The MacKay Family Line: This is an overview of some of the main family members, see also the individual sections for more detailed accounts of some of them.
The earliest member of the family found so far is James MacKay, my 3 x Great Grand-Father, probably born in Rogart, Sutherland, Scotland circa 1767. He married Marrian MacDonald in Golspie, Sutherland on 8th September 1793. Their deaths are recorded in Rogart as 1850 and 1836 respectively. I have found 2 children, John born in Rogart on 31st August 1796 and Marrian born in Rogart on 31st July 1798. Although my research has concentrated on John as my 2 x Great Grand-Father, I have also researched Marrian and my findings are included in the MacKay Descendants List and Family Tree Chart.
John MacKay is known to have enlisted at Caithness in the 42nd Highland Regiment of Foot, (later known as the Black Watch) on the 25th February 1810 at the age of 15 years. He took his discharge on 22nd November 1837 at Horse Guards Barracks, London after having served with the Regiment in France and Flanders for 7 months (Waterloo), in Gibraltar for 6 years and 3 months and in Malta for 2 years and 1 month, the remainder of his service being at home. Further evidence that he served at Waterloo is to be found in a letter written by his son Edward Hector, to the Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea, (later the Duke of York's Royal Military School), regarding his son, James.
During his final years on service at home, he married Harriott Adlington on 7th March 1831 in the Parish of 'St. Botolph without Aldgate'. The Parish Register of their Banns of Marriage clearly show Harriott's maiden surname was Adlington, although much later, 1914 in fact, Edward Hector recorded his Mother's maiden name as Hollington, but more on this later. Harriott gave birth to 2 sons, Alexander John in 1833 and my Great Grand Father, Edward Hector in 1837. Parish Registers show that Alexander John was baptised in the Parish of 'St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster on 20th January 1833 and Edward Hector in the Parish of 'St. Margaret's, Westminster' on 29th March 1837. Harriott died young on 21st December 1842, whilst the family were resident at 25 Tothill Street, Westminster. Her Death Certificate states that she was the wife of 'John MacKay, an 'Out-Pensioner' of Chelsea Hospital'. Some time between 1871 and 1881 John entered the Royal Hospital, Chelsea as an 'In-Pensioner' and a photograph has come into my possession showing him and 4 other Pensioners. The photograph was taken in June 1880 and records the 5 as being the last surviving veterans of the Battle of Waterloo. Also found is the registration of his death in 1886 and his subsequent burial in the West London and Westminster Cemetery in Old Brompton on 9th July 1886.
My research suggests that Harriott was born on 31st March 1810 and baptised on the 16th May 1810 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, in which case her parents were Jethro Adlington and Hannah May. I have found several family trees on the 'Ancestry' Web-site that detail the Adlington family line back as far as Hugh of Adlyngton, born in 1245 in the area of Adlington, Lancashire. I have since found evidence that in fact this family line died out during the reign of King Edward 3rd. The earliest ancestors of Harriott I have found are her 4 x Great Grand Parents, John Adlington (born ca. 1550) and Emma Browne (born ca. 1554. A family tree for the Adlington Family is included in the 'Family Tree' section.
Alexander John MacKay had a very short life working as a Customs Clerk in Islington or Hackney in London. He married Margaret Hammick Anniss on the 4th September 1853 in Islington and they produced 4 children; Alexander Samuel MacKay in 1856, Margaret Archer MacKay in 1857, Arthur John MacKay in 1859 and Emma Louisa Ruth MacKay in 1862. Although Emma Louisa Ruth's birth was registered in Hackney, she was baptised in Shaftsbury in Dorset. From this, I can only assume that her Mother, Margaret may have originated from that area and that they chose her birthplace for their child's baptism. I have not yet been able to prove this, but will continue trying. There is more detail on these 4 children in 'The Full Story' section.
Margaret Hammick MacKay died on the 24th May 1862 and was buried in the Parish of St. John of Jerusalem, South Hackney on the 28th May 1862. Following her death, Alexander John remarried on 1st November 1862 to Fanny Bolton. Fanny had been born in Hull, Yorkshire in 1833. There were no more children from this 2nd Marriage. Alexander John passed away in South Hackney on 26th February 1866 and was buried on 5th March 1866.
My Great Grand Father, Edward Hector MacKay, lead a much longer and completely different life. He enlisted at Westminster, London in the 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment of Foot, (later the Royal Scots), on 21st September 1855 at the age of 18 years, and joined the Regiment at Fermoy, Co. Cork in Ireland for his initial training. He served for a total of 10 years and took his discharge in Cork, Ireland on 21st September 1865, having served for varying periods in Malta, the Crimea, Gibraltar and China. He arrived in the Crimea just as the Armistice was signed so did not see action there. However, his posting to China was somewhat different, having first landed in Hong Kong, the Regiment was then sent on to mainland China where they saw action in the taking of Taku Forts and in Peking during 1860. For this action he was awarded a medal with 2 clasps, but unfortunately, this medal no longer appears to be in the possession of a family member.
Edward Hector married 3 times, the first marriage being to Rebecca Forsdyke, (see the Forsdyke Family), in Colchester Barracks on 14th February 1864 whilst he was still a serving soldier. For the latter part of his service, he was stationed in Colchester and performed guard duty at the nearby Landguard Fort, by the mouth of the River Orwell, over-looking Harwich Harbour. Rebecca's home was in Falkenham, Suffolk, which was again only a short distance away, so I assume that is where they met. Rebecca was the birth-mother of all of Edward Hector's 10 Children; Edward Hector 2nd - 1864, Harriet 1st - 1866, (she died in infancy), James - 1868, (my Grand-Father), Harriet 2nd - 1870, Rebecca - 1872, John - 1874, William - 1876, Annie -1878, Elizabeth - 1880 and Arthur - 1882. I will return to the children later. For reasons best known to himself, he registered the births of the first 2 children with the surname MacKay and the remaining 8 with the surname McKay.
Following his discharge from the Army, Edward Hector and his family settled in East Retford in Nottinghamshire where according to the 1871 Census, he was employed as a Railway Guard. By 1881 the family had moved to Walton-on-the Naze in Essex where he was employed as a Store-keeper at a Foundry. A further move had taken place by 1891 to Greenwich where he was then employed as a Gas Stoker in the South Metropolitan Gas Company. In 1901 and 1911 he was employed as a Time-keeper and Store-keeper respectively.
Following the Death of Rebecca on 27th January 1888, Edward Hector married for a second time to Amelia Crossthwaite Kemp (see the Kemp Family), on 30th December 1888, just 11 months after the death of Rebecca. Amelia died on 18th March 1911 in Greenwich after apparently having caused the break-up of the family. His third marriage, at the age of 77 in 1914, was to Janet Miller, a widow, (maiden name Fowler), in Stranraer, Scotland on 30th September 1914. They both died within 2 weeks of one another, Edward Hector on 22nd October 1923 and Janet on 12th November 1923 in Greenwich. In both cases, the sole beneficiary of their Wills was William Miller, a Belt Maker, (Janet's son by her 1st Marriage), living in Bridgeton, Glasgow. Although his daughter-in-law, Fanny McKay, (my Paternal Grand-Mother) and her children were living close by, they were not beneficiaries in his Will for whatever reason. Their Death certificates record that they were buried by T.J. Russell, who I later found out was a work colleague of Edward Hector, rather than a member of his family. Fanny McKay and her children (including my Father), lived only a short walking distance away, so I can only assume that there had been falling-out within the family.
As I mentioned above, Edward Hector and Rebecca had 10 children, 1 of which, (Harriet 1st), died in Infancy. The remainder are detailed below:
Edward Hector MacKay 2nd: On leaving school, he gained an Engineering Apprenticeship in the Foundry at Walton on the Naze, Essex, and having completed that, decided to emigrate to Australia at the age of 21 years. He sailed onboard the 'Roma' and arrived in Australia on 21st May 1886. Having settled in Rockhampton, Queensland, he gained employment with the firm of Burns and Twigg where he worked until he retired as a Turner / Engineer. On 24th December 1889 he married Mary Roscoe and they had 8 children. He passed away on 31st March 1940 and in the following month of April, a glowing Obituary was published in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin. See the sub-section entitled 'Edward Hector MacKay 2nd for a more detailed account of his life.
James McKay: My Grand-father, James, was initially enrolled as a pupil at the Royal Military Asylum in Chelsea (later the Duke of York's Royal Military School in Dover), on 13th July 1880 and remained there until 26th August 1882. He is recorded on the 1881 Census of the School at the age of 12 years. On leaving, he immediately enlisted on the Royal Scots who were at that time stationed in Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland, which is presumably where his initial training took place. His service with the Regiment twice took him to South Africa during 1885 to 1891 and again during 1899 to 1903. His Service Records show that he was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal with Clasps for the campaigns in the Cape Colony, the Orange Free State and at Belfast (South Africa), the King's South Africa Medal with Clasps for 1901 - 02 and the Good Conduct Medal. During a period of 'Home' posting, he appears to been stationed possibly in Chatham, Kent. He met and married Fanny Rich, who was possibly employed in the Dartford area of Kent, on 19th September 1896 in the Church of St. Margaret of Antioch in Darenth, Dartford. Prior to the birth of their 1st child, Agnes Rebecca in 1897, he was transferred to the New Barracks in Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh. It was there that she was born along with their 2nd daughter, Alice Jessie in 1898. When James was again posted to South Africa in 1899. it appears that that his wife and children accompanied him as they are not recorded on 1901 Census. Following his return to the UK, he was discharged at Blackdown Barracks in Surrey, (now known as Deepcut), on 25th August 1903. The family settled in East Greenwich, Kent where James gained employment as a Labourer at the South Metropolitan Gas Works until his death on 31st January 1913 at the age of 45 years. See the sub-section entitled 'James McKay' for a more detailed account of his life.
Harriet McKay 2nd: Following the early death of Rebecca in 1888, Edward Hector 1st remarried to Amelia Crossthwaite Kemp in the same year. Various accounts suggest that she either did not like children or was a 'cruel' step-mother to Edward Hector's children. Whichever was the case, she was instrumental in 6 more of them emigrating to Australia, sponsored by their elder brother Edward Hector 2nd in Rockhampton. Harriet, then aged 17 was the first to go, accompanied by her younger sister Rebecca aged only 15, in 1888 on-board the 'MV Dacca'. She returned once to the UK as a nurse accompanying a wealthy Grazier and his family to 'take the waters', a term used by her grand-son, Richmond. Following her return to Australia, she met and married William Manyweathers in Ballina, New South Wales, later settling in Casino, NSW and raising a family of 3 children. I am in contact with one of her grand-children, Richmond Stuart Manyweathers, who has provided me with much of the information relating to the emigrants. See the Family Trees for more details on her descendants.
Rebecca McKay: As I mentioned above, Rebecca emigrated to Australia in 1888 with her older sister Harriet. She met and married Albert Lewis in 1893 and they settled in Townsville, Queensland where he was employed as a Wharf Labourer. They produced 3 children, Edward Albert, Ivy Rebecca and Ethel. Regretably, I have been unable to find an further descendants.
John McKay: John had left home some time prior to the 1891 Census when he was recorded living with his Aunt Sarah Bachelor (sister of Rebecca Forsdyke), in Walton-le-Soken, Essex and employed as a Carpenter at the age of 16 years. The following year, 1892, aged 17, he emigrated to Australia along with his sister Annie aged just 13 years, on-board the 'MV India'. Nothing is known of his time in Australia other than he married Eliza Binstead in Queensland in 1904. At some point after that, they moved on to New Zealand and settled in the Auckland area, where John set up a very successful Carpentry and Building Company. He apparently built many fine houses and apartments in the area including a Butcher's Shop for his Brother-in-Law, Robert Edward Stott, (See section on Annie). With the onset of the Great Depression in the early 1920's, many businesses suffered including John's, resulting in him taking his own life at the age of 53 in 1927. Unfortunately there were no children from the marriage.
William McKay: William followed my Grand-father, James, and enlisted in the Royal Scots in 1890 and is recorded on the 1891 Census as a 14 year old Boy Soldier in Aldershot Barracks. He served with them for 24 years in the UK until his discharge in 1914 with the rank of Sergeant Major. Following the outbreak of World War 1, he re-enlisted and was given command of the 467th Agricultural Company based in Hamilton, Scotland, with the rank of Captain. The purpose of the company was to provide manpower of men unsuitable for War Service, but capable of providing assistance to farmers in producing the necessary foodstuffs for the soldiers fighting in Europe. Documents show that he was very successful in this regard and I have a copy of a Testimonial from the farmers in Hamilton in this respect.
William married twice, firstly to Mary Jane Robin Boyne in Edinburgh on 12th June 1901, and following her death in 1915, he remarried to Janet Ballingall Stuart, again in Edinburgh, on 5th August 1920. Although William's surname at birth was registered as McKay, prior to his first marriage, he adopted the spelling of MacKay. There were 3 children from his 1st marriage, Marion Williamson MacKay in 1903, Edward Hector 3rd in 1906 and Rebecca Forsdyke MacKay in 1910. Note how he perperuated family names in his children. See William's Family Tree for information on these children. It is worth mentioning however, that his only son joined the RAF and died overseas in 1952 possibly as a result of a flying accident. William's 2nd marriage produced 1 more daughter, Isobel, who did not marry and at the time of writing this, is still alive and living in her Father's house in Barry, Angus, Scotland. Following William's Army Service, he managed a 'Gentlemen's Club' in Edinburgh and later was the Steward at Panmure Golf Club in Barry until his retirement in May 1948. William died in Carnoustie on 26th April 1958.
Annie McKay: Annie emigrated to Australia with her brother John in 1892 on-board the 'MV India' as I noted above. She married Robert Edward Stott, an immigrant from Manchester in England, on the 26th December 1899. The ceremony was carried out by a Minister of the Wesleyan Methodist Church at the home of her brother, Edward Hector 2nd in Rockhampton, Queensland. They initially settled in Townsville, Queensland and it was there that their first child, Hector William Stott was born. Apparently the hot climate of Queensland was not to their liking and as a consequence, they moved to New Zealand in 1902 and settled in Birkenhead, Auckland. Robert's first job was as the Manager of the Hellaby family's Butcher's Shop, which he left in 1920 to set up his own Butcher's shop. Due to the success of this 1st shop, he was able to open a 2nd shop in 1927. As mentioned above, certainly one of these shops was built by Annie's brother John. The shop still exists but is no longer owned by the family and operates as a Café with the original ornamentation retained.
I have been able to make contact with several of the Stott family who have kindly contributed to the wealth of information now avail to me on their family. I should like to draw the reader's attention in particular to one member of the family, namely Donald John Stott, who is widely recognised as a true hero of World War 2. A full account of his exploits during the War are included in the ' Military Records' section. However, in brief, he enlisted with the New Zealand Forces and initially served in the Artillery Regiment in Greece where he was taken prisoner by the German Forces. Whilst in captivity, Don Stott and a friend took up pole-vaulting as a form of exercise, although unbeknown to the Germans they were actually preparing for an escape. In due course, they vaulted the perimeter fence and escaped under fire. They evaded capture for 7 months and on returning to Europe, in 1942, volunteered for service with the British Special Operations Executive (the S.O.E.) in Europe. Later in the War he served with them in the Far East against Japan, but unfortunately was lost during the Borneo landings. Don had married his child-hood sweetheart, Mary Kathleen Snow in 1944 who gave birth to their only son, Geoffrey in 1945, just before Don was sent on his final mission.
Elizabeth McKay: I am not certain if Elizabeth emigrated to Australia and later returned to the UK or not. What is certain is that she is missing from both the English and Scottish Census for 1891 and 1901. She married Andrew Sharp Liddle. a Coal Miner, in Newbattle, Midlothian, Scotland on 6th August 1909. The Marriage Registration records that she was a Domestic Servant working at 24 George Square, Edinburgh, but why she came to be there we may never know. She is recorded on the 1911 Census for Scotland living with her husband Andrew Sharp Liddle and their daughter Rebecca MacKay Liddle who was born on 10th June 1910. In 1911 the family emigrated to Australia and settled in Kurri Kurri, New South Wales where Andrew was again employed as a Miner. A second daughter, Margaret Sharp Liddle was born on the 14th January 1912. Elizabeth sadly died quite young on 27th April 1934 and Andrew on 2nd June 1950, both in Kurri Kurri. I am now in contact with one of Elizabeth's Grand-children, Sue Zammit, the daughter of Rebecca MacKay Liddle who has also kindly contributed to this account.
Arthur McKay: Arthur, in many ways is a mystery. He was born on 9th August 1882 whilst the family were living in Tendring, Essex. Consequently, he should have appeared on the 1891 Census, aged 9, living with his Father Edward Hector and Step-Mother Amelia. Not only is he missing from there, I have also not been able to find him anywhere else in the UK. As I mentioned above, it has been suggested that Amelia was a 'cruel' Step-Mother and as a result he had run away from home. It has also been suggested that he may have run away to sea, although at the age of 9 that is highly unlikely. It is of course possible that he had gone to sea when he was a little older. I can only assume that he either avoided inclusion in the Census or had adopted another name.
The first record of Arthur in Australia is his marriage to Hannah Mary Cullen in Sydney, New South Wales on 29th June 1906 at the age of 24. When and how he arrived in Australia is unknown. Hannah was previously married to Joseph Conlan with whom she had 3 children, Gertrude Lillian, Jessie Mabel and John. When Joseph passed away in 1904, Hannah reverted to her maiden name of Cullen prior to her marriage to Arthur. This marriage produced a futher 2 children, Arthur Edward Hector McKay in 1907 and Mary Robina McKay in 1911. I have made contact with Margaret Heywood who is a daughter of Gertrude Lillian Conlan and not only does she remember Arthur from when she was quite young, she has been able to provide much of the information that we know about his life in Australia. Arthur did not have a trade and as a consequence gained employment with the Prison Service in Sydney in 1907. He initially worked as a Warden at the Long Bay Gaol and in 1918 was transferred to the maximum security Maitland Gaol were he was promoted to Warder Foreman.
Margaret Heywood recalls that he spoke with a distinct Scottish accent which is rather strange considering his birth place in Essex. This leads me to wonder whether when he ran away from home at an early age, he was in Scotland and acquired the accent from there. She also described him as rather a strange man and a drifter, maybe this was as a result of his contact at an early age with his 'cruel' Step-Mother, Amelia. I the latter years of Hannah's life, Arthur was having an affair with Vera Ivy Myrtle Charlesworth, whom he married in 1946, following the death of Hannah in 1942. See also the sub-section entitled 'Arthur McKay' for a more detailed account of his life.
The Family of James and Fanny McKay: As I mentioned above, my Grand-Father, James McKay, married Fanny Rich on the 19th September 1896 at Darenth, Dartford, Kent. They had 4 children, Agnes Rebecca in 1897, Alice Jessie in 1898, Walter George in 1905 (my Father) and Kate Victoria in 1912. For more information on my Aunt's Agnes, Alice and Kate, please see click on 'My Story' on the left.
Walter George McKay: My Father was born on the 31st August 1905 at 15 Commercial Street, East Greenwich, Kent. In 1911, he was missing from the family Census Return and was later found to be living with his Maternal Grand-Parents, George and Sarah Ann Rich in Souldrop, Bedfordshire. Following the death of his Father, James in 1913, his Mother, Fanny, petitioned the 'Duke of York's Royal Military School' in Dover to accept him as a pupil. He was accepted and entered the school on 28th October 1914 at the age of 9 years. By that time the family is recorded as living at 37 Whitworth Street, East Greenwich. Walter remained at the school until 11th July 1919 at the age of 14 years. The School Records of which I have a copy, suggest that he may not have been happy at the school as there several cases of disobedience recorded on his 'Conduct Sheet'. However, the records do show that he had passed at Standard 2 and that he was in possession of 2 Good Conduct Badges.
The next record that I have for him is his Attestation Papers for the Regular Army dated 30th October 1923. He initially enlisted with the Grenadier Guards but almost immediately applied for a transfer to the Scots Guards. The transfer was approved on the 7th November 1923 and he was posted to the 1st Battalion. His trade at the time was recorded as a 'Fitter's Mate' and I recall from my childhood being told that prior to joining the Army, he had briefly worked on the construction of Battersea Power Station. He attended various training courses during his Army Service, one which was as a Regimental Instructor in Chemical Warfare which he passed in 1928. Additionally, he attended a Training College in Hounslow, West London and satisfactorily completed a course in Carpentry and Joinery, presumably in preparation for his return to civilian life. Following his 7 years service 'with the Colours', on the 29th October 1930, he was transferred to the Army Reserve with the rank of Lance Sergeant for a further 5 years.
Walter married Ivy Elizabeth Primrose Bailey (my Mother), on the 8th September 1935 in Greenwich. He gained employment at the Darenth Training Colony, (a Psychiatric Hospital), in Darenth, Dartford where he trained as a Male Nurse. In due course he passed the examination and was awarded a Certificate which stated that he was 'Proficient in the Nursing of Mental Defectives'. During this time the family had settled in Lanes End, just a couple of miles from the Hospital. With the advent of World War 2 he was barred from enlisting, although he was a trained soldier, because his employment was considered to be a 'Reserved Occupation' as was the case with other trades such as miners, engineers etc. In the last few years of his time at the Darenth Training Colony he was employed as the Night Superintendent and a couple of years before his death, he retired from the Colony and gained employment as a Progress Clerk at Vickers Armstrong (Engineers) Ltd in Dartford. Walter and Ivy had 2 children, Malcolm James in 1937 and myself, Neil, in 1943. Walter George McKay passed away on 17th July 1963 at home.
This has been an overview of my closest 'MacKay/McKay' relatives and is by no means the full story to date. The sub-section of the 'MacKay Family' on the left includes more detailed accounts of some of the above family members. Additionally, the 'Military Records' section provides detailed information including Service Records on those members of the extended family that served with the Armed Forces of the UK, Australia and New Zealand from as far back as 'Waterloo' and up to and including World War 2. In the 'My Story' section you will find the narrative I have been writing detailed the research carried out and our findings to date.
Neil McKay 13th June 2012 Updated 12th November 2014