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Article Published July 27, 1999

Sandra Devlin EAST COAST KIN (Canada)
By: Sandra Devlin, Biography & Archived Articles

Nova Scotia Inheritance Up For Grabs

If you are related to a MacKay/McKay family who were in the Truro, Nova Scotia area 82 years ago; you may be in line to inherit an estate of undisclosed value.

Sandrae Harman, an estate officer in Vancouver, is searching for anyone directly related to the late John Ferguson MacKay/McKay, born in Truro, Oct. 15, 1917, son of John D. McKay and Jane Furgason. John F. died in Vancouver, March 23, 1994.

In a form letter mailed to several MacKay/McKay families in the area recently, Harman advises: "We are trying to locate his next-of-kin who would have a right to inherit in his estate providing heirship can be proven."

Contacted in Vancouver, Harman declined to release personal information about the deceased such as his profession, last known address, cause of death, distinguishing characteristics or the size of his estate because "it is confidential client information which is protected by the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act."

Harman is employed by the Provincial Trustee of British Columbia which administers estates where there are no next-of-kin residing in the province willing and able to administer an estate or where executor(s) or beneficiaries do not wish to administer or cannot be located.

"We have several means of locating potential heirs including hiring genealogists when funds allow and advertising for next-of-kin in the newspapers," Harman says.

If you are related to John F. MacKay/McKay or know someone who is, reference file number 2022310(E2)HHA and contact: Harman, 700-808 West Hastings St., Vancouver, B.C., V6C 3L3; telephone: (604) 775-2447; fax: (604) 660-0964.


In 1859, 16-year-old Martha King of Moncton was skilled in penmanship judging from the small, neat letters and squiggly flourish written on the title page of her autograph book.

Such books were fashionable among Victorian ladies. Yet, Martha's autograph book was probably the envy of her teenaged friends, given its unusual richness. It was handsome, and still is -- covered in black lacquered papier maché and extravagantly decorated with gold leaf border, hand-painted nosegays, mother-of-pearl fauna and other scroll-like ornamentations.

Having recently come into the possession of this treasure, Graham Stubbs of California is anxious to learn more about Martha and her family. Perhaps even locate volume 2, 1867, as indicated by Martha on the title page.

"I would particularly like to discover what became of Martha," he says.

Local histories mention Martha's older brother Duncan and her father Patrick, a flamboyant hotelier and stage coach operator. But no mention is made by historians about Patrick's origins.

Was he Irish, Yorkshire, Planter or Loyalist? Did he hail from the Miramichi, Prince Edward Island, Rawdon, Pictou, Sussex/Penobsquis, Saint John, Digby or Annapolis, all of which have King families on their pioneer lists? Perhaps, Patrick was a descendant of Hezekiah King of Sackville, N.B., Thomas King of Westmorland Parish or John King of Fredericton.

Wherever he came from, Patrick King became an astute entrepreneur in Moncton and was perhaps a bit eccentric, considering his habit of announcing the arrival of his stage coach with bugle fanfare. Patrick ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Moncton twice: first in 1855 against Joseph Salter and again in 1861 against Joseph Crandall. In the same year when the census taker came calling, Patrick's hotel was occupied by nine servants and boarders.

The first of King's hotels was in the heart of the city at the corner of Main and King, near the booming shipyards; the second, opened in 1876 and called Weldon House, was located near the train station on the current Brunswick Hotel site at Main and Highfield .

Anyone who can shed more light on Martha King and her family should contact: Graham Stubbs, 17715 St. Andrews Drive, Poway, California, 92064. In return, Stubbs will share information from the album's contents.


As I pluck at the dandelions which threaten to take over my flower beds , I am struck by an obvious analogy to genealogy.

There is no stopping the rampant growth of beginner genealogists and the spouting up of new groups with interest in history and heritage.

Where once it was only roses and select blooms -- navy bloods of station and substance -- which merited a pedigree chart; today, our common-as-dandelion ancestors are being researched and remembered. By sheer numbers, the dandelions are taking over the whole blooming patch.

One example of the growing interest is Chez Nous, a fledgling history group, centered in Neguac, N.B., but with aspirations to spread far and wide. The full title is L'Association Histoire de Chez Nous. A membership drive is under way.

The main goal of Chez Nous is to bring together everyone interested in history, especially that of the Neguac area. The focus will be to find, collect and make available all information which will foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the region's history. It will also undertake to preserve and protect the area's heritage and work co-operatively with other historical societies with similar goals.

To promote more historical knowledge of that part of the Acadian Peninsula, the association will also publish a quarterly newsletter, La Voix u Passé (Voice of the Past), a non-pretentious publication with variety : articles and photos, columns on genealogy, biographies, interviews, opinions and comments. Each issue will document one of the older houses of the area and a history of the families associated with it.

While community based, Chez Nous and La Voix au Passe are open to all, including friends and families outside of the area.

Contact: L'Association Histoire de Chez Nous, 53 Chemin Honre, Robichaud Settlement, N.B., E(G 3A8; telephone: daytime (506) 858-4397, evening (506) 758-0814 (evening)

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