The documentary proof for the inclusion of James in our family tree is not as strong as I would like. Nevertheless, having considered a broad range of evidence, it is my judgement (based on the balance of probabilities) that James Fleming and his wife Mary Sinclair are the parents of my 4G grandfather Angus Fleming; born at Cambuslang on 29 June 1800. Angus was one of the younger children in a very large family, even by the standards of his time. He had at least 8 brothers and 6 sisters.
The evidence that I relied on and my reasons for making the judgement mentioned above are outlined in my 2019 research report: Finding the elusive Angus - read it here.
The marriage of James Fleming and Mary Sinclair parents was recorded on 29 June 1786 in the parish of his father James Fleming: Gorbals. It was recorded one month later in the parish of James’ new wife, Mary Sinclair: Glasgow. It was normal practice to record marriages in the parish of both the bride and groom. These records reveal that James was a cordiner (shoemaker) and that Mary’s father Archibald Sinclair was a porter.
Scotland’s Old Parish Registers record 14 children for James Fleming and Mary Sinclair, starting with Janet who was baptised four years before they were married at Blantyre in Lanark. Three other children were baptised at Blantyre, but 7 were baptised at Glasgow and 3 at Cambuslang (including our Angus).
The confirmed children of James Fleming and Mary Sinclair were:
1 - 1782 - Janet - Blantyre - Illegitimate
2 - 1787 - Sarah - Glasgow
3 - 1789 - Andrew - Glasgow
4 - 1791 - Archibald - Glasgow
5 - 1792 - John - Blantyre
6 - 1793 - Sarah - Glasgow - 1781 Sarah must have died
7 - 1794 - Isobel - Blantyre
8 - 1796 - Andrew - Glasgow - 1789 Andrew must have died
9 - 1798 - Hugh - Blantyre
10 - 1800 - Angus - Cambuslang
11 - 1802 - James - Glasgow
12 - 1803 - Hugh - Cambuslang - 1798 Hugh must have died
13 - 1805 - Janet - Cambuslang - 1782 Janet must have died
14 - 1806 - Cathrine - Glasgow
In addition, there were two other children of a James Fleming who were baptised at Blantyre around this time: Robert in 1784 and Janet in 1786. It is possible that they were also part of this large family, but unlikely. They may have been fathered by a different James Fleming. It is noteworthy that a James Fleming also fathered a child who was baptised James at Blantyre in 1789. However, it is unlikely that this child was a son of James Fleming and Mary Sinclair because their son Andrew was baptised at Glasgow in the same year.
The fact that their first child (Janet) was born out of wedlock at Blantyre is strong evidence that both James and Mary came from Blantyre. This conclusion is strengthened by the fact that a further 3 of their children were baptised there, even after they were married in Glasgow and had several children baptised in Glasgow.
It seems that, while James and Mary apparently lived in Glasgow, Mary may have returned to her hometown of Blantyre for the birth of her children when circumstances allowed.
Mary’s mother’s name may have been Janet, given that this name was given to their eldest daughter. This child must have died before 1805, because a second Janet was baptised in that year.
Their eldest confirmed son (aside from the possible Robert in 1784) was Andrew, born in 1789. This may indicate that Andrew was the name of James’ father. Again, the eldest son must have died before 1796 when another son was baptised with that name. Furthermore, the couple baptised two daughters Sarah (1787 and 1793) and two sons Hugh (1798 and 1803).