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McKay / MacKay Reay, Caithness.

My name is Ian McKay; and, for the last few years I've been researching my family tree, which eventually brought me to Reay, Caithness. Sometime in the 1840's, my g/g/grandfather, William McKay, trekked down from Reay, Caitjness area, to the North West of England, and married a Welsh girl, named Eliza Jones, (on 13th July 1849, in St Mary's parish church in Chester). Some time after that date, they then appear to have moved to Liverpool. (where we still are!)

The 1851 census form shows William and Eliza, and their firstborn child, John Robert, in Liverpool; however, the family name was then spelled MacKay, not McKay. All the Victorian census forms agree William's year of birth as being 1817, and simply say "Born Scotland" (however, they don't say where in Scotland.) Subsequent census returns show that the spelling was changed sometime between the 1851 and 1861 census taking.

On the marriage certificate of William and Eliza, William's father is named as Robert; so, I looked back in Scotland for a Robert MacKay who sired a son in 1817, and subsequently christened him William and found only one "fit"! A Robert Mackay married a Janet Davidson in Milnetown, Reay, on 4th March 1817, and Janet gave birth to a son in the early December of that year.

So, to the purpose of this rather long rambling e-mail, I now appear at a dead end as I don't know where to look for further information about my Scottish family roots; and, I would be very grateful if someone could find time to point me in the right direction.

Can anyone suggest where I might find out more information, as I would dearly like to get back further than my g/g/g/grandparents Robert and Janet; eg, their marriage details their parents name's etc', but I don't know where to look. Does the "Milnetown" area still exist, and is there a church, or family history society in the Milnetown/Reay area, that might be able to help me, or at least point me in the right direction?

Best regards

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