New Zealand man searches for Pictou County kin

Adam MacInnis
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John McIntosh, a resident of New Zealand, is searching for family relatives in Pictou County, who share a family history and DNA with him. SUBMITTED

John McIntosh can trace his family lineage to the inventor of the raincoat, Charles MacKintosh, to famous artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and to  HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mackintosh%27s" John Mackintosh, the inventor of Mackintosh’s Toffee (sold in Canada as MACK toffee).

But the New Zealand resident believes there are more stories to be discovered in his family’s past. He’s already traced his ancestors back to Scotland. Now he wants to follow the path of McIntosh’s into Pictou County through genealogical records and DNA testing as part of a project he’s working on with other McIntoshes.

If he succeeds, he will successfully link a family that dispersed around the world more than 200 years ago.

“In 1801 about three McIntosh families from Glenurquhart migrated to Pictou on the Sarah,” John said by email from his home. “So far none of these families are represented in our project.”

He said there is genealogical information for the descendants of Robert MacIntosh who settled in Sunny Brae and whose descendants seem to have been numerous in the Garden of Eden up until recent times.

“I would like to contact a MacIntosh from this family,” he said.

He said his interest in genealogy started when he could not find a birth certificate for his great-grandfather or a marriage certificate for his parents.

“What drew me initially is that I realized I only knew about six facts about the family and knew no further back than my grandfather,” he said. 

So he got in touch with other McIntosh researchers whose ancestors came from Glenurquhart and discussed with them starting a “yDNA” project to see if there were close family links.

The project is centred on a small group of McIntosh families from Glenurquhart to see which ones were related, but it has spread out to try to find some answers to questions which have arisen from the initial testing results, he explained.

“There is a comprehensive history written of Glenurquhart so there is background information to fit our ancestors into the major events that would have affected them.”

Only men can participate in this project because the ‘y’ chromosome is carried by the male. The chromosome is passed down from father to son, changing only slightly and slowly from generation to generation. A yDNA test involves taking a swab inside the mouth with a cotton bud and shipping it to a lab in Texas.

For those willing to participate, John said he needs to receive the person’s postal address and he will pay for and arrange the kit to be mailed to the person donating the sample.  The information remains their property and they have to sign a release for the information to be published.

“I have paid for the tests because it is a very personal thing to ask people, so it’s a little unfair to expect them to pay as well,” John said. “My view is that we are representing our ancestors in the project and finding out what was common knowledge to them. They would have known who was related to who, but because there were no parish records that far back we have lost that information. Plus we have moved to different countries and lost our clan and family ties.”

From an article that ran in an Antigonish paper he has already heard from several people including one person who is a descendant of a Kilmarach MacIntosh which would have been a neighbouring parish to his family’s, but he’s still searching for a direct descendent.

Anyone with information can contact him by email at  HYPERLINK "mailto:lochmoigh@xtra.co.nz" lochmoigh@xtra.co.nz.

Geographic location: Pictou County, New Zealand, Canada Scotland Sunny Brae Garden of Eden

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  • Barb
    May 06, 2013 - 20:44

    Has Mr. McIntosh found any of his kinfolk ? This article has had front page exposure since last December. Maybe he's paying for the ad. If not, I think the readers would enjoy something more local.