The McDonalds in Dundee are still being a challenge but I am coming to the conclusion that they are our family, but I haven't definite proof, but because of a few things like the christian name of Evan, and their apparent move to the North east from Dundee, it does look like them.

I had a coversation with a group of people on Roots chat and they came up with the following possibility:

Descendants of James McDonald520

Here is the Roots Chat conversation:


I was wondering if any one can look up the birth of my Great Grandfather James McDonald.
From census records and his death certificate he appears to have been born in 1853 in Dundee, from his marriage certificate his fathers name was also James McDonald, he was a Labourer, and he was dead by the time of James' (b1853) marriage on the 20th Dec 1880. James moved from Dundee to Durham sometime before 1880, where he started working in the shipyards of Northumberland and Durham, moving back to Glasgow for while before finally settling in West Hartlepool.
I am trying to find out more information about James (b1853) such as his mothers name.


Aha! I have found something interesting. There are a family of MacDonalds living in Tynemouth in 1871 who were born in Scotland. I don't have access to transcription (not sure how they are related) but the details are as follows:

Elizabeth, born 1818, Scotland James, born 1822, Scotland William, born 1851, Scotland James, born 1853, Scotland Evan, born 1856, Scotland Mary, born 1859, Scotland Ann, born 1862, Scotland

If this is him then it would seem that he moved between c1862 and 1871.

There is a death for a James McDonald in Tynemouth, Sep 1877 (10b, p88), aged 56 (which of course fits with the age of the one above from the 1871 census). However I have no idea where the above McDonalds were born. Perhaps someone can look at the original entry.

- Lucia

I've found the births for the last three children on LDS (those born after statutory record keeping) that Lucia mentions above, they are:

Ewan Macdonald, born Monifieth to James Macdonald and Isabella Robertson, 7/10/55 Mary Petrie Macdonald, born Dundee to above couple, 24/09/58 Ann Macdonald, born Dundee to the above couple, 20/01/62

I had some credits left so looked on SP for info on Ewan - his birth cert says his father James was 34 years old, a field labourer, born in Inverness ... he was married in ?unclear, either 1836 or 1850 in Monifieith, and has two living children, both boys, his mother, Isabella was 37 years old in 1855 and was born in Edinburgh. 

SP also has a record for a William McDonald, born 1852 in Tannadice to a James Mcdonald and Ann Robertson

Ancestry has a family tree attached to the Census record that Lucia mentions - it relates to the family of William who seems to have emigrated to NZ 

That's all great info  The family's 1861 census entry in Scotland, confirming everything that Lucia and Gali have found:

James Mcdonald 39, Labourer Iron Ship Building Yarge (?yard) b. Inverness Isabella Mcdonald 43 b. Edinburgh Willm Mcdonald 10 b. Monapeth (?spl), Forfarshire Jas Mcdonald 8 b. Monapeth, Forfarshire Ewen Mcdonald 5 b. Monapeth, Forfarshire Mary Mcdonald 2 b. Arbroath, Forfarshire

Address: 24 Lod Burn Lane, Dundee


PS: In Scotland, Isabella/ Isabel/Elizabeth are common first name variants.

And this family in 1851 are in King Street, Monifieth, Broughty Ferry:

James McDonald, aged 29, born Inverness, occupation Beacher Journeyman Isabell R McDonald, aged 30, born Edinburgh William McDonald, aged 2 months, born Monifieth Mary Robertson, aged 18, born Monifieth, relationship to head: wife's sister

From this info I ordered the Death Certificate of the James McDonald who died in Tynemouth  in 1877, unfortunately his son John was in attendance at the death, so it isn't our James, but there is another James who dies in 1877 in Newcastle:

Name: James McDonald
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1818
Date of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec 1877
Age at Death: 59
Registration District: Newcastle upon Tyne
Inferred County: Northumberland
Volume: 10b
Page: 53

Who might be our man.

Also another tantilising fact that I've been able to find is that in 1820 a boy called James Macdonald was born to:

15/09/1820 MCDONALD JAMES, Parents: EVAN MCDONALD/ANN MCDONALD, M/F: M, Where: INVERNESS /INVERNESS, GRO Data: 098/00 0100 0046

I wonder if one of our family christian names is Evan?

But all of this is speculation and I can't at the moment find a real link, but it does look very good.

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These family trees have been built over many years, many sources have been used including , Family Search, FREEBMD, Scotlands People, General Records Office,New South Wales Births Deaths and Marriages and the National Archives.

Private websites have also been used, information about the Wilson Family came from the Wilson Family Website information about the Jelbert family from the Jelbert Society, and links to the Brough family were followed on the Brough family website.