Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Prolific Family

This article was printed in the Lexington, Missouri, Intelligencer on December 29, 1888, p 3. I recommend viewing on a computer. A transcription is also included here, with the children numbered in order of birth except for the triplets (number 11) and the twins (number 13.)
Lexington, Missouri Intelligencer, December 29, 1888, p. 3

“In the parish of Haddington a very extraordinary instance of longevity is recorded to have occurred in one family. Mr. Alexander Maitland and Catherine Cunningham, his wife, were married August 6, 1657. The ages of nine of the children of this marriage amounted to no less than 738 years. Another circumstances remarkable of this marriage is, that the eighteenth year of it produced twins; and the twenty-first year trines, or three infants at a birth. (These three dined together in the house where they were born on their seventieth birthday.) The ages of the trines amounted to 256. This fact is ascertained beyond all possibility of doubt, as it was communicated to the clergyman of the parish by his intimate friend, Mr. Robt. Keith, a gentleman of the strictest honor and probity, and who was himself the son of Isobel, one of the trines.” The above is an excerpt from an old book, “the Beauties of Scotland,” printed in 1805, the author being Ro. Forsyth. A more particular chronology of the family is as follows: — “Alexander Maitland and Catherine Cunningham were married on the 6th of August, 1657. 

  1. Patrick Maitland, their eldest son, was born on the 8th of September, 1658, and died in infancy. 
  2. Elizabeth Maitland, their eldest daughter, was born the 26th of July, 1660. 
  3. Mary Maitland, the second daughter, was born on the last day of December 1661; died 1747. 
  4. Charles Maitland, second son, was born the 29th day of July, 1663; died 1723. 
  5. Elizabeth Maitland, third daughter, born the 29th of August, 1664. 
  6. Janet Maitland, fourth daughter was born the 15th of June, 1665; died in 1758. 
  7. Isobel Maitland, fifth daughter was born the 5th of June 1668. 
  8. Jean Maitland, sixth daughter, was born the 4th of May, 1670. 
  9. Catharine Maitland, seventh daughter was born the 23d of May, 1672, died in 1768. 
  10. John Maitland, third son, was born the 28th of June, 1673. 
  11. Anna, Isobel and Richard Maitland were all born at one birth on Wednesday, the 23d of August, 1675; Richard died 1749, Isobel died 1764; 
  12. Alison Maitland, tenth daughter, was born the 13th of January 1677. 
  13. Sophia and John Maitland were born at one birth on the 20th of February, 1678; John died 1765.” 

The above is a copy of an old record copied from the family Bible in the possession of Mrs. Anna Maitland, of the three at a birth. From this register it appears that the family consisted of 16 children, five sons and eleven daughters. That several of them lived to a great age. Their united age amounting to upward of 600 years. Of the three born at one birth, the first died at 74 years, the second at 89 and the third past 91. The father of this remarkable family was warden of the mint, and factor to the Duke of Lauderdale. The longest lived of the children were, Mary died at the age of 86, Janet at 92, Catharine at 86, Richard at 74, Isobel at 89, John at 87, Anna at 97, total 605 years. Mr. Alexander Maitland from the Charles Maitland of this record who was born in July, 1663, and died 1728.

Copyright 2010-2017, ACK for Gene Notes

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