Since I wrote this note, I have found some exciting leads on my Holmes family--through DNA ! My father agreed to be tested, and the results from him and others are carried on the Holmes DNA site http://home.mindspring.com/~efholcombe/holmes.htm
This has been the only way that my Holmes family has been connected to others, so I am excited ! If you have a Holmes male relative that would agree to be tested, contact the site administrator. There may be sponsorship funds available for the testing if needed.
Of interest is that my family and yours may be connected, and the clue is the name Alexander. One branch of the family stayed in Renfrewshire/Glasgow area until the 1800s, when they went to MA. Alexander is a very common name in that family in Parish records since the 1600s, though not in other Holmes I have investigated. . Dna connects this Scottish branch to a branch in Antrim through the Rev William Holmes of Islandmagee, a minister in the late 1700s. There is a document showing that James Holmes the merchant willed some land to Rev. William, suggesting a family connection. A hunch pays off!
The major players connected by DNA thus far are my ancestor John, b. 1774 in Ireland; Thomas, b. 1776 in Ireland, died in TN (I believe) and Rev William, b. abt 1770 in Ireland and stayed there. In Scotland, all are connected to Alexander Holmes and his ancestors William, John, etc. who lived in and near Glasgow and were fleshers and merchants by trade.
I have run across your Alexander many times before and now think there may be a connection. My Holmes line and the merchant Holmes line were well educated and literate--and the name Alexander is in the line rather reliably. if you can find a male Holmes willing to test, we can at least establish that they are related, even though I and other family members are still trying to document the blood connection.