William Mackay
(Abt 1768-After 1840)
Janet Mackay
(Abt 1780-After 1840)
Christian Mackay


Family Links

1. James Sutherland

2. Donald Manson

Christian Mackay

  • Born: 1810, Farr, Sutherland 6
  • Christened: 16 Sep 1810, Farr, Sutherland 7
  • Marriage (1): James Sutherland 1
  • Marriage (2): Donald Manson on 23 Apr 1852 in Thurso Caithness, Scotland 2 3 4 5
  • Died: 24 Feb 1883, Lunatic Asylum, Sunnyside, Montrose, Angus 8

  General Notes:

Christian or Christina Mackay was born about 1810 in the Parish of Farr in the county of Sutherland on the far northern Scotland coast. Her parents William and Janet were both Mackays and were married 1796 in the Parish of Tongue a little to the west. Tongue was the seat of the Clan Mackay and from around 1800 various William and Janet couples were producing prolifically in the area. From the overlapping dates it seems only a few were the siblings of Christian.

By 1841 William, Janet and Christian had moved to Janetstown, close by the larger centre of Thurso in Caithness. William is described as a farmer and this fits with a later description of him as "Crofter". The neighbouring farms were also full of Mackays many of whom also hailed from Farr and Tongue. Many of them were sere still in the Janetstown area in 1851 but there is no sign of William and Janet. In their place is the family is an Angus Mackay, likely Christian's brother. The Mackays and others in the area are variously described as farmers and retired soldiers, reflecting the rich military history of the Mackays. This relocation of Mackays to the east fits with the history of the highland clearances, some of the most brutal of which occurred in the Tongue and Farr region.

In this year of 1851 we find Christian, unmarried and working as a laundress in Thurso. With her is her son James Sutherland recorded as being 2 years old. His 1850 birth record tells us that his father was also James, a soldier, but there is no record of a marriage. James' birthplace is given as Janetstown and we can only guess that he was the illegitimate son of soldier of the area.

By 1852 Christian had married Donald Manson and in 1855 they produced their first child Janet named for Christian's mother in the normal manner. By that time they were living at Newlands of Weydale a few miles south of Thurso. As at the time of his marriage Donald was described "day labourer". All indications are that this was their only child.

A few years later in 1861 the family of four was still in Weydale and Donald was described as a "farmer of 6 acres". Christian's son James Sutherland, by then 12, was referred to as a "Soldier's Son". Ten years later the farm had grown to 10 acres, Christian was widowed and James had left. There is a death certificate issued in 1869 for a Donald Manson who died close by Weydale in Hilliclay of a "Strangulated Hernia" but for reasons unknown no family was present and many of the usual details are missing - no marital status and no parents.

By 1875 when her own daughter was born Christian's daughter Janet was working as a domestice servant in Glasgow. Her half brother James Sutherland had possibly moved to Glasgow earlier than this but definitely by the early 1880s. Christian's whereabouts during this period are not known. She likely gave up the farm and had possibly moved into Thurso or even to Glasgow to live with one of her children. What is known is that in 1883 at the time of her death she was an inmate of the Lunatic Asylum at Sunnyside in Montrose in Angus. Her son James was the informant to her death .

(archives are available)



She resided in 1841 in Janetstown, Thurso. 9 (with parents)

She worked as a Laundress in 1851 and resided at Buds(?) Lane, Thurso. 10 (She is with son James Sutherland and recorded 30 and unmarried. Her birthplace is given as Tongue a village near Farr in Sutherland)

She resided in 1852 in Duncan Hill, Thurso. 5 (about 2k north of Weydale)

She worked as a Farmer, 10 acres in 1871 and resided at Weydale, Thurso, Caithness. 11

Informant was son James Sutherland.


Christian had a relationship with James Sutherland.1


Christian next married Donald Manson, son of Alexander Manson and Elizabeth Buchan, on 23 Apr 1852 in Thurso Caithness, Scotland.2 3 4 5 (Donald Manson was born before 8 Mar 1807 in Brims, Parish Of Thurso, Caithness, Scotland 12 13, christened on 8 Mar 1807 in Thurso, Parish of Caithness 14 and died on 10 Jun 1869 in Hilliclay, Parish of Thurso, Caithness 15 16.)


1 Scotland's People - Document Image, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Marriage (JHalket&JM 1877). CM has "previously Sutherland".

2 Wes Halket Sent to Pat Beresford - extensive Halkett family tree info attached, Letter - Wes Halket 1996, has 29 Mar 1852. Ordered 4/9/03.

3 Scotland's People - Document Image, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Birth JM (has 23 Apr 1852).

4 Scotland's People - Index, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Marriage. 29 Mar 1852 MANSON DONALD CHRISTINA MACKAY/ M THURSO 041/00 0005.

5 Scotland's People - Document Image, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Marriage.

6 Scotland's People - Document Image, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Birth (JM).

7 Scotland's People - Index, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, 16/09/1810 MCKAY CHRISTIAN WM. MC KAY JANET MC KAY FR 49 F Farr /SUTHERLAND 050/ 0010 0042


8 Scotland's People - Document Image, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Marriage JM (no "dec").

9 Scotland's People - Document Image, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, 1841C.

10 Scotland's People - Document Image, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, 1851C.

11 Scotland's People - Index, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, 1871.

12 Scotland's People - Document Image, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Birth (JM1855) Age 46. Should be 45 to agree with 1910 births.

13 Scotland's People - Index, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Birth (& Baptism?). 30 Oct 1810 MANSON DONALD DONALD DAVID/MANSON ELIZABETH SANDISON FRMR85-1 U THURSO 041/00 0003 30 Oct 1810 MANSON DONALD DONALD MANSON/ELIZABETH SANDISON M THURSO 041/00 0003. tentative - confirm after looking at Marr Cert.

14 Scotland's People - Document Image, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Donald l.s. to Alex'r Manson Farm Servant at Brims & Elizabeth Buchan - Donald Manson & Donald Duncan.

15 Scotland's People - Document Image, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Marriage JM "dec" in 1877.

16 Scotland's People - Document Image, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Death. Not definite - no wife or parents but age/place checks.