RLM: Epistle 1:
I have little doubt that our Mackays hail from Strathnaver, in Mid-Sutherland. This name is by far the most common on the village war memorials in that glen.
The first historic Chief of the Clan may have been Angus Du (Black Angus) (1380-1429). The records of the deeds and misdeeds of his successors are well recorded down to the present day, but our family does not claim any relationship with the chiefs. I have the 579 page history of the Clan, written by Robert Mackay of Thurso in 1829. Our forebears do not enter upon its pages. They were crofters, peasants, giving loyalty to the landed family and receiving little in return.
My cousin, Helen Buchanan, M.A. who is a bit of an historian, living presently in the Kyle of Tongue, and who has the Gaelic, tells me that "we belong to the 'Grainger Mackays' who lived near Culrain by the river Shin" but she cannot identify for me a 'Grainger' ancestor.
I tried to follow this clue in several ways. For example, the present post-mistress at Culrain is the daughter of a Donald Mackay (1847-1934) who was nick-named 'Grainger', she does not know why. Culrain folk are mostly buried at Kincardine Cemetery, some four miles to the South. I have the inscriptions of all the old standing gravestones there with Mackay names thereon, but cannot establish a 'Grainger' connection with our family, several of whom are buried at Kincardine.
RLM 1976, Sixth Series, Chart 1:
I have not learned anything about the personalities of the Apex Generation and their ancestors. The Culrain Mackays were nicknamed "Grainger Mackays" because one of them worked as a ganger on the new railway into Sutherland. At this date, 20/1/74, I have not got definite proof about a Culrain ancestry, but there are good reasons for thinking that we have some roots there. See Culrain file for solution 1/1/76.