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Kate McLean

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:44 pm
by Ruth15
My great grandmother was Catherine "kate" McLean. She was born ca. 1863 in Scotland. She was in the US by 1887 and died in 1896. I have never been able to find her birthplace or parents. Her only daughter was eight years old when Kate died and never knew much about her. I have two pictures that was given to my grandmother. One taken in Glasgow, one in Fraserburgh. I have found a couple of Catherine McLeans born within a few years of my Kate in or near Campbeltown but never able to identify any as her. If anyone recognizes the attached pictures or has information about a Catherine McLean, I would appreciate any help you can give me.

Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:00 pm
by Iain
Hi Ruth ! Welcome to Argyll !

As you did not give the name of the daughter..., I’m only guessing that the following just might be your Kate.

Catherine McLean
Birth 1863 in , , , Scotland
Death 4 Nov 1896 in Toledo, Lucas, Ohio, United States
Husband: Daniel Harry Pearsall 1854 – 1912
Daughter: myrtle pearsall 1888 – 1971

Myrtle Pearsall
Birth 7 Sep 1888 in Binghamton, Broome, New York, USA
Death 14 Oct 1971 in Toledo, Lucas, Ohio, USA
Photo of Myrtle below: ("mother and daughter" certainly look alike !)

Myrtle’s parents:
Daniel Harry Pearsall 1854 – 1912
Catherine McLean 1863 – 1896

Myrtle’s children:
Wayne Glenn 1906 – 1976
Robert Glenn 1907 –
Dorothy Glenn 1908 – 1988
Marion Glenn 1910 – 1982
Earnest Glenn 1910 –
Ernest Glenn 1913 – 1933
Ruth Virginia Glenn 1915 – 1991
Catherine Iris Glenn 1917 – 1917
Alice Ellleen glenn 1920 – 1980
Laurel Kathleen Glenn 1924 – 2002
Theodore Daniel Glenn 1928 – 1990
Marilyn Jean Glenn 1930 – 1993
Photo of Ruth below:
Ruth Virginia Glenn
Birth 3 Apr 1915 in Toledo, Lucas, Ohio, USA
Death 4 Jul 1991 in Toledo, Lucas, Ohio, USA

Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:59 pm
by Ruth15
Yes, that is my listing on ancestry. My grandmother was Myrtle and my mother was Ruth. My problem is that I have not been able to find any information about Kate before she married Dan Pearsall. I do not know her parents or where in Scotland she was born. Catherine McLean is a common name and there are lots of listings, but have not been able to know which is the right one that's why I am hoping someone may know about Catherine or recognize the pictures.

Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:24 am
by duncanmclean1
Hi Ruth,
I hope you're successful in your searches and I'm very happy to help if I can but a few questions first if you don't mind.

Did your Kate marry Dan Pearsall in Scotland or the States?
Have you checked passenger lists of ships carrying emigrants from the UK to North America and the Immigration records for Ellis Island? It might be helpful to find out who accompanied Kate on the voyage.
Do you know who the two gentlemen in the first picture are?
Is there anything in your family tradition linking your ancestors with any particular part of Scotland? Where does Fraserburgh come into things? Do you have any particular reason for suspecting Kintyre in general or Campbeltown in particular?

Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:00 am
by Ruth15
Thanks for your reply. Kate married Dan Pearsall in Detroit, Michigan in 1887. He gave my grandmother to a neighbor when she was 12 years old and she never saw him again. He died in 1912. As far as the pictures are concerned, I do not have the originals. My aunt gave me copies over 20 years ago. She said that each had the name of the photographer and the photographer's location on the back of the picture but no identification of who the people were. I am not sure that the woman is Kate. My grandmother was eight years old when Kate died and I think she would have recognized her picture but she didn't seem to know who the woman was.

I only have bits and pieces of information that my grandmother remembered and related to my aunt who subsequently told me. My grandmother said that she remembered a Grandma McLean and an Aunt Agnes visiting them once but she was told they went back to Scotland. Dan Pearsall was a traveling salesman so he moved around a lot. It took me almost 30 years to find their marriage record. When my grandmother was born they lived in Binghamton, New York. At the same address at the same time there was a Catherine McLean (widow of Alexander) living there but no record of her after that.

I found an Allen McLean and wife Janet who had children Catherine b. 31 Jan 1860 in Southend and an Agnes b. 1 Feb 1864. Allen married Janet Wallace in Campbeltown in 1856. While the year isn't what I had for Catherine, the month and day is so I thought perhaps it could be her. I also found another Catherine born in 1858 from Campbeltown whose parents were Alexander and Catherine. Since Catherine McLean is fairly common it has been quite challenging to find the right one.

One other piece of information I have that may or may not be true is that my grandmother said her mother told her a grandfather was a Presbyterian minister. I don't know if he would have been my grandmother's grandfather or Kate's or whether his name would have been McLean.

I apologize for such a long response, but this is pretty much all I know about Kate. I appreciate any assistance you can give me in my nearly 40 year quest to find Kate's family.

Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:46 am
by duncanmclean1
Thanks Ruth, that gives me something to work on. Do you happen to know if Dan Pearsall was American or British?
I'm still not clear why you think your Kate came from Kintyre. I'm afraid that we McLeans spread ourselves all over Scotland. Also, why is the first picture named Fraserburgh.jpg? Is that because you know it to have been taken there?

You said that when your grandmother was born there was a Catherine McLean (widow of Alexander)Irving at that address. Are you assuming that this was Kate's mother?

Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:56 pm
by Ruth15
Before my grandmother passed away she said "I hope someday, someone finds out who I am." It bothered her a lot that she didn't know very much about either parent. Dan said he was born in 1855 in New York and that his parents were French Canadian. I haven't been able to find out very much about him either. It seems that both Dan and Kate just appeared when my grandmother was born.

They were married 4 July 1887 and Kate's age was listed as 25. She died 3 November 1896 and her age was listed as 33 years 9 months 4 days. That is all I have to go on as far as her birthdate is concerned. I labeled the one picture Fraserburgh so that I would remember where my aunt thought it was taken.

I have posted to other sites in the hopes that I can find someone with a connection. The fact that I found a couple of Catherines who could be my Kate in the Campbeltown area is why I posted to this site. The Catherine McLean (widow of Alexander) I believe is related somehow but not necessarily her mother. The only Catherine I found with parents Catherine and ALexander was the one born in 1858 that I mentioned earlier. I realize that I do not have a lot to work with. Believe me I have been looking for Kate and Dan for almost 40 years now and these postings are pretty much my last attempt.

Thanks for your interest.

Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:38 pm
by duncanmclean1
Having tried to cram 40 years of frustrating research into only a few hours I'm now beginning to share your pain! Here are my thoughts so far, and a few more questions I'm afraid. As you say there are many Catherine McLeans of about the right age and born in Scotland. I'm not particularly concerned that the year of birth doesn't seem to match as my own experience of many years chasing McLeans and other family members all over Scotland and England has taught me that peoples' 'ages' can appear to drift over time which can be observed if you track the same person across several census returns. I suggest that this could be because a) people genuinely forgot the year of their birth without the constant reminders such as we have nowadays, b) some people deliberately made themselves appear younger or older (eg for marriage reasons!) or c) the return was made by someone who didn't know the exact age of the person, perhaps when reporting the death of an older person. I think you need to look for someone born around 1862 but not necessarily that precise year. I believe that the day and month is more significant though so I suggest looking for a Catherine McLean born somewhere in Scotland on (or at least very close to) 30th January but not still visible in Scotland after 1887.

The older Catherine McLean (widow of Alexander) who was living in the Binghamton family home at the time your grandmother was born is interesting. What is your source for this and is there any more information that can be extracted from this source? As you say, she may be Kate's mother or some other family member but finding a Catherine McLean who was also the daughter of Alexander and Catherine would definitely be a bonus.

At this point I believe there are two Catherine McLeans who fit all these criteria and so I think are worth investigating further although it's entirely possible that neither is your ancestor. My first Catherine (MacLean, but you can ignore the variations in spelling) was born in Dingwall (a few miles north of Inverness) on 30 January 1859. Her parents were Alexander MacLean and Catherine Fowler. In the 1881 census she (apparently aged 20!) was still living in Dingwall with her mother (who by that time was widowed), an elder sister and two elder brothers. She doesn't appear on the 1891 census (nor marriage/death records) and neither do her sister nor one brother. Her mother and the eldest brother are shown in the 1891 census for Dingwall. I like this possible Catherine because she fits the criteria and her two brothers might just be the subjects of the Fraserburgh picture. Fraserburgh is in the extreme north-east corner of Aberdeenshire - some distance from Dingwall, but closer than Campbeltown! I'm a little concerned that Catherine senior was living in Dingwall in 1891 but she could have emigrated with her daughter, stayed for the birth of Myrtle, then returned home.

My second Catherine was born in Campbeltown on 31 January 1859 to Alexander McLean and Catherine McEachran. The family were still living there in 1871. By 1881 it appears that the family had moved to Glasgow although I think Catherine remained behind in Campbeltown working as a servant for the Campbell family. I can't see any evidence of any of them still being in Scotland by the time of the 1891 census. This Catherine also fits the criteria more or less although the birthday is out by a day.

I'm not sure that you'll get much more than this (or other, similar, Catherines) from the Scottish records. I think your next step (if you haven't done so already) should be to scan US immigration records and passenger lists of ships from the UK to North America. Glasgow to New York is the obvious route but many US immigrants used other ports, some even travelling via Canada, and many emigrant ships left from Liverpool. My feeling is that Kate would not have been alone so ideally you are looking for a Catherine or Kate McLean accompanied by other family members such as Catherine senior, perhaps with brothers and sisters. I would start looking from 1881 and stop in 1887 (it might have been a whirlwind romance with Dan!). Unfortunately, this all occurred before Ellis Island was used for processing immigrants to the USA but there are records relating to its predecessor at Castle Gardens and individual ships arriving at ports in the US and Canada.

Finally, are there any US sources you haven't covered? Does your grandmother's death certificate identify her parents? Is there any information in obituaries? Were any other McLeans living in Binghamton at about this time who might be family members? Who were the witnesses at Dan and Kate's wedding? I'm sure you've got this all covered though.

I think that's about all I can offer at the moment and I hope it's helpful.

Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:31 pm
by CaliGal
Have you considered a DNA test? I've had my Dad and an uncle do the YDNA (men only) and autosomal (men or women) tests through familytreedna. The autosomal can match you to close relatives out to about 5th cousins.
I have Catherine McLean (b. c. 1856) daughter of Catherine McLachlan and Alexander McLean of Campbeltown in my tree. I haven't tracked down Catherine, but her mother Catherine is marked as deceased on another daughter's marriage certificate in 1886. Her father, Alexander died in 1897.

Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:15 pm
by Ruth15
Thanks for your comments. I did participate in the familytreedna project but have not had any good matches yet. I hope this will help as more people get involved in the dna side of family research.

Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:52 pm
by duncanmclean1
Hi Kate, good to hear from you again. Any luck so far in tracking down your Great Grandmother Kate? Were my suggestions of 'Dingwall' Kate and 'Campbeltown' Kate any help at all? All the best.

Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:54 pm
by Ruth15
At last! Through Ancestry DNA I finally have found my McLean family. Several years ago you suggested two possibilities for my great-grandmother Kate McLean. The one born 31 January 1859 in Campbeltown is my great grandmother. My first match with Ancestry was a woman who lived in Minnesota who descended from Robert McEachran and Margaret Sillers.

My second match was a woman who descended from John McLean. This John McLean was the son of Alexander McLean and Catherine McEachran of Campbeltown. Alexander was the son of John McLean and Margaret McFarlane. Catherine was the daughter of Robert McEachran and Margaret (Agnes) Sillers. Alexander and Catherine had several children--Margaret, Robert, Alexander, John, George Melville, Donald, Catherine, James, Jessie, Agnes.

Their son John had two children, Marguerite and Alexander. Marguerite moved to Schenectady, New York. Alexander lived his life in Glasgow but two of his daughters moved to New Jersey. I have not been able to get a response from any of their descendants. I also know that Alexander and Catherine's daughter Jessie married Thomas Brogan in Glasgow in 1883 but have not found her since. I also suspect that Agnes did later return to the US but we do not have a national database for marriages so it would be difficult to find her if she married here without knowing exactly where she married.

I know that Catherine McEachran McLean was in the US for a short time before returning to Scotland. My Kate died in 1896 so her mother must have returned to Scotland before then. Alexander died in Glasgow in 1885. I would assume that Alexander was buried in Glasgow. It probably would not be practical for him to have been returned to Campbeltown for burial. I am hoping if I find where he was buried that I may also find his wife buried there too.

I would like to find more about Catherine and maybe connect with living descendants who may be able to identify the pictures and/or give me more personal info about the family. I find it both exciting to finally find my family and sad that my grandmother never knew anything about them. Thanks for your help.

Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:01 pm
by CaliGal
That's great, that dna solved your mystery. Have you uploaded to You might find more dna matches there. My aunt is in ancestrydna ("B. O."), but I don't see a Ruth in her matches. She only has two matches with McEachran in their tree, but 24 matches with Campbeltown in their tree.
I've begun to think that Argyll was/is an endogamous population... because of all the matches I can't figure out.


Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:48 pm
by duncanmclean1
That's great news Ruth, Kate finally tracked down - well done. It's a shame that you failed to find a DNA match on FTDNA but excellent that Ancestry came up trumps. Can you tell me a little bit about the DNA testing that you had done with both companies? I have a bit of a special interest as I now administer the Clan MacLean FTDNA project! Is there anything else I can do to help you out? All the best,

Re: Kate McLean

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:51 pm
by Ruth15
I am on gedmatch. My name is Linda Baker. Ruth is my middle name, I used that because the
Linda that I tried was already taken.