We’re going to need more credits. That’s a Jaws joke, which may not translate outside the US.
Thank you both so much. The inclusion of the Mackay spelling is really opening things up. I appear to have found the family in the previously missing 1871, 1881, and 1891 Censuses.
I knew that the spelling of one’s name wasn’t always consistent back then, but in my digging it was always McKay up to 1861. It seems there was a conscious decision to change it after that: I’m seeing death certificate registrants signing it like that and not going back to the former way (it wasn’t just a Census taker’s assumption).
Ironically, it was the McKay spelling that helped me first find my 2nd great grandfather years ago: I was told that looking for a John Mackay of interminate age of no known parentage and no known Scottish locality would have been much more challenging; the McKay spelling really narrowed things down.
Bear in mind, I am John Mackay. It was my 2nd g gf’s Canadian marriage record that said it was once McKay. This actually made sense to me: In the 1880’s the US was quite anti-Catholic; he would have changed it when he emigrated to NY - to look like what he was, a Scottish Protestant.
So far, it looks like all of the work I did years ago was actually correct - my initial inquiry regarding whether I had in fact found my 4th great g parents, and whether I was indeed tied to the Cobban branch documented back to the 1700s. It remains to be seen whether I can reach back further.
Maybe expect some small follow-up questions. For now I have a lot to chew on. Such a great quarantine project!