Thursday, 19 September 2013

“Ted” was his name – or so we thought

According to my wife’s father, Bill McKay, his brother’s name was Ted. That is what he was called his whole life. His parents called him Ted. So did his brothers and sisters. His wife knew him as Ted and even put that on is gravestone.

Bill McKay alongside his brother's grave on a visit to Scotland in 1969
We naturally assumed, then, that his name was Edward or Theodore or something similar and concentrated our searches for Ted or Edward MacKay. We didn’t find him though!

Quite by accident, I heard from one of his granddaughters. I had posted a message to the Moray County, Scotland list on Rootsweb in August 2004. I was looking for information about Isabel Scott, wife of Hugh MacKay. They were grandparents of Bill and Ted. I was not specifically looking for data on Ted but had been tracing back the family and had found Bill and Ted’s parents, Alexander MacKay and Mary Ann Milne and, from them, Alexander’s parents, Hugh MacKay and his wife, Isabel Scott, living in Findhorn, Morayshire, Scotland. This was before the 1911 census had been released so I did not have the benefit of seeing the whole family listed. We only had the names of Bill’s siblings as he knew them – including, of course, Ted!

Isabel Scott was born in Knockyfin, Morayshire (sometimes spelled Knockphin) and I wanted to know more about the area as well as her family. That was the subject of my 2004 Rootsweb query.

An email arrived in November 2007 from Ted’s granddaughter who said, “I am also a descendent of Isabel Scott - just got her birth certificate yesterday so was looking for the same place!” Isn’t it neat when you find another cousin on the mailing lists! And from a message posted over three years earlier!

We started comparing notes about the family. She knew her grandfather had a brother named Bill but did not know he had moved to Canada or anything about his family. We were shooting in the dark, looking to expand our knowledge about the MacKay family left in Scotland.

One of the first things she told us was that her mother’s father, Ted, was actually named Augustus Storm Mackay. What a surprise! And no wonder he called himself Ted!

From then on all of the pieces fell right into place. As documents were released for viewing on ScotlandsPeople, we were able to confirm Ted’s real name on the 1909 birth, 1933 marriage and 1911 census records.

No one really knows why he was saddled with that particular name. His parents lived next door to a family by the name of Storm in Findhorn Village, Kinloss. Alexander was a salmon fisherman and his neighbour, James Storm was a yachtsman. They were both born in Findhorn, of similar age, likely involved in the same industry and probably also close friends. That may explain part of Ted’s name. Where the name, Augustus, came from is still a mystery, though.

Anyway, through an accidental contact made by asking a question on a Rootsweb mailing list, we found a new set of cousins and found out the true identity of an uncle.

Ted’s birth record was downloaded from Scotlands People and reproduced here with the kind permission of the Registrar General for Scotland.

No comments:

Post a Comment