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The McCords of Colmonell, Ayrshire1  

In the DNA Project there is at least one genetic haplogroup, R-M222>A223>A1774>BY41464 with a paper trail going back to the parish of Colmonell in South Ayrshire, Scotland, which is traced from John McCord, who emigrated in 1774 directly from Scotland to North America, where he later settled at Shawangunk in Ulster County, New York.  He was born on 29 December, 1747, in the parish of Colmonell and was almost certainly son of either Thomas McCord in Knockdaw or Thomas McCord in Cundry. He named his eldest son Thomas McCord. The McCords of Knockdaw and Cundry, were related to the McCords of Little Bennane and Barchlewan, and may well descend from Rodger McCord in Ardmillan, also located in the parish of Colmonell, who died in the month of May 1627. He left behind a widow, Katherine Inglis, and four sons, William, Thomas, Rodger and James McCord. 

George F. Black, in his book Surnames of Scotland, offers an interesting explanation for the origin of the surname McCord in Scotland. He says it is an old surname in the parish of Ballantrae and cites Paterson’s History of Ayrshire as his source.  Paterson, however, offers no examples to illustrate its antiquity in the parish2. From the earliest parish church records, which date from 1731, the names of a number of McCords appear in the baptismal, marriage and burial registers. On 8 November, 1734, John McCord and Margaret McNilly both of the parish of Ballantrae gave up their names to be married before the Kirk Session and after the calling of banns three Sabbaths, they were married on 28 November, 1734.  Over the next ten years, John McCord and Margaret McNilly had at least six children3.  


1.     Thomas McCord bapt., February 12,1736.

2.     John McCord bapt., February 22,1738.

3.     Agnes McCord bapt., March 2, 1740.

4.     Jean McCord bapt., June 23, 1742.

5.     Unnamed child bapt., either June 12, 1745, or July 12, 1746.

6.     Unnamed child bapt., May 30, 1749.


They lived for a time in the little hamlet of Carlefin, which is located south of the village of Ballantrae across the river Stinchar. It is very possible John McCord was either the son or grandson of another John McCord, who lived at Little Bennan to the north of Ballantrae in the parish of Colmonell.  According to the 1691 Hearth Tax of Colmonell, John was liable for the one-off tax payment of 14 shillings at Candlemas (2 February)4.  Interestingly, the McCords are not mentioned in the tax roll covering the parish of Ballantrae, where in 1691 the McNilly (sic. McNeillie) are listed in Garfer.

The earliest baptismal records for the parish of Colmonell begin in 1759; whilst the marriage records only start in 1838. Two Thomas McCords appear almost simultaneously in the parish of Colmonell in the 1760s: Thomas McCord in Knockdaw, who married Marion McCunn, and Thomas McCord in Cundry, who married Agnes McCunn5. Where these two McCunn sisters who had married to two McCord cousins? The names of their children born after 1759 are only known: Thomas and Marion had William (born in Cundry 11 March, 1761), Thomas (born in Almont 10 November, 1768), David (born in Barchlewan 7 July, 1770) and Sarah (born in Barchlewan 6 February, 1774).  Thomas and Agnes had Sibylla (born in Knockdaw 29 May, 1763) and Mary (born in Knockdaw 14 May, 1765).  It was from the parish of Colmonell and almost certainly, from this family of McCords that John McCord of Shawangunk in Ulster County, New York, America, emigrated from in 1774, and as noted above, he was probably the son of a Thomas McCord, as he named his eldest son Thomas.  

The McCords of Little Bennane, Cundry, Barchlewan and Knockdaw may well descend from Rodger McCord in Ardmillan in the parish of Colmonell, who died in the month of May 1627, leaving a widow, Kathrine Inglis, and four sons, William, Thomas, Rodger and James, all minors at the time of his death.  He died intestate, in other words, he died without leaving a last will and testament. Prior to 1824, if a deceased person had died intestate leaving a widow and children, the ‘deceased’s moveable goods, gear, sums of money and debts’ were divided into three parts; the widow’s, children and the decease’s third part, which had to be confirmed by the commissary court.  A testament dative was drawn up by the court and it served to appoint and confirm an executor on the court’s behalf, to dispose of the decease’s third part, which was usually taken up by the deceased’s next of kin by confirmation. 

On May 27, 1628, we find John McPedan in Lanragane, on behalf of William, Thomas, Rodger and James McCord, present at the Commissary Court in Glasgow, where a decree was issued in favour of Kathrine Inglis and William McCord, appointed executors.  I have had Rodger’s testament dative abstracted below. It will be noted that Rodger was a tenant of Thomas Kennedy of Ardmillan and paid annual rent of £18 for his farm. 

Testament Dative of Rodger McCord in Ardmillan

Testament dative and Inventar of the ‘guids geir debtis and sowmes of money’ which pertained to the late Rodger McCord in Ardmillane within the parish of Colmonell at the time of his death who died in the month of May 1627, faithfully made and given up by Kathrine Inglis his relict in name and behalf of William, Thomas, Rodger and James McCorde(s) bairnes lawful to the defunct and executors dative duly decerned to his goods and gear by decree of the Commissary of Glasgow on 27 May 16286.



The sewing of 4 bolls of oats estimated to the 3rd corn price of the boll with the fodder at 13s 4d, total £32.

The sewing of ½ boll bear estimated to the 4th corn price of the boll with the fodder at £4 13s 4d,total £9 6s 8d.

Two Ky (cow), one pregnant, and one farrow (young pig), price of the first £12 and the farrow £10, total £22

Five yew and five lambs, price of the yew and the lamb £3, total £15.

Two steers, price of both £4

The insight of the house in utencills and domicills with the clothes of the deceased estimated to £13 6s 8d.

Sum of the Inventory .... £95 13s 14d.

Debts owing out

To Thomas Kennedy of Ardmillane of mail (rent) the said year £18.

Rest offrie geir debts deducted £77 13s 4d.

Deceased part is £29 13s 4d

The which day compeared personally Johnne McPedane in Lannragane and of his own consent acted himself as cautioner and surety for William, Thomas, Rodger and James McCordes bairnes lawful and executors confirmed to deceased Rodger McCord that the goods and gear contained in his confirmed testament shall be forth coming to all parties having interest as Law will and the said Kathrine Inglis relict of the defunct and William McCord, one of the executors acted themselves to warrant free relieve and skaithless keep the forenamed cautioner of the premises and of all damages there anent. Whereupon they asked acts. 

The testament is ratified and approved and confirmed by the Commissary of Glasgow who gives and commits full power of intromission with the guids and geir above mentioned to the said executors dative above specified only with power to them to call and pursue therefore because the up giver has made faith as use is in respect of the executor minorities and has found caution as Law will as an act there upon bears at Glasgow 27 day of May 1628. 

In the Hearth tax roll for the parish of Girvan, we find a William McCord in 'Craigance' near Girvan, who was liable to pay 14 shillings Hearth tax in 16917. As William McCord in 'Craigens', he and James McIllwraith in Brockloch renounced the 20 shillings land of Craigens in favour of John Hamilton, lord of Bargany, on 13 March, 16938. To the northeast of Girvan lies Barneil, where the ancestors of these McCords lived from as early as 1514. The name first appears in Barneil in 1514, when a 'Thomas M'Cordzane' witnessed a sasine infefting Donald McClune in the four merkland of Barneil and two merkland of Drummurthy9. Thomas appears to have been the father of 'John McCord and George M'Cord' occupiers of the 5 merkland of Nether Barneil and one merkland of old extent confirmed to James McCrindle (sic. M'Crynnell) of Barneil on 2 November, 154410.

Another family is known to have lived in the parish of Barr, where the Kirk session records a payment made to ‘Ion McCord’ £2 Scots for the help in burying his mother in 1657. The parish of Barr was created in 1653 from parts of the parishes of Girvan, Colmonell and Dailly. It has Kirk session minutes dating between 1653 and 1654, and from 1733 onwards with gaps. The earliest baptismal and marriage records date 1689, predating the parishes of Girvan and Colmonell. However, there are no baptismal or marriage entries in the Church of Scotland parish records. During the seventeenth century, many Scots from Ayrshire settled in Ulster and there is every reason to believe the McCords, who lived in the parishes of Ballantrae, Colmonell, Girvan and Barr were amongst them. The names of the McCords appear in the seventeenth century records of Ulster and of these, some were probably the ancestors of other branches of the A1774 clade, whose descendants emigrated to America from the north of Ireland in eighteenth century and later.

                                            The McCords of Stewartstown, County Tyrone

The early history of the McCords of Stewartstown, which is located in the civil parish of Donaghenry in County Tyrone, is based mainly on traditions sourced in America, which narrate that this family descend from John Duncan MacKorda aka McCord. This tradition has him brought to Ireland, when only a young child, some say after the battle of battle of Killiecrankie in 1689. In this style of tradition, he is said to have been son of James MacKorda, chief of the Clan MacKorda in the Highlands of Scotland, who was born in the Isles of Skye in 1660, married Mary “Sarah” MacDougall, and died at Killiecrankie in 1689. He is said to have been the son of John MacKorda and Mary Allison of Isles of Skye.

No. 1: The McCord family settled early in [Winchester]county’s history, being founded in the spring of 1732, by James McCord, who was born in the highlands of Scotland in 1688. When only a year old, he was taken by his father to Ireland, settling in Stewartstown in County Tyrone, where he grew into manhood and married Sarah McCord, a cousin. When he emigrated to America, the couple settled at Scarsdale, Westchester, and he was the first Presbyterian elder in the county. He was a very strict member of the church and kept the Sabbath holy according to his believes, his conscience not even permitting the lighting of a fire on the Sabbath if it went out. He travelled all over the county, preaching on the Sabbath, as there was no regularly ordained minister. He died in 1759 and was buried at White Plains.  He four children, namely, John, Samuel and Mary, all born in Ireland, and Benjamin, who was born in Westchester County in1741 and died in 1807. The last named was a captain in the British irregular service, and the battle of White Plains, during the Revolutionary war, was fought on his farm.

[Donovan, J. O.: Biographical History of Westchester County, New York, (Chicago, 1899), Vol. 1, p. 327]

No. 2: Four McCord brothers and one sister, all born near Stewartstown in County Tyrone, Ireland, emigrated to America; the names of the brothers were James (born in 1760), Samuel, John and Joseph McCord. James was married in Ireland and emigrated to America with his wife, Jane Curry, in 1783, and they settled on a farm near Liberty Corner, Somerset County in New Jersey, where he died in 1840, aged eighty years. Jane survived him by 21 years and died at the age of 101. Samuel married Miss McMurtry and settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. John married Mary Todd near Morristown and settled at Succasunna, New Jersey.  Joseph joined them a few years later, and settled at Morristown in New Jersey. He married twice, firstly to Chloe Wick (had oneson, Ebenezer), and secondly, Anna Till, and had by her fourteen children. 

[Armstrong, William C.: Pioneer Families of Northwestern New Jersey (Baltimore, 1979), p. 471-476]

Stewartstown takes its name from a Scots plantation family, the Stewarts of Ochiltree in Ayrshire. The third Lord Ochiltree, Andrew Stewart, created first Baron of Castle Stewart, was granted 3000 acres of land in the precinct of Mountjoy and barony of Dungannon in 1610. He arrived in Ireland with thirty-three followers, including gentry, freeholders and other tenants, artificers and a minster. The names of some or most of these settlers appear in the muster rolls of c.1630, but none include the surname McCord. There are very few contemporary records in Ulster and Scotland to collaborated the Stewartstown tradition about the family descending from John Duncan McKorda.  However, one of the earliest sources to mention the McCords after 1690, is the Religious Census of 1766, where there are number of McCords listed in the parishes of Artrea and Derrylorn in County Tyrone.  They appear to have been Presbyterians Dissenter, also described as being Protestant. 

Parish of Artrea 1766

James McCord, Ballynagarve, dissenter 

James McCord, Cloghog, dissenter

Barket McCorde, Lisnamorrow (Londonderry portion), dissenter

William McCorde, Lisnamorrow (Londonderry portion, dissenter 

Andrew McCorde, Enniskellen, dissenter  

James McCorde, Enniskillen, dissenter 

Thomas McCorde, Enniskillen, dissenter 

William McCorde, Enniskillen, dissenter 

Thomas McCorde, Lisnahall, dissenter 

William McCorde, Lisnahall, dissenter 

Parish of Derryloran 1766 

James McCord (1), Teressan, protestant

James McCord (2), Teressan, protestant 

John McCord, Teressan, protestant 

Ben McCord, Teressan, protestant 

Widow McCord, Teressan, protestant 

James McCord, Cookstown, protestant 

The Religious Census for the civil parish of Donaghenry is wanting and only names three people out of what must have been a large number of parishioners.  There are several early references to the McCords of Stewartstown in the Belfast Newsletter, which provide an interesting comparison with the names listed in the article on the Pioneer Families by William C. Armstrong, where four McCord brothers and one sister, all born near Stewartstown in County Tyrone, Ireland, emigrated to America; the names of the brothers were James (born in 1760), Samuel, John and Joseph McCord. According to this tradition, James was married in Ireland and emigrated to America with his wife, Jane Curry, in 1783 (probably 1784), and event that took place two years after the grain flax mill of James McCord of Leck, Stewartstown’s was malicious set alight by a fire and burned to the ground.

The Corn Mill of James McCord, Leck, Stewartstown 1780

"That on the Morning of the 9th Inst. some evil minded Person maliciously set fire to the Corn-mill of Leck, near Stewartstown, in the County Tyrone, and the Property of James Mc Cord, by which said Mill was consumed with all the Grain therein, together with a Flax Mill thereunto adjoining. Now in Order to bring the Perpetrators of said enormous Crime to Punishment, we whose Names are hereunto subscribed, do promise to pay the several sums of Names annexed, to the Person or Persons who shall within six calendar Months from the Date hereof, discover and prosecute to Conviction the Person or Persons guilty of the said Crime. Dated at Leck, this 16th Day of December, 1780".  

Subscribed by Rev. George Harris, Thos. Johnston, Robt. Magill, Wm. Magill, Jas. Johnston, Pat. McConnell, Thos. Seaton, John Rea, James Atkins, Thos. McCord, Wm McCrea, Thos. Harris, John McConchy, Jas. Cook, Jos. McCord, Robt. McMaster, Robt. Holmes, Robt. Moffitt, Robt. Wilson, Geo. Anderson, Francis Loundon, Thos. Dawson, Arch. Wining, And. Reynolds, Wm Davidson, Wm. Musgrove, Robt Read, J. Hamilton, John Collins, John Maffett and James Maffett. 

[Belfast Newsletter 29 December 1870 - 2 January 1781, p.3]

James McCord, probably of Stewartstown 1784

"Cattle Stolen. Whereas several Robberies have been lately committed in the neighbourhood of Stewartstown by some person or persons, who feloniously took and stole off the lands of Killoon, two Cows the property of Mrs. Henry, on Cow the property of John Junk of Ballyveeny, three sheep from Oliver Junk, two Heifers from John Wilson of Corglasson, which were taken out of his Cow-house, and one from Mrs. Mc Master with several others in said neighbourhood. 

Now we whose names are hereunto subscribed, do promise to pay the sums annexed to our respective names to any person or persons who will within twelve months from the date hereof, inform of and prosecute to conviction any one concerned in said Robberies.  And if any person will inform and convict their accomplice or accomplices, he or they shall not only entitled to the promised reward, but interest shall be made to procure his or their pardons. Given under our hands this 11th day of March, 1784".  


"James Caufield, Humphrey Bell, Edw. Hill, John Maxwell, Mary Henry, John Junk, Oliver Junk, John Wilson, Jane McMaster, Robt. Leckee, Sam. Park, John Moore, Samuel Park, junior, Sam. McRandles, Robt. Read, Robt. Robinson, Hugh Roney, Alex. Davidson, James Campbell, Wm. Wier, Robt. Robinson, Thos. Speer, David McNeely, James McCord, Oliver McMaster, Thos. Harris, Henry Watson, Thos. Junk, Pat. McConell and John Henry". Total sum of money £45 10s 0p. 

[Belfast Newsletter 16 to 19 March, 1784, p. 3]

Note: Killoon is Killoon, Ballyveeny and Corglasson are located in the parish of Ballyclog north of Stewartstown and east of Cookstown.  


Andrew McCord, merchant in Stewartstown 1790-91

Advert, the ship Cadiz, master Wm McKibben, bound for Charlestown, South Carolina, sailing from Belfast on 19 April, 1790, passengers to apply Alexander Mitchell, Ballymena, Thomas Davison, Broughshane, John Dickson, Cullybackey, Andrew McCord, Stewartstown, John Coulter, Killinchy.

[Belfast Newsletter 2-5 March, 1790, p. 3]

Advert, the ship Cleopatra, master Henry Geddis, bound for Philadelphia, America, sailing from Belfast on 15 May, 1791, passengers to apply Hugh Crawford, Thomas Nevin, Downpatrick, John Singleton, Armagh, John Turner, Dungannon, John Waite, Lurgan, Alexander Mitchell, Ballymena, Neal Kennedy, Ballymoney, James Black, Coleraine, Andrew McCord, Stewartstown, William Forsyth, Larne. 

[Belfast Newsletter,18-22 March, 1791, p.3]

The first notice in the Belfast Newsletter confirms at least one McCord family came from near Stewartstown and lived in the townland of Leck in 1780. Leck is located in the parish of Ballyclog and lies north of Stewartstown bounding the parish of Artrea, where the form McCorde is listed in the Religious Census of 1766. This list of names is highly indicative of McKorda, a variant form of McCorde, also found in early charters in Wigtownshire, Galloway. It begs the question, could the four McCord brothers who emigrated to America about 1783, all have come from the townland of Leck near Stewartstown?


In the Project, there are a growing number of members with a family tradition traced to Stewartstown in County Tyrone, who are testing the Big Y and are positive for DF85 > S673 > BY25946 > BY18329, and its subclade FT1397456.  If the Stewartstown tradition is to be accepted, there is a high probability, the BY18329 branch originated in the Isles of Skye in the Highlands of Scotland and if correct, this could lead to a significant break-through for the McCord Heritage in America, and help to redefine the two major SNP branches in Scotland, the A223 and DF85 haplogroups.