Janet (Hendry) MacDonald was the daughter of George Hendry (1764-1830) and Susan Belyea/Bulyea (d. 1842) who settled after the American Revolution in Cambridge Parish, Queens County, New Brunswick. On 9 July 1818, Janet Hendry married Alexander Black MacDonald (1794-1880) and they farmed the portion of the Hendry property that was Janet's inheritance. Here they raised a family of seven children and lived for the remainder of their lives, highly respected throughout the community.
The Janet MacDonald Diary was begun on 1 January 1857 by Janet's son, William L. MacDonald, who continued the entries for only a few months, until 3 April 1857. At that time his mother began the record, and continued until 8 February 1868. The Index to the Janet MacDonald Diary was compiled by Barry J. Grant. The original alphabetical index was completed on cards and later microfilmed. It consists of an exhaustive list of the proper names contained in the Diary, as well as detailed references to topics such as family affairs, farm life, religious activities, social life, and other events that touched the lives of the MacDonald family and their neighbors.