewhat difficult by the highly variable spelling of her surname throughout the Ayrshire records. (The IGI for Scotland has Gulliland and Gilliland as the most common spellings, indexed separately, but 19 spellings in all appear there.) There's only one marriage, however, of about the right date.

IMAGE: Brown_Gulliland_marriage.gif
John Brown and Agnes Guliland in this
parish hath given in their Names for procla
mation in Order for Marriage Jany 30th
Married Febuary Eigth 1747

The three records of that marriage submitted to the IGI spell it Gilinland, but that spelling does not appear in any other record in all of Scotland. Except when citing specific sources, I'll use Gulliland as that is the spelling recorded in the SCR for Agnes' birth and that of her father.

The Scottish Church Records (SCR) entry for William Brown's birth shows the parents as John Broun and Agnes Guileland. After that, John's name is consistently spelled Brown. The spelling Broun seems to have been the choice in earlier years. The SCR entries for the births of Jannet and Marion spell their mother's name as Gulieland, and for the youngest child Jean it's spelled Guileland, as it was for William, the eldest.

The birth of James born 5 Feb 1750 in Ardrossan to John Brown and Agnes Gilinland [IGI] does not appear in the Scottish Church Records nor the Ardrossan Parochial Registers, so where the information for the submission to the IGI came from, with a complete date, is unknown. It's possible that this is one of the records obtained from a Monumental Inscription, statuary memorials of Northern Ayrshire which are, unfortunately, only available in the Ardrossan Library. (These inscriptions were copied in 1983 in eleven large volumes, indexed by surnames, located by maps of the graveyards and cemeteries and each stone photographed.) Since the date conflicts with that of Jannet, I'm not accepting James in this family for now.

There is a record on, citing "Scotland Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950", recording the birth of a son John to John Brown on 2 Feb 1758, christened 4 Feb in Stevenston, but the name of the mother is not given. This would conveniently fill the seven year gap between the two youngest daughters in John and Agness' family. I think it likely that this John is their son, but cannot claim that that is so without more evidence. A search of the Stevenston record to see if there was only one John Brown having children about that time would increase the probability of that supposition.

Similarly, the birth and christening in Stevenston of an unnamed son of John Brown on 11 May 1759, eleven months before the birth of Jean, their youngest daughter, might also be a child of John and Agness.

The four children of John and Agness (Gulliland) Brown:   William, Jannet, Marion and Jean. 

1    Brown, William was born 11 Jan 1748.    

2    Brown, Jannet was born in Scotland. 

From the Ardrossan Parochial Registers:

John Brown weaver in Crofthead and Agnes Gulieland his spouse had a lawfull Daughter named Jannet born Febr 3th baptised Febr 11th 1750

There were two Janet Browns married in Stevenston either of whom could be this Jannet. One married Archibald Steel on 23 Dec 1784 [SPR; FR342, APR; FR292], and the other Thomas Young on 16 Nov 1789 [SPR; FR349]. The other Janet was born 9 Apr, baptised 11 Apr 1749 in Stevenston to William Brown, Sailor in Stevenston (mother's name not given, even though she was named as the sponsor in the absence of the father!) [SPR; FR66], who could have been the bride for one of these marriages.

3    Brown, Marion was born 8 Jul 1753 in Ardrossan, Ayrshire, Scotland. 

There is no record of a marriage for a Marion Brown in Stevenston. From the Ardrossan Parochial Registers for 1760:

John Brown weaver in Saltcoats and Agnes Gulieland his Spouse had a lawfull Daughter called Marion born July 8th baptised July 12th 1758

4    Brown, Jean was born 13 Apr 1760 in Scotland. 

From the Ardrossan Parochial Registers for April, 1760:

John Brown weaver in Saltcoats and Agnes Guileland his Spouse had a lawfull Daughter named Jean born ye 13th baptised the Same Day

As is the case for her sister Jannet, there are two marriage records for a Jane Brown in Stevenston. One Jane married 16 Jan 1783 to Robert Cochran, the other 22 Jun 1783 to William Esdale [IGI]. The distinction between Jean and Jane is probably irrelevant.

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b 1771      d 1836
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b 1806      d 1868
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b 1874      d 1937
b 1875      d 1949
b 1903      d 1953
b 1903      d 1989
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b 1930      d 1998

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