While there is much we know about William Young‘s older years. His early years have more questions than answers. Family stories are great, but are they accurate?
Although he is purported to be an actor in the American Revolution, that would have been impossible as the United States won their freedom from Britain in 1776, earlier than any of the possible dates William Young was born. Based on his gravestone, William was born in about 1795; however, family genealogy supplied by other family members have him born in 1782. As the 1825 census indicates that William was younger than 40, that gives more credence to a later birth date than the 1782 date. Other censuses available are too general on the dates to be helpful.
There is also a question of who his parents were. Many online genealogies have his parents as David Young and Margaret Drysdale – likely because that is the only baptism in the Church of Scotland of a William Young in Dunfermline found in the relevant time period. However, he could have been baptised in another Presbyterian sect that may or may not have records available on ScotlandsPeople. The largest problem I have with these two parents are their names. When looking at Williams and May’s son’s names, no David is found. It is far more likely that his parents’ names are Andrew and Elizabeth. Based on Elizabeth’s middle name of Wardrope, it is likely that the last name will be found in his parents’ lineage (as it is not found in his wifes’). This is made even more likely as DNA matches show Wadrop(e)s as a surname in as yet unlinked DNA matches.
In addition, David Young is listed as a labourer and family history information4 indicates that his father was a weaver and a wealthy, influential man. There is an Andrew Young (son of Andrew) who was a weaver in Dunfermline at the appropriate time frame. Also in the guild records in the late 1700s is a John (son of Andrew) as a weaver. Both of these men indicate they were fathers of Andrew Young who was a weaver burgess – a freeman able to work as a master and take on both apprentices and journeymen. So either of these men would fit as father. And both would make more sense than his birth with a father as David as no David comes up in the family names.
There is a William Young born to an Andrew Young and Agnes Scot in Stirlingshire in the appropriate time frame. However, that William Young was still living in Scotland in 1841, so that is not our William Young.
Family history has William serving in the Royal Navy for 14 years.4 Specifically participating in the Battle of Trafalgar and the bombardment of Barcelona as well as belonging to the Billy Ruffians. However, similar to his birth date, there are some discrepancies.
There are 3 people named William Young with approximately the correct birthdate in naval service per All UK, Naval Officer and Rating Service Records, 1802-1919. However, none served on the Bellerophon (Billy Ruffians). There are a total of 21 people named William Young in the UK list with no birthdates, only one fits within the relevant date ranges, all others spent time in the Royal Navy that extends past when William moved to Canada. The one match, with no birthdate or other identifying information, does not have the correct number of years. The records start in 1807 and continue to 1819, but this is still the closest match.
No record can be found of William Young at the battle of Trafalgar in the UK National Archives records, except one born 1790 in Leicester, England. The records for the men at the battle of Trafalgar are as complete as possible, but again, it is possible that he was there just not recorded. If William was at the battle of Trafalgar and was born in 1795, he would have been 10 years old at the time. The Royal Navy did take boys, so that does remain a possibility; on the other hand, it perhaps leans more towards an earlier birth date for William.
There are many records of the Bellerophon in the National Archives in Kew that could possibly mention him somewhere if he served on that ship, but a search of those records will have to wait until I have a trip over to England can be made to peruse the records.
Family history also notes that William served in the merchant navy after leaving the Royal Navy.4 If the William Young’s record noted above as leaving in 1819 is the correct one, this would allow him time to serve in the merchant navy for five years before coming to Canada. So, again, we have a maybe, but nothing concrete in contemporaneous records to substantiate that information. Merchant navy records are not available until after the 1830s, so I would not expect to be able to find any documentation for this time period.
So, obviously, I still have more questions. I’m still looking for those answers, some I may never get, but you never know….
 Thomas, Cyrus. (1896) A History of the counties of Argenteuil, Quebec & Prescott, Ontario. Montreal, Canada: John Lovell & Sons; Republished Milton, Ontario, Canada: Global Heritage Press.
 Monumental Inscriptions, Canada. Harpurhey Presbyterian Cemetery, Huron County, Ontario. 1856. YOUNG, William. [Transcription: Huron County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society].
 Young, Morley [MGS No 2121]. Pedigree Chart for George Morely Young. 1990.
 Young, Myrtle Beatrice. William Young. 1982.
 Census Records, 1825. Canada. Gore between Chatham and Argenteuil, Ile aux Chats, Lachute, York, Lower Canada. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939D-VDQ3-M?i=6&cc=1834346 : accessed 09 February 2019.