Saturday, October 24, 2009

Surname Saturday - McPherson and the connection with Adamson & Stewart

My gggrandmother Mary Burns McPherson has left me with a nagging question, and an itch I canna scratch. She was quite proud of her Burns surname; each of her sons, as well as two of her seven daughters, carried the name of Burns as their middle name. She was also rather traditional in her naming practices for the mid-1800s. The first son was named after the maternal grandfather, William Gibson Burns; second son, for his uncle (brother of Mary Burns McPherson), Jabez Burns; and the third son, for the babe's father James Peter McPherson.

Now comes my problem. Mary Burns McPherson named the daughters as follows:
Ann Adamson McPherson, the first daughter;
Elizabeth Spink McPherson, the second daughter , for the child's paternal & maternal grandmothers (Elizabeth Herrick Burns and Elizabeth Spink McPherson);
Mary Jane McPherson, the third daughter she named after herself;
Jessie Stewart McPherson, the fourth daughter;
Emma Ellen McPherson, fifth daughter
Harriet Burns McPherson, sixth daughter;
Margaret Burns McPherson, seventh daughter.

Everything that I know about Mary Burns McPherson would indicate that the first daughter would be named for a grandmother, and most likely the babe's maternal grandmother. I have looked off and on for the past 5 years for a link to the Adamson family. I do know that a Thomas Adamson emigrated about the same time as the McPhersons and followed them from Dundee,Scotland, to NYC, and finally to Springdale, Dane Co., Wisconsin. Thomas Adamson also bought a small portion of James Peter McPherson's farm in Springdale. But still, I canna find a family-blood link between the two families.

The same situation is true with the naming of the fourth daughter, Jessie Stewart McPherson. The Stewarts left Dundee a year or so before my McPherson gggrand parents sailed to NYC in 1842. The two families kept in contact and by 1850 my McPhersons followed the Stewarts to Springdale, Dane Co., Wisconsin. They even lived in the Stewart's house outside of Madison for the first few weeks after arriving in Wisconsin from NYC, via canal boats, and a steamer through the Great Lakes. ("Jessie" may also be named for a Burns sister or cousin.)

The names, and the meaning of the names, of these two daughters are a nagging, haunting question for me. I leave the question for a while, only to return to review it again and again.

If anyone has some light to shed on this question, I would appreciate the illumination.

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