Sunday, August 5, 2007


Half my father's family originate from Lairg/Creich - McKay/McDonald and half my mother's from Achriesgill/ Durness/Lairg - Calder/McKay.

The Lairg/Creich family I know of go back to Hector McKay (1815 Dola, Lairg-1899) shoemaker in Lairg m Julia Grant (1819 Torroble, Lairg- 1880) and her parents Donald Grant, crofter (b1787) and Elspet Gunn (1788-1876).

Hector McKay's daughter Christina (1857-1906) married Dugald McDonald (1848-1914), a butler. He was born in Newton , Creich. They came to Glasgow via Portobello, Midlothian . They were my great grandparents.

Dugald McDonald's parents were Kenneth McDonald (b 1804 in Skibo, Sutherland), a forester on the Skibo Estate, and Margaret Mackay (b 1809 in Ospisdale, Sutherland). They had at least 12 children and Dugald was probably the third youngest. Kenneth McDonald died in 1856 and the last I have found of the family is in the 1861 census in Auchlach, Dornoch - Margaret aged 52, a pauper, with 5 of her children. I know that one of her daughters Hellen/Ellen McDonald (c1842 Creich - 1913) moved to Glasgow and then to Newcastle (m Charles Fraser), but I have no idea what happened to the rest of the family and particularly Margaret herself (my gggrandmother), but this is what I would really like to know. I know that Margaret seems to have been still living in 1868, when her daughter Ellen McDonald married Charles Fraser. I have recently found that most of Charles Fraser's siblings went to Australia, and I wonder if the McDonalds emigrated too, or if they just went south to the cities.

Kenneth McDonald and Margaret MacKay's family were: Christy b1832, George b1833, ?Ellen b1835, Isobell b1837, Johanna c1840, Hellen/Ellen b1842, Janet b1842, Catharine b1844, William b1846, Dugald b1848, Jane c1852 and Andrew b1854 (Kenneth McDonald had a brother William McDonald (c1821 Creich -1907) a farmer in Swordale, Bonar, married to Isabella Grant(1829-1902). Kenneth and William's parents were John McDonald (c1780 Creich -1862) and Christy Ross).

The Achriesgill/ Durness/Lairg family are descended from Angus Calder (c1776, Durness) and Catherine McIntosh (c1776, Durness) and from Hugh McKay and Kate McKay who came from Lairg. (ggggrandparents) I presume they all ended up in Achriesgill due to the Clearances from Lairg and from Durness.

Hugh and Kate McKay had at least 8 children:
Margaret McKay (b1804 Dalvichie, Lairg),
Hugh McKay (b1806, Lubghorn, Lairg -1899),
Barbara McKay (b1807 Midpenny, Lairg),
Katy McKay (c1812, Lubvrec, Lairg - 1889) m John Calder (b1810, Dalinduin, Strathmore, Durness - 1877),
Alexanderina McKay (c1813, Lairg - 1900) m Murdo Fraser (c1802 Kinlochbervie -1876),
Angus McKay (c1816, Lubvrec, Lairg - 1907) m 1. Barbara MacCallum (c1825 Durness) m 2. Christina Ross (c 1831 Assynt),
David McKay (b1818 Lubvrec, Lairg),
Johanna McKay (c1821, Moudale, Farr - 1910) m William McIntosh (c1822 Rhuvoult - 1905).
I also know that in Achriesgill there was a Barbara Calder (d bef 1881) (parents James Calder and Barbara ?) m (in Durness 1799) George Morrison with a lot of Morrison descendants in Kinlochbervie; and an Elizabeth Calder (d bef 1877) m George McKay with a son Angus McKay (c1804 Durness -1877)m Jane Ross (c1813 Eddrachillis - 1900) and McKay descendants in Kinlochbervie.

I wonder if and how these last two Calders were related to Angus Calder and where in Durness they all originally came from.

Susan McKean
Paisley, Scotland