Source:Campbell, 2001

Source Duncan and Mary McCoy, Revisited
Author Campbell, Ruby
Publication information
Type Periodical
Publisher Journal of the Clan Campbell Society, Vol 28(2), Spring 2001
Campbell, Ruby. Duncan and Mary McCoy, Revisited. (Journal of the Clan Campbell Society, Vol 28(2), Spring 2001).


This article is sometimes cited by those interested in the ancestry of John Campbell=Grace Hay, commonly said to descend from Duncan Campbell who migrated to Ireland in 1611.

From the forward:

Many words have been written concerning the parentage of said Duncan, and much research has been conducted by amateurs and professionals alike. A number of theories as to the origin of said Duncan have been put forth in secondary sources, but none have been proven to date. In an attempt to verify one of these theories for CCS members, this writer feels that she has actually done the opposite by disproving the theory she set out to prove! This article puts forth the steps and reasoning which led to the conclusion that Duncan Campbell was not descended from the Auchinbreck Campbells in the manner set forth in Burke’s “Peerages.”



Internal evidence in this note suggests that Campbell's interpretations might not be the most accurate. Her reading of the lineage for Dugald Campbell, is a case in point. She believes that the entry for Duncan doesn't belong with Dugald, but has been inadvertantly moved by the typesetters when the document (Burke's Peerage?) was prepared for publication. Her argument is based on her interpretation of the ages of Dugalds other children. She finds that Duncan doesn't fit. Its a reasonable argument, but her specific argumentation doesn't stand on its own.

‘THE REV. DUGALD CAMPBELL went to Ireland in 1611 with Andrew Knox, bishop of Raphoe, and was incumbent of Letterkenny, County Donegal. He married Annabella, daughter of Robed Hamilton of Barncleugh and Torrens, County Ayr, and had with other issue,

JOHN of whom presently.
ALEXANDER, of Donegal. who had a son, Patrick, mentioned in his will in 1664.
GEORGE, Capt. in the army, married Ann Melvill, and died without issue,
DUNCAN, of lnveraray, went to Ireland in 1612, and settled in Ulster; married Mary McCoy, and had issue a son, Patrick, of Moyris and Magherahubber, who d. 1661, aged 48, leaving issue. His youngest son, John settled in Virginia 1726, and had issue.
WILLIAM, married firstly, the daughter of Lamont, and 2ndly, Mary, widow of Archibald Campbell in Ormsary, and had issue, four daughters.

The first-named son, JOHN CAMPBELL, of Kildalloig, County Argyle, Chamberlain of Kintyre, married 1660 Elizabeth, or Elspeth, dau. of Lachlan McNeil, of Losset, and died circa 1706, having had issue. Note that her quote from Burkes gives Alexander's will as written in 1664.

Yet in her discussion she converts this to

"ALEXANDER, died circa 1644 after his will was made."

Probably a typo in one place or the other, but which is right? Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone publishes them. This is something that slipped through, but in a formal publication you'd expect the author to have caught this.

That's probably a quibble, but there are more direct problems in her presentation

She writes of son John

JOHN, the eldest, died circa 1706. If he lived to be 70, he would have been born in 1636; married in 1660 at the age of 24. Makes sense.

This is a key item because her argument is that Duncan, the John's younger brother, could hardly have gone to Ireland in 1612, if his older brother hadn't been born until 1636. If you accept her premise, this is true enough, but her rationale for having John born in 1636 is weak. Basically, she's assuming he died at age 70. Why 70? Appears to be just a number she pulled out of her hat. "Makes sense" as she says, but so does dying at age 90---giving his DOB as 1696. In anycase, why does she believe John is the eldest? He's listed first, but that hardly proves anything. A 1636 DOB is probably more in keeping with a marriage in 1660, but this could also be his second marriage. She might have the right of this, but it looks to me like she's forcing her data to match her argument, rather than adjusting her argument to match her data.