The Family Focus is on….
Helen Guthrie and Robert Makemie
of County Donegal, Ireland and Accomack County, Virginia.
(Or so we were told.)

The Eastern Shore of Virginia hosted a tiny population of Guthrie families during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Unlike the “burned counties” in Colonial Virginia, Accomack and Northampton’s records survive fairly intact. A variety of data is available on its early colonists. Surprisingly, none mention Robert Mackmie or his wife, Helen Guthrie, who were said to have settled there from Ireland– which was probably never the case. Turns out that the family’s story is much more complex than the tale of a young couple making their new home on a distant shore.

The Makemie legacy includes the foundation of Presbyterianism in America, and a landmark legal battle considered to be the groundbreaking case for establishment of our religious freedom. Reverend Francis Makemie’s life had an impact on us all in that respect, but despite the many historical biographies documenting his work none produced his parents’ names or ancestry.

We Guthries now know that our heritage is multi-faceted originating from many different genetically unique family groups and surname variants. Does the same apply to the Makemie line with its multiple spins on the name, or do the bulk of the family truly stem from the same ancestral source? Many Makemie trees lead back to Reverend Makemie’s siblings while showing Robert Makemie and Helen Guthrie listed as mutual parents. Yet none of those trees include proof of those direct family connections. There seems to be an assumption of familial association because the head of the family has the same given name as a Makemie sibling rather than the presence of a document proving relatedness.

Today, let’s try to sort out the various family legends, facts versus fiction, important clues, and a few red herrings to see if any of it leads to a Guthrie connection. Discovering the origins of generally accepted information in our trees can give us insight and hopefully lead us in the right direction.

Helen Guthrie and Robert Makemie are credited with 4 children: Francis, Robert, John, and Anne.


  • No marriage record found for Helen Guthrie and Robert Makemie in Scotland or Ireland
  • No evidence found identifying Helen Guthrie and Robert Mackemie as the parents of their named children
  • No conclusive evidence of Helen Guthrie’s existence, birth or death dates / location.
  • Where in Scotland did this Makemie family originate? Is there evidence to identify his parents?
  • Where in Scotland did this Guthrie family originate? No definitive proof of Helen’s parentage is known. Several variations in online trees show flawed connections to extended generations.
  • Both Helen and the children are frequently listed with different or merged/combined names. No documentation has been found to support the use of additional given names.
  • Many variants of the surname can be found in the records. Mackemie, McKemmy, Makemy, McKimm, McCamey, etc., which makes it difficult to identify all of the data available on the family. Be sure to search multiple variants.

Parents: Unidentified
Born: EST. 1630-1640 presumably in Scotland or County Donegal, Ireland
Marriage: EST. 1650-1555 to Robert Makemie, presumably in County Donegal, Ireland
Presumed Children: Francis (1658), Robert, John, Anne
Death: Unknown, presumably before 1708
Death Location: presumably in County Donegal, Ireland (Unverified)

Parents: Unverified, probably also named Robert Makemie
Born: EST. 1620-1640 presumably in County Donegal, Ireland
Occupation: Unknown, probably a tenant farmer
Death: Unknown, presumably before 1708
Death Location: presumably in County Donegal, Ireland (Unverified)

How have family historians identified Helen Guthrie and Robert Mackemie as their ancestors? There has to be a source out there somewhere that provided the information, church or bible records, family stories, property or cemetery records. Something that lists this couple as living in Ramelton, County Donegal, Ireland.

Helen lacks supporting documentation to prove her existence, birth location, marriage, connection to her identified children, emigration, and death location. This is a huge red flag. None of the online trees seem to contain the data needed to prove that the Mackemie line has a Guthrie connection at all. The lack of her appearance in Accomack, Virginia records also suggests that Helen (Guthrie) Makemie never lived there, for the community frequently mentions support of its widows.

Being a female Guthrie without a documented ancestral line, Helen’s only representation within the Guthrie project comes through Autosomal DNA tests. The family line cannot be conclusively matched to a Guthrie Family Group with a YDNA test because there is no direct male Guthrie line with a proven connection to Helen Guthrie. The genetic distance from modern descendants also makes it difficult to triangulate meaningful genetic matches. Only a tiny percentage of Guthrie DNA would exist in modern descendants of Helen Guthrie if indeed she was a real person. Having matches to other people with Guthrie ancestry does not instantly prove Guthrie ancestry. Those matches could potentially result from living in the same region as others with Guthrie ancestry who intermarried with your own ancestral line, so we need a lot of Guthrie-Makemie descendants to participate in Autosomal DNA for comparison.

Quite a few Family Trees link Robert Makemie and Helen Guthrie to parents also named Robert Mackemie and Helen Guthrie with connections in Cardross, Dunbarton, Scotland. The latter couple is listed in the Old Parish Records (OPR) as Robert McKimm and Helen Guthrie (both of Cardross parish) who married 11 April 1697. Their children’s birth records are also documented in the OPR dated between 1701 and 1713, with their son Robert being born there in 1709. Far too late to be the Robert Mackemie associated with Ramelton, Donegal, Ireland said to have married Helen Guthrie, whose children would have been born in the mid 1600s.

Is the first generation of the Guthrie-Makemie simply an error because the names of another couple were copy/pasted into trees? Maybe it’s just another situation of ancestors with similar names. Either way, this Family Tree needs to be untangled. Take a look at what is known about the earliest generations because there is definitely an interesting history to explore on the Makemie side that may explain some of the confusion about who is related to whom and why the family is documented in Accomack County, Virginia.

Dates of Birth & Death are also generally reported as estimates.

  • Robert – DOB: Abt. 1620. This may be an underestimation if “Robert McCamy” the younger is counted among the men in Raphoe in 1630. He would probably have had to be at least 15. Robert’s DOD has previously been listed at about 1708. Some trees now list 1701.
  • Helen – DOB: Abt. 1636 or a range of 1630-1640. Her DOD has been listed as about 1708.
  • The source of the year 1708 is most likely the year Rev. Francis Makemie wrote his will and died in Accomack, VA. The will names his wife, daughters, siblings, and a couple of nephews, among others. He did not name his parents, who were presumably deceased by that date, hence the origin of the “before 1708” date that eventually was listed as 1708.


Since the birthplace of Rev. Francis Guthrie is known as Ramelton, County Donegal, Ireland, we do have a starting point for research. There are no Ramelton church records for the early to mid 1600s, so any documentation on the family would have to come from other sources. The settlement of Ulster provided land grants of up to 2,000 acres to those who agreed to bring 48 men of English or Scotch birth. These men would receive leases for portions of the land as tenants, and were to be supplied with muskets and hand weapons. A list compiled about 1630 included land granted to James Conningham, laird of Glangarnocke in Ayrshire, and the men he brought with him. Among those named were Robert McCamy and Robert McCamy, younger.

Conningham’s new property was in County Donegal in the Laggan District. (See: Land Grants in the Barony of Raphoe, County Donegal, 1608.) “Land Grants in the Precinct of Portlough, barony of Raphhoe and county of Dongal 1608 A.D. James Cunyngham, laird of Glengarnocke in Ayr, a descendant of Sir Edward Cuningham of Kilmaurs.”

The presence of Robert McCamy and his son Robert McCamy, younger, in the right place at the right time makes for a strong case that one of these men is the father of Rev. Francis Makemie and his siblings who resided in Ramelton, on Lough Swilly, County Donegal, Ireland.

Any Guthrie family connections are at this point questionable. Is it simply family lore that their ancestors included a woman named Helen Guthrie, or is that other couple somehow tangled up in this family’s true story? We cannot correctly identify the maternal parents and grandparents without first knowing if the mother of the Makemie children was indeed a woman named Helen Guthrie. For the sake of exploring the topic, we’ll go with it. Remember: Trust, but verify!

The known or estimated birth dates of the Makemie children were in the 1650s-1660s, with Helen Guthrie’s estimated DOB being in the 1630s. Her parents would probably have been born about 1600 – 1610. Let’s take a look at a couple of the extended ancestral lines found in multiple trees to see if there are clues on the Guthrie side that might lead back to the Guthrie-Makemie marriage and descendants. Some can be ruled out.

Example #1:
Patrick Guthrie/Margaret Raitt > John Guthrie/Nicola Wood > John Guthrie/Elizabeth Bacon > Helen

Why it’s probably wrong:

  • This is the line of the Rt. Rev. John Guthrie, Bishop of Moray with a lineage error. His son Rev. John Guthrie was the minister of Keith and Duffus. According to the Moray Council’s Local Heritage Centre, he was married to Anna Innes on 26 Dec 1626, and died at Guthrie Castle on 8 June 1643. “Had issue, Nicolas.” [Baillie’s Letters ; Parl. Papers, 2nd July 1661.]” from Fasti Ecclesiae.
  • There is no association between Rev. John Guthrie of Keith & Duffus with a wife named Elizabeth nor a daughter named Helen Guthrie.
  • No Guthrie-Bacon marriage is listed in the Old Parish Records. The potential connection is found in unsourced random trees on Ancestry and Geni. One tree listing John Guthrie’s wife as Elizabeth Bacon attached the record showing his wife was Anna Innes, so there is conflicting data within the trees themselves.
  • Elizabeth Bacon is listed in the trees as dying 1686 in Accomack, VA in an apparent attempt to tie the Guthrie-Makemie line to Accomack and to the family of Nathaniel Bacon (See: Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676). Bacon’s wife was named Elizabeth. They had no children. The Bacon family was from Norfolk, England, not Scotland or Ireland. These Makemie trees also list the same Elizabeth Bacon as being buried in Norfolk, England to parents Robert Bacon & Amphilys Gillet of Norfolk, England. None of that makes sense when trying to apply it to the Mackemie family living in County Donegal, Ireland.

Example #2:
Robert Francis Makemie / Helen Anna Guthrie (m. 11 Apr 1697 Dunbarton, SCT) > Robert Makemie / Helen Jane Guthrie (m. 1 Jan 1619 Ramelton, Donegal, IRE)

Why its probably wrong:

  • Not just one, but two generations of couples named Robert Makemie and Helen Guthrie is a red flag, but having seen many interconnected families with similar names it would not be entirely unprecedented. Families living within the same region often intermarried. When that society uses naming patterns as part of their baptismal rituals, it can be easy to find close relatives with the same name. Always proceed with caution when this happens because the likelihood making lineage errors increases.
  • The example lists the parent’s marriage date 78 years after that of their son’s, so there is an obvious error. Either the marriage date is wrong, or the wrong people have been identified as Robert’s parents. In this case, they’re the wrong people. Old Parish Records verify the DOM and birth/baptismal dates for the couple’s children, which occur far too late to be in this ancestral line.
  • Anytime you see middle names randomly appear for people in 1600s records, you’re usually dealing with a made up name, display of a given + nickname, or because someone merged two indistinguishable people together. The aristocracy usually documented cases of multiple names by a birth or baptismal record. Western cultures did not commonly begin using middle names until the 1700s, and the practice did not spread into wider use or in official records until the 1800s.
  • There is a legitimate couple named Robert McKimm and Helen Guthrie married in Cardross, Dubarton, SCT on 11 April 1697. It’s a huge coincidence to find another couple with these names, especially since there is seemingly no documented evidence of the Irish couple who reportedly are parents to the Accomack family.
    • Does this McKimm-Guthrie couple have a legitimate connection to the American Makemie families?
      • To the Makemies in Ramelton, County Donegal?
      • To the Makemies in Accomack County, Virginia?
      • To other Makemie families elsewhere in the USA? Their connection is legit, but has a direct link to Scotland instead of going through the Makemie branch in Ireland.
    • Have their names been mistaken as the Makemie parents all this time?
    • Are their similar names to the couple who reportedly married in County Donegal, Ireland a coincidence or did someone deliberately attach their names to this Guthrie-Makemie tree because of an early error?
Marriage Record of Robert McKimm and Helen Guthrie
Cardross, Dunbarton, Scotland on 11 April 1697

Example #3: Robert Makemie (1570-1620SCT)/Unidentified Spouse > Robert Makemie 1600SCT-1660IRE / Anne MNU > Robert Makemie (1620SCT-1701IRE) m.1 Ann MNU, m.2 Helen Anna Guthrie (1636-1708)

Why You Should Proceed With Caution:

  • This lineage is sourced from ‘Anna McCamey by way of Ireland‘, by Karen Kay Knauss and Kathleen Ann Knaus McCullar, Peach Tree Press, 2019. Interestingly, the authors use verse to convey the story of their Makemie (McCamey) ancestors. Note that several Ancestry trees have not only adopted the lineage, but attached similarly named individuals from Cardross, Dunbarton, SCT instead of documenting their ancestors in Inverness as the book implies. Although the authors also mention meticulous research into Makemie line, including time spent on-site in County Donegal, the actual documents for the earliest generations are not presented as evidence in the book.
  • The Makemie line is listed as coming from Inverness, Scotland. McAme, McCamie, McComie are the closest variations of the name found in OPR birth / baptismal records 1600-1700. Outside of Inverness, there was one Robert McKemie in Rothsay and some of the McKimie, McKimy variants in Boharm. Any documentation for this area must be found in other sources, i.e. land and court records.
  • Helen Guthrie’s parents are listed as Rev. John Guthrie and wife Elizabeth. Her birthplace is listed as Inverness rather than in County Donegal, Ireland. Scottish OPR records don’t provide a match. A search 1630 – 1640 for any “Gut” variant in Scotland produced only one Helene born to Johnne Guthree and Jonet Duncan in Edinburgh about 27 Sep 1640.
  • Helen Guthrie’s name is presented as “Helen Anna” as if it is a merge of the two wives associated with Robert. Do the documents (if any exist) show the presence of Robert’s wife Anna during a time when Helen is supposed to be his spouse? If they do, it potentially means that Anna was his only wife and that Helen was an identification error.
  • Without seeing the documentation found by the authors in Inverness, Scotland it can neither be confirmed nor refuted whether that Makemie family is the one that emigrated to County Donegal. As Robert McCamy and Robert McCamy younger are associated with a Scottish laird from Ayrshire as tenants upon his granted land, it seems more likely that they would also have originated from Ayr. A record search is needed for that location for comparison.

Trees listing parents for Helen Guthrie are consistent in their inconsistency, so let’s move along to examining information found on the Makemie children: Francis, Robert, John, and Anna.

The children are also documented inconsistently across the online trees. Francis is frequently found as James Francis. John and Robert are frequently found merged into one man named John Robert, which is most likely because people aren’t certain which brother their ancestor descends by, or because they’ve mistaken a more modern record listing a man named John Robert as belonging to their ancestor.

Sort tangled trees by determining where people are getting their information from in the first place. We seem to have an inner need stemming back to our Elementary School days to “fill in the blank” whenever there is an empty spot on our Family Tree. This eagerness to find a name sometimes leads to hasty decisions to accept what we see in an online tree or a website (even this one!) as fact versus fiction. Go with the ‘Trust but Verify’ approach. Trust that the tree/site owner isn’t part of a global conspiracy to trick cousins into making Family Tree errors, but Verify what you find there.


The Makemie children’s names are found within the Last Will and Testament of the Reverend Francis Mackemie a Scot-Irish minister known as the father of Presbyterianism in America. There are a number of biographical sketches and scholarly histories on this man. He was born about 1658 in Ramelton, County Donegal, Ireland, but his parents are not identified. Francis enrolled in the University of Glasgow in 1675 and was licensed to preach about 1681. During the following year, Francis was ordained by the Presbytery of Laggan with the intent that he would travel to America to perform missionary work.

Accomack County, Virginia was not his original destination. The reverend arrived in Maryland by 1683 and served for twenty-five years as an itinerant minister in Maryland, Virginia, the Barbados, and elsewhere ‘planting the seeds of Presbyterianism’ along the way.

There is no indication in these records that he brought any family with him when he arrived. Mackemie’s first mention in the records of Accomack comes in 1690. Eight years later, the last will and testament of William Anderson mentions “Mr Francis Makemie and Naomi, his wife, my eldest daughter” making a provision in case she should have no issue. Anderson was a wealthy local tobacco and cattle merchant.

Francis apparently made a brief visit back in Ireland bringing back to the colonies his nephew, William Boggs and six other people. The records of the Accomack court indicate that he was entitled to fifty acres of land for each settler he brought into the colony, and he received 450 acres of land. Importantly, please note that his brothers were not listed with him at this time.

Rev. Francis Makemie wrote his own will on 27 April 1708, a year which appears to be the key frame of reference for his presumed parents’ Robert and Helen’s estimated DOD. Within the will, Francis names his wife Naomi, daughters Elizabeth Makemie and Anne Mackemie. He also identifies his youngest sister, Anne Makemie “of ye Kingdom of Ireland”, and names brothers John and Robert, both of whom have sons named Francis. There is no indication in the will if his brothers were also still in Ireland or if they were living somewhere in America.

This man owned a large chunk of real estate. He also mentions the disposition of his library. Daughter Elizabeth’s estate inventory contained 896 books: vista: Latin, Greek, English & Hebrew.

  1. Elizabeth Makemie, b. about 1698-1701 and d. in the Summer of 1708 leaving her sister to inherit a sizable estate.
  2. Anne Mackemie, b. about 1702 and died in 1770 married 3 times, but had no children of her own, which means there are no lineal descendants of Rev. Francis Makemie for comparative Autosomal DNA testing.

    “At the age of 7, Anne was an heiress of nearly 6000 acres of land and numerous slaves. In 1725, Anne married Thomas Blair, a merchant of Virginia and Scotland who had a fleet of ships and storehouses throughout the Chesapeake. Blair died leaving his land, slaves, personal property, and cash on hand to Anne in 1739. She became the executor of his estate at age 38, managing the lands of her parents and husband. Within a few years Anne remarried to Robert King from Maryland, a widower with three children. Upon King’s death in 1755, Anne retained her original property holdings and received additional land and cattle as King’s widow, his will securing her rights against any claim by her stepchildren. Anne married for a third and last time at the age of 54. Now a shrewd business woman, she arranged for a prenuptial agreement with her groom, George Holden. He was also well-off possessing several Virginia plantations. During the 14-year span of the marriage Anne and George merged their properties. Dying childless in 1788, her final will provisioned deeds of land to four of her male relatives with the caveat that they each vote “for the most Wise and Discreet men who have Proved themselves real Friends to the American Independence” to represent Accomack County. When she wrote her will five months later she provided for family members with bequests of property and slaves, specified £50 to the “Good poor of my Neighborhood” and £100 to a nearby church, emancipated one of her slaves, and requested her heirs to care for those of her slaves who were elderly and “past their Labour.”


According to ‘The Life Story of Rev. Francis Makemie’ his brothers John and Robert were both older than himself. Note that there are two men, not one man named John Robert. There is a University of London Student Record with the name John Robert McKim that people attach to this man, but the date of record is 1870, about 200 years too late.

Rev. Francis Mackemie makes no indication in his will as to whether his brothers, like their sister Anne, remained in Ireland, or if they also travelled to America, but the biography indicates that both men were still in County Donegal with their families at that time, which would have been 1691. John would probably have been born up to 10 years before Francis’ 1658 birthdate, likely in the late 1640s or early-mid 1650s. John had at least one son the eldest of whom was Francis Makemie, named for his uncle. Even though Makemie’s will indicated that Francis should inherit if his daughters died without issue, he is not named in the Last Will and Testament of Anne Makemie Holden.

According to many similar origin stories, John Makemie, brother of Rev. Francis Mackemie, settled in Pennsylvania, specifically in Chester County. Can anyone share documents proving that this specific Makemie family was living in Chester County, Pennsylvania during the 1690s or early 1700s?

The Chester County Deed Book Index 1681-1865 for “Mc” entries lists no McCamey, McCamy, McKemie, McKemy, McKimmie McKimmy variants. The only similar surname is McKim. Most of these entries are from the 1800s. The one record from the 1700s is for a John McKim dated 1771 in Kennet Twp. in Deed Book S page 490. No Variant Surname entries were found in the Grantor/Grantee Indexes for “Ma” or “Me” entries.

The earliest records found for Pennsylvania are for John McCamy, who died in 1765/6, a man who would have been from the next generation of the McCamey line if indeed he was directly connected at all. This John McCamey was a tanner who apparently lived in eastern Maryland for a time before settling in Letterkenny Township, Cumberland (later Franklin), County, PA. He also owned property in North Carolina.

Pennsylvania, US, Land Warrants and Applications, 1733-1952.
John McCamy – 1754 – Cumberland – 15 Jan 1754 – 50 acres adj. William Plumsted and Alexander Fulton in Lurgan Township.
John McCamy – 7 May 1766 – The widow & children of John McCamy – 50 Acres – Cumberland County – Margaret McCamy – Widow of Jno. McCamy a warrant for 50 acres of land in Letterkenny Two Cumberland County joining Samuel Stone, William Beard, James Fulton in the names for ___ of Margaret McCeamey widow of John McCamey, Robert, John & Joseph McCamey children according to ye will. Int. & __from the same time on the _ the land. Signed Jno. Blackburn 7 May 1766.

Pennsylvania, US, William and Probate Records, 1683-1993.
Although Ancestry also lists John McCamey’s will in Chester County, PA, it’s found in its rightful place in Cumberland County, PA as that is the location of Letterkenny Township where he lived. (Will). Note that Cumberland was formed from Lancaster County on 27 Jan 1749/50 by an Act of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania. Cumberland would later be divided into 20 counties, but in 1750 it encompassed lands stretching from the Susquehanna River on the east to the Forks of the Ohio on the west, and Maryland on the south. When the county was subdivided again Letterkenny was in Franklin County, PA.

The Last Will and Testament of John McCamey of Letterkenny, a tanner, dated 4 March 1765, proven 26 May 1766. Naming wife Margaret. Sons Robert, John and Joseph. Dau. Mary Stockdale. Dau. Jean McCamey. Dau. Margaret Alexander, plantation in North Carolina, in Sugar Creek Settlement, adjoining James Norris and James Campbell. Daus. Ester Renick and Martha McCamey. Exs., wife Margaret and son Robert McCamey. (Listed under Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, Will Book A, pages 143-145, Will 126, dated 4 March 1765, proved 26 May 1766. Will no.24 Book A page 145. inventory filed 19 Nov 1764. Found under Pennsylvania Probate Records, Cumberland Wills 1750-1803 Vol A-F p90-91 image 77 of 617.

Read North Mountain Shadows and London Road History, pp.156-158 for the McCamey entry.

The Compendium of American Genealogy Vol. VI lists First Families of America, p.381, which traces the genealogy of Thomas Franklin McKay b. Dallas, TX in 1889 lists the earliest generations as:
1. John Makamie (McKamy) (ca. 1665-1785, aet. 120), IRE to Chester Co., PA, c.1690
2. John Makamie (1710-89), planter; to Augusta Co., VA, ca.1738
The compendium does not list the wives of these Makemie men. It identifies a John Makamie who is clearly intended to represent the brother of Rev. Francis Makemie, along with the origin story of arrival in Chester, PA about 1690. However, it links the next generation of John Makemie men to the Makemie family in Augusta, VA.

Despite browsing through many online trees, books, and discussion boards there seemed to be no conclusive evidence connecting either the Augusta, VA line or the Cumberland, PA line to the John Makemie who was a brother to Rev. Francis Makemie. Not without an in-depth study of the surname in all of its colonial settlements.


Robert’s facts run the same course as his brother John Makemie. According to the ‘Life Story’ Robert was also an older brother to Rev. Francis Makemie. He too was possibly alive in 1708 when Francis wrote his will. Robert also had at least one son the eldest of whom was named Francis. Even though the Last Will and Testament of Francis Makemie indicated that the two sons of his brothers, both named Francis, should inherit if both of his daughters died without issue, neither is named in the will of their childless cousin, Anne Makemie Holden.

Whether Robert Mackemie also came to America is unknown. The family origin stories claim that he also made the move across the water. The evidence seems to be lacking.


Anne Mackemie is the “youngest sister” of the family, and was still residing in Ireland in 1708. Rev. Francis Makemie visited Anne upon his return to Ireland. She apparently married a man named Boggs. When Makemie returned to his new home in Accomack, Virginia, he brought 8 others with him, including his “kinsman”, William Boggs. “I will and bequeath one negro man called Jupiter which he had had and still has in his possession.” (The Will of Rev. Francis Makemie)


The life of Rev. Francis Makemie is obviously the focal point and source for documentation on this family. Whenever there is a famous or infamous person of the same surname, family historians typically make an extra effort to discover their shared connections. Sometimes their efforts are more speculative than they are solidly documented.

The parents of the Makemie children were of Scottish ancestry. They were living in Ramelton, Donegal County, Ireland when son Francis was born about 1658 and when he removed to the University of Glasgow to study divinity. There were likely more children as it is documented that Anne was the youngest sister, who was still living in Ireland at the time of her brother’s death in 1708. The records of Accomack contain no mention of Robert Makemie or his wife, Helen Guthrie. If they are indeed the correct parents, they may have never left Ireland for America.

None of the reviewed books, trees, discussion pages, or websites included any factual information on Helen Guthrie. Was she a real person with a connection to this Makemie family? Maybe one of you has some information to share.


Ramelton, County Donegal, Ireland

WEBSITE: The Northwest Ireland Tourism website for Ramelton reveals the following:
“Ramelton is a very picturesque Heritage Town at the mouth of the River Lennon where it enters a bay on Lough Swilly. Lovely riverside walks, an ancient stone bridge and handsome houses will encourage you to stop. It is a planned village of 17th century origins. Reverend Francis Makemie, the founder of the first Presbyterian church in Virginia U.S.A., preached in the old Meeting House in the village. Now restored, it contains a library and a genealogical centre.”

WEBSITE: The Old Meeting House, Ramelton, County Donegal, Ireland – aka – 1st Ramelton Presbyterian Church

ARTICLE: FORD, H. P. (1908). CHRONOLOGICAL OUTLINE OF THE LIFE OF FRANCIS MAKEMIE. Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society (1901-1930), 4(8), 410–414.

ARTICLE: RECORDS OF ACCOMACK COUNTY, VIRGINIA, RELATING TO THE REV. FRANCIS MAKEMIE. [FIRST PART.]. (1907) Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society (1901-1930), 4(1), 15–24.

ARTICLE: McCook, H. C. (1907). RECORDS OF ACCOMACK COUNTY, VIRGINIA, RELATING TO THE REV. FRANCIS MAKEMIE. [SECOND PART.]. Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society (1901-1930), 4(2), 72–90.

ARTICLE: McCook, H. C. (1907). RECORDS OF ACCOMACK COUNTY, VIRGINIA, RELATING TO THE REV. FRANCIS MAKEMIE. [THIRD PART.]. Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society (1901-1930), 4(3), 109–130.

ARTICLE: McCook, H. C. (1907). RECORDS OF ACCOMACK COUNTY, VIRGINIA, RELATING TO THE REV. FRANCIS MAKEMIE. [FOURTH PART.]Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society (1901-1930)4(4), 165–197.

ARTICLE: McCook, H. C. (1908). A SUMMARY OF THE EVIDENCE THAT THE TRADITIONAL PLACE OF FRANCIS MAKEMIE’S BURIAL IS THE TRUE SITE. Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society (1901-1930)4(8), 394–402.

ARTICLE: THE DEDICATION OF MAKEMIE MEMORIAL PARK AND MONUMENT. (1908). Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society (1901-1930)4(8), 365–393.


BOOK: Page, Rev. I Marshall (1938). THE LIFE STORY OF FRANCIS MAKEMIE. Wm B Eerdman’s Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan.

  • The Hearth Money Roll of County Donegal for 1665 names Robert Makemy, Killigarvan Parish, Kilmacrennan Barony, and John M’Keamy, Ballymagowne, Clondevaddoge Parish, Kilmacrennan Barony. (Page, p129 – Letter from the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland to the author, dated 1 Jan 1937)

A reading from the book ‘Anna McCamey, by way of Ireland’ by Karen Kay Knauss (2019) Peach Tree Press
‘A poetic narrative about the experiences of an emigrant family from Ramelton, Donegal County, Ireland to America in the late 1600s. This collection of poems will endear readers to the McCamey family as they follow their journey from Lough Swilly at Ramelton to Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, and finally, Oklahoma Territory where they settled in 1900.References to the genealogy is supported by the author’s extensive research and personal knowledge. Versions of the spelling for the family name includes Makemie, McKemie, and McCamey, the latter written by Anna on her father’s photograph.’

BOOK: Bowen, Rev. L. P. (1885), THE DAYS OF MAKEMIE; or THE VINE PLANTED A.D. 1680-1708 WITH AN APPENDIX, Philadelphia, PA, Presbyterian Board of Publication.
– Includes a map of Northampton & Accomack Counties, VA with key Makemie locations.

WEBSITE: NATIONAL INVENTORY OF ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE – Ramelton Library (formerly Presbyterian Church), Back Lane, Rathmelton, Ramelton, Donegal

After the preaching of this sermon, Rev. Francis Makemie was arrested. His trial is considered a landmark case in favor of religious freedom in America.

BOOK: HEROES of the CHURCH – CHAPTER XI – FRANCIS MAKEMIE – The Presbyterian Pioneer in America

BOOK: Foote, Rev. William Henry (1850). SKETCHES of VIRGINIA, HISTORICAL and BIOGRAPHICAL, first series.

Note: Neither Makemie nor surname variants found on the lists.

BOOK: Hunter, R.J. (2012). MEN AND ARMS: THE ULSTER SETTLERS, c.1630., Ulster Historical Foundation.
Guthrie/Variant Entries: Thomas Gutery (Chichester, Donegal); Alexander Guthery (Ards, Down); Richard Gutrig (Hastings, Fermanagh); William Guttery (Ards, Down)

Makemie/Variant Entries: Hugh Maccam (Antrim); Robert McCamy (J.Conningham, Donegal) p.136; Robert McCamy younger (J. Conningham, Donegal) p.136.

ARTICLE: Mervine, William M. “THE SCOTCH SETTLERS IN RAPHOE, COUNTY DONEGAL, IRELAND. A CONTRIBUTION TO PENNSYLVANIA GENEALOGY.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 36, no. 3 (1912): 257–72.

No early records found with the common variances. These were somewhat close…
OPR Birth/Baptismal Records 1553-1630
McCOMIE, Robert s/o Andro McComie/Cristane McKew 16 Oct 1590 Stirling

OPR Marriage Records 1553-1630
Makum, Robert and Margrat Hendirsone 5 Jul 1629 Monifieth

WEBSITE: MCKEMIE ONE NAME STUDY (Rootsweb) – Jennifer McKemie Coordinator

The sections of this site on Clan Fraser, Clan Stuart appear to be sourced from The Surnames of Scotland: their origin, meaning, and history, by George F. Black. New York, 1946.

It is Clan Fraser and Inverness which the ‘Anna McCamey’ authors believe are the origins for this Makemie family. The Frasers populated the counties of Sterling, Angus, Inverness and Aberdeen. However, as is noted on this website for the section on the Ulster Plantations, Robert McCamy and son Robert McCamy, younger, were tenants of James Conningham from Ayrshire, which is the territory of the McKemies associated with Clan Stuart.

George F. Black describes the McKemie connection in The Surnames of Scotland, page 529:
Mackimmie, Mackimmey, Macimmie. G. MacShimidh, ‘son of Simon’ (Simmie), of old Mack Himy. Lord of Lovat, chief of the Frasers, was so styled patronymically by the Gaels. Fraser narrating the birth of Simon Fraser (1570) says of the name Simon: “A name pretty rare in Scotland, south or north, although kindly to this family, being the first name it had, and hence the Lord Lovat is called M’Khimy”. The patronymic is probably derived from the Simon Fraser killed at Halidon Hill in 1333…”

Like the Guthries, there was more than one residence for people of the Makemie surname variant. Families associated with Clan Stuart were another. The McKemies of Clan Stuart were likely located in Bute, Ayrshire, and Renfrew.

Stuarts of Bute. Mr. Black describes this connection as well on page 464:
Maccamie, ‘son of Jamie’, a diminutive of James, q.v. Nigel Mccamie witnessed sasine of lands in Arran, 1538. In 1547 Robert Mckkamy of Maknaught or Manach in Bute sold his lands to Ninian Stewart. In 1557 John M’Came ‘vel M’Caine’ was returned heir of Nigel M’Came, his father , in the lands of Barnauld, Bute, and in 1560 we have recorded of sasine of lands in Bute to John Mccamie. “Jamieson and Mccamie are the same sir name and were both originally Fullartons…James went to the Isle of Bute and was called Mccamie or Jamieson an acquired lands there and was made Crowner of Bute, as appears by Designation in May 1538: ‘Robertus Jamieson Coronator de Bute.’ His successors remained in that Island till within these few years that they are now extinct…

Two McKemies are listed on a 1630 Muster Roll for the Barony of Rapho, County Donegall: “Robert mcCamy” and “Robert mcCamy younger”. These two men are listed under the purview of James conningham Esqr, undertaker of 1,000 acres. (The counties were divided and each barony was divided into lots of 1000, 1500, and 2000 acres. Those who received the lots were termed undertakers, as they undertook to settle Protestants on their land.) James Cunningham hailed from Ayrshire. 



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