Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ancestral Notes by Colin MacKinnon

Ancestral Notes - The MacKinnons of the Isle of Muck,
Inner Hebrides, Scotland
Colin MacKinnon, Sackville, N.B., Canada

The following account of “Ancestral Notes” is attributed to Alexander MacKinnon (1848 - 1927) of Georgetown, Prince Edward Island.  These were given to me by Archibald Forbes MacKinnon (Sudbury, Ontario) in the early 1980’s; shortly before his passing.  I do not know where the original of this document resides.  This is the earliest account of my direct ancestry and has broad links to the Protestant MacKinnons around Lake Ainslie, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  My direct great great grandfather was Hector MacKinnon Sr., the son of Duncan MacKinnon and Mary MacKinnon from the Isle of Canna, Scotland.  Hector Sr. immigrated to Cape Beton on the the ship “Harmony (Dove of Harmony) in 1826.  He married Anne MacLean, daughter of Malcom MacLean, and they had one son named Hector (1831-1910) after his father.  According to tradition, the father died shortly after, around 1833, trying to save a drowning friend in Lake Ainslie.  The widow Anne remarried Hector MacDougall and she is buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery at East Lake.

I have added footnotes {#} to the “Ancestral Notes” for clarification or where questions arise.  There is also following a short extract from the “Census of the Small Isles, 1764-1765, by Neill McNeill Catechist” that is most interesting as it list an Archibald MacKinnon (age 54) as “convert”.  This corresponds with the story in “Ancestral Notes” and places our “Archibald MacKinnon” in time and place.  I would appreciate any additional information pertaining to this family. 

Ancestral Notes

Attributed to:

ALEXANDER MACKINNON (b:1848 - d:1927)

Gillie Callum MacKinnon {#1}, of the MacKinnons of the Isles, lived about 1670 - 1700.  He was a Roman Catholic and the father of a family of four or five boys and some daughters.  His son, Archie, also a R.C. married a Protestant woman, of whom the tradition that has come down to us reports was of exceptional gifts and graces.  The union proved according to the story a mutually happy one.  They agreed before hand that neither one would in any way tamper with the other's religious views, and that both would worship together alternately, one Sunday in the Catholic Church, and the next in the Protestant Church.  And according to this rule they lived happily for several years.  But the priest did not approve of the union nor of the worshipping arrangement and made repeated allusions to the matter from the pulpit, until at last Archie becoming offended, one day got up and said to the priest that he would have no more occasion to declaim about him and walked out of the Church with his wife and children.  He embraced the Protestant religion and thus becomes the ancestor of the Protestant branch of the MacKinnon family.  He was the father of five sons and two daughters whose names we know, viz:
1.John (Rouah){#2} who married Sarah, daughter of Angus MacKinnon MacMillan (below) and was the father of Neil - the father of Charles MacKinnon (Fiddler), and Effy of Hay River; of Archie (Rouah) father of Alexander, married to our aunt Ana MacKinnon.
2.Archie (Og) {#3} - father of Lauchlin (Bann), Ainslie Glen, and of Neil (Bann), Loddy's father.
3.Donald {#4} - father of Archie MacKinnon, (Gillespic Macdhoniel) Out - Let.
4.Neil {#5} - father of Allan (Bann) Archie, Donald, Ann.
5.Duncan {#6} - our grandfather, and father of four sons and four daughters.  The sons were, one who died of small pox in the old country; Alexander {#6a}, our father; Lauchlin, and Donald.  The girls were Christie, wife of Neil MacLean, Hector's son, uncle of the late John MacLean, Indian Rear, who did not come out to America with the rest of the family, but moved to the mainland of Scotland and remained and died there.  Of their family we know little.  Kate, the second daughter after coming to Cape Breton having made an unfortunate marriage, moved to Pictou, where she died of old age.  Ann, already referred to, married Alexander MacKinnon, Rear Outlet, died also in old age, survived by one daughter Flora, wife of Lauchlin MacKay, Post, Outlet.  Another daughter was the wife of the late Peter MacKay, Ainslie Glen.  And another daughter was also the wife of my uncle, Late Neil MacKay, of Big Baddeck.  She died leaving two sons, John and Duncan.
6.Flora MacKinnon {#7}, one of the daughters of Archie Mac Gillie Callum was married to one Angus MacMillan, the father of Donald who moved to New Zealand with his family some 43 years ago and of Archie and Neil of Upper Baddeck.  A daughter Ann, married John MacKay, parents of my mother and uncles Neil and Duncan of Upper Baddeck.  Lauchlin MacMillan a brother of said Angus was the father of Malcolm, Duncan, Donald (Turner) Donald (Mor) Angus, and some sisters; one - the mother of Donald MacKinnon Hugh, Alexander, and Allen of Mount Young; and of Neil (Tai) and Ann, D. MacLean's B.D.'s wife, Whycocomah.
7.Una, or Hannah, MacKinnon {#8}, another daughter of Archie's a woman of renown amongst her descendants, was married to one Alexander MacLean, who became the parents of Mary, my father's mother; and father. of Malcolm MacLean, Out-Let; of Lauchlin (Donald Bann's) John MacLean (Sergeant) Rear Port Hastings and of dear old Grannie MacQuarrie of Christly memory, of Ainslie Glen, and of Murdock (Big) father of Angus, John Neil, Mary, also Allan (Carpenter) father of Malcom (Rouah) Donald, John, Neil, and Flora.

Other Descendants.

John MacKinnon (Rouah's) daughter Mary was married to one Duncan MacKinnon {#9}, of Canna, a R.C. the father of Hector MacKinnon, who married Ann MacLean, a daughter of Malcolm MacLean, Out-Let.  Hector was drowned in Lake Ainslie soon after, about the year 1833, leaving one son, named after himself.  The widow later married Hector MacDougall, by whom she had a large family.  The above couple Duncan and Mary MacKinnon. were the parents also of John (Macdoanach Lachlan) of New Canada, R.C. who was the father of Duncan MacKinnon also of New Canada.
The other brothers and sisters of Archie MacIllie Callum remained in the R.C. Church and their descendants are the MacKinnons of Antigonish {#10}, etc.  While the descendants of our progenitor settled mainly in Cape Breton.  But descendants of both branches of the family are now widely scattered the world over.             

Comments on "Ancestral Notes" by Colin MacKinnon, Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada,

1.   I can find no trace of this "Gillie Callum MacKinnon.  In H.N. MacDonald's "MacDonald and MacKinnon families" he gives a different ancestry??  Supposedly the Muck MacKinnons came from the Isle of Skye where MacLeod of Rassay was referred to as “Mac Gillie Callum”. I suppose it is possible that the MacKinnon “Gillie Callum” had some association with the MacLeods?
2.   The daughter of John Rouadh married Duncan MacKinnon (see #9 below) of Canna Scotland.  Their son Hector (my great-great grandfather) immigrated to Cape Breton in ca. 1826 on the ship "Harmony" (also called “The Dove of Harmony”).  Hector met Ann MacLean (daughter of Malcolm MacLean, see #8 below) on the ship and was married shortly after landing.  They had a son also named Hector (photo follows) who eventually settled in Sackville, N.B. where I now live.
3.   Archibald was known as "Gillesbuig Og".  His son Neil "Niall Ban" MacKinnon "of Portree" apparently died in Scotland, however, his wife Jane "Jean" (Cameron) MacKinnon and her two sons and three daughters immigrated to Cape Breton, possibly in 1828 on the ship St Lawrence (see History of Inverness County, J.L. MacDougall). 
4.   Donald MacKinnon's son, Archibald MacKinnon, immigrated from the Isle of Eigg ca. 1840 to Nova Scotia.
5.   Neil MacKinnon had four children.  His three sons immigrated from the Isle of Muck to Nova Scotia ca. 1820.  One of Neil's sons was Capt. Allan "Ailean Ban" MacKinnon.  Capt. Allan reportedly sailed a vessel owned by MacKinnon of Corry, Skye (Fear a Chorry) (see H.N MacDonald, p.19).
6.   Duncan MacKinnon (b:1765 - d:ca.1837).  His family immigrated from the Isle of Muck.  John or Alexander MacKinnon, the writer of these "ancestral notes" are grandsons of Duncan MacKinnon.
6a. John and Alexander (writer of ancestral notes) were brothers.  Their parents were Alexander (b:1797 - d:31 May, 1874) and Mary (MacKay) MacKinnon from the Isle of Muck, Scotland from where they immigrated to Canada
7.   Flora MacKinnon married Angus MacMillan.  I believe these are the MacMillan’s in "History if Inverness County", p.511.
8.   Hannah MacKinnon married Alexander MacLean.  The MacLeans of Footcape, Cape Breton are descendants (History of Inverness, p.336).  Their son Malcolm MacLean is believed to be the same as in #2 above.  A large group of this family from the Isle of Rum (Protestant) are believed to have immigrated on the ship "Harmony" to Nova Scotia in 1826.  
9.   See #2 above.  Duncan MacKinnon had a brother known as Iain mac Dhonnachadh Lachlan so Duncan's father would have been Lachlan MacKinnon. 
10. Apparently Father Colin Francis MacKinnon, founder of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish talked about his protestant relations in Cape Breton (Lake Ainslie area).  I have not seen any data to confirm this statement.

H.N. MacDonald in "MacDonald and MacKinnon families" states that his family are descendants from the family of Charles (mac Thearlach Og) MacKinnon, father of Lauchlan MacKinnon the "Skye Bard"; they are not descendants of the "bard" directly.  H.N. MacDonald (1937) gives his ancestry as follows: H.N. MacDonald (b:21 Aug., 1856), son of Breadalbane (MacKinnon) MacDonald, daughter of Capt. Allan "Aillean Ban" MacKinnon, son of Neil, son of John of the MacKinnon's of Strath (same family as "Skye Bard").  Neil MacKinnon in H.N. MacDonald's account is the same Neil as {#5} above.  The problem is that" ancestral notes" gives Neil's father as "Archibald" while H.N. MacDonald gives Neil's father as John?

Extract from: Census of the Small Isles, 1764-1765, by Neill McNeill Catechist

Family No. 17 – Isle of Muck -Protestant

~ Date of Birth
Archibald McKinnon (convert)
Anna McGuary – his wife
John McKinnon – his son
Donald McKinnon – his son
Neill McKinnon – his son
Marion McKinnon – his daughter
Flora McKinnon – his daughter
Duncan McKinnon – his son
Marion McLean - widow
c. 1689

Hector MacKinnon

Tobermory 21 July 1826

Malcolm Macquary passenger on board the Harmony
from the Island of Rum to America has paid to me
the sum of Twenty eight pounds 13/6 st in full of
the price of Provisions  furnished to him and his
family for that voyage; the Tonnage freight having
been paid by Hugh McLean Esq. younger of Coll
Arch. M. Niven agent
For Emigrants

That the Bearer hereof Donald MacKinnon a
Married man is a native of this Parish; that during
His residence in it he and his wife always main-
tained an irreproachable character.  Is attested in
the Island of Rum, Parish of Small Isles this 14th day
of July 1826 by –            Alex. MacLeod Min.


Eugene Quigley writes:  "The two certificates that he has posted were last in the possession of Marjorie MacKinnon, of the East Lake Ainslie MacKinnons. Marjorie was for a number of years in a manor in the village of Inverness  until she passed away in 2009. Her husband was Dan Fred MacKinnon (1910-1989) of West Lake Ainslie. His great great grandparents were Donald MacKinnon (1794 – aft 1871) & Flora MacQuarrie (1801 – 1876) from the Isle of Rum. I believe the first certificate refers to Flora’s brother or perhaps father and the second certificate refers to Donald born in 1794. Unfortunately I have not been able to identify the Malcolm MacQuarrie in any records but he may have settled in mainland Nova scotia and not Cape Breton."

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  1. I'm a direct descendant of Gillie Callum MacKinnon and his son Archibald, who had switched to Protestantism. I've also heard the same story you mention above about how Archibald converted, with some minor variations. I don't have much more info on Gillie, other than he was purportedly the 29th clan chief of MacKinnon. I also had an alternate spelling of his name, Gille Chaluim.

  2. Okay, I am new to geneaology and family searches. My mother was a MacDougall, (born in Boston) and her mother was a MacDonald (born in Antigonish). my mother always heard that she had an ancestor, Colin MacKinnon, who founded a college in Nova Scotia. Somewhere in her family tree are MacKinnons, but we don't know the connection. What's the best way to do this? Ancestry.com?

  3. Gillecallum is simply an older form of the name Malcolm.

  4. Colin Francis MacKinnon was my 3rd. Uncle. I have the genealogy done for that entire branch. There was a "Gillie" in the marriage records between one of the MacKinnons and the MacDonald branch of my family. It can be seen at Ancestry.com under the "Johnson/Taylor" tree.

  5. I am also a direct descendent of Gille Chaluim and live on the same property in Ainslie Glen, Cape Breton where Loddy (Gille Chaluim's grandson) settled. I am a fluent Gaelic speaker and often see variations in spellings in historical records for words like Gille(boy), Bàn(fair-haired), Ruadh(red-haired), Òg (young) - these are all Gaelic words. "Gille" means 'boy' and "Chaluim" means "of Malcolm", so Gille Chaluim means "Malcolm's Boy", i.e Son of Malcolm.

    My line is: Me>Robert>Hector Jr.>Hector Sr.>Neil>Loddy>Neil>Archie>Archibald>Gille Chaluim>Calum

  6. Hello, I am trying to trace the parents of Mary McKinnon and as has happened to many others I have hit many deadends. #5 Neill MacKinnon is listed as having had four children, three of his sons emigrating to Nova Scotia. I am searching for any evidence that Mary McKinnon c 1880 might be Neill's forth unlisted child. This would put Neill at 32 when she was born. Mary married Alex McLean and I am descended from their daughter Mary McLean. I would appreciate any evidence to support or repute the theory?

    thanks Julie

  7. I am hitting a brick wall on tracing my MacKinnon roots. My g g grandmother was Flora MacKinnon (born approx. 1817) who married Jacob Ross . She was from Middle River and they resided in Northeast Margaree. They had 8 children: Duncan Jabob (1859-1926), Alexander Sandy, Daniel Donald (born 1839), Jane (1848), Rebecca (1852-1928), Etta (1855), Harriett (1855), Henry J. (1857), Can anyone out there assist me? Thanks, Jan

  8. ayouba_2008@yahoo.comNovember 8, 2018 at 3:55 AM

    I am searching for a Mary McKinnon who married James Billings (soldier) in 1851 by licence on PEI...can find no trace of her birth, parents or ancestors...apparently she lived in the Malpeque Road... I believe was Lot 44?...the witness's at their wedding were Hector McKinnon, Margaret McKinnon and Dou McKinnon.....plus another whose name I cannot decipher.Mary was my GG grandmother...any leads would be most appreciated ..thanks, Shirley

  9. Christine "Christy" Campbell
    BIRTH 1848 • Cape Breton Island, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
    DEATH 23 DEC 1933 • Cape Breton Island, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
    2nd great-grandmother
    Catherine Christina McKinnon
    BIRTH 22 MAY 1862 • Cape Breton Nova Scotia, Canada
    DEATH 5 JUNE 1945 • New Glasgow Nova Scotia, Canada