The McCraes

The McCraes have one of the most diversely scattered surnames. However the epicentre of the McCraes is still Kintail and the neighbouring islands. Our McCraes didn’t travel too far and left the islands for the midlands of Scotland. Family lore says that two cousins Finlay and Donald left Skye and travelled south to Glasgow. Donald married Catherine Cumming and had a daughter, Christina, born in 1857, who married Thomas Corbett. On Christina’s wedding certificate, Donald is described as a chemist’s labourer. Christina and Thomas had four surviving children Christina, Donald, Thomas and Mary Hill. The Corbetts were migrants from Ireland, and the McCraes migrants from the north.

Donald worked on the construction of the aqueduct between Loch Katrin and Glasgow. There was an accident which resulted in his death. This was somewhere near Inversnaid. Donald’s body was taken to The Temple of the Sacred Works Glasgow. Currently we have no dates, for his birth death or migration. He died sometime after 1857.

The original Finlay McRae disappeared from family lore, but there was a Malcolm who was a “cousin of granny” (Christina (McCrae) Corbett) who married a Daisy of Falkirk, and had children Finlay John Effie and Marion. Finlay and John had a butcher’s business in Falkirk. Effie married a Sandibanks, the family were tailors in Falkirk. They had four children Effie Adam Tom and G   . Finlay still returned to Skye for his holidays. He would have been in his late seventies in the late 1940’s, and is remembered by a cousin. There are many Donald McRaes and with no dates, and dying young he has been difficult to trace. However his cousin Finlay appears in the census.

1891 Census . Findlay McRae, born in Skye in 1838, is living with his wife Catherine, born Skye 1841, at Pollockhole Farm Cumbernauld. The Children are John born 1866, Marion born 1869, Annie born 1871 and Findlay born 1885. Their grand daughter Effie, age 6, is also recorded as being with them. The children were born in Old Monkland Glasgow. Findlay’s occupation is farmer and his sons are described as farmer’s sons.

The census also has a reference to Malcolm McRae, born 1864, with wife Euphemia born 1868 and one child Catherine McRae ,age 1. They are resident in Old Monkland at Rhindmuir Farm. Malcolm is referred to as a farm manager and was born in Renfrew Govan.

The 1901 Census has Malcolm McRae with Euphemia in Falkirk with

Euphemia age 9 1892

Ann age 9 1892

Catherine age 11 1890

John age 3 1888

Malcolm age 1 1900

Marion 7 1894 

Effie, 1885, who would be 16 by 1901, is not with the family, and there is no date match with Euphemia 1892. She may be the daughter of John McRae but there is no wife. The families of Malcolm in the 1901 Census and Findlay in the 1891 Census have Christian names in common. Malcolm, 1864 is of the generation of John and Findlay of Finlay’s family 1891Census. 

The 1871 Census has Findlay McRae 1839, with wife Catherine 1841 and children

Malcolm McRae 1864

John McRae 1866

Marion McRae 1869

Ann McRae 1870.

The younger Findlay is not born and Malcolm is the eldest son of the family. They are resident in Old Monkland and Findley is a “farm serv”. He was born in Bracadale Lottge, Invernesshire.


1851 Census – search for Finlay born about 1838 in Bracadale.

 Malcolm McRae age 52 1799

 Ann McRae     age 40 1811

 Finlay McRae   age 12 1839

 Alexander    age 10 1841

 Sally     age 8  1843

 Eupham    age 6  1845

 Neil     age 1  1850


1841 Census

 Malcolm McRae age 40 1801

 Ann McRae    age 25

 Mary McRae    age 12 1829

 Catherine     age 5  1836

 Finlay     age 3  1838

 Alexander      1841

Malcolm is an “ag lab” living at Carbost Beg. The children were born in Bracadale.

The 1861 Census has a recode of Malcolm 62 and Ann 50, with Alexr 20. Elizabeth 17 and Euphemia age 15. Finlay is no longer in the household.

The 1871 Census has a record of Alexander McRae visiting a John McRae of Portree.

Donald is more elusive

Donald McRae married Catherine Cumming and had a daughter Christina born in 1857 in Springburn Glasgow. In the 1891 Census Christina has married Thomas Corbett, has a child of 10 months called Christina and is living in Dalziel, Motherwell. They married in July 1889, Christina was 32 and Thomas 27.

In the 1881 Census Christina McCrae, age 24, is living in Glasgow Barony at 118 Parliamentary Road and is an “envelope folder”. The head of household is Mirren Wright, age 21, with Christina Wright (age 3) and Jane Wright (age 1). Also recorded are Catherine McCrae (age 58) 1823 and Catherine McCrae (age 5) 1876. The relationships are described as Christina McCrae sister, Catherine McCrae mother and Catherine (the younger) is a daughter of Mirren.

On face value

Catherine McCrae ( Cumming) abt 1823

Christina Mirren1860

Catherine McC 1876 Christina Wright 1878 Jane Wright1880

In the 1871 Census Christina McCrae and Catherine McCrae are in the City Parish Poorhouse 322 Parliamentary Road. Catherine McCrae is recorded as being born in Snizort. There is also a record of Marion McCrae born 1860. This is the same birth year as Mirren Wright

1861 Census – no record found of Catherine or Christina McCrae. However the 1861 Census has record of a Cathe McCrae born 1857, which is the same birth year as Christina McCrae. A Cathe Cumming born about 1824 is recorded as lodging with John and Ann Cumming. She is accompanied by Cathe (1857), Marion (1860) and William (1855) McCrae. The 1871 Census has a record of William McCrae, 1855, as a boarder. He is accompanied by Alexander McRae 1846, born in Skye. 

1851 and 1841 Censuses – No record of Catherine Cumming.

No further references were found in the Scottish Census for Mirren Wright, or Mirren McCrae or the children.

It would appear that Catherine Cumming had three children Christina, Marion and William, all of whom were given the McCrae surname. It is possible that the pair were not married. Previous searches at Register House Edinburgh were not successful. 21st October 1988 – searched for the marriage certificate of Donald McCrae and Catherine Cumming 1855 – 56 -57 – also tried McRae and Kimmings but no success C McC P. 

We have no dates or specific locations for Donald, and there are many Donald McRaes. It could be assumed that he is of a similar age to Finlay e.g. 1835, however this would mean that he was a good ten years younger than Catherine, and he is from the same area – Bracadale. This does not give him a positive ID and the most likely family under these assumptions is

 John McRae 1791 = Catherine 1793

  John 1829

  William 1831

  Donald 1834

  Catherine 1837

  Flora 1841

  Mary wife of ??

  Malcolm 1847 grandson.

The family is in the 1841 and 1851 Census’, live in Bracadale and are “ag labs”.

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