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Two photos span 160 years

Updated on August 28, 2012

Five generations in two photos

The two photos accompanying this Hub are of McGregor men in my line of descent, from my great-grandfather to my son they span five generations which stretch from 1829, the years of my great-grandfather’s birth, to 1989 when the second photo was taken.

The heavily bearded man in the old photo is the Reverend Andrew McGregor, born in Golspie, Scotland, the son of prosperous local businessman Alexander McGregor, whose tombstone still stands in the Golspie graveyard with the inscription: “Alexander McGregor, merchant, of Golspie.”

The Reverend McGregor answered the call made by the Rev Dr William Robertson, who was the Dutch Reformed Church minister in Worcester, Western Cape, for ministers of the Scottish Church to come to South Africa to help the local Dutch Reformed Church which was at the time struggling to find ministers to look after its parishes.

He came to South Africa in 1862 and became the minister in the town of Robertson shortly after marrying Dr Robertson’s eldest daughter Elizabeth. Robertson was named after the great Dr William.

Near the town of Robertson was a little village, at the time known as Lady Grey. The Rev McGregor ministered to the people of this village as part of his parish, although it was some distance away. He became much loved by the people of Lady Grey and he felt that the village should become a congregation in its own right. He worked hard to make this happen which it did in 1902. The village’s name was subsequently changed to McGregor.

Andrew and Elizabeth McGregor had ten children, of whom four died in childhood. The fourth oldest surviving child of this marriage was Andrew Murray McGregor who was born in 1873 and died in 1943. He was, like his father, a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church.

Andrew Murray McGregor married Maria Hofmeyr, who was always known as Miemie, and they had five children, the second youngest of them also called Andrew Murray, born in 1908. He is the baby in the old photograph and the elderly bearded man in the new photograph!

Andrew Murray McGregor Jnr married Margery Morris of George in the Western Cape and they had two children – Chris and Anthony, who is usually known as Tony. He is the middle-aged man in the second photo.

Tony Married Joan Christopher in 1969 and they had two children, Christopher, now known as Zak, and Sarah. Zak is the young man in the second photo. This photo was taken in 1989 in Johannesburg.

Five generations in two photos

Murray McGregor (the baby!); his father, the Reverend Andrew Murray McGregor; and his father, the Reverend Andrew McGregor. Photo must have been taken around 1909 or 1910.
Murray McGregor (the baby!); his father, the Reverend Andrew Murray McGregor; and his father, the Reverend Andrew McGregor. Photo must have been taken around 1909 or 1910.
Tony McGregor, his father Murray (the baby in the photo above!) and son Zak. Photo taken in 1989 in Johannesburg.
Tony McGregor, his father Murray (the baby in the photo above!) and son Zak. Photo taken in 1989 in Johannesburg.


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    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 4 months ago from Southern California, USA

      Genealogy is now one of the biggest growing hobbies with DNA tests on the market. I expect this hub will get more attention, and the photos are quite interesting.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 5 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks everyone for your great comments. I really appreciate them.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for the memories, Tony. We should all value them and photographs just as you do. As Jama said, they're a real bridge to the past...and you've just reminded us to cherish the memories we have!! Thanks for the write!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Oh Tony - This is such an endearing hub. These photos are so very precious and filled with memories. Another time and place. Another way of living. Family history is a very large part of my family and relatives. We have geneology that dates back - way back to very old lines.

      My Aunt married a McGregor and his people were from Scotland. I will soon be finding where he was born along with other information on the McGregor line. Fascinating! Thank you so much.

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

      That is very very cool....thanks for sharing your family photos...I wish I had two photos that spanned that many years.....I guess I will have to start one now...I can go back to 1936, which is when my father was born....but sadly his dad died before he was born so there are no pictures of them together. Voted up and awesome. Great hub.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Tony - what a beautiful old picture and the newer one is wonderful too. So often I see old photos and they are such a mystery. We had an old photo of my great grandfather with another man. My mother had it hanging on her wall but we never knew who the other man was. A few years back my sister started looking online for German relatives and found the grandchildren of the other man - my g-grandfather's brother. Now, though living some distance, one of the 'other man's" children and I are friends on Facebook!

    • dawei888 profile image

      dawei888 8 years ago

      Hi tonymac - i'm also fascinated by family history. Last year on facebook I reconnected with my family in Aouth Africa after over 60 years of separation between our side in the USA and theirs in SA. IYou've inspired me to try to write a hub about it. thanks!

    • eonsaway profile image

      eonsaway 8 years ago from New Mexico, USA

      What a comparison in photos, the old structured posed-the new contemporary. I liked the connecting without getting boring.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 9 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Old family pictures are such a wonderful bridge to the past.

      I thought I had a fairly good idea of how a favorite great-grandmother looked from snapshots taken in the 1930s when she was 80+ and bent over from age. But recently a cousin asked me to ID (or try to ID) people in old photos I'd never seen before. One studio portrait of a couple and three others I assumed were their children had me stymied until I figured out the boy standing behind them was Gr-grandma's jug-earred, never-married son in the 1930s snapshots. The couple turned out to be Gr-grandma and my ggf, in their early forties, my maternal grandmother at age 13, her brother "Jug Ears", and their older sister. Gr-grandma looked very little like she would at 80+, but from that portrait we were (finally!) able to ID her as the mystery woman in a much older photo, taken in her early 30s!

      On the other side of the family, I treasure a tin-type of my dad's grandfather taken in the mid-1860s, but have yet to locate a photo that surely resides in an attic somewhere of *his* father (my gr-gr-grandfather), born in 1799, but still alive in 1880. If one ever surfaces, we'll have images of generations spanning 300 years! It's great fun, as well as enlightening, to see which features the current generation inherited.

    • profile image

      Myke Ashley-Cooper 9 years ago

      I think the Rev Andrew McGregor was my Great-grandmother's father. The old lady married a de Villiers. Their offspring Elise married a dentist Dr Hayes (Otway's father) and produced my mother Lilian.

      Myke Ashley-Cooper (

      (emigrated 10 months back from Cape Town to Tallahassee Florida USA)

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Family history is always fascinating, tonymac04, but it's especially nice to have old photos that portray the family line. I've done on hub on my cousin, an operatic tenor, and I'm doing research on other famiy members who I will soon feature on new hubs. Your pictures are truly interesting to me. You must be very proud to have them.