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THE FINLAY (or Alexander) Gunn and Christian McIntosh Gunn


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The following information is from "the Gunns of Kinlochlaggan...A Scottish Diaspora" compiled and printed in 1979 by Kathleen Gunn Turpin (now Sullivan).

At the time Kathleen compiled our family's history and family tree information, it was determined that Hugh and Margaret were the ancestors of over 750 people, including 41 grandchildren and 91 great-grandchildren.  That was twenty years ago.  Since then there has been a whole new generation (possibly two) added to the trees.  Gary Rhyason, a cousin in Canada, is diligently working on up-dating the whole tree with the help of "Family Tree Maker".

As is mentioned elsewhere in the Homepage, if you have any information that can be added to the family tree or history, please let us know by email so that we can add it to these pages.


They lived at Achormlary--about two miles downstream on the River Evelix from Kinlochlaggan.

In the Old Parish Register birth entries--which is the only source of information for events prior to 1855--the husband of Christian McIntosh of Achormlary is sometimes listed as Alexander Gunn; sometimes as Philip Gunn; and sometimes as Finlay Gunn.

Clan Gunn genealogist, Dr. Colin Gunn of Kirkaldy, Fife, Scotland stated, "Philip isn't a Highland name and I have a theory about it.  I suspect that Philip is an Anglicized substitute for the Gaelic name Finlay, inserted into the records by some upstart, ignorant English speaker, hell-bent on destroying our people's native tongue....This hatred of Gaelic was prevalent, especially among Lowland Presbyterians.  The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel referred to the Gaelic as the 'Irish' tongue."

"Alexander, Finlay, and Philip are the same person in my opinion."

Old Parish Registers are variable in quality--depending on who kept the register at the time--and are often incomplete, particularly through the 1700's.

I extracted all "Gunn" births, deaths, and marriages from the registers of Creich and Dornoch (1730-1855)--about 300 total--for use by the Clan Gunn in Scotland.

I found this variability and changing of names very usual at that time.  Many--particularly women--were listed as using two, three, or even four different first names throughout the birth entries of their children; as did "Marion" and "Margaret" in our line of Gunns.  Apparently, if a person decided to start using a "nickname" or a different given name, that was what was listed in register entries.

Gunn family members born at Achormlary about this time included:

Anne Gunn  married Robert Calder of Rhenamein.  Their children--born 1809-1831--were Margaret,  Alexander, Finlay, Christy, John, William, Mary, Ann, and Hugh.  These are almost a total repetition of names of Gunn family members at Achormlary and Kinlochlaggan.

On the birth entry of Anne Gunn her parents are listed as Philip Gunn and Christian McIntosh Gunn of Achormlary--the same as on the birth entry of Hugh Gunn.  However, on her death certificate on Oct. 17, 1863 her father was listed as "Finlay Gunn, tenant, deceased"; and her mother as "Christy Gunn, maiden surname McIntosh, deceased".

After finding this, Dr. Colin Gunn observed, "This certificate confirms my hunch that Philip was a Finlay, as well as being an Alexander."

Both Anne Gunn and husband Robert Calder are buried at Creich Cemetery near the Hugh Gunns.  Their son, Hugh Calder, resided in the same dwelling with the Donald and Joseph Gunns at the time of the 1861 census in Bruce County, Ontario.  Also he was the attendant at the marriage of John Gunn in that county in 1867.

On the baptismal entry of Alexander Gunn on Dec. 11, 1788, his parents were listed as Alexander Gunn farmer at Achormlary and lawful wife Christian McIntosh.  An Alexander Gunn married a Margaret McKenzie on Dec. 25, 1813, who possibly was that individual.  The only Margaret Gunn of geographic proximity and corresponding age married a George Ross in 1818.

In the early 1700's the spelling of Gunn in register entries was "Gun."

The frequency of name changes in the register are also apparent in the listing of ages of individuals.  Ages on census reports and tombstones rarely correspond with those on birth registrations or even on previous census reports.  If they are within "close range" one has to assume it is the same person.

Causes of death listed in the Registers are interesting.  While none of these I have selected to mention are of traceable relationship to our branch of the Clan Gunn, I found the items to be of interest.

Elderly people, including an Alexander Gunn who died at 83 in 1837, were listed as dying due to "decay of nature".  (Possibly this was our ancestor.)

A James Gunn, age 56, died because of an "untied sore throat".  A John Gunn died at age 69 of "asthma and gravel."

The 1841 census (the first ten-year census taken in Scotland) lists our family at "Keanlochloggan" as consisting of the parents "Hugh" and "Margaret" and the following children:  Finlay, Christy, Ann, John, Donald, and Hugh.  This omits George, Alexander, and Joseph.  George...was probably working in Glasgow by that time.  An Alexander of corresponding age was listed as living in Dornoch at that time--and apparently wasn't part of any Gunn family living there.  Joseph, listed as age 10, was listed as residing at a nearby croft with the letters "M.S." in the "occupation" column.

The 1851 census lists only the two daughters, Ann and Christy, and the youngest son, Hugh (age 19) as living at home.

    I.     ANNE GUNN (1785-1863) m. ROBERT CALDER of Rhenamein
            A.    Margaret Calder
            B.    Alexander Calder
     C.    Finlay Calder
       D.    Christy Calder
   E.    John Calder
        F.    William Calder
    G.    Mary Calder
 H.    Ann Calder
     I.     Hugh Calder
     II.   ALEXANDER GUNN (1788-?) m. 1813 to MARGARET McKENZIE (?-?)
    III.  HUGH GUNN (1793-1851) m. MARGARET (MARION) MURRAY (1788-1857)
     IV.  MARGARET GUNN (1796-?)


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