vital records sources
go to Harriet Mackay's page (to be created)

Notes for Alexander:

     His death registration says his parents were Donald and Margaret (Sutherland) Sinclair, both deceased. No evidence of such a couple has been found, but there was a William Sinclair who married Margaret Sutherland in Latheron, Caithness, in 1795. A William of Dubeath had a son Alexander baptized there in Latheron in 1800, and this is the only Alexander found in the baptism records of Latheron about the time he was born. If the death registration is right in saying he was 68 then he wasn't a son of this couple. William had children baptized in 1798, 1800, 1802 and 1809, presumed to all be of the same couple, although this isn't proven. If their son Alexander was born in 1797, then why wait until 1800 to have him baptized when a younger sibling had been baptized in 1798? Censuses vary, saying he was born between 1798 and 1802.

     If Angus was the son of Alexander of Balnabruich, Dunbeath parish, bap. 21 Nov 1825, he was their first child. No record of Clementina has been found. The next was William, bap. in 1830, the family living at Ramscraigs, which is adjacent to Balnabruich. Maria's baptism is included at the database, but not found in the actual Latheron records. No evidence found of Angus the second being baptized. William's bap. in 1836 says they were living at Knockally, adjacent to Balnabruich on the other side from Ramscraigs.

     By 1840 they had moved to Loth parish in Sutherland County, where Wemyss and John were baptized. This was not far down the coast from Dunbeath. The Loth parish records don't give the place of residence of the father. Neither of the Latheron or Loth records give the mother's name.

the 1841 census rarely gives correct ages, most of which are rounded off.

1841, Midgarty, Loth, 35, laborer, indexed at as "Sendair" Harriot, 25
Angus, 15 (ancestry index "Anges")
Clementina, 10
William, 10
Mary, 5 (should be 8 or 9)
Donald, 1 (should be 4 or 5)
Wemyss, 0

     Even rounded off, Angus' age is way off. The one born in 1835 is definitely their son, which would mean that his being 15 in 1841, matching, or nearly, the age of the older Angus, is a coincidence. The lack of a baptism record for the younger Angus further confuses the issue, but it isn't the only problem in this family. Clementina appears in no other records. Similar to Angus, their daughter Maria is also about 12-13 years younger in her records as an adult. If it weren't for her appearance at age 16 in 1851, it could be assumed that the older Maria had died before the younger one says she was born in the mid 1840s. Censuses in 1881, 1891 and 1901, as wife of Daniel Mackay, say she was born in Wick in the mid 1840s, which corresponds to when the family lived there. Also, there is a gap in Wick baptism records at this time. No daughter named Maria appears in the 1861 census enumeration for Alexander's household, further suggesting the older Maria was now out of the household as an adult and that the younger Maria didn't exist.

The subsequent censuses are also not consistent

1851, Dempster St., Pulteneytown, dock laborer, 53, b. Dunbeath
Harriot McKay, 40, b. Loth
Maria, 16, Dunbeath
Donald, 12, same (actually abt 15)
"Marius," as indexed, 8, Loth (presumably Wemyss, actually abt 11, see the 1861 census, where Wemyss is included, with the same 3-year age discrepancy)
John, 6, Loth (actually abt 8)

1861, London Close, Wick, 59, b. Latheron, porter
Henrietta, 49
William, 25, sawyer, b. Dunbeath (actually abt 31)
Daniel, 21, coachman, b. Dunbeath (actually abt 25)
Wemyss, 18, cooper (actually abt 21)
John, 15, shoemaker (actually abt 18)
the younger Maria is still not enumerated, strongly indicating she took about 12-13 years off her age as an adult

Censuses after 1861 take about 10 years off William's age

There was a Wemyss Duncan in West Garty in 1835
b. 1817, Loth, son of John
m. Hughina Reid 1844, Clyne

1851, Hill Garty, employer of 4 laborers, farmer of 170 acres
1841, West Garty

     The Poor Relief Act of 1845 provided a way for people in Scotland to petition for financial assistance. It's likely that the Alexander Sinclair of Wick who petitioned in 1864 and 1865 was the one in this profile, and both times was refused aid. A widow of Alexander petitioned in 1868-69. The outcome is in the records, which aren't online. She may have gotten something, since she was an "annuitant" when the 1891 census was taken.

children of Alexander Sinclair and Harriet Mackay:

i. Angus?, b. Balnabruich, Dubeath, Caithness, bap. 21 November 1825, Latheron, d. by 1835?
ii. Clementina?, b. abt 1828 (no other record found other than the 1841 census)
iii. William, b. Ramscraigs, Dunbeath, bap. Latheron 7 March 1830
iv. Maria McLachlan, bap. supp. 20 July 1832, Latheron (indexed, but not found in baptism records), (d. by abt 1843?, although there is a Maria in the household, age 16, in 1851)
v. Angus, prob. b. 20 April 1835, prob. Dunbeath (no baptism found)
vi. Donald, b. 10 Jan 1836, Knockally, Dunbeath, bap. 13 January 1836, Latheron
vii. Wemyss Duncan, bap. 8 August 1840, Loth, Sutherland
viii. John Mackay, b. or bap. 24 February 1843, Loth ( database, no source, referred to as birth, not found in baptism records)
ix. Maria, b. 1843-1846, Wick, Caithness (age and birth place in censuses after 1861, gap in Wick parish baptism records at this time, so may be correct)

vital records sources: Death certificate says he was 68; censuses indicate 1798-1802; prob. christened in 1800. Marriage comes from Latheron church records. There is a death registration for him, saying he died of liver disease. No burial record found.


all text and photographs © 1998-2023 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted