Newfoundland's Grand Banks Message Board

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Author:  BrentMacLean [ Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:39 am ]
Post subject:  MacLean/Mclean

Hi folks,

I've been trying for years to find out more about the MacLean side of my family. The family "history" was that my Great-Grandfather Richard MacLean came with his brother from Scotland and settled in Springdale, Newfoundland in the late 1800's. The brother was said to have gone on to Nova Scotia. But according to my research, my Great-Grandfather Richard MacLean was actually born in Carbonear, NL in 1851 (1847 according to his headstone). The surname is listed as "Mclean" in many of these records.

That's where the records concerning Richard MacLean get sketchy. His parents might be Donald and Eliza (Penny) MacLean/Mclean. His full name might be Richard Thomas MacLean/Mclean. Either way, Richard eventually did move to Springdale where he and his wife Jessie (Butt) raised their children, including my Grandfather Daniel MacLean, who in turn eventually settled in Corner Brook, where I grew up.

At this point I'd be grateful for any information about this family, no matter how insignificant the info may seem.

Brent MacLean

Author:  Woolmitts [ Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: MacLean/Mclean

I can’t help you with your particular MacLean family but ...

My Scottish McLean ancestor emigrated to Labrador in 1872, leaving many McLean descendants here in the province. With extreme good fortune and professional help, I was able to discover his Scottish line. I visited them in Scotland. They were quite surprised that their MacLean surname had morphed into McLean on this side of the Atlantic. Often the spelling was left to the whim of the record keeper, nothing more.

You mentioned your family lore that your ggf came with his brother from Scotland in the late 1800’s but you think your ggf was actually born in Carbonear. In my experience, family lore makes for a good story but careful research will bring you closer to the truth. The story in my family was that a ggf Lewis emigrated from Germany. The paper trail proved that it was actually Lewis’s ggf who was the immigrant, not Lewis himself. Just saying.

If you have good evidence that your Richard MacLean was born in Carbonear then likely his father or grandfather was the immigrant. What bought young Scots to the Carbonear area in the early to mid 1800’s? Of course there was the fishery (duh) but try reading up on John Munn & Co. of Carbonear. He was a Scotsman who may have bought employees over from the homeland.

Also, the Carbonear grave you believe to belong to your Richard MacLean. Are there other MacLean headstones nearby that might indicate a family cluster?

There is some interesting reading on Scottish settlement patterns on and also the maritime history archives.

An Ancestry DNA test might reveal if you share a commonality with Donald and Eliza, your possible gg grandparents. You can research together. Things move faster that way.

I apologize if this is a jumble. This little square is hard to type in.
Good luck with your research.

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