Peasants to Puddles
My Family History - By Nicky Rowberry

The Johnston & McFarlane Families of Argyll

Much of the tree shown at the bottom of this page was only drawn with the information so kindly supplied by my cousin Jill. I had known Jill's husband Brian for many years through work and was delighted when Jill discovered she and I were related - what a small world!!

The William Johnstone on this page was the younger brother of my 3xgreat grandfather Thomas Johnstone. For more information on Thomas's descendants, please click on this link:

This William Johnstone was born in 1812 in Crawfordjohn, the fourth child of John Johnstone & Janet Barrie. I have yet to find William in the 1841 census - there are too many Williams and not enough to go on to work out which one he is for sure. At some point he must have moved to Argyll as in 1842 he married Janet McKinven in Kilcalmonell. William & Janet certainly had at least one child together, Margaret Johnstone born in 1844 in Kilcalmonell. There is then a second child, Janet Johnstone baptised in Kilcalmonell in 1846, but with parents given as William Johnstone and Janet Love. We think Janet McKinven and Janet Love are probably one and the same. There is no sign of a marriage between William Johnstone and Janet Love and no further children are born to either. I've also not found a death or burial for either Janet McKinven or Janet Love, but it seems she (or they) must have died young as in 1849 William Johnstone marries Mary Fawlds/Fowlds in South Knapdale. William was also Mary's second husband - her first being Charles Michie. In the 1851 census William & Mary are still living in South Knapdale with the 2 children from William's first marriage, plus the baby Isabella and Mary's brother Allan. The table below gives the details from the 1851 census:

Parish of
South Knapdale
Ecclesiastical District of
City or Borough of
Town of
Village of
Schedule Name of Street, Place, or Road Name & Surname of each Person who abode in the house, on the Night of the 30th March, 1851Relation to Head of FamilyConditionAgeRank, Profession, or OccupationWhere Born
35 Baileyerragan House William JohnstonHeadMarried38Agricultural LabourerLanark Crawfordjohn
   Mary JohnstonWifeMarried37 Dumfriesshire Morton
   Margaret JohnstonDaur 7 Argyle Kilcalmonell
   Janet JohnstoneDaur 4 Argyle Kilcalmonell
   Isabella JohnstoneDaur 3 mo Argyle So. Knapdale
   Allan FowldsBrother in LawUnmar28Ag Lab (Drainer)Dumfries Morton
   Archibald McLeanVisitorUnmar29Ag LabArgyle Glassry

By 1861 the family were living in Glassary, Lochgilphead. The two eldest daughters had either left home for work or perhaps died, but the family now had a boy John Johnstone - named after William's father as was the custom. William was now working as a Drainer - a common occupation amongst the Johnston men.

By the 1871 census they were living in North Knapdale and Isabella had moved out too, but they now had William's nephew John Johnston (the son of my 3 x great grandfather Thomas Johnstone) living with them. This John Johnstone remained in Argyll for the rest of his life - settling in Kilcalmonell and raising a family there.

By 1881 William Johnston had died (in 1875) and Mary was living in Glassary. It looks as if she had taken in lodgers to make ends meet as she had 3 younger men lodging with her. Her daughter Isabella Baxter Johnston had married Alexander McFarlane and her son John Johnston had married Agnes McNeil. Mary Johnston died in 1894 in Glassary.

The family tree below summarises what I know about this part of the Johnston & McFarlane families. It is hopefully reasonably accurate, but if you spot any errors, or any relatives, please feel free to E-mail me

Please click on one of the red links on the tree to move to a different page.

If any of the above is of further interest, please feel free to contact me at:

Nicky Rowberry 2014

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Peasants to Puddles - My Family History. By Nicky Rowberry