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Royan and MacKay

(Please contact me if you think your family may be connected)

The main names I am researching are Royan (mainly North East of Scotland) and MacKay (Isle of Harris). I will give brief details on both these families. I am in contact with Royan descendants in Canada, United States and Australia.


I am a descendant of Alexander Royan and Mary MacDonald. (I started my research with Alexander and Mary and worked backwards to the late 1600’s and forward to the present day)

Alexander Royan born 1 February 1825 – died 7 May 1872 – married 21 November 1850
Mary MacDonald born 1830 – died 13 December 1920.

Isabella Royan, born 1851 (remained in Scotland)
Alexander Royan born 1853 (remained in Scotland)
George Royan born 1855 (emigrated to Queensland, Australia)
John Royan born 1857 (remained in Scotland)
Elizabeth Royan born 1859 (died in childhood)
Robert Webster Royan born 1861 (my great grandfather who remained in Scotland)
Donald Royan born 1864 (emigrated to Queensland Australia)
James Royan born 1868 (remained in Scotland)
Robert Webster Royan married Helen Kelly (born 25 May 1862) on 22 June 1883 at Rafford, Morayshire. Robert died 5 May 1947. Helen died 12 January 1951. Robert and Helen both died at Geddes Mill, Nairn.

Robert Webster Royan and Helen Kelly, taken at Geddes Mill, Nairn.

Robert and Helen had the following family:

Jessie born 17 April 1883 – died 14 August 1960
Alexander born 1885 – died 1953
Mary born 1887 – died 1980

Helen born 1890 (my grandmother) – died 1977
Robert born 1892 (emigrated to Queensland Australia) died 1978
Elizabeth born 1894 – died 1894
Margaret born 1896 – died 1994
James born 1899 – died 1903
Donald born 1902 – died 1993
Isabella born 1904 – died 1995

Duncan born 1907 – died June 2002


Helen Royan married Andrew Hunter on 26 May 1917. Andrew Hunter died on 18 November 1919, 1 day before his son Andrew was born. Helen and Andrew had the following family:-
Helen (Polly) born 13 June 1916 – died 20 January 2000
John born 6 May 1918 – died 11 November 1995
Andrew born November 19 November 1919 – 23 March died 1997
Robert Royan MacKay born 31 May 1931 – died 27 January 1994 (my father) married Janet Wright in 1952. My grandmother Helen Royan never married my grandfather Neil MacKay – this is where the Isle of Harris comes in. I am married to Ronnie Alexander and we have one son Gary Robert Alexander (born 23 December 1985).


The MacKay family starts with Murdo MacKay born around 1760 died around 1830. Murdo married Margaret Morrison born 1769 died 1858. Murdo and Margaret are my great, great grandparents. Murdo and Margaret had the following family:
Mary born 1804
Marion born 1816
Ann born 1819
Catherine born 1821 died 1900
John born 1826 – died 1900


John married Mary Macdonald (born 1835- died 1913) on 8 February 1865.
John and Mary had the following family:-
Peggy born 1865 – died 11 May 1939
Murdo born 10 December 1866 – died 5 November 1952
Norman born 8 November 1868 – died 6 October 1952
Neil born 20 August 1870 – died 11 August 1945
Kenneth born 21 November 1874 – died 30 March 1876
Kirsty born 1876
Rachael born 3 February 1877 – died 29 May 1960
Mary Ann born 1880 – died 1963
Alexander born 1883 – died 1885

The MacKay family stayed at the Glebe in Scarista in South Harris. Murdo and John MacKay were Cleireich (Church Officers). They claimed to be descendants from the Spanish Armada, unfortunately this is untrue and the Shipwreck at Toe Head that Murdo was connected with was over 100 years after the Spanish Armada.

Neil, Murdo and Norman came to the Mainland to seek employment.

Peggy MacKay was the Grandmother of  the author of Crowdie and Cream,  Finlay J MacDonald .

I was inspired to visit this beautiful Island of Harris by my second cousin Annie MacFarlane (nee MacDonald). I had only found and started corresponding with Annie for a few months when she died. I only wish I could have met her.

My son Gary and I visited Scarista in May 2001. We stayed in the Scarista House Hotel which we found very comfortable, excellent food, hosts (Tim and Patricia) welcoming and friendly.

For more information on Harris visit Virtual Hebrides

mackay crest

One Comment

  1. Kristen says:

    Hello, I just came upon your site and thought I would leave a comment. I am a descendant of John MacKay. He was the son of a Malcolm Donald and Catherine (MacLeod) MacKay. John was born in 1867 and moved to Canada in 1888. I was simply wondering if this would be any relation to the MacKay’s you have referenced here or have come upon in your research. If there is any connection, please do not hesitate to contact me, if not, sorry for the waste of time.


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