Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Canadian Branches ~ My Clan MacKay and My Shelburne County Roots

Alexander MacKay, my third great grandfather, arrived in Canada from the Scottish Highlands as a young man of 29.  A few years later, when he married Eleanor Brown, he was living in Jordan River, in Shelburne County, Nova Scotia. These pictures (made into postcards) have my great grandmother's writing on them.

The young couple, with their first three children, Isabella, Catherine, and John, were living in Ragged Island, by the 1871 Census of Canada. The next 30 years, however, saw the family resettling and living in Upper Stewiacke, in Colchester County. There were six children in all, the first three born in East Jordan, the younger three born in Upper Stewiacke. The oldest, Isabella Fulton MacKay, is my second great grandmother.

       Standing: Hugh Dunlap MacKay, Catherine Margaret MacKay,
 John William MacKay, Isabella Fulton MacKay, George Alexander MacKay.
  Seated: Flora Jane MacKay, Alexander MacKay, Eleanor MacKay (Alexander's wife).

Alexander MacKay (1830-1901)
Eleanor Brown MacKay (1835-1924)

Their Children:

Isabella Fulton MacKay (1861-1945)
Catherine Margaret MacKay (1864-1927)
John William MacKay (1866-1945)
George Alexander MacKay (1872-1955)
Flora Jane MacKay (1874-1941)
Hugh Dunlap MacKay (1878-1934)

Alexander and Eleanor MacKay are buried in the Burnt Hill Cemetery, in Upper Burnside, Nova Scotia. My great grandmother took this picture many years ago:

A recent photo by a findagrave volunteer shows the monument today:


1871 Census of Canada; Census Place: Ragged Island, Shelburne, Nova Scotia; Roll: C-10547; Page: 41; Family No: 132.

1881 Census of Canada; Census Place: Upper Stewiacke, Colchester, Nova Scotia; Roll: C_13175; Page: 4; Family No: 12.

1891 Census of Canada; Census Place: Upper Stewiacke East, Colchester, Nova Scotia; Roll: T-6311; Family No: 124.

Colchester Historeum Marriages 1864-1914,

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed  4 Dec 2015), memorial page for Alexander MacKay (1823-1901), Find A Grave Memorial no. 124797256, citing Burnt Hill Cemetery, Upper Burnside, Colchester County, Nova Scotia.


  1. Don't you love that you can recognize handwriting of an ancestor you probably never met because you have enough old family photos and documents?
    And how cool to have an old photo and a current photo of an ancestor's gravestone!

    1. Hi Elizabeth, I actually remember my great grandmother well, as she passed away when I was in high school. We had many holiday gatherings at my great grandparents' home in Portland, so I know her handwriting when I see it. Wonderful memories associated with it!