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Donald was born in 1882, the son of Malcom MacLeod and Mary Munro, cottars on 21/22 Ruisgarry (Ben Leva). His father was well respected in the community, having been elected by the people of Berneray to give evidence on their behalf at the Napier Commission in 1883. Some years later, in 1900, the islanders achieved their wish, and his father was one of those granted a croft in Borve - croft 9, to which the family moved.
Donald emigrated to Vancouver, and in 1914 married Mary Anne MacLean in Victoria, British Columbia. Mary Anne was originally from Locheport. Together they were to have eight children - Neil, Mary Isabel, Christina, Marion, Effie, Malcolm, Katie and Angusina (Agnes).