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I’ve been researching Lairds in Sterling and found a link to the 11th Laird of Drum, Alexander Irvine. Can anyone give me insight on why his child would be named David Laird and not Irvine? Could it be that an illegitimate child would be given the surname “Laird” instead of “Irvine”? Alexander had other marriages and children all called Irvine, but what I found has David Laird, son of Margaret Anderson and Alexander Irvine 11th Laird of Drum.

This is what I got from another persons tree. I’m interested in David Laird. I don’t have any other info and there was no way to contact the original creator of this tree.

ID: I642 Name: Alexander LAIRD Sex: M Birth: ABT 1618 Burial: Drum's aisle 1687 Scotland 1 Death: 18 SEP 1687 in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland 1 Name: Alexander IRVINE, 11TH LAIRD OF DRUM 1 Birth: 1618 in Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 1 Birth: 1618 in Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 1 Death: 18 SEP 1687 in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland 1

Father: Sir Alexander IRVINE, 10TH LAIRD OF DRUM b: 1596 in Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Mother: Lady Magdalene Of Dudhope SCRIMGROUR b: 1597 in Dudhope, Angus, Scotland

Marriage 1 Margaret ANDERSON Children Has Children David LAIRD b: ABT 1638 in St. Ninnians, Stirlingshire Scotland

Marriage 2 Margaret COUTTS b: ABT 1665 Children Has No Children Catherine IRVINE

Marriage 3 Lady Mary GORDON b: 1629 in Huntley, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Married: 07 DEC 1643 in Scotland 1 1 Children Has No Children Charles IRVINE Has No Children Jean IRVINE b: in Drum Has No Children Margaret IRVINE Has No Children Anne IRVINE Has No Children Alexander IRVINE, THE 12TH LAIRD OF DRUM b: 1646 in Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Has No Children Robert IRVINE Has No Children Henrietta IRVINE Has No Children Mary IRVINE

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    Can you give us some dates for David Laird? – ColeValleyGirl Mar 28 '18 at 13:47
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    Was this a birth certificate, or some other record, and have you seen the original or a transcription? Did it clearly state that David's surname was Laird, or could "David Laird" be his first and middle names, with the surname Irvine implied by context? – AndyW Mar 28 '18 at 13:53
  • And, by the way, welcome to G&FH.SE! – AndyW Mar 28 '18 at 13:55
  • David Laird born abt 1638 in St. Ninians, Stirling to Margaret Anderson and Alexander Irvine 11th Laird of Drum. Just came from another person’s tree. No way to contact the person who originally posted it. – M. Laird Mar 28 '18 at 15:46
  • My tree dead ends with John Laird born 1665, died in St.Ninians, Sterling. The tree I found listed David Laird as John’s father. – M. Laird Mar 28 '18 at 15:50
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"Genealogy without Sources is Mythology". (And no, 'fraid I don't have a source for that!) The question is not, 'Could it be that an illegitimate child would be given the surname “Laird” instead of “Irvine”?' - it's "Should I pay any attention to this tree?" Any genealogy needs to be "proven" with sources like parish registers, charters, wills, etc. (And naming patterns are not evidence, by the way - you use genealogy to prove naming patterns, not vice versa).

Having said that, it's always a good idea to have a look round. A very quick Google takes us to History of Drum. There's not a lot of sources cited there either, but we may note these bits:

... young Alexander, the 11th laird [of Drum], ...

... The 11th laird’s first wife had apparently been somewhat aristocratically aloof but, after she died, he spotted a young shepherdess on his estates, some forty-seven years his junior. Sixteen-year-old Mary Coutts [Margaret Coutts above, in marriage 2] was not one to sell her virtue short so, despite general disapproval, the two were married and the old laird enjoyed six years of bliss before dying not long before his seventieth birthday in 1687. This story is recorded in the traditional ballad ‘The Laird of Drum’. [Probably worth finding this and seeing if there are any more scurrilous stories about him!]

Alexander, his son by his first wife [Lady Mary Gordon above?], was to be the 12th [mentioned above] and last member of this line of Irvines. He died suddenly, leaving a pregnant wife, and an entail which gave Drum to his ruthless cousin, Irvine of Murtle

We may note that there are only 2 wives noted here. In particular the whole bit

Marriage 1 Margaret ANDERSON Children Has Children David LAIRD b: ABT 1638 in St. Ninnians, Stirlingshire Scotland

is omitted. If we believe the History of Drum, then any further relationship between the 11th Laird and another woman, must have been outside marriage, so that David (if he existed) would have been illegitimate. I don't know about Scottish practice but English customs saw an illegitimate child use their mother's surname (Anderson here). However that is just custom and it could be that the derivation of David Laird's surname is indeed because his father is a laird. Or it could also be that a family legend went round the Lairds (not your branch,I'm sure!) that they were descended from a laird and when the evidence ran out, well, that must be the point at which the mysterious laird appears.... Not. (I would say that if you were an illegitimate son of a laird, calling yourself "Laird" could be a bit dangerous... Or maybe I'm being melodramatic now!)

The Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 29 apparently has a relevant entry referring to

Margaret Coutts, a maiden of low degree, ‘the weel-faured May’ of the well-known ballad, ‘The Laird o' Drum.’

So maybe Margaret / May / Mary needn't worry us too much.

But the point is, to take my own advice, none of these constitute contemporary evidence while the temptation to embroider genealogy is always present... You need to do your own research (as I believe you have) and yes, you can look a gift horse in the mouth - and walk away from it.

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