So I have at long last established the birth of my wifes Great Grandfather (Alexander Campbell Harries). (see: Finding records of professional athlete and trainer who married 1911 at Cardiff, Wales?).

The 1921 Census information is now available on FindMyPast and I was able to locate the families document. On that document it states that Alexander was born in Irvine, Ayr in about 1874.

I did find the 1875 birth - all fits with the certificates I have and clarifies that there was a 10 year difference with his marriage. I digress ...

He decided to use Campbell as a middle name. Does it has a connection with Ayr?

In the comments it asks:

What is his mother's maiden name? If it was Campbell and she came from Ayr then I would say that id did but otherwise I think you may be clutching at straws with this question as it stands

It is not clear on the "entry" for Alexander Harris birth. The column says:

Name, Surname & Rank or Profession of Father

Name, Maiden Surname of Mother

Date and Place of Marriage

enter image description here

It does not look like Campbell.

It should be noted that in the majority of certificates he is Alexander Harris or Alex Harris.


Something has been staring me in the face and I do not think it is a coincidence. I welcome your thoughts. On the Birth Register:

enter image description here

See? The Surname of the Registrant is Campbell!

  • What is his mother's maiden name? If it was Campbell and she came from Ayr then I would say that it did but otherwise I think you may be clutching at straws with this question as it stands.
    – PolyGeo
    Jun 23, 2022 at 20:40
  • @PolyGeo See updated question. Jun 23, 2022 at 20:55
  • @PolyGeo I found his parents marriage. It is Jane Cunningham. Jun 23, 2022 at 21:00
  • I just realised I have asked this before. Although the new answer provides a slightly different spin. genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/15728/… Jun 24, 2022 at 3:18
  • 1
    In the 1861 Scottish census there were 32,151 people named Campbell of whom 2,236 lived in Ayr. All I’d say is that it’s a common Scottish name. I have never heard of anyone adopting the Registrar’s name as their own, though it did happen with Ministers and teachers but they’d be better known to the family. Jun 29, 2022 at 16:29

2 Answers 2


Samuel’s birth certificate just names him as Samuel Harris. So the Campbell middle name must be something he added later in life. There could be many reasons for doing that. Was the family Church of Scotland? It was common practice for Presbyterians to use a middle name that was regarded as important to the family. Often the mother’s maiden surname, though clearly not in this case as she was Cunningham, but sometimes it could be someone the family respected eg the local Minister or School teacher. Perhaps if you trace a generation or two back you might find a Campbell in the female line. Or maybe, for professional reasons, Alexander just felt like making his name more impressive and more Scottish by including a middle name. Why he chose Campbell, I can’t say.

It’s unlikely to be a clan connection. The lowlands where Ayrshire is located never had clans (in spite of nonsense on the internet suggesting they did), and most lowland Scots had little interest in clans anyway.

  • I am inclined to agree. At some point I may spend some more money to research further back. BTW when I suggested Clan it was not for actually being of that Clan, but for liking it’s association with Ayrshire. I also added a link to a previous question I asked on this. I forgot! Jun 24, 2022 at 3:21
  • Please see my updated question. I found out something interesting. Jun 28, 2022 at 12:17

I am welcome to other, more specific responses, but I came across:

And it does list Campbell and it takes you to:

Since we was from Ayr ... perhaps just just took on that name because of this.

  • 3
    The links refer to the 1300s and 1400s. That would be of little relevance to the average person in Ayrshire in the 1800s. There never really was a major clan system in the lowlands - people moved around too much - and certainly not one that would have any resonance in the 1800s. If you were in Ayr today and asked about a connection with Clan Campbell, folk would have no idea what you were referring to. It is possible to over-rate the significance of the clan system in Scotland. It’s something that fascinates overseas visitors but doesn’t have much relevance for most modern Scots. Jun 24, 2022 at 9:35

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