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Cameron Early Years.   Pre-1745.

In 1742 a boy called John Cameron was born to a farmer and his wife in, or very close to Inverness. The Farmer, George Cameron and his Wife Elspet Fraser already had a Daughter Isobel and went on to have 8 further children ending up with 6 daughters and 4 sons, John being the eldest of the boys.


We will return to this family later as they have a particular significance, being the earliest ancestors where the family tree is backed up by DNA evidence. At seven generations before me this is about as far back as the standard DNA tests can usefully get. Further than this and any matches are so tenuous as to be little better than chance associations.


The 1740's is also the point when there was a legal requirement for proper parish records to be kept. Prior to this the Parish Records ( known as the OPR) tend to be of poor quality and frequently contain little useful information.  A record saying John and Wee Elspet were married June 1721 does not get one a long way given that half of Inverness were called John or Elspet at the time.  All that goes before 1742 is what I am calling the Early Years.

What limited information is available would seem to agree with the early tree so I have included it out of interest but it has to be somewhat speculative, take with a pinch of salt.

The first Camerons at Granish farm were John Cameron 1765-1835 and his wife Elspet Cumming, this being the same John Cameron as mentioned above. John his Father, also John and Grandfather George Cameron 1712-1782 were all born in, or close to Inverness where they farmed. How and why they came to move to Strathspey I don't know. By the time that John & Elspet married John & family were at Caigin in the parish of Alvie.  I am not certain but this may be an alternative spelling for Caggan, a remote farm at the far western end of the Dulnan Valley.


George's father John M Cameron came from Lochaber, the traditional Clan Cameron heartland and died in exile in France in 1782.  He most likely reason for the exile is that he backed the Jacobite cause in the 1745 rebellion.


John M Cameron's father, Ewan Cameron appears to be closely related to or part of the line of Lochiel, the Chiefs of Clan Cameron.  From this point back it is all a bit speculative. I am deeply suspicious of  claims to be descended from Kings, Queens, Chiefs etc so this is to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt. Having said this the claim is backed up by multiple other researchers but real evidence is very thin on the ground.


A statistic worth considering is as follows. This was 10 generations ago. Large families were the norm as was premature death, especially in women, so re-marriage was very common, usually resulting in a second bunch of children. Taking a very conservative average of 4 kids per generation surviving to have kids themselves, after 10 generations there are 4.2 million descendants of Ewan Cameron in my generation. Seeing as the current population of Scotland is 5.4 million perhaps the link is not so unlikely.


So believe it or not, I will leave this one with you to decide for yourself.

As described elsewhere in the early 18th Century there are two candidates who could be George Cameron. I have been unable to find anything to say with certainty which of them is correct, if indeed either are correct. Having said this Version 1 is a much better fit with the next generation. To take account of this there are two versions of the tree, one for each version of George.

With a combination of  fluke, serendipity and good old fashioned plagiarism version one of the tree goes back an amazing 23 generations to John deCameron born 1260.

As for version 2 of the tree, speculative or otherwise I can not get it back beyond the mid 1600's. This tree starts with Alexander Cameron and Anna Tayleour. Whilst I have few details about them other than their names, What I can say is that in 1674 they had a son called John. I have a record of his baptism where his parents are clearly stated, with the date. 

The sharper eyed reader will soon start to notice something of a difference between these early trees and that presented in the previous book. There is of course a good reason for this, basically the tree in the book was wrong !!

John Cameron 1765 Baptism

John Cameron & Elspet Cumming  Marriage

Simplified tree including George Cameron version 1.

Simplified tree including George Cameron version 2.

I had long had suspicions that there may have been a problem with who exactly was the father of John Cameron 1742-1829. First time around I had been unable to locate any record of his birth or baptism that would have confirmed at least who his father was. Faced with this lack of evidence I finished the tree with John Cameron & Janet McKenzie.

Second time around I had better luck and actually turned up the OPR entry for John Cameron's baptism, this named both parents and unlocked a further four generations. As with so many of the older records, there are multiple people with the same name born around the same time and getting the correct person can be tricky. So whilst there is reasonable evidence to back up these early years, as stated before, it is a "best guess" relying heavily on other people's work, that they of course, vigorously defend as being correct.

To skip the Early Years section and go directly to the family post 1745 click the Shortcut button.

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