Friday, January 16, 2015

Proof That Frederick L. McRae Is My Great-Great-Grandfather's Brother

A couple months ago, I was contacted by a man claiming to be a descendant of Frederick Leander McRae, who he said was my great-great-grandfather James R. McRae's brother. I had read a post on claiming that James had siblings but it offered no sources. So far, I was only able to prove a sister, Catherine. So with this e-mail came renewed interest in trying to find out more about James' siblings.

Up until this time, I had assumed that one of the alleged brother's names was Leander McRae. Whenever I searched Ancestry and Nova Scotia Vital Statistics, nothing ever came up for Leander. With this man's e-mail and the claim that his name was Frederick Leander McRae, that changed things.

First off, he told me how to find Frederick's death certificate on FamilySearch and I did. (To see it, please click here.) The certificate gave his name as Frederick L. McRae. He died on Aug. 20, 1921 in St. John, New Brunswick and was buried in Fernhill Cemetery. He was born Aug. 3, 1843 in Nova Scotia. His parents were James McRae (born in the United States)  and Eliza Horne (born in Nova Scotia). He was married at the time of his death and his wife was the informant. But a name for the wife is not given (other than "Mrs. F. L. McRae).

Now, I know for sure that James R. McRae is the son of James McRae and Maria Horne. And even though the first name of the mother is given on Frederick's death certificate as Eliza, her maiden name is correct. The location of birth is also wrong for the father. Although it's a mystery as to whether or not it is Canada or Scotland, I know for sure that it is not the United States.

When I searched for Frederick's death certificate, another record came up. A death certificate for a Margaret (Parks) McRae. Margaret died on Jan. 12, 1929 in St. John, New Brunswick. It notes that she was a widow and her husband was the late Frederick L. McRae.

I figured this must have been Frederick's wife but wanted to be sure. Margaret was also buried in Fernhill Cemetery. I called there and they confirmed to me that Frederick and Margaret are indeed buried together.

With all of this information, I went back to Nova Scotia Vital Statistics and did a search for a Frederick McRae this time. The result I got was a marriage for a Frederick McRae and Margaret Parks. The marriage took place on April 11, 1866 in Halifax County, Nova Scotia. Frederick was twenty-two years old at the time of the marriage, which makes sense if his birthday is in Aug. of 1843 like his death certificate says. He was born in Halifax (same location that my great-great-grandfather James and his sister Catherine were born). He was a nailer (in Frederick's death certificate, it listed his occupation as "nail maker"). He was the son of James and Maria McRae. No maiden name was given for Maria.

After reviewing all of this information, I am convinced that Frederick Leander McRae is indeed the son of James and Maria (Horne) McRae, thus making him the brother of James R. McRae. His place of birth was Halifax (same as James and Catherine). The occupations match. The spouses match. And with his marriage record listing his parents as James & Maria and the death certificate listing the mother's maiden name as Horne, I am utterly convinced that I have found and proven that Frederick is James' brother.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae


  1. I believe Frederick Leander McRae and his wife Margaret Jane Parks also had sons named Geroge Ewing McRae and John Rufus McRae which show a family link.

  2. Very nice to prove those links. Good for you.

  3. Any relation to the McRaes that settled in the Baddeck area? Have you done DNA testing?