It is customary to receive birthday presents on your birthday but Archie McPherson, Scotland’s foremost football commentator and now successful author, decided he would share a surprise with his family at his 80th birthday party - their family history.
With the help of Family History at The Mitchell, Archie was able share the story of the McPherson roots back to the 18th century, from Craignish in Argyll to Shettleston in Glasgow, from farmer to foundry worker. The one-stop shop Family History Centre at The Mitchell had everything needed when the centre decided to look at the family history of one of Glasgow’s most famous sons. Archie did not know anything about his background but using the records within the Registrars, including the births, marriages and deaths, the Old Parish Registers (OPRs) and census for all of Scotland, we were able to trace his family to mid-18th century Argyll. The Old Parish Registers provided the vital link of Argyll to Glasgow. Archie’s great-great grandfather, also named Archie, was born in Craignish in 1827 and married Mary McMaster in Glasgow in 1854. This provided a vital, and for Archie, the unexpected evidence of Archie’s Gaelic heritage as the marriage took place in the city’s St Columba’s Gaelic Church.
While in the City Archives Archie was able to enjoy some of the Centre’s many photographs, which include two albums of photographs of Shettleston, home to McPhersons for several generations. For those of you with Highland or Gaelic connections, you may wish to consult the City Archives Church collections, which includes the City’s Gaelic churches. Also of interest are the archives of the Highland Society of Glasgow.
I am sure Archie got many wonderful birthday presents on his 80th, but we know that discovering the story of his family was an important milestone in his life, he commented:
"I found the whole experience fascinating. There is something uncanny waiting to find out who you really are. Great investigation that was worth the wait".