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The McKinstrys appear in Helen’s family tree when . Ellen McKinstry married John Wilson on 31st December 1914.  At present we have very little information about as they originally came from Ireland, sometime after 1881 as I cannot find them on the census for that year in Scotland, and in fact probably nearer 1900 as the children aged 2 on 1901 census are born in Ireland.

The furthest back we can go at present is to James McKinstry born in Ireland around 1849, he married, Ellen, maiden name unknown, and in 1877 had a girl Ellen, born in Ireland.

They had four other children that I know of, Joseph, born in 1881, Elizabeth, born 1883, Margaret, in 1886 and Janet in 1889.

The family is shown to be living in Dalmellington, Ayrshire on the 1901 census, and another child is born Janet in 1899.


James McKinstry 42 General Labourer - Ireland
Ellen McKinstry 38 - Ireland
Ellen McKinstry 14 - Ireland
Joseph McKinstry 10 - Dalmellington
Elizabeth McKinstry 8 - Ireland
Margaret McKinstry 3 - Ireland
Janet McKinstry 2 - Ireland

The town of Dalmellington stands 600 feet above sea level at the upper end of the Doon Valley. It is in effect...'the gateway to the hill country - The Highlands of South West Scotland' ... and a settlement has existed here from very early times.

The Cumnock Burn comes from the east. The Moick Water comes through the town from the southeast. The Doon (immortalized by the poet Robert Burns in his song "Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonnie Doon") itself comes down from Loch Doon through the Ness Glen, and the river widens temporarily into the Bogton Loch just west of the town.

Dalmellington is built partly on the end slopes of the spurs separating these valleys, and partly on the flat ground below.

There has been speculation about the town's name with some believing that it was a corruption of Dame Helen's Town. However it is thought likely to have derived from the Gaelic dael meallain tuinn "the fort of assembly of the moat-surrounded mound", or more literally "the meeting place at the mound with the Motte". This would connect the place name with the remarkable Motte hill which is still one of the striking features of Dalmellington.

Mottes were originally fortified sites on which timber castles would sit and date back to the Anglo-Norman Period around the late 11th and early 12th centuries. Dalmellington Motte has now been officially classed as an Ancient Monument, which will aid its preservation.

The village of Dalmellington grew dramatically after 1847 when the Dalmellington Ironworks constructed furnaces and pits at Waterside. Coal was also mined here and there are still miners’ cottages, as well as a weaver's cottage standing today.


Ellen, the younger one, then married John Wilson on 31st December 1914, details can be found at Wilson

James McKinstry Descendants Chart   James McKinstry Family Tree 3 Generations