John Macdonald - Son of Glasgow, Father of Canada

Back in January 2015 we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir John Alexander Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada.  As we now mark the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, it seems appropriate to revist this story!

John was born in Glasgow on 10 January 1815 and his family emigrated to Kingston, Upper Canada (today part of Ontario) when he was five years old. He was appointed the first Prime Minister of Canada in 1867.


Resources at The Mitchell’s Family History Centre allow us to explore the Macdonald family’s time in Scotland. For example, John’s birth and his parents’ marriage entries can be found in the Registrars as part of the Old Parish Register series. Post Office Directories​ (held in the City Archives) also list John’s father Hugh, an agent, at 18 Brunswick Place in 1814 and 29 Ingram Street in 1815. They also contain clues that suggest that John’s parents were married in the Gaelic Chapel in Duke Street.


The Archives holds many other sources relating to the Gaelic community in Glasgow, such as the records of the Glasgow Gaelic Club and various Gaelic churches. If, like Sir John, your ancestors came to the area from the Highlands, why not visit the Family History Centre and discover more about your roots?​

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