Alexander MacKay & Isabella Matheson
1796 to 1827
As discussed in the previous page, the MacKays were farmers from Achinduich, a farm just south of the township of Lairg in Sutherland, Scotland.

The earliest MacKay identified so far is Alexander who was born about 1796. He married Isabella Matheson (born ca 1800) in about 1826.

What we know about them comes from their gravestone in the Lairg cemetery and the two graves beside their's which are probably the graves of Alexander's brother and niece.

The IGI records, which record their children, do not totally agree with the gravestone, but as usual it ois probable that the gravestone is innaccurate.

Moss on the MacKay Graveston, Lairg
Moss on the MacKay Graveston, Lairg
1827 to 1840
From the records of the IGI 2 (opposite) and their gravestone (see below), it seems that Alexander and Isabella had either 4 or 5 children, all born in Achinduich and christened at the Creich Church (I wonder why they were christened at Creich when Lairg was closer and when they were buried at Lairg?).
G5 Alexander MacKay (ca 1796-1845)
= ca 1828
Isobel Matheson (ca 1800-1860)
G4 James (1827- ) John (1830- ) Angus (1832- ) Janet (1835- ) - ?? Jane (1840-1845) - ??
There is a puzzle over the two records for daughters; Janet in the IGI records (born 1835) and Jane listed on the gravestone (died in September 1845 age five, therefore born ca 1840). It would be unlikely to have two daughters with the same name (Jane is certainly a diminutive of Janet) unless Janet had died early. However if this was the case, she would surely also be mentioned on the gravestone.

I think it most likely that they are the same person and that the brothers made an error in her age on the gravestone, erected by them much later in 1862.

International Genealogical Index
Father: Alexander Mackay,
Mother: Isobel Matheson
All Births were at Achinduick, Creich, Sutherland
All Christenings were at Creich, Sutherland
James MacKay03 FEB 182705 APR 1827
John MacKay14 JAN 183026 JAN 1830
Angus MacKay20 JAN 183228 JAN 1832
Janet MacKay06 OCT 183510 OCT 1835
ca 1860
Angus MacKay emigrated to New Zealand in 1860 and it seems likely that a number of other relatives and/or friends, including his brother James and possibly John emigrated at much the same time.
1845 to 1860
The MacKays are buried in the cemetery at Lairg, a few kilometers to the north of Achinduich.
Lairg Graveyard
View from the Lairg Cemetery

Mackay Gravestone
The Grave of Alexander & Isabella Mackay
"Erected to the memory of Alexander MACKAY, Achinduich,
who departed this life in February 1845, aged 49 years
and of his wife Isabella MATHESON who died in June 1860, aged 60 years.
And of their daughter Jane who died in September 1845, aged 5 years.
This stone is placed by their sons James, John and Angus
in remembrance of their parents and sister, 1862."
Alexander died in 1845 and Isabella in 1860 and they are buried in the Lairg Churchyard with their daughter Jane who also died in 1845. Their gravestone (opposite) was erected in 1862 by James, John and Angus, well after their deaths and after Angus and probably James and John had moved to New Zealand (having presumably 'made their fortune'). The inscription on gravestone is 1 shown in the sidebar.

It is interesting to note that Isabella is shown as having died in June 1860, only shortly after Angus emigrated in May.

Grave Christina MacKay, Lairg
The Grave of Christina MacKay
Niece (?) of Alexander & Isabella Mackay
"In Memory of JOHN MACKAY
Tacksman of Achinduich
died 4th March 1871
aged 70 years."

"Sacred to the Memory of CHRISTINA MACKAY
the beloved wife of R. H. SIMPSON
who departed this life on the 1st February 1857 aged 22
and only daughter of JOHN MACKAY Tacksman of Achinduich
It is sown a natural body
it is raised a spiritual body
Cor. 15:44 "
Beside Alexander and Isabella's grave are two other graves of Achinduich MacKays, which, from dates, may be those of Alexander's brother John and John's daughter Christina. The inscriptions are shown in the sidebar.
The story of Angus MacKay, who emigrated to New Zealand in 1860, is continued here. It seems likely that his eldest brother James also emigrated to New Zealand.
Notes & References
  1. The Highland Hearts website, which has now been closed. However see:
    County Sutherland Genealogical Resources
  2. IGI
  3. Birth Certificate, Angus MacKay