1. Origins of the Wilkie family

Around the year 1700 at Cathcart, a village about two miles south of Glasgow, it is likely that a William Wilkie was born. The chances are that his father was also William Wilkie . On 9 August 1721, at Cathcart, the young William Wilkie married Jean Anderson, a daughter of Nathaniel Anderson. William and Jean eventually had at least nine children. The first, John, was born at Cathcart on 17 June 1722. He was followed by William who was born on 29 March 1724 . Then came Jean in 1726, Thomas in 1728, James, 1729, Janet, 1730, Robert, 1736, another Thomas in 1736 and George in 1746. All were born and baptized at Cathcart .

On 3 April 1748, at the age of twenty-four, and six weeks after his father’s death , the youngest William Wilkie married Elizabeth Rowland, daughter of Stephen Rowland. They had at least one son, Stephan, born on 19 March 1749 at Cathcart, before Elizabeth died on 26 December 1754 .

Less than eight months after Elizabeth's death, on 2 July 1755, William Wilkie married Margaret Gilmour, aged just over 20, at Cathcart . Margaret Gilmour, was christened at Cathcart on 20 April 1735 . Her parents, James Gilmour and Margaret Park, had married there on 1 December 1734 .

A gap in the records follows. It is unknown whether William Wilkie and Margaret Gilmour had children. We might assume that they probably did.

Several of William Wilkie's brothers and sisters married and had large families. His older brother, John, married Jean Park on 27 April 1750, and had two children at Cathcart before moving in to Glasgow where four more were born.
A younger brother, George, (twenty-five years younger) married Margaret Scott at Cathcart on 30 April 1770 and had four children, all born at Cathcart. One of George and Margaret's children was another William Wilkie who was born on 6 August 1775. This William married Margaret Paul at Gorbals, near Glasgow, on 12 June 1798. William and Margaret had thirteen children, mainly at Glasgow and Cathcart, between 1799 and 1821 .

The links between one generation and another can become confusing, especially when records are incomplete or missing, and especially when there was a tendency to use the same name through many generations.

If we jump almost a century, to 1882, we come to the birth of Alexander James Gilmour Wilkie. We might ask about the significance of his first three names. Alexander James Gilmour Wilkie's eldest brother was named William, after their father and grandfather, and possibly after several earlier Williams. His eldest sister was named Mary Walker Wilkie after her maternal grandmother, Mary Walker. The next brother was named Ebenezer after his maternal grandfather Ebenezer McKinlay. The next, Conal Alexander Wilkie, was named after his paternal uncle, Conal. The next sister was named Janet Glen Wilkie after her paternal grandmother, Janet Glen. The next brother was John McKinlay Wilkie the McKinlay coming from his mother's family, and the John from his father's brother.

And Alexander James Gilmour Wilkie? Where did his names come from? If we go back a generation or two we find that James Gilmour's daughter Margaret married William Wilkie in 1755. Does Alexander James Gilmour Wilkie's name provide a distant reflection of that distant family? It is possible.

David Wilkie and Elizabeth Maxwell.

More definite connections can be found with the family of David Wilkie and Elizabeth Maxwell. It is uncertain when David and Elizabeth married although they did have at least six children between 1759 and 1775. This suggests a marriage date around 1754 and possible birth dates around 1730.

Grave of David and Elizabeth Wilkie - Pollockshaws - Courtesy Kay ShawTheir first child, James Wilkie, was born on 20 January 1759 at Glasgow and was baptized by James Fisher at Pollockshaws, just south of Glasgow and about a mile west of Cathcart, in 1765 . A second son, David, was born at Pollockshaws on 8 May 1762 and baptized at the same time as James in 1765 . A daughter, Katherin, was born at Pollockshaws on 1 August 1764, and she too was baptized with her brothers at Pollockshaws in 1765 .

Three more children followed. Agnes was born on 10 May 1769. A second James was born on 1 April 1771. And Mary was born on 2 May 1775. All were born at Pollockshaws and all three were baptized together at Pollockshaws several years later in 1789 . In 1788, at the age of nineteen, Agnes married John Brown at Pollockshaws .

David Wilkie and Elizabeth Hart

The second son of David Wilkie and Elizabeth Maxwell, David Wilkie, married Elizabeth Hart at the end of January 1786 at Pollockshaws . He was aged twenty-four. At the time he listed his occupation as a Junior Wright . David and Elizabeth subsequently had at least five children. The first was named David and was born in November 1786 at Pollockshaws and baptized during the following year by Mr Walker . The second child, Agnes, was born on 10 October 1788 and baptized soon afterwards, also at Pollockshaws . The third, William, was born on 16 July 1790 and baptized at Pollockshaws on 18 July . The fourth, a second David, was born on 8 June 1792 at Pollockshaws . The sixth child, James Wilkie, was born there in 1794 .

In 1808, at the age of twenty, Agnes Wilkie married John Glen at Pollockshaws . John Glen, a weaver of Pollockshaws, was the son of William Glen, a farmer from neighbouring Cowglen, and his wife, Mary Harvey . Agnes and John subsequently had at least two children, David Glen, born on 2 October 1811, and William Glen, born on 27 July 1813, both at Pollockshaws .

In July 1814, at the age of twenty-four, Agnes' brother, William Wilkie, married John Glen's sister, Janet, at Pollockshaws .

A descendant chart for David Wilkie and Elizabeth Maxwell can be found on Rick Wallace's Genealogy Site.


Full documentary referencing of sources is available for this information. Contact me for details.

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