John McLeay and Janet Mair (my 4g-grandparents) were working at Crackans, Cairnie Parish, when their first five children were born between 1823 and 1835. By 1838, they had moved to Keith where their remaining four children were born. Alexander McLeay, their only son, had worked at The Riggins and Auchairnie before moving to Whitehills around 1852, and his sister Jane was a farm servant at Auchanachie in 1841.

John [1] Littlejohn, my 3g-grandfather, had come from Forgue in Aberdeenshire, but died aged only 40 years at Hillhead, Parish of Grange, in 1858. His widow (second wife, Isobel Mann) remarried and lived at Deerhill and Milkburn. His son by his first wife, Isobel Garden, was John [2] Littlejohn, who was working at Cairnwhelp when he fathered Jessie Littlejohn by Margaret McLeay in 1869, but he was at Binhall in 1871. John [2] then married Mary Martin at Keith in 1875, but they soon moved to West Aberdeenshire where he worked until he died at Tarland in 1923.


Keith & Cairnie Map — 4 Comments

  1. Fascinating info here. I am also untangling family lines from Keith also with lots of illegitimate births. Names include Grant, Garden, McDonald, Milne just to name a few. Wonder if they connect?

    • Hi Valerie,

      Well, Garden and Milne names appear in my direct line, connected to John Littlejohn who fathered my illegitimate great-granny, Jessie Littlejohn – so it is possible we have the same family connections in that line. I know that Grants were descendants of Janet “Jessie” McLeay, whose daughter Annie married John Grant – I am in contact and have DNA connections to members of the current generation of Grants.

      have you done a DNA test? I have mine logged at


  2. Just found this site, thank you, Alan – and hello, Val, my story intertwines with most of these names as well, but my main one here is my paternal line, Forbes, my great grandfather was Peter Forbes, named as father to my Grandfather William Skakles Forbes, in 1879 and recorded in the KS records for Cairney, his address was given as Tullos, Chapel of Garioch. I have a connection with Val, and have Garden, Milne, Grant, McDonald – also Mann, connected with Lobban which is my father’s maternal line, from Deskford. No DNA match with you but quite a few other Craigs.
    Mary Forbes Mead

    • Hi Mary,
      Like Valerlie, it does sound like the same line that I have connections to. Unfortunately, my g-g-grandfather (John Littlejohn) had no other children other than my g-granny, so I have very few descendants from that line to share DNA with – so any connections from that line would be at least 5 or more generations back, and DNA testing would miss many of those. My family had connections with Cairney, Keith, Chapel of Garioch, and Fyvie.
      Best regards,

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