There are no Parish Records for the years 1655 to 1690 so we have no knowledge of when our ancestors first arrived in the Parish of Kennoway.

Other than the Rev. Robert Mercer, I have found no other Mercers mentioned in Kennoway before 27th January 1693, when Euphan Mercer was married to Andrew Williamson. Eight years later on 23rd July 1701, Andrew Mercer married Elizabeth Adamson. The following year on 6th November 1702 David Mercer and Margret Paterson were married. Thomas Mercer and Christian Miller were married on 29th November 1710 and George Mercer and Janet Paton were married on 8th December 1710.

I believe that these people were probably four brothers and a sister or at least closely related. The reason I believe that, is that a check of the names of the witnesses at the baptism of the children of these couples shows that they are all witnesses for each other, e.g:

October 19, 1711. Andrew, son lawful to George Mercer and Janet Paton in this Parish was baptised. Witnesses Andrew Inglis and David Mercer. 

In the case of Euphan Mercer it will be seen that her spouse, Andrew Williamson, witnessed the baptism of John Mercer, son of Andrew Mercer and Elizabeth Adamson.

For the names of all of the witnesses, please refer to the Baptism Witnesses Page.

The name most frequently occurring as a baptism witness is that of John Mercer. Who was he? Their father? Another brother? His name appears nowhere else in the Parish Records so he will probably remain a mystery.

(JM)

2 thoughts on “Kennoway Mercer Origins

  • 10/June/2021 at 8:09 am
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    I’m a descendant of David Mercer through his daughter Elizabeth and her husband John Wishart. I managed to find David’s birth registry on Ancestry.com from 8 March 1685 from the Burntisland (Fife) records. I’m not sure if the rest of his siblings were also born there but it seems to corroborate that they were the first generation to move to Kennoway. I also managed to find David and Elizabeth’s marriage registry from the Kennoway records, however the date I have is 27 September 1702, a few days before the date mentioned in the article.

    Reply
    • 6/July/2021 at 6:02 pm
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      Dear DHK.
      Thank you for your comment. As you might expect, we have for many years, sought the parents of the “original” Mercers in Kennoway. The suggestion made on Ancestry is certainly a possibility but sadly misses out in several areas.
      1. There is no evidence that John Mercer and his wife Bessie Wylie ever moved to Kennoway.
      2. If their son David is the David who married Margaret Paterson in 1702 he would be only 17 years of age. A bit young for the times but not impossible.
      3. Why are none of the other Mercer children’s baptisms recorded in Burntisland? The other children, who’s names are not recorded, are Euphan, Thomas, Andrew and George. (There was also a John Mercer who appeared as a baptism witness to the baptisms of each of the other’s children. More often in fact, than any of the others. He appears never to have married or had children of his own, but he might be another sibling.) There are no birth records for a Euphan Mercer or a George Mercer between 1600 and 1700 anywhere in Scotland! The simple explanation might be that they were all baptised in Kennoway during the period 1655 to 1690 for which there are no surviving records.
      4. If our belief is correct, that the Kennoway Mercers are indeed siblings, then there is a problem in the case of Euphan’s marriage. The Kennoway records state that she married Andrew Williamson in January 1693. If she was the daughter of John Mercer and Bessie Wylie that would mean that she was only 10 years old when she married. Not likely.
      We have a theory of our own involving a David Mercer, son of Capt. John Mercer, a brother of the Rev. Robert Mercer, who was minister of Kennoway parish from 1653 until his death in Feb. 1682, as a possible parent of the Kennoway clan. They were all cadets of the family Mercer of Clevage. A defunct estate near the village of Dunning. Unfortunately we have been unable to find any records for David other than his baptism on 8th Oct. 1648 in Perth. Of course the records we seek could once again have been recorded between 1655 and 1690 and be lost to us. It is also interesting that Euphan was the name of Rev. Robert Mercer’s second wife, Euphan Durie.
      So, we keep looking but may never know for sure.
      JM.

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