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The Davidson Connection?

Alexander MacKay was known as Alexander MacKay 'Bratten' and some records indicate that he once lived in Bratan in Rogart. Bratan or Brattan is known in the Parish Records for Rogart; also referred to in these records as 'Bratan Grudy', which could be the area known as Brae Grudy or Grudy today. In St. Callan's Church of Scotland cemetery are three footstones bearing the following inscriptions:

       BRATANCHUD
       a) A. MK   M. MK   1822
       b) A. MK   M. MK   1822
       c) A. MK   M. MK   1822
The meaning or identity of these grave markers or graves has not been established.

Most of the children were born at Grudy, but Annabella was baptized at Braddasu and Margaret was born at at Inceroy in Rogart; however, Margaret was baptized at Grudy. The obituary in the Halifax Morning Herald for Dolina states that she was born in Golspie in 1803, whereas the Parish Records indicate that she was baptized at Grudy in 1803. This obituary was thought to have been written by her son, Dr. William ('Bill') MacKay.

I am told that Grudy - Brae Grudy, Bratan or Bratan Grudy - is situated near Sciberscross in Rogart. As I was not aware of any connection with Grudy when in Rogart, I did not take the opportunity to explore it. I am told that one takes the road leading away from the Rogart Station and to the east of Smithy House at Pittentrail, and past St. Callan's Church.

The Parish Records of Rogart show Margaret with maiden name of Margaret MacKay, as mothers were recorded with their maiden name in birth or baptismal entries. Perhaps there is no reason to assume that Margaret was not a MacKay before marriage. However, family tradition indicates that she was Margaret Davidson, daughter of Davidson the Sherriff of Dornoch.

A record of the sheriffs and sheriff-substitutes dating back to the Abolition of Heritable Jurisdiction in 1748 found on the wall of a second story room of the Court House in Dornoch (May, 1983) does not mention a Davidson. Her father may have worked under the earlier system.

Cemetery inscriptions found by Mrs. Ida MacKay in a 1983 issue of the magazine, "Scottish Home and Country", appear relevant. One wonders if there might be some connection.

In 1972, Dr. W. MacKay of Newcastle (?Chatham), New Brunswick showed me a paper containing the account of a brooch which had been passed from the eldest daughter to the eldest daughter - the first recorded daughter being 'Margaret Davidson'.

Alexander MacKay was known as Alexander MacKay 'Bratten' among his peers. The obituary of his daughter, Johannah, refers to him as 'Alexander MacKay Bratian". Mrs. Howard Murray of Earltown remembers the family as "The Bratten MacKays". Notes of my father from his visit to Rogart in 1932 contain the notation "A. MacKay, Bratan, 1822". The above account of the brooch indicates that Marion was born in Bratten, Scotland. The obituary of Johannah states that her father was Alexander MacKay 'Bratian', Parish of Rogart, Sutherland.

"died on 25 February, at Scotsburn, Johannah, wife of John Campbell, age 75. She was the daughter of Alexander MacKay of Dalhousie, elder, well-known as 'Alexander MacKay Bratian', Parish of Rogart, Sutherlandshire." (Presbyterian Witness of March 21, 1868)

Notes of my father state that Alexander was a free mason in Rogart. The death record of another of Alexander's daughters states that he was a wheelwright, confirmed by Mrs. Howard Murray. In the one of the regiments on the Sutherland Muster Roll of 1813, there is a Lieutenant Alexander MacKay of Grudy, Rogart. Any connection to this family has not been determined.

{*} [MacKay Hall] {*} [Heritage Hall] {*} [Copyright (C) 1996] {*}

 

 


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