Between 1840 and 1860, five of John and Janet McLeay’s daughters moved from Keith to Edinburgh: Anne, Jane, Mary, Margaret, and my 3g-grandmother,  Helen. About the same time, or slightly before, four of John’s siblings and their families moved from Dingwall to Edinburgh (Margaret, Helen, Janet and Forbes). These McLeay aunts and their uncle lived in close proximity to the McLeay sisters from Keith and some, at times, shared addresses. A nephew of the five sisters, Alexander McLeay (s/o Alexander), also moved to Edinburgh from Whitehills in Banffshire.

Elizabeth Smith (Smyth), the illegitimate d/o Margaret McLeay, and lawyer Thomas Smyth, had been born in Leith in 1855, but was brought up by her grandparents in Keith. Elizabeth had returned to Edinburgh before 1871, and spent some time at the Girls’ Reformatory before she married Alexander Cranston in 1878 and lived for a while at Bonnington Avenue, South Leith. A few years later this couple moved to Haddington in East Lothian, and their sad story is told in the article about the “Cranston Connection”.



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