Do you have one of those names in your family tree, one that everyone else seems to have, too? I do. It’s William McDonald. Actually, I have three in my direct family line and a few others scattered amongst the branches.
Let’s see, there’s William McDonald, son of Mary Robichaud and Alexander McDonald, who was born around 1793 at Harrigan Cove though he was baptised August 7, 1793 at Christ Church, Shelburne County, NS. His father had settled in or near Shelburne after the war in the States. Alexander had been a foot soldier and instead of returning to his home country of Scotland decided to put down roots right here. For some reason, he relocated sometime before William’s birth and settled at Harrigan Cove, Halifax County on the Eastern Shore.
William married some lady by the name of Martha. After years of searching, I still have not found the poor woman’s proper name. And that irks me to no end. Records before 1846 (when they married, if they officially married) are scattered and difficult to locate.
Not much is known of William, nothing concrete anyway. In the 1838 Census for Halifax County, I’m certain, but not absolutely positive, I found Martha and William but their last name is spelt McDannel. William’s a farmer and has five kids, all younger than 14.
Martha and William had at least one other child after 1838 which brings me to the next William on my list: William Aaron McDonald.
William Aaron McDonald was born September 5, 1847 (or 1846) at Bay of Islands, Eastern Shore, NS. That’s the area between East Quoddy and Ecum Secum. More to the point, it’s Harrigan Cove. He married Jane Baker on October 7, 1867 at St. Mary’s River. Together they had six children between 1870 and 1886: John William, Simon, Samuel, Effie Bell, Harriett (Mattie, who married William Henry McDonald) and Eva Selina (my grandmother).
William Aaron died between 1886 (birth of his youngest child) and 1891 (1891 Census). I know it’s difficult at the best of times to find a death record for someone in this time period but his common name makes it that much more challenging.
His son, John William Mc/MacDonald, went by his first name most of the time, but … don’t get me started on John McDonald though; that’s another kettle of fish.
Most of the information I find when I search for William Mc/MacDonald doesn’t apply to anyone in my family. I’m certain many other McDonald researchers run up against the same stone walls. Over the years, I’ve kept some of it, but for the most part, I’ve discarded it.
However, recently, I decided to keep a profile for every William McDonald I come across – related or not. It’s a small project I’ll keep adding to over the coming years that will hopefully help me and other researchers in their quest for information on William McDonald.
To see the profiles compiled so far, click on the McDonald link above.