John McIntosh is on a mission to find his Nova Scotian brethren.
The Whakatane, New Zealand man has been tracing his genealogy since his father’s passing in 1989, and has traced his roots to the clan spelling their family name any version of MacKintosh, McIntosh, or MacIntosh of Glenurquhart, Scotland.
“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,” McIntosh said in an email from his home on New Zealand’s North Island.
“I have found the Glenurquhart MacIntoshs, who migrated to Nova Scotia difficult to track down. One reason for that is that Canadian records tend to describe a person’s origin as being from ‘Scotland’ rather than including the part or the parish of Scotland they came from,” McIntosh said.
“There were at least three Glenurquhart MacIntosh families on the ship, the Sarah. I think the Pictou area is where the particular ones I am seeking first settled in.”
McIntosh has contacted a newsletter in Glenurquhart, Scotland and now the Casket looking to find the missing connections and fellow descendants of his great-great-grandfather, William MacKintosh’s family.
Once hindered by painstakingly searching centuries-old parish registers, the Internet and DNA testing has allowed McIntosh to delve further into finding his family roots.
“With yDNA, we are tracing the male lineage,” McIntosh explained of the testing done to determine relations. “The Y chromosome is passed down from father to son and changes slowly as the generations go by.”
The yDNA test involves a simple swab inside the mouth which is sent to a laboratory for testing.
He has also compiled online listings of names and dates of his known family members, and has worked with several other collaborators to discover family connections. Reaching out to the Antigonish area is another route to finding more relatives, he said.
“Nova Scotia is not so much a missing link, but it is where we have failed to identify someone to represent their ancestor in the study,” McIntosh said.
That search might be closer to coming to fruition, as McIntosh has had three responses from local residents, including Jim MacIntosh, to whom McIntosh has shipped a yDNA test.
“I’m interested to know exactly where we came from, and I’m also interested to know to whom I’m related,” the local MacIntosh said. “If you can identify people, for example, in New Zealand, that are your direct relatives or from the same direct ancestors, it’s sort of fascinating, and then you can go and get to meet them.”
MacIntosh said he responded quickly to the study posting, and discovered that the original homes of his family and McIntosh’s family were very close.
“If the records on the Sarah back in 1801 are correct, my family came from right around the corner from his,” MacIntosh said. “You could ride a bicycle between one place and another in about 20 minutes. The genealogy part of it and the family part and the connection by some form of common ancestry, I find it fascinating.”
McIntosh added that as he is searching for direct male descendants, they will most likely have the MacIntosh surname, of any spelling. Further potential relatives are encouraged to contact McIntosh at firstname.lastname@example.org.