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potential Indiana baronet — Stirling of Glorat

From the papers, the fascinating story of the (apparent) heir to the Scottish baronetcy of Stirling of Glorat (William J. Booher, “Tracing Family Tree Turns into a Title Search: Greenwood man has some details to confirm before becoming baronet,” Indianapolis Star, 19 March 2009).


Coat of arms from the frontispiece to Bain (1883).
The coat would correctly represent Stirling of Glorat
only without the roses and supporters.

Mr. Booher’s article dwells on the current descendant, Mr. John C. Stirling, Jr., and his (surely) surprising and rewarding investigation of his own ancestry. But even more compelling is the narrative of his ancestors’ experience in the century from 1760 to 1860. The story of John Stirling has wonderful elements: young adventure, illness on an exotic shore, providential intervention, love, separation and anxiety, succession to wealth and title, seventeen (!) children; in the next generation, many sons died young, but the son Robert, who returned to North America, lived to participate in the great opening of the American midwest. The following links give the details and show how the story was treated in various sources on both sides of the water.

First, the Scottish side of things with bare-bones ancestry and descent:

Joseph Bain, The Stirlings of Craigbernard and Glorat (Edinburgh, 1883), pp. 31-32.

Next, the compelling story of the adventures of John Stirling (1750-1818), who became the 5th Baronet, romanticized in a book on the Connecticut Folsoms (his wife’s family):

Jacob Chapman, Genealogy of the Folsom Family (Concord, NH, 1882), pp. 247-50.

This story is brought together in another compilation of Stirling genealogy, which fleshes out the life of Robert Stirling (1792-1860), eighth son (!) of Sir John, who came (back) to North America, living in Maine, New York, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Ohio:

Albert Mack Sterling, The Sterling Genealogy (New York, 1909), pp. 110-13.

Finally, some records from Campsie, Stirlingshire, showing the prolific 5th Baronet and his Connecticut wife (here, apparently, are Connecticut birth records entered into a Scottish parish register):

George Minns, “Extracts from Scottish Records,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 7 (1916), at pp. 145-46.

A compelling saga mapped out in these sources!

Update: same illustration as given above, digitally ‘fixed’ to conform to the official blazon for Stirling of Glorat (removed roses & supporters):

One Comment

  1. Robert M. wrote:

    As I recently lived in Stratford CT for 20 months, (but have been familiar with it for far-far-longer), this entry piqued my interest. The Ind. Star link does not now work, of course.

    I did a Google search after I found nothing on the subject through the NYT Archives. Google gave me supposed cache links to the Star article but these were simple summaries. A different word search led me to Leigh Raiment’s web-page (leighraiment.com) where, under his baronetage sub-page, I found that he’s recently (7/2011) done an update on Stirling of Glorat–though the information all dates from 1949!

    It seems that John C. Stirling, Jr. is not the first Stirling of Indianoplis to consider claiming the title. Raiment excerpts most of The Washington Post article of 1 May 1949 in which JCS’s relation [grandfather?] expresses a disinterest in pursuing the title despite being informed by Debrett’s that he’s the likely claimant. Apparently, according to the 2009 article summary, Debrett’s now lists JCS as the likely claimant. Raiment notes that his sources show no change in the Glorat baronetage status as of 2011.

    So, I wonder, what’s the hang-up on these Hoosier Stirlings claiming the title? No property or money? (But according to the 1949 story there was money about which Elizabeth Stirling, the 9th Baronet’s daughter, had some choice words to convey to her “American Cousin”.) Loss of American citizenship? (Apparently not an issue with SCOTTISH titles?) Lack of connecting documents at some point? (Perhaps, but the continuity of the family in Indianapolis seems well established.) Or just what?

    Overall, it seems clear that this was never a really “lost” relationship within the Hoosier Stirlings. Just one not paid attention to by the son of the 1949 claimant, and that his son (auctioneer & undertaker) was only now getting around to reconsidering. Nothing on Google since 2009, so the rest of the story…?

    Hope he’s found your Royal Descent posting. Nice work.

    Friday, July 29, 2011 at 20:05 | Permalink

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  1. [...] yesterday’s post on the romantic Stirling of Glorat story, I put together a royal descent (probably the closest one) for the American branch of the Stirlings [...]

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