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Introduction / Barbara Allan

Westray Allans

Barbara Allan (c. 24th July 1784) is known to be the daughter of John Allan and Margaret Bews by documentation on her death record, and she is thought probably to be the granddaughter of John Allan and Marion Harcus. Lack of death records indicating the deceased's parents prior to civil registration in 1855 and lack of census records before 1841 preclude proving relationships between generations in the 18th century.

The first baptisms recorded in the Westray Old Parish Register (OPR) are from 1733 and the earliest Allan descendants recorded are of the four children of Elspeth Allan and Robert Burgar, christened 1743-1751:

  • Margaret Burgar, c. 26th July 1743
  • John Burgar, c. 25th Feb 1746
  • David Burgar, c. 11th Sept 1748
  • Robert Burgar, c. 28th April 1751

It is not known if Elspeth Allan is related in any way to Barbara Allan.

Earliest baptisms of children with the Allan surname are of the children of John Allan and Marion Harcus. They were probably married about 1760. The Westray OPR record relating to the baptism of their first known child, also called John, includes the notation "In Fornication." It is believed John and Marion lived on Westray, and virtually all Allans on Westray and Papa Westray through at least 1900 are probably descended from them. Their known children and the related baptism dates are:

  • John Allan, c. 22nd June 1760 and married Margaret Bews
  • William Allan, c. 6th August 1762
  • Andrew Allan, c 28th February 1766. He may be the Andrew Allan who married Elspeth Leslie, parents of Stewart Allan, baptised on 23rd August 1789. No other records have been found relationg to them.
  • George Allan, c. 27th July 1768 and married Margaret Irvine
  • David Allan, c. 15th June 1773 and married Elizabeth Sinclair
  • Isabel Allan, c. 3rd February 1776 and married George Gullion

The parents of John and Marion are not known. There is no record of a baptism of a John Allan in the Westray OPR earlier than 1760. There are two Marions born to Harcus families about 1740. It is not possible to know which, if either, was the wife of John Allan.

There are a few other Westray Allans for whom the connection is not apparent.


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