Down the Rabbit Hole


Castles and Earls and Mackenzies…oh my.

I know that I have been absent from blogging for a few weeks.  Things at home have been pretty busy as of late.  I had taken on a project of switching two bedrooms in the house to make room for our expected arrival in June.  This is my third pregnancy so I knew that the longer I waited the harder it would be on me to get the job done.  My husband, as much as he tries, is not a very handy person.  I always tell him that when I need a jet engine repaired I will come to him…but if I need a shelf hung, I guess I’ll take that task on myself.  *Bless his heart*

Any who, the rooms have been a success with hubby’s help.  I have all but completed the paint job on my daughter’s furniture to turn what is brown and dingy into a fresh coat of white.  Her room had not been truly updated since she was about three.  And celebrating her seventh birthday this past weekend allowed me to give her a more “grown up” girls room (complete with unicorn head).  The nursery that my son had once resided in has now been transformed into a gender neutral nursery.  I am very excited to put more finishing touches as I wait for the little one’s mobile to arrive from Italy.  I say that and it sounds fancier than it is.  I just really liked the one from Italy and it cost just as much as one from Texas.  Oh the wonders of Etsy.  Connecting not so crafty people to the crafty makers of the world.

So, I just renewed my annual subscription to and paid the few extra dollars to be able to search internationally and not just in the United States.  Let me say that  the extra twenty bucks has paid off big.  I sat here at the computer and thought that I might as well delve into Scotland again.  I remember a while ago, when my sister and I couldn’t even find a record to make it past our third times great-grandfather, Murdock Ferguson.  And now, we may be stringing our ancestry together for the past few hundred years.

Here is what I know so far…

James and Georgina, front. Donald may be back, far right.

My connection to Scotland is fairly recent with my great-grandfather, Donald Ferguson, coming over from Glasgow.  His parents James and Georgina immigrated to Pennsylvania around 1888.  I have several records showing James and Georgina traveling to and from Scotland during the later part of the 1800s and the early 20th century, such as passenger lists and also passport applications.  A 1900 United States Census record shows James and Georgina, along with Donald, residing in Allegheny County in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  The census records before this time that we have collected have been from Scotland from 1861 to 1881.


Now, currently we have focused less on the Ferguson line, which is my maiden name, and more on Georgina, James’ wife.

Georgina Ferguson, my second great-grandmother, married James Ferguson in 1876.  Her maiden name is MacLennan.  We have gathered this information from a death record we obtained from  It shows that Georgina married James Ferguson, a carpenter, and died on May 24, 1932 from cerebral hemorrhages.  The most important information we got from this death record is who her parents were.  They list her parentage as Donald MacLennan and Christina Monk.

Death record for Georgina Ferguson

Christina Monk is the first wife of Donald.  He later married Catherine Ferguson.  We haven’t found many records on her line as of yet.  But, if you continue up the trail of MacLennan is where this post gets interesting for me.

I went onto and started looking at other people’s family trees that came up as little leaves to compare to mine.  I traced, according to other people’s findings, back to a Captain John Mackenzie.  This is where the research came to a halt on ancestry and I decided to Google Captain John Mackenzie of Ballone.

Ballone…what is a ballone you ask? Apparently it was a castle…yup, a freaking castle.  I was amazed.  I had always joked that I wished my family had a castle somewhere in Scotland and now it was a possibility that they may have once occupied the castle, also known as Castlehaven, during the 18th century.  Well, I went down the rabbit hole that was Google and quickly had to call my sister, who I share this passion with and let her know.

She, being the voice of reason in our genealogy searches most of the time, asked for sources.  I told her that I had not yet connected the dots with sources and that I needed her help before I got too far into it.  She agreed and came over the next day with her computer in hand.  We sat, laptop to laptop and opened our browsers in search of the lines that could possibly connect us to the Mackenzies of Ballone.

I opened once again and began searching their records.   Forty credits cost me roughly twelve bucks, but at 6 credits a pop for images I was nervous we may not find our first link.

Death record for Donald MacLennan

I found it on the first go.  I searched for the death record for Donald MacLennan and boom.  I found the connections we were looking for to get us to the next step.  We already knew that Donald MacLennan was the parent of Georgina from her death record.  Now, upon opening the image from Scotland’s People, I saw that Donald MacLennan, widow of Christina Monk and Catherine Ferguson, died on May 28th, 1904 from heart failure.  He was the son of Kenneth MacLennan and Georgina Mackenzie.  Mackenzie!  That is the name I am searching for to link to the captain.  This record also provided the son in law’s name as Alexander McPhail, which is something we had in our tree as well.  In the words of my daughter, “SCORE”!

We now have a record that shows Kenneth MacLennan (listed as MacLellan in other people’s trees) as being married to Georgina Mackenzie.  But, connecting Georgina has been more challenging that we thought.  We have not come across a document as of yet that officially connects her to Captain John, like a death or marriage record.  But, we have found numerous websites that do connect her to the captain via his second wife Ann.

georgina page 579
Page 579 of “The Mackenzies of Ballone”

Captain John Mackenzie of Ballone was first married to a woman named Margaret.  They had four children together, one of which was his heir.  Then he married Ann secondly and they had numerous children together, including Georgina.   This is sited on several web pages including “Mackenzie of Corry” on and also under “John Mackenzie” on  The most important source that we have found that documents our Georgina connection to Captain John is “The History of the Mackenzies”  under “The Mackenzies of Ballone” by Alexander Mackenzie.  On page 579, it states that Georgina was the daughter of John Mackenzie, sixth of Ballone, and Ann Mackenzie and furthermore that she married Kenneth MacLennan.  It also mentions that they had one issue – Donald.



I think that this would suffice to connect the dots that our ancestor is connected to Captain John Mackenzie.  This is an incredible find in my mind.  Now, we have an entire book as a source to connect further back into our Scottish heritage.  Well, at least on the MacLennan and Mackenzie side.  Time to input all the information we can find and start back on the Ferguson clan.

Oh yea, I forgot to talk more about the castle.  Well, apparently the castle went into ruin after our ancestor obtained it.  They moved into a different estate according to the lore on the internets.   But, back in the 1990s an architect and his wife purchased and restored the castle to its former glory.  I included a photograph I found and hope that one day I will be able to see this place with my very own eyes.



Thanks for reading!


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