William Dickson married Marion Black in Carnwath on 31st December 1866. He named his parents as William Dickson and Ruth Cummings, both deceased. His family were enumerated in Carnwath in 1871 when he was, apparently, using the name family Cummings, his mother's maiden name according to his marriage lines. His children's naming pattern supports his contention that his parents were William Dickson and Ruth Cummings. Hr washis fate is supposed to have been birn in St Cuthbert's parish, Midlothian about 1846 but no entry in the 1851 census is a comfortable fit with the facts as reported by him.
One family tree on the Ancestry web site which provides great detail but no sources suggests his father was William Thomas Dickson. His first son was named William Thomas Black Cummings Dickson and he used the Cumming middle name for five of his children.
There is even a suggestion that a year after the death of his first wife in 1911 he married for a second time; his bride Mary Collins 38 years his junior and she predeceased him four years later. There is nothing implausible about any of these details, even if some are difficult to ratify. Clearly, the 1871 census may be incorrect for a number of perfectly innocent reasons but my feeling is that William was the illegitimate son of Ruth Cummings and William Dickson. I also suspect the groom of his reputed second wife may actually have been his son.
I am keen to identify him in the 1841 and 1851 censuses and even more find his parents. Any suggestions gratefully recieved.