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Confused about fathers name


I hope some one can help, I am trying to confirm the parents of my 2nd Great Grandfather. His name is Alexander Cumming B Feb 1840 in Dundee, Scotland. on his marriage record to Isabella Murchinson McKenzie in 1862 his father is noted as being John Cumming but on his death record in 1916 his father is noted as being James Cumming, his mother was recorded on both records as being Ann Lawson however I have not been able to locate a marriage record for an Ann Lawson to either a John or James Cumming. I use Scotlandspeople for my research, I am also unable to locate a birth record for him with these parents, does anyone have any advise on where else I can look for this.

Thank you

Hi Marie,

I'd be more inclined to go with the father noted on the marriage cert as a death cert. information is only as good as the informant gives and sometimes there are errors depending on how well the informant knew the person.

Have you been able to find your Alexander on the 1841 census?

Do you have a copy of the actual marriage cert.?
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Hello Marie,

Where does the "Feb 1840 in Dundee" come from?

Do you have Alexander in 1841 census? I have not been able to find him born 1840 +/-1 or an Ann who would fit in the 1841 census as Cumming or Cuming or Cummings in Angus.

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Bearing in mind civil registration did not start in Scotland until 1855.
Is the father shown on the baptism record in 1840 or is that date simply a birth date computed from later records?
Have you found a baptism for him?
Thank you Gibbo, Dave and Guy

The birth date for Alexander Cumming was my mistake, this should have been amended to abt 1837 as he was listed as being 25yrs on the marriage record in 1862. The information I have has all come from my Uncle who started researching our family before he died and I have taken over from him and although he has births and marriages dating back to the mid 1700's, all taken from familysearch, I have only managed to confirm up to this Alexander's marriage. I have looked for birth records between the years of 1830-1840 and have not found one with the right parents, also the only Alexander I can find on the 1841 census has a father Alexander and mother Mary. I know some records have not survived or it may be that the mother was never listed on the birth record as they may not have been married.

Thank you again for your help, I will keep looking for the birth and hopefully will find the right one so I can research further back and maybe include some of the other records my uncle found.

Hi Marie,

Is this Alexander?

CUMMINGS, Alexander Head Married M 35 1836 Agricultural Labourer Aberlour, Banffshire N/A
CUMMINGS, Isabella Wife Married F 29 1842 Petty, Invernessshire N/A
CUMMINGS, James Son M 8 1863 Scholar Brechin, Forfarshire (Angus) N/A
CUMMINGS, Ann Daughter F 6 1865 Scholar Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire N/A
CUMMINGS, Marjory Daughter F 4 1867 Monifieth, Forfarshire (Angus) N/A
CUMMINGS, Isabella Daughter F 2 1869 Monifieth, Forfarshire (Angus) N/A
CUMMINGS, Maggie Daughter F 0 1871 Monifieth, Forfarshire (Angus) N/A



Page: 21

Registration District: Monifieth

Civil Parish: Monifieth

Municipal Borough:
If so it looks like his father was more likely to be James as he called his first son James. I totally agree with gibbo that it is usually the marriage which is more reliable but as we can't find his parents in the census he was probably illegitimate. In the above census he says he was born in Aberlour, Banffshire not Dundee?

If he was illegitimate he might be with his grandparents while Ann had to work.
or this could be him.

LAWSON, Peter M 45 1796 Mason Moray N/A
LAWSON, Jean F 40 1801 Moray N/A
LAWSON JR, Jean F 21 1820 Moray N/A
LAWSON, Ann F 20 1821 Moray N/A
LAWSON, Janet F 14 1827 Moray N/A
LAWSON, George M 10 1831 Moray N/A
LAWSON, Alexander M 5 1836 Moray N/A
LAWSON, William M 3 1838 Moray N/A



Page: 2

Registration District:

Civil Parish: Edinkillie

Municipal Borough:

Address: Sluie, Sluie, Edinkillie

County: Moray
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Thank you for all your help,

Yes, Barbarajoh that is Alexander Cumming from the 1871 Census and yes as tradition goes first son is normally named after the father as I have found in later generations and lines, however I still cannot find a birth record for him, I have checked Alexander Lawson and again cant find a birth record for him either, have checked Ann being the mother and even Peter and Jean being the parents and no luck, could his birth have gone unregistered?

Most of the Cummings have all come from Angus and Fife so Moray isn't too far out, also Alexanders wife was from Petty, inverness so quite possible he was from Moray, just wish I could find some record of him prior to his marriage.

I think this is going to take a bit more detective work to track him down.

Where does he say he was born in other census? Yes his birth might not be in the records so you have to find his parents another way. Do you know when his mother died as she was dead by the time he married?

also they married in a United Presbyterian church which is fine after 1855 and statutory registration but before 1855 the uP was a breakaway church and not in the Old Parish Records. Scotlandspeople doesn't have the nonconformist records so you might need to see what has survivied in the local archives?

No I haven't found a death record for his mother yet, still looking for that one but I did look at a Family History site that covers Banff and have found a monument inscription for a James Cumming D 28 Jan 1849 one of the others listed on the monument is Catherine Lawson, not sure if this is a gravestone but will look into this lead as I know from experience that pet names were often used instead of real names.

I have found Alexander on the 1881 and 1911 census's and both confirm place of birth as being Aberlour, Banffshire. The 1891 census records a Robina Cumming, estimated birth year is 1836 and place of birth Aberlour, Banffshire, Wife and children names all correspond with the ones I have so assuming this was written down wrong. So far I can not locate him in the 1901 census but still looking.

Unfortunately a trip to scotland is not possible at the present time but is on the cards for the future as most of my ancestors come from various parts in Scotland, in the meantime will look at becoming a member of some of the Family history societies as they do offer research assistance.

Thanks again for your help.