Two photographs span five generations and 160 years

My father (the baby!), with his father and grandfather

My father (the baby!), with his father and grandfather

The two photos accompanying this article 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 year 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.

Me, my father (now the old bearded man!) and my son Zak

Me, my father (now the old bearded man!) and my son Zak

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.


  1. Hi, some great photos there, and you can see the likeness of the oldest guy in pic 2 to the oldest guy in pic 1!
    Why did Zak change his name?
    Do you still all live in the Johannesburg area?

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