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Robert McKay

Generation 4




1841 Census

1851 Census

1861 Census

1871 Census

1881 Census

1891 Census

1901 Census














Robert is another one that has caused me problems. I've got reasonably good sight of him through the births and deaths of his children and from a couple of Censuses, but no matter how hard I try, I can't find his birth or death records. I know where he was born through Census information - Edinburgh, St Cuthbert's - but that's it - very frustrating! I can't explain why I am unable to find his Birth record, (although it may simply be that his parents were not church members ?), but I wonder if the reason I can't find his death is because the Census records are wrong and it actually occurred outside Scotland - don't know. I'll just have to keep looking.

Robert certainly moved about quite a bit during his life. Much of his early adult life seems to have been spent in and around the Closes of Edinburgh's High Street, but we know that he spent some time in Glasgow too - he was in Kinning Park the night of the 1891 Census and his daughter, Barbara, was born in Kinning Park in 1892. However, it was not Robert who reported Barbara's birth, so it may be that he did not actually live there at the time. The evidence of his son John's death in 1893 in Edinburgh seems to suggest that the family had moved back to Edinburgh. However, my Dad reckoned that his Dad, Thomas McKay, lived a lot of his childhood in Glasgow and indeed was a Rangers fan. It seems likely that Thomas would have had to have lived in Glasgow for more than a few years to have developed a liking for Rangers, so were the family only in Edinburgh temporarily when John died? Perhaps, because their home address at the time of John's passing is recorded on John's Death Certificate as Baillie Fyfe's Close. Probably a coincidence, but that was also the address at which Robert's parents lived when they married in 1846. Maybe there was some family connection to that address? However, both Robert's parents had died by this time, so it wasn't them. However, by the time the 1901 Census comes around, Robert's wife Ann and his children, Thomas and Barbara are back living in Kinning Park - more evidence to suggest that they probably lived in Kinning Park throughout the period and that they were perhaps visiting Edinburgh when John died.

Interestingly, Robert was not present at the Kinning Park address on the night of the 1901 Census, so does that mean that Robert and Ann were separated; or had Robert died by that time (Ann was recorded as "Married" in the Census rather than as widowed); or simply elsewhere that night? I have searched extensively for Robert in 1901 Census, but couldn't find him, nor have I been able to find a death certificate for him. It's a mystery.


Birth - 1851 to 1855

From the ages recorded in the 1881 and 1891 Censuses, Robert must have been born in 1855. However, the ages recorded on his Marriage Certificate and the 1861 Census indicates that he was born in 1851 / 52. They are all definitely the same (and correct) Robert, so why the variance and which ones are accurate? At this point, the answer is not clear as no record of his birth at either of these times has been found. However, we do know from the 1881 Census that he was born in the Parish of St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh which is also where he was living at the time of the 1861 Census.

1861 Census

The Census record I have for 1861 shows a Robert McKay, of the right age, living with Eliza McCulloch. The Census records them as living in Causewayside, St Cuthbert's, Edinburgh, the same area I believe Robert to have been born in. There are some anomalies though:

  • while Robert's mother's maiden name was indeed McCulloch, why was she using it rather than McKay at this time? She is recorded here as a widow, so she may have decided to revert to that?
  • Robert is recorded as a 'Visitor'; why, if he is her son? Enumerator error?
  • On both the 'scotlandspeople' and '' searches, he is described as aged 9, whereas, that does not appear to have been recorded on the actual record. Going by his age when he married, this is the right age for Robert at the time of this Census, but it just leaves a little uncertainty.

View the record.

Marriage - 11th November 1873

Robert married Ann Bueglay at 3 Regent Terrace, Edinburgh. His age is shown as 21 and he was employed as a Stone Carter. He lived at 10 East Richmond Street - the same address given for Ann. His parents were David McKay (deceased), a Mechanical Engineer and Eliza McCuloch. Their witnesses were Charles Munro and Frances Nicholson.

27th May 1880

Robert's daughter, Jane Baiglie McKay, was born at 152 Pleasance, Edinburgh. Robert reported the birth and provided his "X" mark. His occupation was given as 'Coal Dealer'.

1881 Census

The Census shows Robert and Ann living as lodgers with William and Jane Begley. Annoyingly, Ann is not described as 'Daughter' in her relationship to the 'Head', William, but she has to be. At this time they are living at 1 Chalmers Close, Edinburgh and their daughter, Jane, aged 10 months, is also living there. as are three of William and Jane's other children. Robert's place of birth is shown as 'Edinburgh, St. Cuthbert's' and his occupation was recorded as 'Labourer General'.

17th January 1883

Sadly, Jane Baigley McKay died in infancy at the age of 2 years, 7 months. The death took place at 8 James Place, Greenside, Edinburgh. Robert was present and he reported the death. At this time he was again a Coal Dealer.

14th February 1887

Robert's son, Thomas Dow McKay, was born at 14A Salisbury Street, Edinburgh. Robert, who was employed as a Coal Carter, reported the birth.

20th October 1889

Robert had another son, John Campbell McKay, who was born at 17 Whitehorse Close, Edinburgh. On this occasion, Ann registered the birth, whereas it had been Robert who had done this for their earlier children. Robert is described as a 'Carter' on the certificate.

1891 Census

The Census shows Robert and Ann now living in 18 Anderson Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow - presumably having only moved their recently? Also living there are their children, Thomas (4) and John (1). Robert's occupation was recorded as "Labourer, General" - I wonder if there was a 'catch-all' description used in Censuses that covered a number of occupations, like 'Carter'?

27th April 1892

Robert's daughter, Barbara Rennie McKay, was born at 2 Anderson Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow. Again, it was Ann who registered the birth. I don't know whether there is anything to be read into this, though.

19th November 1893

Now apparently living back in Edinburgh (at least the Death is registered there), Robert and Ann suffer the loss of a second child. John died in the City Hospital, Edinburgh. He was aged just 4 and died from Scarletina. At the time they were living at 1 Baillie Fyfe's Close, Leith, but is possible they were living there only temporarily, given that Ann was back in Kinning Park, Glasgow, shortly thereafter? Again, Robert's occupation was given as 'Carter'.

27th November 1908

Robert's daughter, Barbara Rennie McKay married Robert Ireland, at St Thomas's Manse, Leith. Barbara was described as a Flaxmill Worker aged 16, but in actual fact she had just turned 15. Robert Ireland was Ironmoulder. Both are recorded as living at 21 Smiths Lands, Leith. Barbara's parents were Robert McKay (deceased) and Ann McKay nee Beuglay.

12th May 1930

Robert's wife, Ann, died aged 74 at the Eastern General Hospital in Edinburgh. She was described as the widow of Robert McKay.