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Hi, I'm Brian McKay and I've been researching my Family Tree, on and off, for about 30 years. `More off than on recently, but I've decided to remedy that and have done my best to track down those 'difficult to find' characters that had so far eluded me. I've created this website to record everything I've found about my ancestors to date. As of now (July 2020) the earliest ancestors I've found were born around the middle of the 17th century, but it looks as though I may have got as far as I'm going to get. I will keep trying to fill in the blanks, but, while hopeful, I don't expect to get any further.

If you stumble across this website and think you might know me, or be related in some way, please feel free to contact me or leave your name in my Guest Book.

One of the things you will notice as you wander round this site, is that a great many of my ancestors, on both maternal and paternal sides, lived in and around the Royal Mile Closes in Edinburgh. Here is a useful website page that shows where each of these Closes are (or were).


You will notice at the top of each page a number of buttons, particularly the two titled 'McKay Side' and 'Sutter Side'. For ease of navigation, I have basically split my ancestry into my father's side (McKay) and my mother's side (Sutter). By clicking on these two buttons you will come to pages that give a list of each individual ancestor on that side, by the generation to which they belong.

As you make your way through the site, you'll see that on the right hand side, against the named person, I have recorded the generation to which they belong. I am Generation 1, my parents are Generation 2 and so on. Also, where the same name crops up in different generations, e.g. Thomas Rodger (or variations thereof), I have appended a number in brackets to the name, in order to distinguish between them, e.g. Thomas Rodger (5), Thomas Roger (6), etc.


I have constructed my entire family tree in segments, each covering a number of generations. From these diagrams you can again find individuals by clicking on their names. There is a link to this section in the drop down list contained in the 'MORE' button at the top of the page, or you can simply click here.

The full family tree, as it currently exists, can also be viewed by clicking here.


It is not uncommon to find variations in the way that names are spelt, both family and first names. This can, at first, throw one off the track when trying to identify individuals, but once you accept that, for a variety of reasons, spellings can differ, it becomes easier. Spelling variations can come about for many reasons, e.g. the writer of the record may spell a name as he/she thinks it should be spelt, for instance my family name is 'McKay', but even to this day people spell it 'MacKay'. It could be that an individual recording the birth of a son or daughter, tells the registrar or parish clerk what his surname is, but because the informant is illiterate, does not know how to spell his/her own name, so is at the mercy of the person recording the birth. A person informing of the death of an individual, may be sufficiently removed generationally that he/she is unsure of the name of the deceased person's mother's maiden name and this could not only affect the spelling of the name, but the accuracy of the name itself. A good example of different name spellings is Ann McKay, my paternal Great Grandmother. Her maiden name is 'Begley' or variations thereof. In fact through a variety of records her name and her paternal ancestors' names have seven variations of this - they are Begley, Begly, Beglie, Bueglay, Baiglie, Baigley and Bigley.

So when this happens, how to name a person in the tree or in a list? The convention I have chosen is to use the name given in the earliest record I have of them. So Ann, in the example above, I have named 'Ann Begley' as that is how she is named in the record of her birth.


An important source of information about my ancestors, is the series of Censuses undertaken in Scotland every 10 years, starting in 1841. Census details are only released 100 years after it was taken. So, at this point, we have access up to the 1911 Census. It follows that the next Census to be published will be that of 1921. At that point, I and many other genealogists, will be checking out details of those of our ancestors living at that time. It may be useful to know the dates the various Censuses were held on.

These were:

1841 - 6th June

1851 - 30th March

1861 - 7th April

1871 - 2nd April

1881 - 3rd April

1891 - 5th April

1901 - 31st March

1911 - 2nd April