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Donald was a son of Malcolm Mackay and Ann Maciver. According to family tradition, he moved from Linshader and settled in Crulivig. He married Ann Mackay and had nine children, two sons and seven daughters, all of whom were noted for their beautiful fair hair.
As well as the children mentioned below there was a daughter who was married in Balallan, a daughter Isabella (born 1807/1811) who married a widower Murdo (possibly Maclean) in Callanish, and another daughter who married in Point (the great-grandmother of the Reverend Murdo Macrae of the Free Church Manse, Kinloch).