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Thomas Dow McKay

Generation 3




1841 Census

1851 Census

1861 Census

1871 Census

1881 Census

1891 Census

1901 Census














Unlike my other Granddad, I can't really remember much about Thomas in life - I was only five when he died. I believe he had been ill for quite a long time. Strangely it's the time of his death that I can remember rather than his life. I can remember being told that he had died, but I doubt that I really understood what that meant, as I was only five years old. I remember being told not to ask after him when we visited Granny and I can also remember looking in his room and wondering where he was, but that's about it.

My Dad has told me that Thomas, his Dad, had been injured in the First World War in 1917 and that a piece of shrapnel had lodged in his lung and couldn't be removed. From then until his death - 39 years - he suffered from Chronic Bronchitis. After he got injured he spent some time in hospital, the same hospital in which my Granny worked as an Auxiliary Nurse.

As a young boy, Thomas lived for some time in, or around, Govan in Glasgow and my Dad can remember going with Thomas, his Dad, to visit friends there. Sadly, his upbringing in Glasgow led to him becoming a Glasgow Rangers fan, a shameful thing I have tried to live down. However, I am happy to say that this did not influence my Dad who ended up being a Hibs supporter, a condition he passed on to me and my children and now, my own grandchildren.


Birth - 14th February 1887

Thomas was born at 7 pm at 14A Salisbury Street, Edinburgh. His birth was registered by his Father, Robert McKay, a Coal Carter, in the District of Canongate. His mother was recorded as Ann Bagley.

1891 Census

The Census records that Thomas, aged 4, lived at 8 Anderson Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow. Also living there was his mother Ann and brother, John (1). Thomas's Father, Robert, aged 35, was employed as a "Labourer, General". Robert's mother is recorded as Ann McKay, aged 34.

1901 Census

The Census records that Thomas, aged 14, lived at 212 St. James Street, Kinning Park. Also living there was his mother Ann and sister Barbara (8), a scholar. Thomas's Father, Robert, was absent on the night of the Census, but given that Ann was described as "Wife" and her 'Condition' as "Married", Robert was almost certainly still alive and probably living with the family - just not on that night. There was also a boarder, one John Thompson, a 'Navvie', aged 38.

Marriage - 24th June 1910

Thomas married Margaret Richmond Rodger at The Manse, 30 Ferry Road, Leith, according to the rites of the Church of Scotland. Thomas was aged 24 and was employed as a Maltman. His home address was recorded as Couper Street, Leith. His parents were recorded as Robert McKay (deceased) and Ann Begly. (Note the different spelling - more about this in Ann's record.) Their witnesses were Isabella Rodger (Margaret's sister and known to us as 'Auntie Bella') and George Grieve, who I think may have been Isabella's future husband (?)

1911 Census

The Census records that Thomas, aged 24, lived with his wife, Margaret aged 21, at 38 Grove Street, Leith. Thomas was employed as a Labourer. At that time they had only been married for one year and so no children had arrived yet. A number of other families lived at the same address so it is likely that this was a tenement building and judging from the photo of Grove Street, not very salubrious tenements.


Thomas's first son, William Cochrane McKay (Uncle Bill) was born 1912; probably named after Thomas's father, William Cochrane Rogers

First World War

Thomas, got badly injured during the war and ended up convalescing in the Eastern General Hospital where his wife, Margaret was actually working as an Auxiliary Nurse.


Thomas's second son, Harry Rodger McKay (Uncle Harry), was born 1919

23rd June 1922

Thomas's third son (my Dad), Alexander Gillespie McKay, was born at 11.40 pm at 45 Tolbooth Wynd, Leith. According to my Dad, he was named after a good friend of the family.


Thomas's fourth son, Francis Rodger McKay (Uncle Francie), was born in 1924


Thomas's daughter, Nan Begly McKay (Auntie Nan), was born in 1928; presumably named after Thomas's mother, Ann Begly.

17th March 1950

Thomas's son, Alexander, married my Mum, Margaret Sutter, in South Leith Parish Church. At that time Margaret lived with Thomas in 19 Dock Street, Leith.

Death - 24th March 1956

Thomas died at home in 19 Dock Street, Leith at 4.10 am. He was aged 69. The cause of his death was recorded as "Chronic Bronchitis - 39 years+, Bronchiectasis, Terminal Broncho Pneumonia, 7 days". His death was reported by his son H. R. McKay (my Uncle Harry), who also lived at 19 Dock Street. The Chronic Bronchitis dated back to his shrapnel injury of World War 1, some of which remained lodged in a lung.