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Saturday 3 May 2014

The McKay Family of Berwick-Upon-Tweed

From Linda Bankier:
Recently a member of the public brought into Berwick Record Office a series of photographs relating to a family. She has given us permission to digitise them but she has asked if the originals could be passed on to a descendant of the family. They were discovered when clearing out a friend’s house.
Easter 1902 (Picture ref: BRO 2089/01a)
Left to right at back : Nellie (25); Winnie (12); Eva (19). 
Left to right at front : Willie (23 ½); Emma (Mother) (50); Connie (6); Owen (Father) (52); Maud (17)
The photograph was originally framed. This information is taken from a piece of paper which was part of the back of the frame. We have the original and also a transcript.
In addition, I was told that the surname was McKay and that they lived in the Bell Tower area in the north end of the town.
On investigating the census and other records at the Berwick-upon-Tweed Record Office, it was possible to establish the following:
The father in the photograph is OWEN MCKAY who was born in Ireland and died in Berwick-upon-Tweed in July 1905, aged 55 years. He was buried in the Civic Cemetery, Berwick, on 22 July 1905 in a family plot. Owen was a member of the Royal Artillery – noted as a Battery Sergeant Major -  and appears to have undertaken service in Berwick at some stage, probably in the late 1880s. In 1891 and 1901, he is not listed with the rest of his family in Berwick. However, a note on the 1891 census states that his wife, was supported by her husband who was resident at Woolwich. 

The mother in the photograph is EMMA S MCKAY née WRIGHT, who was born in Woolwich in Kent in the early 1850s. She obviously met her husband whilst he was serving at the Royal Artillery in Woolwich and they married in the March quarter of 1876 in Woolwich. After living in Ireland, Emma appears to have moved to Berwick in the mid-1880s and then remained here with their children whilst her husband served in the Royal Artillery. She died in Berwick in the March Quarter of 1936 and was buried on 7th March 1936, aged 83 years. 

All the other children can be found on various censuses in Berwick. In 1891, the family were living in 8 Albert Place and the entry contains the following information:
Census 1891
EMMA S MCKAY, wife, aged 39. Supported by husband at Woolwich. Born at Woolwich.
ELLEN M MCKAY, daughter, aged 13, Scholar. Born in Ireland
WILLIAM O MCKAY, son, aged 12, Scholar. Born in Ireland
JOCELYN E MCKAY, DAUGHTER, aged 7, Scholar. Born in Berwick
EMMA M MCKAY, daughter, aged 5. Born in Berwick
WINIFRED C MCKAY, daughter, aged 5 months. Born in Berwick.

Census 1901
Still living at 8 Albert Place.

OWEN MCKAY, Head,aged 50, Sergeant Major, Royal Garrison Artillery,. Born Ireland
EMMA SARAH MCKAY, wife, aged  49. Born Woolwich, Kent
ELLEN MARY MCKAY, daughter, aged 23, Draper’s Assistant. Born Ireland
EMMA MAUD MCKAY, daughter, aged 15, Pupil Teacher. Born Berwick
WINIFRED CHARLOTTE MCKAY, daughter, aged 10. Born Berwick
At the time of the 1901 census, their youngest daughter, CONSTANCE ROSE  MCKAY, aged 4, was in Berwick Infirmary as a patient. It was said that there was something wrong with her foot.  

Census 1911
Living at 15 Bell Tower Park in 3 rooms.
EMMA SARAH MCKAY, aged 59, widow, Army Pension, Born Woolwich, Kent
WINIFRED CHARLOTTE MCKAY, aged 20,School teacher at Convent School. Born Berwick
CONSTANCE ROSE MCKAY, aged 14. At school. Born Berwick.

Are you related to any of these McKays ? 
We have a lovely set of photographs relating to them here in the Berwick Record Office which should be returned to the family. 
If you can help us in any way to help track down descendants, do get in touch on 01289 301865 or leave a comment below. 

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