A mystery in Scotland…

A mystery in Scotland…

I wonder if the same thing that makes me wish I’d been an FBI agent is the same deep thing that makes me love a mystery?  Finding clues, sorting them out and solving a mystery is more than just a challenge – it’s actually intriguing.  This time, I’m talking about searching out clues in my family history.  Years ago, my late sister Dot had the dream of finding our ancestors.  I joined her in the exciting search.  It didn’t take a whole lot of imagination to know that with the last name of McGregor, our ancestors had come from Scotland.

We began the journey back through the years and enlisted the help of our other two sisters.  The four of us traveled to the archives of Mississippi and various other libraries.  We wrote many letters requesting information from archives in several states.  Amidst the laughter on each trip we’d take, we discovered answers – in birth records, death records, marriage records, old newspaper clippings and family Bibles.  You would have thought we’d won the lottery when we “proved” a date or name.  There are three large rubbermaid containers stacked next to my chest in my bedroom…filled with several years worth of hard work.  I purposely did not put them in the storeroom for a good reason:  they’re there to remind me that I must finish this family history.  When the snow starts to fall in a few months, I will rejoin Ancestry.com and begin the journey back through time once again.

Several years ago, my husband and I were traveling through North Carolina where my immigrant ancestor, Rev. William McGregor, had lived almost 300 years ago now.  There at the foot of Fall Mountain, he built a homestead – complete with a sturdy log house and outbuildings.  He established a large apple orchard.  He “preached in the meeting houses of America”…which had been his reason for coming to America in the first place.   He sold his home and land to Dr. Kron, the first physician of North Carolina.  The house has been rebuilt as an exact replica and is in Morrow Mountain State Park in Stanly County, North Carolina. 

It was somehow humbling, yet awe-inspiring, to stand on the land of my ancestor, a Baptist preacher from Scotland (there weren’t a lot of Baptists in Scotland at that time).   I stood on the porch of his home and wondered where the answers lie.  So many of the actual records burned in fires over the years according to the archives there in Stanly County.  There are hundreds of his descendants who are searching – as I am.  Supposedly, Rev. William McGregor was born in Ossian’s Glen, Scotland.  Other records indicate he came from the Isle of Skye. 

The mystery lies in Scotland but there is much to prove here first.  This is just part of the mystery that I will be working on this Winter, when the snow begins to fall…


Below:  The front of Rev. William McGregor’s house in Morrow Mountain State Park, Stanly County, NC…




Below:  The  back of Rev. William McGregor’s log house in Stanly County, NC 



 Below:  The back door of Rev. William McGregor’s house…wmmcgregor3

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About Dianne Allen

Although I am a true Southern Heart (I was born in Mississippi and grew up in Tennessee), I also love the Prairie, and that is where I am now.

I am a mother of three grown children - two wonderful sons and an amazing, beautiful daughter. I am a grandmother of nine - two grandsons and seven granddaughters. If you were to ask my grandchildren: they would tell you that "being a grandmother is what I do and that nothing in this world could keep me from it".


  1. Very interesting. My oldest daughter and I share an interest in genealogy and have invested in Ancestry.com membership for about 12 years now. Always finding something new.

    • That’s great that you share that interest and especially great that she can ask you questions! When I was younger and could have asked Mama questions, I was too busy raising children to think about genealogy. I have done ancestry.com over the years off and on, but find if I’m too busy to work on it (like during the Summer) then it’s a waste of money. When the snow falls, I will be “snow bound” and it will be a perfect time! ;-)

  2. Lemme know if you run across any relatives with the name of Henderson or Duncan in the NC area…..my Great Papa was a Baptist preacher from Scots ancestry too! We may be distant cousins!!

    • Hi, Sunny! I will be sure to let you know – how many Baptist preachers from Scotland were there?! Based on what I’ve read, not terribly many.

      • Not many at all!! My Great Papas name was Rev Z. I. Henderson…..Zachariah Issac Henderson. He was from the Sapphire Valley Area of North Carolina, if I remember correctly. There were also some McCalls related too. My sister does all the geneology stuff for our family…….and my late cousin wote a book on it…..House Of Henderson by Robert Henderson. I have a copy here. Small world.

  3. Hi! My ancestors are also from the Isle of Skye. My mum’s maiden name is McLeod and we are the 2nd generation born in this country. Best of luck with your search!

    • Hi, Marlene! In some ways, I think he would be easier if my ancestor had not come to this country almost three hundred years ago! Hopefully, I can find some of those missing pieces. Have you been to the Isle of Skye?

  4. I rejoined ancestry.com recently to do some research for my husband’s family reunion. Sure wish my dad were here to see everything that’s on the internet now. He was a genealogist and had to do his research the “hard way”-viewing reams of microfilm, writing many, many letters, traveling to courthouses and many phone calls. I have inherited all of his research and hope to pick up where he left off.

    • That’s great, Jan! When my sister Dot and I began this journey about ten years ago, we did everything the hard way also…just as you described! I’m glad you are picking up where he left off!

  5. this makes me very curious as to whether my family has any age-old mysteries that i can investigate! i, too, would’ve been an fbi agent in another life. :)

  6. Like you I have bins full of notes, legal pads scribbled over, jottings on backs of envelopes–and even a few things transcribed and neatly typed on my PC. Sometimes years pass before I find a piece of the puzzle–sometimes that new piece brings with it more questions. I also wonder why I didn’t ask questions. I listened enthralled to family stories and didn’t voice the queries that now seem so obvious.

  7. Hi my name is Craig McGregor, my brother started our ancestry journey many years ago. I’ve always wanted to know who was the first from Scotland. What we know for sure is my great great grandfather Henley Preston was born in 1842 in Marshall county Kentucky he eventually moved his family to Lutesville, Bollinger Mo., I still remember stories from my grandma and grandpa of him being a soldier in the civil war, even though he died a few years before they were born. Preston’s father was William McGregor(b.1799, Spouse: Elizabeth Waid) who migrated to Kentucky from South Carolina. All this info is pretty well confirmed from census records and such.
    It gets really confusing though from William back, his father is suppposedly William from South Carolina(b.1772, spouse: Mary Wylie). This seems to make sense being he is from SC and his son is from there. His father Williiam born 1732? married to Sarah Flowers from Scotland, now he is the one who is supposed to be the “old scots preacher”. I remember finding out in later life that my grandpa claimed to be a Baptist, I always thought that was kind of strange as most of my family were of Pentecostal persuasion. I still remember stories from my grandpa who would always declare that we were descendants of Rob Roy and his brother Rex would confirm, though I’ve heard that Rob Roy was Catholic. Now I don’t know if they were going from passed down info or it was just fun to say they were his descendants, but they always seemed so vehement about it.
    I wonder now if it’s even possible to ever find out for sure as the written records if there ever were any would long be gone by now. Does anyone have any info they might be able to share to solve this, maybe each of us has a puzzle piece and we can solve this together.

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