I am looking for an Archibald McAllister (various spellings including Mac Alester) who in the 1841 Census in St Quivox, Ayrshire, Scotland is recorded as being born around 1788 in Ireland. His marriage is recorded in St Quivox. I don't have anything more precise than that. What strategy would you suggest to try and track him down in Ireland. His name is not that unusual which combined with the patchiness of Irish records means I have no real idea where to start.

I have added the census image below - Archibald is midway down the righthand column.

Census Image

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    Does the marriage record give any additional information at all? Does his death or burial record give an age consistent with that on the 1841 census? Also, have you checked the 1841 census image to confirm it really does say Archibald was born in Ireland? Sometimes the transcriptions are wrong.
    – Harry V.
    Sep 6, 2015 at 20:20
  • Did he have children whose naming pattern may lead to more likely candidates for his parents, particularly if any of them are uncommon?
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 6, 2015 at 21:24
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    Do you have an image of the marriage register, or are you working from a transcription or index?
    – Jan Murphy
    Sep 6, 2015 at 23:48
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    When and where did he die? If after 1855 and in Scotland, then his death certificate should contain his parents' names. Though bear in mind that he'd need to have told people who they were in the first place. Identifying his religion is also useful.
    – AdrianB38
    Sep 7, 2015 at 8:14
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    @JanMurphy - I have an image of the marriage register - it is an old parish record from 1822. It only says "both of this parish" which I understand as meaning they were both resident at the time of marriage rather than that they originated there.
    – neil
    Sep 7, 2015 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


Most likely came from Glens of Antrim in Northern Ireland where Archibald McAlister is a very common name - there was considerable movement by sea of people from the north east coats of Ireland and Ayrshire in past times. Glens of Antrim only 12 miles from Scottish Coast at nearest point

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