Uist and Barra

“As for the emigrants, even now and knowing the hardships and tragedies to which they were exposed, it is not possible to judge where advantage may have lain between an island where one family could lose ten of eleven children in childhood, or in risking all and paying the price”. (Angus MacMillan)

The Uists  are the central group of islands in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. North Uist and South Uist are linked by causeways running via Benbecula and Grimsay, and the entire group is sometimes known as the Uists.  The Minches and the Uists are a popular destination for the more adventurous or experienced of the yachting fraternity from around the British Isles. From south to north, the inhabited islands in the Uist group are Èirisgeigh (Eriskay), Uibhist a Deas (South Uist), Beinn nam Faoghla (Benbecula), Eilean Fhlodaigh (Flodda), Griomasaigh (Grimsay), Uibhist a Tuath (North Uist), Am Baile Sear (Baleshare) and Beàrnaraigh (Berneray).

Over several centuries, the Uists and especially Benbecula, have been the centre of the alginate industry which harvested seaweed. The king of the seaweeds is kelp which has been put to many uses, including the production of explosives from potash and acetone. Nowadays, alginates are to be found in the production of emulsifiers, toothpaste and icecream. 

The Uists have produced many gifted musicians and bards but perhaps pride of place can go to Domhnall Ruadh Choruna of North Uist if only for his most poignant of songs, ‘An Eala Bhan’, written while he lay wounded fearing for his life at the Battle of the Somme:

Gur duilich leam mar tha mi ‘s mo chridhe an sàs aig bròn
Bhon an uair a dh’fhàg mi beanntan àrd a’ cheò,
Gleanntanan a’ mhànrain, nan loch, nam bàgh ‘s nan sròm,
‘S an eala bhàn tha tàmh ann gach là air am bheil mi an tòir.

A Mhagaidh na bi tùrsach, a rùin, ged gheibhinn bàs
Cò am fear am measg an t-sluaigh a mhaireas buan gu bràth?
Chan eil sinn uile ach air chuairt mar dhìthein buaile fàs,
Bheir siantanan na bliadhna sìos ‘s nach tog a’ ghrian an-àird.

While one might quibble with the descriptive accuracy of the Uists’ ‘beanntan ard a’ cheo’  nor do they have any glens there is no denying the beauty and poignancy of sentiment in these words as a whole. They have a particular resonance for me as I often heard them sung while at my father’s knee.

MacDonalds of Uist

The MacDonalds of South Uist and Benbecula are of the house of Clanranald and are a different breed to the MacDonalds ‘of North Uist’ who really belong to Skye, being of the house of Sleat. The most famous of the Uist MacDonalds was Flora MacDonald and a faithful account of her life by Angus Macmillan (ISBN 978-1-905807-15-4), with all proceeds going to the Benbecula Historical Society, can be purchased from this site. Other booklets available from the same author are ‘Clanranald and Benbecula (ISBN 978-1-90587-) and ‘Benbecula Donors in Carmina Gadelica’ (ISBN 978-1-905807-01-13). 

From this book,  the numerous contradictions to be found in the popular accounts of Flora MacDonald’s life are exposed. She is said to have been born at Milton on South Uist (?),  where her father was a tenant farmer (?), and there is a monument to her there today. She completed her schooling in Edinburgh and was visiting her brother in South Uist in 1746 when she was asked to assist Bonnie Prince Charlie, on the run after the defeat of the Jacobite Uprising at the Battle of Culloden. He was to be disguised in a frock as “Betty Burke” an Irish maidservant. She thought the scheme “fantastical” but was persuaded to go ahead, perhaps by the Prince. They sailed from Benbecula on 27 June 1746 to Skye. They hid overnight in a cottage and then travelled, over the next few days, overland to Portree, at one point avoiding some redcoat government troops. When he left to travel to the island of Raasay and a ship to take him back to France, the Prince gave Flora a locket with his portrait, saying “I hope, madam, that we may meet in St James’s yet” but she never saw him again. Flora was arrested and imprisoned in Dunstaffnage Castle and then spent some time in the Tower of London but was released in 1747 under a general amnesty.

Contradictions in popular accounts of the Clanranalds are also exposed in Angus’s booklet on Clanranalds and Benbecula. During the whole of the 15th century MacDonalds of Clanranald had been engaged in feuds regarding the lands of Uist. This was first with Siol Gorraidh (race of Godfrey), eldest brother of Ranald the founder of the tribe, and afterwards with the MacDonalds of Sleat in Skye. It was not till 1506 that the Clanranalds succeeded in acquiring a legal title to the disputed lands when John of Sleat, having no issue, made over all his estates to  Clanranald. This may have been a favour in return for the defeat and expulsion by Ranald Bane, eldest son of the chief of Clanranald, of the treacherous and murderous Gilleasbuig Dubh, a natural brother of John, who had endeavoured to seize the lands of John of Sleat. Popular misconceptions about the Clanranalds pervade the internet and elsewhere. Some of these have been exposed by Angus MacMillan and others include:

  •  Reginald George MacDonald was the 18th chief and he proceeded to squeeze the people of his great estate for higher and higher rents. Whatever he bled from them, he threw around Regency London, swanking in the fashionable world on the back of the Hebridean clansmen who had sworn their support to his family for so long. Their misery was of no interest to him and between 1828 and 1837 he sold them and their lands to the Gordons, the vicious landlords of the Highland Clearances. Clanranald managed to squander his entire fortune and the line died out in 1944. Untrue, probably slanderous, and the line has not died out.
  • Colin Macdonald, Laird of Boisdale in South Uist, was an ultra-zealous Protestant and in the year 1770 he undertook the conversion of his tenants en masse. To this end he stationed himself at the fork of the road, and tried to drive them all to the Presbyterian church which he himself attended. We even know the colour of the club he used, for this peculiar style of evangelism was ever afterwards referred to as “Credimh a bhata bhui”,—The Religion of the Yellow Staff. Not succeeding in this effort, he turned his attention to the children, and established schools for them, but the parents, finding that the little ones were likely to be turned from the faith of their fathers, would not permit them to attend. Angry at being thus thwarted, the domineering landlord summoned all the tenants to a meeting, where he placed before them a Gaelic document containing a renunciation of their faith, and a promise to have no further dealings with their priests; which they were asked to sign, with the alternative of being driven from their homes. With one voice the people, of course, refused to sign. The aged Bishop Hay, Vicar Apostolic of the Western Highlands sent an account of the situation to Dr. Challoner, Prelate of London, who sent it to Cardinal Castelli, and on the advice of Dr. Grant, the Scottish agent in Rome, the tenants were advised to emigrate at once to some American colony. But through all the years on their little crofts in this rocky isle they had been able to make only a bare living, and the expense of the long journey seemed to them an insuperable obstacle. At this juncture a deliverer arose who took them to Prince Edward Island—”Fear a-Ghlinne”, The Laird of the Glen. Thought to be a grossly inflated account, possibly propaganda.
  • Colonel Donald MacDonald of Boisdale, second-in-command of the Gordon Highlanders during the Napoleonic campaign.  He was responsible for the recruiting of many of the soldiers from the Western Isles that fought at the battle of Egmont-op-Zee in Holland in 1799. The Gordons were heavily engaged and did well amongst the sand-dunes to force the enemy’s withdrawal. The Gordons were then able to occupy Egmond and Alkmaar but in another battle soon after they were badly mauled.  About one-fourth of MacDonald’s recruits from the Islands, whose average age was 23 Highlanders, were lost. True, but what were Islanders doing fighting in a Lowland regiment?

  • Captain Donald (“Donell Gorm”) M’Donell, of Benbecula, second and natural son of Ranald MacDonell 17th Clanranald.  He was listed as one of the paymasters for the Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s Army in 1745-46.  Donald “Goran” was not well-liked by the Highlander rank-and-file who styled him “a surly cross dog”, a characteristic which no doubt earned him the nickname given him by the soldiers – Donald “Goran” (Donald the Sinister).  Donald later fought in North America against the French and he may have been intentionally wounded or “fragged” by his own men at the Siege of Louisbourg on 21 July 1758.  Oral tradition in the Highlands of Cape Breton maintains that it was in the Battle of Sillery in 1760 that “the de’il finally got him”. A stronger body of French overpowered and completely butchered his whole party and he himself was found cut and hack’d to pieces “in a most shocking manner.”  This was no doubt in retaliation for Macdonell’s ruthless winter raids against the outlying countryside of Quebec where he kept the Quebecois militiamen and French regulars constantly off balance. Wherever he went he was unpopular with his men but there can be no question about his bravery or his leadership qualities. McDonald, not MacDonnell. Also, for more on Hebridean Quebecois, check out Celeste Ray’s book on Transatlantic Scots.



The constant turbulence which prevailed in the West Highlands and the Hebrides finally ended with the crushing of the second Jacobite Rebellion in1746. In 1688 Roderick MacNeil (38th Chief) had received from King James II a charter of all the lands of Barra and its Isles, which were then erected into the Barony of Barra. However, Roderick refused to take the oath of allegiance to the new king, William of Orange, and took part in the Rebellion in favour of James. In the cruel aftermath of 1746, and in the Clearances which followed, vast numbers of clansfolk emigrated to the New Continent. 

In 1838 the Chief lost the Estate of Barra through bad investment, and it was bought by Colonel Gordon of Cluny, whose wife Lady Gordon Cathcart, became owner upon his death in 1878.  She planted trees in the north of Barra, why is unclear as trees do not fare well in the maritime climate, but they were soon used by the people for firewood. Considerable bad feeling remains to this day from Lewis to Barra Head towards the Gordons and Cathcarts because of their alleged neglect of the welfare of the islanders. During the mid-years of the 19th century a thriving fishing industry developed in Barra.There were no less than forty fish-curing stations in Castlebay, and during the season there was an influx of hundreds of “gutting girls.” It was said that there were so many fishing boats in the bay that “one could walk dryshod from Barra to Vatersay.” However, the 1940’s saw the end of the last efforts of the last curing station in Barra. In the 60’s, with Government help, people began to buy boats and fish again. The 19th century also saw the construction of the important buildings in Barra, the churches and large houses. In 1938 the Clan MacNeil took possession once again of the estate, and the restoration of the Castle was undertaken. 

Barra is well known for its strong musical tradition, which has seemed to travel well, in the form of premier Canadian folksinger, Rita MacNeil, who is proud to declare her Barra heritage and Catherine-Anne MacPhee, once of Eoligarry and now working out of Ottawa.


489 responses to “Uist and Barra

  1. Callum Beck

    April 3, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Livingstone’s story was from Ulva.
    “The churched, out of church” story can be found in Dom Odo Blundell. It certainly never happened to Colin because he was a Protestant certainly after 1764, probably since 1748. it may have happened to his Dad Alexander under Father Forrester not F Wynne, ca late 1750s, but this is not certain.
    The Scotichronicon by Gordon and Blundell are the best sources for the story of Colin’s persecution, even though Blundell has some errors. Both can be found online at Open Library.
    I will have to check out the Scots Magazine article, which I have not come across. Also what in the Napier Commission are you referring to that relates to the yellow staff tradition?

  2. caledonhills

    April 2, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    My research was started when I discovered that Hugh Macdonald IV of Boisdale had 11 children and my husband was a descendant. There were no oral stories because no one knew they were descended from this family until I found it. From my own research, I had read about Colin Macdonald II of Boisdale being referred to as Yellow Stick, but it was contradicted in so many different publications, that I was unsure. Now that I see that Johnson mentioned Hector, I’m pretty sure that it was just a story. I read somewhere that “The religion of the yellow stick” became a nickname for anyone who was Catholic and then converted to Protestantism (who were land-owners/lairds) and then tried to force their tenants to convert also. I’d love to get your paper!

    • Charles E. Mac Kay

      April 3, 2015 at 10:25 am

      In Ireland the converts were called soupers. I found accounts of the yellow stick practice in one of the biographies of David Livingston. His people had to follow the yellow stick to survive I am not sure where his people came from but I think its the Inner Isles. I have never found any talk in my family of the yellow stick in Uist till this post. I do know of the tyrant of Boisdale who tried to force the children to eat meat on Fridays etc. He was churched – ordered out of church – when he went one Sunday. This made him worse and he tried to carry through his threats but met with fierce opposition from the islanders The case of the tyrant became a diplomatic issue between Britain and Europe. The whole business is set out in a marvellous article in the Scots Magazine in 1969 called The Tyrant of Boisdale. My memory is not so good but the best account of MacDonald and his attitudes is found in “Scotichronicom”. This resulted in the people of France and Netherlands putting the hat round for funds to take the persecuted people from Uist to Canada. Of course the oral tradition is at odds with what has been written down but the transactions of the Napier Commission should be noted since they confirm the oral traditions. I feel it has nothing to do with religion but the state of mind of MacDonald. With that my interest in the matter rests

      • caledonhills

        March 15, 2016 at 12:02 am

        Fascinating. Yes, I believe Colin Macdonald II of Boisdale is who people refer to as “Yellow Stick” but there has been others attributed to it. Samuel Johnston, the famous British author who wrote his travel diaries in 1775 about the Western Isles makes reference to him so he was well known even then. He was the Laird and, at that time, the Lairds in Scotland tried to side with the landowners from England and this meant that their Roman Catholic faith was at odds with them. He converted and it is told that his wife was never a convert and he re-committed to the Catholic faith on his death bed. It’s a sad tale that the islanders were made to suffer because of his beliefs. That being said, we would not have so many Macdonalds from Boisdale in Canada if it were not for him! I think Alexander was raised a Protestant as was his son Hugh. Hugh’s daughter Georgina (later post coming) married an Irish Catholic. This family is FULL of surprises 🙂

  3. Callum Beck

    April 2, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    I have done more research on this topic than any sane man should. Hector did wield the stick but not in the way Johnston claimed. Colin never did, though he did severely oppress his Catholic tenants in an effort to convert them. If interested I can send you my still somewhat unfinished paper tracing out how the oral traditions came down to us.

    BTW I would love to get any oral traditions that your Hebridean family may have about the yellow staff stuff

    Callum Beck

  4. Noni Brown

    November 7, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Dear Roderick, I am shocked and sad to hear that Don has passed away. I didn’t know he had been ill. His contribution to knowledge sharing has been very worthwhile to so many. I enjoyed the communications I had with Don last year … my thoughts and prayers are with you and the family.

  5. Anne Marie

    November 7, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you Roderick Iain for sharing this devastating news with us about Don (R.I.P) which is very much appreciated.

    I am very shocked and saddened but my thoughts are with you all at this sad time.

    Don will be sorely missed by many like me who felt a great connection with him. He was so knowledgeable, intelligent, helpful & funny.

    His commitment to the site has been such a help to many, sharing his knowledge with us which has been very much appreciated.

    So sorry, Anne Marie.

  6. auldacquaintance

    November 7, 2014 at 10:52 am

    It is with great sadness that I must inform you that my brother, the originator of this site, Dr Donald John Macfarlane, known as Donnie by his siblings, passed from this world on Saturday 1st November in Londonderry.

    He will be sadly missed.

    Roderick Iain Macfarlane

    • caledonhills

      November 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      I’m so very, very, sorry for your loss. Don was a wonderful, helpful and funny gentleman who was always willing to help. My condolences.

  7. Michael O'hanley

    November 1, 2014 at 12:13 am

    With the assistance of Susan O’Maera I have been able trace my O’Hanley ancestry back to Murdoch O’Hanley and his wife Janet McMullen through their son Allen. He and his family came to Canada circa 1850 and settled in Galt Ontario which is and hour drive west of Toronto. Is there any records which would tell me when Murdoch’s ancestors came from Ireland and if there are any of his descendant’s still living in Scotland?

  8. Noni Brown

    May 9, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Dear David,

    You noted your Hugh Macdonald, father of Christian, died before her marriage in 1842 to Rev Henry Beatson. If this is correct then he is unlikely to be the same Hugh Macdonald of Boisdale who was born c1785 and died on the 22 Dec 1875 at Liverpool. Perhaps Hugh Macdonald of Torlom and Kilphedder is a possibility?

    1786,6 Sep Nuntown:
    GD201/2/55. Tack by John Macdonald of Clanranald to Hugh Macdonald, tacksman of Torlom, for 15 years of the eightpenny lands of Kiliphedder, as presently possessed by Colin Macdonald of Boisdale in the parish and island of South Uist, reserving the kelp ware and liberty to dispose of lands for building towns and villages presently proposed for the encouragement of the Fisheries (with reasonable reduction of rent to Hugh) and to ship cattle at Lochboisdale; and Hugh binds himself to pay £100 sterling yearly, a boll of horse corn and multures, to make enclosures, with melioration for improvements; and Clanranald shall pay Hugh £2.2 sterling for each ton of kelp manufactured and shipped, allowing the tenant of Daleybrig to manufacture 5 tons; with other customary conditions.

    1790, amongst the List of Subscribers to the Gaelic Society, there were ninety-four Macdonalds listed – one Right Honourable Alexander Macdonald of Sleat; two Mrs., one Reverend, thirteen military ranked men, 68 Misters, and only 9 Esquires including:
    1. Colin Macdonald, Esq. of Boisdale (died 1818)
    2. John Macdonald, Esq. of KInlochmoidart
    3. John Macdonald, Esq. of Morar
    4. Simon Macdonald, Esq. younger, of Morar
    5. Eneas Macdonald, Esq. of Scothouse
    6. John Macdonald Esq. Bornim. South Uist
    7. Alexander Macdonald, Esq. Glenco
    8. Angus Macdonell, Esq. of Achtrichtan
    9. Coll Macdonald, Esq. Dalness

    Why this is so I am not certain, but reading through the List of Eleven hundred and Nine Existing Members of the Highland Society of Scotland 1784-1816, I get the impression men with Esq. after their name were educated and possibly entitled to witness documents or carried out some kind of civil duty. A number have W.S. after Esq. being Writers to the Signet.

    Amounst the men titled “Mr” are some familiar names:
    1. Mr Coll Macdonald, of Barisdale
    2. Mr Ronald Macdonald, of Meoble (South Morar)
    3. Mr Angus Macdonald, Milton
    4. Mr James Macdonald, Borradale
    5. Mr Hugh Macdonald, Meoble (South Morar)
    6. Mr John Macdonald, merchant, Kildonan, S. Uift
    7. Mr Ronald Macdonald, Bornim, S. Uist
    8. Mr Alexander Macdonald, Boisdale
    9. Mr Donald Macdonald, Ballsher N. Uist
    10. Mr Allan Macdonald, merchant, N. Uist
    11. Mr Alexander Macdonald, Valay, N. Uist
    12. Mr John Macdonald, Kyles, Bernara
    13. Mr Angus Macdonald, Dalilea
    14. Mr Donald Macdonald, Balranald
    15. Mr Alexander Macdonald, Penninerin, S. Uist

    • David Taylor, Scotland

      May 11, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      Dear Noni,

      Many thanks for listing all the Macdonalds of note in the late 18th/early 19th centuries in the Gaelic-speaking Highlands and Islands! Let me first say that Christian (b.c. 1809, Kilmalie), according to the notice in the Inverness Courier of 1842, says that she was the “eldest daughter of the late Hugh Macdonald, Esq., Eoligarry, Inverness-shire.” Now there are a couple of things this tells me. Firstly, that he may have lived in Eoligarry at some point, but not necessarily died there! He might not have even lived in Eoligarry House, but I think in this case it is likely! That all-important little word is also missing – “of” – meaning in genealogical terms, that he was “heritable proprietor of the lands (and house, if there is one) of Eoligarry”. If he was just an ordinary person, then he would have been Hugh Macdonald “in” Eoligarry, meaning (residenter in), with possibly tacksman or crofter added in to give a bit more information. Secondly, Christian obviously had another two sisters!! If the notice says ‘elder’ it means that she had a younger sister; but ‘eldest’daughter, in my book, means there were another two sisters around, anyway!! Maybe another source of research there!

      An “Esquire” is for me a “Gentleman” of superior social standing, with a house and land; in other words, the Landed Gentry! Unfortunately, they were not necessarily nice people! When we holidayed in Harris in 1985, a retired crofter there was only too willing to tell us about Lord Fincastle, the local laird in earlier times. “A thoroughly bad bad man” was the best he could say about him!

      As for today’s title, ‘Mr’! It certainly didn’t have the same meaning 200 years ago! The schoolmaster or dominie was referred to as Mr – from the word Master (but not Mr as we know it today). It is an honorific title, and in today’s world it is still there! In hospitals, for example, a surgeon is always known as Mr. He is considered a level above Dr! Even the reverend gentlemen of the Church of Scotland were given the title of Mr as well as Rev. in my day!

      So, why then, have I gone down the road by suggesting that he and Hugh, 4th of Boisdale might be one and the same. Well, the answer is simple – conspiracy!! Let me tell you a wee story. When I first started work in the newspaper industry years ago, an elderly member of staff gave me a piece of advice, “David, the only thing you can believe in a newspaper (the only certain thing!) is the cover price that you pay for it”!!! I’ve kept that in mind ever since!! The world was full of conspiracies then, and still is!

      To sum up I would say that ‘Esq’ infers that there is land involved; ‘Mr’ involves a higher education, possibly at a university level (an MA for example), but certainly more than that received from a local parish school. What really made my blood boil was, when renewing my passport, the official line was that the photograph should be counter-signed by someone of professional standing, eg a doctor or a civil servant, etc.!! Exactly what you talking about in your post, Noni! However, I do think the boundaries are blurred, but there is little doubt that the members of these early Gaelic and Highland societies were the crème de la crème of Highland society!

      So to your list of Macdonalds, Noni, I think your extract of the tack signed in 1786 at Nuntown(?) in Benbecula, concerning Hugh Macdonald, is distinctly plausible! He must be now considered a possibility. I have always believed that the Hugh I am looking for could have been an older man! However, there still remains the Kilmalie question of why at least two of his children were registered as being born there! Pitfalls and brick walls at every turn!!!

    • Angus Macmillan

      May 11, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      Hugh MacDonald, mentioned via his acquisition of Kilpheder as tacksman of Torlum, is not a good candidate. He was of the Balranald family in North Uist and not a young man when he briefly held the tack of Torlum before moving on to Kilpheder and losing Torlum.

      • David Taylor, Scotland

        June 26, 2014 at 11:52 am

        Some time has passed since I last added anything to the Forum on my Hugh Macdonald, late of Eoligarry, and one-time Factor to Macneil of Barra! We know that he was deceased by 1842, and having recently consulted “Lochaber & Skye – monumental inscriptions pre-1855”, I have not been able to find a gravestone to his memory! This includes all burial grounds in these districts (40 in all)! If I may say so . . . a major disappointment!

        On a recent visit to the Scottish Genealogical Society’s rooms in Edinburgh, it appears that there are no MIs for either South Uist or Barra; however, their index does mention a burial ground in North Uist at “Ardabhorain Chyd”? Anyone with any ideas as to this location? My hopes of finding a stone, therefore, for Hugh Macdonald must be slim, but if at all Eoligarry could be the place. We will be in Barra shortly and will make enquiries at the local museum/library in the hope of possible information there! Then we continue north through the Uists, finally taking the ferry at Tarbert, Harris, to Uig, on Skye. Another major area of search will be at Fort William where Hugh Macdonald and his spouse Mary MacInnes had family, including a daughter, Christian (b.c.1809 at Kilmallie, presumably Fort William), who went on to marry the Rev. Henry Beatson – at Holyhead, Angelsey, Wales! Mary MacInnes or Macdonald died at Fort William in 1846, aged 68! A further search in the library and museum there will be the order of the day.

        If this trip draws a blank then perhaps the Macneil/Barra papers might yield information. Unfortunately the National Archives Scotland do not list this family as one of their holdings! Alternatively, it might also be possible to search for today’s living descendants of the Rev. Beatson’s family – if any there be! Only one of his two daughters married – Margaret Stewart Beatson to a William Donald (shipping clerk in Glasgow) in 1877, which resulted in at least one son, William Donald, Jun. (engineer in Glasgow). He was “executor dative qua” (no Will) to his aunt, Catherine Elizabeth Beatson, who died d.s.p. in 1903. For reasons unknown, the Confirmation of her Estate was not registered until 1935. More research is needed . . . “Onwards and Upwards”.

        My thanks to everyone who have helped out, and in particular to Noni Brown who has given her unstinting help, resulting in many excellent leads which could well lead to the origins of this particular Macdonald family.

        • Don MacFarlane

          June 26, 2014 at 12:23 pm

          Hi David

          This looks to be a possible, or possibly unlikely, location for your graveyard – facing onto the islet of Boreray – you were looking for (just one letter out!).

          Your appendage, Chyd, is clearly mispelt and looks more Welsh than anything, as there is no letter y in Gaelic. A long way to come from Eoligarry in Barra, where Hugh was most connected, of course? Also, to be buried, and him a Boisdale, in a graveyard in the territory of a MacDonald of Sleat?

          Ardamhorain may be correctly spelt if it refers to ‘moran’, the Gaelic for the plant species ‘meadow saxifrage’ which grows wild or it could be Ardamhurain as graveyards in the Uists were frequently sited in sandy soils on machair where muran – the coarse grass that keeps the sand from being swept away – is prevalent.

          Moran (Meadow Saxifrage)

          Ard a’ Bhorain (if sticking to your original version) does not make much sense as that would translate only into Promontory of the Boran (the musical instrument). So, whether bh or mh, they sound both the same so you can take it as a transcription error.

          • Iain MacKillop

            August 6, 2014 at 11:04 am

            Chyd should probably be read as “Cladh.” I suspect the place intended is Cladh Aird a’ Mhorain, which is the cemetery at Grenitote, North Uist.

          • Iain MacKillop

            August 14, 2014 at 9:05 am

            I posted a reply suggesting that ““Ardabhorain Chyd” meant “Cladh Aird a’ Mhorain.” I don’t know where that comment went but it doesn’t seem to have been approved. On reflection Chyd is probably right enough – it’s presumably just an abbreviation for churchyard, in this case synonymous with graveyard.

  9. David Taylor, Scotland

    April 28, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    If I may, can I reply to Anne Marie first! Sorry not to have got back to you sooner! Just been occupied all weekend with an Australian cousin. You are right, it is so easy to get confused with all the possibilities, especially when the primary sources (BMDs/OPRS) are lacking in that part of Scotland. I have already made one error – getting timescales mixed up between Hugh Macdonald and his stay in Barra (early 19th century) and the Rev. Beatson and his wife Christian Macdonald (1842-71 in Barra). The Fasti states that Hugh Macdonald was ‘factor to Colonel MacNeill of Barra’, NOT to Colonel Gordon as I have said. It needs correcting!! Moderator, please note – any chance of editing??

    If we are to assume that ‘Hugh Macdonald, Esq, Eoligarry House’,is in reality Hugh,4th of Boisdale (which he became eventually when his father died in 1818), then there are lots of questions to be answered, especially as to his movements during the early part of the 19th century. If, as Internet sources say, he didn’t marry Mary Hender until 1843, then he must have had good reasons not to do so, considering the already numerous family he had with Mary (1827-1843).

    We don’t know when Mary MacInnes died, or how many other children she had with him (as well as Colin b 1805 and Christian bc 1808), but Christian (on marriage to the Rev. Henry Beatson in 1842) did say that she was the ‘eldest daughter’. This would have been perfectly correct if she was taking into account her half-sisters but there does seem to be a degree of conspiracy about it all. If I haven’t mentioned it before, the Rev. Henry Beatson and Christian Macdonald were married in Holyhead in Angelsey in Wales in 1842. Neither of the witnesses at that marriage were Macdonalds or Beatsons. Pity!

    Can I just say to Sandra below, that 1841 can be a real problem for researchers. All ages were scaled down to the nearest 5. E.g., in the case of Hugh Macdonald, Mary (nee Hender) and their son, Hector, were given as 50, 30 and 15 respectively, their real ages could be anywhere between 50-54, 30-34, and Hector 15 to 19. So it possible that Mary could have been 34 years old when Hector was born, making it a more acceptable age for her!. How confusing!

    I would be interested to hear how you feel about the possibility of Hugh 4th of Boisdale being married firstly to Mary MacInnes in or about 1805?

    • Anne Marie

      May 5, 2014 at 12:34 am

      Hi David,

      I hold no watch nor calender, only an interest in posts. 🙂 I will always add to a post if I think I have something/anything which may be of interest to that particular topic. When I read your post, I did hope that my info would be of help in some way, whether to eliminate possible potentials or otherwise.

      I find the MacDonalds very confusing, to say the least, but intriguing at the same time. They are not alone with their ‘extended families’. 🙂 The trouble is mostly with names being the same in three generations & possibilities of any of the three generations being the father of a particular child & regrettably, the lack of records but a possibility of ‘any port in a storm’ etc. Hopefully Sandra will be able to draw from this though?

    • caledonhills

      May 5, 2014 at 3:33 am

      Hello David and everyone on this thread of Hugh Macdonald. I often wondered about what Hugh’s life was like prior to his meeting and having children with Mary Hender. I find no record of him in England prior to 1830. I know that his ‘son’ Hector was born in 1826 in South Uist.

      Mary Hender was born in Cornwall. She was actually born in 1805 (not 1811/12 as is referred to in most records). That would have made her 36 in the 1841 census (30 marked down?). She could have been old enough to have Hector but ALL her children were born in England or Wales. I have never found a record of her ever being in Scotland, so I believe Hector’s mother was different. Mary even mentioned in a court case that her husband was ‘across the sea’ or ‘away in Scotland’ or left her for long periods of time.

      Fascinating train of thought but a lot more research would have to go into trying to prove these are one and the same Hugh Macdonald. I personally believe that Hugh did have at least one,Hector, if not more, children before meeting Mary. I just have not ever been able to prove it. The two ladies in Tasmania, Charlotte and Amelia, who both refer to being the daughters of Hugh Macdonald, Esq. of Boisdale, S. Uist. make it even more confusing. They would have been born circa 1809 and 1813, so the dates fit with the earlier family.

      I will do some digging and see if I can find anything that might connect them.

      • Angus Macmillan

        June 2, 2014 at 10:03 am

        Not sure the following does more than establish the existence of a Mrs MacDonald of Boisdale junior at this date.

        In 1820, Mrs MacDonald of Clanranald gave one guinea to the Edinburgh Ladies’ Association in aid of the Society for the Support of Gaelic Schools. Mrs MacDonald of Boisdale matched the donation; Mrs MacDonald of Boisdale Junior donated half a guinea.

        • caledonhills

          June 2, 2014 at 1:59 pm

          Wow Angus! Now I have to do some more digging! There could be no other Mrs.Macdonald of Boisdale Junior than a spouse of Hugh IV in 1820. The honour of being called Mrs. Macdonald of Boisdale Junior would only apply to the wife of the heir to this title.

          • Angus Macmillan

            June 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm

            That was how it seemed to me unless two of the dowagers long survived their husbands. Angus

            • caledonhills

              June 2, 2014 at 9:59 pm

              I know that Isabella Macdonald (2nd wife of Colin Macdonald II of Boisdale) lived until 1835…so that would account for 1 of them. I can’t seem to find any death date for Alex. Macdonald III of Boisdale’s wife Marion. He died in 1818. If she was still alive in 1820, then that would be the Mrs.Macdonald of Boisdale junior. If that’s the case then that would explain these 2 appearing together.

            • caledonhills

              April 2, 2015 at 4:54 pm

              So I have a bit of a predicament. I just bought a 1st edition book dated 1775 written by Samuel Johnson called Johnson’s Journal – A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland. It’s 240 years old. In it, he visited the island of Col(l) whose laird at the time was Alexander McLean of Coll, (Alisdair Ruaidh). He describes the legend of the “yellow stick” in which supposedly, Hector (Scottish Gaelic: Eachann) the son of Donald MacLean of Coll, was the one who applied the yellow stick. Hector was laird in 1715, and the religion of the yellow stick was introduced into Rùm in 1726.
              I have always been under the impression that this reference was given to Colin Macdonald of Boisdale of South Uist, who also was referred to this way. In Wikipedia, I find that this was the generic name given to priest or lairds who had converted and tried to make their tenants convert from Roman Catholicism. I think I see now how one must get contemporary documents to prove or disprove a traditional story especially if it’s directly related to your own family which in this case, it is. hmmmmmm

    • Noni Brown

      May 12, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Mrs. Mary MacInness relict of the late Mr. Hugh Macdonald, Eoligarry, Island of Barra, died age 68 on the 16th January 1846 at Fort William. Therefore Mary would have been born about 1778 and this might or might not approximate a birth date of Hugh Macdonald Esq.

      Timelines often help sort out who is who:
      1790 Eoligarry, Barra: Eoligarry House was built around 1790 by Colonel Roderick MacNeil, the 40th chief, when it became the MacNeil chiefs’ home farm as well as residence. As such, the house was surrounded by farm steadings and ‘offices'(which in 19th century Scotland signified buildings such as stables, workshops etc. attached to a big house) as well as a walled garden.
      1798: Monkstadt (Kilmuir, Isle of Skye) was vacated by the Chief of the Sleat MacDonald Clan and they moved to Armadale Castle.
      1805: Colin Macdonald, born son of Hugh Macdonald and Mary Macinnes.
      1809 Kilmalie: Christian Macdonald, born eldest daughter of Hugh Macdonald and Mary Macinnes.
      1838: The next chief, General MacNeil, went bankrupt in 1838 (in common with a number of Highland chiefs around this time) and his estates were sold to meet his debts. Barra was sold to Colonel Gordon of Cluny from Aberdeenshire who had also owned neighbouring South Uist and Benbecula since the bankruptcy of the Macdonalds of Clanranald.
      1837 24 Feb Stenscholl, Kilmuir, Skye: The King presents Rev. Henry Beatson to the Church at Stenscholl, Kilmuir (Presbytery of Skye) on the Trotternish Peninsula. Births, deaths and marriages were registered at Stenscholl. Kilmuir was the home of the Sleat Macdonalds – the Monkstadt Macdonalds and the Cnocowe Macdonalds all descend from the Macdonalds of Sleat. The name ‘Hugh Macdonald’ passed down through most of these families.
      1840: Cluny let Eoligarry Farm to a Dr. MacGillivray so Eoligarry House no doubt became a slightly grander than usual farmhouse.
      1842, 29 April: Holyhead, Wales: Rev. Henry Beatson, Minister of Stenscholl, Isle of Skye, married Christian Macdonald, eldest daughter of Hugh Macdonald, Esq. of Eoligarry, Barra.
      1844: Rev. Henry Beatson transported from Stenscholl to the Parish of the Small Isles.
      1846: 9 July: Rev. Henry Beatson transported from the parish of the Small Isles to Barra.
      1846, 16 January at Fort William. Mrs.Mary MacInnes relict of the late Mr. Hugh Macdonald, Eoligarry, Island of Barra, died age 68 (she would have been born circa 1778). Does this mean they may not have been married?

      The Highland Clearances, from about 1790 to 1840’s, drove many MacInneses from their homes, notably on Skye and Mull. These Clearances were designed to get the tenant farmers off the land to make room for profitable sheep herding. Poverty, crop failures and high rents also contributed to the tide of emigration that emptied the Highlands during the 19th Century
      1862: 23 Oct: Rev. Hugh Beatson, was still the Minister in Barra.
      1878: 5 Corunna Street, Barra: Rev Beatson and wife left their home at this address to move South for health reasons. They leased their house, resulting in a court case whereas the tenant said it was uninhabitable due to serious problems with the drainage. This would indicate Rev. Henry Beatson married again, or he had a son also Rev Beatson who lived at 5 Corunna St?

      • David Taylor, Scotland

        May 12, 2014 at 8:37 pm

        Now that’s an interesting find. Mary MacInnes should be around in the 1841 census in Fort William! Unfortunately it will not give much more information. I do think, by the way, they were married, unless he was telling lies when he registered his son’s birth in 1805. Colin’s birth was squeezed in at the top of the page, so there is every chance it was added in after that date! The handwriting is different, There is one genealogical site which does say there was another unknown child born to the Rev. Henry Beatson, but the main Beatson genealogy listing does not mention any more than four.

        Thanks for the timeline,it definitely helps.

        David .

  10. Noni Brown

    April 28, 2014 at 9:33 am


    Re Hugh Macdonald Esq. In 1805, holders of certain offices (such as barristers, justices of the peace, and higher officer ranks in the armed services) were deemed to be Esquires. The title of Esquire became an honour that could also be conferred by the Crown. In social ranking, Esquires were one step above Gentlemen, who at that time were generally men of high birth or rank, good social standing and wealth, who did not need to work for a living.

    Margaret Stewart, the eldest daughter of Roger Stewart, merchant in Greenock and heritable proprietor of Ronachan and Stewartfield in Kintyre.

    A possible connection- Hugh Macdonald of Baleshare was a prosperous man who acquired by purchase an important estate in the south end of Kintyre – this consisted of part of the lands of St Ninians; namely, Machreoch, Knockmorrell, Kilmoschenechan, Blaisdall and Eden, Penlochan, Pennysirach, Auchroig and Cubrachan. His only son (natural), Donald, inherited these estates but later became deranged and it was maybe his cousin, Hugh MacDonald, son (natural?) of Donald Roy Macdonald of Baleshare, who was associated with these lands and the Stewarts of Kintyre? However, Donald Roy, soldier, farmer, teacher, poet and humanist, was relatively poor compared to his wealthy older brother, Hugh of Baleshare, and it seems likely his offspring would need to join the military as they appear to have owned no land.

    Hugh Macdonald, son of Donald Roy, lived at Port Clair (Boleskine),Fort Augustus, traditional Fraser lands which were captured by the Jacobites in April 1745, just prior to the Battle of Culloden. This Hugh Macdonald (likely a military man like his father) married Janet Fraser and had a son –

    1. Alexander MacDonald, of Port Clair who lived at Balcharuach, in Dores Parish. The parish of Dores is bounded on the south by Boleskine. There are seven land-owners in this parish, the chief of whom were Lord Lovat, Lady Saltoun, W.F. Tytler, Esq. and Thomas Fraser, Esq. of Balrain. Alexander entered the army and, after serving for some time, he retired and went to live at Inverness where he died. He married, in 1804, Marjory Fraser, and they had a son:-

    (1) Charles Macdonald. He enlisted in the Gordon Highlanders in 1820 and served in that regiment for 27 years. After retiring and receiving his pension, he obtained a commission as Quartermaster in the Edinburgh County or Queen’s Regiment of Light Infantry Militia, now 3rd Battalion Royal Scots. With these he served for 23 years, retiring with the rank of Captain in 1879.

    Captain Henry Dundas Beatson R.N, Commander of Her Majesty’s Revenue Cruiser “Swift” born c1784 was also of Campbeltown and he died suddenly aged 66 at Armadale Castle in 1849 – the possible cause was pneumonia, a common form of sudden death in the Western Hebrides. After the ’45, Chief Alexander Macdonald also died suddenly at a relatively young age from the sudden onset of pneumonia.

    • Angus Macmillan

      May 5, 2014 at 10:47 am

      I suspect too much reliance may be put on the significance of Esq. Its usage was simply not that formal or regulated in the islands where there were no ‘barristers’ (an unknown qualification) or the other things mentioned such as ‘gentlemen.’ A look at the birth records for St Michael’s RC Church, Ardkenneth, will show that it was used in respect of tacksmen and former tacksmen families in a loosely honorific way. For example, Alexander MacDonald, who was a merchant, little more than a shopkeeper, in Lionacleit was always Esq. when he acted as baptismal sponsor for a new-born. He was the son of a well known merchant and trouble-maker in South Uist, whose only claim to the honorific may have been that he was a two or three times-great-grandson of Ranald MacDonald I of Benbecula. Likewise, anyone from,or married into, the MacEachens of Howbeg received the title.

      • David Taylor, Scotland

        May 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm

        Many thanks for all your help with my Hugh Macdonald problem!

        I do realise that Esq is open to interpretation,but I had hoped that perhaps in the late 18th/early 19th centuries it may have been more meaningful than it is in modern times! We all receive letters in the post with a polite Esq added at the end of the name, but of course it means little or nothing! I’m also hoping to avoid speculative genealogy by placing people into events and locations where there is no real evidence to support it. Maybe I should simply apply Occam’s Razor to the problem and settle that it is little more than a coincidence of names and places – without any further embellishment!

        Having said that, it would have been interesting if Hugh Macdonald (factor to Col. MacNeil of Barra and land steward) and Hugh Macdonald (4th of Boisadale) had been one and the same man! We seem to have no idea just what the latter was up to in his early years. Born 1785 and succeeded to the Boisdale title in 1818, making him aged about 32 years at that point!!!

        Younger sons of nobility (even clan chiefs) are renowned (well some of them are) for their habit of taking advantage of their position with the local lassies, etc, – if not at home, then perhaps abroad, and in this instance, Kilmalie, where Christian (bc.1809) was born to Hugh Macdonald (manager for Barra) and Mary MacInnes!!!

        Even if we find out nothing else, it is of interest to tell the final chapters of this branch of the family. The Rev. Henry Beatson and Christian Macdonald had four children (two sons, Hugh Colin and Henry Dundas, both of whom died young, possibly buried on Eigg; and two daughters, Margaret Stewart and Elizabeth Catherine). Margaret (born in the Small Isles) married William Donald, a shipping clerk, in Glasgow. She died in 1898. They married later in life so it is not known if they had any family. The youngest, Elizabeth, died unmarried in 1903 (presumably d.s.p.). The death certificate was signed by a neighbour!

        Here is something that might be of interest to you: Just recently (within the last few weeks) the “last Jacobite in Scotland” passed away! I collaborated with him on one of his heraldic ploys and there is a jump-chart connection with my cousin’s family and his! It was during one of his cheese and wine parties that I was introduced to Clanranald. He was one of a dozen or so guests,including myself. Another was one of the Crighton-Stuarts (of Bute family fame)! If you read the article below, you will get an idea of what it was all about. I knew him quite well.

        You may already have come across my Flickr photos of 1988 taken on the Uists on a fine summer’s holiday! Do have a wee look.

        • Angus Macmillan

          May 11, 2014 at 10:16 pm

          I had meant to say that I knew Peter Drummond Murray via correspondence a while ago so thanks for the link to his obituary. Angus

  11. David Taylor, Scotland

    April 20, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Unfortunately, I have no ancestry north of the Highland Boundary Fault Line, but my grandson has . . . and I am presently researching his ancestral families. He is connected to, but not descended from, the Beatsons in Campbeltown, of whom one was the Rev. Henry Beatson, Church of Scotland minister in Barra from 1847-1871. This man, I know, travels through history with a great deal of baggage, especially concerning the part he played in the Clearances on that island.

    However, my interest is not with him, but his wife Christian Macdonald, eldest daughter of Hugh Macdonald, Esq., Eoligarry, who was already deceased by 1842 when his daughter married Henry Beatson.. Christian was born c1808 in the parish of Kilmalie (Fort William), eldest daughter of Hugh and his wife Mary McInnes. An earlier son Colin was born in 1805 in the same parish, Hugh being described at that time, as “manager for Barra”. In other certificates and references, he is referred to “Land Steward” and “Factor”.

    It is not without interest that the Rev. Henry Beatson and Christian (nee Macdonald) called their two sons, Hugh Colin and Henry Dundas (both of whom died young). As is normal in genealogy the first-born son was invariably called after the father or grandfather, and as both Hugh and Colin are christian names used by the Boisdale family in South Uist, it is not unreasonable to think that there might be a link there.

    According to Internet sources, we can discount Hugh, 4th of Boisdale, since his life is already well documented. He is known to have died in 1875. A link also to Colin, 2nd of Boisdale, cannot be completely dismissed! However, there is an earlier branch who is mentioned in the months following the ’45 which is certainly of interest; that of Hugh Macdonald of Balshair or Baleshare in North Uist,They considered themselves “vassals” to Boisdale. What family did he have – if any! They were Protestants, as was, of course, the man I am looking for! One can’t help feeling that he must have had some standing somewhere in the complex Macdonald hierarchy!! I would be grateful to hear from anyone who has any information on this.

    • Angus Macmillan

      April 23, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      Just on the possibility of a link between Baleshare and Boisdale, there was one but not in a timescale or geography that would seem to make it relevant. High MacDonald of Baleshare and Alexander/Colin of Boisdale were both descendants of Good John of Islay, 1st Lord of the Isles, who flourished in the first half of the 1300s.

      Hugh was a natural grandson of Sir James Mor MacDonald X and 2nd Bart of Sleat. That line was established by Uisdean or Hugh MacDonald, son a the Lord of the Isles, conventionally in 1469n when he conquered part of Skye and then obtained North Uist, including Baleshare. Hugh remained a given name in that line.

      The Boisdales were Clanranald descendants. Just before 1600 Allan IX of Clanranald gave a fourth son lands in Benbecula, South Uist and on the mainland as his patrimony and, on the failure of the main line in 1725, Donald 111 of Benbecula became Captain of Clanranald. He granted Boisdale to his eldest son, Alexander, by his second marriage.

      There was no maternal overlap between the two lines either. Alexander did though know Hugh MacDonald of Baleshare. They were the two men Bonnie Prince Charlie drank to oblivion over three days when hiding out in the forester’s house in South Uist in June 1746.

      • David Taylor, Scotland

        April 24, 2014 at 9:44 pm

        Thanks for getting back to me so promptly. I now have a much better idea of the Boisdale and Balshare Macdonalds. The trick is to try and see if my Hugh (late Factor to Col. Gordon of Barra) fits into either of these lines – even if it is “on the wrong side of the blanket” – as they say! Is it reasonable to think that he may have had a higher status, holding the position that he did, than that of a mere crofter. Using the term “Esq.” suggests that he had the status of a Gentleman in the old-fashioned sense! Maybe not! We have no idea of his age, but that he was “manager for Barra” in 1805 suggests he was an older man – possibly born in the 1770s – maybe even earlier! And that brings us dangerously close to the ’45 Uprising and its aftermath!! Since the Old Parish Registers in these days were virtually non-existent, we have to rely on Clan archives or even well-kept family bibles (if any there be) to give us the information. In the case of Hugh Macdonald (manager for Barra) I think a trip to Aberdeen University Library is in order to see what they have in the way of Cluny Estate Papers for Barra during the late 18th – early 19th centuries. Incidentally, I have found another piece of information about the wife of the Rev. Beatson (Christian Macdonald). She was of Episcopalian persuasion!

        However, my real interest lies with the father of the Rev. Henry . . . Capt. Henry Dundas Beatson R.N, Commander of Her Majesty’s Revenue Cruiser “Swift”; also of Campbelton [sic] where the family had settled in the 18th century, and who died at Armadale Castle in 1849 – home of the Macdonalds of Sleat!! It must have been some kind of accident which accounted for his sudden death, because the Rev. Thomas Grierson, who at that time just happened to be on one of his many Highland tours, says so in an account which he published in 1851 of “A Week in Skye in the Autumn of 1849”:
        “ . . . In returning to Oban, a striking instance occurred of the uncertainty of human life. Near Armadale, Lord McDonald came alongside with some friends, by whom we were informed of the sudden death of Captain Beatson, R.N., at Armadale Castle. This gentleman had been our fellow-passenger to Skye, when he seemed in excellent health and spirits, and a finer-looking man could scarcely be seen. On account of this mournful event, our flag was hoisted half-mast high for the whole of that day”.

        We know, too, that Capt. Beatson married Margaret Stewart (daughter of Roger Stewart of Ronachan and Stewartfield in Argyll, a leading merchant and shipowner in Greenock). They had in all 11 children, one of whom was called Godfrey Bosville Macdonald Beatson (born 1827 in Campbeltown), and named after the 3rd Baron Macdonald of Sleat. Why he called one of his sons after such an important personage is anyone’s guess, for his genealogical connection with the Macdonalds, via his son’s marriage to Christian Macdonald, daughter of Hugh, did not occur till 1842. There is little doubt, however, that Capt. Beatson, in his role as captain of HM revenue cruiser “Swift” would have been virtually known to all landowners and clan chiefs up and down the entire western seaboard of the Highlands and Islands. It would be fascinating to know what his reasons were for visiting Macdonald of Sleat that day. Possibly just visiting an old friend, or was he, too, interested in his daughter-in-law’s father’s ancestry? I don’t suppose we will ever know!

        • Angus Macmillan

          April 24, 2014 at 11:11 pm

          I am afraid you will be grievously disappointed if you make a trip to Aberdeen looking for Colonel Gordon’s papers at the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th. Clanranld still had the South Uist estates until 1839 and Barra changed hands from the MacNeill chief at much the same time. Any records are likely to be in the NRO. I have a feeling too that Colonel Gordon acquired most of his wealth through inheritance so I doubt he even had anything to do with Cluny in the period you mention.

          I am interested in your mention of the ‘Swift.’ My 3x great grandfather, William MacFarlane was the piper on the cutter Swift that shepherded the fishing boats on Loch Fyne in the first quarter of the 19th century. He was descended from and married into the piping MacPhedrans and his sister into the piping MacLachlans at Crinan Harbour. There is a reference in Bridget MacKenzie’s ‘Piping Traditions of Argyll.’

          • David Taylor, Scotland

            April 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm

            Well then, the NRO in Edinburgh it will have to be! Nice and handy for me! The next step is more gravestone hunting. My wife and I were looking for somewhere nice to go for our holidays this year, so we’ve decided to return to Barra and check out the graveyard at Eoligarry in the hope that Hugh Macdonald might be buried there. We have been there before, but only to pay our respects to Sir Compton Mackenzie, of Whisky Galore” fame. Then we’ll continue our island hopping north to South Uist (Boisdale) and North Uist (Baleshare) to see if there is anything there. I’m hoping these places already have lists of gravestone inscriptions of those buried there! Not, of course, the modern inscriptions, but, as the Scottish Genealogy Society did in central Scotland, stones with dates prior to 1855, the year when Statutory Regisration began in Scotland. Our journey will continue on to Harris where we will take the Tarbert ferry over to Skye, thence down to Armadale (more Macdonalds) and finally to Mallaig on the mainland , , , and since Kilmallie (Fort William) is on the road home, we can stop off at their library for a final checkup on Hugh Macdonald, Eoligarry, whose son Colin is registered as being born there in 1805!

            PS – Angus, you may be interested to see the headstone of Capt. Henry Dundas Beatson,
            captain of the “Swift”, and his wife Margaret Stewart. We were there only 3 weeks ago. See
   Also on Flickr I shall be putting up (within the next couple of weeks) the photos of the Uists taken in 1987. You might find them interesting.

            Lastly, I did meet up with Ranald Macdonald Captain of Clanranald very many years when he was a relatively young man. However, the whys and wherefores of that meeting, interesting as it was, is not pertinent to this particular Forum.

            • Anne Marie

              April 25, 2014 at 10:02 pm

              Hi David,

              I don’t know if you have seen/read this before but there is reference to a Hugh MacDonald of Boisdale which is the last sentence in paragraph 3?


              The Hugh mentioned appears to be the one who moved to Liverpool prior to 1841 which would suggest that possibly Christian had no idea where her father disappeared to & maybe assumed him to be deceased especially if a marriage never took place?

              I hope I don’t confuse you now too but I find it interesting as look directly below your own post – Caledonhills has a post re Hugh MacDonald Esq.

              Interestingly too, on the Barra 1841 census there is a Hugh MacDonald aged 25 yrs (b c 1816) living at Schoolhouse, Bolbodach as Schoolmaster.

  12. caledonhills

    January 20, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Need help with a perplexing problem. I’ve just found 2 mentions of 2 daughter of “Hugh Macdonald, esq. Boisdale, South Uist” marrying in Launceston, Tasmania in 1833 and 1835. Charlotte, who married John Grant Smith, and auditor/shop keeper married in 1833 and died in 1838, and Amelia, who married a James Killop in 1835 and lived until she was 86, dying in 1895. James and Amelia had a large farm (1500 acres) called Boisdale, in Sorell. It was sold in 1862 after James Killop died. I am unaware of any other Hugh Macdonald, esq. Boisdale, South Uist, other than the one I’ve been researching for 30 years. He was the son of Alexander Macdonald III of Boisdale. He moved to England circa 1827 and had 11 children by a woman named Mary Hender.

    My problem is this: In the 1841 Wales Census, Hugh and Mary are shown living with several children (all born in the UK) except for the eldest, called Hector. He is shown as a “son” born in South Uist in 1826. I doubt this was Mary’s son as she was only 15 when he was born and she was from Cornwall. Did Hugh have a previous, unknown wife, or liason, that produced Charlotte, Amelia and Hector? Amelia would have been born in 1809 and Hugh would have been 24 years old so it IS possible.

    Any help appreciated.


  13. Flutterbye

    December 22, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Hi Don,

    I have saved the Recollections of Marshal Macdonald to my desktop and will read it as an interesting companion to Max Gallo’s “Napoleon, The Emperor of Kings” – another book I have been reading a couple of pages at a time… it is annoying being written from “inside Napoleon’s head” so to speak and his EGO was so huge can only take a few pages at a time. It is also interesting to read about the lives of the Scots who fled to France after 1746. In the Recollections, Marshall Macdonald speaks of his father as a gentle but silent man… plus much more about Neil’s intelligence and his life and marriage in France…

    Merry Christmas and safe New Year to all… (very hot in Aus).

  14. Flutterbye

    December 22, 2013 at 3:09 am

    In May 1825, Marshal Jacques Macdonald, Duke of Tarentum (age 60 years), father of Neill Macachaim (Neil McEachern), wrote in his family recollections for his son and heir – that Neil was born in 1719 in the Parish of Houghbeg, South Uist and that Flora, who was very remotely connected, through the Clanranalds, was born about six miles farther south of Houghbeg, on the farm at Milton, on South Uist. Perhaps this is where the ‘born at Milton’ came from? The Duke’s recollections were written in French and translated by others noted in the front of this book “the Recollections of Marshall Macdonald, Duke of Tarentum)… available at:

    • Don MacFarlane

      December 22, 2013 at 10:16 am

      Etienne Jacques MacDonald, confidant and right-hand man of Napoleon Bonaparte, was a fascinating man and one who never lost sight of his roots in South Uist. He was one of Napoleon’s foremost generals and he stood by Napoleon till almost the very last when he realised ‘the writing was on the wall’. He did a Grand Tour of the Uists in his retirement but the local folk appear not to have realised they had such an important personage in their midst.

    • Angus Macmillan

      December 22, 2013 at 11:08 am

      By 1825, none of the family had been in Benbecula for seventy five years since most had to leave for Skye in the wake of the stepfather’s affair with a married woman in 1746. However, Flora’s brother had settled on the family’s secondary lands at Milton. In turn Angus’ son, Capt Angus, had built a house there a generation before the Marshall visited and, of course, the Marshall’s father’s MacEachan (not MacEachern, which is a Kintyre family and a name unknown in the islands) family had been at Howbeg before 1746 and were still in possession in 1825. Thus it was natural that all the associations should be with that middle area of South Uist rather than with Balivanich.

      However, the fact is that it can be happenstance and so, unless registered, no-one can know where a birth took place. We do know from archaeologists that there was no house at Milton dating from the 1720s when Flora was born but that the family house when she was born, and where she lived until she was about 24, was in Balivanich.

      Indeed, the Rev Dr Angus MacDonald, born in Griminish, Benbecula, and historian of Clan Donald, wrote in a memoir that when he was at school in Balivanich in 1868, the ruins of Flora’s family home, that they left at Whitsunday in 1746, were still clearly visible in situ next to the school. This is not some late-coming judgement. If the old records are examined, Flora’s father was Ranald MacDonald II of Balivanich & Milton and they had Balivanich for over fifty years before receiving Milton as an add-on to the estate.

      There has been a consistent Benbecula tradition to the present day concerning the location of Flora’s family and it fits all the facts. The outcome of the affair, which was with a named woman, was a daughter who in due course married a mason from Mull called Crawford who was working at Nunton in Benbecula. They were parents, inter alia, of Capt Hugh Crawford, named for his natural grandfather, who built the Creagorry Inn, now succeeded by the Isle of Benbecula House Hotel. There are quite a few descendants still identifiable and, indeed, a cousin of my own with a few removes, married into the family via one of Captain Hugh Crawford’s daughters.

      What this thread exposes once again is how, just like convulvulus, tradition together with rumour can, however misplaced, once it has taken root and no matter how often it is pulled up, leave fractions of the rootstock left in the soil that keep regenerating and popping back to the surface.

      • Francie Gillis

        February 12, 2014 at 6:22 pm

        I am from Cape Breton but my ancestors came from Scotland, mainly South Uist & area. My great great grandfather came to CB from Eigg, Scotland at the age of 12. He was the son of Angus Ruadh MacDonald, who also had sons Angus (died at sea), Angus & Sam (Somhairle). I do not have much, if any, information on any of those people. Is there anyone who can help me out?

        • Francie Gillis

          February 12, 2014 at 6:27 pm

          I am also working on another family line of MacDonalds from Scotland. John, son of Rory (Eigg, Scotland), son of Anthony (father to Fr. Anthony MacDonald 1770-1845), son of Allan Ban, son of Anthony.

          Is there anyone with any information on this family?

        • Angus Macmillan

          May 26, 2014 at 10:40 am

          Sorry that I am only now reading messages from earlier in the year. I assume that by South Uist and area you simply mean Clanranald territory. Bar proprietorship, there was not really that much overlap of families between South Uist and the Small Isles. If you have any South Uist names, they might be recognisable. Funnily enough, as opposed to MacDonald, when I was in Judique last summer, in the cultural centre there I did meet a charming, enthusiastic and knowledgeable Gilli(e)s who showed me round Gillis Mountain and gave me a detailed family tree file on the Gillis families of the area. I shall be back in the Uists in a couple of weeks so will give them a wave for you.

          Meanwhile, good hunting. Angus

        • Don MacFarlane

          May 26, 2014 at 11:05 am

          In the meantime, while you are awaiting a response to your family history query, some old photos of Eigg:

        • Noni Brown

          May 26, 2014 at 10:30 pm

          Hi, the Macdonalds of Cnocowe may be of interest.

          JOHN MACDONALD was born in Balconie, Scotland, son of SIR JAMES MOR MACDONALD and MARY MACLEOD, daughter of JOHN “Iain Mor” MACLEOD, 16th of Dunvegan. John of Balconie married ALICE MACKENZIE on 27 June 1698. John received a wadset of the lands of Monkstadt, Cnocowe, and other lands on the 14th April 1677 from his mother. Monkstadt was the dower lands of Mary McLeod. John of Balconie made Monkstadt his family home by the deed dated from Monkstadt in 1704. His family occupied Mogstadt until about 1730, when the MacDonald chief fled from the “haunted castle of Duntulm and took up residence in Mogstadt.” John’s heirs then moved “across the ridge” to Cnocowe and were known thereafter as the Cnocowe MacDonalds. John of Balconie was purported to have signed a document on the 12th March, 1713, although another source says he died in 1707 with issue including:-

          ANGUS ROY “Ruadh” MACDONALD, aka Angus Ruadh MacDonald, was born after 1698.

          “Furthermore in the same source are recorded the following payments: a guinea note to “Donald Roy the herds son” on 30th December 1811, and another guinea note to “Donald Roy mac Innish, servant ” on the 4th December 1812, both by Donald MacDonald of Balranald. Added to the pedigree is the statement that Aonghas Sgitheanach (i.e. Angus of Isle of Skye) belonged to a family who were involved on the Jacobite side in the Rising of 1745-6, and that this had something to do with his move to North Uist; which suggests that he may have been one of the MacDonalds of Knockowe, who are supposed to have been alone among the Skye MacDonalds in taking the field as supporters of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. And it may be significant that the descendants of Aonghas Sgitheanach and the MacDonalds of Knockowe had at least one mark of identification in common – the hereditary cognomen “Ruadh”. Source: TGSOI Vol 52 page 326-7 – Notes on North Uist Families : by William Matheson 3.11.1982.

          … his eldest son.. DONALD ROY ”Ruadh” MACDONALD head of this family in 1745. A son of his was:

          RONALD ROY “Ruadh” MACDONALD – who entered the tack of Cnocowe, after James Macdonald of Kingsburgh, circa 1779. Ronald Roy died at Cnocowe about 1839. He married (1) Christina (Chirsty) Macdonald and (2) Christie Nicolson, born c1771, daughter of Donald Nicholson, Farmer & Catharine Macdonald. Ronald Roy fathered 21 children, most of whom emigrated to PEI and Cape Breton. His eldest son was:-

          ANGUS ROY “Ruadh” MACDONALD – who lived in Uig, Trotternish, Skye. Aonghas Mor Mac Raonuill Ruaidh was a remarkable man, of huge stature and herculean strength. He married Mary Morrison, herself of abnormal stature. With children, three sons and one daughter, the sons were all termed “Mor” or big”. His eldest son was HUGH MACDONALD. Uigg, Prince Edward Island, Canada was named by settlers from Uig, Isle of Skye.

          [P.A.P.E.I. 2664- #153] – Tracady (Prince Edward Island): “Scheme of The Division of the Quitrent of Lot 36 among different Possessors at five dollars each per year, showing the year each entered on the Possession, to what year each continued the Possession, the number of years each possessed, and the Sum he comes to be assessed with”.

          Ronald Roy McDonald,1771, 1779,7, 8..15..0
          Angus Roy MacDonald, 1772,1779,7, 8..15..0

          These men, Ronald Roy and Angus Roy MacDonald, are thought to be of the Cnocowe Catholic “Roy” MacDonald families that emigrated to Prince Edward Island on the “Polly” with the Glenaladale MacDonalds. It appears Ronald Roy Macdonald returned to the tack in Cnocowe, Skye in 1779.


          • Angus Macmillan

            May 27, 2014 at 12:32 am

            John MacDonald of Balconie was 8th x great grandfather of my grandchildren, Angus, Hamish and Seona. His first child with Alice Mackenzie (we think she was first) was Janet MacDonald, who married Evan MacGregor Murray, MacGregor of Glancarnaig’s younger brother. Evan was Bonnie Prince Charlie’s aide-de-camp through the ’45; captured Edinburgh single handedly when he spotted the gates being opened to allow some horses out and sprinted in to disarm the guard; and was the first to kill a redcoat at Prestonpans as he had a man carrying a particularly long gun. For his conduct during the battle, he was promoted major.

            After Culloden, he safely delivered the Prince’s secretary, Murray of Broughton, to the Forth and then disappeared until the early 1750s when, as the innkeeper at Lochearnhead, he was the man who heard James Stewart of the Glen swear to kill Glenure and he gave the crucial evidence on behalf of Glenure’s brother, Sir John Cambell of Barcaldine that saw the innocent James hanged, as recounted in the book Kidnapped.

            Evan later called in the favour by getting Barcaldine to recommend his eldest son, John, to a place in the East India Company. The latter prospered to the extent that he returned home from India, bought a large estate, was elected chief of the MacGregors and is ancestor of the current Chief. His son, rather than Sir Walter Scott, was the man who actually dressed George IV in the kilt and tights of the famous painting recording the Edinburgh visit of 1822. As for Evan, he saw out his life as a humble Lieutenant in the Hanoverian army and he died in Guernsey, where his job was to put the Highland regiments on board ships notionally bound for Portsmouth but actually bound for the death traps of the East or West Indies.

            • Don MacFarlane

              May 27, 2014 at 6:51 pm

              Another Shady MacGregor
              (Daily Mail, 27th May, 2014).

              Q ‘What induced British investors to put their money in a fictional South American country called Poyais, causing the 1825 stock market crash?’

              A. ‘The promise of riches in far away places after the Napoleonic War left eager investors open to fraud. Gregor MacGregor of Glengyle’s scheme raised the equivalent of £3.2 billion pounds at today’s prices and made him arguably the most successful conman of all time. In 1820 he invented Poyais, an eight million acre estate of a ‘country’ (the size of Wales) near the Black River in modern-day Honduras. He gave it a flag, a coat of arms and a currency; all written up in a fraudulent book, Sketch of the Mosquito Coast. This elaborate publicity campaign persuaded people not only to invest their savings but even to emigrate. About three hundred Scots set out to the colony on two boats, the Honduras Packet and Kennersley Castle. Two-thirds died from starvation and malaria. In October 1822 MacGregor offered a £200,000 Poyais bond at 6 per cent interest, similar to that being offered by genuine countries in South America. When he realised people were getting wise to his con, MacGregor fled to Venezuela where he lived until his death in 1845′.



  15. Stephan Goldmann

    December 20, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Just wanted to say thank you again. I even did an interview with Angus MacMillan for my website, My Highlands.

    If anyone is interested, you can read it here in German and down the page comes the English original. Again, thank you for your help. BY the way, I will be on Barra and the Uists in the end of June.

    • Don MacFarlane

      December 22, 2013 at 11:48 am


      Your next project can be to research the part that Flora MacDonald of Benbecula played in the American Revolutionary War. No clues yet, that can come later,

      • Stephan Goldmann

        December 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm

        Quite interesting indeed 🙂

        Maybe I will do that but for now:

        Everybody, A Merry Christmas here.

  16. Noni Brown

    November 20, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Angus Macmillan on this site, can probably help you. From Australia I found that the book “Flora Macdonald of Benbecula”, by Angus Macmillan (ISBN:9781905807154) was published on 1st January 2010 by the Publisher: Taigh Eachdraidh Ltd of Benbecula. Pages:94. If Angus or the Publisher do not have a copy of the book for you, you could try these libraries: National Library of Scotland NLS, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH1 1EW United Kingdom or The British Library, British National Bibliography BNB, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS23 7BQ United Kingdom.

    Angus Macmillan also wrote “Benbecula: v. 6: Hacklete” Published April 2006 also published by Taigh Eachdraidh Ltd of Benbecula Price £15.00. Is this the same Angus Macmillan on Western Isles? I have recently become very interested in Macleods of Hacklete (as they relate to the Macleods of Colbeck). Specifcally the John Macleod who went to Jamaica and bought Colbecks Estate Plantation, became known as “The Planter”. This John married as his first wife Janet Macleod, a daughter of Malcolm Macleod 9th or 10th Laird of Raasay (Janet was the 3rd wife and widow of John Dubh Mackinnon aka the Old Laird of the ’45. It seems The Planter later married as his 2nd wife Margaret Macleod daughter of Roderick Macleod, Sheriff of Bute.

    John “the Planter” of Colbecks was a son of Donald Macleod (Shipowner & trader); The Planter’s brother was also Donald (Shipowner and trader even to the Pacific), his sister Barbara (Lady Habost); sisters Mary and Christiana, another brother (?) Murdoch Macleod (a brother or first cousin – a ship builder) and perhaps Malcolm Macleod another cousin, nephew i.e. son of Murdoch Malcolm Macleod.

    Donald his brother, was a heir to his estate and then to his son Col. John Macleod of Colbecks who raised a regiment under the name of Princess Charlotte’s regiment. Col. John Macleod of Colbecks married his first cousin Jane Macleod, a daughter of John Macleod 10th or 11th Laird of Raasay. Col John and his wife Jane were amongst the “fashionables” in London. Wealth was accumulated from Colbecks Jamaica and slave and crop holdings. This couple mixed in “Royal Circles” and appear to be very sociable hosts in Cheltenham along with their “lovely amiable daughters”.

  17. Stephan Goldmann

    November 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I am really interested in the Book “Flora MacDonald of Benbecula” of Mr MacMillan. But I can’t find it anywhere, neither on this site, nor in any on-line bookshop. Is there any way to get hands on it?

    • Don MacFarlane

      November 20, 2013 at 7:43 am

      Hi Stephen

      I can have Angus contact you direct about this if you wish.

  18. Noni Brown

    July 29, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Hi Don,

    Ok, slideshow sounds good… I will await your further instructions… I would also like to post PDFs of some of the timeline histories – how can I do this?

    • Don MacFarlane

      July 29, 2013 at 10:44 pm

      Try these tutorials for starters and see how you get on:

      How To Add Slideshow to WordPress

      How To Add PDF to WordPress

  19. Noni Brown

    July 29, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Dear Angus,
    A descendent of Kenneth Campbell, son of Donald Campbell of Scalpay & Catherine Macdonald of Baleshare, from Inverness, sent the excerpt below to me, which is interesting. This descendent has substantial information about the Campbell family in Scotland and North Carolina (if of interest). The Last Will and Testament of Donald Campbell of Scalpay is quite interesting and revealing in its content.

    Has anyone information on the other brother of Hugh and Donald, Roy (Ranald) MacDonald) who was a brazier in Edinburgh and who died without issue?

    TGSOI Vol 52 page 326‐7: Notes on North Uist Families: by William Matheson 3.11.1982

    “…Furthermore in the same source are recorded the following payments:a guinea note to ‘Donald Roy the Herd’s son’ on 30th December 1811,and another guinea note to ‘Donald Roy mac Innish, servant’ on the 4th December 1812, both by Donald MacDonald of Balranald.

    Added to the pedigree is the statement that Aonghas Sgitheanach (Angus of the Isle of Skye) belonged to a family who were involved on the Jacobite side in the Rising of 1745‐6, and that this had something to do with his move to North Uist; which suggests that he may have been one of the MacDonalds of Knockowe, who are supposed to have been alone among the Skye MacDonalds in taking the field as supporters of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. And it may be significant that the descendents of Aonghas Sgitheanach and the MacDonalds of Knockowe had at least one mark of identification in common‐ the hereditary cognomen ‘Ruadh’.

  20. Noni Brown

    July 29, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Hi Don,
    Thank you for your offer to give me Administrator’s rights to the Skye blog. It does sound interesting and, once I understand the ins and outs of it, I’m sure I would be happy to oblige.

    My knowledge of the Isle of Skye is reasonable, but you would realise I live in Australia and I have never been to Skye. I have spent 11+ years researching our Highland ancestors from in and around Monkstadt, Kilmuir. I have accumulated a 300+ year timeline history of Monkstadt – if that is of interest? I have collected info on census records in the Kilmuir Parish, particularly for all folk in the 1841 and 1851 censuses,and Skye place names in Gaelic and Norse.

    • Don MacFarlane

      July 29, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      You’re way ahead of me there then as I have driven often through Skye but never stopped as I was on my way to the ferry from Uig to Lochmaddy. Your specialist knowledge of Skye should enrich your visit, once you get there, by providing you with reasons and know-how as to where to stop. To me, it is just a place between A and B. You mentioned photos so how about, as an administrator, putting together a slideshow and educate me as to what I am missing out on? I’ll teach you how.

  21. Noni Brown

    July 29, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Hi Ann Marie…Lewis’s words re his life involving ‘cookery’ had been upwards of forty years including – sometime in the kitchen of the King of Sardinia and thirty four years thereafter with Halyburton i.e. from 1794 thereabouts to 1828, his time of writing, and I would take it as around six plus years cooking in the kitchen of the King.

    I have only just now read about what an Administrator does and I was about to ask Don about that side of things. My interest and knowledge in Skye is focussed on in and around Monkstadt, Kilmuir, Trotternish (McLeod (Monkstadt), Macdonalds of Sleat -Monkstadt & Cnocowe, Budges (Balgown & Kilvaxtor), and via marriages – Macqueen, Macmillan, Nicholson and Buchanan. I am also interested in Galtrigal, Duirinish.

    I will post something on the Skye blog later today. It will be interesting to see if your McLeods and MacLeans are connected in anyway. There are lots of brickwalls chasing info back from 1820s in that part of the world.

  22. Anne Marie

    July 28, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks but you gave me that honour already a few years ago maybe the word was Moderator? but I don’t do ‘History’ – although I still help others when I can.

    My knowledge is limited but what does help is the fact that I have been to Daliburgh School, know my way round on four wheels, by foot. I can read Gaelic names/place names which helps, of course, being able to help with the area they need for SP whether Boisdale or Howmore, so I wouldn’t be anymore help than I’ve been 🙂

    I have to say though, when I do help, I see it through as far as possible & I take a genuine interest whether related or connected by blood or not.

    • Don MacFarlane

      July 28, 2013 at 3:51 pm


      I don’t think I’ve invited anyone to be an Administrator before? There are three roles – Administrator, Editor and Author. Administrator provides all access privileges to the website and full access to the dashboard. This means there is no limit to what as Administrator you can do on the website, within the limits of WordPress, and way beyond what an Editor (which is what you have been up-to-date?) could do. You would have to have your own password to get into the inner workings but that is straightforward enough.

  23. Anne Marie

    July 28, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Hi Noni,

    I’m enjoying the reading and I now have a grasp of his tasteful life 😛

    Extract of a few words; “practice of cookery in this and my native country for upwards of forty years. I was for some time in the kitchen of the King of Sardinia and afterwards thirty four years with the Hon DF Halyburton as cook and house steward”

    So 40 + yrs in his native country & 34 yrs with Hallyburton makes 74 + yrs and this was written in 1828. So, 1828 minus 74 yrs cooking = 1754 (his birth year) !!!!

    So why are all his progeny still ‘adamant’ about his carpentry??? The facts are laid bare on Louis’ neatly spread table with dates on a plate to back his career up. We are here spoon feeding it with a nice glass of his home-made liquor to wash it down but no-one is prepared to open their mouth & eat;-P

    I have also noted that everyone seems to have his death date as 03 May 1844? (his burial date) – he actually died 29 Apr 1844! 😉

    Right, time I took my wooden spoon & spade elsewhere 😮
    I will post my queries for Skye on the appropriate board & congratulations on being the new Administrator 🙂 Your 1st task for me will keep you busy – ‘MacLeod’ – not a very common name in that neck of the woods, haha ;-o

    • Don MacFarlane

      July 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      Hi Anne Marie

      As far as I know, Noni has not yet accepted the invitation to be Administrator of the Skye page but hopefully she will. If it appeals to you, a similar invitation to yourself could be for the Genealogy page or any other that grabs your fancy, other than the Uist and Barra page which I think would belong to Angus if he wants it.

  24. Noni Brown

    July 28, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Hi Anne Marie.. going back to 1793-4 I can see how Lewis Pedrana may have met up with Hon. D.G. Halyburton..

    In 1828 Lewis Pedrana says “upwards of forty years makes me bold in recommending hop tops as I was for some time in the kitchen of the King of Sardinia where the art was practised in all its branches…..”.

    King Victor Amadeus III ( Vittorio Amadeo Maria, 26 June 1726 – 16 October 1796) was Duke of Savoy before he was King of Sardinai. Throughout his life this King of Sardinia would have a great interest in the state military which he lavished attention on. As a young prince, he surrounded himself with intellectuals and ministers, many of whom would come to prominence in his reign. He was a private, conservative and very religious person who, as a young boy, stayed far from public life. His father felt him to be unsuitable to hold power. Good-natured but naive, Savoy would be loved by his subjects for his generosity. One can just imagine Lewis busy in the kitchen catering for delicious meals to be served to the important guests and family of King Victor who died 1796.

    “I was afterwards thirty four years with the Hon DF Halyburton as cook and house steward” .. from c1794-6?

    Hon. DG Halyburton’s young 20 year cousin froze to death whilst pursuing some deserters on the 31 December 1783 off Sandy Hook, New Jersey. ‘On this spot were buried the remains of the Hon. Hamilton Douglas Halyburton, 1st Lieutenant, Royal Navy, son of Sholto Charles Earl of Morton and Katherine Countess Dowager of Morton and Heir of the Ancient Family of HALLYBURTON of PICTURR in SCOTLAND, who perished on this Coast with Twelve more young gentlemen and one common Seaman, in the spirited Discharge of Duty: on the 31st of December 1783. Cast away, all found dead and frozen, and buried in one grave’. Hon. DG Halyburton succeeded to the estate of Pitcur, near Kettins in Forfarshire, and adopted the name and arms of Hallyburton of Pitcur.

    The French Revolution of 1789 had a significant impact throughout Europe, which only increased with the arrest and eventual execution of King Louis XVI of France. By the 1st February 1793 – Great Britain, Spain, Holland, Sardinia, Naples and Portal joined Austria and Prussia, already at war with France (the First Coalition).

    In 1793 the Corsican Rangers were formed under the Lt Gen Sir Hudson Lowe. They were one of some fifteen foreign regiments recruited by the British. Lowe was empowered to recruit Corsicans, Sardinians and Sicilians into his regiment. As regards the officer establishment, the Lieutenant-Colonel (commanding officer), the second in command, a major, and another major were Englishmen, but of the ten captains, seven were Corsican, of the thirteen lieutenants, ten were Corsican, of the nine ensigns, four at least were Corsican, and the quartermaster was a Corsican. In 1793 Lt Gen Sir Hudson Lowe campaigned in Corsica, Elba, Portugal and Minorca and in 1794 Lt Gen Sir Hudson Lowe commanded the Corsican Rangers.

    Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment), once known as the Royal Regiment of Foot (2nd Battalion) was based in the Mediterranean. and it fought at the Siege of Toulon (1793) and in the capture of Corsica (1794).

    On 7 March 1793, Francis Humberstone MacKenzie raised the “78th (Highland) Regiment of Foot”. On 28 March 1795 Hon. DG Halyburton joined the Army as an Ensign, quickly rising to become a Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion 78th Foot on 25 August; a then Captain in the 113th Foot on 31 August the same year.

    Hon. D. G. Halyburton was listed on 25 July 1810 as receiving half-pay Corsican Rangers (formed in 1793). Perhaps he was one of the Englishmen in the Corsican Rangers. If so, it may have been on or before this period he first met up with Lewis Pedrana. Being an Italian Regiment, it is likely that all English Officers spoke Italian. The Corsican Rangers were later reformed as the Royal Corsican Rangers. Finally, Hon. D.G. Halyburton served in the French Revolutionary War with Archduke Charles and carried home despatches from Charles Craufurd on 4 July 1796.

  25. Anne Marie

    July 28, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Louis Pedrana was a ‘rare breed’ you might say?
    A chap who gained status through his cullinary skills & was very popular it seems with the women, tempting their tastebuds 🙂

    His first-born was when he was c 43yrs, last born (legitimate) when he was c 55 yrs & last (legitimate) marriage was when he was c 75 yrs. A man with ‘staying power’- the epitome of a ‘Stud’ or ‘Italian Stallion’ 😉

    One of the properties once owned by Louis’ employer, Lord Gordon-Hallyburton, was Maynooth Farm, Co. Kildare, Ireland. Imagine my surprise at finding out it is now possibly a ‘Stud Farm’, breeding Horses!!!! ;-). It sure made me laugh a lot. I wonder what it was in its day when Louis’ boss owned it?

    I still can’t understand, with all the info. from the ‘horses mouth’ that he was employed in the Catering trade, that no-one seems to have ditched the Carpenter theory? By Louis’ own testament in 1828, of having experience in the practice of cookery of upwards of 40 yrs in his home Country & with Hallyburton 34 of the 40 years as a Cook & House Steward, he would have been working for the Lord since 1794 – prior to the shipwreck of 1800 & after his time with Clanranald as a Servant in 1793, although it is not known how long he was with Clanranald?

    Open to suggestions on his engagement with Clanranald and would assume it will have been noted somewhere in their archives? It would be interesting to know when he was first employed with them?

    Pedrana to Peteranna to Hannah is traceable but the transition of Carpenter to Caterer is definitely a ‘Chalk & Cheese’ scenario but that’s possibly where the saying originated :-); the chalk for marking his cutline as a carpenter & the cheese for a panino as a caterer.

  26. Anne Marie

    July 27, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    I would be somewhat surprised if it was the same family although it’s not impossible. The Hannah transition was mainland (central, south & to the borders) followed by Canadian offshoots I think?

  27. Anne Marie

    July 27, 2013 at 12:17 am

    The site you gave me the link to on tribalpages is Theresa/Terri/Tez Nicholl (Hannah), a variant of Pedrana, who came to Uist with me & she has her tree on Ancestry too. No-one has more info. than her and up to the present day too. I’m sure she has (maternity snoops) 🙂

    It’s not the ‘up-to-date’ stuff that interests me, as Noni has said too. They are not my family (just fascinating) but there is a brick wall and I’m glad she’s interested in getting her spade out 🙂

    The very roots regarding the first three generations & the questions surrounding them are of interest – purely because I know a lot of the shenanigans & basically there are a few loose ends that do need tying up if it’s possible to find the info.

    A personal thing from being involved in the beginning & knowing so much. I suppose I’m like Pinnochio now 🙂 – my GG grand-uncle, Donald MacKinnon, married Mary Peteranna, a daughter of John Pedrana & Penelope MacDonald; John being the son of Louis 1st & Euphemia MacIntyre) Donald & Mary had seven issue & it was through that connection I first got to know of Terri.

    I’m still putting together what I have when I have time & will take it from there as there is a birth still lurking with a query as to which Louis. Child, Elizabeth Pedrana born 1825 in Kettins to Lewis Pedrana & Margaret Bowman -‘in fornication’, could be either? It seems Louis (1) was the correct hubby for Elizabeth Marshall.

    Were Lewis & Pedrana ‘fashionable names’, relationship ties or merely named after a really nice person? Mmm, can’t help but wonder 😉

    1: Lewis Pedrana Keay b 1820 Kettins to John Keay & Margaret Cassie (b c 1797)
    2: Lewis Pedrana Millar b 1824 Kettins to William Millar & Isabel Walker

    Who was it that said “What’s in a name”?? Very good question!!! No wonder I’m tired 🙂 X8

    I will nip over to Skye soon to see if you have any of the MacLeods & MacLeans I’m looking for. I will leave a message when I arrive at Uig 🙂

    • Don MacFarlane

      July 27, 2013 at 9:14 am

      I never made the connection to Hanna. My grandparents’ next-door neighbours in Ardchuig in Benbecula were Hanna. When they went off on their Summer holidays we used to feed their ducks.

  28. Noni Brown

    July 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Don, I have been too busy at work to keep up to date with Lewis Pedrana’s history, so I am not up-to-date with the latest findings. Does the message about going to the “Pedrana family site” mean we are no longer welcome to add any more comments or discoveries about Lewis Pedrana? As I have no connection to his family I don’t want to join up on the Pedrana family site. I was quite enjoying helping tidy up a few loose ends as an ‘illusive or elusive’ member of a casual think-tank; interested enough to research and assist tidying up loose ends and breaking down brick walls?

    As my ancestors were from Skye, I will move along to that blog. Can anyone contribute photos to this site? How does one do that?

    • Don MacFarlane

      July 26, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Hi Noni

      I am very pleased to hear that your interest is in the Skye page as it is badly in need of being developed. In fact, I would be very happy for you to be the administrator of that page as my knowledge of Skye is practically zilch, although my MacFarlane ancestors came from Edinbane. If you are up for that, I will give you administrator rights and I will tell you how to add photos (indeed have a slideshow) and that would certainly help to add additional visual interest.

      Nobody has asked how to add photos as a contributor yet but if you prefer to do it that way follow these instructions:

      If it all seems like Greek to you, just let me know and I will give clearer instructions.

      As far as the Pedrana story goes, I was merely saying that I was bowing out. Other people can feel free to continue that story if they so wish. I have nothing against the Peterannas, indeed I have posted a query on their site only yesterday to see if I can drag them into the discussion.

  29. Anne Marie

    July 24, 2013 at 10:37 pm


    Things are confusing enough 🙂 Louis lost 80 yrs on 1841 census & you have him marrying in 1838 which was “4 yrs” prior & a son John aged 9 left behind in Uist 🙂

    Louis married 1801 – his wife remarried 1809 & his son with Euphemia in Uist, John was born

    Maybe ‘Carpenter’ was derived from the life he carved out for himself? 🙂

    • Don MacFarlane

      July 24, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      I wasn’t implying that Lewis Sr. married any later than 1801 (though he may well have done for all I know). I presume it was Lewis Jr. who married in 1825. There seems also to be a very extensive Australian connection and, despite all his roguery, he seems to have been remembered affectionately by one and all. I think we have wrapped up a good deal of the detail on Louis so perhaps the Pedrana story has nearly run its course?

      • Don MacFarlane

        July 25, 2013 at 8:08 am

        Anyone who wishes to pursue the Pedrana story further can register and post material with the Pedranafamilies site at

        The front page of the website proclaims:

        “This website was created on 02 Sep 2008 and last updated on 16 Aug 2012. The family trees on this site contain 754 relatives and 28 photos. The every growning Pedrana family was started in Scotland by one man, Louis John Antonio Pedrana. Louis was born in Italy and came to be in Scotland when his ship that he was working on as a ships carpenter was wrecked off the Isle of Barra, Outer Hebrides. We have not as yet looked into the Italian side of the family. With Louis having married a few times, this family has branched out to many parts of the world and still growing. Doing this family there have been many surprises that have turned up and are still turning up”.

        Of the twenty questions I have posed about the Pedranas, I think we have surpassed ourselves and we have satisfactorily answered at least twelve of them. I am bowing out of the topic (much to Angus’s relief, I expect!) now but others are free to carry it forward if they feel the story still has some legs.

  30. Don MacFarlane

    July 24, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Horo Mo Nighean Dhonn Bhoidheach
    Horo My Nut-Brown Maiden

  31. Noni Brown

    July 24, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Hi Anne Marie,

    Who was this Luigi Pedrana born abt 1836 in the 1841 census?

    1841 Scotland Census
    about Luigi Pedrana
    Name:Luigi Pedrana
    Estimated Birth Year:abt 1836
    Where born:Scotland Civil parish:Kettins County:Angus Address:Hallyburton House
    Occupation:M S
    Parish Number:294
    Household Members:
    Luigi Pedrana 5
    Hannah Lindsay 45
    Elizabeth Drummond 35
    Catherine Armstrong 25
    Margaret Buchanin 20
    Peter Chalmers 60

  32. Anne Marie

    July 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I found the information relating to John. Louis himself admitted he was illegitimate in his will.

    I also found the source of the shipwreck theory, carpenter etc. – published in the Scotsman around 1980 by an Iain Peter MacInnes whose aunt, I think, was married to one of the Peterannas? So, bottom line, it is still ‘hearsay’ as Louis has never to my knowledge been proven to be a Carpenter & I will stand by my own theory that Carpenter was a transcription error of Caterer?

    Angus, no need to leave us out in the cold just because of a bad experience 🙂

  33. Anne Marie

    July 23, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Hi Noni,

    I have mountains of info. but at the time it was just that ‘info’! I was so busy trying to help with the collating of it and helping build the tree that the dates, names etc. were not as significant to me and I had to leave it up to them with ‘prospective’ finds as I was busy at the same time with my own line.

    Initially, the involvement was through the common link with my family & theirs. I was excited with all my finds though as the name was not common but soon became hilarious with all the marriages, kids etc. I didn’t do a family tree as such with the name as I didn’t have FTM back then but I was deeply into searching whatever I could.

    I’m not sure exactly what all I have to be honest as it was only last week that I decided I was actually keen to find out more. I now think that Louis was gifted his share in the Hallyburton Estate prior to the ‘Will’ estate? He was a wealthy man for being a ‘Servant’- that income coming from Gordon-Hallyburton!

    I do know I have a lot of what’s there but not necessarily it all as I can’t remember. Some I have definitely recognised though,depending on the content whether it sticks in my mind, to be honest. I just find them such an extraordinary family and, with the son having the same name, it’s actually a guessing game at times as to who married who & who had issue with who? (prior to Louis Jnr going to Oz). Fascinating to say the least but there are not enough records to distinguish who was the adulterer or the bigamist or were they both of the same callibre?

    It will take me a fair wee while as I’m going to have to sort all the dates for marriages, births etc. out to find out who (if it’s possible) married who & fathered who? 🙂 My quess at the moment is to try & locate deaths for the named women to see what is mentioned as some of what I have is confusing but with the deaths occurring prior to 1855 could be an ask??

  34. Angus Macmillan

    July 23, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Hugh or Uisdein was a family name, perhaps THE family name for the MacDonalds of Sleat. The younger brother of the Lord of the Isles, who was given lands in Skye if he could take them, was Uisdein MacDonald, who undertook the task in 1469. Sir James Mor MacDonald’s uncle I think it was, was the egregious Uisdein mac Ghilleasbeag Chleiric also mentioned in your texts.

  35. Noni Brown

    July 23, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Hi Anne Marie, I have been so busy at work and missing out on all the latest, so if I am going over old ground, sorry.

    Lewis Pederana (Caterer – Servizio a domicilio)
    Memoirs of the ‘Caledonia Horticulural Society – The Gardener’s Magazine and Register of Rural & Domestic Improvement’, Volume 8 Conducted by J. C. Loudon, FLS HS & C, London 1832.

    Contributions by Lewis Pederana:
    Article 58 – Account of the mode of making various Liqueurs,1827.
    Article 62 – Hop-Tops, Culinary Vegetables etc.Pages 180, 181, 182, 183, 184.

    In a Letter to the Secretary from Mr Lewis Pederana Halyburton House – Read 1st September 1828.

    Observing in your schedule a notice desiring an account of any new or improved vegetables and particularly the modes of cooking and preparing the gourd and its varieties, I now submit for your inspection first a few hints respecting an excellent wholesome and very valuable culinary vegetable when rightly managed and prepared and I shall secondly describe several modes of dressing gourds for the table.

    The culinary vegetable alluded to consists of the tops of that well known plant, the Hop. They form an excellent substitute for asparagus when asparagus is out of season and they may be had the whole year round. Hop tops also form an admirable ingredient for a variety of dishes such as soups omelettes etc.

    Long experience in the practice of cookery, both in this and in my native country for upwards of forty years, makes me bold in recommending hop tops, I was for some time in the kitchen of the King of Sardinia where the art was practised in all its branches. I was afterwards thirty four years with the Hon. DF Halyburton as cook and house steward. He being of delicate constitution and eating no sort of animal food whatsoever I was on his account obliged to study varieties of vegetable dishes. Hop tops formed one on which I by chance stumbled and of which he very highly approved finding it agreeable and very wholesome.

    Having sent you some time ago some of my receipts for cooking gourds I hope you will not think me troublesome if I send you two more.

    1 Take young gourds, the size of cucumbers and cut them longitudinally in four. Clear them of any pulp if very tender. Give only a parboil and if hard blanch them with a little salt. Then take 2 ounces of fresh butter and a table spoonful of flour which brown in a stew pan and pour on good gravy until pretty thick. Put the gourds in this mixture, season them with white pepper and a little salt, and serve up. This makes an excellent centre or corner dish for the second course.

    2 Take young gourds as above and likewise batter and flour. As above dissolve the batter in a stew pan but do not brown it. Then take three yolks of eggs mixed well with half a mutchkin of cream and half a mutchkin of sweet milk. Stir this before the fire until it becomes thick as custard. If not thick enough add one or two yolks of eggs more. Season it well with pepper and nutmeg then put it neatly on the dish with all the sauce. Strew over it a handful of grated Parmezan cheese then put it in the oven to brown or salamander it. This dish is one of the best of vegetable luxuries and will defy the person who eats to say of what it is made unless he has previously known it. This is likewise a second course dish and may be placed opposite the above


    Man Servant (Italian: L’uomo servo)

    In the Royal Navy aboard ship, only Captains and Admirals were assigned personal stewards aka Manservants and they performed many of the duties of Batmen in the other services. If Lewis (Luis) had a naval career he may have been a manservant to a Captain or Admiral in the Royal Navy.

    A famous example of the close relationship between a Captain and his Manservant:
    Dixon Hoste had arranged for William Hoste’s name to be entered in the books of HMS Europa as a Captain’s servant when he was just 5 years old, although he would not actually go to sea until he reached the age of 12 or 13.

    “Nelson accepted William Hoste to join him as a captain’s servant on “HMS Agamemnon:” which he boarded at Portsmouth at the end of April 1793. The ship joined the Mediterranean Fleet under Lord Hood, and it was in the Mediterranean and Adriatic that Hoste saw most of his naval service. Extracts from Nelson’s letters to his wife mention Hoste frequently; e.g. ‘without exception one of the finest boys I ever met with’ and ‘his gallantry never can be exceeded, and each day rivets him stronger to my heart’. Hoste was promoted to midshipman by Nelson on 1 February 1794 and served with him during the blockade of and subsequent assault on Corsica on 7 February. Once, while in conversation with Hoste’s father, Nelson remarked: “ His worth as a man and an officer exceeds all which the most sincere friend can say of him. I pray God to bless my dear William.” Lord Radstock once wrote: “I look at you (Hoste) as the truly worthy eleve (French word for pupil or student) of my incomparable and ever to be lamented friend the late Lord Nelson.”

    I recall my Uncle James was a manservant (aka personal steward) to Australia’s 19th Prime Minister of Australia (illegitimate son of Alice Sinn, daughter of a railway worker, and English orange orchardist), at his residence in Sydney Australia. James was selected as a man to be trusted his character known to be kind, loyal, dedicated, trustworthy, dedicated, discrete and reliable (a rather nervous man I recall). No doubt a confidante to his Prime Minister and privy to many state and personal secrets. When he retired he was granted lands (by the Government?) near our capital city, which he sold forthwith and left Australia to retire in permanently in Spain (never to return to Australia).

    When our dearest Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Australia (in the 50s or 60s), Uncle James and my father (Joseph) were selected to serve liqueurs to the Royal couple at Randwick Race Course. My father greatly enjoyed creating new “rainbow coloured liqueurs”.

    • Don MacFarlane

      July 23, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Excellent work, Noni. There can be little doubt now that Luis worked as a chef for the House of Savoy. Here is his recipe for home-made brandy:

      “Take twenty pints of fully-ripe gooseberries and twenty pints of white or red currants. Bruise the fruit and mix with twenty pints soft water and two pints of port wine (or whisky if preferred). Ferment these ingredients in an open vessel and ferment for a fortnight. Then put the mixture through a press to exclude the refuse. Distil the liquid twice to get ten pints of good (colourless) brandy from twenty pints. To colour the brandy add a little burnt brown sugar. Then stand in a cask for six months then bottle it”.

  36. Don MacFarlane

    July 22, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Hallyburton and the Corsican Rangers

    Lord Hallyburton was a Captain in the Royal Corsican Rangers, a unit of the British Army which served during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. If Luis Perdana returned to Italy after his term of service with Clanranald, this may have been the reason why – out of a patriotic desire to be of service to his country and the Kingdom of Italy in particular.

    The background to this arena of conflict was that in 1794, Corsicans seceded from the French Republic and invited British troops to drive French troops from the island. Most of the officers were Corsican, as was the hard core of 360 riflemen, organised in six companies. They were augmented by recruits from Sicily, Sardinia and Naples (the territory of the House of Savoy).

  37. Laurie

    July 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Hi, I know there was interest in at least stabilizing the ruin and I found an online pic of people working on the site. they may have cleaned it up and stabilized the one wall. It was all overgrown when I saw it back in 2007. Had hoped to go back this summer to see it again, but it didn’t some to pass (I’m in the USA).

  38. Anne Marie

    July 22, 2013 at 10:51 am

    If I could understand a bit more of what’s in Hallyburton’s will it would help but it’s in Old English & hard to read. There is mention of a William (Harvis), late of Queen Street (?), Parish of St. George, Hanover Square, County of Middlesex, Carpenter (Servant)? and a bit more (hard to read) and mention of William’s widow Sarah and what looks to be, lagatee for life. There’s also what looks like Barry Hinde, Dublin Solicitor.

    I read somewhere that Louis was left a substantial amount of money & properties by Gordon-Hallyburton. However, I have gone over that will a thousand times and I can’t see his name. It may be possible that the reference is in a ‘job description’ as opposed to a name? I need to find someone to translate it.

  39. Anne Marie

    July 22, 2013 at 12:15 am

    So the London connection is becoming clearer which is super. Now what can we depict from it as I think therein lies the truth?

    • Don MacFarlane

      July 22, 2013 at 7:59 am

      The British Government was fearful of a French invasion in and just before 1798 at the time of the United Irishmen Rebellion. A fleet of the French Navy was intercepted in Lough Swilly in 1798 at Rathmullan in North Donegal and the rebel, Wolfe Tone, was apprehended. It could well be that Lord Halyburton as Admiral in the Reserve Navy was tasked with patrolling these waters and he may have included the Outer Hebrides (being just one hundred miles due North of Donegal) as part of that watch [Derry in Northern Ireland in more modern times was the US base to patrol the Western shores for U- boats].

      It is unclear whether the Jacobins had any real intention of invading or was the fiasco just an exercise to rattle the British, and to make them feel exposed on their Western front in the run-up to the Napoleonic Wars. Either way, if Luis were in the Navy Reserve it must have felt for a while like ‘out of the frying pan into the fire’. If Luis had been in the employ of the House of Savoy before that, he would know that the Savoys were being encroached upon (subsequently invaded) by the French in both parts of their territory, in Piedmont and in Sardinia. Then to go to the Western Isles and to have to patrol against the French there as well?

      Clanranald may have been given a brief to look out for anything suspicious and he may have been entrusted to do so as the Clanranalds had resisted the blandishments of the French a mere fifty years before. All fanciful perhaps but maybe not so far off the mark either? All in all, plenty reason for Luis with his background to have been considered, if he was, as a useful asset to people in high places.

  40. Anne Marie

    July 21, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    From memory I think John Frederick was a nephew and also an MP? I don’t doubt there was something made him favourable to such notable people and I’m certainly open to genuine theories to substantiate the mysteries which could point to the treasure trove (truth).

    It seems he had given up his “engagement” in Italy to work for Ranald George but there seems to have been a sort of contract whereby Ranald had agreed to pay his epenses back to Italy where he was engaged – from the wording of the minutes 1793 and also part of his claim was as a Perquisite, the body clothes of Ranald? I’m not up on what the significance of the body cloths would have been?

    It It was after that and after his stay in London that he went to Hallyburton unless it was Gordon-Hallyburton who sent him to London which seems feasible given that he possibly did meet his wife there?

  41. Noni Brown

    July 21, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Perhaps Luis Pedrana met up with Admiral Gordon through the navy? Even if he was not initially on a British ship, crew from captured enemy ships often were used on the British Navy ships and crew were loyal to the ship they crewed on.

    Luis must have had some talents or good connections to end up being the manservant in this class of family. Admiral (Vice-Admiral) Lord John Frederick Gordon (of Hallyburton), The Royal Guelphic Order, sometimes also referred to as the Hanoverian Guelphic Order, born 15 August 1799 – 29 September 1878, was a Scottish naval officer, son of George Gordon, 9th Marquess of Huntly, Knight (The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle (28 June 1761 – 17 June 1853), styled Lord Strathavon until 1795 and known as The Earl of Aboyne from 1795 to 1836, was a Scottish peer.

    • Don MacFarlane

      July 22, 2013 at 12:04 am

      Other Facts about the Halyburtons

      The Fitzclarences were well intertwined with the Huntlys/Halyburtons. Brother and sister Fitzclarence (Augustus and Augusta) married sister and brother Huntly (Sarah and John Frederick).

      The Guelphic Order was very short-lived, lasting only 21 years and ending with the dissolution of the House of Hanover.

      Lord Halyburton’s mother, Catherine Cope, came from Marylebone in London, where Luis Pedrana married in 1801.

      As far as I can tell, Admiral Halyburton was not a commissioned officer of the regular Royal Navy but of the Reserve List which did mainly coastguard duties in peacetime – a bit of a sinecure really.

      Altogether then, the family were altogether more show than substance, but well-connected in the Establishment. I would say the Royal Family of the day were indebted to them for taking two of the illegitimate Fitzclarences off their hands.

  42. Anne Marie

    July 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Ahhhhh Sorry!! 😳

    I was just emphasising that these are the things that are posing questions as the only son born in Uist was before the shipwreck? Or has no-one else noticed that from counting his date of birth from the census’ or death certificate? This not tying in is what drew my attention to whether he was on that ship but possibly was a frequent visitor through work but what work & where? Too many slants.

    He may not have had a choice regarding leaving Uist. He DID work for Clanranald prior to 1793 so the theory that Clanranald heard about his carpentry skills while he was working on Barra and gave him a job on Uist doesn’t match up. He also supposedly stayed on Barra after the shipwreck for some time due to injuries to his legs but this didn’t stop him hot footing it though to London 😕

    I have read that the wife he married in 1801 worked at Hallyburton but, again, no clue as to when? Was it before or after the marriage and did they meet at Hallyburton?

    So, a lot of varying stories & they all sound good but there is no weight with them.

  43. Anne Marie

    July 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    I have read it before – that’s the same person I went to Uist with on two occasions & away back in the beginning I gave her all my findings & she herself dug up a lot. However, that info. was not in my findings & I don’t know where it came from but I suspect it was possibly an Aussie connection?

    As I said previously I had come across a few things which didn’t add up as time went on but it wasn’t my family & I suppose at the time I assumed the ‘stories’ to have been fact. It’s only now that I’m having a more serious look at the events etc., out of interest & curiosity and with the info. I do have, I thought it would generate quite a bit of interest on here?

    I think it’s the elusiveness which intrigued me, so short of getting a straw & sucking till my jaws hurt how do I draw out the truth? 😡

    Whilst I remember, you mentioned about Louis abondoning his Uist family, turning his back on them. You mean the ONLY son ‘supposedly, born prior to the shipwreck of 1800 😕

  44. Anne Marie

    July 21, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Tunnel vision springs to mind here :-).

    Whether or not working for Clanranald (SOURCED) or Gordon-Hallyburton (SOURCED) would have been a come down from SAVOY or being a CARPENTER is at this stage to me irrelevant!

    My point being the very statement I made earlier about ‘fictional facts’ 🙂

  45. Anne Marie

    July 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Hi Noni & Don,

    Please remember this is not my direct family; it is purely marital-connected but it is fascinating to me because of my initial involvements & findings.

    No disregard to both your findings but I have an absolute wealth of info., including all that you have posted. I was the one to put the foundations in place for the original two descendants who approached me around 2005 possibly prior, including making a special trip to Hallyburton & Kettins Graveyard for photographs!

    I have an absolute Best-Seller’s take with what I have gathered and which I have passed on to the same two descendants. All my own findings are however sourced by legal documents rather than hearsay like the ‘Savoy’ connection or the ‘Shipwreck’ theory. I have that information but only from what others have on-line & I have yet to see a legitimate source for a lot of what I have read, so therefore it’s my personal inquisitive nature to ‘dig’ until I find the bones (a wee pun) :-).

    To my knowledge Louis the 1st had two legitimate marriages (Sourced). The first produced issue (4), the youngest b. 1808, but the wife remarried 1809 (Sourced). Louis however didn’t legally remarry until 1828 (Sourced). My question on this is whether it was Louis 1st or 2nd who married in 1828. Louis 1st would have been about 55yrs whereas Louis 2nd would have been about 23 yrs?

    I feel as if you have read my mind & I’m so surprised as most of your questions are near to the very questions I have. The link you sent for the shipwrecks – the supposed ‘Ship’ Louis was on is listed there but it has actually less information than the info. I have. The ship is only described as a ‘Craft'(Sourced). I haven’t any solid source that Louis was on that ship but, if he was, he must have been a regular visitor to the Islands & possibly he was still working for Clanranald.

    I need to ascertain the London connection as it is somewhat a mystery. Louis was living in the Marylebone area (Vere St) in 1805 but I couldn’t find an occupation, only that he was an ‘Occupier’ paying Land Tax.

    Regarding the Hallyburton connection. Lord Douglas (Gordon was his birth name) Gordon-Hallyburton was ‘Adopted’, having succeeded to both the Gordon (father’s line) & Hallyburton (mother’s line) so he almagamated the names. My understanding would be that there was a possible connection with the Clanranalds as he was a soldier during the French Revolution. Furthermore (not looked into it), Gordon/Cathcart rings alarm bells? Douglas Gordon was also an MP.

    My questions re. the name & descent are akin to yours. In my eyes the most likely derivative for Pedrana would be Peder (Scandinavian) but there is also Pedro (Portuguese/Spanish) or Pietro/Piero (Italian). Mmmmm, well(Unfounded).

    When Louis got his payment from the estate of Ranald George MacDonald, part of the payment was to pay for his expenses ‘BACK to Italy where he was ENGAGED'(Sourced). My perception is that this doesn’t necessarily mean he was born there, nor similarly that he actually returned? I very much doubt that he did return to Italy as it was 1793/5 and debts were being settled (Sourced). He may have however returned possibly to Savoy where he was then assigned to London which was obviously between 1793/5 & Jun 1801 when the 1st known legal marriage took place? (Sourced).

    His arrival at Hallyburton would have been after 1807 (after his last child) and at least 1812 as one of the children, born to an already married couple, was born in 1813 yet Louis stated this child to be his own (Sourced).

    I still can’t get my head round the seemingly highly-skilled Carpenter trading his skills (no pun intended) to be a Servant?(Sourced).

  46. Noni Brown

    July 21, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Hi Anne Marie,

    The Pedrana story is way out of my knowledge base. However, I have spent some time on line to see what I could find to contribute for your family, likely known to your ‘Pedrana’ family already –

    Louis (Luigi), John Antonio Pedrana Snr., worked for some time in the kitchens of the King of Sardinia (House of Savoy). At some stage he was known as a Ship’s Carpenter (Shipwright). Wooden sailing ships of the time usually had at least two carpenters on board.

    He was employed by Lord Halyburton as a Manservant until he died and married at least twice, producing a number of children including his namesake, Lewis John Antonia Pedrana. Lewis, son of Louis John Antonia Pedrana Snr and Jane Elizabeth Shaw, married in 1825 Jean Symington. He arrived in Australia with wife Elizabeth & five children on the ‘Prince Regent’ in 12 June 1836. An Officer of the Colony of New South Wales, Lewis Pedrana was a Land/Road Surveyor and lived in Bourke Lane, Port Phillip. As Road Surveyor in Bourke Lane, he was listed in the 1847 DIRECTORY For the Town and District of Port Phillip. In 1860 he married Mary Gibson and he died in 1885 in Egerton, Victoria, Australia.

    • Don MacFarlane

      July 21, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Luis moved in strange and louche circles when he took up with the Halyburtons.

      Lord Halyburton was a nephew of the 5th Duke of Gordon, a complete waster and profligate who had to be bailed out of his millions of pounds of debt by marrying a commoner heiress, 24 years younger than himself. She was a devout Methodist, whereas her husband was a Freemason who sired on the side at least three illegitimate children but who had no legitimate children so the line passed over to Halyburton’s father. Halyburton married an illegitimate daughter of King William IV (who sired ten illegitimate children, siblings of Lady Halyburton) and of Mrs Jordan, his mistress and a well-known comic actress of her day*.

      These were the circles that Luis Pedrana catered to and it is extremely unlikely therefore that there were any Jacobite undercurrents that Luis could have been caught up in. Luis clearly had special skills or qualities that brought him to the attention of High Society and he would have been completely lost in a relative and humble backwater like Uist.

      One ironic twist that repeatedly crops up in Scottish and other lines of succession is that illegitimate children cannot be heirs but legitimate chidren of an illegitimate mother can be heirs. In other words, illegitimacy on the male line is not allowed but illegitimacy is allowed on the female line.

  47. Noni Brown

    July 21, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Depending on what time and place in history we are talking about. In Donald Roy’s time there was a requirement for the Chiefs & Lairds to send the eldest son to a University. The Western Hebrides/Highlands were so remote and doctors were rare, teachers were usually Priests or Ministers of Religion. Depending on the number of sons, I get an impression that one son trained in medicine; another became a minister of religion/teacher; another went for military training; another trained in commerce; another trained for agriculture or animal husbandry.

    In a way, given that point in time, I can see the sense in educating the sons whose family could afford it. Some of the poorer tenants, crofters etc may not have been able to provide an education for their children, but would have provided oral history and training in skills to survive no doubt.

  48. Noni Brown

    July 21, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Dear Angus,

    Hugh Macdonald of Baleshare received his first tack c1732, but father Ranald received his c1718 and he said to have been there prior to that date. It would be feasible that this family did contribute to establishing (re-establishing) educational facilities in the vicinity of Baleshare, which does not discount the possibility of the sons of Ranald receiving education from any other educational facilty in the region, including home tutoring.

    Donald Macleod of Galtrigal was a well to do farmer tenant and records indicate these “gentlemen farmers” put monies together to hire tutors as well as sending sons away. Young 15 yr old Murdoch Macleod was attending the Grammar School in Inverness, with his cousins, when he ran off to join the Prince at Culloden.

    Example of Education in Inverness 1743:

    1743 Inverness Kirk Session Records …in 1743 the Burgh Council employed a teacher of Mathematics who a few months later complained that so few gentlemen’s sons had come forward to learn from him that his “business was very indifferent”…the council paid him £5 to persevere.
    By 1745 things had not improved …he complained that gentlemen wanted their sons to have education suitable only for “clerks and acomptants” making the “study of mathematics quite neglected”. The Burgh brought in another master to teach matters “Classical, Mathematical or in such branches as serve to promote a liberal education” and they suggested an assistant who would teach “writing, ciphering, merchants accompts (accounts), navigation etc.” from 10 o’clock until noon!

    Donald Roy’s Peer Group:

    These men were also associated with Donald Roy (one way or the other) and were similarly educated – Capt. Alexander Morrison; Dr. John Maclean of Shulista and Alexander Macleod.

    “Dr Alexander Morrison was born in 1717, followed his father’s profession, and was also tacksman of Skinidin. He was for a period, factor to MacLeod of MacLeod. MacLeod of Hammer says that he was “an elder in the parish of Duirinish.” He was a man of considerable intellectual attainments, and assisted Mr. James MacPherson, not only in collecting the traditions, but in digesting, translating, and writing Ossian.

    In 1772, Dr Morrison emigrated to North Carolina “with three hundred of his neighbours,” and, according to the LOYALIST PAPERS, “soon established himself and his family in circumstances very happy and independent.” He carried with him across the Atlantic, not only his beautiful mahogany furniture but also his books, a list of which is given in the LOYALIST PAPERS. His friend and neighbour in Glendale, Alexander MacLeod (Flora MacDonald’s son-in-law), who emigrated to North Carolina in 1774, also took his library with him across the ocean. These men settled in the same County in North Carolina as Donald Roy, I imagine he was not alone in his interests.

  49. Noni Brown

    July 21, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Hi Angus, why were the McVicars dispossessed etc? I’m not familiar with this part of the history. Each time I read the McVicar werbsite content on:

    It seems well thought out. Can someone your way contact Archibald MacVicar to verify the statements on that website?

    Archibald MacVicar
    Laureston House, High Street, DRUMLITHIE Stonehaven, Scotland AB39 3YS

    PS: My father Neil MacVicar was born on BALESHARE, North Uist. The photograph of the headstone is for his parents and my grandmother was the last MacVicar buried at the Temple, which was the burial ground for the MacVicars. I hope you find all this of interest; the Temple is a very important part of our heritage, it is a pity it is slowly disintegrating with the elements.

    • Angus Macmillan

      July 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      The MacVicar website is mildly interesting but adduces nothing new. It is completely in error about Howmore as a place of education.

      The MacVicars flourished until the arrival of Uisdean mac Ghilleasbuig Chleiric as Factor when, in the absence of the father, he killed the four sons and redistributed the lands among his own MacDonald relations. The MacVicars did have a disproportionate share of the island. Donald the father and John the youngest son had Baleshare with Eval; Donald had Carinish and Claddach Carinish; Angus had Baleloch, Balmartin and Balelone; Hector had Kyles Bernera, Baile vic Phail and Baile vic Conain. This, as the website says, was between 1580 and 1585. No MacVicar appears in the judicial rental of 1718 by which time those few present were cottars, shoemakers etc.

  50. Anne Marie

    July 19, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    I am only connected with the name ‘Pedrana’ through marriages on both my MacKinnon & Steele lines. My first thought about Louis is that, prior to being shipwrecked, he may have known of our Isles from previous journeys? The cargo was rock salt and there was indeed a ship that went down on 5 Dec 1800. No cargo was specified and ‘it remains unclear whether the loss occurred in the Atlantic (on the W side of the islands) or within the North Minch, Little Minch or Sea of the Hebrides (to the E)’.

    There are several descendants who have Luigi/Louis John Antonio Pedrana/Pedrano (spellings irrelevant) shipwrecked around Barra/Uist in Dec 1800. Bearing in mind the date of the shipwreck in 1800 and Louis having been in London to get married in Jun 1801, it is possible for him to have fathered John by Euphemia McIntyre but there is a large question mark.

    Assuming Louis first worked on Barra after the shipwreck, then seemingly Clanranald heard of his skills as a carpenter and decided to employ him on Uist. He was even supplied with his own abode in the Kildonan area. I think it likely there was a mix-up over Louis’s occupation and it is more likely he was a caterer rather than a carpenter. Having previously worked in the kitchen for ‘Italian Royalty’, King of Sardinia (House of Savoy) it seems hardly a patch to be a carpenter.

    Either way, Louis was already working for Clanranald in 1793, not as a carpenter but as a personal servant. Louis is named in account records of the late Ranald George MacDonald for amounts due & settled with all Clanranald’s servants, apart from Louis Pedrana who was out of town. Louis had claimed forty guineas over & above his wages and Ranald George promised to ‘bear these expenses back to Italy where he [Louis] was engaged’.

    I have no evidence to say that Louis was a bigamist but I suspect his son Lewis could have been. There are however suggestions by Louis’ own admission of ‘extramarital curricular’ that may have produced some ‘hushed-up’ heirs who did not carry his surname & and there was possible adultery. Louis did eventually get married and he produced issue (nine in total), between 1813 & 1829, in Arbroath, Angus, Scotland.

    Louis is thought to be the progenitor of all Uist Pedrana descendants. His relationship with Euphemia MacIntyre produced a son John (likely illegitimate but unconfirmed). John went on to marry Penelope MacDonald of Stoneybridge in 1832, daughter of Allan MacDonald & Marion MacDonald. They may have been connected to Clanranald as the name Penelope suggests. Common sense says the name of her sibling, Angus, was probably not a Pedrana relation nor Penelope’s father. Was Angus possibly named after Euphemia’s father, Angus MacIntyre?

    I feel as if I’m amidst writing a novel but I am enjoying it just the same and I am glad you want to share in the story.

    • Don MacFarlane

      July 20, 2013 at 8:15 am

      I went to school in Daliburgh with a Peteranna and I remember thinking how exotic the name was but I never realised till now just how exotic. I can just imagine how a handsome Italian landing on Uist shores must have charmed the birds off the trees (if there were any trees!).

      I can’t see how John Pedrana was born in 1796 in Uist, how Louis was married in Marylebone in 1801 in London, how the Pedrana clan sprouted in parallel in Uist and Arbroath, without John being illegitimate or Louis being a bigamist (less likely). What other possibility is there?

      I agree that there are the ingredients here for a historical novel and the travails of the Peteranna clan continue to this day by all accounts. It smacks a bit of Downton Abbey but on a less grand scale and I picture Euphemia as a housemaid to the Clanranalds. I thought my family had a reasonably colourful history but all of a sudden I am jealous!

      I will try to find out a bit more about the Italian side of the story which provides the backcloth here. The possible illegitimacy is mundane as it appears from the research that shotgun marriages were ten-a-penny in these days (possibly still are, except that we have the morning-after pill and cohabitation now!).

      • Don MacFarlane

        July 20, 2013 at 9:25 am

        Duke of Savoy, Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia

        Ye Jacobites, But Not By Name

        If Luis Pedrana worked for the Duke of Savoy (1726-96), this is the Duke (actually King of Sardinia to use his proper title).

        The Duke died the same year that Luis sired his ‘first’ child, John, in South Uist. Born in the Royal Palace in Turin, the title Duke of Savoy ceased for him when he ascended the throne as King of Sardinia. The title of Duke of Savoy then was handed down to his eldest son. Victor married the youngest daughter of the King of Spain after she, Maria Antoinnetta, had been spurned by Louis, Dauphin of France. Napoleon Bonaparte squashed Victor Emmanuel and took over Nice and Savoy which became French territories in 1796. This all proved too much for Victor and he died the same year from a stroke.

        If Luis worked for the heir, and hence Duke of Savoy, after Victor Amadeus became King, then he would have worked for Victor Emmanuel I, an altogether different kettle of fish. This Victor was something of a martinet but he was also considered by a substantial proportion of the British populace to be a Jacobite and rightful pretender to the British throne.

        The Savoys could be a particularly nasty bunch and Victor Emmanuel on acceding to the throne resumed official persecution of Piedmontese Waldensians – the stuff of nightmares.

        With a leap of the imagination, one can visualise some connection between the Clanranalds and the Savoys, both crypto-Jacobites, with Pedrana as an intermediary. If so, Luis would have had to turn turtle as the Halyburtons were key figures in the Hanoverian establishment, being scions of the Marquessate of Huntley. More there for your historical novel, Anne Marie. You might give Philippa Gregory a run for her money yet!

      • Anne Marie

        July 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm

        I went to school in Daliburgh with a Peteranna too & my interest in genealogy must have been apparent then. I remember distinctly telling my ‘Grannie’ about two people in my class whose names were strange & wondered where they’d come from. That was my first ever noticeable interest & I clearly remember being intrigued by the answer my Grannie gave me regarding Peteranna as I knew it then.

        Lore had it that the person who was first on the island was of Danish/Scandinavian or similar (European) descent and that being unable to speak Gaelic was somehow able to tell that his parents were Peter & Anna – surname established! Sounds credible and sure did then when I was only eight or nine years old. My Grannie was already related through marriage on both her own line & my grandfather’s line.

        The other surname was Snow which my grannie couldn’t tell me about. She told me they had come here from England & that was it. Dead in the water & I’ve never been associated with the name since.

    • Anne Marie

      July 20, 2013 at 10:47 am

      QUOTE “There are however suggestions by Louis’ own admission of ‘extramarital curricular’ that may have produced some ‘hushed-up’ heirs who did not carry his surname & and there was possible adultery. Louis did eventually get married and he produced issue (nine in total), between 1813 & 1829, in Arbroath, Angus, Scotland”


      Can you please go over what I actually wrote?

      Maybe the way I have written it has confused the issue – (pun not intended).

      I will put it in another context which may be easier to follow?

      Louis supposedly had issue with an already married woman whilst working at Hallyburton? This was more or less by his own admission (Sourced)

      I stated the marriage of the woman in question produced issue of nine in total. I haven’t yet said how many are possibly fathered by Louis. I am merely stating that he possibly was the father of some of the issue born within that particualr union/marriage.

      Sorry if I worded it in a confusing way but it is easier to understand the possible facts when you can relate to the full picture which I can.

    • Anne Marie

      July 20, 2013 at 11:24 am

      Another misunderstanding. QUOTE “(House of Savoy) it seems hardly a patch to be a carpenter”.

      I will put it in another way what I did say. Working in the kitchen (House of Savoy) was hardly a ‘patch’ on being a carpenter – (in conjunction with his supposed skills of carpentry)? PUN being Savoy (Cabbage). If the smileys had not all disappeared when I pasted my finished work it would have been clearer.

      I was actually questioning (with a ?) whether he did work in the House of Savoy – in other words, I was inviting anyone with evidence to come forward as I am trying to establish the ‘Carpenter’ theory and yet to find any proof so I am using what grounds I have to question it as a stepping stone.

      P.S. I have now decided that my attempt at passing on the historics of this family is not too great. Because so much of my sentences have been shuffled around and omitted I will leave to someone else to take over but I am still interested in what others have to offer.

      The whole point of me putting the info. I’d collated onto the site (in the form of a story) was to make it interesting enough to people like myself, emphasising the ‘doubts’ and hoping the origins of the ‘supplied (fictional) facts’ – (a contradiction I know) would come forward. What I mean is, the people who have things written down as facts without any source may offer us the sourcing to eliminate the many questions to what I believe to be fiction.

      • Anne Marie

        July 20, 2013 at 11:56 am

        This has made me so curious now. I have actually read an exerpt of the findings of the shipwreck on a government site which categorically stated it was unlocated and the cargo was not specified so another of my ‘fictional facts’ which I needed clarified.

        My reasons for adding the puns etc. was to make it a bit of comedy mixed with the fascinating & interesting bits to the story. What I have written so far is only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ which caused the shipwreck? 🙂 and there is so much more fascinating & intriguing bits to this story.

        As I have stated in the past “History” bored me. This would certainly not have been in the least bit boring, would have had people sitting on the edge of their seats awaiting the next installment & I believe my humour would have enhanced the interest but it has now inspired me to carry on with my thoughts and put them into words as it has been on my mind for years and maybe I will find out the truth one day.

        The thing about this though is the very fact that little is known of this family unlike the MacDonalds/Clanranalds/Boisdales & that was what inspired me to investigate further when the subject popped up the other day.

        So anyone who has any solid info. on the Pedrana historics please share with us.

      • Don MacFarlane

        July 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

        Twenty Questions about the Peterannas.

        1. Was Peteranna his real name or just a pseudonym?
        2. Were the Pedranas the same as the Peterannas?
        3. If so, which part (if any) of Italy did they come from?
        4. Did they have any connection with the House of Savoy?
        5. Did the House of Savoy have any connection with the Clanranalds?
        6. Did the Clanranalds have any connections with the Marquis of Huntly or the Halyburtons?
        7. What was Luis Peteranna’s occupation?
        8. Why was Luis always favoured by the high-brow and the aristocracy?
        9. How many times did Luis marry?
        10. Have the different branches of the Peterannas enquired into their common ancestral history?
        11. Was Luis Peteranna just an ordinary common working man or was there something more to him?
        12. Did Luis abandon his young Uist family and never look over his shoulder?
        13. If the younger-generation Peterannas were abandoned, why did they keep the Peteranna name going?
        14. Why did Luis return to Italy after leaving the Clanranald household.
        15. Did Luis jump ship at Barra or was he shipwrecked?
        16. Did Luis have any English when he arrived in the UK first?
        17. Was Luis caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution?
        18. What record is there of wrecks in Uist waters circa 1796?
        19. Were there any shipwrecked sailors other than Luis Pedrana?
        20. Was Luis a practising Catholic and was a marriage of his ever annulled?


        No-one should ever take offence at any clumsy editing of mine, it is just force of habit and it will only ever be to improve readability and never to affect substance. This coming from someone who was made to rewrite his entire PhD to make it readable! How ironic!

        Likewise, I don’t mind emoticons and WordPress can accommodate more than just smileys and broad grins. The additional emoticons it can handle are 😆 laugh out loud
        😳 oops
        😥 cry
        👿 evil
        🙄 roll your eyes
        😉 wink
        😡 mad
        😯 shock horror
        😮 eek
        😎 cool
        💡 idea

  51. Noni Brown

    July 18, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Thank you Waxwing.. that certainly is interesting.

    I found this on Wikipedia which explains a lot.. and his love for Mlle Jacob is another more personal story. ‘Étienne Jacques Joseph Alexandre MacDonald, 1st duke of Taranto (17 November 1765 – 7 September 1840) was a Marshal of France and military leader during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars’.

    ‘Jacques MacDonald was born 17 November 1765 in Sedan, Ardennes, France. His father, Neil MacEachen, later MacDonald, came from a Jacobite family from Howbeg in South Uist, in the west of Scotland. He was a close relative of Flora MacDonald, who played a key role in the escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart after the failure of the 1745 Rising’. Was his father the same Neil MacEachern?

    After the 1745 Rising, Neil McEachern left Scotland to live in France and sometime later wrote a letter to his cousin Flora Macdonald, I can’t lay my hands on it at the moment, but now I see Jacques MacDonald’s connection with France and Napolean.

    I note also that Jacques MacDonald visited South Uist in 1825 to find out more about his family roots. Was this around the time Pedranna was washed ashore? I believe even in Summer, storms are frequent, and very terrible to voyagers.

    • Anne Marie

      July 19, 2013 at 3:24 am


      Just a quick reply to your query egarding when Louis John Antonio first arrived on our Hebridean soil as an ‘incomer’. It was in the late 1700s (I can verify this with a marriage in Marylebone as early as 1801, followed by issue (5) to that union, four were born London & one was born in Nottingham between 1801 & 1808). I just added that while I remember as I have quite a bit to add when I get time to type it all up. One of my questions is was it whilst working for Clanranald that he ‘jumped ship’ this time?

      What was his occupation and who was his employer in London, when & why did he move to Nottingham, what was his occupation and who was his employer or was he self employed whilst in England? and when did he appear back on Scottish soil? Now I’m going to be a star pupil, ears up & facing the front for this history lesson 🙂

      • Waxwing

        July 19, 2013 at 7:04 am

        Angus may know the answer to this?

        Was it customary for an illegitimate birth to be recorded under the name of the father? Seems to me there would have been a lot of stigma during these times about illegitimacy and the child would have been spirited away for secret adoption or would have been known by the mother’s surname. Equally, I don’t think the Catholic Church in these days would have looked favourably on divorce or annulment.

        Which raises the question, was Pedrana a bigamist? What works against that theory is that Luis’s son, John, continued the family name through his offspring and named one of them after his father – Allan 1834, Henrica 1836 (died as infant), Lewis 1838, Alex 1841, Mary 1850 and Charles 1852. It appears nonetheless that Louis married in Marylebone in London a mere five years after the birth of John in 1796.

        Perhaps Luis was simply ‘unlucky’ or insufficiently familiar (or should that be sufficiently unfamiliar!) with local customs. One study of that period shows that a quarter of newly married woman in Skye for example had conceived a full two-months before getting married, in other words were ‘shotgun marriages’. This sounds a lot but compares favourably with East Anglia in England where 40% of marriages were shotgun.

        • Waxwing

          July 19, 2013 at 11:11 am

          The Case of Christina MacPhail, Proceedings of Tiree Kirk Sessions 1769-72

          This case from Tiree illustrates what prevailing attitudes were towards illegitimacy, at least in the Protestant Islands, during the late eighteenth century. These transcripted extracts from the Tiree Parish Register 1766–1774, by Keith Dash and Anne Hentschel, to be found in full in, are reproduced with their permission.

          Dec 31 Christian MacPhail, wife to Peter Sinclair, at present in Lorne, appeared at Ballamhulin, before Minister and Elders, in Session formally met, having been summoned on a report that had spread of her being with child in adultery. After prayers and on being interrogated, she acknowledged the fact, and she declared that John MacLeod in Mursta was the father of her pregnancy; that he had carnal dealings with her about the middle of April; that neither he, nor any other mortal, had to do with her since. John Macleod obstinately refused the charge and, being cited to appear next Sedarunt in the place, he refused to comply; upon which the Session fined him five shillings Sterling [about one week’s wages] and it ordered the Beadle and Ground-Officer to uplift the fine next day.

          Jan 21 Appearing before Minister and Elders, at a formal meeting at Ballamhulin, John MacLeod in Mursta was charged by Christian MacPhail with being the father of her pregnancy, as on December 31. MacLeod solemnly denied the guilt, though he admitted to seemingly having been solicited by her in April last, flying from her arms, after some endearments and freedoms had been used, like the virtuous Joseph of old.

          Feb 9 Appearing before minister and elders in Session at a formal meeting at Ballamhulin, Christian MacPhail on a charge for adultery positively averred as formerly that John MacLean was the father of her late pregnancy, which he as stiffly denied.

          Jan 8 Appearing before the minister and Session, at a formal meeting at Ballamhulin, Christian McPhail solemnly deponed that John McLeod was the father of her late pregnancy, upon which MacLeod was adjudged guilty and he was ordered to do penance before the Congregation till he was absolved by the Session.

          Editorial Comment
          The main offence heard by the Presbyterian Kirk Session seems to have been adultery and fornication. The penalty for adultery was to stand dressed in sackcloth, bare headed and bare feet, at the Kirk door; then to sit on the Stool of Repentance for perhaps six months or longer, in front of the congregation and the minister. Fornication and lewd behaviour were often punished by the men being forced to make public penance and by the women being ducked in the foulest water available and perhaps being banished from the town. Misbehaviour in the countryside was often not detected until pregnancy was obvious.

          In the MacPhail/ MacLeod case, the charge against Christian (Christina) was straightforward in that her husband, Peter (note that he went by the name Sinclair as it was usual for the wife to continue to go by her maiden name), was away on the Argyll mainland (Lorne) having possibly abandoned her as marital relations had ceased since the previous April. Christina had the misfortune to have lost the pregnancy, presumably through miscarriage, but this seems to have evoked no sympathy as the interrogation of her continued for a further two years. The possible penalty for Christina, as for all women compromised in this way, was always to be more severe than for the man, as she faced possible banishment or ostracisation by the community; the man had only to face a fine and the loss of his good name. John MacLeod continued to profess his innocence, claiming that he had resisted her attempts at seduction.

          • Don MacFarlane

            July 19, 2013 at 9:33 pm

            How To Find Out If Your Neighbour Is a Witch

            Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands

            ‘Early in the morning, on the first Monday of a quarter of a year, the smoke from a witch’s house goes against the wind’.



            My great aunt ‘Peigi Dhubh’ was reputed to be a witch who, if she took a spite to you, could put the evil eye on your cattle and stop them producing calves or milk. I’m sorry I didn’t take the trouble to know her better but as a child who had read Hansel and Gretel I was a bit scared of her! She told me once that I was handsome but not as handsome as my Dad as the MacDonald genes spoilt the effect (thanks for nothing!).

        • Don MacFarlane

          July 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm

          Other Infant Demographic Facts

          ‘Skye appears to have been a very dangerous place for newborn infants, due to hazards in the surroundings into which a baby emerged, rather than to its own health or that of its mother’.

          Commonest causes of death in first month of life – unknown, prematurity, weakness, debility, asthenia, atrophy. In other words, conditions that were undiagnosed or eminently preventable or treatable and due to lack of proper medical care – ‘perhaps the doctors in Duirinish were primarily there to attend the needs of the local laird and his household’. For older children up to a year old in Skye, causes of death were largely due to respiratory tract infections; unlike other parts of the UK where lack of food hygiene was the major cause.

        • Anne Marie

          July 20, 2013 at 1:44 pm

          “Was it customary for an illegitimate birth to be recorded under the name of the father?”

          This part I would have answered in a subsequent post as part of the ‘whole story’ when it became relevant to include it, to get the feel of the actual events as they occured as I was sort of ‘on the spot’ with no plan of my composition in mind at the time.

          I think from what I have already written it is apparent that Louis ‘jumped ship’ anyway when he disappeared to London & I did say many questions would remain unanswered. I would also have included that other illegitimate descendants were born and through their ‘own choice’ as older children, reverted to their paternal surname. (Sourced)

          I’ve actually made this even more interesting to myself than I had originally thought. I don’t think I’d put in to context the controversies & diversities as all my own questions were not exactly laid out in a plan – it was just a case of ‘hang on, that doesn’t seem right’ – checking it and realising there was something adrift (not the ship) 🙂

          All my info. is not in a gedcom format as I don’t have the family tree. It is all just catalogued in files under the names of the relevant families I was working on at the time of helping to construct the tree for the two people who initially contacted me.

          I wish I had brought this to the fore a long time ago as it was just so hilarious when I was discovering all the ‘playing away from home’ antics. This tree is definitely like a mishaped Jigsaw with plenty of colour to it.

        • Angus Macmillan

          July 23, 2013 at 4:23 pm

          I don’t think there was an unbreakable rule but the custom seems to have been that, if the father acknowledged paternity, the child took his name. If not then the mother’s name had to do. In later life, it was not unusual to find someone identified as e.g. MacIntyre alias MacDonald.

          I shall keep out of the Peteranna discussion. They are not my favourite family as a year or two ago one of their hotels locked up 90 minutes before time and I was left out in a freezing December night for a similar peiod while a singularly rude and unapologetic manager was dragged out of bed and came to open up.

  52. Noni Brown

    July 18, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Dear Angus,

    According to Rev. A MacDonald in his 1930 hand-written manuscript (page 70) – “… I can find no trace of any tenant in Baleshare before Ranald MacDonald who was there in 1718… he must have been there for some time previously”.

    Hugh was born abt 1706 and Donald Roy abt 1708 – I wonder if they were born at Baleshare or in Skye close to the Sleat family seat near Monkstadt?

    What age would lads start their education in the early 1700s in that part of Scotland I wonder? If Donald Roy received his early education at Orbost … what age would he be? Would he have had to live at Orbost during that time? I find it difficult to work out how far it would from Baleshare to Monkstadt in Kilmluir Trotternish by boat, then horse or walking…

    I’d love to read the “Hebridean Connection”. Let me know if you find out how to source one.

  53. Anne Marie

    July 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Hi Noni,

    There is definitely no doubt that an historical link of an ancestor in that nature is exciting and let’s face it, if we are to be truthful to ourselves, it’s the next best thing to a Royal connection? It’s a well know fact too that the Scots are well liked by all nations although I’ve never discovered why?

    I don’t think I’m anywhere near being a ‘dumb blonde’ though with my obvious deviation from history & geography. I must admit though that my friend who I met through genealogy (her line married into mine) was surprised at my navigational skills and tour guide information when I took her to Uist – I didn’t need my sat nav 🙂 I must have made it look like the mystery tour of a lifetime as I was in every nook ‘n’ cranny, not wanting her to miss anything and of course to make it a holiday to remember.

    She was so in awe (she lives in Essex, England, UK, which is a totally different way of life to Uist) as I took her round all our descendants’ abodes or where they would have lived, took her visiting relatives,and had so many laughs. I got my car stuck on a road track on thevway to the machair in Askernish, I think it was, and I had to be pulled out by tow rope and a 4 x 4 by a local after my mile walk to the nearest house. But it was all part of what made the holiday memorable. He told me I hadn’t been the first and I wouldn’t be the last to get stuck so obviously it is a common occurence with us mainlanders :-).

    It was so good that she came a few years later with me on another trip which was 2010 so I’m due a visit again. To finish this, her family descendancy is the famous Pedranna, an Italian Carpenter who landed on Uist after surviving a shipwreck, and their stories are somewhat engaging too. That one man has definitely contributed to Uist society in a big way.

    • Waxwing

      July 18, 2013 at 12:06 am

      Some Uist Peterannas/Pedranas

      Obviously a hardy breed as several lived into their 90s. Their progenitor was a Louis or Luigi Antonio Pederana/Pedrana born c1757, possibly near Salerno or around Livigno in Lombardy, in Italy who died in 1884 at Halyburton House, Kettins, Angus, Scotland. He was buried in Kettins Cemetery where there is a gravestone marker in his name.

      He worked for some time in the kitchens of the King of Sardinia (House of Savoy) and somehow turned up just before 1800 on the Isle of Barra. While there he had one son John (uncertain if he married the mother). Said by family members to have been employed by Lord Halyburton as a manservant until he died. This is a puzzle as the Halyburton line expired in 1864 without issue. He went on to be married twice and he produced a number of children.

      Pedrana, John, Born 1796 in South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, Died Jun 03 1876 in Garryhellie, South Uist, Scotland.
      Pedrana, Allan Peter, Born Aug 19 1834 in Stoneybridge, South Uist, Scotland, Died Mar 20 1908 in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland
      Pedrana, Lewis, Born Jun 08 1838 in Stoneybridge, South Uist, Scotland, Died 1880 in Scotland
      Peterana, James, Born Apr 25 1864 in Kilpheder, South Uist, Scotland, Died Apr 26 1942 in Public Hospital, Palmerston, New Zealand
      Peteranna, Alexander, Born Feb 05 1841 in Barra, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, Died 1868 in Boisdale, South Uist, Scotland
      Peteranna, Charles Gordon, Born Aug 14 1852 in South Uist, Scotland, Died Nov 26 1942 in Boisdale, South Uist, Scotland
      Peteranna, Henrica, Born Sep 11 1836 in Stoneybridge, South Uist, Scotland, Died 1836 in Scotland
      Peteranna, John, Born 1898 in South Uist, Scotland, Died May 01 1983 in Boisdale, South Uist, Scotland
      Peteranna, Mary, Born Apr 13 1850 in Kildonan, South Uist, Scotland, Died Mar 30 1907 in Boisdale, South Uist, Scotland
      Peteranna, Mary Agnes, Born 1902 in South Uist, Scotland, Died Sep 17 1972 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland
      Peteranna, Penelope, Born Sep 22 1896 in South Uist, Scotland, Died Jun 17 1991 in South Uist, Scotland

    • Waxwing

      July 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      It very likely is an interesting story.

      Pedrana was for a while in the employ of the King of Sardinia (House of Savoy) who was therefore also King of Italy. Next door to Sardinia is the island of Corsica from which came Napoleon Bonaparte who became Emperor of France and who conquered Italy. Field Marshal Jacques MacDonald of Howbeg in South Uist was right-hand man to Napoleon. Therefore I guess both Corsica and Sardinia were in a state of turmoil exactly at the time that Peteranna found himself washed ashore on Barra.

      What was Peteranna doing in Uist and is that too much of a coincidence?

  54. Noni Brown

    July 17, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Hi Waxwing,

    It is about the people themselves and I’m a late enthusiast for history also. It seems the more you find out about individuals back in time, the more you can relate to how life was for those persons in that point in time. If you have a connection to the persons 200 or 300 years ago, it makes a huge difference to whether you feel connected or not.

    The islands of North and South Uist are small and so the folk who once lived on those Isles 200 or 300 years ago can become more personal when you research their individual lives. I am interested in Sir James Mor Macdonald, his natural son Ranald and his children, Hugh, Ranald, Donald Roy and Katherine; the history of Monkstadt & Cnocowe, Kilmuir Trotternish (home of Sleat Macdonalds and my ancestors) and Donald Macleod of Galtrigal and his son Murdoch.

    More on Education in the Uists.

    ‘Teampull na Trionaid was reconstructed in the 16th century, and destroyed after the Reformation c.1581. The temple was burned and dismantled, all the paper was burned and the teachers (the MacVicars) were forced to flee to the Monach Isles. It had been a college of learning where young men were trained for the priesthood and it became famous as a scholastic centre, with students coming from Europe. Other institutions e.g. schools of music, embroidery, leather work and the distillation of herbs grew up round the monastic centre. It is sometimes called ‘the first university in Scotland’. Duns Scotus (1265-1308), the philosopher, ‘the first existentialist’, was educated here. Local tradition says the teachers returned after the destruction of the establishment and continued teaching until the beginning of the 18th century’.

    ‘There were three large churches in the island, the largest of them being the Temple of Carinish, under the jurisdiction of an Abbot; the Church of Kilpeter (South Uist, Cladh Pheadair – St Peter) in the Upper Land; and the Church of Columba at Keil, looking over Sanda.

    The young men used to come from every airt and some of them from afar, so it was said, getting learning and instruction in the large school that was in Carinish near the Temple, and some girls sa well.

    Source: ‘The Hebridean Connection’, page 35.

    Donald, son of the Abbot, probably a lay Abbot, was the first to be remembered. For the next 200 years they are reported to have acted as priests, teachers, recorders and editors at Carinish, which was not only a centre of religious and educational activity, but was also the location where the Uist records and documents of the Lordship of the Isles were kept. They appear to have early on developed friendly relations with the old Sages of the White Mountain – some of whose philosophic ideas were preserved in written form, especially in the Canlabus, at Carinish – until its destruction in the 1620s.

    Source: ‘The Hebridean Connection’, page 162.

    In the times of the ascendancy of the Lordship of the Isles, in pre-Reformation Scotland, the island of North Uist, being rather better favoured by nature than most of its neighbours, would appear to have been the centre of several industries where monks, nuns and laity taught in several centres of instruction, called in Gaelic “collastraich”. These collastraich were located in Heisgeir (Heisker), Carinish, Kilpeter, Sanda, Lochmaddy and Baleshear. Thus, the collastraichs were “technical institutes”, which provided instruction in manual arts for both sexes, including instruction in tanning, weaving, soap making, pottery work, flax weaving, dyeing, oil extraction, milling, brewing and distilling, salt manufacture, nature study and allied subjects such as astronomy and navigation.

    Source: ‘The Hebridean Connection’, page 173.

    So large a number of reports, registers and statements of every kind were kept in Monktown in the care of Isaac. When the Big Vicar went to Edinburgh under severe threat, he said to his son in Carinish, Dun Donald, if he (the Vicar) was not back by Michaelmas, Dun Donald had to remove all written material in Monktown and Carinish and hide it in the Mountain of the Forest’.

    Source: ‘The Hebridean Connection’, page 226.

    ‘The Hebridean Connection’ – Aonaghus Iain MacDhomhnuill, Donald A. Fergusson – D.A. Fergusson, 1984 – Celts Scotland Hebrides Folklore – 593 pages – three second hand copies available at around $175-$190.

    In 1732 Hugh MacDonald received a tack from Sir Alexander MacDonald of Sleat of the lands of Baleshare, Peinakill, and the pendicle (a small property that is a subsidiary part of a larger estate; an appurtenance) of Cladach Carinish, as then possessed by his father. It may be that the family of Macdonald of Sleat did contribute to the restoration of the school near the Temple at Carinish or the ‘collastraich’ (technical institutes).

    • Angus Macmillan

      July 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Just a few random thoughts as I set off to visit the brother of the Ferguson professor who acted as midwife to Hebridean Connections. There was a mention of Canute. There is a tradition that he was buried at Stromachain in Lionacleit, Benbecula.

      If Hugh MacDonald only received his tack of Baleshare in 1732, does that not rather call into question whether Donald Roy was educated there?

      There are three cases in this era of folks who were surprisingly well educated. Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair, the bard, born 1698 and on his own account born and raised in Benbecula; Donald Roy; and Flora MacDonald b. 1722. The custom at the time was for such people to be educated at home by a tutor. There was also a mention of Sir James Mor MacDonald of Sleat. The tutor in his family in the 1620s was the great poet Cathal MacMhuirich, who then became bard (servitor) to Ranald I of Benbecula at Borve and ultimately, until 1663, to Clanranald (Iain Muidertach XII) at the school at Stilligarry in South Uist, which we know was still running.

  55. Noni Brown

    July 17, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Dear Anne Marie,

    I am glad to hear you are enjoying this blog. Until I was 57 (10 years ago) I had no interest in history. Now I wish I wasn’t working full time, so I could spend more time researching, which is fascinating to me – every new discovery stimulates me to search for more answers, which I couldn’t do without the “virtual revolution’s giant Google”!

    I left school age 15 to attend secretarial college, which was my father’s practical solution to my future working life, instead of my wish to go to Art School. My father was probably right as those secretarial skills kept me fully employed all my life. Even so, at school I did enjoy history, geography, spelling and all things creative. 50+ years later, I enjoy the challenge of research and resolving difficult mysteries – detective work is fun and keeps my mind healthy and active.

    Everybody has a story… regardless of his or her position in life. Admittedly it becomes more interesting when you ‘think’ you are researching an ancestor of historical interest, such as reading the words written about and by Donald Roy back in 1746 which bring him to life as a real living man with feelings, not just a ghost of history.

    Only my eldest son shares my interest in research. He is our throwback to a Scottish ancestor – six foot plus tall, very lean, muscular and well-built (lifetime walker and surfer); poor but well respected intellectual with a love of language, a humanist who chooses to live frugally on two meals a day (porridge every morning, vegies every night); little or no interest in material things, love of nature, records all things great and small in photography (Howling Planet Photography); living in a rather small community on North Stradbroke Island (once connected to South Stradbroke Island) adjacent to the coastline of South East Queensland – both sand islands have identical sizes to the sister islands of North and South Uist.

    He is a man totally dedicated to researching the old indigenous languages of South East Queensland and is a contributor in introducing that language into the state schools for indigenous and non-indigenous students to learn, hopefully generating mutual respect for the Australians’ original indigenous culture. Years back he played a role in a re-enactment, as the only white man, representing a Scottish missionary, who led aboriginal children on a 600km walk to an inland mission, even sharing a meal of a little Aussie critter called a porcupine!

  56. Anne Marie

    July 17, 2013 at 12:35 am

    I never held an interest in History until I got into genealogy & yes I have read many articles relating to Scottish history over a long period including Uist (my paternal roots) & an equally historic place, my own home town of Perth. I lived in an area with Balhousie Castle, home of the Blackwatch Museum, on my doorstep yet never set foot inside. Scone Palace was only a few miles from my home &, same again, I didn’t visit it although I did admire the lighting on a dark night from a distance out of my bedroom window in winter 🙂

    I have read plenty about Uist but the latest instalment regarding the Temple was definitely something new to me as I’d never read about that before so yes it has been enjoyable. My trouble with reading, regardless whether history or a novel, is that if there are too many characters I seem to get confused easily and lose interest. That’s always been the case and I don’t read as a rule. The last book I really wanted to read was the Bermuda Triangle but alas I was the one who got lost 🙂

    When I visit Uist I go round lots of places, just as a tourist would, because although I lived on the island for a year as a child I was never outwith the Boisdale area and I was too young to know the history the island was steeped in. I knew nothing of the Politician either back then either. I think for me in that day there wasn’t the same meaning nor the pictures we can Google. Most of the time it seemed to be like other foreign regions which were topics rather than our own heritage so that would have played a great deal in the subject being totally boring me. I was equally disinterested in Geography so History about areas outwith my own country was not going to prick up my ears. I had no idea where they were talking about and, because I couldn’t relate to the areas, the historics were boring and would have been as interesting as a jar of marmite to swallow 🙂

    Anyway, if you lot had been around then, I may have pricked my ears up & lifted my head to pay attention. A lot of history is only interesting if it’s relayed in the proper way so you are all doing well to get my attention indeed. On saying that, it was my own homeland that I have to thank for getting me my English O’Level as the subjects of the day which got me my marks were “MacBeth” would you believe and “Tam ‘o’ Shanter” so I must have had a wee bit of interest or was it a case of having no choice???

    Thanks though Noni & it’s great to read the knowledge you all have, it’s absolutely amazing & I have noticed that it generates a lot of interest on the site.

    I just remembered that on one of my visits to Uist, archaeologists were doing a dig of a roundhouse on Daliburgh Machair & I went to the local church hall to scrutinise their finds and it was totally amazing. A coin from King Canute’s time was found. I think I also recall that they started a dig at what was the home of Flora MacDonald’s family only to discover they had the wrong place but don’t quote me on that.

    • Waxwing

      July 17, 2013 at 6:48 am

      I am a late enthusiast for history as well. Nobody ever explained that history could be as much about the people behind the events as much about boring dates and the events themselves.

  57. Noni Brown

    July 16, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Anne Marie,

    Have you seen these little snippets regarding Prince Charlie on South Uist?

    On 14 May 1756, MacEachain led Charles to a bothy in Glen Corradale on South Uist. This proved to be an excellent refuge, as the glen is difficult to reach by land or sea. Charles and his companions spent three happy weeks in reasonable comfort in Corradale, hunting game, resting and being visited by supporters. The Prince was relatively safe, had sufficient to eat and brandy to drink. Both Neil MacEachain and Hugh MacDonald of Baleshare provide us with vivid snapshots of life at Corradale.

    MacEachain tells us that the Prince, ‘took care to warm his stomach every morning with a hearty bumper of brandy, of which he always drank a vast deal; for he was seen to drink a whole bottle a day without being in the least concerned.’

    Baleshare noted Charles’ liking for brandy, “We continued this drinking for 3 days and 3 nights. He still had the better of us, and even of Boystill (Boisdale) himself, notwithstanding his being as able a boullman (?), I dare say, as any in Scotland.”

    Politics were often discussed and Baleshare leaves us with these illuminating comments regarding difficulties with the Prince’s religion. At last I starts the question if his highness wou’d take it amiss if I should tell him the greatest objections against him in Great Brittain . He said, “Not”. I told him that Popery and arbitrary government were the two chiefest. He said it was only bad constructions his enemys pat on’t. “Do you ‘no Mr M’Donald” he says, “what religion are all the princes in Europe of?” I told him I imagin’d they were of the same establish’d religion of the nation they liv’d in. He told me then they had little or no religion at all.

    It is during the stay in Corradale that we hear of the restorative powers of ‘treacle’, as any palliative liquor seems to have been called at the time. Prince Charles was suffering from dysentery, which he attributed to drinking milk. The Prince ‘took a loosenesse wch turned to a bloody flux’ and announced, ‘if I had traicle, I’d be cured immediately.’ Remarkably, ‘Sullivan remembered yt he had a little pot yt he carried about him when he was ill himself.’ The ‘traicle’ seems to have worked as we are told that ‘in three days time the flux caissed.’

    Clanranald visited Corradale again and the clothes he brought for Charles seem to have greatly impressed His Royal Highness. ‘When the Prince got on his highland Cloaths he was quite another man. “Now,” says he leaping, “I only want the Itch to be a compleat highlander.”

  58. Noni Brown

    July 15, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    I have read about Scalan but did not know of the other seminaries.

    Rt. Rev. Hugh Macdonald, son of Alexander 6th of Morar, was educated for the priesthood at the Seminary of Scalan. In 1731 he was appointed Bishop of Diana in partibus infidelium, and consecrated immediately thereafter Vicar Apostolic of the Highland District.

    Macdonalds of Morar and of Sleat were also very closely connected by marriage. Allan Macdonald 5th of Morar, son of Allan Macdonald 4th of Morar, married first in 1686 Margaret Macdonald, the second daughter of Sir Donald Macdonald of Sleat, 3rd Bt., by whom he had – Margaret, Elizabeth, Janet, Donald, Katherine & Mary who married John Macdonald 6th of Glenaladale with issue – Alexander, 7th of Glenaladale, who died in 1761, John & Allan Macdonald.

    Allan the 5th of Morar married secondly Marion Macdonald, daughter of Donald Macdonald 12th (or 13th) of Clanranald & then Marion Macleod. Marion later married as her second husband, Ranald Macdonald, a natural son of Sir James Mor Macdonald of Sleat, by whom she had Hugh (who succeeded), Ranald (a Brazier in Edinburgh), Donald Roy & Katherine who married Donald Campbell of Scalpay.

    I wonder if Hugh Macdonald of Balishare went to a University?

  59. Anne Marie

    July 15, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I am following this discussion about the Temple with great interest. It’s sad see that such an historic building which held such interesting events in its day, in such a beautiful part of Scotland, has been left so long to decay to the elements!

    Maybe the term ‘listed building’ needs some serious reviews? Those buildings were built with such precision & built to last (providing they were looked after) before cement was ever thought of. To me the government have wasted more money than we care to think of on buildings not worth a second glance. They need to look closer to home at the restoring of REAL historic buildings.

    Just thought I’d add that my aunt attended Blairs College, Aberdeen, scroll to 6th pic down, she’s on the far right. I have never found out what she was studying as I thought it was for the priesthood but I also have a photo of her in a habit.

    After she emigrated to Toronto she was at the Catholic Women’s League Hostel & later became secretery of The Uist & Barra Association which I think later became The Young Peoples Union of the Churches?

    SorThanks for making the subject I hated (history) so interesting.

  60. Noni Brown

    July 15, 2013 at 11:16 am

    “The Trinity Temple was once a place of worship and a place to educate young men to the priesthood. After the reformation it became a place of learning for clerical and non-clerical young men in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was used as a place of worship mainly at Christmas and Easter.”

    “Although unroofed during the Reformation troubles, when its teachers were forced to abandon the site, they must have returned, restored the building and resumed teaching there, when peace and sanity prevailed, for according to a local tradition, scholars were trained within the Trinity seminary a decade or so before the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Perhaps from 1725?

    “People may wonder why such an institution which was erected principally for academic purposes should have been called a temple, in the first place. The appellation temple was derived from the fact that the edifice was built of stone. Earlier religious houses, from Iona to Aberdeenshire, were made of wattles and of wood where trees were plentiful. Through time, as a primitive ecclesiastical foundation became a power in the land, acquired wealth and prestige, skilled architects were commissioned to raise more permanent stone structures whose dignity would be more in keeping with the sacred cause they represented. Hence the choices of a dignified name like the one in question. No account of Trinity Temple is complete without reference, however brief, to Clan MacDonald, its original patrons.”

    “Trinity Temple is a historic ruin, listed as of European significance and possibly Scotland’s oldest University. The building is the remains of a medieval monastery and college. The building has been extended up to the 16th Century, but destroyed after the reformation. Again restored in the 19th Century by Dotair Ban (Macleod) and now being considered for another restoration.”

    Considering it’s close proximity to Baleshear, it makes perfect sense that Donald Roy (to me) could have been a student, sometime after his education at Orbost, at this very convenient respected local place of learning?

    • Angus Macmillan

      July 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      I don’t dissent from what Noni has to say about the vicissitudes that beset the Temple but the devil as far as Donald Roy is concerned is in the timing. The MacVicars, as I recall it had been dispossessed and massacred so who restarted the project and exactly when? If the 1725 timing is perfect, could it have been Donald Roy’s own family that did so?

      • Waxwing

        July 15, 2013 at 7:37 pm

        Highland Seminaries

        Eilean Ban, Loch Morar – 1715
        Scalan, Glenlivet – 1716
        Guidal, Arisaig – 1736
        Glenfinnan – 1768
        Buorbloch, Morar – 1770
        Samalaman, Moidart – 1783
        Lismore – 1803

        This is a compete list of seminaries in the Highlands and Islands that trained for the priesthood. No mention of Trinity Temple here.

    • Laurie

      July 15, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      If they’re going to restore it, they’d better hurry up because there isn’t much of it left!

      Or maybe they have started already? I found this picture:


  61. Noni Brown

    July 14, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    The ruins of Trinity Temple(Teampull na Trionad) are located at Carinish on the South West coast of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides, just opposite Baleshare to its west. Which would have made it easy for Donald Roy to receive some of his education there.

    Teampall na Trionad are the ruins of a 13th Century Church. It was thought to have been founded by Beathag, the daughter of the warrior Somerled. After being rebuilt around 1350 to 1390 by Ami Nic Ruari, wife of John, Lord of the Isles, it was enlarged in the 16th century, and restored in the 19th century, after it was destroyed as a result of the reformation.

    The location is very close to South Uist and Clan Macranald lands. Donald Roy’s mother Marion was of the Clan Ranald. Might explain why Donald Roy was only one of two of the Sleat men who supported the Prince in the rebellion.

    • Waxwing

      July 15, 2013 at 12:03 am

      Except that the Clanranalds did not join the Jacobites?

      It would be interesting to check island-by-island, or mainland county-by-county, or acolyte clan-by-acolyte clan who joined up with Prince Charlie. My sense of it is that few of the Islands did join up, even the Catholic ones.

      At a glance, those clans thought to be of Irish origin largely came out as Jacobites – From the Islands: MacNeill (Barra); MacInnes (Islay and Jura); MacLaren (Tiree); From the Mainland – MacLachlan, MacRae and Urquhart.

      Leaving aside whether of Irish origin or not, clans that ‘came out’ on the Mainland occupied a swathe of territory starting from Moidart in the West, Lochiel, Lochaber and either side of the Great Glen, reaching up to Strathspey – all territory that had been quelled by that notorious Highland General, Hugh MacKay of Scourie in Sutherland, during the earlier Williamite uprising. Clans further north or south of that belt stayed at home. Tourists today seeking to follow that trail could start off at Dunkeld, work up North towards Inverness (stopping off at the Culloden Museum just outside Inverness), then follow Loch Ness towards Fort Augustus. From there, the road would continue to Fort William and finish off at Mallaig.

      • Angus Macmillan

        July 15, 2013 at 1:07 am

        Clanranald was wholly Jacobite but, having been forfeited after 1715, and having taken a decade for the lands to be bought back, they were not in a financial position to have that happen again. Accordingly, it was the Captain (Old Clan)’s brother Boisdale who met the Prince when he first arrived on Eriskay. Finding that he was not backed by a French force, he advised him to return whence he came. He then sequestered all the boats so that the island Clanranalds could not join the rising.

        The arrangements were, though, that Old and Young Clan had only a life interest in the Clan lands as these were vested in a younger brother, Donald. Accordingly, Ranald the Younger’s raising the clan forces on the mainland in Moidart, Arisaig etc. without his father’s permisssion’ did not threaten any more than individual reprisals. The MacDonalds of Sleat and the MacLeods also stayed out for much the same reason.

        On the Teampull na Trionaid issue, I am far from my records but I am pretty sure teaching had, as the note said, finished with the Reformation so Donald Roy will not have been educated there. The two possibilities, with both in play, will have been Skye and the MacMhuirich school at Stilligarry, which must have remained in operation when Donald Roy was a young man.

  62. Noni Brown

    July 14, 2013 at 4:18 am

    The coast around Monkstadt had many creeks and caves, once used by the Smugglers from Gairloch. I have heard of the “Cave of Gold”. Does anyone know about the three caves?

    ‘On discovering that information had been given against him to the authorities, Donald Roy was forced to go into hiding. During the next eight weeks he hid in caves, being supplied with provisions and necessaries by Lady Margaret, and with dressings for his wound by Doctor MacLean. His main danger at this time was from marines landed from naval vessels. Major-General Campbell, while on Skye, also made strong enquiries about him. The Captain had three different caves, where by turns he made his abode. In the caves he had beds only of ferns or heath, and wrapped himself in his tartain plaid. The midges and flies from the heat of the season (part of July and August) proved very uneasy companions to him, which obliged him frequently to retire into the inner parts of the caves, where the coolness kept them from him’.

  63. Noni Brown

    July 14, 2013 at 4:09 am

    I was attacked by a nest of midges up at Great Keppel Island (Nth Qld Australia) and every bit of skin that was not covered by shorts and shirt, was covered with bites that enlarged to about the size of a .50c piece and the itch tormented me for weeks (apparently I was allergic to that species of midges) – so I sympathise greatly with his torment.

    I was quite moved to tears when I first read the translations of Donald Roy’s words written in 1746 whilst he was suffering with his wounded foot, attacked by midges, hiding away in caves for eight weeks, trying to escape his torment up in the rugged mountains. This man managed to get around with his infected wounded foot for around 20 weeks, fortunately he didn’t lose his foot, thanks to the expert medicine of Dr John Maclean of Shulista, Lady Margaret and those who cleaned and dressed his infected foot.

    Donald Roy must have been a very fit and healthy Highlander. Apparently he walked from the Highlands to Leith in Edinburgh for his meeting in January 1748 with Rev Robert Forbes – who wrote in his journals:-“Captain Donald MacDonald alias Donald Roy, who parted from me upon Friday January 15th 1748 betwixt 7 and 8 at night. He is a tall, sturdy man about six foot high, exceedingly well shaped and about forty years of age”. We could add extremely fit to this description.

  64. Noni Brown

    July 14, 2013 at 4:01 am

    It seems Donald Roy ‘took special delight in composing his poetry in Latin’.

    The Education of (Capt.) Donald Roy Macdonald

    ‘In 1609 the Statutes of I-Colmkill made it obligatory for every yeoman or gentleman to send his eldest son (or daughter if he had no sons) to school in the Lowlands where he was to remain till he could speak, read and write English’.

    ‘In the 17th and 18th centuries, Tacksmen combined to engage a common tutor, often a student of divinity, who wished to utilise his vacation, and who itinerated from group to group of those gentlemen farmers, teaching their families not only the elements of English, but also the Classics and other advanced branches of learning. Hence it was that the gentry of the Isles during the 18th century were probably the best educated in the world’.

    ‘I asked the Captain at which of the Universities he had studied. He told me he had never been at any University, but he had read under the direction of one, Mr. John MacPherson, a noted schoolmaster in the Isle of Skye, who died about five years ago’.

    Rev. Robert Forbes, The Lyon in Mourning, January 1748.

    Donald Roy being the 3rd son of Ranald MacDonald of Balishare, was not educated at a University but it seems he did receive an excellent education.

    The home of the MacLeans of Shulista, hereditary doctors to the MacDonalds, and Skye’s first school was at Shulista in Trotternish from 1610. Four languages were taught here – English, Gaelic, Latin and Greek, and there was arithmetic and navigation. Dr. John MacLean was born in 1708 (the same year as Donald Roy)and according to the Rev. Alexander MacGregor (‘Life of Flora MacDonald’) the doctor was a noted classical scholar, as was his friend and patient Capt. Donald Roy. Shortly after his brother Hugh’s death in 1769, Donald Roy (aged abt 61) retired to live at Shulista for a time, where he is known to have read the Greek classics including Homer’s “Iliad”.

    ‘There was no need for Donald Roy to go as far as the Lowlands in search of education, for Skye had a first rate grammar school in Orbost, near Dunvegan. It was here that Donald Roy received his early education. The schoolmaster, John MacPherson, a renowned classics teacher born c 1675, lived at Orbost, and was the second son of the Reverend Dougall (Dugald) MacPherson, M.A., minister of Durinish parish. John Macpherson died at Orbost in c1730’.

    These MacPhersons were for many generations in Skye and formed Skye’s ‘Leviticus families’ (The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah). They were all first-rate Latin and Greek scholars, for one of them, the Reverend John MacPherson, minister of Sleat, greatly impressed Doctor Johnson when he was on his tour. Eluding to a certain Latin poem which Reverend MacPherson had composed, Doctor Johnson said to Boswell, “it does him credit”, surely a glowing tribute from the most pedantic of pundits!

    Excerpts from Trinity Temple, Archibald MacVicar, Stonehaven, Scotland

    ‘Trinity Temple was not only a place of worship, it was a seminary, a college of learning, where young men from the Isles were trained for the priesthood. Through time, when this scholastic centre became famous, it attracted the attention of students from the Scottish mainland and of some from further South’

    ‘Both Reverend Dougall (Dugald) MacPherson and his son John studied at Trinity Temple, thus when the time came for Donald Roy to enter the Carinish College, he was well prepared. He must have been an apt pupil, for the time he quitted his studies Donald proved himself to be master of both Greek and Latin, and he took special delight in composing verses in the latter tongue’.

    ‘I know of only two of Trinity Temple’s distinguished scholars and what they achieved in later years. Their names are – Duns Scotus, the brilliant philosopher and Donald Roy MacDonald of Baile Sear, or Donald Roy of Cnoc O (as he is called in Skye because of his long visits to his relatives, the MacDonald’s of Cnoc O, Kilmuir, a cadet branch of the MacDonald’s of Duntuilm and Sleat’.

    Gaelic Verse in Praise of Trinity Temple

    He begins by reminding us that the Temple is indeed worthy of respect even if today it stands cold and empty, where once congregated worthy young men, who in their day surpassed any of their peers. Even Dun Scotus, from Southern Scotland, sought within its precincts the knowledge that solved or un-raveled the problems common to others e.g. in philosophy (moral) – so that in Oxford & in Europe, you had pre-eminence or first step. He instances Donald Roy MacDonald, the bard, as a prime example of the graduates taught by or at the temple – so that the historians (native) accorded him a primary place – with some reverence – among the leading worthies of our country, & that this recognition will be given to him by succeeding generations. He eulogizes about the personages & attainments of the clerical worthies of Durinish, the high academics’, and also among the youth who were so inclined – maintaining that they, in their youth and formative years, received a formidably attractive & useful education. He concluded by attributing the native nobility & decorum of the inhabitants of the lands adjacent to the Temple to the influence & pervading sense of worth & value emanating from the Temple, and that they have cherished & maintained, without corruption, this great benefit as their people’s badge, as a people they are naturally attractive.

    Donald Roy MacDonald was (apparently) the last student who was trained in Trinity Temple.

    • Waxwing

      July 14, 2013 at 9:19 am

      I am somewhat puzzled by the location of Trinity Temple, North Uist. Perhaps Angus can clarify but North Uist was and is staunchly Protestant so it seems a peculiar location for a launching pad to train young men for the priesthood.

      With regards to the Gaelic part of your post from Tormod MacDonald, I had to redact it as most of it didn’t make sense but I left the English translation in. I would like to re-insert the Gaelic if possible and I suspect it came from one of these documents put together by various American universities, like Chicago, to make them available to the public.

      If so, you will find in these websites in the top left hand part of the screen a menu which offers different formats, including PDF which you can’t cut and paste, but the other versions will allow that. There was enough Gaelic left that escaped the ravages of the OCR scanner that I got the gist but most of it was hieroglyphic.

      Patricia LeFevre from PEI has also laboriously recorded the MacDonald family history under the rubric, ‘Tuathal and his Descendants’. No doubt Donald Roy is in there somewhere!


      It appears that the authorities lost interest in Donald Roy and that the manhunt fizzled out quite soon after? He appears to have been able to pick up his civilian life, no questions asked, and died peacefully in his late middle-age (old age as it was then). Unlike his fellow-rebels who died on the battlefield or were executed at Carlisle Castle, such as MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart.

      • Angus Macmillan

        July 23, 2013 at 4:48 pm

        By Donald Roy’s time, North Uist had been Protestant for the better part of 200 years. Certainly Trinity Temple would not have been involved at that time in training young men for the priestood. I do wonder though if its function even before the Reformation may have tended towards the academic rather the specifically religious. Of course, it will have been difficult to separate the two that early but we recall Duns Scotus as philosopher and Unversity teacher rather than as cleric so perhaps the teaching might have been, in some degree, secular?

        I still have deep rooted doubts that, lacking any line of teachers, the establishment pulled itself up by its bootstraps in the first quarter of the 18th Century after 150 years of inactivity and decay.

  65. Noni Brown

    July 14, 2013 at 3:12 am

    Perhaps the MacMhuirich poems will turn up in Spain:

    ‘During the Montrose and Mac Colla Ciotachs campaigns, large quantities of Gaelic manuscripts were smuggled out of the Highlands into Spain, in fear that they would fall into English hands, a fact which was discovered in more recent times by Irish scholars and priests engaged in research in Spanish colleges. Who knows what Celtic literary treasures lie hidden in the charter chests of Spanish castles where they were deposited for safe custody, some lost Mac Mhuirich poems, perhaps, and other earlier works. We can rest assured that among the lost Carinish manuscripts, there were registers which were kept of all the students who graduated and also recorded details of the spheres in which they toiled after having left Trinity Temple’

    Years of searching for English translations, on line or in books, of Donald Roy’s Latin Laments, were not successful. I tried Google Translate to get a gleaning of what he was saying but not successfully. I engaged two professional Latin translators here in Australia, but after receiving copies of the Latin Laments and some background of Donald Roy, they refunded the fee to me, saying they felt they were not up to doing a satisfactory translation. I sent a copy of them to the National Trust of Scotland’s Curator at the Culloden Visitor Centre and she indicated they would have them posted up next to his Latin versions, as folk often ask what he was saying and they had not previously found any translations.

  66. Noni Brown

    July 13, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Donald Roy Macdonald of the ’45, son of Ranald Macdonald of Balishare (natural son of Sir James Mor Macdonald 2nd Baronet of Sleat and Marion Macdonald, daughter of 12th Chief of Clanranald) perhaps was high-born but he was not sent away for study to a university as were the first sons of legitimate sons. Donald Roy appears to have been liked very much by his chief and Bonnie Prince Charles, but he was rather poor. His brother Hugh inherited estates and he was very wealthy. During his lifetime, Donald Roy was a student of ‘Tutors’not of a university, an Ensign, a Captain, an ompoverished Teacher, a Farmer and towards the end of his life, a landowner in North Carolina.

    He appears to have been a learned Scholar who loved languages, mainly Latin, but he was not overly confident of his ability in this language. His laments give a wonderful indication of his feelings and his sense of humour. History describes him as being close to six foot tall and well-built with red hair (an ideal character to build ‘Jamie’ in Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’series.

  67. Noni Brown

    July 13, 2013 at 4:36 am

    Thank you Sandra. I have paid for research by two of the local genealogists in Skye (as noted on the Macleod ACMS) and I have found births and deaths for kin only after 1837 or so. My twelve years research is far less than your dedicated thirty years, so I will keep at it.

  68. caledonhills

    July 12, 2013 at 12:44 am

    Hi Noni,
    A copy of a handwritten account of the Glenaladale family including the offspring of John Macdonald 5th of Glenaladale could be rife with errors. A copy of anything allows for transcription errors and a handwritten account by whom? I’ve found that even close family members get names and dates wrong when just trying to recall recent information- let alone details from the past. Unfortunately, in order to prove anything, you must try to have at least 3 pieces of credible, reliable evidence to support your theory. As a professional genealogist, I would recommend that you hire someone local who has expertise in this area of research…if at all possible. There are a lot of records that are not readily available to the general public that a seasoned professional can try and search for you. It does take time and money but at least you know that you’ve done your best to find the answer you are searching for. I am not an expert in any of the clans. I’m only very familiar with the Boisdale clan because of my husband’s connection to it and the 30 years I researched it. Good luck with your quest. I hope you find it!

  69. caledonhills

    July 11, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Yes Waxwing, I’d like that. I’m been in contact with Callum before. I’m going to have a chat with Angus (who’s already been published) and see what he recommends. Also, any suggestions from learned scholars like Callum would be welcome.

  70. caledonhills

    July 11, 2013 at 12:16 am

    Thanks Anne Marie, I’d love an example. My email is

  71. Anne Marie

    July 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Hi Sandra,

    Great to hear you have put all your info. together and ready for the next stage. I know the question wasn’t for me but my input would be to suggest a descendant chart as well as a report (or different reports) with the evidence.

    I do My reports on Word and I incorporate the supporting evidence as I go along which actually has the report read as a book/booklet. Birth, marriage & death certs etc. are included as I go, along with events, to clarify at a glance the facts that are substantiated. This makes it easier to follow as you don’t have to rummage/search for supporting documentation. It’s all visible & in correct order and, most importantly, plain to follow and understand.

    If you’re not sure what I mean I could email you an example.

    Regards, Anne Marie

    • Waxwing

      July 10, 2013 at 11:55 pm

      Obviously much of the Boisdale family tree can be read off Burke’s Peerage so any new work should provide some new twist, correct misinformation or provide previously unpublished detail such as Angus has done with his publication on the Clanranalds.

      Touching base or collaborating with Callum Beck who has a strong interest in the Boisdales and who has posted on this site would also be well worth considering. You could perhaps compare notes? I can have Callum contact you directly if that is thought to be a good idea.

  72. caledonhills

    July 10, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Hello everyone. It’s been awhile since I’ve left a comment.

    Angus, I took your advice to heart about writing a paper on the descendants of Hugh Macdonald IV of Boisdale that I discovered. I’ve accumulated all the details and cited the sources. Now I need some advice on WHO I send this too and how I should put it together.

    Should I make it a narrative report or a straight descendancy chart? Who decides that it’s all correct (even though I know it is) and publishes it? If you wish, you can email me privately. To everyone who encouraged me over the years….thank you so much!

    • Angus Macmillan

      July 11, 2013 at 12:06 am

      Hello again Sandra: Just now I am in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, ready to give a talk on the MacMhuirich bards in the morning but I will be back at home and able to respond properly at the end of next week.

      I will have a think about how and where you might publish your information. Obviously the format will depend to a degree on the outlet. I am pleased though to hear that you have completed your search; it is always good when so much care and effort achieves a successful end result. Best wishes, Angus

      • caledonhills

        July 11, 2013 at 12:20 am

        I look forward to hearing from you Angus! Hope you enjoy Nova Scotia!

        • Waxwing

          July 17, 2013 at 10:31 pm

          For Angus in Nova Scotia

      • Waxwing

        July 13, 2013 at 7:16 pm

        I had been trying without success to find some MacMhuirich Gaelic poetry, or the Red Book of Clanranald, on-line to translate and to see what all the fuss is about. Eventually, I found the Harlaw Brosnachadh by Lachlan Mor MacMhuirich, written in 1411 as a warcry. The poem is written as a littany of adverbs to motivate the Clanranald forces how to conduct themselves in battle. Whether MacMhuirich himself fought in the battle is quite another matter and half of those who fought in what was a total stalemate lost their lives.

        Much of the language used is obsolete (half of it) and I have marked words that have not survived (much like the warriors themselves) with an asterisk; words that are compound words invented by Lachlan as poetic devices are marked with a double-asterisk. It should also be apparent that Lachlan has been somewhat naughty. He has simply rhymed off a whole consecutive heap of adverbs in alphabetical order, almost like a shopping list, with no attempt at composition. It smacks somewhat of something he had thrown together or pulled out of a drawer – a list of handy descriptors that could be taken off the shelf for the latest poem he was asked to put together. A rehashing exercise, much like hardpressed or lazy folks would do today.

        A Chlanna Cuinn, cuimhnichibh
        Cruas an am na h-iorghaile:
        Gu h-àirneach*, gu h-arranta*,
        Gu h-athlamh*, gu h-allanta,
        Gu beòdha, gu barramhail*,
        Gu brioghmhor, gu buan-fheargach**,
        Gu calma, gu curanta,
        Gu cròdha, gu cath-bhuadhach**,
        Gu dùr is gu dàsanach,
        Gu dian is gu deagh-fhulang**,
        Gu h-èasgaidh, gu h-eaghnamhach*

        Gu h-éidith*, gu h-eireachdail

        Gu fortail*, gu furachail,
        Gu frithir*, gu forniata*,
        Gu gruamach, gu gràinemhail,
        Gu gleusta, gu gaisgeamhail,
        Gu h-ullamh*, gu h-iorghaileach,
        Gu h-olla-bhorb**, gu h-àibheiseach,
        Gu h-innil*, gu h-inntinneach,
        Gu h-iomdha*, gu h-iomghonach*,
        Gu laomsgar, gu làn-athlamh**,
        Gu làidir, gu luath-bhuilleach**

        Gu mearganta, gu mór-chneadach**

        Gu meanmnach, gu mìleanta,
        Gu neimhneach, gu naimhdeamhail,
        Gu niatach, gu neimh-eaglach**,
        Gu h-obann, gu h-olla-ghnìomhach**,
        Gu h-oirdheirc, gu h-oirbheartach,
        Gu prap* is gu prìomh-ullamh**,
        Gu prosta*, gu prionnsamhail*,
        Gu ruaimneach, gu ro-dhàna,
        Gu ro-bhorb, gu rìoghamhail*,
        Gu sanntach, gu sèanamhail*,
        Gun socair, gu sàr-bhuailteach**,
        Gu teannta, gu togarrach,
        Gu talcmhor*, gu traigh-èasgaidh**,
        Gu h-urlamh, gu h-ùr-mhaiseach**,
        Do chosnadh na cath-làthrach**
        Re bronnaibh* bhar biodhbhadha*.

        A Chlanna Cuinn Cèad-chathaich**
        A nois uair bhar n-aitheanta,
        A chuileanan confadhach*,
        A leómhannan làn-ghasta**,
        A onchonaibh* iorghaileach,
        Chaoiribh* chròdha, churanta
        De Chlanna Cuin Cèad-chathaich
        A Chlanna Cuinn, cuimhnichibh
        Cruas an am na h-iorghaile.

        • Angus Macmillan

          July 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm

          Hi Waxwing, if you want to try hardcore, you will find parts of the Book of the Dean of Lismore on-line and it is more completely reproduced in Reliquiae Celticae. The challenge is to translate the then current attempt to represent Gaelic as a phonetic language into something like a modern equivalent as a step towards English.

          John Dean of Knoydart, who was present in Inverness in 1490 when the body of the Irish Harper, Diarmaid O’Cairbre, murderer of Angus MacDonald Master of the Isles and Tanist of John IV, Lrd of the Isles, was dragged apart by horses attached to each arm and leg. Also present was Giolla Coluim mac a Ollaimh who regretted that he and Angus had brought on the incident by being too relaxed. An Ollamh was the 7th and highest grade of learned man and his father was undoubtedly Lachlan MacMhuirich, Archipoeta who signed a deed to the Abbey of Iona in 1485

          The Uist Bards was a collection covering John MacCodrum. The MacDonald Collection by the Revs A & A MacDonald, is available to order as a paperback and has poems not only directly by the MacMhuirichs but by their MacPherson descendants in Benbecula. Ronnie Black has a book, An Lasair, that sets Gaelic and English versions alongside each other.

  73. Noni Brown

    April 16, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Another Error from Burke’s Peerage?

    Burke’s Landed Gentry have recorded the marriage of Catherine, one of two daughters, of John Macdonald 5th of Glenaladale, to Donald MacDonald of Galtrigal. All records I have seen show her as the wife of Donald MacLeod of Galtrigal. At the same time it has been impossible to find out the names of his ancestors. Could Burke’s be correct?

    I passed on all the info I gathered, including Clan Macdonald Vol 111, which in all other aspects Burke’s have used, noting Donald Macleod, but Burke’s didn’t acknowledge they had made a mistake. They did offer to research the marriage at a very high hourly rate but I was not inclined to accept its offer.

    Children of John Macdonald, 5th of Glenaladale and nic Angus (daughter of Angus Macdonald:-
    1.John Macdonald, 6th of Glenaladale – married Mary Macdonald, daughter of Allan Macdonald, 5th of Morar and Margaret Macdonald, daughter of Sir Donald Macdonald of Sleat, 3rd Bt.
    2.Angus Macdonald, 1st of Borodale – in 1745 he was the first person to receive a commission from Bonnie Prince Charlie.
    3.Ronald Macdonald;
    4.Alexander Macdonald;
    5.Allan Macdonald;
    6.Roderick Macdonald – He was Lieutenant Jacobite Army
    7.James Macdonald – 1746 Baillie of Canna imprisoned London as Jacobite
    8.Donald Macdonald –
    9.Penelope Macdonald – married Angus Macdonald, Tacksman of Stonibridge, South Uist
    10.Catherine Macdonald – married Donald Macdonald of Gualtergill.

    • caledonhills

      July 11, 2013 at 12:24 am

      Hi Noni

      I’ve had the same response from Burkes. They are willing to accept any new information from researchers as long as ‘their’ researchers can double check your information before they accept it. It took me 30 years to gather my info on the Macdonalds of Boisdale. Even with all our new technology, they quoted nearly £5,000 to check my facts….and I’m a professional genealogist. They are not a ‘charitable organization’ and need to pay their staff for work done, I understand that. But there should be accommodation made for obvious mistakes or corrections/additions that are clearly proven by today’s available information. Just my opinion.

      • Noni Brown

        July 11, 2013 at 11:27 pm

        Hi .. thank you for your response.. (I replied & lost it?) so hopefully this is not a repeat. I paid a professional researcher in Edinburgh to search the Scottish Catholic Archives, but nothing meaningful found.

        I did receive a copy of a handwritten account of the Glenaladale family including the offspring of John Macdonald 5th of Glenaladale, but although males were described in some detail the daughters were not just the reference to “daughter” and “daughter”.

        I’m sure a marriage record for Donald Macleod of Galtrigal and Catherine Macdonald of Glenaladale exists somewhere in a Catholic record and hopefully one day it will become public. Recent research has suggested he was a son of John Macleod 11 of Rigg but no hard evidence found as yet.

        I have been trying to get a copy of the List of Men, required from each laird, sent to the Secretary of the Duke of Cumberland, naming men who did not support Prince Charlie. Rev. John Macleod, Minister of Duirinish at that time prepared the list of men on Macleod of Dunvegan’s lands. I believe Galtrigal had one tenant and eleven or twelve men. At some stage this list was at Dunvegan’s Muniment Room, St Andrews University Archives/Library, but apparently not so now. The original lists are apparently still in the Queen’s Royal “Cumberland Collection”, but so far I haven’t had any response for my request.

        As a professional genealogist do you have any recommendations for sourcing evidence on this marriage or sourcing the Cumberland List?

        • Gordon Macleod

          September 20, 2013 at 6:44 pm

          Just typing from memory here but I’m pretty certain Donald of Galtrigal was Donald, son of the John of Raasay, who appears in the MacLeods of Trumpan genealogy and whose descendants were known as the millers. I’m also pretty sure that this John of Raasay was John II of the Rigg family.

          An obituary for a Kirsty Macleod, a direct descendant of that line, states she was the pilot’s dscendant, furthermore her brother Murdo is recorded on the Tobar an Dualchais site stating that Donald worked the mill in Glendale.

          The first of the Macleods of Rigg was John, second son of Alexander 5th of Raasay. He was otherwise known as Iain Garbh or Mor. Raasay tradition says he was a natural or illegitimate son and that his mother was a Macdonald (probably of Rigg,a Macdonald tack in Trotternish).

          Other traditions of Iain Garbh say that he was a cadet of the MacLeods of Dunvegan, from whom he had gotten Raasay and that he rebuilt or improved Brochel Castle and was the last of the MacGillechalluims to live there. Some have dismissed these traditions but in May 1655 MacLeod of Dunvegan did indeed gain the life-rent of Raasay from Cromwell.

          Iain Garbh was married to Janet, daughter of Rory Mor MacLeod of Dunvegan, and was therefore an uncle of the Dunvegan chief of 1655. Some sources say that he had no children but Raasay tradition speaks of an Iain Og. The old pipe tune ‘Macleod of Raasays Salute’ was originally titled ‘Cumha Iain Mhic Iain Ghairbh’ or lament for John, son of John Garbh. Furthermore the proprietor of Raasay in 1679/80 is recorded as John Macleod.

          Raasay traditions say the succession was disputed after Iain Garbh’s drowning in 1671 and that his brother Murdo, the tutor, tried to exclude Iain Og. The contemporary poet Mary MacLeod said that Iain Garbh’s only brother took his place. That must have been the tutor to Alexander, son of Malcolm, older brother of the tutor and younger half brother to Iain Garbh. Raasay tradition states this Malcolm also drowned in 1671.

          In 1688 Janet and Julia, daughters and only children of Alexander 6th of Raasay, older half brother of Iain Garbh successfully claimed the Raasay estates. Janet is said to have resigned her half of the rights to her first cousin Alexander (the tutor’s charge) Julia sold her rights to this Alexander in 1692 and the current chiefs are his descendants.

          Donald Macleod of Galtrigal’s son, Alexander the Miller, was almost certainly both the Alexander Macleod of Glendale and the Alexander Macleod of the Raasay family, recorded in Macleod genealogies, who married a daughter of John MacLeod of Drynoch, son of Norman Mor.

          Tote and neighbouring townships in Snizort were part of an area sometimes called Ung na Cille, long owned by the Macleods of Raasay. In 1726, for the fee of 4000 Merks, a William MacLeod of Ebost bought these lands (to be possessed under Macleod of Raasay until repayment of the fee). William MacLeod was a business associate and brother in law of Bailie John Steuart and he was married to Marian, daughter of Norman Mor of Drynoch. John MacLeod of Drynoch ran a ship for the Bailie and the business was mainly the delivery of meal.

          William MacLeod of Ebost died without male issue and in all likelihood the lands of Ung na Cille (including Tote) were passed to his widow, Marian MacLeod. Marian MacLeod probably then passed Ung na Cille to her niece, daughter of John of Drynoch and wife of Alexander the miller.

          Alexander the Miller and his wife, the daughter of Drynoch, were probably the parents of Donald (named for his grandfather the pilot), father of Alexander Macleod of Ung na Cille, John Macleod of Balmore and Norman Macleod of Struan. The Macleod family of Bolvean, near Orbost were also descendants.

          Alexander the Miller’s other son William (not a name usually associated with the Raasay Macleods) was probably named for William of Ebost. He married Elizabeth or Betsy Beaton of Auchork, Trotternish (from a family who originally came from Waternish).

          One of William and Betsy Macleod’s sons, John, was born in Peinstaphen in Waternish, so that family must have returned to that part of Skye. Another son, Neil, was in Galtrigal around 1815, as was his brother Donald. John (born Peinstaphen) was in Galtrigill on the 1841 and 1851 censuses. His son Neil was painted by MacLeay for his Highlanders of Scotland series in 1868 and although he spent much of his life in the south he returned to Skye as an old man, dying in Galtrigill in the late 1890s.

          Regarding Noni’s own descent from the pilot, I would say the kilt pin in her family’s possession (mentioned on another page of this site) can’t on it’s own be considered proof of a connection to the pilot. It could just as likely have come from her Macdonald ancestors and it was probably part of the bundle of women’s clothes the Prince discarded near Kingsburgh on his way to Portree. In saying that, if I remember correctly, Donald Macleod who emigrated to Oz (brother of Noni’s ancestor William and another named for William of Ebost?), had a child born in Tote in the 1820s. Indeed rental records for the Raasay estate from 1822 show that there were two Donald Macleods in Tote, one of them a miller.

          It’s likely Noni’s ancestor Malcolm Macleod (father of William and his brother who went to Oz, Donald of Tote) was another son of Alexander the Miller (son of the pilot) and his wife, a daughter of John of Drynoch, son of Norman Mor.

          I must also mention that Donald of Galtrigill’s glasses, which are now on display in Dunvegan castle, were donated by a Peggy Macleod, a descendant of a Norman Macleod of the Rigg family. This Norman was married to a woman of the clan Alasdair Ruadh branch of the MacLeods and one of his grandchildren was the famous Dotair Ban of North Uist.

          Fred T. MacLeod, author of a history of the MacCrimmons, was descended from another Macleod family from Colbost near Galtrigill. They also claimed descent from the Raasay and clan, Alasdair Ruadh Macleods, who traced their descent to a Norman Macleod, said to have fought at Culloden with a battle-axe.

          • Gordon Macleod

            September 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm

            The post above seems to have been edited, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Paragraph six, though probably not written very well to begin with, should read:

            Raasay traditions say the succession was disputed after Iain Garbh drowned in 1671 and that his brother Murdo, known as the tutor, tried to exclude Iain Og. The contemporary poet Mary MacLeod said that Iain Garbh’s only brother took his place, that must have been Murdo, he was tutor to his nephew Alexander, son of Malcolm(older brother of the tutor and younger half brother to Iain Garbh). Raasay tradition states this Malcolm also drowned in 1671.

            The clan Alasdair Ruadh, mentioned in the last paragraph, are not descended from a Norman Macleod.

            Fred T. Macleod’s pedigree in the male line goes back to a Norman Macleod who fought for the Raasay branch at Culloden. The tradition in Fred T. Macleod’s family states they are descended from the Raasay branch and also the clan Alasdair Ruadh branch. I believe Peggy Macleod’s ancestor Norman and Fred T. Macleod’s ancestor Norman were the same man. He fought at Culloden as part of the Raasay branch and was married a woman of the clan Alasdair Ruadh.

  74. Waxwing

    April 13, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Mo Ghille Mear

    Many Western Highlanders and Islanders retain an emotional allegiance to the Jacobite cause and its strong connection to their homeland. What is usually overlooked is that their Celtic cousins in Ireland lay down their lives in as many numbers for the Jacobite cause. The Irish ballad ‘Mo Ghille Mear’, written by the Corkman John MacDonald (Sean MacDhomhnaill) after Culloden was about Prince Charles and it almost became the Irish national anthem. Two very different renditions can be found at:

    The first two verses in Irish (as are the rest of the ballad) are virtually indistinguishable from Scottish Gaelic (in brackets) – not surprising as Scottish Gaelic is just a hand-me-down from Irish. A warning about the Sting/Chieftains version – so much poetic license has been taken over the English translation that it has completely lost the spirit of the song which was about heartbreak and abandonment.

    Se mo laoch mo Ghile Mear
    ‘Sé mo Shaesar, Ghile Mear,
    Suan ná séan ní bhfuaireas féin
    (Suan no sean cha d’fhuair mi fhein)
    Ó chuaigh i gcéin mo Ghile Mear.
    (Bho chaidh e cian mo Ghille Mear)

    Seal dá rabhas im’ mhaighdean shéimh,
    (Seall cho robh mi na’m mhaighdean sheimh)
    ‘S anois im’ bhaintreach chaite thréith,
    (‘Sa nis na’m bhantrach chaite treith)
    Mo chéile ag treabhadh na dtonn go tréan
    (Mo cheile a’treabhadh na tuinn gu trian)
    De bharr na gcnoc is in imigéin.
    (Air bharr nan cnoc is ag imigean).

    • c Mac Kay

      April 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      I think you’re terribly wrong historically with what you say in relation to the Islanders/Highlanders and the Jacobite cause. My people have no affinity towards Jacobism and, when he [Stuart] arrived in the Uists from Nantes, MacDonald of Boisdale told him to go back. They also gave it to him in writing. Boisdale was correct as the intrusion into Scotland detroyed ancient Scotland. Scotland had moved on from the Jacobites and sentimentality at looking at the past is filled with folly.

      • Waxwing

        April 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm

        The following clans are said to have been Jacobite:

        Clans of Irish origin: MacInnes, MacLachlan, MacLaren, MacRae, Urquhart.

        Clan of Belgian Origin: Murray*.

        Clan of Lowland Scots Origin: Boyd**.

        Clans of Speyside Origin: Ogilvie*, Grant*.

        Clans of North Highland Origin: Farquharson, Fraser**, Gordon, MacKintosh**.

        Clans of West Highland Origin: Cameron**, Chisholm**, MacDonald**, MacDougall, MacGillivray, MacIntyre, MacKenzie, MacKinnon, MacLean**, MacNab, MacPherson.

        The greatest concentration of Jacobites came from the vicinity on either side and including the Great Glen which runs in a line diagonal to the Moray Firth on the East and the Firth of Lorne on the West. This area was also the location of various Clearances before and after the Jacobite Wars and, during the earlier Clearances following the Battle of Killicrankie, General Hugh MacKay of Scourie cleared those glens of rebels.

        Anyone who doubts the Jacobite sympathies of the Highland clans should visit the Culloden Moor site outside Inverness. The clans marked with an asterisk paid the heaviest price and indeed the ultimate price if double-asterisked. The chief pro-Government clans were – MacKay, Munro, Campbell, Sinclair, Sutherland, Ross and MacLeod.

        As for myself, someone who grew up in the Islands, I am proud to have Cameron and MacKenzie blood in me – both Jacobite sympathisers. Nothing to do with religion, actually, as almost all of my bloodlines were Protestant! What dismays me is how a good number of Protestant clans fought for religious freedom, the Pretender was Catholic, but a substantial number of Catholic clans sat on the sidelines. I could be stirring a hornets’s nest here perhaps?

  75. George F. Sanborn Jr.

    April 1, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Hi Dot,

    Nice to hear from a fellow New Hampshirite! I was born in Laconia and always called Moultonborough home, on Lake Winnipesaukee. I’m afraid I haven’t been following previous discussion in this thread. Was there something that you wanted to ask me? I live in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. I, too, am interested in a Patrick MacDonald (aka Peter MacDonald, those two names being interchangeable, of course). However, mine is later, and lived in Benbecula, whence he emigrated to Canada without tarrying in Northern Ireland, as far as I know.

    George Sanborn

    • rankin

      April 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      Hi George

      I have been looking for Patrick’s parent for over sixty years and also Elizabeth McLean. I do know that they left County Down between their daughter Margaret’s birth there in 1765 and their son Neil’s birth in 1772 in Upper Kennetook, 5 mile river, in Nova Scotia. My uncle said he and others left Scotland for County Down in Ireland due to an uprising!!! He did join the ’84 Regiment in Nova Scotia during our Revolutionary War. I was in hopes you would know something about Patrick b. 1728/29 in Uister and because you are from New Hampshire.


  76. Anne Marie

    January 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Hi Ronnie,

    If you post any family queries, try and keep the lines seperated as well as you can to generate more interest as people are drawn to a subject by what they see (what name stands out).

    Donald MacAskill c1880 (son of James MacAskill & Isabella MacRae)
    = Eliza MacPhee c1885

    Children: James, Malcolm, Margaret = Alexander MacInnes (son of Roderick MacInnes & Catherine MacAskill) & Eliza.

    All seem to have moved to Glasgow, Scotland except Margaret. I am working on this branch when I can and will email a report once I’m done but it would be great to find more descendants.

    Regards, Anne Marie

  77. Anne Marie

    January 22, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Hi Ronnie,

    Glad to have been a help to you and glad you took my advice to join the site. There are two people on here who may have a common link with your tree – from memory and, hoping I’m right, Susan O’Meara & Patricia MacLellan but I can’t remember which surnames the link for either was.

    If you have any queries, post them here as there is a lot of traffic and I’m sure you will get a connection in no time. I’m the dud on here – no-one has answered my pleas yet 🙂

    Susan has MacRaes but it’s too far back for me to find a connection with what I have. Possibly Angus MacMillan will have an idea? What Angus doesn’t know is not worth knowing and his memory is something else. So get posting your questions because they won’t get answers lying in a drawer!

    • Veronica Milsted

      January 27, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      Hi Anne Marie, I have been cleaning up my tree and still have info to add thanks to you! I would love to hear from Susan O’Meara or Patricia MacLellan. I want to be sure I am following the correct pathways since there are so many Campbells, MacDonalds and MacIntyres and I am still learning the place names on South Uist. Apart from my grandpa, Angus MacIntyre, the only recent relation in my tree is Eliza MacPhee who married Donald MacAskill but I think there are more links with the current population if I can trace them. Of course I am still trying to identify the MacRae and MacDonald lines back as well.

      • Anne Marie

        May 6, 2013 at 11:48 pm

        Hi Ronnie,

        I just realised that it’s your James MacAskill’s parents & siblings that I have started on. He had eleven siblings – another five of the siblings married.

  78. caledonhills

    January 14, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Hi George,

    If you could email me offline, I can fill you in on all the details.


  79. George F. Sanborn Jr.

    January 14, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I see my name being “dragged through the dust,” as it were. Thought I had better jump in. I am retired now and living in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. I don’t get to the Western Isles nearly as often as I should like to, but am keenly interested in everything genealogical that’s going on. George

  80. caledonhills

    January 14, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks I will!

  81. caledonhills

    January 14, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Well Anne Marie, that’s a great idea. Only one problem. I’m Canadian. I wouldn’t have a clue how to go about doing that. If someone here knows the process or who I could even question about it, I’d be interested to know.

    I know I was told to perhaps write a book or booklet about this line and my findings. This too is a huge undertaking and I would love to do it, but I feel I should hire a professional family historian to help me “word” it all properly. It’s so exciting for me and I’m glad that you feel it’s important too. I wish I knew a better way to get this information out there.

    • Waxwing

      January 14, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      Speak to George Sanborn and run the whole thing past him at

      George has strong Uist connections and he is a regular visitor to these parts. He also has strong links to the Canadian maritime provinces and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquarians of Scotland. Unless my memory fails me, George is Canadian and he is a professional librarian and genealogist based in New Hampshire in the US. He has posted messages on this website in the past in response to queries and I know he will be of any help that he can.

      • Dorothy Smith

        March 31, 2013 at 5:31 pm

        Hi George

        I see you have strong interest in Uist which is where my Patrick MacDonald was born in 1728. In 1746 he and others went to County Down in Ireland where he met a McLean and married, had a daughter then they came to Nova Scotia where he and 2of his sons were in the 84th Regiment during the Revolutionary War.

        I too have numerous records for Loyalist Nova Scotia. I am in South Sutton, New Hampshire.


        • Waxwing

          April 1, 2013 at 12:23 am

          This is interesting, could you fill in more detail? Why did he go to Ireland from Uist at the age of eighteen, just the year after the second Jacobite Rebellion, and then to Nova Scotia?

          The name McLean has been very uncommon in County Down and it is only to be found in a pocket in the top end of the Ards Peninsula in and around Donaghadee. The name is scattered throughout other parts of Ireland but mostly in counties Antrim and Derry.

          I would guess these McLeans were of Highland Scots origin, just like Patrick himself, and conceivably also spoke Gaelic in the 1700s. Donaghadee was known as the Gretna Green of Ireland in its day and there was a daily packet boat to Portpatrick in Wigtownshire in Scotland, just twelve miles away across the Irish Sea.

          More likely, the McLeans were in Ulster as part of the fall-out after Culloden, perhaps like Patrick MacDonald himself? Or they could have had a presence in Ulster from further back as from around 1560 the Clan MacLean became part of the Gallowglass, na Galloglaigh, who were ferocious mercenaries who served in Ireland for King Shane O’Neill.

  82. Noni Brown

    December 9, 2012 at 1:39 am

    An example on Freecensus here is one family where father is Archibald with son Duncan living at Glenhurich, south west of Lochebar, Ardnamurchan:
    Census Age Y.O.B. occupation Born
    MCMILLAN Archy 1841 52 1789 Ag Labourer
    MCMILLAN Ann 1841 40 1801
    MCMILLAN Alex 1841 17 1824 Male Servant Inverness-shire(Originally: Argyllshire)
    MCMILLAN Mary 1841 16 1825 Female Servant Inverness-shire
    MCMILLAN Janet 1841 13 1828 Female Servant Inverness-shire
    MCMILLAN John 1841 8 1833 Inverness-shire
    MCMILLAN Donald 1841 6 1835 Inverness-shire
    MCMILLAN Duncan 1841 3m 1841 Unknown
    If you have a good look for Arch and Dunc copy and sort in a spreadsheet you just might find your Ancestors.

  83. Noni Brown

    December 9, 2012 at 1:01 am

    The first place I would look is In1841 There were 137 Arch McMillan and 17 Arch MacMillan adn 157 Dunc McMillan and 15 Dunc Macmillan. I searched all places and using the shortened spelling for Archibald adn Duncan. Apparently there is 190 different spellings of McMillan. There were, three lines sept of Buchanan ; a Dunmore line and MacMillan (Locabar Branch under Clan Cameron – there were some Jacobites in this line) – I have tracked down some from this line :
    1. Angus M’Millan, Farmer, born about 1762 Achatrichatan, Glencoe. He came to Skye in about 1800. In 1814 he met Sir Walter Scott who along with other distinguished men of the time – sailed into the Bay of Camusunary. Angus married Margaret Cameron bc1775 Lochaber, who died 3 Jun 1855, Rhu, Arisaig – daughter of Donald Cameron Esq. b1725 Murlagan, Loch Arkaig (acenstors of this line were out in ’45 with the Camerons).

    I have been interested another brother who came to Conista, Kilmuir, Skye and it seems our Christy Macmillan of Kilmuir may have a connection to this family:

    Donald M’Millan, Farmer – born about 1760s married Janet MacDonald born ca 1770s with issue:
    1. Angus M’Millan, Farmer, born 1790-1 Bracadale died 14th September 1869 Conista, Kilmuir – married Mary McLeod born ca 1793-81 Kilmuir – with issue:
    1. John M’Millan born ca 1818 Conista Kilmuir Inverness. Ag Lab never married
    2. Malcolm M’Millan born ca 1818 Conista
    3. Donald M’Millan born ca 1821 Conista
    4. Alexander M’Millan born ca 1825-6 Conista. Emigrated 1851 on the “Emperor” age 26 yrs single to NSW. Married 1869 Mary Cameron Grafton NSW with issue:
    5. Norman M’Millan, Farmer, born ca 1827 Kilmaluag/Conista, Kilmuir married Mary Nicolson, born Duirinish, (daughter of Angus Nicolson, Inn Keeper of Kilvaxter and Sally Campbell), Norman, Innkeeper, died 7 Sep 1887 Kilvaxter, Kilmuir, with issue
    6. Marion M’Millan born ca 1830 Conista.
    7. Donald M’Millan born ca 1831-3 Conista emigrated in 1854 on the “David McIver” as a single man to NSW. Married ann ? He died 1885 Maclean NSW with issue:
    8. Kenneth M’Millan born c 1835-8 Conista Kilmuir emigrated 1869 on the “La Hogue” to NSW Aus with wife Margaret Nicholson born c1833 and 3 children. Note: This Kenneth M’Millan delivered a letter from our William McLeod of Monkstadt, Kilmuir (near Conista) to his sister in law Ann McLeod of Tinonee NSW (widow of his brother Donald).

  84. Noni Brown

    October 29, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Clan Donald Vol 3 is a great source of information on all Macdonalds, particularly as the authors did not have access to internet and email and had to rely on information recorded at that time. So many of the Sleat Macdonalds emigrated from North Uist and Skye, mostly settling in and around Little River and Cumberland County. It has only been in recent years that records in North Carolina for 1770s on have become available.

    I hope to retrieve the actual Last Will and Testament of Donald Roy, which may have been held by his Wilmington lawyer, Mr McLane (McLean?). A woman in the USA claims descendancy from Donald Roy via a Daniel (or Donald?) and we have shared information in recent times.

    “Donald Roy MacDonald, emigrated from Scotland about 1771 (possibly on the same ship and same time as James MacDonald of Heisker (Balranald), then a wealthy Merchant of Portree, and began purchasing property in January of the next two years on the McLendon’s Creek in Cumberland (now Moore) County, North Carolina”. Source Gloria Ross.

    This James MacDonald was the other Sleat MacDonald that was ‘out’ in the ’45. James was apparently in his 20s in 1746. He and many other Sleat MacDonalds settled in the “Litte River Settlement” in North Carolina.

    The young Cherokee chief, Dragging Canoe, and his band of renegade indians certainly did attack settlers and hunters around the time Donald Roy lived in N.C. but to prove he was in fact attacked is another thing.

    I have Part Two of “Donald Roy Macdonald of the ’45” relating to North Carolina, which I am happy to share with your readers. I see you have links to an early version of my Part one.

  85. Noni Brown

    October 28, 2012 at 2:29 am

    The will of Donald Campbell of Scalpay, brother in law of Donald Roy Macdonald, confirms he and his family, emigrated to North Carolina. Land documents and Loyalist papers confirm his family purchased land at McLendon’s Creek, North Carolina. A descendant of Donald Campbell via son Kenneth, is a volunteer at Inverness Archives in Scotland. Jointly we have discovered sufficient information to strongly suggest Donald Roy did emigrate and purchased at least three lots of land on McLendon’s Creek prior to his death in 1783.

    A letter from Norman Morrison to his father, Alexander Morrison, then in Scotland, dated February 29, 1784, has this to say concerning the Campbell family (of Donald Campbell of Scalpay), his wife Katherine, and Donald Roy’s Estate – to which Donald’s wife and his sister Catherine Campbell were both making claim:

    “McLendon’s Creek is almost deserted. I did not give your letter concerning Mr. MacDonald’s estate to Mr. McLane, a lawyer, living in Wilmington, as the times past obliged me to keep myself very still and the place so much gone to wreck & claimed by Mrs. MacDonald as Donald’s heir, and by Mrs. Campbell as her brother’s heir, that it would get me ill-will before it could profit anybody, in case he did recover it.”

    I recently ordered and received a copy of an estate document relating to his estate, signed by a Jannet MacDonald, Farquard Campbell and Gilbert Eccles, a close friend and neighbour of Donald Campbell’s family as to letters of administration of the estate. This document does not indicate whether Jannet is Mrs Macdonald, his wife, or a daughter.

    Cumberland County Estate records
    NC State Archives in Raleigh, NC.
    McDonald, Donald 29 1783 CR.029.508.41

    • Angus Macmillan

      October 28, 2012 at 10:11 am

      Thank you Noni: great work. That certainly puts those local doubts clearly and specifically to bed. It also corrects the comments about there being no record of Donald Roy having married though it was known that he had a son. I guess that stemmed from his family history where marriage seems to have been something of an optional extra. Regards, Angus

      • Anne Marie

        December 23, 2012 at 12:20 am

        Hi Angus,

        I have just discovered that I don’t actually know how to begin a new thread?

        Anyway, on the subject of the name MacMillan, I am filling in some gaps for Susan O’meara on her MacRae line and have just discovered that an Archibald MacRae (Smerclate), born 1842, son of Donald MacRae & Mary Morrison married Ann MacMillan of 12 Torlum, Benbecula so who better to call upon for any advance on those details as that is all I have.


        Anne Marie.

        P.S. If anyone else feels they can contribute I will gladly accept.

        • Anne Marie

          December 23, 2012 at 12:37 am

          I should have added Ann was born c 1854, father Nei, grandfather Angus. I don’t have her mothers name. Ann & Archie had 1 son that I know of, Donald b c 1879.


          Anne Marie.

          • Angus MacMillan

            December 23, 2012 at 12:55 am

            Hello Anne Marie: I did tell Susan all about Ann and quite a bit more when I helped her reconstruct her family tree after a computer crash some years ago. You are quite right that this is my family. The Angus mentioned was my 3x great grandfather and Neil was one of four brothers, Donald Ban at 25 Lionacleit, my John at 7 Griminish, the Neil, who retained the family croft and Malcolm who was the unlucky one who had, I think it was eleven children of whom only one made it to adulthood. Neil’s wife was Catherine MacPherson from one of the MacMhuirich/MacPherson bardic families. Donald was Donald Gobha who became the smith in Smercleit. As for Ann, once widowed, she returned to Benbecula and settled in a small cottar dwelling on 12 Torlum, where she had two further children by different fathers. If there is anything else needed, I can reprise what I passed on before, including I think it was something about millers in that southern portion of South Uist. Season’s greetings and best wishes. Angus

            • Anne Marie

              December 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm

              Hi Angus,

              Thanks for that as I’m not quite sure what Susan has as I don’t have a report as such. I’m still trying to track the elusive Finlay MacRae but he’s a big mystery indeed. Regards & Best wishes for the New Year. Anne Marie.

            • Susan O'Meara

              December 24, 2012 at 2:11 am

              No, it was not me that you helped reconstruct the family tree on. This is all new information to me thanks to Anne Marie’s help. I didn’t even have the parents or siblings names to my Isabella McRae b. 1805 in Smerclate prior to Anne Marie telling me they were Alexander McRae & Margaret Morrison. I also didn’t have a computer crash (thank goodness, but I always back up my data every few months regardless).

              So maybe there was another person you assisted other than me?

              Anne Marie, I was just thinking of you and how I lost track of our correspondence from a some months back. I have some time off during the upcoming holiday so I expect to get back on track with some old e-mails.

              I look forward to writing to you again shortly!

              Susan O’Meara
              Macomb Twp., Michigan

              • Angus MacMillan

                December 24, 2012 at 10:07 am

                Forgive me Susan, I must have been having a senior moment. I could have sworn it was an O’Meara but it was some years ago. If there is anything I can help Anne Marie with, do let me know. Donald MacMillan [Donald Gobha the smith in Smercleit was one of ‘mine’ for example] had a daughter, Miss MacMillan mentioned in the Rae book, A School in South Uist. Happy Christmas. Angus.

              • Anne Marie

                January 15, 2013 at 8:19 pm

                Hi Susan,

                Not sure if your email system is ok? Just that I haven’t had a reply since xmas eve. I have sent your MacRae report with my findings, which I think equates to around 180 offspring so definitely worth the wait 🙂 Anne Marie

                • Veronica Milsted

                  January 22, 2013 at 8:03 pm

                  Hi, Anne Marie

                  I’d just like to say that I am interested in the MacRae line, must be in there somewhere with 180 offspring uncovered by you. What a great help your information about Angus Campbell who married Catherine MacDonald has been though. I am still working on the other ancestors in the report.

        • Donald MacMillan c1820 S/Uist & Mary MacPhee c1821 S/Uist

          June 9, 2013 at 2:23 pm

          Any MacMillan DESCENDANTS of the following couple:-

          Donald MacMillan c1820 S/Uist & Mary MacPhee c1821 S/Uist

          Married 1845 (recorded Bornish), both living in South Boisdale, South Uist at the time of marriage although I believe both may have been born in Frobost, South Uist?

          Children: (all born in South Uist) were:

          Angus 1847 South Boisdale
          Roderick 1849 South Frobost
          Neil 1851 Frobost
          Alexander 1853 Frobost
          John 1856 Frobost

          I am hoping to find marriages etc. of the above & does anyone know who Donald MacMillan’s parents were please?

          I have Mary’s details as she is my ancestor so I am now looking for details of the husband and any connections with the children.

      • Noni Brown

        April 7, 2013 at 4:37 am

        ‘Flora MacDonald, the Most Loyal Rebel’, Hugh Douglas, page xi:

        a) Donald Roy MacDonald, half-brother of Hugh MacDonald of Baleshare etc.
        b) Hugh MacDonald of Baleshare – cousin of Clanranald and related to both Sleat Chief and Lady Clanranald. Half-brother of Donald Roy etc

        If he is correct and he found a source that they were ‘half-brothers’ then it seems they had the same father but different mothers – he doesn’t state Donald Roy was a cousin of Clanranald.

        Ronald (Ranald) married Marion, daughter of Donald Macdonald 13th of Clanranald, who was previously married to Allan Macdonald, 5th of Morar- this explains the Clanranald connection for Hugh.

        Then who was Donald Roy’s mother? Could she have been from around Cnocowe? It may explain why Donald Roy spent so much time visiting relatives at Cnoc o (Cnocowe, Kilmuir – near Monkstadt home of the Sleat Chief at that time).

        Hugh Douglas published numerous books on Scottish History but sadly he died in March 2003 so we can’t ask him. He listed a comprehensive Bibliography in this book. Does anyone else know where confirmation of this information can be found?

        • Angus Macmillan

          April 7, 2013 at 10:16 am

          Just for completeness

          The Clanranald connection was still closer than recorded, at least by marriage. Both Ranald of Baleshare and Lady Clanranald, wife of Ranald XVII of Claranald, the ‘Old Clan’ of the ’45 rising were descendants, grandson and great granddaughter respectively, of Sir James Mor MacDonald X & 2nd Bart of Sleat.

          I would not necessarily trust Hugh Douglas any more than any of the other biographers of Flora. The trouble with all of them and with long bibliographies is that they are derivative one from the other and facts which may or may not be right or are picked up and repeated ad nauseam.

          Clan Donald, with one of the authors firmly rooted in the soil of North Uist, certainly made no distinction of birth/mother(s) between Hugh and Donald Roy. That said, unlike his siblings, Donald Roy does seem to have been born in Skye and, unlike marriages which are generally serial, if Donald was a natural son, he could well have been interleaved with his siblings.

          Also that would fit the family custom as Sir James had a number of children outside his marriage, including Ranald, whilst Hugh had a long standing relationship with Effrick MacAulay, who eventually married John MacRury in Knockline.

          There is, of course, one other possible explanation for Donald Roy’s Skye contacts, which is that his father’s family will have been there. Nor was it something that separated him from his (half?) brother, Hugh, as the latter was the constant contact between Lady Margaret (Montgomery) MacDonald, wife of the Sleat chief, and events in the Uists when Prince Charles was skulking there.

          It seems to me a matter that is, at present, sadly unknowable.

          • Noni Brown

            April 9, 2013 at 12:05 am

            Thank you Angus… so much is simply unknowable! However it is interesting going down various paths in attempts to get to the truth.

            Marion’s first marriage to Alan Vth of Morar as an example. The children named under his first wife i.e. Donald and Katherine match up with the names of Ranald’s children. One account I found was the reverse which had thebwife with the children named below – so IF it was Marion who had Donald and Katherine, and they didn’t die young, then that would resolve the question of the “half-brothers”.

            Allan Macdonald 5th of Morar (son of Allan Macdonald, 4th of Morar) Married (1) 1686 Margaret Macdonald, the second daughter of Sir Donald Macdonald of Sleat, 3rd Bt. by whom he had –

            1. Donald Macdonald, who died before his father.
            2. Katherine Macdonald, who died young.
            3. Margaret Macdonald
            4. Elizabeth Macdonald
            5. Janet Macdonald
            6. Mary Macdonald married John Macdonald 6th of Glenaladale (Jacobite) with issue:
            1. Alexander Macdonald, 7th of Glenaladale (Jacobite) d. 30 Jan 1761
            2. John Macdonald
            3. Allan Macdonald

            Alan married (2) Marion Macdonald (daughter of Donald Macdonald, 12th or 13th? of Clanranald & Marion Macleod). This Marion later married her second husband, Ranald Macdonald, a natural son of Sir James Mor Macdonald of Sleat.

        • Charles E. Mac Kay

          April 7, 2013 at 12:52 pm

          My Grandfather’s aunt said we were related to Flora but I take it with a pinch of salt. Maybe its through her stepfather because his mother was said by my aunt to be Catherine MacKay. My aunt died just after the Great War in Oban but strangely I have found the family Oral Tradition to be very nearly spot on

      • Noni Brown

        July 13, 2013 at 5:50 am

        Dear Angus,

        Recently I was fortunate to find the ideal Scotsman to translate Donald Roy Macdonald’s 1746 Latin laments after Culloden. These two English translations were kindly carried out by author and classical scholar David Wishart

        David’s is a “one-to-one accuracy, a literal version as opposed to a literary one”. I would like to share these words and feelings with those interested in Donald Roy.

        The Lamentation of Capt. Donald Roy Macdonald while hiding in caves after the Battle of Culloden:

        Ah, what solitude I bear as I wander the sheer peaks of the mountains, through the many [lit. ‘several’] glens, the caves in the rocks, and the bristling heather! In the forests now my companions are the deer; my comforters, with their cries, are the cuckoos and now the doves lessen my weariness with their soft murmur.

        A great force of soldiers pursue[d] me because I refuse[d] to betray Prince Charles. But I strove to pass safely through the weapons of my enemies countless ants, midges and wasps swarm, with heat and cold in turn, as if they have made treaty with the Duke of Cumberland.

        Not so terrible to me is George, whom Great Britain obeys as her Lord, as are the little midges, than whom the Butcher Duke himself is scarcely a more pitiless enemy! They always find my hiding-places, they fly into my face, they pierce my skin with their wound-inflicting bites [lit. ‘beaks’] and sate their bellies with my blood.

        Long we fought bravely, on both sides; many bodies of midges were laid low on the earth, and my face was covered with many wounds. Finally, overcome by the number of my enemies, I fled, seeking the steep places of the mountains, and immediately the hateful swarm followed me, wherever I went.

        I was not [lit. ‘scarcely’] rid of this pestiferous crowd until, in my misery, a wind sprang up, and breathing on the midges dispersed them and sent them with its breath to hell [lit. ‘across the waters of the Styx’]. A more longed-for day will scarcely come for me until George is dead, and a new king succeeds to the throne who wishes to be kinder to his people.

        Day and night I pray in my heart that either this shining day will come or that a war bloodier than before will vex the kingdoms of Britain. Oh, if that time reaches my ears, I will dare to leave my hiding-places, and setting George’s menacing weapons at nought to give myself [back] openly to the world.

        Ode on the Foot of Donald Macdonald, wounded at the Battle of Culloden by a leaden musket-ball

        Alas! How many heroes fell in the too-bloody battle of Culloden, whose bodies lay despoiled at daybreak! I saw the son of Col (I shudder in the telling of it) fall at our side, from whom no-one who challenged him to equal fight had [ever] snatched the palm (of victory)

        Instead of a grave, these men were left to the ravening beasts of the field, while as many as still lived were torn apart by savage wounds. A terrible ball from a hollow musket, spitting lightning and fire, whistling through the air, pierced my foot with huge force. It tore not only the flesh, the delicate fibres and the tendons but the very bones, and shearing through the leather bindings it despoiled me all at once of my shoe.

        Now I will go about lame in one foot, like the black archetype-smith, treading [lit. striking’] with difficulty the grass of the verdant plain. Not for me, now, as before, the joys of hunting, of dancing [lit. ‘jumping’], of swimming, nor do I care to touch the swelling breasts of young girls.

        When I seek my bed at night, desirous of rest, sleep closes my eyes very rarely, and [only] briefly, because of the excessive pain in my wounded foot. In the morning, when I leave my warm nest, there gather round me old women [reading ‘vetulae’] and old men, asking [reading ‘rogantes’] me much about the war of Charles and the Butcher [Cumberland].

        Sitting the whole day through by the blazing hearth, I read through some books, particularly [those concerning] the wars set to verse by the blind poet [ie Homer]. Meanwhile, it is the conscientious doctor’s care to treat my wounded limb, and I pray the benign Creator of the World to favour what he has undertaken.

        • Waxwing

          July 13, 2013 at 9:05 am

          A real eye-opener!

          I went to see Brian Friel’s play again, ‘Translations’ and I said to myself how fanciful Friel had been with his character, the alcoholic schoolmaster. The headmaster refused to have anyone learn English and he would only teach his Donegal pupils in Latin or Greek, which meant the pupils had no English but they could speak rudimentary Classics, and Gaelic of course (which the master considered to be a vastly superior and purer language and I would tend to agree).

          From your posting, it would appear that Friel was not so very far off the mark and the situation might have been similar in the Highlands. Either that or this Donald Roy MacDonald was of high birth and was sent away to be educated (apparently not from your PDF – see below – as he was largely self-taught, some achievement!).

          The mystery is not why he wrote in Latin (the subject matter did not require it to be written in code), he was ‘just’ an avid Classics scholar. Either way, although I studied Latin in school and I was quite good at it, I never grasped the power and depth of the Latin language as is portrayed here and one wonders how it ever became a dead language – in much the same way as is bound to happen with Gaelic.

          One gets a bit of a sense from the poems that while some stalwarts put their necks on the line (literally), the majority of the Highland folk just uselessly and passively stood back (Donald’s vetulae and rogantes) and waited to see what would develop – a bit like the Irish who accepted their situation meekly over hundreds of years.

          Donald Roy said it all when he wrote ‘A more longed-for day will scarcely come for me until George is dead, and a new king succeeds to the throne who wishes to be kinder to his people’.

          Makes your blood boil, especially at this time of year in Ireland with the Orange Marches? Scots are coming over in droves with their Orange sashes, rubbing peoples’ noses in it, completely disrespectful of their Scottish but Highland kinsmen over the centuries who fell foul of the Establishment.

          If you have some rudimentary knowledge (and even if not) of Latin Grammar, not hard to learn as it is a very logical language (not unlike Gaelic), you can probably translate any further passages yourself and get the personal satisfaction that comes from that, using the excellent Latin translator website:

          Re-live Donald Roy’s footsteps in other words and, once you have mastered a bit of Latin, no one will be able to tell you are not a native speaker! I have also attached your excellent PDF on these clansfolk – which you have kept very quiet (talk about hiding your light under a bushel)! This can also be accessed on the Linkbar on the Homepage as ‘MacDonalds of the ’45’.

        • Angus Macmillan

          July 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm

          Dear Noni

          Thanks for those two translations. I always say to those who ask if midges tend not to be a problem in the islands and just on the mainland that the constant wind means that, if they pop their heads above ground, they find themselves in Aberdeen! Donald Roy makes the same point.

          Quite apart from the delight of the poems, these Latin compositions give the lie to any thought that the islands were ignorant and unlearned. The great Bard Cathal MacMhuirich wrote a poem that began ‘The Isles are a forest of learned men’. When continental universities sought professors of philosophy, they looked to Teampull Trionaid in North Uist. William Arbuckle’s school in Barra in the nineteenth century taught eleven languages.

          On another tack, there is a lovely passage in ‘Para Handy’ about midges with markings like a Poltalloch terrier, who could chew their way through corrugated iron roofs and ‘the old ones taking the young ones round, showing them the gips.’

          Thanks so much, Angus

          • Waxwing

            July 13, 2013 at 1:45 pm

            I have been eaten alive scores of times in Uist when tramping amongst the heather or when down by the waterside on a balmy evening gutting fish. Although, if you want to really experience being eaten alive (NOT) try Glenveagh in Donegal in August. I assume it’s the combination of a lakeside, sheltered by hills on all sides, and herds of deer roaming about in the heather.

            One for Noni. I am informed that if you walk around with a branch of eucalyptus strapped to your back, midges won’t come anywhere near you? By proxy, and if there are no midges in Australia, if the trick works on mozzies it should work on midges.

  86. Noni Brown

    October 27, 2012 at 4:35 am

    According to the McVicar Trinity Temple website comment “What would we not give for this information now? As it is, I know of only two of Trinity Temples distinguished scholars and what they achieved in later years. Their names are – Duns Scotus, the brilliant philosopher and Donald Roy MacDonald of Baile Sear, or Donald Roy of Cnoc O, as he is called in Skye because of his long visits to his relatives, the MacDonald’s of Cnoc O, Kilmuir, a cadet branch of the MacDonald’s of Duntuilm and Sleat”.

    Donald Roy often visited his chief at Monkstadt (just over the hill from Cnocowe) and his scholarly friend and doctor, Dr.John McLean at Shulista, a short distance from Cnocowe and Monkstadt. He visited Shulista prior to emigration to North Carolina. The MacLeans of Shulista were hereditary doctors to the MacDonalds and Skye’s first school was at Shulista, founded 161o. Four languages were taught here – English, Gaelic, Latin and Greek, and there was arithmetic and navigation. Donald Roy’s school and farm seem not to have been provided by his “Balshear” family but by the Balranald MacDonalds of North Uist.

    • Angus Macmillan

      October 27, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I don’t think there was the implied distinction between Baleshare and Balranald ‘families’ as to the provision of lands for Donald Roy. At the time Donald Roy found that his fee-paying school did not provide a sufficient living, MacDonald of Balranald was Sleat’s Factor in North Uist and so merely responsible for arranging the tack for Donald Roy. In any case, both Baleshare [Donald Roy was a grandson of Sir James Mor MacDonald X & 2nd Bart of Sleat] and Balranald [a descendant of the Donald Herrach family] were part of the MacDonald of Sleat chiefly family that held North Uist.

      I also have severe doubts that Donald Roy was in any sense educated at Tempull Trionaid. The MacVicars had been ousted about 1581 and Donald Roy’s education was around 1700 or rather later. We have no record of which I am aware of a school at Carinish by then and I suspect the parallel mention of schooling in Skye, perhaps supplemented by home tutoring either in Baleshare or other of the chiefly homes, is much more likely. That was certainly the pattern when (Sir) James Mor MacDonald was being educated about 1620, as the great poet Cathal MacMhuirich from Benbecula was, for a while, tutor in the Sleat household.

    • Angus Macmillan

      October 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      Incidentally, I don’t know the truth of it but the Rev Dr Angus MacDonald of Killearnan, joint author of Clan Donald and a man with deep roots in the relevant parts of North Uist, claims that the tale of Donald Roy emigrating was ludicrous and that he was buried at Kilmuir with his father and brother. His thought seems to have been that the emigration story and his subsequent tomahawking by wild Indians, arose from a confusion of Donald Roy with his old comrade in arms and predecessor as tacksman of Caolas Bernera, Donald MacLeod.

      • Steve McMillan

        December 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm

        Several people have told me to contact you regarding my heritage. My great great grand father, Archibald Mc (MAC) Millan hailed from Scotland but I can not seem to find any further information. He had a son, Duncan, who married Elizabeth Mathewson. Can you possible point me in the right direction. Thanks, Steve McMillan

        • Angus MacMillan

          December 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm

          Steve: it is notoriously difficult to come cold to a family and pinpoint their origins, particularly since the range of given names used was rather narrow. Do you have anything to add by way of dates of birth, places of origin, religious affiliation, destination etc. to add? If so, it might help. Once there are some pointers, the scotlandspeople database does have pretty good records; Clan MacMillan also has a database; and if records don’t work, Y-DNA testing might have to be the fall back. Incidentally, both Archibald and Duncan occur in the Uists but, from memory, not together.

  87. Noni Brown

    October 14, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Does anyone know where the author Hugh Douglas found info suggesting that Hugh Macdonald and Donald Roy MacDonald were half-brothers. I am almost certain this is true and Donald Roy Macdonald spent time at North Uist and a great deal of time at Cnocowe, Monkstadt and Shulista Isle of Skye with his “Skye family”.

    1. Ranald Macdonald born in Skye in 1660. Ranald was brought up in his native island of Skye. On 1718, when he was around the age of 58 yrs he became tacksman of Balishare. He married Marion, who was previously married to Allan Macdonald 5th of Morar, daughter of Donald Macdonald, 13th of Clanranald with issue:‐
    a. Hugh MacDonald born c. 1706, who succeeded ‐ “Hugh MacDonald of Baleshare. Cousin ofClanranald, and related to both Sleat Chief and Lady Clanranald. Half‐brother of Donald Roy. Secret Jacobite Sympathizer.” Source: Flora MacDonald The Most Loyal Rebel”, author Hugh Douglas. Page xi
    b. Ranald MacDonald, who was a brazier in Edinburgh, and who died without issue
    c. Donald Roy MacDonald born about 1708‐ “Donald Roy MacDonald. Half‐brother of Hugh
    MacDonald of Baleshare. Wounded at Culloden. Met Prince Charlie on arrival in Skye”, source: Flora MacDonald, The Most Loyal Rebel ” Author Hugh Douglas. Page xi
    d. Katherine MacDonald who married Donald Campbell of Scalpay.

    • Angus Macmillan

      October 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      I am sure you will find this family set out in ‘The History of Clan Donald’, the 3-volume work by the Revs A & A MacDonald, published just after 1900. I am not at all sure that Donald Roy was a half-, rather than a full-brother, of Hugh. Nor did Donald Roy spend most of his time in Skye. That was his location while recovering from the foot injury he received at Culloden and meanwhile trying to keep clear of being arraigned for his part in the rising. He was very friendly with a number of the leaders of the Militia companies and, in fact, spent a night in camp with one of them. He then returned to North Uist where he was for quite a while a schoolmaster to the children of the local gentry before securing a tack of lands in Berneray. Though seemingly never married, he had a son, Hugh, and in turn it is possible to track a couple more generations.

      Hugh, of course commanded Militia in North Uist but also carried messages, shirts etc. between Lady Margaret MacDonald of Sleat, wife of the Chief of the day, Sir Archibald MacDonald of Sleat, with whom he shared an ancestor, Sir James Mor MacDonald of Sleat. In his capacity of messenger, Hugh was caught up in the three-day drinking session in South Uist with Bonnie Prince Charlie and Alexander MacDonald of Boisdale, brother of the Clanranald Captain, Ranald XVII, whose own wife ‘Lady Clan’ was another grandchild of Sir James Mor MacDonald of Sleat.

      Donald Campbell of Scalpay was the man who, despite notional Government sympathies, took the laws of hospitality so seriously that, when the Prince and his companions came calling when looking to hire a ship from Lewis, he indicated that he would use force against anyone who threatened Charles’ safety. In old age, Donald emigrated to North Carolina where he died in 1796.

  88. Marie

    August 25, 2012 at 4:32 am

    I’m a 4th Gr. granddaughter of Donald Morrison of South Uist, who married a McIntyre, and they settled on the Georgetown Royalty of PEI, Canada. The remarks made by Mr. Gill about Morrison slaveholders–well, I’d like to read the basis for these statements, because Donald & son Alexander (& another son or two) just seemed to be farmers there on PEI. I’d really like to know the name of the community on S. Uist in which Donald resided/was married. I’d also like to know on what ship & which year they sailed for PEI. A Dick Yost says it was 1803, but I haven’t been able to contact him yet to ascertain his source. Even if some Morrisons had slaves, we have to understand that people were a product of their times. My son’s & daughter’s paternal line has Winthrop colonists, Dutch & Quaker slaveholders, abolitionists, Midwestern pioneers, and Welsh coal miners. They all lived & believed differently. It’s harder to research my Scotch & Irish lines because (in Scotland & Ireland) they were poor crofters or sharecroppers or hired-out workers. And the PEI “Island Registry” page doesn’t have this info on Donald or his McIntyre wife.

  89. Don MacFarlane

    May 31, 2012 at 9:44 am

    From Eileen (Celticknot)

    Per mare per Terras

    There lies another story and a full account is given in

    The gist is that the badge is a perpetual reminder of the treachery of the kings of Scotland and the motto refers to the Lordship of the Isles. There is a big connection here with Northern Ireland as it was during the period of that lordship that so many Highland folk settled in North Ulster, mainly along the coasts of Antrim, Derry and Donegal – long before the Plantation of Ulster by Lowland Scots. There is also a connection between the O’Kanes of Dungiven and the Lords of the Isles.

    Incidentally, the present Lord of the Isles is not a MacDonald but Prince Charles, son of the Queen. That is what is known as sticking their noses in it. The MacDonalds may have the badge ‘Per mare per Terras’ of the Lord of the Isles, but that’s all!

  90. Harry Gill

    May 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm


    Why don’t you all discuss your outrageous ancestry (the Morrison family FROM SCOTLAND) who went to Guyana and transported slaves from Sierra Leonne, Gambia, Congo, Ghana and other African countries. Some of the brothers also settled in Canada. William Morrison, John Morrison/Alexander Morrison, Andrew Bell Morrison, Donald Morrison, James Morrison, Charles Morrison and all of those slave drivers in your ancestry. You have buried your scandalous past to alleviate your conscience.They sold off the sugar estates and returned to Scotland, Canada, Australia and America. THEY ALSO DEALT IN FUR AND TOBACCO TRADE. YOU ARE ALL DESCENDANTS OF Jane MORRISON OF DOUGLAS FIELD. You left nothing for us but your name that we do not want. Shame on You all.

    • Laurie

      May 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      I’m not a Morrison, but I do acknowledge that some of my ancestors did shameful and scandalous things, including owning slaves. And I believe we shouldn’t bury or deny that these things happened. As an American, what restitution can be made to help heal this difficult past? How can we, at this point in time, make amends to the native people of America for what was done to them? A big question and an important one, but perhaps not an appropriate one for this message board. But if acknowledgement can be part of your healing, Harry, then I acknowledge that painful history that I also share.

    • Don MacFarlane

      May 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      Forgive me Harry but I wondered if the name was a nom-de-plume from the poem of the same name by William Wordsworth.

      Anyway, I sympathise with the sense of outrage you feel if, as Laurie confirms, there were terrible things done in the name of the Morrisons or anyone else. I feel for the people who were enslaved in West Africa (and not just at a detached level) as I have worked with a few people from there and I find them to be very fine people.

      I think a blanket should not be drawn over the past and the sense of injustice always runs deep. I am more familiar with the case of Angus MacMillan from Glenbrittle in Skye who gets scant sympathy from me. He ‘discovered’ most of Victoria in Australia and he was given (ironically) the tag of ‘Father [meaning Protector] of the Aborigines’ when he practically wiped out the Gunai/Kurnai tribe. The remnant of the tribe that survives today is still waiting or an apology.

  91. Callum Beck

    May 7, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Thanks so much for the translation of the poem on Kilbride House. Can you contact me directly at, I have a few specific questions that will be of little interest to the readers of the blog. I will soon submit some comments on the poem

  92. Don MacFarlane

    May 4, 2012 at 7:01 am

    I have somewhat neglected this website of late as all of my energies have been going into the new Bookclub pages on the sister website at

    The new Bookclub pages have taken off like a rocket. If visitors to this website have a deuk at it and they think they would like something similar set up for this website let me know and it is no sooner said than done.

  93. Callum Beck

    May 4, 2012 at 3:17 am

    Just came across the following Gaelic poem about Alexander and Colin of Boisdale.

    The author, A MacDonald, has this to say about it: “Beannachadh Tigh Fir Bhaosdail …. page 376. The house which so drew MacCodrum’s admiration was Kilbride House, the residence of Colin Macdonald of Boisdale, demolished a few years ago. The ” Blessing on Boisdale’s House ” was composed after 1768, in which year died Alexander Macdonald of Boisdale, of whom the bard speaks as having passed away, and to whose memory the first part of the song is dedicated. The rest is eulogistic of his son and successor, and his new residence. Would there be anyway to get a translation of this?

  94. Marlene Cheng

    April 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    I have a few questions about the MacKays of South Uist (and possibly Benbecula). I have heard from one genealogist that Angus MacKay went to South Uist with his brother after his family was evicted from Lord MacDonald’s Skye estate in about 1800. Angus (so the story goes) was the first grocer on the island.

    My research seems to indicate that the first Angus came to Torlum and then to Frobost much before 1800. In 1766 Alasdair MacDonald became 9th Baronet of Sleat and shortly thereafter raised the rents of the tacksmen and tenants significantly, causing many people to leave his lands thereafter. A visit from Boswell and Johnson in 1773 indicates that they saw an emigrant ship preparing to leave their homeland. I feel that that is the most likely frame of time for the MacKay brothers to have come to South Uist. If anyone has seen documentation of this, I would much appreciate a response.

    Also, I would like to know if, in fact, Angus MacKay was the first grocer on the Island. I am also interested to know if this particular Angus MacKay, born circa 1770, and married to Marion Steele (Cille Pheadar, South Uist) was the son of Eoghann MacKay. There are a number of MacKays whose patronymic in Gaidhlig indicates they descend fro a Eoghann MacKay. I see a Donnchadh (or Duncan) MacKay who is descended from Eoghann. The dates seem to make it possible for Angus and Duncan to be brothers, and that premise seems to fit with the information I have from Bill Lawson’s Croft Histories.

    I am trying to find out if these two apparently separate families (MacKays) are, in fact, closely related. I have pieced together Angus and Marion’s family as follows: Peter (Padruig), b.c.1791 (Frobost), married to Mathilda Morrison; Donald, b.c. 1797 (Torlum), married to Catherine MacDonald (ni’n Gilleasbuig); Flora, b.c. 1800 (Torlum), married to Alexander MacDonald; Mary, b.c. 1802 (Frobost), married to Gilbert MacLellan; John, b.c. 1807 (Frobost), married to Kate MacLellan; Donald, b.c. 1810, priest – to Morar and then Drimnin (Argyllshire), died at Oban; Finlay, b.c. 1812, married to Jessie MacDonald.

    Several of the descendents of Angus and Marion went to Morar to assist Rev. Donald. Can you please help me with these questions? Moran taing!!!

    Marlene Cheng (Màiri Éilidh Dhòmhnallach)
    Victoria, BC, Canada

    • Angus Macmillan

      April 19, 2012 at 11:39 am

      Marlene: this is an interesting issue about the MacKays but, especially as regards Torlum, not all the questions are readily resolvable.

      The main MacKay family in Torlum, which is still there, left the Rinns of Islay when Clan Donald South lost control in the first half of the 16th Century. They moved to Colbost in Skye but by 1653, Christopher MacKay was Factor for the MacDonalds of Sleat in North Uist. In 1841 you will find a Miles MacKay (also recorded as Ludovick and Malcolm) in Torlum. He was a soldier discharged in 1808 and a small tenant in Torlum when they were first separately recorded in 1818.

      It has always seemed probable to me though no more than speculation that Duncan MacKay was closely related. He is known via his son to have been the fiddler to Clanranald. Duncan himself does not appear in the records as the township, together with Griminish, was a single tack held by Alexander Nicolson until 1818. However, his son Angus born about 1800 to Duncan and his wife Janet MacMillan was present in a house that remains as a hump on the machair in 1841 and then moved across the South Ford to Ardivachar in Iochdar, South Uist.

      There was another Angus MacKay in Torlum from 1818 and present in 1841, always assumed to be brother of Duncan. He was born c. 1780 was married to Anne (surname unkown) and there was a youngish son Angus b.c. 1828 in the household. What is thought to be an older son, also Angus b.c. 1811, married to Catherine with children Mary c. 1837 and Donald c. 1839 was present in 1841 and soon after emigrated to Cape Breton. Angus sen. and family had disappeared by 1851; given his age, the probability is that he had died (deaths were not recorded until 1854) and that the family had left/dispersed.

      This would not seem to leave room for Angus married to Marion Steele to be in Torlum unless Marion had died and the Anne married to Angus was a second wife, hence the much younger son Angus. That would, of course imply that the move was from South Uist to Torlum rather than vice versa.

      On the matter of being the first grocer, I suspect it is not an issue with an answer. It was to be a very long time before shops would appear. There were traders with boats who collected goods, mostly from the mainalnd, and then sold or more often traded them as the islands were cash poor. That will have been going on for a thousand years.

      One interesting thought is that Angus and Marion having sons called Gilbert and Finlay probably shows a close connection, perhaps Marion’s mother, with the South Uist MacLellans to whom those names were particular.

      One last thing as it may come in handy. Sir Alexander, who succeeded his unfortunate brother Sir James MacDonald of Sleat, was XVIIth of Sleat not 9th as that was simply the number of his succession in the baronetage of Nova Scotia.

    • Charles E. Mac Kay

      June 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      I am a descendant of the Angus MacKay you mention in your Introduction and we are from South Uist. My uncle is the priest you mention, strange they are long dead but to us they are alive. Most of what is written about us I cannot fathom but it is certainly very innacurate. We did have relatives in Skye but our first language has always been English. But there is one thing certain, we were not always MacKay.

  95. elizabeth mac

    April 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I’m currently conducting research for my master’s thesis on my family genealogy. My ancestors came from South Uist, I believe to Canada, on the ship Lulan in 1848 and relocated to Kings County, PEI Canada. Their names were Anne Nancy MacIntyre and Donald MacLellan both born in 1826. I know about their life in Canada, however, I have not been able to find much information on them pre-Canada. If you know of any information about either of my great great grandparents I would greatly appreciate it. The work you have done on this blog is amazing. I commend you for it.

    • Don MacFarlane

      April 3, 2012 at 12:10 am

      Thank you for these generous comments, much appreciated. The website would very much welcome posts from you with regards to your ancestors’ adjustment to life post-arrival to PEI. Angus may very well know of the family connections to your family as he is a fount of knowledge in these matters. His chapter, ‘Hole in the Fence’, as well as his chapter on the ‘Lulan Voyage’ (see Amazon page in this website) give some background detail. Although unrelated, Carol Glover’s chapter in the same volume on her PhD on her family genealogy in Australia may assist with methodology for your research. I can put you in touch with her if that would be of any assistance.

      • elizabeth mac

        April 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm

        Thank you for all the help you have provided me in my search to understand my ancestors. The chapters you mentioned – are they from books or published articles? I am wondering this because if I cite them for my research, I’m not quite sure the origins of the information. It would be great to be in touch with Carol Glover as methodology has been an issue for me so far in working with this research. Is there a way we could discuss this through an email so not to plug up the discussion board? Once again thank you for you help!

        • Don MacFarlane

          April 4, 2012 at 5:47 pm

          I’m glad Angus was able to help you thus far and do feel free to have a dialogue with Angus on the website. I am constantly amazed at the depth of his knowledge in these matters and it is people like him who provide the raison d’etre for the (as yet unpublished) book from which these chapters come. For not very much longer, the book will be available for free download from the Amazon page on the website if you check it out- there have been 200 downloads of it this last 8 weeks so obviously it has a readership. The book is fully referenced and everything is authentic, so feel free to cite or quote exactly as you please.

          In the meantime, I will pass your email on to Angus and Carol and they can get in touch. If I can be of assistance, also let me know – I did a Masters and PhD not so very long ago in disciplines (Behavioural Science and Identity Theory) totally unrelated to my work as I am a physician.

          I am not in the least concerned about you plugging up the website and, in particular, I would welcome any contributions you can make to the Canada page which is very sparse of contributions at the moment.

          • elizabeth mac

            April 4, 2012 at 8:25 pm

            Thank you so much for letting me know this. Could you send me the link to download the book. I would love to read it and reference it in my thesis. I, however, can not find a link to download it. Thank you for sending my contact information to both Angus and Carol. I really do appreciate it. I know of a few historical centers here in Canada and I will contact them to let them know about this website. I’m sure they will be able to contribute to the Canada page.

    • Angus Macmillan

      April 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Between us we may be able to identify the folks you mention.

      Starting with Ann(e) MacIntyre, there were two, quite closely related, aged 15 in the 1841 Census, who sailed on the Lulan. One was with her widowed mother, Gormula or Gormelia MacIntyre nee Campbell, from the township of Aird, daughter of Angus Campbell, Am Bard Sgallach. Gormula was widow of Alexander MacIntyre son of Angus MacIntyre.

      The other Ann(e) was daughter of Duncan MacIntyre and Mary Maceachan, who were cottars at Uiskevagh out in the eastern pendicles but also originally from Aird, Duncan probably being a son of Matthias MacIntyre, brother of Angus above. Duncan and family settled on Lot 41 in PEI. I don’t know if this equates with King’s County but you probably have the answer, which would suggest which Ann is your target. Incidentally, it will have been Ann or Nancy. The latter name was unknown in the islands but, just as Donald became Daniel once in Canada, so Ann became Nancy.

      Turning to Donald MacLellan, again there are two possibilities, both in Aird in 1841 but, unfortunately, neither among those conventionally listed as being on the Lulan. One was a servant in the household of the blacksmith, Archibald MacRury, and the other a son of the defunct crofter Donald MacLellan whose widow Mary and children Anne, Una or Winifred, Mary and Robert, are listed.

      I suspect that the father Donald may have been a brother of Roderick MacLellan, who was also on the Lulan and whose descendants settled in St George’s, Lot 54, and are still traceable. This last, incidentally is from my own family. One last thought on this front is that the two Donalds may have been one and the same and simply double-counted at home and at place of work.

      If we can determine which Ann and Donald are your folks, I can certainly fill in detail, though that may be a bit long for the board’s purposes.

      Best wishes. Angus

      • elizabeth mac

        April 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm

        I believe the Ann (e) Nancy that is related to me would be the second Ann (e) you mention the daughter of daughter of Duncan MacIntyre and Mary Maceachan. Lot 41 in Prince Edward Island is indeed in Kings County and in Prince Edward Island that is where they remained.

        As for Donald, I was unaware that he had changed his name to Daniel when he came to Canada. Ann and Donald had a son named Roderick, so perhaps Donald named him after his brother. From a research center in PEI I was given what they believe as exact birth dates for both Ann (e) Nancy and Donald if that would help identify them.

        If there was perhaps an email address I could contact you at we could continue our discussion about Ann and Donald as I would love hear more about them. Thank you for your help thus far. It is greatly appreciated!

    • Anne Marie

      April 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      I couldn’t find their immigration, marriage, children nor either of their births but it would depend on where and when as my info. is scattered. I have mainly the south end of South Uist records which would come under Boisdale and scatterings of other parts so that’s not to say they may even have come from the likes of Eriskay or Barra etc.

  96. caledonhills

    March 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Anne Marie, they are a small company that is a non profit organization and not charitable. They have 11 on staff researchers who have to be paid for their time double checking my records. I know they are correct (I’m a genealogist) but for their own protection they must make sure they are correct. Anyone who does this type of research knows that it is very time consuming and they cannot just put my information on their website without making sure of every detail. I understand that. I was shocked too but once they explained, I understoond. They also offered to do just the direct male lineage without siblings and indirect lines for about half the cost. Still out of my reach but maybe one day.

  97. Anne Marie

    March 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I can’t believe what I’m reading. Burke’s should be paying you for all the authenticated proof and they are actually possibly breaking the law if they are publishing information which is not verified/true?

  98. Callum Beck

    March 8, 2012 at 7:28 pm


    I am quite interested in this source of Dr. Angus. Do you have a copy of it and if so would you be able to send me PDF copies of the pages relevant to Colin, Wynne, Alexander, or the page numbers. The only other source I have seen that has Wynne from 1715-30 is the Catholic Directory of 1851. It is 100% certain he was on the Island 1766-70. Related to this is the false tradition that the persecuting laird was Alexander, which seems to be sourced in Daniel MacDonald and the Catholic Directory of 1851. Do you have any insight as to how the confusion in names was made?

    You are correct on the audit trail of Protestantism in the Clanranald family but it is also true they supported the Catholic cause for the most part up to the 45. While it was the schoolmaster who initiated the persecution he was doing it in Colin’s house and Colin continued to oppress for two years after that, so he is not off the hook yet. See the Memorial in Blundell.


    • Anne Marie

      March 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      I have been following this and finding it very interesting and have spent part of the day reading through numerous links.

      Yellow Stick

      I was also curious about Fr Wynne and came up with (in particular, scroll down to South Uist 31)

      For others interested, National Archives of Scotland (NAS) – Detailed extracts of records with references and dates:

      Colin MacDonald of Boisdale

    • Angus Macmillan

      March 9, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Hello Callum

      As I mentioned before, the University library is most protective of the Rev. Angus MS so copying is not on the agenda. It is very much a private MS, not intended in its present format for publication as it has quite harsh judgements of individuals. Being unpublished it is not subject to the normal law of copyright such that it would become public property after 75 years. Nor has it been carefully edited as Angus evidently found the mistaken dates for Fr. Wynne in the 1851 Catholic Directory, and included a comment on that basis in his coverage of the priests in South Uist and Benbecula. That comes at corner number 61 [the pages have two sets of nunbers] in volume 1. In a later discussion of religion in the parish, he has the dates right.

      I don’t know how the story has got so scrambled. Certainly I would not want to be seen as a persecution-denier. It is simply that, as in this instance, every apparent piece of evidence about the relations of the Boisdales with their tenantry either crumbles in the hand or is hopelessly confused.

      Where I think we continue to part company a whiff is in your last comment above. Clanranald and Boisdale were both sentimentally attached to the Jacobite cause although, Clanranald having lost and had to buy back the estate ofter the ’15, common sense kept them from being ‘out’ in the ’45. That was a cause supported disproportionately by the clans that had never properly experienced the Reformation.

      I put it that way because there simply was not the clear distinction between RC and Protestantism in practice in the islands or in the culture in which Old Clan and Alexander were raised. There was neither priest nor RC church or chapel in Benbecula at any time during the life of Old Clan. There was St Columba’s Church in the middle of Balivanich and generally a Minister. Old Clan’s Catholicism was limited to resisting the specific Protestantism that came with his MacLeod wife from further north. Much the same was true of all the chiefly families, where individuals such as Alasdair MacMhaighstir Alasdair floated. The Rev Angus has a phrase about the population at large living ‘like brothers’ and to this day the two congregations are buried together at Cladh Hallan and Cladh Mhuire in a way that would be unthinkable elsewhere.

      That rather adds to my wanting clear evidence before I buy fully into the religious persecution tale. I think there is a strong element of the Catholic hierarchy receiving a complaint from Wynne, who was certainly himself threatened by Colin that, if he interfered again in estate matters, he would twist his head off his neck. Wynne immediately took off to Ireland, never again showing his face in Uist.

      No doubt there was a degree of a row about what seems to be at the heart of the tale, that Colin wanted his workers to show up on a holiday of obligation. I do not believe there is a scintilla of direct evidence that there was then ongoing, systematic persecution of the tenantr. Your comment about the schoolmaster being in Colin’s house is wrong. Colin took him in in 1759 as a tutor but the function was then, at the request of the locals, generalised and moved to a schoolhouse long before 1770. I have no doubt that, given the schoolmaster had to have been imported and learning then taking the form it did, there was a degree of willy nilly and perhaps even conscious proselytizing going on but that does not amount to persecution?

      History is always best served by the simplest explanation and, in this case, it is that the Catholic hierarchy, which was far removed and not Gaelic speaking, found the Wynne complaint a useful hook on which to hang an agenda it was pursuing then and into the 19th Century about anti-Catholic laws. The persecution angle was beefed up by the invention of Colin having forced the children to read and write impure material and to eat ‘flesh meat’ in Lent.

      Any such persecution could only be intended to drive out the tenantry. It was unnecessary as Colin could simply dispossess them of land and livelihood. You have already accepted that, in fact, he wanted to keep them. The tale was all also useful to John of Glenaladale, who was in the process of trying to realise his scheme of establishing a Gaelic and Catholic colony on St John’s and desperately needed sponsors i.e. the Catholic church. There is no better explanation of his apparent concern for the tenantry of a small piece of South Uist with which he had but a slim connection.

      • Callum Beck

        March 11, 2012 at 1:36 am

        Rev Angus’s Manuscript

        It is too bad it is inaccessible. As far as you know is there any reference in it to the Yellow Stick story? You said he seems to quote the Catholic Directory about the confrontation between Boisdale and Wynne, is that his whole source on this matter? What is his take on the persecution? In Clan Donald they seem to be defending Colin, does he follow the same approach in this manuscript?

        “Working on the holiday of obligation” – The tradition is fairly strong in a number of Scottish sources that Boisdale was rebuked by the priest. My conclusion on this is that if it happened it was Alexander and Forrester, but it may never have happened. Do you know of any other source for this story other than the Directory or Blundell? Does Angus have any evidence for it?

        “Living like brothers” – All the evidence I have come across bears this out, with the exception of the stories related to Boisdale II and IV, and perhaps I. After the persecution Colin seems to have been a benevolent and tolerant landlord as well.

        “Twist his head off his neck” – You accept the conflict between Wynne and Colin, all of which is in the Memorial and letters in the SCA, (do you have any other sources for this?), but reject all their other evidence. Your suggestion that they used this to buttress their fight against the Penal Laws does not work. Hay had just became Bishop in 1769 and it is nearly another decade before he begins to agitate on this. I am not sure they would have used it anyway because it may have proved counter-productive. Certainly I am not aware that any mention is made of the incident in the writings from the Catholic Church about the removal of the Penal Laws. The bigger point however is that Hay and Glen did this at considerable expense and sacrifice to themselves. Also Bishop John MacDonald and Glen both visited the Island in early 1772 and were stunned by the poverty the people had fallen into. While Glen and the Catholic Church had a symbiotic relationship in the matter there is no reason to doubt Glen’s genuine concern for his Catholic brothers.

        “School” – Will get back to you later on this but would appreciate any info you have on schools and schoolmasters in South Uist 1755-75. I have collected quite a bit and can pass it on to you as well, but I still am not 100% confident on my conclusions in this area.

  99. Callum Beck

    March 8, 2012 at 2:18 am

    Stories About Hugh, the Fourth of Boisdale:
    L. A. Necker de Saussure, Voyage to the Hebrides, or Western Isles of Scotland (London: Sir Richard Phillips & Co, 1822).

    Author was a scholar from Geneva.

    55 – Colonel Maclean, of Coll, is sole proprietor of the Isle of Rum. The number of inhabitants is 443, all of whom are Protestants. It is said, that when the ancestor of Mr. Maclean took possession of the Isle of Rum, all the inhabitants were Catholics. The new proprietor, a zealous Protestant, seeing that the Catholic worship was established in one of his domains, entered the church one Sunday, during Mass, and having driven out all the inhabitants who were assembled there, he shut the door, put the key into his pocket, and threatened with his golden-headed cane all those who dared to return to hear Mass: from that moment all the inhabitants of Rum embraced the Protestant religion. The other Hebrideans, when alluding to this new mode of conversion, have continued ever since to call them the ‘Protestants of the Golden-headed Cane’.

    57 – We now reached the small isle of Eriskay, a rock about a mile in diameter, on which are some houses and pasturage, where Mr. Macdonald, of Boisdale, proprietor of a part of South Uist, breeds some cattle. We there met the proprietor himself, for whom his brother, Mr. Macdonald, of Staffa, had given me a letter: we met with the most friendly reception from him; he offered us places in his boat to repair with him to his abode at Kilbride-house, in the Isle of South Uist. He was at first, on seeing us at a distance, astonished at the appearance of strangers in this district; before even knowing who we were, his reception was at once polite and hospitable. He conducted us to the shore, where his boat was waiting to convey us across the dangerous strait of Eriskay

    58 -9 We landed at Kilbride, a handsome country-seat, situate on the sea-coast, in the southern part of the Isle of Uist. Mr. Macdonald now introduced us to his family; no words can describe the pleasure a traveller feels when, in the midst of these retired and wild countries, he finds himself, as if by enchantment, transported into the most amiable and elegant society, where he might imagine himself at the extremity of the world, and far from every vestige of civilization….

    The country surrounding Kilbride-house is perhaps one of the most barren and uninteresting to be met with; there are no trees, and hardly any verdure; scarcely any thing is to be seen but rocks and Bands; yet, notwithstanding, thanks to (he sea, we there enjoyed an interesting prospect. At the west, we [59] “saw the unbounded ocean, as no land rises between this island and the continent of America. At the south, the strait of Eriskay appears like a large river strewed with rocks and isles; beyond this rises the Isle of Barra, and several other small islands of sand, among which, that surmounted by the venerable ruins of the ancient Castle of Weavers, is particularly to be remarked. In fine, at a short distance from the house, we could see, at the east and at a distance, the Isle of Canna, and those of Rum and Sky, with their bold and picturesque mountains. Thus a residence in these wild places still presents to the lover of nature many sites capable of inspiring his rapture and admiration.

    The Catholic Directory of Scotland, 1851:

    “The present representative of the Boisdale Macdonald, some thirty years ago, took it into his head to become a bigot and a persecutor. For, as he could not persuade the Catholic tenantry on his small property to become perverts, he set about evicting them, and, planted in their stead a colony of Protestants on the townland of Boisdale, and resolved to have no person but Protestants on his property.
    The Clanranalds, since they abandoned the Faith, were not personally hostile to their Catholic tenants; but their factors, and the underlings of those factors, have done a vast amount of evil, by artfully and covertly supplanting and ejecting the poor helpless Catholics, and by introducing and fostering in their places, Protestants from North Uist, Skye and Harris, while Catholics have been expatriated, and compelled to remove to distant but more friendly climes. Since the year 1828, about 700 Catholics have emigrated from Mr M’Gregor’s mission to America, and still, notwithstanding, the number under his charge is, at the present moment, not less than two thousand.”

    If this was written by the priest McGregor (priest in South Uist from 1828-68) as Blundell claims, then it is probably an eyewitness account.

    • Angus Macmillan

      March 8, 2012 at 11:01 am

      The 1851 review has nothing to do with events from eighty years before. The reference to thirty years before exactly fits with the Factor Duncan Shaw’s report that specifically suggested importing Protestants to the Clanranald estate in Benbecula and South Uist for their work ethic. It will not have been a hindrance that many were both literate and well heeled and so more likely to pay their rents.

      The Boisdale reference is primarily to the arrival of Ferguson and his cohorts who first took a tack of Eriskay. Then, in the clearances of the 1840s, Eriskay was handed over to the small tenants and Ferguson had a tack in the Boisdale area itself. By then, no Clanranald had lived in the islands, or even visited, in fifty years.

      There was no general religious component in the emigration from the Fr. Seumas charge in Iochdar and Benbecula. Following the end of the Napoleonic wars, the price of kelp collapsed in the 1820s and rents previously raised had to be hastily lowered. Of the folks who left Benbecula, which I know best, a disproportionate number were relatively recent Protestant incomers; perhaps because they were less deeply rooted but specifically because they were slightly better able to afford the fare. Fr. MacGregor will certainly have been a witness to emigration after 1828 but, as he was an incomer, anything prior will have been hearsay. Just by the way, he is rather good evidence for the limited schism between the two communities as he is on record as conducting joint marriage services with his Protestant colleague.

  100. Callum Beck

    March 7, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    On the historicity of Colin’s persecution, 1770-2, the contemporary references to this are many. The most easily accessed sources are a Memorial printed by Bishop Hay (available in Dom. Odo Blundell, The Catholic Highlands of Scotland, vol II, 1917, pp 32-7) and J.F.S. Gordon, The Catholic Church in Scotland (1869, pp 78-83), which has selections from the many letters written about it at the time. Confirming this are Colin’s own words in his letter to the Commissioners of the Annexed Estates in February 1771. He was pleading for money to augment the salary for a schoolmaster. He told the Commissioners that he had “done all in his power to encourage the Protestant Religion, by keeping a Schoolmaster at his own house for his own children and Brethren and such of his Tenantsand Servants as he could prevail upon to resort thereto,” and in doing so he had “incurred” the Displeasure of most of the Roman Catholicks” (NAS 728/39/2).

    The confusion results over people later conflating this story with other oral traditions. Most notable is the Yellow Stick story, but also his conversion being a result of marrying “a daughter of Heth” (originated on PEI), or his conversion being a result of Father Wynne’s rebuke (originated in Scotland, by Blundell). Angus’s arguments are quite telling against these traditions but once they are removed from the equation (none of them being in any of the primary documents) the arguments do not have any relevance to the story as passed on via Blundell and Gordon. A few points:

    a) Colin never beat any tenants into the Protestant Church, it forms no part of the story;
    b) the reason for the few families going to PEI (36 had originally planned to leave) was that they were so impoverished, Boisdale had set fear in their hearts about the new country, and the wives especially were scared to go, plus he renewed their leases. This is all explained in the letters of the day;
    c) the point about the need for tenants to do the kelping is right on, but the primary documents do not say Colin wanted them to leave. His goal was to convert them, and the counter-pressure used by Glenaladale and the Catholic Church was to threaten to emigrate. Their tactic worked and Boisdale repented and seems to have been a fairly good landlord after that;
    d) Wynne is a bit of an odd duck, even Bishop MacDonald rebukes him for stirring up Colin’s ire, but very little of the story in the SCA materials is sourced in him. Colin did evict him by the summer of 1770 but his oppression continued for two years after that;
    e) Despite the Statutes of Iona, Clanranald and Boisdale were Catholic until after the ’45, my best guess is they converted in the mid 1750s. Any further info on the dates of their conversion I would appreciate.

    • Angus Macmillan

      March 8, 2012 at 1:08 am

      Just a few of comments in response. The evidence for persecution relied on is unbalanced as it is precisely the Catholic storm that was brewed up by the ‘yellow stick’ and persecution claims: it is circular.

      As for a wish to see children educated, it is understandable the Catholic tenantry should be suspicious and indeed it would have been something the priest discouraged, but don’t you feel it is overstating things to classify it as persecution? This was not forcing the children into a Protestant school instead of a Catholic one; it was the only education available.

      Why on earth would Boisdale have discouraged the folk from leaving. Simply to persecute them further?

      I have a feeling that to talk about conversion as above as though it was a dateable event is probably mistaken. Alexander nam Mart’s mother would presumably have been a Protestant as she was a MacKenzie from Kildun in Skye. So was Alexander’s half brother’s Old Clan’s wife and as clan chief Ranald had to be nominally Protestant. There was no Catholic church in Benbecula at the time but there was a Protestant establishment in the middle of Balivanich. Where did the supposedly Catholic Clanranald go to church? I fancy that for the most part they rather sat between the poles, perhaps with head and mouth in one place and heart in another? Angus

      • Callum Beck

        March 8, 2012 at 2:36 am

        The earliest I can connect the yellow stick story to South Uist is 1881 by Father Daniel MacDonald. So the Scottish Catholic Church of 1770 is not being motivated by this story or any other persecution story, and I have found no reference to it in any Catholic writing of the 18th century. They are simply reporting on what Bishop John MacDonald, Glenaladale and others witnessed on South Uist. There is no circularity here at all.

        The Catholics were not forced into school. They were actually at first quite excited to have free schooling for their children, it was only when the schoolmaster started to force them to accept the Presbyterian faith that they rebelled and pulled their kids out of school.

        Boisdale discouraged them from leaving because he needed them for the kelping and farming. I doubt Boisdale saw himself as a persecutor, he was just vigorously prosyletizing in a manner similar to what Hector MacLean had done in 1725.

        Your comment on the conversion dates is well taken. Still prior to the 45 Clanranald was one of the biggest supporters of the Catholic Church in the Highlands, according to both Presbyterian and Catholic sources, and it thrived in his lands. Alexander and the old Clanranald were certainly only nominally Protestant, Colin and some of his children were very actively Protestant.

        • Angus Macmillan

          March 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm

          This rather undercuts the repeated claims of the Catholic hierarchy about persecution? It was the schoolmaster that exerted any pressure there was. Boisdale did not drive out his Catholic tenants.

          I still feel your comment here about Alasdair and ‘Old Clan’ imports an alien culture. The Protestant church to which one or other of the Boisdales is reputed to have driven his tenantry was that at Howmore built by Parson Rory, Protestant brother of Iain Muidertach the great Captain of Clanranald who had left money on his death in 1584 to build it. The Minister of South Uist, which does not seem even to have had a priest at the time when Alasdair 1st was growing up, was Angus MacDonald d. 1724, the ‘strong Minister’ and grandfather of Flora MacDonald, born North Uist and with Largie family. He was the religious force in South Uist at the time.

          At the same time, Master Alasdair MacDonald of the Benbecula family that assumed the Captaincy of Clanranald from 1725 was growing up in Balivanich. Apart from being Flora’s uncle, he was to become the Protestant Minister at Eilean Finnan. It was his son, the poet and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Gaelic tutor, who slid back from being a Protestant schoolmaster to Catholicism at about the time of the ’45. There was thus an audit trail of Protestantism strongly planted in the chiefly family over the two hundred years before Colin became head of the Boisdale branch. My take is that the islands were thinly served for centuries and the chiefly figures took whatever religious ministration was available from time to time.

          There is one more uncertainty about the whole story. The Rev. Dr. Angus MacDonald has Fr. Wynne being priest in South Uist until 1730. It was the notably passive Fr. Forrester who was incumbent later. In that case, the major falling out was between Alasdair 1 and the priest and the later attachment of the tale to Colin would be yet another myth. Angus says ” Alexander may have turned Protestant in the time of Wynn but we need not believe anything else.” As no part of the various stories stacks up against the facts and there was a complex agenda to the Catholic coverage, that is rather where I stand.

  101. caledonhills

    March 7, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Well I have just received a birth certificate today that confirms that Hugh Macdonald IV of Boisdale’s only surviving son Charles Edward Stuart Macdonald left issue to this day. Charles’s son Donald Norman (1870) had a son Norman Charles (1910) who married a Mabel Alice Constantine in 1942 when he was with the RAF. They had a son Charles Norman Macdonald born in 1950 in Liverpool North. So obviously the line did not die out in 1944 as generally accepted.

    Assuming he is still alive at 61, he would rightfully be the Laird of Boisdale.Should I search for him and let him know or sit on the information and record it for future generations? Burke’s will re-do the genealogy with backup research for a ‘mere’ £5000. Any thoughts? I have all the birth,marriage and death certificates to back this up.

    • Laurie

      March 7, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      I vote to get in touch and let him know! Maybe he has the money to pay for the research. Besides, it would be fun to get a random letter in the mail announcing that you are a Laird. You’ve gotten this far, might as well go all the way?

      • caledonhills

        March 7, 2012 at 8:12 pm

        Thanks Laurie.

        There have been big battles when another man claims chieftainship to a clan (recently the 2002 Oliphant battle). There was such a commotion from the current chieftain (obviously) and really bad feelings and ill-will from some of the members of that clan who did not want any changes. A petition has to be made to the Lord Lyons and it would be hugely expensive legally. It would also make the newspapers and since the current chief’s son runs some high-profile restaurants it would be bad publicity. Not sure if anyone would want to go through that. You are right about going all the way. I will try and see if I can find this gentleman. He does have the right to know.

    • Anne Marie

      March 7, 2012 at 9:54 pm

      My vote’s with Laurie.

      Done a person search on and there’s a Charles N MacDonald (Liverpool) aged 60 – 64 yrs & a C MacDonald with address & telephone no.

  102. Callum Beck

    March 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you so much for the valuable sources. The Scottish Jurist piece nails the marriage dates, and confirms the letter in the SCA that Colin married Isabella in 1771.

    The Eigg reference is definitely correct that Hector MacLean wielded the yellow stick in 1725 (not 1726) though he in fact only beat one Catholic tenant with it. That it travelled to South Uist via Boisdale I’s wife, and/or Boisdale III’s wife is entirely possible. This is the first I have heard of it connected with Eigg (which means there are now 14 different historical contexts to which it has been connected). It would be a great help to me if someone was able to give a precise translation of the Gaelic piece. I will also check out the Dressler reference.

    The Saint Moluag website has helped me confirm a significant conclusion in regard to the conversion of David Livingstone’s ancestors in Ulva, which was also said to be a result of the “religion of the yellow stick,” though not as an instrument of persecution but as a venerated relic.

    • Don MacFarlane

      March 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Glad that was of some assistance.

      I am happy to translate the Gaelic piece for you although it will be a couple of days before I get round to it as I will be out of town. In the meantime, you could try your hand at it yourself using the SMO (Sabhal Mor Ostaig) blogroll link. Not as daft as it sounds, give it a go. I should point out, however, that it may not be as valuable to you as you might think. It comes from a piece written about Eigg by Hugh and Jane Cheape which, for reasons best known to themselves, is written in Gaelic rather than the ligua franca of English.

  103. caledonhills

    March 6, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I just wanted you to know that has accepted and posted our family tree unto their website and Burke’s Peerage is also willing to revisit and adjust their records to include either just the direct male line or all living descendants of Hugh IV of Boisdale. Unfortunately, the cost to get Burke’s to do this is astronomical for me. I am shocked that you have to pay so much to have this information entered.

    The good news is that Burkes have accepted the information and they now have all the details in their hands. The next step for me will be to continue to follow the final direct male descendant of Hugh to this day. I’m awaiting a birth certificate which may shed more light on this and will report if I discover anything new. I wish to thank all of you for helping me in this journey. I continue to learn more and more information about this family and look forward to future posts.

    • Don MacFarlane

      March 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm

      Hi Sandra

      Excellent news. Well done and more power to your elbow 😀

      • caledonhills

        March 8, 2012 at 11:28 pm

        I have some exciting news. I have just gotten in contact with the wife of the person whom I believe to be the direct male descendant of Hugh Macdonald IV of Boisdale. Of course she was very leary of my contact but when I explained what I was searching for and why, she confirmed that yes, indeed, her husband is descended from Donald Norman Macdonald, son of Charles Edward Stuart Macdonald- son of Hugh IV. Her husband is in the hospital at the moment but wishes to speak with me. On top of that, they have a son as well so the line continues. She confirmed the birth, marriage and death dates I had on file. This is all happening so fast now. Not sure what he will want to do with this information but I’m sure it will come a complete shock. Now that I know I have the right man, if he wishes, I will try to make sure the history of the Macdonalds of Boisdale’s descendancy is put right.

        • Don MacFarlane

          March 9, 2012 at 1:30 am

          I did say that certain clan chiefships could be up for grabs and/or could be challenged (see Genealogy page).

          The most obvious of these which only await as diligent a researcher as ‘caledonhills’ to seek out the truth would be:

          Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan

          Clan MacKenzie – the male line of this clan ended with General Francis Humberton MacKenzie (MacChoinnich Bodhar) in 1815. Supposedly this was predicted by the Brahan Seer who was burnt in a barrel of molten tar for his prediction.

          Clan Macaulay – there is no chief for this clan. It has not been established as yet if the different MacAulays can be traced back to a common ancestor. An alternative account that they can trace their back to Kenneth MacAlpine. Both versions cannot be true. The parent clan, if it exists, is thought to come from Ardincaple in Bute. The other (cadet) clans if they are such come from the Western Isles, Ireland, and various other places. The Lyons Court will probably consent to a chiefship MacAulay of Ardincaple, whenever an appointed clan commander has been in situ for the required minimum period of ten years.

          Clan MacDougall
          Clan MacKinnon
          Clan MacGillivray
          Clan Macquarie

        • Anne Marie

          March 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm

          Hi Sandra,

          Well done! The BBC will be head hunting you as an Heir Hunter.
          My comment on Burke’s paying you was “tongue in cheek” but I did imagine they would have been glad to accept and deliver free of charge as I would have assumed it would have been in their interest to correct the fact that the line didn’t die out after all.

          On the subject of heirs, the Government Treasury have a list of Unclaimed Estates viewable to the public. This has significant MacDonald names included on Page 77.

          • caledonhills

            March 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

            Thank you Anne Marie!

            I will be speaking with the descendant of Hugh this weekend. My conclusion of this whole matter is that I have accomplished what I set out to do 30 years ago. I will be writing a booklet on this family and it’s “newly” found descendancy to give to libraries, genealogical societies and Clan Donald.

            Anything beyond that is up to this gentleman. I’m sure that he would want to know this information but highly doubt he’d want to, or be in a position to change the status quo. It would be hugely expensive, complicated, life changing, and most likely would not result in any changes in the end.

            I am honoured to be able to add to the history of this family and record it for future generations and that is where I stop. I will always keep in mind that Burke’s is willing to update their records, and if I’m in a position to get that done, I will do so. Thanks to everyone for their help and encouragement. I am sure I will be requesting help during my writing to clear up some details.

            • Anne Marie

              March 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm

              Hi Sandra,

              What a fantastic idea regarding writing a booklet and even better, having your own name as “Author” which will go down in history (pardon the pun)! It has been a pleasure as a follower of your work on the site, to see your accomplishment unfold with devotion and determination. I’m sure there will be countless people like myself who would want to purchase a copy which would in turn pay the fees to have it updated with Burke’s.

              This has now inspired me to dig into my own MacDonald descent.

  104. Don MacFarlane

    March 6, 2012 at 1:29 am

    Scottish Jurist Ruling (July 23rd 1829)

    Extracts pertaining to an action taken by Mrs Isabella MacDonald (Campbell) against the Uist estate after the death of her husband, Colin of Boisdale.

    ‘The Late Colin M’Donald was married in 1759 [to Margaret Campbell] and this marriage was dissolved in 1769 by the death of Margaret, his wife. By his marriage contract, the Boisdale estate was settled [by Colin] on the heir of that marriage upon that son’s wedding. In 1771 Colin M’Donald married the charger [Isabella Campbell] and he obliged himself and his heirs to Isabella Campbell the sum of £50 per year which should continue after his death. [Upon this second marriage] Colin of Boisdale so obliged himself, his heirs and successors by a bond of annuity for which [not only him] but the heir to the Boisdale estate should be liable. The precise mechanism of this legal obligation [was clarified] in 1799, that M’Donald had executed a trust-deed ‘for the regular payment of such annuity as I have settled upon Mrs Isabella Campbell, as affects the Boisdale estate and any other annuities as the Estate may be burdened with for the existence of the Trust’.

    [In addition to the annuity of Isabella Campbell], Colin of Boisdale later ‘gratuitously disposed’ of the valuable Ulva and Staffa to the eldest son of his second marriage [to this Isabella Campbell]. Then, in 1812 trustees handed over title to the [Boisdale] estate to that son of Colin’s, Alexander. Five years later, Alexander mortgaged the estate which he then handed over to his son, Hugh, and to Alex MacLean of Coll, for ‘payment of his debts’. [The final culmination of this financial morass] took place upon Colin’s death in 1804 when the the charger [Mrs Isabella Campbell] obtained from the trustees an heritable bond of corroboration for her annuity over the estate of Boisdale. This was challenged in a ‘multiplepoinding action’ in 1828 in the name of Ewen McMillan and other tenants of the Boisdale estate’.

    Editorial Comment
    It appears that Colin of Boisdale mortgaged his estate several times over, so tying his tenants to annuities that could no longer be paid when times got hard. The outcome was that Mrs Isabella Campbell in her dotage tried to squeeze her financial agreement dry through this action which was heard by Lord MacKenzie in the High Court in Edinburgh. Little wonder that Isabella Campbell had such a lofty sense of entitlement or such little sense of scruple in squeezing impoverished tenants dry. As a Campbell of Glenfalloch, she had one of the finest pedigrees in Scotland, being of the stock of Campbells of Glenorchy and Earls of Breadalbane; also of the Earls of Caithness and Thanes Of Cawdor (Calder) if going further back. Quite a catch then, if high maintenance, for a relatively lowly Macdonald of Boisdale who seemes to have pampered to her every need

    • Noni Brown

      April 14, 2013 at 12:37 am

      According to this article, Alexander MacDonald of Boisdale was a former Catholic:

      “The Laird of Glenaladale and Glenfinnan, philanthropist, colonizer, soldier, born in Glenaladale, Scotland, about 1742, died at Tracadie, Prince Edward Island, Canada, 1811; he was the son of Alexander and Margaret (MacDonnell of Scotus). The MacDonalds of Glenaladale are the senior cadet branch of the MacDonalds of Clanranald, and Captain MacDonald was chosen “Tanister”, or second in command to and representative, of his chief.

      It was an evil time for Jacobite Scotland, especially for Catholic Jacobite Scotland. The Catholic Jacobite was cruelly persecuted, and Alexander MacDonald of Boisdale, South Uist, a former Catholic, outdid others in severity by compelling his tenants either to renounce their faith or lose their land and homes. They chose to emigrate to America, but, being utterly destitute, found this impossible. Hearing of their pitiable condition, Captain MacDonald went to investigate.

      Captain MacDonald proved himself a worthy son of his house, when he decided to mortgage his estates to his cousin in order to aid his distressed compatriots. With the money thus obtained he purchased in 1771 a tract of land in Prince Edward Island. The following year the South Uist tenants, with other Catholics from the mainland of Scotland, embarked for Canada. Glenaladale, who had from the first resolved to exile himself with them, came a year later.

      In the Revolutionary War he and General Small raised the 84th (Royal Highland Emigrant) Regiment. Captain MacDonald and his men fought so well for the King that he was offered the governorship of Prince Edward Island, but the Test Act being still in force, he could not as a Catholic comply with the statutory conditions. From this time until his death he was actively engaged in the service of the new colonists, both in regard to their temporal and to their spiritual affairs. His kindness and generosity knew no bounds and, extending to those of other faiths, did much to create a feeling, rare enough in those days, of mutual toleration and esteem. He himself never became wealthy, and his Scotch estates eventually passed to the cousin to whom they had been mortgaged. His people, however, increased richly in numbers and in fortune. He gave his tenants nine hundred and ninety-nine year leases at a trifling rental, and from this came much of their prosperity”.

      This is one account and no doubt there are several opposing accounts.

      • Waxwing

        April 14, 2013 at 8:53 am

        Angus MacMillan, being expert in matters Clanranald, will be able to give an objective analysis as to the reliability of this account. I suspect he may have a few quibbles with it.

        A few things spring to mind when reading it and the two articles from the Canadian Dictionary of Biography which give a fuller account of Glenaladale and his grandson, Sir William Christopher Macdonald, who was the founder and benefactor of the famous McGill University in Montreal.

        The Scottish people in the early 1700s had a Hobson’s Choice for monarch. Either way it would be a foreigner who would govern them – a Protestant from Germany, George of Brunswick-Lunesburg, who was to become George 1; or a Catholic from France, James Stuart.

        Over fifty Catholics had as great or greater right to the British throne, through their blood relationship to the late Queen Anne, but the Act of Settlement was enacted in 1701 especially to prevent such an outcome. Therein lay the dilemma. Any Catholic who did service for the King, no matter how meritorious such as Glenaladale, (supposedly) could not be favoured as the Act of Settlement forbade the advancement of a Catholic. The Act could not be repealed as the King was viewed as being on the throne only because of it.

        Then the story takes another twist.

        ‘In 1756 Pitt determined to attempt the conquest of Canada. For this he needed soldiers and he had the sagacity to turn a formidable disturbing element to the peace of the country into loyal supporters of government’. In response to this Kitchener-style appeal, Jacobite and other clansmen applied to join up with the British Army. Some notables listed in the St Andrew’s Society of New York 1756 Roster were:

        General Allan MacLean of Torloisk
        Colonel (Governor) Sir Francis Buchanan
        General Simon Fraser of Lovat
        Captain Alexander MacDonald of Ardnamurchan

        The roster is replete with Campbells but I have not listed them as they were Hanoverians anyway.

        Glenaladale married a Protestant Macdonald from Gerinish in South Uist and ironically, given all that Glenaladale did for Catholics, his next generations within that household turned their backs on Catholicism and favoured Protestantism instead.

        Given all of the above, one must imagine that most if not all Catholic clansmen must have been Jacobite, at least in spirit? I know which side I would have been on!

      • Angus Macmillan

        April 14, 2013 at 9:34 am

        For the unwary, the article is a dreadful dog’s breakfast. There is quite a discussion above about the extent to which Alexander of Boisdale, who did notionally at least become a Protestant, actually persecuted and ousted his tenants. He did fall out with the Catholic priest of the day though.

        Glenaladale was never Clanranald tanist or heir; the heirship from 1742 went father to son right through to the 1940s so it is not clear what that is all about. The succession ran Ranald XVIII, his son John XIX, his son Reginald George XX etc and there were generally alternatives within the family had those keeled over before succeeding. Cadet lines were spun off generation by generation and so, when the main line of chiefs failed in 1726 with the death childless of Ranald XV in Paris, it was the Benbecula cadet line that took over in the person of Donald III of Benbecula and XVI of Clanranald. Had the Benbecula line above failed, it would have been the Boisdale line that succeeded as Alexander was younger half brother of Ranald XVII of Clanranald. Glenaladale was a cadet line in good standing but never, I think, that close to the Captaincy.

        Glenaladale’s intentions were certainly good but the implication that he rescued utterly destitute Clanranald tenants is wrong. In the end, few South Uist families chose to take part in his scheme and he had to top up with folks from his mainland estate and from Barra.

        • Waxwing

          April 14, 2013 at 11:11 am

          Glenaladale Lineage

          Here is the link from Burke’s Peerage for those that would wish to delve deeper into Clanranald-Glenaladale connections.

        • Callum Beck

          April 15, 2013 at 1:51 am

          Alexander did become Protestant in name but there is no solid evidence he ever persecuted his Catholic tenants. His son Colin clearly did, which led to about 55 destitute and persecuted Clanranald tenants joining in Glenaladale’s emigration of 1772 (210 in total came with him).

  105. Don MacFarlane

    March 6, 2012 at 1:08 am

    From Callum Beck

    Boisdale Persecutions Revisited

    Just stumbled across your blog. I have been doing an extensive amount of research on the religion of the yellow stick and the Boisdale persecution of 1770-2, which brought the first Scottish Catholics to my home province of PEI. I am currently preparing articles on this for an Edinburgh Journal. A few clarifications and then some questions I hope you can help me with:

    a) Though Isabel Campbell has been accused by PEI writers of causing Colin’s conversion, this was clearly not the case, for Colin by 1764 was already an elder in the Kirk (Walker), and letters in the SCA suggest they were not married until 1771.
    b) It is also certain that Colin did not wield the yellow stick, but equally certain that he did lead a severe persecution of his Catholic tenants. Very adequate explanation for why so few of Boisdale’s tenants went with Glenaladale is given in the letters of the day.

    My questions:
    a) Who is the author of this blog?
    b) Does anyone know the date of Colin’s marriage to Isabel or when his first wife died?
    c) Mention was made of the memorial erected to Colin of Boisdale which stands in St Cuthberts in Edinburgh. Can anyone tell me more about this and what the inscription says?
    d) Is there anyway to access the Rev. Dr. Angus MacDonald of Killearnan’s Manuscript History of South Uist?
    e) You mentioned that the phrase the yellow stick was used on the Isle of Eigg a hundred years before the date at which it has now become attached to Colin MacDonald of Boisdale. Can you give me the reference for this?
    f) I am trying to trace the oral and written traditions about the yellow stick on South Uist. I have tracked down a few but would appreciate any leads for further information.
    g) The authors of Clan Donald and one or two other sources, along with yourself, make some efforts to claim that Colin was not a persecutor. I would greatly appreciate receiving any sources that might substantiate this claim.

    Thank you for any help you can give. Have enjoyed the postings. I have come across two stories about Hugh while he still lived on South Uist which I may post someday.

    • Don MacFarlane

      March 6, 2012 at 10:07 am

      Some Answers

      a) I am the author of the website, a mere amateur archivist and certainly not an authority on anything Hebridean.
      b) The dates of Colin of Boisdales’s marriages are as set out in the Scottish Jurist piece above, 1759 and 1771.
      c) The memorial in St Cuthberts in Edinburgh (Entry 564) was erected for Boisdale’s widow, Mrs Isabella Campbell, who chose it appears not to be buried along with her husband who was buried elsewhere. It looks like there was a family feud and a lot of bad blood.
      d) Do you mean the ‘History of Clan Donald’. That is on-line, or is there a different publication on South Uist?
      e-g) I have a Gaelic piece from Eigg which refers to Am Bata Buidhe:

      B’ ann an Ruma a thachair rud san ochdamh linn deug, a tha a’ cur nar cuimhne mar a rinn an Eaglais Stèidhichte oidhirp obair an Ath-leasachaidh a thoirt gu buil air a’ Ghàidhealtachd agus sna h-Eileanan. Bha iad gu sònraichte ag amas air sgìrean far an robh sagartan Caitligeach agus miseanaraidhean air a bhith ri obair an t-soisgeil sa cheud ron sin agus far an robh na bu mhotha de thaic do na Rìghrean Stiùbhartach a bha air am fògradh. A rèir choltais, dh’iarr an t-uachdaran, Eachann MacIllEathain à Colla, ann an 1726 air sluagh Ruma air fad a dhol do na seirbheisean saor-chlèireach san eilean. Bhathar ag ràdh gum biodh e a’ bualadh duine sam bith nach gèilleadh le bata, ris an cante am bata buidhe, agus e gan iomairt a-steach dhan eaglais; mar thoradh air seo chanadh daoine san sgìre bhon shin a-mach ‘creideamh a’ bhata bhuidhe’ ri creideamh nam Pròstanach.

      My own rough-and-ready redacted version of this could read ‘In Rum in the eighteenth century an incident happened which reminds one of the efforts the Established Church made to bring the Reformation to the Highlands and Islands. It looks like the chieftain, Hector MacLean of Coll, in 1726 instructed the people to attend church and struck those that resisted with a stick which came to be known as Am Bata Buidhe or the ‘yellow stick’. From then on in, the local people always referred to the Protestant religion as ‘the religion of the yellow stick’. It may be no mere coincidence that the stories of the Yellow Stick were to be found in Uist, Rum and Eigg. After all, the mother of Colin MacDonald, 2nd of Boisdale, was the daughter of Hugh MacLean of Coll who also owned Rum and Eigg, therefore the story may have just travelled across the Minch and became part of Uist folklore.

      I do notice, as well, that possibly the stronger allusion to Am Bata Buidhe has to do with St Moluag’s Staff by that name, linked to the Island of Lismore. The staff was thought to have mesmeric powers and was appropriated for centuries by the Dukes of Argyll, only to be returned to Lismore in 2001. Am Bata Buidhe is also linked to Donegal in Ireland – no big surprise there as the saints of the Inner Isles of Scotland (Columba etc) came from Ulster. We will see what the other contributors can say on these topics.

    • Angus Macmillan

      March 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      I suspect that the question about the author of the entries that are of interest concerning Boisdale are down to me. Donald has answered the question about the dates of Colin’s wives. I can help with a couple of the other queries and add a comment.

      The Religion of the Yellow Stick and its Isle of Eigg origins has been mentioned in various places. You may find it easiest to refer to Camille Dressler’s book ‘Eigg, The Story of an Island’ Polygon, Edinburgh (1998) pp 30-31 where she gives a specific date of 1725 for the incident – in that case, less than a hundred years earlier but still well before the mythical Boisdale occurrence.

      The handwritten MS History of South Uist, not the same thing as the three-volume History of Clan Donald] by the Rev. Dr. Angus MacDonald ‘of Killearnan’ – actually from 1 Griminish in Benbecula – is kept in the library of Edinburgh University. As the descendants may have a putative project to publish it, the library is pretty protective and tends to discourage significant use and all copying.

      Turning to the question of whether Colin II of Boisdale persecuted his Catholic tenants simply for their Catholicism, I find it doubtful. As we seem to accept, the yellow stick attribution is misplaced. Kilbride is some miles from the only Protestant church of the day and it would have been a considerable nuisance to Boisdale to be there to beat his folks through the doors with a stick. He would have had to round them up from a considerable countryside and drive them to services that are on record as being held on very rare occasions. South Uist had a population of over 3,000 at the time, perhaps a third or more of Boisdale’s tenants or cottars on his lands. It is unlikely, despite his power over them as his ‘tenants at will’, that there would have been much future in trying to persecute the Catholics among them; they were all Catholic. In 1800 there were still supposed only to have been half a dozen of a Protestant congregation. The very scant [a dozen families] in South Uist takeup of the Glenaladale opportunity to emigrate tends to support this reading of events.

      Whilst Colin’s father was a farmer/business man known as Nam Mart, ‘of the market’ [or ‘of the bullocks’?]for his cattle dealing, in Colin’s time it was labour intensive kelping that was increasingly becoming the principal source of estate income. So driving out the whole labour force would have been madness. The admitted quarrel was not with the people, though they may have felt some backlash, but with the Priest, usually identified as Fr Wynne. He it was who complained to his superiors in the Catholic hierarchy, in the process it is to be assumed bulking up the story.

      You mention South Uist traditions. In my view, all will be derivative from later writings and not direct transmission of oral tradition. If the core headline about the yellow stick is wrong, as is laying the blame on Isobel Campbell, why accept a remaining fragment of the story? The Clanranald family, of which Boisdale was a part, had to become nominally Protestant as a result of the Statutes of Iona. By Colin’s time they had more than 150 years of squaring that particular circle. Some, such as Master Alasdair, father of the poet, were more Protestant than others. I am open to any evidence but, as things stand, there does not seem to me to be any residual evidence of a significant schism between the two communities such as existed elsewhere.

      I hope this helps.

  106. caledonhills

    February 10, 2012 at 2:44 am

    For what it’s worth, this branch of Macdonalds has fascinated me for such a long time. I’m not as educated on the Clan as Angus but I do know that there seems to be a whole lot of information missing. I always just put it down to Hugh leaving Scotland, spending all his money and not caring. I would have to go to the NAS and read all the correspondence they have on the Boisdales to see if there are any letters between Hugh and his cousins after 1830.

    I know there is a copy of a Lecture by Very Reverend Dr.McDonald “The Race of Somerled” which is featured in the Charlottetown Herald from P.E.I dated Christmas 1884 which says, in part,….

    ” For three or four generations all his (Alastair Mor) male descendants took to the army. Hugh McDonald, the great grandson of Big Sandy, is the last of the family of whom I can get any tidings. The rental of his estate in 1837, was about L900 stg., at which time he was a non resident or absentee proprietor. The property, soon after this time, was sold by his trustees to the present proprietor of Uist and Barra, and he himself remained in England, where he appears to have got lost in the crowd. The property is at present occupied as one large farm by a Mr.Ferguson, for which he pays a yearly rent of L250.”

    So this tells me that he might have been communicating to this Reverend in Canada. I will dig deeper.


    • Angus Macmillan

      February 10, 2012 at 9:44 am

      I suspect that the Rev Dr MacDonald in question may be an early sighting either of Angus ‘of Killearnan’ from Benbecula or of Archibald ‘of Kiltarlity’ from South Uist, the later joint authors of the History of Clan Donald. Articles in Canadian newspapers were routinely sourced in Scotland and, indeed, from Uisteachs: mac Talla who contributed regularly to the Cape Breton newspaper at the turn of the century was the Rev John MacRury of Snizort from 17 Torlum in Benbecula.

      As for the Ferguson mentioned, he was nothing really to do with the Boisdale story. When Col Gordon bought the Clanranald and Boisdale estates, effective in 1839, he cleared half a dozen areas in South Uist for extensive sheep farms. Whilst most of those cleared were settled at Stoneybridge and on the edge of the sea as at Eriskay Bay, he arranged a swap whereby in return for the old Boisdale lands, Ferguson handed over the Isle of Eriskay, which was also used to settled some of the evictees. Angus

      • Callum Beck

        March 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm

        The author of the 1884 article is Daniel MacDonald, a Catholic priest and 4th generation descendant from the Glenalladale emigrants to PEI. It is available online.

  107. caledonhills

    February 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Don’t know if it’s shady until I get proof that Hugh IV of Boisdale’s line did in fact die out in 1944. The good news is that Burke’s peerage and the are both interested in getting all my information. I am hiring Burke’s peerage to find the final 2 generations if there are ones and if not, they will still put my information online if it’s sourced correctly. Good news!!

    • Don MacFarlane

      February 10, 2012 at 12:22 am

      What appears to have happened is that sometime before or after Hugh IV of Boisdale dropped out of sight, the Boisdale chiefship was granted to the MacDonalds of Inchkenneth and Gribune, who had up to that point in time no claim or title to the Boisdale chiefship. Burkes have this all down in their own records already but they have failed to record the names of Chiefs 5, 6 or 7 of the Boisdales. Out of nowhere, the Inchkenneths appear to have become Clanranalds as well as Boisdales – and to have acquired the whole bang-shoot.

      There appears to have been, if not some sleight of hand, at least a lack of effort to get to the bottom of the matter, but Burkes are always open to have their records set straight! Disinterested parties might wonder why the need to bother. After all, the MacDonalds, unlike most other clans, seem to have been rather too prolific in handing out feu charters to their relatives, so that there are MacDonalds not only of Boisdale but of Leinster, Achtriachtan, Knoydart, Bornish, Glenaladale, Benbecula and Kinlochmoidart, amongst many others.

      Inchkenneth and Gribune are miniscule islands, midway between Staffa and Ulva (property bought by an older brother seeking his fortune in the kelp industry). They would have remained unnoticed and anonymous but their names got plucked to fashion the younger brother some kind of title. Staffa and Ulva Ulva was previously the ancestral homeland of the MacQuarries, and notably of Lachlan Macquarie, the founder of New South Wales in Australia. Ulva was thought to produce the best kelp in the Hebrides, even better than that from Uist – ‘barr oir a’ cuartachadh Eilean Ulbhaidh’ (‘the golden crop that surrounds Ulva’). Unluckily for the Macquaries, their island went for sale in 1777 just as war-time scarcities had led to a startling rise in the price of kelp – from £4 per ton up to £ 11 a ton. Of the 500 tons harvested annually in Mull, a third of that came from Ulva with the cost of production at only £1 a ton. For a while, kelp kept the MacDonalds afloat but when the bottom fell out of the kelp industry after the Napoleonic War, big sell-outs were just round the corner.

      • J Harrop

        December 16, 2012 at 10:28 am

        This is all quite interesting, and I have just stumbled across this site. I believe my MacDonald relatives came from Ulva. Donald MacDonald 1801 wife Jane McLean they came to Canada approx 1845. They had 4 children born in Kilninian & Kilmore, Niel, Donald, Duncan and Jane. Hugh died on route to Canada. Hugh Ranald was the first born in Canada 1846 Glenelg Ontario. Then they had Mary Ann and John. I believe it was a new custom when immigrants had children born away from the homeland, that the 2nd name was to link them back to the family history. Which is why my great grandfather second name was Ranald.

      • Ian Phillips

        February 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm

        Gribune (Gribun) is not an island but the part of Mull closest to Inch Kenneth.

  108. caledonhills

    February 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you Angus. I’m sure if there was a living direct male descendant from Hugh IV of Boisdale now, he would not have any idea of the significance nor would they probably care to fight for any “right” to the title. It would be hugely expensive and from what I’ve read from previous disputes and could lead to a lot of ill feelings from supporters of the existing chief. I have no qualms about leaving the current status as it is. I would just like the descendants that I have found to have their proper place in history. I don’t know if Burke’s peerage would be interested if the descendants were all poor common folk from Liverpool.

    I will make enquiries and definitely plan on making a booklet for libraries. I do also recall emailing the current chief’s website and getting a response that basically says ” the Lord Lyon has shown that the direct line of the Boisdale branch died out in 1944″ with no other details. I think I will become a squeaky wheel to get the details 🙂

    Thanks for all the suggestions and I will keep you both posted. Sandra.

    • Don MacFarlane

      February 7, 2012 at 5:07 pm


      I love the smiley face, keep smiling! 😀

      And more power to your elbow with the efforts you have been making to get to the truth. I hope that you will make the booklet which will complement that of Angus on the Clanranalds ISBN 978-1-90587

      You have probably already come across the Clan Donald Archive (1904). From that, the MacDonalds of Boisdale, an offshoot of the Clanranalds, came into existence in 1721. Disappointingly, all the archive has to say about Hugh IV is that ‘he (Hugh) had previously left the country and he lived some time in Liverpool where he married but we know nothing further of him or his family, if he had any’. Note that the volume was dedicated to Admiral Sir Reginald MacDonald of Clanranald and it does not look like any great additional efforts were made to root out non-Clanranald information (even though Sir Reginald was said to have ‘taken such a deep interest in the work’).

      Please feel free to continue to use this website as a sounding board or springboard, whichever. Watch this space.

    • Don MacFarlane

      February 9, 2012 at 7:56 am

      The Clan Donald website clearly states that Clanranald, who claims direct descent from the Boisdale line, has re-appropriated the Boisdale chiefship which is currently granted to his son, Andrew Ivar! Some shady dealings there then, Sandra?

      His website also provides Clanranald’s sloinneamh (patronymic) which I will look at later to see what branch of the Boisdale line he claims to come from. It is ironic that Sir Reginald in 1904, in a preface to the MacDonald Archives, was happy to assume the Boisdale line had run out. Yet a descendant of his (?) pops up later, claiming to be a Boisdale, and on the back of that becomes Clanranald as well!

  109. caledonhills

    February 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks Don. Hugh’s marriage would have been legal but would Charles have been considered illegitimate if he were born 2 years prior to the marriage? I know that way back, it made no difference and illegitimate sons carried on the line. I have written to and emailed the Lord Lyon with no response. Who would I go to to get some help, Burke’s Peerage? You are right that Hugh did not contact the proper people. This was most likely because he was absolutely broke after about 1865. I have no idea if he even ever kept in touch with his cousins.

    • Angus Macmillan

      February 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      From my experience, the Lord Lyon Office is there to consider cases put to it and not to conduct research on its own behalf or to help seekers after truth. Nor do I think it was incumbent on Hugh to contact anyone. The line would have been known and recognised as long as he was in situ. Thereafter, his only responsibility was to meet the statutory registration, from 1837 in England and 1855 in Scotland. Before that it was the churches, either via OPR or Catholic records, that had the initiative. The Lord Lyon would only be involved, and then at a cost, if a dispute arose or if there was some armigerous issue. Burke might be interested but, I suspect, it gets most of its info from the established family in question.

      Just by way of an addendum, Clan headship was never strictly feudal but a matter of election and acceptance. So, once an issue is determined by the LLO, even if later evidence shows there was way back a ‘better’ line of descent, as long as the approved and accepted one is not actually and unequivacally unsafe, the status quo would take a great effort and quite a cost to overturn.

      None of that removes the satisfaction of arriving at a fuller and better story. In order to preserve it, either a book/booklet lodged in libraries and/or a pedigree lodged with the Genealogy societies, would seem to be the answer. Plus, of course, Clanranald and his son, Boisdale, would no doubt be interested in a properly written up and referenced version.

      Food for thought, I hope. Angus

  110. caledonhills

    February 7, 2012 at 3:36 am


    Hugh married Mary Hender but the only record I have found for the marriage was at Gretna Green in July 1843 as an “irregular” marriage. When Hugh moved to England, he first went to Plymouth where he and Mary had 3 children in Devon. Two died and the third was his daughter Flora who is in his grave in Liverpool. She is one of the two listed on that stone. He then moved to Swansea and had four more children, one of whom is the Charles I mentioned and another is our ancestor Mary. He then moved to Liverpool and had three more children. His oldest son Colin, moved to Tasmania, married and had issue but they all died. His second son Hector also died young, his third son Alexander died at Demerara, Guyana at 19 yrs old and his fourth son Hugh also died in Tasmania, unmarried. His youngest son Donald who died at twenty is on his tombstone.

    Charles was the only son to survive BUT, if he was born in 1841 and the only marriage I can find is 1843 does this negate any succession? If not, then I do know his line continued till at least 1930, but I have no access to more current records. This would indeed change things. I am sure the Lord Lyon researched the line but, if so, why are there no records anywhere proving the line died out and why is there no record of all these descendants?

    • Don MacFarlane

      February 7, 2012 at 10:42 am

      At first glance, it sounds like sloppy workmanship on the part of the Lyons Court, with the possible collusion of the Clanranalds whom it would have suited to conveniently overlook the existence of their Boisdale cousins?

      Also, it would seem at first glance but harsh that a good share of the blame might have had to fall upon Hugh 4th Boisdale himself, but a man stricken by the decimation through premature death of almost his entire family, as he appears to have failed to record in the right quarters to ensure the succession stood. But at second glance. of course, it seems that his sole surviving male heir, Charles, may have been born out of wedlock, hence the discrepancy between his d.o.b. and the date of the Gretna marriage when his father Hugh IV made an ‘honest woman’ of Mary Hender two years later.

      As far as so-called ‘irregular marriages’ went, these were perfectly legal in Scotland up until the Marriages (Scotland) Act 1939 and Gretna Green Marriage Records can be accessed on-line, but they appear to be very incomplete. One imagines that there was probably or usually some irregularity in personal circumstances which made these ‘irregular marriages’ necessary or ‘shotgun’, rather than have a ‘proper’ marriage. The kindest interpretation might be that a veil was drawn over the whole matter by the Clanranalds and inheritance not pursued by the Boisdales, out of sensitivity and sympathy for the Boisdale family circumstances. Although there are several examples of clans where the succession went down the female line when there was no male issue left, with Boisdale being a cadet branch of Clanranald it may be that ‘least said soonest mended’ became the preferred and agreed approach within the Clanranald and Boisdale households.

      Of course, neither of these interpretaions might be true and it is going to require a lot more digging to get to the heart of the matter.

  111. caledonhills

    February 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    This is where I want to update the information because Colin had several great grandsons through his first wife’s son, Hugh Macdonald IV of Boisdale. Hugh moved to England and married a Mary Hender. They had 11 children. All but one son died without issue . His one son, Charles Edward Stuart Macdonald (born 1841), married an Emma Fone in 1869 and they had a son Donald Norman Macdonald in 1870 who married an Ellen May Boyd in 1901. They had a son, Donald Charles Macdonald, in 1910 in Liverpool. I am quite sure that this Donald (1910) had a son Norman Charles Macdonald, born in 1930, but that’s where the line ends…so far.

    I have asked for help to see if it continued longer. Burke’s Peerage has none of this info and I have proven it, sourced it and cross checked it with several original sources for each link. This has taken me thirty years. I only found out about Hugh Boisdale IV of Boisdale by accident when he appeared on my husband’s great great grandmother’s marriage certificate and she named her son with Boisdale as a middle name. There are lots of references to this Hugh IV in Liverpool newspapers as well. He did not fair well once all the properties were sold and he used up all the money, but the information on his descendants should still be recorded somewhere I would think.

    • Don MacFarlane

      February 7, 2012 at 1:23 am

      Unclaimed Boisdale Chiefship?

      If I understand this correctly, there are a number of implications arising out of it.

      The wife of Hugh MacDonald 4th of Boisdale is not mentioned in Burke’s Peerage, hence their records are incomplete?

      Hugh died in 1875 ‘with other issue’, meaning as well as the two children listed?

      His sole listed male heir, Donald Norman, died without issue aged 22?

      If there were other unlisted legitimate male heirs, the Boisdale line should have continued through them, and not have later been amalgamated with Clanranald by default?

      The resolution of this matter should involve the Lyons Court and the Burke’s Peerage records should be amended?

  112. caledonhills

    February 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I have a strong interest in this family as my husband is descended from Colin Macdonald II of Boisdale as well. I had the information about her [Isabella Campbell’s] burial at St. Cuthberts but I assumed (wrongly it appears) that this was a well known piece of information. Thanks for sharing! What frustrates me is that the history of Colin’s grandson and heir to the title was lost when he left for England. I know so much about it but I don’t know who this information should go to to make it a permanent record for future generations. All my information is sourced and cited.

    • Anne Marie

      February 5, 2012 at 10:33 pm


      I have a suggestion on preserving what you have for future generations: which is in the heart of South Uist?

    • Don MacFarlane

      February 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      Burke’s Peerage and the Boisdales
      Male descendants of Colin of Boisdale are listed as follows:

      Grandsons through his first wife, Margaret Campbell1.1 Grandsons, through Alexander 3rd of Boisdale – Colin (1.1.1), Donald (1.1.2), Hugh 4th of Boisdale (1.1.3)
      1.2 Grandsons through Donald – None
      1.3 Grandsons through Hector MacDonald Buchanan – None

      Great-grandsons through his first wife, Margaret Campbell
      Through Colin (1.1.1) – none; through Donald (1.1.2) – none; through Hugh 4th (1.1.3) – Donald Norman (without issue).

      Line expired

      Grandsons through his second wife, Isabella Campbell2.1 Grandsons, through Sir Reginald Seton-Steuart – Colin (2.1.1), Henry (2.1.2), Archibald (2.1.3)
      2.2 Grandsons, through Colin – None
      2.3 Grandsons, through James – None
      2.4 Grandsons, through Robert – Robert (2.4.1), Charles (2.4.2), James (2.4.3), Ranald (2.4.4)

      Great-grandsons through his second wife, Isabella Campbell.
      Through Colin (2.1.1) – none; Henry (2.1.2) – none; Archibald (2.1.3) – none
      Through Robert (2.4.1) – Robert (, Charles (, kenneth (

      From Robert (2.4.1), then his son Kenneth (, there came Ranald ( who gave issue to Ranald of Clanranald dob 1963 and Andrew of Boisdale dob 1965. Hence the lines of Clanranald and Boisdale have converged within the one family and trace back to the Isabella who erected the memorial to Colin of Boisdale which stands in St Cuthberts in Edinburgh.

      • caledonhills

        March 8, 2012 at 9:25 pm

        Hi Don,

        See this is where Burkes is incorrect. Great grandsons through his first wife, Margaret Campbell through Hugh 4th (1.1.3)-“Donald Norman (without issue)” is correct BUT Donald had an older brother Charles Edward Stuart Macdonald who lived until 1902 and has a direct male descendant to this day. Burke’s will correct this information at a fee of £4995 because they would have to double check all my work and it’s time consuming. They assumed there was no issue because they took the information directly off his tombstone without doing further research- at the time.

        • Don MacFarlane

          March 8, 2012 at 9:49 pm

          Hi Sandra

          When you are ready to throw the cat amongst the pigeons, why don’t you try in a seemingly (NOT) disingenuous manner to post a comment on this topic on the official MacDonald website!

          • caledonhills

            March 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm

            Thanks for this tip. Not sure if I’m ready to go there just yet. I have tried to contact the living descendant but they are away at the moment. I’d prefer to find out his opinion before letting loose on the unsuspecting Macdonald clan!

        • Anne Marie

          January 14, 2013 at 3:14 am

          Hi Sandra,

          This may sound off the mark but what about trying the “lottery” for funding? At the end of the day it’s for our Heritage and not for your own ends!

          I think honestly, if they read what you have put into it, the lengths you’ve gone to, the effort and dedication, hours of labour, not forgetting your own costs, they may well consider it as it’s something to be preserved and is literally is, history in the making.

          Just a thought – nothing ventured, nothing gained and the worst scenario is they say no?

  113. David O'Hanley

    January 5, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Can anyone add clarity to this? Below is an excerpt from a document I found at

    ‘Colin Macdonald was succeeded by his eldest son Alexander, third of Boisdale, [who was] afterwards a Lieutenant-Colonel. He married, contract dated 11th June, 1783, Marion Maclean of Coll. Before his father’s death, Boisdale was in difficulties, and the heavy provisions to his numerous brothers and sisters proved so burdensome while his father’s trustees were in possession of the estate, that he had to place himself under trust, first in 1813 to William Dallas, W.S., and at a later period to Alexander Maclean of Coll, Hugh Macdonald, his eldest son, and Messrs. Mackintosh and Macqueen, Writers to the Signet. He died in 1818 and was succeeded as representative of the family, but not in the estate, by Hugh Macdonald, fourth of Boisdale, who went to England, married, and, since the estate was sold to the Gordons, was lost sight of.

    Alexander Macdonald, third of Boisdale, besides his family burdens, was engaged in several litigations, particularly one with his uncle, Major James Macdonald of Askernish. There was also a keenly fought question with some of the Barra people about rights of fishing, which, as they related to the historic isle of Eriskay. The southern part of South Uist, including Eriskay, formed of old a part of the property of the MacNeills of Barra, and though the lands had long passed to the family of Clanranald, yet the Barra people continued to fish around and land their boats on Eriskay.

    In 1809, Colonel Alexander Macdonald makes an application in the Court of Session against, among others, Ewen Ban Macdonald, grieve to MacNeil of Barra; Peter Robertson, schoolmaster of Barra; Finlay Mackinnon, ground officer there; Angus Macmillan, John O’Henley, Alexander Macneil, Neil Macinnes, and Neil Maclean, all in Barra, to prevent them from encroaching and roaming abroad upon Eriskay at pleasure, and injuring Boisdale’s cattle and disturbing them, as also from fishing upon the banks adjacent to his islands. The respondents are said to admit Boisdale’s right of property, but plead certain rights of use and wont, which Boisdale characterises “as savouring more of ancient depredations, than of the modern civilization of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.” He goes on to say that Eriskay lies in the channel between Barra and that part of South Uist belonging to him, but much nearer to South Uist, and through his predecessor’s toleration, the Barra people were permitted to fish close inshore at Enskay, the fish there being more numerous and of better quality’.

    Editorial Comment

    Thanks to David for finding this trove or haberdashery (depending upon the authenticity) of MacDonald historical gleanings. David questions the reference to the O’Henleys in this piece as he is not aware of any Barra connections for them. The site mentioned is as a whole well worth a visit and for dipping into. Other anecdotes have to do with the assault of Dr. Porter on Captain Macleod, the hardships of the ‘We came here not to freeze but to make money’ Steeles on PEI, and the botanical exploits of Sir John Macdonald of Cork, Surgeon-General to the Fleet.

    • Anne Marie

      February 4, 2012 at 1:34 am

      “MacDonald of Boisdale”

      Whilst searching for myself on a topic unrelated to Uist, I fell upon a few wee snippets which I think will be of interest to a lot of people, taken from The Scottish Record Society, Monumental Inscriptions in St. Cuthbert’s Churchyard, Edinburgh. There is an index to names and monument numbers at the bottom of the page if you scroll down – unlike myself who only found it when I reached the bottom of the page. There are a few MacDonalds who may or may not be related to MacDonalds of Boisdale but the one in particular which drew my eagle eye was (No. 564) – Campbell and Colin MacDonald of Boisdale.

      • Don MacFarlane

        February 4, 2012 at 10:49 am

        Curiouser! It would appear from the inscription that the widow of MacDonald of Boisdale, Mrs Colin MacDonald, chose not to be buried alongside her late husband but along with her own family, the Campbells, instead. The monument was erected by her daughter, Jane MacDonald, widow of Clanranald, who elected to keep her married name and who was buried elsewhere, presumably with her husband.

        Angus can solve this mystery!

        Children of Colin Macdonald, 2nd of Boisdale and Isabella Campbell, second wife of Colin of Boisdale and Lieutenant of Gordon Highlanders, daughter of Robert Campbell of Glenfalloch (near Crianlarich) were:

        1. Sir Ranald Seton-Stuart of Staff and Ulva (gave up the MacDonald name for the Stewart name to succeed his father-in-law), Colonel of the Long Island Militia in Benbecula in 1798
        2. Admiral Colin MacDonald C.B. (without issue)
        3. Dr James MacDonald MD (bachelor)
        4. Isabella MacDonald (spinster)
        5. Mary MacDonald (died young)
        6. Flora MacDonald (died young)
        7. Jane MacDonald, married John Macdonald of Clanranald, erected mother’s memorial (without issue)
        8. Lt-Colonel Robert MacDonald of Inchkenneth and Gribune C.B. (Royal Horse Artillery in Peninsular War), married into cottonmill billionaire family(Douglases of Grantham in Lancashire), five children.

        First wife to Colin of Boisdale was Margaret Campbell, Daughter of Donald Campbell of Airds and widow of Lt-Colonel Alexander MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart. Their children were:

        1. Margaret MacDonald , married to Captain Angus MacDonald of Milton, drowned in Locheynort, had six children.
        2. Alexander MacDonald, 3rd of Boisdale, married Marion MacLean of Coll, had six children.
        3. Donald MacDonald, Major in Gordon Highlanders and raised MacDonald’s Regiment, died without issue.
        4. Hector MacDonald Buchanan of Drumkill and Ross, Uist Rep to CofS, three children.
        5. Harriet (Henrietta) MacDonald, married Alexander MacDonald, son of William MacDonald of Vallay, no issue.

        Outstanding Queries

        There is no record of the circumstances of this Margaret Campbell after she married Colin of Boisdale – did she die in childbirth, was she cast off like others before her, did she separate?
        There is a historical suspicion of a certain amount of miscegeny going on within the upper echelons of the MacDonald clan in the Uists and Moidart?
        There seems to have been a trend for younger sons of Highland chiefs to marry heiresses and to abandon their own names in the process?
        The Boisdales seem to have been drawn to serve as officers with the Gordon Highlanders, a regiment that rose in the east coast of Scotland. Why so, was this because of the brave and glamorous image of the Gordon Highlander brigades, did they purchase their commissions (most likely) and did they draw their clansmen with them?

      • Angus Macmillan

        February 4, 2012 at 11:16 am

        Well spotted and thanks Anne Marie! Isabel Campbell was a daughter of Robert Campbell of Glenfalloch and was Colin’s second wife, the couple having nine children together. She was the Protestant lady who figures in the tales as causing Colin’s apostasy and so precipitating the ‘religion of the yellow stick’ episode when he is said [mythically] to have driven his Catholic tenants into the Protestant church with his yellow cane.

  114. Alexander Stuart

    December 5, 2011 at 12:14 am

    I found your site while searching for references to my family. I am in Australia and I am a MacDonald, my father Alexander Malcolm MacDonald came here from Aberdeen in the 1960’s. Our family spell our name MacDonald and I was always told as a boy that refers to which branch I am from.
    I am hoping you might be able to give me a lead or two on my grandfather’s history. He was Alexander MacRae MacDonald and he was from Aberdeen. He married Elizabeth Lewis and fought in WW2 with the Gordon Highlanders.

    Uunfortunately, everyone on that side of the family has now deceased except for an uncle who I don’t know and who still lives in Aberdeen (Maldwyn MacDonald). I believe there is a clue in the name MacRae or McRae but I’m unsure of the spelling. I also know our coat of arms has “by land or by sea” in Gaelic or Latin written on it – I remember seeing it as a child. Any information you could provide or links to info would be appreciated. As my family is so large and widespread I amm finding it very hard to find anything.

    • donfad

      December 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      The motto you refer to is probably ‘Per Mare per Terras’, the badge of Clan Donald. It was supposedly granted first of all to Sir Andrew Wood of Largo, Lord High Admiral of Scotland, who defeated the MacDonalds in naval battles and then assumed for himself their title of Lord of the Isles for his lifetime. Somehow or other, supposedly this motto was then transferred to the MacDonalds and it has been theirs ever since.

    • Angus Macmillan

      December 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm

      Donfad has answered the query about the motto. The matter of the spelling Mac or Mcdonald has absolutely no significance, except perhaps between two branches of a close family. At a time when few could write, spelling was in the hands of the priest or other recorder of events and even varied between the two [or for that matter M’Donald] from one census to the next.

      There could be some significance to the Macrae connection. From the 1300s until 1719 and beyond, Kintail in the west was the home of the clan and this could suggest that your MacDonalds also penetrated up the great glen and north to Aberdeen along with a MacRae connection. The qualification to this is that the MacRaes began to scatter when their MacKenzie landlord had his lands forfeited in the aftermath of the Jacobite risings of 1715/9. That is quite a while ago and there is ample time for a clutch of MacRaes to have moved east long since before becoming involved with your MacDonalds.

      It does seem to me that your best chance of resolving the origins of both sides of the family might, if it is possible, be to contact your extended family and see if anyone has caught the genealogy bug. Good hunting. Angus

  115. donfad

    October 14, 2011 at 10:07 am

    From Angus MacMillan to Trish MacLellan

    Hello Trish: I would be fascinated to know the origin of the very early names in the list above. There is a South Uist tradition about the MacLellans that might just overlap. It is that Clanranald brought two MacAulay brothers to South Uist as grooms for the horses. They brought with them a nephew, Iain MacLellan, whose family were the keepers of the church at Eilean Finnan in Clanranald’s mainland territories. In time Iain became known as Iain Mor and a number of his children migrated to North Uist. The timing would fit with what is implied in your list. Much later, there was a reverse migration bringing descendants back to South Uist, in fact to Howmore.

    I wonder whether this was merely a rationalisation of the spread of the name or whether it might carry some truth?

    • donfad

      October 15, 2011 at 1:06 am

      From Patricia MacLellan,

      I have so many sources, this being the one that sources much of what you have noted.
      I have followed many of the links on his list on the last page that shows his source material for findings.

      The following list was very helpful. The second page lists Iain and his decendancy:

      Also, if you go to Iain and click on Decendancy, it will drop a wonderful outline into your lap!

      • Angus MacMillan

        October 25, 2011 at 11:06 am

        Thanks for the reference. If you go back to the start of the MacLellan family tree, you will see the problem that I have with the first couple of generations. The third generation is Iain Mor MacLellan, the first to come to the Uists, in fact to South Uist. He is then shown as migrating to North Uist. That would make him the first there as well. Yet the same note then goes on to suggest that his (supposed) grandfather, another Iain, made the same transition.

        It seems to me that there may simply have been a confusion between the two Iains, but in that case, where did the intervening Angus spring from? The alternative, given the more rational South Uist tradition that Iain Mor was imported by Clanranald from Eilean Finnan in Clanranald territories on the mainland, together with his MacAulay uncles, is that the Iain from the ‘athwart isles’ and his son Angus, were not ancestors of Iain Mor.

        I don’t have an answer to this conundrum but, until it is sorted out, I do think it is premature to have Iain and Angus as ancestors of Iain Mor.

    • Anne Marie

      February 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Hi to all MacAulay (regardless of spelling) descendants.

      My GG Grandmother was Jane MacAulay b c 1805 with a discrepancy as to whether in S or N/Uist. She was the daughter of Allan MacAulay b c 1780 and Mary MacEachan b c 1780. In 1841 Mary MacEachan is listed under her own name with no mention of being a widow, which leaves a question mark as to whether they were actually married. I have been unable to locate Allan on any census records in S/Uist. I did find an Allan (1841) in Balmore, N/Uist, aged 25 yrs which would make him b c 1816. This, even given the fact that census records were infamous for ageing errors, seems just a bit too much of an age difference. On the same census there were Angus (30), Margaret (20), Archie (1) and Archie (70) – presumably the father.

      Jane MacAulay was the wife of my paternal GG Grandfather Alexander Steel(e) b c 1793 S/Uist & married 1823, Bornish, S/Uist. Their children have names patterned with the above, all born in Frobost, S/Uist: Margaret – 1825, Angus – 1827, Donald – 1829, Mary – 1831, Janet – 1833, Una -1836, Allan – 1838, Archibald – 1841(my G Grandfather), Marion -1842 and Donald -1848.

      If anyone can relate to this or shed light on my missing GG Grandfather, Allan, I would be delighted to hear from you. The name itself, Allan MacAulay, was not too common and should have been easily located but alas, 10 yrs on I am still searching. Did he emigrate or die prior to 1841 if it isn’t him in Balmore in 1841?

  116. donfad

    October 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    From Patricia MacLellan 11/10/11

    Hi Anne Marie,

    The info you gave me earlier today about the Steele family has just sent me on a mission! I can’t thank you enough.
    Now I am going to have to tackle William’s side for sure.
    William and Catherine (Katie)’s children are as follows:

    Donald (Dutch) 1907-1985
    Roderick 1909-1970
    Donald J 1915-1964
    John 1916-1970
    Phillip (Felix) 1919-1980
    Mary 1920-2003

    All passed away and are buried at Westlock, Alberta, Canada.

    The family arrived in Canada at St Johns, New Brunswick in April, 1924. They travelled by train to the Edmonton, St Albert area where, after a few months, they moved north to the Westlock region, homesteading in the Schoal Creek area.
    William passed away in 1935, leaving Uncle Felix to run the homestead and tend to his mother Kate until her death in 1959.

    Uncle Dutch’s wife was Doreen. (not sure of her maiden name)
    Uncle Rod’s wife was Ethel. (not sure of her maiden name)
    Uncle Don was our piper and never married.
    John married Mildred Steedsman. Sons: William 1947; Kenneth 1950.
    Uncle Felix married Yvonne Fortin after Katie passed away.
    Auntie Mary married Stanley Mindus.

    They all remained in this same area and may be distantly related to the clan in NB but not any that we know of.

    My husband is Ken McLellan, son of John and Mildred. I can get the other children ‘s names in a few days. It’s just a matter of sorting out who belongs to who. haha

    Interesting side note here:

    When William and Katie were gathering the necessary papers for their clan to travel to Canada, they couldn’t find John’s birth certificate… So off they went to the local office of official papers and the person who filled out the form dropped the “a” , changing John from a MacLellan to a McLellan. Once they arrived in Canada, he was forever stuck without an “a”.
    They also changed Katie’s maiden name from Steele to Steel. Her marriage date was listed on the form as 8 May, 1906.
    She spoke English but still spoke the ‘old way’ until the day she died.

    I have entered the family into the findagrave website and they can be accessed.

    Most are buried at St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, but some are buried at the Westlock Cemetery. However, the names are all linked and can be accessed from William and Kate’s memorial.

    Again, I am thanking you so very much!

    Best Regards,

    • donfad

      October 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      From Patricia MacLellan 11/10/11

      Hi Anne Marie,

      Now this is what I have for William MacLellan: born 22June 1872, S Uist, son of William MacLellan born 8 Jun 1829 Tighary, N Uist, died 1912 S Uist, married to: Harriet Black .. our mystery woman, son of Angus MacLellan, born 1781 Taigh Ghearraidh – 1865 N Uist, married to Marion Monk, born 1795 Sponish, d1859 Tigharry, N Uist, daughter of Donald Monk, born 1765 Caolas Phaibeil, N. Uist and Christian MacDonald, son of Donald MacLellan, born 1750-1855 Caolas Phaibeil, N. Uist, married to Margaret MacArthur c. 1758, son of Archibald MacLellan, born 1720 Balranald, N. Uist, son of Donald Ban MacLellan, born c. 1690 N Uist, married c. 1719, son of Angus MacLellan, 1660 N Uist, son ofIain Ban MacLellan, born 1630 N Uist, son of Ian Mor MacLellan, born c. 1600 Coll or Tiree, Argyll, son of Angus MacLellan, son of Iain MacLellan, son of Iain MacLellan.

      This is the only lineage that is traceable directly to Katie’s William. We know that his family had all been from N. Uist until him, which this line does bear out. If I am incorrect, I really do want to know.


      • donfad

        October 12, 2011 at 2:30 pm

        From Anne Marie to Trish MacLellan 11/10/11

        Hi Trish,
        Thanks for the additional information you so kindly gave me which I can now add to my own records. It’s always good to trade information as it saves a lot of unnecessary expense.

        I’m now wondering if you have the actual marriage record for William MacLellan and Catherine Steele which will give you both their parentages? The Scottish records are by far the best for additional information unlike the English/Irish ones I have which only give the father’s name!

        I’m not sure if you know which site to use? However, in case not the one for Births, Marriages, Deaths, Census and Wills is:

        It’s reasonably priced and you can download the image there and then. When searching the Uist ones e.g. Steel(e), M(a)cLellan, I use the traditional soundex which will bring up Mac’s with and without “a” and Steele with and without “e”.

        The area you will need to search is Boisdale which covers numerous different villages within that area including Garryhallie where William appears to have been born.

        With the naming pattern of William and Catherine’s children my guess would have been that William’s mother’s name was Mary as their only daughter was named that.

        Your information seems a little questionable at this point as I have done a quick search on ancestry for the 1881 census for Garryhallie, S/Uist where William was born and the result was conclusive with the information I gave you earlier assuming I have it right?

        1881- Garryhallie S/U (MacLellan)

        Est. Birth Where
        Name Age Year Relation Gen. Born Occ.

        Donald 40 1841 Head M S/U Crofter
        Mary 40 1841 Wife F S/U
        Gilbert 17 1864 Son M S/U Scholar
        Ann 15 1866 Dau F S/U Scholar
        Angus 11 1870 Son M S/U Scholar
        Donald 10 1871 Son M S/U Scholar
        William 8 1873 Son M S/U Scholar
        Kate 7 1874 Dau F S/U Scholar

        Assuming I’m correct (hopefully), Donald (William’s father) was born 30 Oct 1842 S/Frobost, S/U & baptised 02 Nov 1842 Bornish, the youngest of 7 children! I can add to it but I don’t want to attach anymore until you have the conclusive evidence to support my findings. It will be easier for me to add it to my FTM first as it will take less time to copy and forward on. I don’t have Donald’s marriage details as it’s the wrong side of 1855. My records are prior to 1855 but at least you will know his wife was Mary (surname unknown) and his parents were Gilbert and Mary MacKay.

        • donfad

          October 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm

          From Trish MacLellan

          Good Afternoon (here) Anne Marie,

          Thank you for your wonderful information. I have found myself growing deeply attached to these long-ago relations, even imagining faces and voices. However, I am learning to not become too attached, as it were, to any of them as the information may lead me astray. The naming of the daughters is an excellent observation. I had contented myself with Catherine’s daughter, Mary, being named for her maternal grandmother, Mary O’Henley.
          That being said, it does seem more likely that she was named for William’s mother.

          I tried the link you gave me for Marriage Certificates and came up empty-handed through Church, Parish and Government-type records.

          I do not have any sort of geneaology program at this point, simply putting my information into an Excel spreadsheet that I have built. I can save as or email as a PDF.

          Best regards

        • Patricia McLellan

          October 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

          Hi Don,

          I am holding in my hand the marriage certifications of William and Kate (Steele) McLellan, Roderick and Mary (O’Henley) Steele and Donald and Mary (Morrison) McLellan. Donald’s parents are listed as Gilbert and Mary (McKay) McLellan.Mary Morrison’s parents are Donald and Ann (McDonald) Morrison.

      • Andrew Monk

        February 2, 2012 at 6:06 pm

        My name is Andy Monk and I live in Ontario, Canada. My Dad, Archie Monk from N Uist, was I believe the ggg grandson of the Donald Monk to whom you refer (according to Lawson’s book). I did some work on the family tree a number of years ago, until the hard drive crashed, and I lost everything but I certainly remember those names and I recall Dad mentioning them. Right now I’m going to make a little chart of what I remember from the above info.

      • Angus Macmillan

        February 4, 2012 at 12:18 am

        Forgive me if I point out that the William MacLellan born in June 1829 in North Uist [ref OPR] son of Angus MacLellan and Marion Monk and died in North [not South] Uist in 1812 never married, as shown by the whole line of censuses, lived as a single man with his brother throughout in North Uist and was thus NOT the man married to Harriet Black who had a son William in South Uist in 1872.

        That man was a lighthouse keeper and they were fairly frequently moved about. His marriage to Harriet, who may well have shown up as Effie or a variety of other names in the records, took place in the Island of Lismore in Argyllshire in 1851. Black was and remains a characteristic Lismore name. There does not seem any reason that I can discover to associate what may have been a bird of passage with MacLellans in North or South Uist.

        I hope the negative will, nevertheless, be helpful and that you can pick up the right trail.

        • Alexander M MacLellan

          March 1, 2013 at 2:20 am

          A bit late, but just having a look at the messages and threads. I had previously identified that William MacLellan b. 22 Jun 1872 had been incorrectly associated with a North Uist family. As Angus stated, this William was the son of William MacLellan, b.1829 Lismore, Argyleshire, a lighthouse-keeper in Lismore, Orkney, Shetland, Tarbat Ross-shire, Nth Uist, Tobermory (possibly other places). William Snr. was son of George MacLellan & Catherine Black —– he married Harriet Black b. 1831 Fraseburgh dau. of James Black & Margaret Smith. William & Harriet had 11 children as they travelled around the coast of Scotland

  117. Anne Marie

    October 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Patricia,

    I have done a bit of rooting (no pun intended) through the information that I myself have. I’m wondering how sure you are of Catherine’s surname being MacIntyre?

    The reason being is that I did find a William MacLellan, son of Donald, son of Gilbert (I don’t have his mother’s name), married to a Catherine but her surname was Steele who is in my own family tree. The children I have are Donald, Roderick, Donald and Mary. Catherine’s parents were Roderick and Mary O’Henley.

    I hope this doesn’t put you off your trail but with the name William being not too common I just wondered if there may have been an error or a second marriage.

    • Patricia McLellan

      October 10, 2011 at 6:12 pm

      Thank You, Anne Marie!
      I have begun to doubt the MacIntyre maiden name. However, Catherine and William and their children came aboard the Marloch in 1924. The MacIntyre clan came to Canada aboard the Marloch the previous year. They all settled in the Westlock area of Alberta. The kids were all cousins to one another. I spoke with Angus and Flora MacIntyre’s grandaughter last week and she acknowledges the cousin relationship to the MacLellans. The William I have seems to be the son of William, son of Angus, son of Donald, son of Archibald, son of Donald Ban (Uilleam ‘Ic Aonghais Ic’ Dhomhnaill Ic’ Ghilleasbuig Ic’ Dhomhnaill Bhain). His mother was perhaps the mysterious Harriet Black? I will explore the William, son of Donald, a lot closer.

      • Patricia McLellan

        October 10, 2011 at 6:28 pm

        Anne Marie,

        Here is the list of William and Catherine’s children. All were born in Scotland. AND OMG, you are sooo right about the name STEEL! I have son John’s birth certification that was obtained before the family travelled and her maiden name is right there!

        Dutch 1907-1985
        Roderick 1909-1970
        Donald J 1915-1964
        John 1916-1970
        Phillip (Felix) 1919-1980
        Mary 1920-2003

        Can you forward to me the information that you have on that line? I can in turn send you what I have.
        Thank you sooo much again!

        • Anne Marie

          October 10, 2011 at 10:43 pm

          Hi Patricia,

          What I have is not my direct line and I have nothing on William or their descendants so it will be good to exchange our finds. Hope this helps!

          Roderick Steele (my ggggrand uncle) born c. 1765 S/ Uist, died c. 1845 – 1856, married Catherine MacIsaac c. 1814 born c. 1791 in North Frobost, Howmore, S/ Uist, died c.1861.

          Child of Roderick Steele and Catherine MacIsaac:
          Donald Steele born c. 1817 in North Frobost, died 08 Jun 1893 Boisdale, South Uist, married Marion MacKay 19 Jan 1847, Bornish, Howmore, South Uist, daughter of Peter MacKay and Magdalene Morrison born September 1828 North Frobost, died c. 1910.

          Marion MacKay: Baptism: 07 Sep 1828, Bornish, Howmore, South Uist

          Child of Donald Steele and Marion MacKay:
          Roderick Steele born Oct 1851 Kilpheder, Boisdale, S/Uist, died 06 Jan 1926 N/Boisdale, S/Uist, married Mary O’Henley 18 Nov 1879 Boisdale, S/Uist, daughter of Angus O’Henley and Marion MacLellan born 19 Apr 1853 in Boisdale, S/Uist, died 01 Feb 1927.

          Roderick Steele: Baptism: 19 Oct 1851, Bornish, Howmore, S/Uist

          Mary O’Henley: Baptism: 24 Apr 1853, Bornish

          Child of Roderick Steele and Mary O’Henley:
          Catherine Steele born c. 1882 Boisdale, S/Uist, married William MacLellan c. 1903, son of Donald MacLellan and ? born c. 1873 Garryhallie, Boisdale, S/Uist.

          Emigrated in the 1920s to Canada (with family)

          Children of Catherine Steele and William MacLellan:
          Donald MacLellan, born c. 1905 Kilbride, Boisdale, S/Uist.
          Roderick MacLellan, born c. 1907 “
          Donald MacLellan, born c. 1909 “
          Mary MacLellan, born c. 1911 “

          • Patricia McLellan

            October 11, 2011 at 2:45 am

            Oh btw … Uncle Phillip (Felix) was also a Donald … Donald P

            • Patricia McLellan

              October 11, 2011 at 11:44 pm

              Success at last! Anne Marie, I have found the Marriage Certificate and you are absolutely correct! They married at Boisdale.

              William MacLellan is the son of Donald and Mary (Morrison) MacLellan. Both parents were listed as deceased on the certificate, dated May 8, 1906. The groom’s residence is listed as Garryhallie.

              Kate Steele (and she is signed as Kate) is the daughter of Roderick and Mary (O’Henley) Steele. However, they seems to be no ‘e’ on the end of any of the Steele’s on the document. (Were there typos before there were typewriters?) The bride’s residence is listed as Boisdale.

              The witnesses to the marriage are Mary McMillan and Donald Steele.
              The officiant’s first name is a bit difficult but I am assuming it to be Abraham McDougall. The registrar is George McKay.

              So … it appears that we are indeed related, however distant, and it is indeed a pleasure to meet you!

              • Anne Marie

                February 5, 2012 at 11:41 pm

                Hi Trish, I have just discovered that your William MacLellan had a sister Catherine and wondered if you have that info. along with her marriage and children? If you don’t have the info. on Catherine, I will be able to fill you in.There may of course be other siblings whom I may come across yet.

            • Laurie

              October 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm

              Nice work, ladies! Congratulations! 🙂

          • Patricia McLellan

            October 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm

            Hi Anne Marie,

            After reviewing what I sent to you below about the S Uist/Canada MacLellan’s, I realized that I have my Donald’s mixed up … shocking, I know!
            Children of William and Catherine (Steele) MacLellan:
            Donald 1907-1985
            Roderick 1909-1970
            Donald J (Dutch) 1915-1964
            John 1916-1970
            Donald Phillip (Felix) 1919-1980
            Mary (Mindus) 1920-2003

  118. Patricia McLellan

    October 10, 2011 at 12:19 am

    I am researching my husband’s MacLellan/MacIntyre roots and I have come across a giant roadblock. My husband’s grandmother was Catherine (Kate) MacIntyre (b.1883.) She married William MacLellan (b.1872) at Boisdale, S Uist, Inverness on 8 May 1906. They had sons Donald, Roderick, Donald J, John, Phillip (Felix), and Mary. The family immigrated to New Brunswick and on to Alberta, Canada. They sailed aboard the SS Marloch in March, 1924. I have found them in the census and the passenger list. In fact, I have the actual lists from the 1923 and 1924 voyages of the Marloch from Lochboisdale! I have looked in vain for a marriage certificate or posting for Catherine and William, as well as for her parentage. Any help would be appreciated.

  119. donfad

    September 25, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Courtesy of Catherine MacLellan

    The story of Field Marshall Etienne (MacEachen) MacDonald, Duke of Taranto (Tarentum), ex of Howbeg, South Uist

    “The son of South Uist had never forgotten the stories his father had told him as a boy and in 1825 he went on a remarkable pilgrimage back to Howbeg. His diary records the purpose of his trip: ’29th of June 1825. We are now under sail for the Hebrides. The purpose of my journey is to see the house where my father was born, the cave where he hid with Prince Charles for three weeks, as well as what is left of our family.’

    The newspapers of the time said that 600 people came out to see this rich, powerful French man with the incredible history. The turnout might have been boosted by the barrel of whisky he brought with him.
    It must have been an emotional experience for the marshal. He writes in his diary, ‘We are welcomed by a quantity of MacDonalds. I meet an elderly spinster who sheds tears of joy: she is my first cousin.’

    The Marshall’s Diary also observes the poverty of the people who were now living in constant fear of Clearance, by their own landlords, in many cases their own flesh and blood. A progressive landowner in France, MacDonald offers no opinion or explanation”.

    • donfad

      September 25, 2011 at 4:14 pm

      Jacques Etienne (MacEachen) MacDonald’s French Military Career

      MacDonald unable to enter the French military academy as he failed his entrance exams.
      Joined the private regiment of the Count de Maillebois (1784).
      Joined Dillon’s Irish Regiment in service of the French king.
      Promoted to Lt. Colonel, then full Colonel (in command of Picardy Regiment) under General Beurnonville (1793).
      Under house arrest during the Revolution for suspected treason as a ‘ci-devant’ member of the nobility.
      Promoted to General under Pichegru as a test of his loyalty (1794).
      In quick succession, MacDonald had notable victories during 1796-98 in Nimeguen and Naarden (Netherlands), Roma and Castellana (Italy).
      Made to resign his command over a perceived personal slight to General Championnet.
      Replaced Championnet as command in 1799 at the directions of the French Directoire.
      Against overwhelming odds, and decimation of his forces, MacDonald won the Battle of Trebbia and forced the Allies out of Northern Italy.
      Came to the attention of Bonaparte.
      Took command of the Army of the Grisons at the Danube.
      Fell out of favour with Bonaparte and Talleyrand, owing to his perceived preferment by Moreau, an adversary of Bonaparte.
      Given ‘gardener’s leave’ at his estate in Courcelles le Roi.
      Summoned in 1809 to take up arms again, this time in Austria with Prince Eugene, Napoleon’s stepson.
      Took overall control from Prince Eugene and conquered Trieste, Goerz, Gratz and Laybach.
      Routed the Austrians at Wagram against all odds.
      Rewarded by being made a Marshal of France.
      Defeated by the Prussians at the Battle of Katzbach.
      MacDonald, with a few others, persuaded Napoleon to abdicate.
      When Napoleon reappears, MacDonald leaves King Louis with the Belgians for safekeeping.
      King Louis, on his restoration to the throne, appoints MacDonald to a sinecure for life.
      Jacques Etienne MacDonald became, like the other generals under Napoleon, an extremely rich man (a multimillionaire in today’s terms) through pillaging of arts treasure wherever he conquered.
      There is no evidence, either in his diary or elsewhere, to say that MacDonald felt compassion for his poverty-stricken and hungry Uist cousins, nor did he chose to share any of his newly-acquired largesse with them.

  120. donfad

    September 22, 2011 at 8:38 am

    From Catherine MacLellan

    Does anyone know how the MacNivens of Benbecula came to be there, did they come from Islay as sometimes said and was it through the fishing? My great grand parents were Donald MacNiven and Mary MacEachan (m. 1863). Donald MacNiven was a son of Malcome (Malcolm or Calum) MacNiven who was possibly from Stoneybridge (?) and of Flora Beaton. Mary MacEachan was a daughter of Neil MacEachen and Christine Buchanan.

    • Angus Macmillan

      October 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Malcolm MacNiven was a quarrier from Glasgow and was named MacNeill, either a patronymic or a mistake, on the Ardkenneth record of the birth/ baptism of Donald in 1829. Malcolm married Flora Beaton, almost certainly a daughter of Angus Beaton the blacksmith of the clann mac Chruidheann who were established on a knoll at 7 Hacklet until what will have been Flora’s brother Iain left for Leitches Creek, Cape Breton with seven children in 1832. Fionnghal MacNiven, crofter’s wife South Hacklet was one of the people giving Alexander Carmichael material that he published in Carmina Gadelica.

      Malcolm probably, and then Donald certainly had lands at 12/13/14 Hacklet that were redistributed in 1879/80. Donald died immediately after the 1881 Census and his wife and family were moved on to Ardchuig.

      There is one interesting speculation. Padruig or Peter MacPherson, a MacMhuirich descendant from Torlum, wrote a poem in praise of an emigration agent named MacNiven, who ordered whisky in gallons when others ordered miniscule quantities. From memory, it is included in the MacDonald Collection of Gaelic Poetry. Given the Beaton emigration and the MacNiven family connection in the only known occurrence of the name in Benbecula, I do wonder whether this might have been how Malcolm came to the island.

      • donfad

        October 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm

        And here it is (courtesy of Angus)! Shades of ‘Tam O’Shanter’ in this ditty (perhaps a take-off from Rabbie Burns)?

        Any translation required – contact Don.

        PS. The goose feather ‘it an t-sulaire’ would have been a quill used to write with ink, produced by MacNiven to those he had filled up with too much whiskey, so as to sign them up to emigrating to Canada. The inebriated (courtesy of MacNiven) and impoverished revellers, would not have had to pay for the passage and MacNiven would have got a handsome commission. In other words, MacNiven sounds like a modern-day insurance salesman. The reference to his horsemanship sounds like he rode hell for leather as soon as he saw a tall ship in port, so as not to miss a trick, him and his gallons of whiskey. This man was my GG grandfather, I feel sick!

        Aghaidh fhlathail na sìthe,
        Ris an can iad MacNaoimhein,
        Sàr mharcaich each cruidheach,
        ‘Si t’ intinn bhiodh suas.

        ‘N am suidhe ‘s tigh-thàirne,
        Ann am fochar do chàirdean,
        Cha b’ e ‘m botul bu ghnàth leat,
        ‘Cur deoch-slàinte mu ‘n cuairt.

        Cha b’e ‘m botul ach gallain,
        ‘Gan lionadh gu h-ealamh,
        Anns na cupaichean geala,
        Bu ghlan sealladh is snuadh.

        ‘S iad do chàirdean bhiodh sunndach,
        ‘S cha b’ urr’ iad ‘gan drùghadh ;
        Gheibhte ‘n sin it’ an t-sùlair,
        ‘S dheanta ‘n cumhnanta suas.

        ‘S ciod am feum dhuinn ‘bhi gearain,
        Air gainnead an fhearainn,
        ‘S an cumhradh cho fallain,
        Gu dealachadh uaibh.

        ‘Nuair a chi sinn air fàireadb,
        Long mhòr nan crann àrda,
        ‘S i gabhail mu thamh,
        Far an samhaich ‘m bi cuan.

        ‘S ann a b’airidh MacNaoimhein,
        Air pension mòr bhar na rioghachd ;
        Aig ‘na chuir e gu ìre,
        De dhaoine gun fheum.

        Gun airgiod, gun aodach,
        ‘Freasdal bheathaichean caola,
        ‘S iomadh neach a bha smaointinn,
        Gun caochladh tu beus.

        Tha Pàdruig ‘s a chàirdean,
        A cheile, ‘s a phàisdean,
        Eadar athair is màthair,
        ‘Dol gu sàile gu luath.

        Gu duthaich an àigh,
        Far ‘eil coiltichean àrda,
        ‘S bidh Pàdruig gun dàil,
        Le beagan àisig ga ‘m buain.

  121. donfad

    August 23, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    From Sarah Howell

    I am looking for information regarding Donald MATHESON (1757-18) of Torlum, Benbecula, who emigrated to Nova Scotia c. 1823. His son, Farquhar Matheson, was the Schoolmaster at Benbecula until his early death in the 1830’s. Specifically, my question revolves around the origin of this Donald Matheson. Various family records state that he was from Perth, and/or he is referred to as “Donald of Balmacara”. There are several Donalds born around that time in that area of Scotland. Any ideas? Thanks!

    • Angus Macmillan

      October 13, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      Donald and Farquhar Matheson successively had the tenancy of Cuinabunag, 1 Griminish at a time when that township and Torlum were rolled together as a single tack held by a Nicolson from North Uist. Donald was at one time a Sergeant-Major in the Militia and I have his birthplace as Perth but that adds nothing to the certainty as I have not found a written record to confirm the fact.

      I think your dates for Donald may be suspect? I have him born 1767 rather than 1757 and that fits rather better with the fact that he did not die in 1815 but was the biggest kelp producer in Benbecula in 1818 and 1822, the tradition being that he emigrated in 1825, his date of death being given as 1850. He was married about 1788 to Marion MacDonald 1768-c. 1854.

      Farquhar b. c. 1805 was the schoolmaster first in Uachdar and then in Balivanich, presumably in the schoolhouse that was demolished just a few months ago. The tradition seems to be that he did die young but at Kilmuir in Skye in 1839 rather than in 1836, having left his family at Cuinabunag. He was married to a MacVicar. Does any of this tie in with the family history as you have it?

      • Sara Howell

        October 28, 2011 at 8:03 pm

        Your dates for Donald are the correct ones. I was working on several lines at that time and transposed someone else’s dates into my query. Not a good idea when researching, I know. I suppose I should try to trace the wives, Donald’s (Marion McDonald 1768-1854) and Farquhar’s (Marion MacVicar of KnockQuien 1806-1849). Apparently, after Marion MacVicar Matheson died (in Benbecula?) in 1849, their orphaned children Alexander and Marion lived with an Uncle somewhere nearby before emigrating in 1853 to Nova Scotia. Do you have any information on them?

        • Angus Macmillan

          October 29, 2011 at 9:17 am

          I suspect that, when Farquhar died, albeit in Skye rather than Benbecula, the tenancy of Cuinabunag, which was one of the largest holdings in Benbecula, lapsed. In any event, the family had left by the time of the 1841 Census, being replaced by Alexander Torrie, who previously had a farm at Gramsdale. It might be worth searching for the children in North Uist in the 1841 and 1851 Censuses as they may have settled there with Marion MacVicar’s family. There was only the one Matheson in Benbecula, a famously boring preacher in the Free Church persuasion after the disruption of 1842 and I will check but do not offhand recall any stray nephews with him.

  122. donfad

    July 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    The Ship ‘Marloch’ (1923).

    Canadian Pacific Line
    Master John Hall
    Bound for Saint John, New Brunswick
    Provision for 950 Adults
    Voyage of 21 days
    Departed 25th April 1923
    Departed from Lochboisdale, South Uist

    60 Passengers from Barra and Vatersay

    Uist and Benbecula Passengers:
    Morrison (42)
    MacPhee (15)
    MacDonald (20)
    MacEachen (2)
    MacLeod (27)
    MacAulay (4)
    MacQuarrie (8)
    MacIntyre (23)
    MacIsaac (4)
    MacLellan (35)
    Campbell (6)
    Johnstone (2)
    Beaton (1)
    MacPherson (4)
    Monk (4)
    Wilson (2)

    • Patricia McLellan

      October 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm

      Hello Don,

      I am in possession of actual copies of the Marloch’s 1923 and 1924 voyages from Lochboisdale to St Johns, NB. If you are interested, please let me know and I will scan them into PDF format and send them along.

      • Katrina

        December 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm

        Hi Patricia, could you please send PDF passenger list, could you send it to:
        I’m trying to track the parents of John McLeod/MacLeod born in Benbecula around 1855 (parents Angus McLeod and Mary Morrison). John later married Ann Williamson in Lanarkshire, Glasgow in 1893.

        • Angus Macmillan

          December 22, 2011 at 10:35 am

          John was born at 17 Griminish 13.10.1853. His father Angus initially had a share of the croft with his sister Penny, she having moved there from Aird as widow of Neil MacIntyre, piper to John Gordon of Cluny, the pair being drowned just off Lionacleit in the early 1840s. For some reason the whole tenancy then fell to Penny, probably when leases were handed out in 1856 and Angus remained there but as a cottar. Mary Morrison was his first wife and had just the two children before she died, John being the first. There was then a second marriage and family, no doubt why John left without, as far as I am concerned, trace. Did he emigrate?

          Angus himself was a famous figure known as ‘Ossian’ because of the amount of old poetry he knew. The family were originally from Dunvegan in the Isle of Skye and there was a cousin Fionghal or Flora who sort of lived in Baleshare, North Uist but wandered the islands entertaining people with her lore and stories. She is mentioned in Alexander Carmichael’s Carmina Gadelica.

      • maladiets

        March 25, 2012 at 9:03 pm

        Hi Patricia,
        I am also looking for passenger lists for this voyage. Are you able to send them to me? My grandmother was on this ship. Where did you obtain them from? Maybe I can get a copy from the same place you did if that is simpler. Any info would be amazing! Looking forward to hearing from you.

        • Don MacFarlane

          March 26, 2012 at 12:23 pm

          The full Marloch passenger lists are to be found on the Canada page on this website in its introductory section before you reach the posts, just above the paitnting of the Marloch – just click on the links.

  123. Michael O'Hanley

    July 13, 2011 at 1:32 am

    My name is Michael O’Hanley and I came upon this website by accident while researching my family. My grand father was Thomas Murdoch O’Hanley, son of Neil O’Hanley and Anne Tangray and he was born in Paris Ontario in 1888. He married Louise Doyle. What records we do have indicate Neil was the son of Allan O’Hanley and Jessie MacDonald. If this is in fact the same family as in this web site then you have opened up a whole new area for me to explore. May I ask what records you have?

    • donfad

      July 13, 2011 at 6:47 am

      The blogsite is not a repository of records as such but contributors can often provide invaluable expertise and knowledge. I assume in this case that there is a query about what additional information is there on Allan O’Hanley and his kin prior to his departure from Uist?

    • Susan O'Meara

      July 13, 2011 at 1:51 pm

      Maybe the question was directed at me from my previous post? If so, I have Neil’s marriage record which clearly shows his parents names:

      Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1857-1922
      Name: Neil O’Hanley
      Birth Place: Scotland
      Age: 25
      Father Name: Allen O’Henley
      Mother Name: Jessie McDonald
      Estimated birth year: abt 1850
      Spouse Name: Annie Tangney
      Spouse’s Age: 23
      Spouse Birth Place: Ireland
      Spouse Father Name: John Tangney
      Spouse Mother Name : Bridget Cronyn
      Marriage Date: 13 Oct 1875
      Marriage Place: Brant
      Marriage County: Brant
      Family History Library Microfilm: MS932_16
      Resident of Galt at the time of his marriage. Dennis Mahoney & Ellen Quirk, both of Galt. Both were Catholic.

      I can tie this in with the 1851 census record for S. Uist as follows:

      1851 Scotland Census
      about Janet O’Henly
      Name: Janet O’Henly
      Age: 38
      Estimated birth year: abt 1813
      Relationship: Wife
      Spouse’s name: Allan
      Gender: Female
      Where born: South Uist, Inverness Shire
      Parish Number: 118
      Civil parish: South Uist
      Town: Levanach
      County: Inverness
      Address: Levanach
      Occupation: General Labourer’s Daur
      ED: 11
      Page: 19 (click to see others on page)
      Household schedule number: 72
      Line: 14
      Roll: CSSCT1851_28
      Household Members: Name Age
      Allan O’Henly 40
      Janet O’Henly 38
      Janet O’Henly 14
      Angus O’Henly 7
      Murdoch O’Henly 6
      Neil O’Henly 5 Mo

      Donald Read helped me further on this line when I first came across them. This was a few years ago now. He determined that Allan was the son of Murdoch O’Hanley & Janet McMullen. The 1841 census record from Scotland is as follows:
      In Levanach (S. Boisdale) 1841 p.3 we find two O’Henley families:
      Allan O’H 35 farmer
      Jessy 55
      Mary 45 (?)
      Malcolm 25
      Donald 25
      Collin 20
      Anny 15
      Margaret McDonald 10
      Jessy 3 O’H
      Angus 1 O’H
      Jessy McDonald 25

      Brother’s to Allan included a Malcolm O’Hanley & Colin O’Hanley. These two boys settled in Ingersoll, Oxford Co. Ontario. A few census records for Malcolm:

      1851 Census for Scotland:
      Malcolm Ohenly abt 1811 South Uist, Inverness, Head
      Margt Ohenly abt 1815 South Uist, Inverness, Sister
      Jessy Ohenly abt 1816 South Uist, Inverness, Sister
      Collin Ohenly abt 1817 South Uist, Inverness, Brother
      Ann Ohenly abt 1819 South Uist, Inverness, Sister
      Angus Ohenly abt 1839 South Uist, Inverness, Visitor

      1861 Census for Ingersoll:
      Malcolm Ohanly 50 Scotland
      Euphemia Ohanly 40 Scotland
      Jessie Ohanly 7 UC
      Sarah Ohanly 5 UC
      Colin Ohanly 35 Scotland
      Sarah Ohanly 33 Scotland
      Jessie Ohanly 4 UC
      Catherine Ohanly 2 UC

      I have a bit more information on the family in Canada, but not a ton. But you are welcome to contact me offline and I can provide anything further I have. I thought it would be helpful to post what is documented and known about the family and their origins in Uist to benefit the message boards here.

    • Anne Barr

      July 13, 2011 at 11:13 pm

      Hi Michael,
      I can add a bit to your query.

      1. Allan O’Henley was born Abt. 1811 in South Uist married Janet MacDonald 24 May 1836 in Bornish, Howmore, South Uist. She was born Abt. 1813 in North Uist.

      More About Allan O’Henley:
      Emigration: Bet. 1853 – 1859, Galt Town, Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada

      Marriage Notes for Allan O’Henley and Janet MacDonald:
      At the time of their marriage Allan was living in Milton, South Uist & Janet in North Uist.

      Children of Allan O’Henley and Janet MacDonald are:
      2 i. Janet2 O’Henley, born 25 Sep 1836 in South Boisdale

      Notes for Janet O’Henley:
      The date of birth was a late entry in the transcription records which could be weighed up against the late baptismal year and month but the actual date is missing.

      More About Janet O’Henley:
      Baptism: Bet. 01 – 12 Mar 1838, Bornish, South Uist

      3 ii. Murdo O’Henley, born Bet. 05 – 17 Jul 1838 in South Boisdale, South Uist

      More About Murdo O’Henley:
      Baptism: 19 Jul 1838, Bornish, South Uist

      4 iii. Angus O’Henley, born 27 Aug 1839 in South Boisdale

      More About Angus O’Henley:
      Baptism: 01 Sep 1839, Bornish

      5 iv. Angus O’Henley, born 22 Dec 1841 in South Boisdale

      More About Angus O’Henley:
      Baptism: 26 Dec 1841, Bornish

      6 v. Murdoch O’Henley, born 08 May 1845 in South Boisdale

      More About Murdoch O’Henley:
      Baptism: 16 May 1845, Bornish

      7 vi. Neil O’Henley, born Abt. 05 Oct 1850 in South Boisdale

      Notes for Neil O’Henley:
      The forename entry is illegible with surname O’Henley but by age from census records and process of elimination this would appear to be Neil’s details.

      More About Neil O’Henley:
      Baptism: 05 Oct 1850, Bornish

      8 vii. John O’Henley 4, born Abt. 1853 in South Boisdale

    • Anne Marie

      February 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm

      Glad, Michael, you have expanded your family history since your posting and this may also help others. Allan O’Henley of S/Boisdale (S/Uist) married Janet MacDonald of N/Uist 24 May 1836, probably within the Boisdale area but registered at Bornish.

  124. John Wilson

    June 23, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    I’m researching the family of Alexander MacDonald, farmer, and his wife Marion MacIntyre who lived on South Uist or Benbecula around the mid 1800s. Their son Donald, born about 1860/1, was the father of the late Alexander MacDonald who was Royal Piper to George VI and then our current Queen. Can anybody help?

    • donfad

      June 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm

      There was no Royal Piper during the whole of World War II, presumably because pipers were needed at the Front to lift the morale of soldiers in battle. The first Royal Piper post-war, Pipe Major Alexander MacDonald of the Scots Guards, was appointed in 1945 and he remained in that post till 1966 (he was the second-longest serving piper to a British monarch ever).

      Here is an old photo taken in 1944 of pipers for a Royal Visit in 1944 and there is a Piper MacDonald, stood next to the piper at the front left with stripes on his arm.

      • Angus MacMillan

        June 23, 2011 at 11:31 pm

        Alexander MacDonald 1828-6.1.1921 was born in North Uist, lived with his parents as a young man at 8 Torlum, Benbecula, from 1871 to 1881 or just after had a croft at 23 Torlum then lost the lands but remained there as an agricultural labourer. He was the son of Mary MacDonald and Donald Ban MacDonald 1779-30.8.1861, son of Alexander MacDonald and Catherine MacMillan in North Uist.

        Alexander married 15.1.1854 Mar(r)ion MacIntyre 10 Balivanich, Benbecula, daughter of John MacIntyre, 1789-6.3.1871, son of Donald MacIntyre and Catharine MacIntyre in Aird, Benbecula. John’s wife was Isabella MacDonald 1785- 25.7.1888 d.o. Duncan MacDonald who was maried to Catherine MacIntyre.

        Alexander and Marion had a large family, few of whom married, or indeed survived into old age: Mary 14.5.1855-24.5.1855; Donald 10.5.1856- [staying with his MacIntyre grandparents in Balivanich at the 1861 Census, at home in 1871, then no trace]; Isabella 30.4.1858-4.9.1899; Catherine 1860-; Mary 18.6.1863-7.10.1885; Ann 14.6.1866-27.4.1915, dressmaker, died at Hacklet; Charles 9.1.1869-11.3.1870 d. pleurisy; Donald 1870-; John 25.2.1874-9.3.1874.

        I have a record that one of the Donalds had not one but two pipers to the Royal family. As both left Benbecula, I am not clear which and would be grateful to be enlightened, and is my note right that there were two?

    • donfad

      June 24, 2011 at 6:39 am

      From Anne Barr, in reply to John Wilson

      Alexander MacDonald (Torlum, Benbecula) & Marion MacIntyre (Aird, Benbecula) married 1854 probably in Ardkenneth.

      Mary b 14 May 1855 (Torlum) & baptised 20 May 1855 (Ardkenneth)

      The transcriptions I have stop in 1855 but this looks to be the family.

      • Angus Macmillan

        June 24, 2011 at 9:55 am

        Forgive me if I put a couple of slight gloss on this record. John MacIntyre and his family including Marion, who seems to have been the fourth child of six, were in Balivanich in 1851 before her marriage so the mention of Aird is of earlier family origin as it was not th place of residence at the time of Marion’s marriage to Alexander MacDonald. It is most unlikely that the marriage took place at Ardkenneth – that was simply where it was registered. The priest was a sort of travelling salesman at the time and a wedding was a township event. So it will in all probability have taken place in Balivanich, just to the east of the mound where the old schoolhouse has just been demolished, and in the shadow of Flora MacDonald’s childhood home which was still standing at the time of the marriage.

    • Pamela Oldfield

      September 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm

      Hi John I am looking into the same names as yourself for a friend of mine. Her father was Alexander MacDonald the royal piper. She would love to know if you are in a branch of the family and has some photos of Donald etc.

  125. sandra moffatt

    June 22, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    I’m very frustrated at the moment! From previous posts I’m sure most are aware that I’ve been tracking Hugh Macdonald IV of Boisdale’s line. I have tried to contact the Court of the Lord Lyon which does not have any email contact. I’ve written with no response and now they have a fairly new website which clearly states that no genealogical information will be given by them and that we are to refer to Scottish genealogists. If the Court has already undertaken all the work to see who is clearly a descendant of Clanranald why would I have to re-hire someone to find out again? I have all the proof I need to determine we’re descended from Hugh but with the hundred-year rule in effect it’s been very hard to trace any descendant born after 1910. Since the line was classified as extinct in 1944 I’d like to know how they came to this conclusion. Any advice? This is not being done to prove any direct claim on any titles…it’s just for my own proof of descendancy in our tree.

    On another note, I have found that that the Macdonalds of Boisdale spent some time in Petershead and Barkers Hill, York in the early 1800s. Is there anyone out there that has more info on this period of time from about 1803-1816?

    • donfad

      June 23, 2011 at 8:13 am

      Why don’t you just apply for a Coat of Arms as it says on their website? If you supply them with a copy of the bundle of information you have gleaned already and if they want to pick holes in it they will, if not they will confirm the lineage which is all you want in any case and they will give you a parchment to prove it.

      • Angus Macmillan

        June 23, 2011 at 10:04 am

        Don, that is a nice bit of lateral thinking and worth investigating as a way forward. My experience is though that the LLO does not respond in concrete terms until they have a boiled down version of the claim to react to AND the fees [£200+] have been paid. That would probably be more expensive and time consuming than hiring a specialist researcher. On the latter point, my painful experience suggests that they are a particular breed with no feel for Gaeldom and cannot grasp things like the tendency to have two or three Donalds in a family or understand that South Uist [the parish] and Benbecula are the same place. As for Archibald = Gilleasbuig or that Marion, Sarah and Mor are just one person, that really is rolling a pea uphill with your nose.

        Accordingly, I am not sure what to suggest on the generality of getting at what the office holds. Do the public access rules not apply? However, I do have a suggestion about the putative Petershead and York connections. When you mention a Boisdale presence there, Sandra, I assume it was an individual family member rather than a broad family home or the like, with Colin in the lead? If you care to contact me directly by email, I am happy to go through what I have on the vast Colin of Boisdale family -it must surely be one of that generation in 1800+ – to see if we can eliminate some or most and home in on which might have been in each location. Do you know it was one stray or multiple? That was a period when local gazeteers were appearing complete with lists of the landed and commercial interests. There might be something there.

        • donfad

          June 23, 2011 at 11:34 am

          My understanding of what Angus is saying is that any case that goes before the LLO would have to be not only water-tight but idiot-proof. Angus gives an example of what on the face of it appears to be multiple identities when it is in fact the same person.

          Probably the more familiar Gaelic equivalents should be known to the LLO, such as Marion = Mor; Archibald = Gilleasbuig, but then it might start to get a bit more awkward and esoteric. Angus gives an example of a person being both Marion and Sarah – takes some working out as the Gaelic for Sarah is Sorcha. Annie Barr also gives a recent example, whereby the same person is known as both Isabel (Gaelic Iseabail) and Elizabeth (Gaelic Ealasaid). It seems to be the opposite problem to the more usual one of umpteen Donalds within the same family circle. For a list of Gaelic equivalents for female names,see

          For male names, see

          Perhaps Angus will be able to offer more enlightenments on naming conventions in Gaeldom.

        • sandra moffatt

          June 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm

          I’m sure I could try to get LLC to look at my information but hiring a genealogist may just be quicker. It would be very nice though to see the descendants of Hugh Macdonald IV of Boisdale on a respected website. Almost all of them at the moment have no information on him after he left for England.

          Angus, I know from the NAS that it was Alexander Macdonald III of Boisdale who was “told” to go to York. There are dozens of letters he wrote from there which mention Petergate and Barker Hill. They also mention the fact that his family is settling in and his children are going to he must have been there with his immediate family.

        • Angus MacMillan

          June 23, 2011 at 11:46 pm

          I don’t doubt that someone in the LL Office will have a grasp of these matters. The problem there is that there will be no substantive response until pretty well all the issues are already resolved. My comment about the limitations when it comes to dealing with Gaeldom was directed at the closely aligned researchers cum agents who take on submissions to the LL. No doubt some at least are greatly skilled within their comfort zone but I have run into all too many cases of confused and corrupted trees and a lack of understanding that Iochdar and Eochar might be the same place. I would be just a bit concerned about whether Sandra could find one to meet her needs as defined here. Great if she can and it works.

          Meanwhile, I will have a ponder and see whether I can produce a short list of things to look out for among the names we run across.

  126. donfad

    June 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Na Grudairean

    I can vouch for Angus’s comment to Anita Surphlis that there was nothing shameful in being a Grudair (Whisky Distiller). An ancestor of my own in Benbecula from around the same time was also a Grudair but he must not have achieved the same eminence.

    In fact, it was quite permissible to have a whisky still as long as taxes were being paid. The same situation pertained in Ireland. It was the introduction of the Whiskey Tax that proved the last straw for the mass of people who emigrated to America from places like Donegal that were already struggling from the effects of the famine. Poidsin (illegal whiskey), much finer to drink than anything you can buy, is still made in Donegal if you can find it – I had a source in a Garda Sergeant whose job it was to confiscate the stuff and we shared many an exquisite dram!

    Presumably from the same family tree as that described by Anita, there are still people going by the nickname Grudair in Benbecula today. I mean to find out more details. In the meantime, a rough-and-ready first stab at the older Grudair family tree is on the Gallery Page on this blogsite. It will be tarted up with colour and more detail over the next few weeks.

    The intention is to make more PDF family trees along the same lines for other queries on the site. Currently, these are for the following families:

    Susan O’Meara’s MacInneses.
    Robert Brown’s MacCormicks.
    MA Morrison’s Steeles.
    Ann Stewart’s Stewarts.
    Tina MacLeod’s MacInneses.
    Neil Johnson’s Johnstones.
    Laurie Johnson’s Shaws.
    Rhea Kessler’s MacCachrens.
    Sherri Smith’s Shaws.
    Donald Munro’s Munros.
    Jan Fisher’s MacDonalds.
    Kelsie Scutt’s Beatons.
    Elizabeth Michos’s MacIntoshes.
    Andrew Beachum’s MacKeacheys.
    Janet Anney’s MacDonalds.
    Miguel’s Elders.
    Richard MacQueen’s MacQueens.
    Bruce MacMillan’s MacDonalds.

  127. Anita Surphlis

    May 26, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    PDF MacDonald (Grudair) Family Tree in Gallery Page

    I am researching my husband’s great-grandfather Malcolm McDonald, born about 1865 in Benbecula. I see him in the 1871 Scotland Census along with his parents, William b1820 and Flora b1827 McDonald, district Benbecula, address Torlum, occupation crofter of 7 acres, 4 arable. I was hoping you could help me with Flora’s maiden name and the names of her parents as well as the names of William’s parents. The family shows up in 1861 and 1871 Scotland Census and later in the 1881 Census of Canada as a farmer in Grey East, Ontario.Other siblings listed are Alexander b1859, Donald b 1861, Marion b 1865, Sarah b 1865, Margaret b1868.

    • Angus MacMillan

      May 29, 2011 at 10:53 pm

      Hello Anita

      In 1871 William and family were living on what from 1879 became 3 and 4 Torlum. The holding was shared with Ronald Matheson. William’s wife Flora was daughter of Samuel Murchison, who was a cottar at Strome in Lionacleit, Benbecula. It is interesting that some of the family seem to have gone independently rather than as part of a group to Grey County and so much later than the main Benbecula migration there in 1849-51. There is at least one Murchison burial that I imagine may be connected i.e. in the Butter Protestant enclave in the Catjholic cemetery in the heart of Glenelg.

      One more snippet is that I would need to check but I have a feeling that it was Samuel, who I think died in 1855, who was remembered as a stalwart of the Free Church but who, in the absence of a Minister, was given to inordinately long sermons. Let me know if there is anything else I can help with.

      • donfad

        May 30, 2011 at 10:04 am

        Reverend Donald MacFarlane

        As the Free Church has been given a mention above, I can’t let Angus’s reference to a ‘stalwart of the church’ slip by without a belated mention for my G-grand-uncle, of the same name as myself, who founded the Free Presbyterian Church (not to be confused with a church of the same name founded by ‘Dr.’ Ian Paisley in Northern Ireland).

        Rev. MacFarlane seceded from the Free Church following a move within it to overthrow certain parts of the Westminster Confession of Faith as the doctrinal standard of the church. This movement resulted in the Declaratory Act: something that, with its supposed liberal interpretation of Calvinistic doctrine, Mr. MacFarlane could not countenance. Donald MacFarlane’s stance and protest against the Catholic Church would probably be considered anachronistic, crankish, misguided or offensive by most people living by modern standards.

        Rev MacFarlane had other, more agreeable, objections to do with the Free Church’s proposed revised position on Scripture. In 1893, fifty years after its founding, the Free Church ceased to hold that the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments were inspired, infallible and free from any errors, the very Word of God. Presumably, this proposed departure on doctrine would sit even more badly with MacFarlane so soon after the dogma of Papal infallibility in Catholic theology. The First Vatican Council (1870) declared that the Pope was preserved from even the possibility of error in his pronouncements on the teaching on faith within the universal Church. As regards the Confession of Faith, the Free Church held instead, according to its moderator, Dr. Rainy, that it was quite entitled to modernise the Creed of the Church to make it fit with more liberal views of Scripture.

        • Angus Macmillan

          June 24, 2011 at 1:00 am

          It may be of interest that the Rev Donald MacFarlane finds a mention in the Transaction of the Gaelic Society of Inverness [VoLXV 2006-9, arrived yesterday] in a paper on Gaelic Spirituality.

          • donfad

            June 26, 2011 at 9:03 am

            I never knew of Rev. Donald MacFarlane’s interest in Gaelic Spirituality and I must run this past my brother, Rev. Roddy MacFarlane, who wrote a dissertation on that subject. Ironically, with his being a staunch ‘conservative’, I would assume that Rev. Donald was not coming at the subject from the perspective of its ancient Irish polytheistic tradition.

            Feast-Days were divided into two seasons, Geamhradh (Winter, the ‘dark-half’) and Samhradh (Summer, the ‘light-half’), and between these seasons were four Quarter Days that were based in the pastoral, agricultural, and solar cycles. Events that were of social, economic, and religious importance were:

            Oídhche Shamhna – October 31/ November 1; the end of Summer and the beginning of Winter; a time to honour ancestors and other dead and a primordial time when the Otherworld (ghosts, spirits and the like) were most active.
            Latha Fheile Bhride – February 1; ‘the feast day of Bríde’ (note Cille Bhrighde, Kilbride, in South Uist); a celebration closely associated with the hearth, home,family and the stirrings of Spring.
            Latha Bhealtain – May 1; the end of Spring and the start of Summer; a time when the Otherworld is particularly active again and a time for purification.
            Latha Lúnasa/Lùnasdal – August 1; a harvest festival instituted by Lugh in honor of his foster-mother Tailtiu who died whilst clearing the land for cultivation and a celebration of Lugh’s release of the harvest.

            These quarter days were occasions for family and communal feasting and celebration, so cementing the community. Activities included story-telling, the recitation of poetry, competitive sports and céilidhs.

      • Anita Surphlis

        May 30, 2011 at 11:09 pm

        Thank you so much for that information. Do you have any more information on William McDonald’s family? How far back are you able to trace? Any stories you have are wonderful. It brings our family history to life.

        • Angus MacMillan

          May 31, 2011 at 11:25 am

          William MacDonald married Flora Murchison 22.11.1855 at Creagorry according to the forms of the Established i.e.Protestant church. He was shown as an agricultural labourer aged 36 and Flora, who had to make her mark rather than sign, was 27. William was son of Alexander MacDonald c. 1790-17.2.1873 (son of Donald MacDonald and Flora MacLeod) and Margaret Beaton. I will restrict myself to the outline of William’s family but if you care to drop me an email, I can give you more detail across the board.

          Alexander MacDonald lived at 15 Lionacleit and was one of three ‘gruder’ brothers in the township. The great collector of Gaelic material Alexander Carmichael, has this to say in his Carmina Gadelica: “A tribe of men in Benbecula are called ‘na Fithich’ (the ravens), a highly appropriate name. The tribe left Lewis for the good of Lewis. They are called in Benbecula ‘na Grudairain’, the brewers, but whether they were brewers to MacKenzie in Lewis or brewers to Clanranald in Benbecula is not now remembered. They are a plausible people but unreliable in character. This is in their blood.”

          Before you start to worry about your ancestry, you should know that rather than brewers of beer, these were the illicit whisky distillers who supplied the local trade and Alexander Carmichael was ‘an geidseir’, the Revenue Officer at Creagorry just down the road so the two were natural enemies. The original attitude of the locals to the incomers was summed up by a Gaelic verse that translates as “Lionacleit, as good a place as any/ Till that (in)famous tribe arrived/ They had no right to be there/ Having fled across from Lewis.”

          Despite all that, the family was granted good crofts, made good local marriages and are still well represented in the islands and in North America. The suggestion of a Lewis origin is a mistake though they came to Benbecula from North Uist and before that may have been some time in Lewis. I can expand on that later.

  128. Susan O'Meara

    May 15, 2011 at 3:55 am

    I’m researching my family that left South Uist and arrived in Ontario, Canada. This led me to stumble on to other families that show up in the records I’m researching and they seem to have stopped over in Oxford County, Ontario and many moved onto Grey County and Middlesex County, Ontario.

    My family consists of a Peter McInnes b. abt. 1826 and wife Mary McDonald b. abt. 1820. I have had trouble tracking down their family to some extent, but I descend from one of their daughters named Mary McInnes. She was b. 1843 in Scotland and in 1861 in Oxford Co., Ontario she married Alexander Morrison (My gr. gr. grandparents). She also had a sister named Mary McInnes, who was born in 1848 in Scotland.

    Alexander Morrison b. 1838, possibly in Smerclate, was the son of Donald Morrison and Isabella McRae. Siblings to Alex were Rachel b. 1831 (seems to have married a Laughlin McLaughlin in Canada, son of Hugh McLaughlin and Effy McLeod, but I have not been able to locate the family after their marriage); Catherine b. 1840; Margaret b. 1843; Catherine b. 1844; Mary Ann b. 1846; Neil John Morrison b. 1852 in Oxford Co., Ontario.

    Margaret Morrison b. 1843 from above parents married Colin McInnes in 1868 in Oxford Co., Ontario. He was the son of Donald McInnes and Margaret Morrison of Smerclate. This couple immigrated to Middlesex Co., Ontario.

    Mary McInnes, b. 1848 in Scotland, daughter of Peter McInnes and Mary McDonald married a man named Alexander Johnson. Alex was born about 1847 in Scotland and his parents listed in Canada were Roderick Johnson (or Johnston) and Marion ‘Sarah’ McDonald. Other children listed in the 1861 census for Oxford Co. for Roderick and his wife were Eliza b. 1833; James b. 1835; Randel b. 1839.

    Any help with these families would be greatly appreciated!

    Many other non family members that I’ve tracked with either the same surnames, or settled in the same locale in Ontario…..

    Archibald Godfrey McDonald b. 1805 Griminish married Christina Monk and had one child baptized in Oxford Co., before moving onto Grey Co., Ontario. His brother, Donald McDonald b. 1825 Griminish married in Oxford Co., to Mary McLean (daughter of Alexander McLean and Margaret McDonald). Married a second time in 1870 in Brant County, Ontario.

    John Buoey b. 1866 in Ontario, son of Alexander Buoey and Mary McCaskill, married to Catherine Mcdonald, b. 1866 in Oxford Co., to Donald McDonald and wife Nancy “Annie” McCaskill. Donald McDonald’s brother, John McDonald, marries Ann Walker and settles in Middlesex Co., Ontario. Another brother, Alexander McDonald b. 1811 & wife Margaret “Mary” McKinnon also settled in Middlesex Co.. Their other brother, Ranald McDonald and wife Catherine McIntyre first settled in Oxford Co., before moving onto Middlesex Co.

    Many, many more – too many to list here. But, I have recorded some O’Hanley’s too.

    Allan O’Hanley b. 1806 and wife Christine McDonald b. 1815 and children Angus b. 1842; Margaret b. 1844; Donald b. 1850; Archibald b. 1854 in Oxford Co., Ontario.

    Allan O’Hanley b. 1809 & wife Jessie McDonald b. 1813 and childen Janet b. 1837; Angus b. 1844; Murdock b. 1845; Neil b. 1851. Neil marries in 1875 in Brant co., Ontario.

    An Ann McDonald b. abt. 1828, daughter of Angus McDonald & Ann O’Hanley marries in 1852 in Oxford co., to a Donald McIntosh.

    John McMullen b. 1834 marries in 1854 in oxford Co. to Margaret McPhee. He was the son of Donald McMullen & Ann O’Hanley; Margaret McPhee the daughter of Alexander McPhee & wife Flora McInnes. The Mcphee’s were from Barra.

    Murdock O’Hanley & wife Jane McMullen had children that immigrated to Ontario. Jane was b. abt. 1786. Murdock appears to have died pre 1841. Children were: Allen b. 1809 & married to Jessie McDonald (see above); Malcolm b. 1853 married to Effie Gillis in oxford Co.; Colin O’Hanley b. 1817 married in 1855 in Oxford to Sarah Campbell; Not sure what happened to some fo the girls to this family.

    Another Murdoch O’Hanley b. abt. 1798 married to Christina McDonald and children Daniel b. 1823; Philip b. 1828; Neil b. 1838 & Sarah b. 1841 settled in Grey Co., Ontario

    I could go on and on. The names I have picked up on are Buoey, Burke, Campbell, Gillis, Johnson/Johnston, McCaskell, McCormick, McDonald, McEachen, McInnes (which was often spelled McGinnis after arriving in Canada), McIntyre, McKinnon, McLean, McLeod, McMillan, McMullen, McNeil, McPhee and Steele.

    • Anne Barr

      May 30, 2011 at 12:41 am

      Hi Susan

      I have copied your queries and I am looking up info. which I have but it will take a fair bit of time to get back to you. Meanwhile I suggest you post each query you have listed on these two sites. You have to join but they are free.,98.0.html

      Scroll down the left side to Scotland General, then click on Inverness and top right button – new topic.

      The other is
      After you register, scroll left to Forum then scroll to bottom of page to add new topic. List each name list separate for best results and it is best is to put surnames e.g. MacKay/Bowie/MacInnes.

      I have gathered some info. already for your first family – Peter MacInnes and Mary MacDonald, and will send as soon as I have it all.

      Anne Marie (nee MacKinnon)

      • Susan O'Meara

        May 30, 2011 at 3:14 pm

        Anne Marie, please take all the time you need. I have been trying to research my family for the last 15 years and only in the last few years did I get some indiciation that they might have been from South Uist. To await for your response wouldn’t be any problem considering how long I’ve waited to find this portion of my family in the first place! I appreciate any effort or direction you can provide on the matter, at any time!

    • Angus Macmillan

      May 30, 2011 at 11:44 am

      I can see why you might have had trouble tracking the Mary b. 1843, daughter of Peter MacInnes in South Boisdale. She was presumably elsewhere at the time of the 1851 Census as Bill Lawson has both that Mary and another Mary born the next year, died in infancy, an assumption concerning children not present. Is that right?

      Colin MacInnes who married Margaret Morrison in 1868 was second in a family of 13, his parents living not in Smercleit proper but on Dubh Gearraidh as cottars on the Moor of Smercleit so they had every cause to emigrate and may well have been under pressure from the Estate to do so.

      Just to add to what you have helpfully recorded for anyone interested in Archibald MacDonald, he was not himself Archibald Godfrey, that was a patronymic giving his father’s name. Godfrey is the only man specifically named as a kelp maker in Benbecula. He was located in the area of Cuinabunag, 1 Griminish and seemingly had married twice, In 1841 and 1851. He is recorded with wife Catherine, daughter of Donald MacLellan and Mary MacIntyre but his son Alexander died 30.10.1886, his mother being shown as Catherine MacPherson from Balivanich.

      Archibald’s wife, Chirsty Monk, was a formidable looking lady, daughter of Neil Monk, Dunganichy. Their children were Mary (= Neil Black), Godfrey (= McKeown), Marion (= Charles Blackburn), Catherine (= Donald ‘Beaver Dan’ MacDonald and removed to Saginaw), Margaret (= Angus MacCormick), Malcolm (= Chirsty MacPherson), Catherine (= John Sawyer Black nephew of Neil above). The families are still heavily represented in Glenelg and Ontario generally.

      What we do not have this side of the pond is much info. on Archibald’s brother Donald, born perhaps a little before the 1825 you give, who left as a single man.

      • Susan O'Meara

        May 30, 2011 at 5:09 pm

        Angus, I also appreciate your response very much! I haven’t had too much trouble tracking the two Mary MacInnes sisters, at least not in Canada. But yes, prior to that it’s been difficult to say the least. I know from both girls’ marriage records the parents were Peter MacInnes and Mary MacDonald. They should not have been, I think, in the 1851 census for Scotland? Or maybe they left that year? They are in the 1851/2 census for Woodstock, Oxford co., Ontario as follows:

        Peter McKinnis, laborer, b. Scotland, R.C. Religion, age 35 – b. abt. 1817
        Mary McKinnis, none, b. Scotland, R.C., age 30 (wife to Peter) – b. abt. 1822
        Rolland McKinnis, laborer, b. Scotland, R.C., age 18 – b. abt. 1834
        Donald McKinnis, none, b. Scotland, R.C., age 13 – b. abt. 1841
        Mary McKinnis, none, b. Scotland, R.C., age 9 – b. abt. 1843
        Angus McKinnis, none, b. Scotland, R.C., age 7 – b. abt. 1845
        Mary McKinnis, none, b. Scotland, R.C., age 6 – b. abt. 1846
        Angus McKinnis, none, b. Scotland, R.C., age 3 – b. abt. 1849
        Mary McDonald, none, b. Scotland, R.C., age 2 – b. abt. 1850
        Jesse McDonald, none, b. Scotland, R.C., age 30 (listed as married but no husband is listed in the household with the family. – b. abt. 1822

        I have not figured out yet who these other folks listed with them are yet. I just recorded the children as Mary (two of them) and Angus (two of them). I’m not sure what happens to the boys post-1851 in Canada, or even Peter MacInnes and wife Mary MacDonald.

        There is some documentation that Peter’s wife, Mary MacDonald died and Peter moved to Middlesex County, Ontario and he married a second time in 1854, to Mary Morrison. But that account also states Peter and wife Mary MacDonald had a son named Dougald; another daughter Marjory; also, a son named William born in 1851 in Ontario.

        I’m not sure what to believe as the Peter MacInnes who went to Middlesex County, Ontario supposedly died after 1870. It was in August 1870 that Mary McInnes married Alexander Johnston. At that time she stated that both her parents were deceased. So, I wonder if there could there have been two Peter MacInneses married to two Mary MacDonalds? Or is it simply a mistake on her marriage record that she noted her father was deceased?

        I could use any help sorting this mess out. I think if I have the correct Peter MacInnes with wife Mary MacDonald, someone mentioned that Mary McDonald was the daughter of Angus MacDonald and Catherine Campbell. They also mentioned other children to Angus and Catherine: Mary; Malcolm; Neil; Donald and John. Those names, Malcolm, Neil and Donald show up in the records for my family in Oxford County, Ontario. And I find some in census records, but I can’t determine if I have the “right” Malcolm, Neil or Donald. If I knew who they married, maybe in Scotland, then I may have already have recorded them in my records.

        The Donald MacDonald you mention as brother to Archibald MacDonald, who was married to Christina Monk, married in Sacred Heart Parish, Ingersoll, in Oxford County, Ontario on June 11, 1861. His parents were listed as Godfrey MacDonald and Catherine MacPherson. Donald married Mary MacLean who was born about 1832 in Scotland and she listed her parents as Alexander MacLean and Margareth MacDonald. Witnesses to the marriage were Donald MacDonald and Catherine MacDonald. Both the bride and the groom were residents of Woodstock, Oxford County, Ontario at the time of their marriage.

        Donald MacDonald and Mary Mclean went on to have at least two children that I know of. The first was Catherine MacDonald b. Sep 1, 1864 and baptized at Sacred Heart Parish in Ingersoll, Oxford County, Ontario; baptismal sponsors: Donald MacDonnell and Mary MacDonnell. Another child was Donald Hugh McDonald, born March 1, 1866 and also baptized at Sacred Heart Parish, sponsors: James Dunn and Margareth MacLean

        Mary MacLean MacDonald died in April 1868 and she is buried at St. Mary’s R.C. Cemetery in Woodstock, Oxford County, Ontario. Donald MacDonald went on to marry for a second time, to Jessie McCarten. She was born about 1834 in Scotland, daughter of Alexander McCarten and Mary Campbell. The couple were married on January 11, 1870 in Brantford, Brant County, Ontario. His parents were listed as Godfried MacDonald and Catherine MacPherson. I think I may have picked him up in the 1881 census for Brantford, Brant County, Ontario. He was already widowed (so Jessie must have died prior to 1881 if I have the correct census record) and listed with him are: a son named Geoffry (It may should have been Godfrey) b. abt. 1863; Catherine b. abt. 1866; and Donald b. abt. 1867. The census page is really faded, but this seems to match up fairly closely with the parish records on the family.

        Then, I think Donald married a third time in 1884 to a woman named Rose Haw. The marriage record listed his parents as Godfrey and Catherine McDonald. Rose was b. abt. 1840 in England and she was a widow, with her parents listed as William and Elizabeth Barnett. They were married in Brantford, Brant County, Ontario. Apparently, marriage kept him young and I think he may have died in June 3rd, 1904, in Brantford, Brant County, Ontario, but I can’t confirm this. I seem to lose track of him and his children after 1884.

        I know Archibald MacDonald and Christina Monk family have been well researched as I have come into contact with one or two researchers on this line. But no one knew that the couple stopped over in Oxford County, Ontario before moving onto Grey County (one daughter Catherine was born in Woodstock, Oxford County, Ontario in 1853). I did track their daughter, Catherine b. 1843, who marryied Donald ‘Beaver Dan’ MacDonald (as you referred to him) and they lived in Saginaw, Michigan. Saginaw is about an hour north of where I currently live in Michigan.

        But Beaver Dan was married a second time to Sarah Catherine “Kate” O’Hanley, daughter of Dougal O’Hanley and his wife Christina MacCormick, who both died in Saginaw, Michigan. Dougal O’Hanley was the son of John O’Hanley and Mary MacInnes. Dougal O’Hanley and Christina MacCormick’s first child, Christina O’Hanley, was born on September 2, 1854 and she was baptized at Sacred Heart Parish, Ingersoll, Oxford County, Ontario. The baptismal sponsors were James MacCormack and Sara MacDougall .

        I feel like I am following a crazy loop of locations/people as I research these families. But, I enjoy it too even if it can be confusing. Again, I appreciate any insight you might be able to provide on Peter MacInnes and his wife Mary MacDonald.

        • Anne Barr

          June 4, 2011 at 5:15 pm

          Hi Susan,

          What I have on Peter MacInnes b. c 1826 and wife Mary MacDonald b. c 1820 (your dates)

          Married 29 May 1842 in Bornish, Howmore, South Uist. (Both were living in South Boisdale at the time of the marriage) Peter is recorded as Patrick (Gaelic is Pàdraig) and means Peter..

          Born in South Boisdale, S/Uist & baptised in Bornish, S/Uist .
          Mary b 13 Aug 1842 – baptised 15 Aug 1842 (Father recorded as Patrick)
          Mary b 16 Aug 1844 – baptised 18 Aug 1844 (Father recorded as Peter)
          Malcolm b 21 Sep 1846 – baptised 30 Sep 1846 (Father recorded as Patrick)

          I searched the 1841 census South Boisdale to establish his parentage and found a match for his age from your details above but this is inconclusive as I couldn’t find a record of his birth.

          Details on census were:

          John MacInnes (55) & Kitty (50) Peter (15) Kitty (14)

          Others in the household were:

          John MacIntyre (25) & Margaret (25) Alexander (4) Ann (0)

          I searched for births with parents John & Kitty (Catherine) & came up with this (again inconclusive) and births were Lochboisdale rather than South Boisdale but it is not unlikely that they could have moved:

          John MacInnes & Catherine Currie


          John b 1822 baptised 20 Jan 1822
          Catharine b 1824 baptised 04 Jul 1824
          Donald b 1826 baptised 15 Oct 1826
          Catharine b 18 Jan 1833 baptised 19 Jan 1833

          From the info. on your Canadian census I did a search for Rolland (presumably Ronald/Ranald) and found only one Ranald MacInnes b 1825 Lochboisdale, baptised 26 Jan 1825 (again inconclusive regarding age as the dates and ages on different documents (census etc.) are very conflicting because of illiteracy)

          Parents were Donald MacInnes & Mary O’Henley

          Donald & Mary have another 2 kids listed, one with name missing b 1820 and Margaret born 1822 Lochboisdale baptised 18 Apr 1822

          I am wondering if the missing name could be Peter who may be a brother of Ranald/Ronald?

          According to (Register of emigrants)
          Peter b 1801 South Boisdale – Mary b 1811 South Boisdale
          There are 2 Mary’s both dii (died in infancy)? b 1842 & 1844 which are above.
          There is also a Marjory b 1849 & William b 1851

          I found what appears to be the family (Mcinnis) 1861

          Peter (60) Mary (50), Marchry (12) (in a Uist accent would be Marjory) who is listed as b in Scotland & William (10) b Canada

          Source Citation: Year: 1861; Census Place: Middlesex, Canada West; Roll: C-1051; Page: 18

          Having completed what I could find on Peter & Mary I will now move onto your gg grandparents Mary MacInnes & Alexander Morrison

          Anne Marie.

          • Laurie

            August 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm

            A mention of Donald MacInnes (Donald MacInnes (fl. 1850), styled Dòmhnall mac Ailein, Balivanich, Benbecula) here:


            • Angus Macmillan

              August 19, 2011 at 1:46 pm

              There is a mistranscription in the CW piece. As is clear from the quotations, the man in question was Duncan MacInnes and Balivanich was the location simply as the main town. Duncan MacInnes lived with his family in Dunganichy, the neighbouring township. I doubt, as it happens, that this Duncan was anything to do with the South Uist family. MacInnes was a name native to Clanranald’s mainland territories and was at one time the second most common surname in South Uist. However, a number of Duncan’s brothers are mentioned in Fr MacMillan’s To the Hill of Boisdale as settling in Cape Breton.

        • Anne Barr

          June 10, 2011 at 5:16 pm

          Hi Susan,

          I have done a U-turn and I have decided to look at the MacIntyres listed on the 1841 census in the household of John & Kitty MacInnes.

          It appears that Margaret MacIntyre listed, was a daughter of John & sister of Peter MacInnes.

          Margaret (c1818 – c1900) married John MacIntyre (c1811 – c1884) – 22 Nov 1835 in Bornish, Howmore, South Uist.

          Margaret & John had 8 children!! – I will be able to send a report on them soon as most of the information is already in my “Uist” tree.

          I am posting this as you will be very curious as to what is on Margaret’s death certificate regarding her parentage. It appears she died in South Boisdale so when you look up scotlandspeople it will come under the area Boisdale.

          Anne Marie.

          P.S. I can’t wait to find out their mother’s maiden name myself.

        • Anne Marie

          January 14, 2013 at 2:41 am

          Hi Susan & (Angus),

          Sorry for butting in here but I’m just getting a word in while there’s a gap in the conversation 🙂

          I did say I was going to look into my own MacDonald descent but I’m too busy with new trees sprouting up all over the place (which I love). I have been in touch with a couple of others whom I’ve introduced to this site. Both have connections with yourself and Patricia MacLellan & others, so you will all be able to trade info. I’m helping both and one is a MacRae line but too far back for me to say if they’re related but maybe Angus will have more in his archives??

          However, what jogged my memory regarding MacDonalds is that there was quite a bit in your last piece of conversation with Angus and some of the names are consistant with names in my own tree – what a coincidence there with MacDonald being the most common name and a handful of forenames from which to choose.

          Actually, I was drawn to the part of the conversation where Dougald MacDonald is mentioned and a Mary was mentioned having been married twice. Although I’m not certain, it just looked a bit suspect that my Mary MacDonald may well be the woman in question. If that’s the case then there are a few flaws but it’s only a hunch as the names in the supposed second marriage are very similar to the ones in my Marys first marriage so it’s got me out of my archive cupboard. I haven’t checked with the dates with yours or I wouldn’t get round to putting in my own query!

          I have determined that Bowie is more a north of the island name so I rely heavily on Angus with this one.

          MacDonald, MacIntyre, Bowie, MacKinnon & Catherine (who please ??)
          I am hoping to find anyone who is descended from my ggggg g/parents.

          John MacDonald c1771 = Catherine ? c1771. John & Catherine had my gggg g/f Donald c 1791 but did they have any other children?

          Donald MacDonald c1791 – 1856 b 202 Stoneybridge, South Uist = Ann MacIntyre, c1791 – 1876, daughter of Neil MacIntyre & Flora Bowie.

          Donald’s death was registered by one of two daughters named Catherine who (unfortunately) did not know her grandmother Catherine’s maiden surname – 1851 – 1856, Cottar (Machair Mor), Ardivachar, South Uist.
          Donald MacDonald and Ann MacIntyre had Mary MacDonald (ggg g/m), 1824 – 1899 b 202 Stoneybridge, South Uist.

          Mary MacDonald married

          (1) Dougal MacDonald c1816 – 1853 b Kilpheder, South Uist, son of John MacDonald and Kirsty Morrison. Mary & Dougal had John 1843, Neil 1845, Donald 1847, Christian 1850 & Malcolm 1853.
          (2) John MacKinnon 1829 – 1913 b 286 Daliburgh, South Uist, son of Angus MacKinnon and Mary Walker. Mary & John had Angus 1859 – 1956, Ann 1862 – 1864, Angus 1866 – 1918 & Catherine 1869 – 1928

          Donald MacDonald and Ann MacIntyre also had Catherine MacDonald 1825 – 1899 (not married), Angus MacDonald c1827 – ?, Catherine MacDonald 1828 – c1892 (not married), Flora MacDonald 1831 – ?, Janet MacDonald 1834 – ? = Ranald MacDonald c1834 – ? b 263 Daliburgh, South Uist.

          This is just a portion of what I have and I am willing to share so if anyone needs more info. to ascertain a connection just ask. I am interested in any offshoots at all but my curiosity is to find out if Donald c 1791 had any siblings.

    • Charlotte McInnis

      June 15, 2011 at 1:06 am

      I am also researching McInnis’ from South Uist, John McInnis, b. 1847-1850. I believe his parents to be
      Donald McInnis and Margaret Morrison, b. Scotland. I believe they also lived in Park Hill, Middlesex, Ontario. My John McInnis married Christie McInnis, b. 1859 Canada. Christie’s father was John McInnis and her mother was Catherine Cameron. Christie had a sister, Mary, and a brother, Peter, b. 1863,in Ontario.

      Do you have these McInnis’ in your line?

      • Susan O'Meara

        June 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm

        Hi Charlotte,

        Yes, I have these McInnis’ in my line. Colin McInnes, son of Donald & Margaret Morrison McInnes, married my gr gr grandfather’s sister, Margaret Morrison. Margaret Morrison, daughter of Donald Morrison & Isabella McRae, married Colin McInnes on October 10, 1868 in Woodstock, Oxford Co., Ontario. Here is their marriage record:

        From the Records of Sacred Heart Parish, Ingersoll, Ontario 1850-1874:
        Colin Maginnis, s/o Donald Maginnis and Margaret Morrison, to Margaret Morrison, d/o late Donald Morrison and late Isabella McCrae. October 10, 1868. Fr. Bayard. Wit. Duncan McGinnis, N. Morrison and Mary Morrison.

        Colin & Margaret had one child that I know of which died the same day it was born in August 1870. Then on March 1, 1871 Margaret dies in Oxford Co., Ontario. Eventually, Colin moves to Michigan and remarries and has a family there in Michigan.

        Catherine McInnes, sister to John & Colin, also married in Oxford Co., Ontario to John McDonald. John McDonald was the son of Norman McDonald & wife Margaret McDonald (her maiden name was also McDonald).

        From the Records of Sacred Heart Parish, Ingersoll, Ontario 1850-1874:
        John McDonald, s/o Norman McDonald and Margaret McDonald, resident of Woodstock, to Catherine McGinniss, d/o Donald McGinniss & Margaret Morrison, resident of Woodstock. April 28, 1873. Wit. Archibald O’Hanley & Margaret McGinniss.

        The couple lived in Woodstock, Oxford Co., Ontario until their death and had 11 children!

        A sister to Colin, John & Catherine also married in Woodstock, Oxford Co., Ontario. That was Euphemia “Effy” Phoebe McInnes. Here is their marriage record:

        Name: Phoebe McGinness
        Birth Place: Parkhill
        Age: 25
        Father Name: Donald McGinness
        Mother Name: Margaret Morrison
        Estimated birth year: abt 1852
        Spouse Name: John McIntosh
        Spouse’s Age: 27
        Spouse Birth Place: Woodstock
        Spouse Father Name: Donald McIntosh
        Spouse Mother Name : Mary Morrison
        Marriage Date: 28 Aug 1877
        Marriage Place: Oxford
        Marriage County: Oxford

        John McIntosh was born Jul 29, 1850 in Woodstock, Oxford Co., Ontario to Donald McIntosh & Mary Morrison. John & Effie had a daughter, Mary Ann McIntosh who was born Jul 31, 1878 in Woodstock, Oxford Co., before moving to Sanilac Co., Michigan. They had 9 children that I know of.

        Now your John McInnes who married to Christie McInnes I don’t have quite as much on their line. The couple’s mariage record occurrs in Parkhill, Middlesex Co., Ontario as follows:

        Name: Christie McInnes
        Birth Place: Canada
        Age: 20
        Father Name: John McInnes
        Mother Name: Catherine Cameron
        Estimated Birth Year: abt 1858
        Spouse Name: John McInnes
        Spouse’s Age: 27
        Spouse Birth Place: Canada
        Spouse Father Name: Donald McInnes
        Spouse Mother Name : Margaret Morrison
        Marriage Date: 2 Jul 1878
        Marriage Place: Middlesex
        Marriage County: Middlesex

        The couple appears to have moved to Lapeer Co., Michigan when their first child was born, but then later moves to Saginaw Co., Michigan which is the location of their death from what I have been able to ascertain.

        Christie’s brother, Peter McInnes, also moved to Saginaw Co., Michigan and married a woman named Mary McDonald. She was born in Glengarry, Ontario, Canada and was the daughter of John B. McDonald and Catherine Campbell.

        I have more details on the family that I will post here after work today. You are also welcome to contact me directly too if you wish.

        Sue O’Meara
        Michigan, USA

      • Susan O'Meara

        June 19, 2011 at 2:22 am

        Hi Charlotte,

        To follow-up a bit further on Donald McInnes and wife Margaret Morrison, here they are in the 1841 & 1851 census for Scotland:

        Smerclate, South Uist – June 11, 1841 p.8
        Donald MacINNIS 25 cotter Y
        Margaret 20 Y
        Marrion 1 Y
        Neil 1 mo. Y
        Collin 1 mo. Y

        Dugarry, near Smerclate, South Uist – March 30, 1851 p.3
        Donald MacINNIS head M 42 cottar SU
        Mary wife M 35 SU
        Marrion dau 12 house servant SU
        Colin son 9 scholar SU
        Margaret dau 6 scholar SU
        Malcolm son 4 SU
        John son 2 SU
        Catharine dau 1 SU

        1861 Census for Canada, East Williams, Middlesex Co., Ontario (all RC religion):
        Donald Mcinnes 48 1813 Scotland Married
        Margret Mcinnes 37 1824 Scotland Married
        Colin Mcinnes 19 1842 Scotland Single
        Margret Mcinnes 17 1844 Scotland Single
        John Mcinnes 13 1848 Scotland Single
        Cathrine Mcinnes 11 1850 Scotland Single
        Euphemia Mcinnes 9 1852 Upper Canada Single
        Margret Mcinnes 6 1855 Upper Canada Single
        Marget Mcinnes 4 1857 Upper Canada Single
        Finlay Mcinnes 2 1859 Upper Canada Single

        Their immigrations record:
        Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s
        about Donald MacInnes
        Name: Donald MacInnes
        Year: 1851
        Place: Ontario, Canada
        Family Members: Wife Margaret Morrison; Children: Catherine; Colin; Neil; Margaret; John; Malcolm; Marion
        Source Publication Code: 4537.37
        Primary Immigrant: MacInnes, Donald
        Annotation: Date of emigration and place of settlement in the New World. Port of embarkation, date of birth and/or death, marital information, and reference to original sources are also provided. Much historical and genealogical information are also provided.
        Source Bibliography: LAWSON, BILL. Register of Emigrants from the Western Isles of Scotland 1750-1900, Volume 2 Isles of South Uist and Benbecula, Part 2 1840-1900. Northton, Isle of Harris, Scotland: Bill Lawson Publications, 1994. 137p.
        Page: 53

        The couples marriage record in Scotland:
        Donald MacInnes and Margaret Morrison were married by Rev. Father John
        Chisholm on Dec. 1st, 1839 in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Bornish,
        South Uist. The witnesses were Finlay & Angus MacInnes and John Morrison.
        All five members of the wedding party were from Smercleit, South Uist.

        Charlotte, there is so much information as I type this up I think it would be better if you contacted me directly for further details. Hope that is ok. My e-mail:

      • Anne Marie

        February 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm

        Charlotte & Susan,

        I’ve done a search on Donald MacInnes & Margaret Morrison.

        Some you already have but it keeps it all together for other root hunters.

        Registered at Bornish, Howmore, S/Uist

        Donald MacInnes b c1809 (Smerclate) wed Margaret Morrison b c1816 (Smerclate) 01 Dec 1839

        Children all born Smerclate, Boisdale, S/Uist & baptisms recorded at Bornish, Howmore, S/Uist

        Marion 16 Apr 1840 – bap: 10 May 1840
        Colin (twin) 25 May 1841 – bap: 27 May 1841
        Neil (twin) as above
        Mary 07 Jul 1842 – bap: 10 Jul 1842
        Margaret 23 Oct 1843 – bap: 01 Nov 1843
        Margaret 24 Jul 1845 – bap: 01 Aug 1845
        Malcolm 31 Aug 1846 – bap: 07 Sep 1846
        John 14 Apr 1848 – bap: 18 Apr 1848
        Catherine Bet. 01-07 Feb 1850 – bap: Bet. 01-07 Feb 1850 (actual dates missing)

        Donald & Margaret appear to have had another 4 children b possibly in East William’s, Middlesex, Ontario.

        Effie c1852
        Margaret c1855
        Margaret c1857
        Finlay c1859

  129. donfad

    April 16, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Christ-Child Lullaby

    This beautiful rendition of a Gaelic hymn, seemingly ancient but written in 1855 by Father Ranald Rankin prior to his departure to serve in Australia, is sung by Flora MacNeil at a Mass (Aifreann) in Killarney in County Kerry in Ireland of all places, and to many a new-born babe in cradle. It is a poignant reminder of the common heritage of Irish and Hebridean peoples. Barra, the birthplace of Flora MacNeil, is thought to take its name either from Saint Finbarr, the founder of Cork, or from St. Barr, the great-grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages, the legendary 4th century king of Ireland.

    In the course of the clip, Peadar O’Riada lets slip something that seems to put Flora in an entirely new light. Even with her advancing years, she is game for all-night parties and still turns up for Mass the next day! Joking aside, it is time someone nominates Flora who already has an MBE for an OBE to match that of her prodigy, Karen Matheson of Capercaillie, as she must be at least equally deserving.

    Mo ghaol, mo ghràdh, is m’eudail thu,
    (My love,my dear, my darling you),
    M’ionntas ur is m’eibhneas thu,
    (My joy, my fine young treasure you),
    Mo mhacan alainn ceutach thu,
    (My splendid little Son are you),
    Cha’n fhiu mi fhein a bhith ‘ad dhail!
    (Unworthy though I am, I see to you now)!

    Ged as leanabh dìblidh thu
    (Although You are a helpless babe)
    Cinnteach is Righ nan Righrean Thu
    (You are for certain thè King of Kings)
    S Tu’n t-oighre dligheach, fìrinneach

    Air rìoghachd Dhe nan gràs
    (You are the true and rightful heir)
    Ged as Righ na Glorach Thu
    (To the Kingdom of God of thè Graces)
    Dhiult iad an taigh osda dhut
    (They refused you entry at the inn)

    Mo ghaol an t-suil a sheallas tlàth
    (My love of kindest eye I sing)
    Mo ghaol an cridhe tha lionnt’ le gràdh
    (My heart with joy doth sweetly brim)
    Ged as leanabh Thu gun chàil
    (Babe born alone without a thing)
    Is lìonmhor buaidh tha ort a fas
    (Many the victory will come your way)

    • donfad

      April 17, 2011 at 11:04 am

      Father Ranald Rankin

      Damned with Faint Praise (Letter from Mgr. William Mackintosh, Fr. Rankin’s superior, to the Bishop of Argyll and the Isles).*

      ‘There are in Moydart several respectable families of bigoted Protestants and indifferent Catholics, so that it would be desirable to have a clergyman there of polite and dignified manners. Now Mr Rankin’s natural talents are rather below par, his education desultory and everything but complete. In his manners and deportment you find something trifling, not dignified, too familiar with his inferiors. He has no great energy of mind. . . [but] he is a good Gaelic scholar and to remedy his want of method and plan in conducting his parishioners, I think he would bear admonition and direction from myself. I am a great favourite with him, especially were I invested with authority as your Lordship proposes’.

      Mgr. Mackintosh, reading between the lines, was a sour, hypocritical and undermining colleague who continued to be a thorn in Fr. Rankin’s flesh. Rankin continued to serve in Moidart for sixteen years before he uprooted and took 500 families with him to Australia. His hymns remain well-beloved and have taken root in Uist and Barra, a place that Rankin never visited. Rankin converted to Catholicism in early adulthood, in deference to his mother’s memory as she had died young. A native of Fort William, but unlike Father Alan MacDonald, Father Rankin may not have had to learn Gaelic which in the mid-1800s was spoken by over 50% of the population. All in all, Rankin appears to have been a more admirable and influential man than Mgr. Mackintosh ever gave him credit for.

      * Priests in those days in the Highlands and Islands were referred to, not as Father, but as Maighistear (Master) as from the Latin, Magister, meaning teacher, master or canon.

      • donfad

        April 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm

        Priests of the Highland District who received the whole or part of their training at Lismore Seminary.

        (1). Duncan McKenzie entered Valladolid on the 30th Oct., 1803, but left the following month (presumably on the ground of ill-health) for Lismore, where he finished his studies and was ordained. He died at Eskadale on the 28th Oct., 1828, 48 years old.
        (2). Norman Macdonald studied at Lismore, and the Catholic Directory gives his death as occurring on the 14th Jan., 1837. There is no other information about him except in a letter of Bishop Ranald Macdonald’s to Propaganda on the 4th Aug., 1821: “Dum hic degeret, optimae erat indolis et studiorum amans.”
        (3). John Chisholm came to Lismore in September, 1807, and was ordained there on the 16th April, 1816. He may have been one of the two boys intended for the Society of Jesus. He was, in Bishop Aeneas Chisholm’s encomium, “the most promising Eleve that ever came or that is the production of this house.” The Catholic Directory credits him with the building of a church at Daliburgh in 1827 and another at Bornish in 1837. He died at Bornish on the 22nd July, 1867.
        (4). Donald Forbes entered Lismore in 1807 and was ordained there on the 16th Apr., 1816. He was for fifty-two years in the Braes of Lochaber, where he died at Bunroy, widely regretted. Over five hundred mourners attended his funeral. It is told of him that, for a period of sixty years, he never failed on a Sunday or Holyday to say Mass and preach.
        (5). James McGregor was admitted to the seminary on the 19th April, 1808. He was for forty years at Ardkenneth in South Uist, with, at the same time, charge of Benbecula. He died on the 15th Feb., 1867.
        (6). Neil Macdonald was admitted on the 19th Apr., 1812, and in November, 1816, left for Valladolid. Ill-health forced him to return to Scotland in 1822 and he was ordained at Lismore the following year. He died at Drimnin on the 12th Apr., 1862.
        (7). John Forbes, a native of Glenconglas in Banffshire, was educated at Aquhorties and Valladolid. In 1814 he was lent to Lismore where he taught for some time, and was ordained at Lismore by Bishop Aeneas Chisholm on the 15th Oct., 1815, leaving the seminary almost immediately for his own District.
        (8). Donald Macdonald entered Lismore in Nov., 1816, and four years later passed on to the Scots College, Rome. He died at Bohuntin in Lochaber on the 20th Oct., 1872.
        (9). Alexander Macdonald, a native of Lochaber, studied at Lismore and Valladolid. He returned to Lismore where he was ordained and taught for a while. He is the master who “so grievously disappointed” Bishop Ranald Macdonald. He was in Moidart from 1829 to 1838 and nothing more is known of him.
        (10). William McIntosh was born in Glenmuick, Aberdeenshire in 1794. He was a late vocation and went to Lismore on the 20th Nov., 1821, and from thence to Saint Suplice. His name is still held in benediction at Arisaig, where he laboured for forty years and built the present fine church.
        (11). Angus Macdonald was six years at Valladolid when ill-health necessitated his return to Scotland in 1823. He was ordained at Lismore. His name does not appear in the obituary lists.
        (12). Ranald Rankine, born at Fort William in 1799, studied at Lismore and Valladolid. He left Spain in 1822 through ill-health, and was ordained at Lismore. In 1855 he received permission to emigrate to Australia where he died at Little River, Diocese of Melbourne, on the 14th Feb., 1863.
        (13). Donald Mackay entered Lismore in Nov., 1823, and went on to Propaganda. He had the reputation of a great student, speaking Latin and Italian fluently, and was something of a Hebrew scholar. He died at Drimnin on the 4th Jan., 1887.
        (14). Alexander Gillies was at Lismore from 1825 to 1826. He died at Cliadale in the island of Eigg, on the 23rd Jan., 1880.
        (15). Angus Mackenzie, a native of Strathglass and a relative of the two Chisholm bishops, entered Lismore in 1826. When the seminary was closed, he passed to Aquhorties in 1828 and then to Blairs. He was ordained in Rome in 1836. His death was tragic and unexpected. When priest at Eskadale, he was invited to dinner by the Provost of Dingwall. A servant, sent to the garden for radish to serve as garnish for the meat, brought back monkshood by mistake. Three of the party died – Mr. McKenzie, Mr. James Gordon, the priest at Beauly and a grand-nephew of Priest Gordon, and a Catholic layman.
        (16). Archibald Chisholm left Lismore in 1828 along with Angus Mackenzie for Aquhorties, and was ordained at Blairs in March, 1831. He died at Dalbeth on the 21st Dec., 1869.
        (17). Donald Walker, a native of Glengarry, studied for some time at Lismore and was ordained at Valladolid in 1833. He died at Fort Augustus, at the early age of 30, on the 27th Oct., 1838.
        (18). Coll MacColl (a Lismore name) was educated at Lismore and ordained there by Bishop Ranald Macdonald in March, 1831, after the seminary had been closed. He remained at Lismore to assist the Bishop who was in failing health. He was at Arisaig for a time and left under a cloud. Dom Odo Blundell had a story about him from a woman in the parish: “In consequence of an accusation against him, he had to go to Australia; the woman who made the accusation lost her arm – it went bad, and her cries could be heard five miles away”.

  130. Don MacFarlane

    March 6, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Early Catholic Priests of Uist

    “There are two kinds of priests that don’t get on well with the Islesmen. Those who make themselves too friendly, and those who don’t make themselves friendly enough.” (Quote from Father John Chisholm of Bornish, tenure 1819-1867).

    Fr. Dermit Dugan (1652-57). Died and buried in Uist in 1657.

    Fr. Francis MacDonnell (1667-1677).

    Frs. Shiel and Fie (1677 only).

    Fr. Alexander Patterson (1732-1746).

    Captured and banished in 1746 as a Jacobite.
    Described by his sister as ‘duine dosgach a chaidh a dhith air Dia’ [‘a calamitous man lost to God’], called so as he was ostracised by his Protestant family for being a religious turncoat.
    The story is reminiscent of the brothers from Carndonagh in Donegal, one of whom turned to become an Anglican vicar, the other became a priest.
    Crossing paths while walking along a Donegal road, one brother politely said ‘tha thus a dol siar agus tha mis a dol sear’ [‘you are going west, I am going east], only to be cut with the reply ‘agus tha mis a dol suas agus tha thus a dol sios’ [yes, and I am going up (to Heaven) and you are going down (to Hell)]!

    Fr. Wynn (1766-80).

    • donfad

      April 19, 2011 at 11:33 pm

      Excerpts from Memoirs on Catholic Highlanders (Dom Odo Blundell).

      Letter from Father Dugan to his Bishop (1655)

      ‘The greater part of the inhabitants [in Uist] were living in concubinage [out of wedlock] but we have remedied this by joining in matrimony those who were willing, and separating the others [?]. No doubt the reason is that no priest had come that way to bless the marriage.

      I have found that some of the inhabitants called themselves Catholics, and had some knowledge of the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist. This was due to their having been to Confession and Communion formerly to some Fathers of the Order of St Francis who came here from Ireland, but these people were so little instructed that they did not know how to make the sign of the Cross’.

      Letter from Father Francis O’Donnell (1671).

      ‘His Grace the Primate of Ireland has received from the Sacred Congregation the care of the Scottish Islands, or Hebrides. His Grace should send thither some Irish priests or religious, since the people of these islands understand nothing but Gaelic and they can hope for spiritual assistance from none but the Irish, since the Anglo-Scots speak a corrupt form of English, and experience has long since proved that they afford no spiritual help to the Isles’.

      ‘Were I not related to the Lords MacDonell, who have great influence in these islands, I could not have subsisted there until now. Father George Fanning also, of the Order of Friars Preachers, would have perished from hunger before now, were it not that he lived with the Laird of Barra. It would be a good thing to write to the most noble Donald MacDonell, Chief of Clanranald, for though he externally professes to be a heretic, still he is very well disposed towards us and has a great number of Catholic dependents’.

      Letter from Bishop John MacDonald (1768).*

      ‘The Laird of Boisdale took as his first step to invite [thoir cuireadh do] all the children in the neighbourhood [nabaidheachd] to learn English and writing with a Presbyterian preceptor [oide-foghluim] whom he engaged [chuir gu buil] in his family for the education of his own children. This the poor people, suspecting [ag cuir an amhras] no harm [lochd], gladly agreed to, and numbers of children were sent accordingly; but how greatly were their parents astonished [bho sgannradh], when after some time they understood that the most shocking [oillteil] methods had been used to corrupt [cuir go truaillte] their children! That impious [neo dhiadhaidh] blasphemies [naomh-mhaslachadh] had been daily inculcated [mionaideadh] into them against their religion; that wicked, immoral and even immodest [mi-bheusach] sentences [roisgeulan] had been given to be copied [ath-sgriobhadh] over by those who could write, and that when the time of Lent came, in the year 1770, flesh meat was forced [thoir le treoir] into the mouths of those who refused to eat it, in contempt [dibrigh] of the laws and practice of the Church in that holy season’.

      “Boisdale has made a proposal [to his tenants] to try to settle in St John’s Island [Prince Edward Island] in America [Canada] where a gentleman of their clan [Glenaladale] was purchasing a considerable property, principally with the view of assisting them and others oppressed at home. But as the poor people for the most part were unable to transport themselves thither with the necessary provisions, utensils, etc., they were not willing all at once to leave their native country, in hopes that their master would at last relent and let them live in peace. But in this they found themselves much mistaken, for since then he has become much worse than before; for finding them determined never to renounce their religion, he has used every means in his power to reduce them to beggary, in which he has but too well succeeded ; and he now tells them that they must leave his lands next Whit Sunday, and go to America [Canada]’.

      * Gaelic words that correspond to the English words in the epistle have been inserted [by me] to illustrate how far the Gaelic language has deteriorated in its common usage since the 1800s. These words are now all obsolete. A native gaelic speaker today would probably not trouble to expand vocabulary and would intersperse pidgin English to substitute for the words that have fallen into disuse.

      Letter from Father Alexander MacDonald (1775).

      Since our late terror and persecution, Boisdale is quite reformed, and is himself in all appearance the person who repents most for his former doings. He grants his people a most unlimited toleration in religious matters, welcomes our clergy always to his family, uses them with the utmost civility, and with the deference they are entitled to. His condescension is so great that we are allowed at times to perform some of our functions within the precincts of his palace.

      ‘The change in Boisdale s attitude towards the Catholic Church did not extend so far as to return to his religious duties ; or rather he seems to have deferred this until the last, and then the opportunity was denied him. His son, who had earlier been remarkable for his piety, and who was so zealous in the practice of his religion that he used to walk each Sunday the twenty miles to the old chapel at Gerinish, later became so bitter that he refused to allow the priest to enter the house when Boisdale was dying. Even the influence of Lady Macdonald, as Boisdale’s wife was called, was unavailing. She was an excellent Catholic, of whom it is recorded that she used to say her prayers at the rock near Garrihellie, looking towards the chapel. On Sundays, Boisdale would walk half-way to church with her she was his third wife but she seems to have had no power against her stepson s determined refusal. Not only did he prevent his father from being reconciled on his death-bed, but he inscribed upon the tombstone that his father died a Protestant’.

      Commentary by Dom Odo Blundell (1909).

      ‘Like all evicting and persecuting landlords, the Boisdales have long since disappeared from South Uist. Stranger still, the ” palace ” of which Boisdale had been so proud was being taken down to build the cow-byres of recently settled crofters at Kilbride. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those evicted by Boisdale in 1770 were in many cases reinstated by the Crofters Commission on the farm of Kilbride about 1900’.

    • David O'Hanley

      August 4, 2011 at 10:27 pm

      Do you know anything about Father Wynne? Father A. J. MacMillan, PP, in one of his books on Cape Breton, mentions the story of Father Wynne and the O’Henleys. From his book, I did not know of the story of the ‘North Uist poet MacCodrum meeting an O’Henley priest’ that Angus MacMillan includes in this blog (November 16, 2007 at 5:59 pm ). Is there a written reference to the story? At present, I have a few variations of it but it would be fruitful to have a written, attributable version.

  131. Bruce MacMillan

    February 24, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Some of my MacDonald ancestors came from villages on Benbecula like Torlum & Liniclate. Looking at Google satellite view these places look like just a small gathering of houses. One ancestor had crofts 4 & 11 in Torlum. If I was to visit Torlum would I be able to locate where the crofts were? Are there any maps that might refer to these places?

    • Angus Macmillan

      February 24, 2011 at 9:44 pm

      The nature of crofts, which are in effect free standing small farms, each with its own dwelling, is that there is no cluster of houses but a string of them each side of the road about two or three hundred yards apart. There will be no trouble in identifying specific numbered crofts except in the rare case where a number has changed or, as in the case of a croft in Uachdar, where the number bore no relation to the other crofts but, being established up on the hill, took its number for a while from an adjacent telegraph pole.

      That identifability is the case for post 1879/80 croft numbers. Before that the numbers attached to them referred to entries in the Factors’ rent folio and not to anything on the ground. Finally, even where holdings have been amalgamated, there will usually be the ruin of the old croft house to show where it once lay.

      As to specifics, 4 Torlum as far as I recall is Star Cottage and 11 Torlum is next door to where my own family originated at 12 Torlum, close to Torlum schoolhouse in the area called Knocknamonie.

      • Bruce MacMillan

        February 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm

        Thanks Angus, that info helps. Odd coincidence that we share the same last name and our ancestors were neighbours.
        My MacMillans came from Loch Arkaig though.

  132. Don MacFarlane

    February 24, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Uist piper, Fred Morrison, doing what he does best.

  133. Neil Johnson

    February 16, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I am interested in the Johnstons of Benbecula and North Uist. My GGgrandfather was Donald (Son of Kenneth, Son of Donald) who was married to Catherine MacPherson. Both were born in Benbecula and had four sons (John, James, Donald, and Kenneth) who moved to Catalone Cape Breton in the early 1800’s. I would like to know which area they lived in.

    • Angus Macmillan

      February 16, 2011 at 10:44 pm

      Benbecula does not have detailed family records until after the period when your family emigrated so it is not possible to spot a Donald married to Catherine, which would confirm the identification. However, the first written records of Johns(t)on(e)s are in Factor Robert Brown’s Rent Rolls that start in 1797 and extend to his replacement by Duncan Shaw in 1811. The only families of the name recorded in that period [there may have been others who were cottars and did not pay rent] were in the northern township of Uachdar, which at the time was confined to the W-E road from Balivanich to Gramsdale and did not extend southwards up the hill towards Creagorry and the South Ford [I assume you have a map handy?]. The tenants recorded were John sen and jun and Donald sen and jun. It seems very likely that one of the latter was your man.

      I treated the surname as above because it is almost certainly an error for Johnson. The families that remained, and there is still a road in the centre of the main township, Balivanich, named after the family that had a croft at 19 Balivanich for some generations, were certainly, in Gaelic, MacIain. Some have suggested they were MacDonalds from Glencoe, the subject of the infamous massacre in1692. However, there was another much more likely MacIain clan that is known to have sought refuge with Clanranald. The Campbells effectively stole their lands from the MacIains of Ardnamurchan in the early 17th Century and, despite the efforts of Clanranald, specifically of Ranald MacDonald I of Benbecula and his followers, the clan was subjected to a number of attacks culminating in what has been called a massacre in 1625. Those who escaped are known to have been given refuge by Clanranald and this would seem to be the origin of the Johnsons in Benbecula.

      Incidentally, my 4x great grandmother b. c. 1750-60 must have been of this family as she was Margaret Johnstone. She was wife of Iain Ban MacLellan, a tailor who also came to PEI, in their case in the 1820s, to be followed by their son Roderick who travelled on the ill-fated Lulan in 1848, the family settling at Cardigan, Lot 53.

      I hope that helps.

      • Angus Macmillan

        February 17, 2011 at 12:38 am

        I suppose there is another, unasked , half of your question deserving a response, namely about the possible origins of Catherine MacPherson. The first thing to say is that the island MacPhersons were absolutely nothing to do with the main MacPherson clan who were part of the mainland Clan Chattan in Badenoch and eastwards.

        As far as Benbecula is concerned, in 1800 the name was a very new one in the island not because of an incomer but as a result of the Anglicisation of Gaelic surnames. The MacMhuirich bards and oral historians to the Lords of the Isles and then Clanranald, in total approaching twenty generations, were sons of a Muredach Albannach. That name Muredach they shared with the eopnym of the mainland clan and a priest, knowing this, simply borrowed the name for the MacMhuirichs. In South Uist, a different priest made them Currie. One characteristic of this MacPherson group was that it was highly concentrated in the South-east of Benbecula.

        Meanwhile, quite a few, probably a majority, of the families like the Johnsons and MacPhersons in the north of the island had leaked across the North Ford from North Uist. These were Presbyterian rather than Catholic. If that was a recent origin for your Johnsons, then Catherine was probably from a quite different MacPherson line. When Uisdean or Hugh MacDonald, brother of John, last Lord of the Isles and ancestor of Clan Donald North, went to Skye to win himself some territory in 1469, his principal helpers were an O’Docherty warrior priest leading a band of gallowglasses, Irish mercenaries. As a reward for their help they were given lands in Trotternish on the northern tip of Skye where they exercised the Irish skill of flax growing which they then turned into linen. They became known as ‘the little red clan’ or mac a’ Phearsain, sons of the Parson, hence MacPherson. In the middle 1700s, a number of families of this line moved into North Uist which was also held by the MacDonalds of Sleat. This was formalised after the ’45 Jacobite rising involving Bonnie Prince Charlie when, as a job creation scheme, Lady Margaret MacDonald, widow of Sir Alexander MacDonald of Sleat, built a factory for linen production at Knockline in North Uist. These folks were known as ‘Liosadair’ i.e. linen printer, MacPhersons. My view would very firmly be that this was Catherine’s most likely background.

    • Neil Johnson

      February 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      Angus, this gives me some direction for my continuing search. My forefathers were Protestant. Bill Lawson in one of his many papers stated that one of the Johnston’s from North Uist could trace their roots to Alistair (Mac Ian) Mac Donald from Glencoe. He also stated that some of the Glencoe people retained the Mac Donald name. I am not sure how accurate this is.

      • Angus Macmillan

        February 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm

        I don’t doubt that someone said that to Bill Lawson but in my view it is most unlikely to have any validity. The massacre was brutal but limited and was followed by an uproar across the nation. My daughter-in-law’s ancestor, Campbell of Barcaldine was sent hotfoot by the Earl of Breadalbane, who was taking much of the blame, to offer succour and support. Following that, the Glencoe family in the persons of the old man’s sons was re-established in situ though much of the family later emigrated.

        There is an impulse among the islanders, who are generally rightly proud of their knowledge of family history, not to be caught out and there are various examples of glib explanations such as this about origins based on quick but specious assertion. A MacPherson, for example, at one time claimed his ancestors were left over after a Cluny MacPherson creach or cattle raid. Can you imagine, at a time when such raids were met with murderous violence, three men being left behind and welcomed into the arms of the community and provided with some of the best lands around? Not forgetting that any cattle rustled will have had to be transported not to neighbouring territory but to the central Highlands or even Aberdeenshire.

        I mentioned earlier, I think, the general case for regarding the island MacIains as deriving from Ardnamurchan. There is plenty of bulk to this contact as this qote illustrates:

        “On 30 July 1622 Sir Donald MacDonald of Sleat, in his attempt to assert possession of South Uist and Benbecula, applied for warrants for debt against prominent individuals who, of course, had not been paying rents to him. They included in the original spelling, Brein McWirrich; Donald McAllane McWirrich; and Donald Dirrinach McWirrich. A Rorie McLaughlane McMurchie and others were recorded 18 June 1629 as involved with their chief in one of the many Clanranald incursions into Ardnamurchan and a few days later there was a further complaint against Rorie Dow and John Dow McMurchie on the same grounds.”

        A number of these MacMhuirichs were resident at Borve on the borders of Lionacleit and Torlum in Benbecula. They were, as it happens, the progenitors of the first Benbecula MacPhersons. Clanranald is on record as having given refuge to the MacIain victims of Donald Campbell, originally of Barbreck-Lochawe, and never regained their lands as he settled in Ardnamurchan and became Sir Donald Campbell of Ardnamurchan.

        I leave it to common sense to suggest which set of MacIains became Johns(t)on(e) in the islands. I know where my vote lies.

    • George F. Sanborn Jr.

      February 22, 2011 at 6:38 am

      Neil, I read your posting with interest. Your Donald Johnson and Catherine MacPherson were from Carinish, North Uist, not Benbecula. Catherine had two brothers who lived briefly in Benbecula and then emigrated to Cape Breton to join her and Donald. A third brother had gone to Cape Breton from Carinish when Donald and Catherine emigrated, and another brother is said to have gone to New Zealand, but his name is not known. These Johnsons and MacPhersons were North Uist people. At the time Donald and Catherine emigrated, ships were arriving at St. Peter’s, Cape Breton, and most Church of Scotland people stayed briefly at West Bay before spreading throughout the Island. Indeed, the West Bay Presbyterian Church records show Catherine’s brother and his family before they went to Catalone. I have tried to find more of Donald Johnson’s relatives but have not been successful. He does not seem to have been a close relation of the other Johnsons around the Mira.

      • Angus Macmillan

        February 22, 2011 at 9:42 am

        Thanks George, that makes sense of the Protestantism. Angus

      • Neil Johnson

        February 23, 2011 at 4:01 pm

        Hi George:

        Someone has completed an extensive interactive family tree of all the Johnston’s from Clarke’s Road, Catalone; in this it appeared that my G Grandfather John’s Father Donald was born and died in Benbecula. Not sure of the source of the info but can be found by searching MacFadyen, MacIsaac, MacPherson, Catalone on Google. Thanks for your information as I plan a trip to the Uists in 2012.

        • George F. Sanborn Jr.

          February 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm

          Neil, I am not able to find the website you mention with the information you provided. Do you have the URL, please? It sounds as though the person who posted it has some erroneous information. I have numerous connections to the Clark’s Road Johnsons, as well (usually incorrectly spelled Johnston, of course).

        • Neil Johnson

          February 24, 2011 at 5:35 pm

          Hi George:

          It will be found at

          Just google it by inputting:
          McFayden MacIsaac MacPherson Uist and the first link you hit should be the one. It is an interactive family tree with lots of branches; haowever, I am not sure of the source.



      • Neil Johnson

        February 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm

        Hi George:

        Just to clarify, my Great Grandfather was John Johnston, son of Donald, son of Kenneth, son of Donald. He came from North Uist, with brother’s James and Kenneth, to settle in Catalone. His brother James is listed as being born in Benbecula as well . When I speak of Donald, I am talking about my GGGrandfather (John’s Father) who is recorded as having been born and died in Benbecula. There is a Donald who came from North Uist with Catherine; he is not the Donald I am talking about. If you are still having difficulty locating the family tree, the web address:

        • George F. Sanborn Jr.

          March 21, 2011 at 5:24 am

          Thank you for the link to the website; Don MacFarlane had already sent it to me. The site is the work of my long-time friend, Ken Cairns, who is wrong about the place of birth being Benbecula. I shall have to ask him to correct that. You say your people are “listed as being born in Benbecula.” What does that mean? Please tell me where they are so listed. If you refer to Ken Cairns’ website, that is not an official record, of course. Your Donald and Catherine are the ones who came from North Uist. There were not two couples named Donald and Catherine, and no such couple came from Benbecula, I’m afraid.

        • Neil Johnson

          March 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm

          Thank you for your reply, George, and for clearing up the confusion. The Benbecula connection was the one I found in the Cairns’ information. I had been told that the Johnston name has it’s origins in South Uist and Benbecula, rather than North Uist. I thought I had found the link but I quess I was wrong. I have to keep looking as I will visit the Uists next Summer. Thanks for your correction.

          • celticcultureinnovascotia

            April 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm

            Hi George

            I see you are mentioned in the Notice of the 30th Anniversary of Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia. If you are attending, I would welcome the opportunity to meet you. Please provide me with your e-mail address. I am visiting the Uists this May and would love to touch base with you.

            • George F. Sanborn Jr.

              April 14, 2012 at 2:32 am

              Neil, good to hear from you. I will be the afternoon speaker at Pictou Lodge on August 25th for the GANS 30th Anniversary Seminar, so, yes, I plan to attend! My email address is:

              George Sanborn

  134. Donna Beaupre'

    January 9, 2011 at 3:20 am

    I have read and copied information given here to add to the many MacDonald names in the long MacDonald line provided by Angus MacMillan a couple of years ago. I now have yet one more MacDonald question.

    Catherine MacDonald b ca 1814 [probably North Uist] married Angus MacAulay b ca 1807. They lived in a rental 1833/34 in North Uist and had left for Cape Breton by 1841. My question is: Who were Catherine’s parents? It has been suggested that she might have been the daughter of “Angus MacDonald of Mira Ferry” who would have been born in Scotland by 1785, I would think. There is not much information here about Angus MacDonald.

    • Angus Macmillan

      January 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      Hello and happy New Year: as with other early North Uist queries, I am sure Blair MacAulay will be your best chance. If he has no record this sideof the Atlantic then the only hope will undoubtedly be Cape Breton. The one other thought is that one of the Fr MacMillan books covers the Mira area and you just might find the family there? Good hunting.

    • Don MacFarlane

      January 10, 2011 at 12:08 am

      A useful resource should be the compilation by Dr Diane R. Reid from the 1861 Cape Breton Census which includes all the MacDonald households in Mira Ferry during that period.

  135. Ray MacDonald

    January 2, 2011 at 5:24 am

    I’m trying to make way on my brickwall of my ancestor John “Soldier” MacDonald. He was in the military during the Seven Years War, returned to Scotland c1861, possibly to Uist, possibly to Arisaig or Moidart. He and his grown family left the Western Highlands in 1791 on the Dunkeld (also known as the Dunkenfield…). They settled in Pictou county, Nova Scotia. Has anyone got any information on this family? Thanks. Ray.

    • Angus Macmillan

      January 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm

      Hello Ray: as I am sure you know, you are asking a very difficult question. Apart from the odd list of debtors and the like, there are no detailed records of the inhabitants of South Uist and Benbecula until after 1791. Even were they to exist, as half the population carried the MacDonald surname and quite a proportion of them would have been John, identification would still be problematic. The only exceptions to this rather gloomy message would be where the man in question belonged to one of the chiefly families for whom some details do survive.

      There are just a couple of contributions I can make. One is that I believe the ship you mention carried Hebridean and not mainland followers of Clanranald, which if you can confirm it, would presumably narrow down your search a little by excluding Arisaig and Moidart from the area of search. The other is that there are extensive but by no means complete records of army service from the 1600s on. You will still though be faced with a considerable number of bearers of the name John/Iain M(a)cDonald and it will be something of a matter of luck whether the record specifies Uist birth or residence. Sorry not to be able to be more encouraging but good hunting.

      • Ray MacDonald

        January 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm

        Thank you for your reply. Through DNA testing (Clan Donald USA project at FTDNA) it has been verified that we are of the ~20% that are of chiefly lines. Is there any particular source for families of chiefly lines in Uist in the 1791 and earlier times?

        • Angus Macmillan

          January 9, 2011 at 9:42 pm

          Ray, there may be some mileage in the Y-DNA results. They might at least be capable of confirming a Clanranald (South Uist or Benbecula) rather than Skye or mainland origin for your family, though Arisaig and Moidart might remain in the picture. Are your results closer to R A MacDonald of Clanranald than to the other chiefs tested? Where do they diverge from the mainstream? Is there an evident match? There are other island cases in the list.

          As to the question about chiefly lines in the islands, I can point to most of them. The place to start is with Ailein MacDonald IX of Clanranald, who died in 1593. Two of his sons, his grandson Iain Muidertach XII, great grandson Donald na Cuthaige XIII and Donald’s sons Ailein Dearg and Ranald XV who succeeded as Captains of the Clan. However, both the latter died without progeny by 1725 and with them the main line died out so can be ignored.

          Ailein IX also had a son Ranald who received Benbecula as his patrimony, becoming Ranald MacDonald I of Benbecula. Ranald was, politely, a character. In the absence of priests or Ministers, who were not seen in the islands for 80 years, marriage was on the handfast system of public declaration and a contract valid for a year or sometimes two. Ranald took wives on a sale or return basis and had five in all, plus no doubt a number of still less formal arrangements. By Mary MacDonald of Smerby, he had Angus Mor of Ballypatrick, with lands in Ulster though he was sometimes in Benbecula and certainly had progeny. The second wife was Fionnsgoth Burke of Connaught and there were three sons Alexander, Roderick, and Farquhar; at least two on much later record and with descendants still in the islands, though there is only the odd sloinneadh and no complete record of sons in the period from the last quarter of the 17th Century until approaching 1800. The next wife had no sons and the fourth had just the one, Donald Gorm of Benbecula but we have no further trace of him so he may or may not have had progeny who would carry the right DNA Haplotype.

          Then we come to the last and favoured wife, who had eight sons, most or all of whom may well have left families. Two are pretty well recorded. Ranald I’s successor was Ranald Og II of Benbecula. Two of his sons were Donald, who succeeded as XVI of Clanranald on the failure of the main line, and Alexander MacDonald of Boisdale who bluntly advised Bonnie Prince Charlie to return to France forthwith when he arrived without the backing of an army. They can be ignored as their sons were too old and grandsons too young to be your man. There were two further sons, James MacDonald of Belfinlay, whose son exchanged those lands in Benbecula for lands on the mainland in 1720 so he too may be set aside from your point of view; and Alexander, who had the tack of Garryfliuch in South Uist. One of his four sons was Baillie of South Uist at the time of the ’45 Jacobite Rising and the family was represented throughout the period of your interest but we have no details. The second son of Ranald I and his last wife was Angus MacDonald I of Balivanich and Milton. He had a number of sons including Ranald II, father of the famous Flora MacDonald, whose brother Angus III had a number of sons of the right age to have fought in North America but seemingly not a John; James who had the tack of Frobost in South Uist; Maighstir Alasdair, father of Alasdair the great poet but Parson of Eilean Finnan so on the mainland rather than in the islands; Roderick. tacksman of Kilpheder in South Uist with descendants through to the right period; Somerled, tacksman of Torlum in Benbecula, who had a number of sons, including a John who steered the boat that took Flora and the Prince ‘over the sea to Skye, and Rory Beg, whose descendants are still in Benbecula; Angus, tacksman of Kilaulay in South Uist, again with descendants some of whom emigrated to Cape Breton as late as the second quarter of the 19th Century.

          There are just two other lines that might be involved. Dougal MacDonald VI of Clanranald was seemingly mad and bad. At any rate, in 1520 he was dispatched by his clansmen and replaced first by Alexander VII and then by his natural son, the great Clan Captain Iain Muidertach VIII, father of Ailein IX above. However, the sons of Dougal VI were given lands in South Uist, where their descendants are known as the MacDougall MacDonalds of Morar and had the tack of Bornish; they certainly had a son John born in the 1730s, who might be of an age to be your man. A closely related strain were the MacDonalds of Gerrighoil i.e. Lionacleit in Benbecula, whose head was one of those arrested and taken to London in 1746, mainly as evidence against Lady Clanranald. That family had a military tradition and left in 1774 on the specific basis of land available to those who had fought in North America.

          That is as exhaustive a list as I can readily provide and, as you will see, it will be a matter of chance whether you can extract a suitable candidate to be your ancestor. Nevertheless, good luck

    • Don MacFarlane

      January 6, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      Some additional random thoughts.

      Presumably the soubriquet ‘Soldier’ is the English translation for ‘Saighdear’.

      Highlanders and Islanders around the time in question formed around 25% of soldiers in Scottish regiments. Therefore, there must be something else to this particular soldier that earned him the name ‘Saighdear’ as part of his sloinneadh.

      Edward Spiers, Professor of Strategic Studies in Leeds, is an authority on Highland Soldiers, so direct contact with him might be fruitful. Also see the PDF excerpt from his chapter in

      The Seven Years (or Franco-Prussian) War was in effect a world war which involved most of Europe as well as North America. Presumably this soldier fought in Quebec if his family later settled in Pictou?

      • Angus Macmillan

        January 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm

        Before the war moved to Quebec there was action in Cape Breton, especially the Siege of Louisburg. We know there was a significant presence there as Donald MacDonald, younger brother of Ranald MacDonald XVIII of Clanranald was mentioned in dispatches for his bravery and leadership there and is in Wolfe’s company. Donald had a number of Uist locals with him and it might be worthwhile to research all such surviving material though the problem of multiple John MacDonalds will certainly crop up. He was later said to be the officer who replied in French to lull the suspicions following a challenge from the sentries at the Heights of Abraham. Those who served in the war there were offered land on favourable terms – in the case of the Duke of Argyll’s tenants. So many either stayed or returned after going home to collect their families that he had to import Crawfords and other borderers to repopulate his deserted estates around Loch Fyne.

      • Ray MacDonald

        January 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm

        Yes, the family legend does say that he fought for Wolfe at Quebec. Some say he also fought at Grand Pre. Then he left the military and Canada in 1761.

  136. BC-mom

    December 13, 2010 at 8:17 am

    I’m trying to delve into a family tree and I’m lost at my ggg-grandfather Duncan Buchanan who married Mary McPherson abt. 1798 in Benbecula where they raised their children till leaving to come to Canada.Also his father, who was he? Alexander Buchanan or James Buchanan, I’ve been given too many pieces to this puzzle to figure out alone. Anybody who loves puzzles, can you help PLEASE!

    Thanks from my BC family 🙂

    • Angus Macmillan

      December 14, 2010 at 12:14 am

      No puzzle here. Mary MacPherson was my 2x great-grandaunt, daughter of John MacPherson and Flora MacDonald and sister of Janet [= Donald Ruadh Wilson, 15 Griminish], Alasdair Ruadh [24 Lionacleit], Catherine [= Duncan Buchanan’s brother John] and my 2 x great grandmother Sorcha = John MacMillan and, after moss-crofting at 25 Lionacleit, settled at 7 Griminish. These MacPhersons were not related to the mainland clan but an anglicised version of MacMhuirich, the great bardic clan and oral historians to the Lords of the Isles and Clanranald.

      As well as John above, Duncan had a brother Donald, who died in Kilerivagh 3.5.1856, which confirmed the name of his father as Alexander Buchanan. We rather suspect that James was a derivation from a mention of an Edinburgh man of the name and, despite an unsupported tradition, may not figure in the family tree. Naming patterns would suggest that he might have been John but there is no record to support this.

      Duncan left with a son married to Catherine Black, daughter of Joseph Black also from Torlum/Griminish in 1851, and died in Markdale, Grey County Ontario. There is still a clutch of that Black family [and some MacMillans] in Glenelg but I have not run into any Buchanan descendants. As you will see from my note on another board before I spotted this one, Angus, son of Duncan did leave for Glasgow in 1850/1. By then he had not only John and Mary but Donald, another John, Peggy, Alexander and Chirsty, the last b. 1851. If I have the right family in the Mary who was cook to Lord Lorne and Princess Louise, then I think there should also be a Catherine born in Glasgow after 1851. I have a picture of that Mary and she was the most beautiful lady. I imagine that should help and, at the very least, steer you away from the Skye Buchanans who left that island for Australia. I am happy, if it would help, for you to contact me directly as the exchange could get too long and detailed for the board.

      • Angus Macmillan

        December 14, 2010 at 12:24 am

        Swift correction to my note as I was having a senior moment. It was Duncan Buchanan and Mary MacPhersons daughter, Catherine, who married Joseph Black and headed off to Glenelg: no intervening generation. Sorry about that. Angus

      • Willie Walker

        September 6, 2012 at 9:58 am

        Hi Angus

        I hope you’re well. Having with your help developed my mother’s MacDonald side, I’ve in recent weeks turned my attention to her Buchanan Granny – Catherine (Kitty) Buchanan d.o Alexander & Effie Buchanan nee Boyd of 6 Griminish (where our respective ancestors cross over!). I have an old photo of Kitty & her husband Donald MacDonald in Peinevalla, Benbecula.

        My notes so far had Catherine Black as nee Buchanan sister of Alexander. She married Joseph Black?

        Kindest regards

        Willie Walker

        • Angus Macmillan

          September 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm

          Absolutely fine, thank you,Willie and just back from Benbecula where Clan Currie were holding a symposium on the MacMhuirich bards [i.e. among others the ancestors of our MacPherson line] and erecting a cairn at Stilligarry. Have I shared my research on those issues with you?

          You are quite right about the marriage of the earlier Catharine/Catherine Buchanan to Joseph Black who, I think, was also at about 6 Griminish before he emigrated, taking his father-in-law, Duncan Buchanan, to Glenelg, Grey County, Ontaric in 1850.

          I also have quite a bit more on the temporary emigration of Donald Post’s brother,John and family, to Georgia where two of his daughters were born and I will send you a separate post about that.

          Best wishes


        • BC-mom

          September 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm

          Hi Willie,

          I was sent this post you wrote, as you are referring to our Buchanan ancestor as well. You mention that you have a photo of of “Kitty” Buchanan and I am hoping that you wouldn’t mind sharing it with us.

          You can e-mail me ( and we can chat further.

          Kindest regards,


  137. sandra moffatt

    December 8, 2010 at 2:29 am

    I’ve posted here before but I have a brick wall I’m trying to solve. My Hugh MacDonald IV of Boisdale married a Mary Hender in 1843 in Gretna Hall, Dumfries, after having at least six children with her (an irregular marriage). In the 1841 census of Wales he is shown as living with her and some older children, namely Hector (born in S.Uist 1828) and Colin (born in Plymouth c.1830).

    What I haven’t been able to find is whether Hugh was ever married before he went to England. He pretty much grew up in Edinburgh with his family but I am wondering why Hector is shown as his son born in South Uist. Mary couldn’t have been the mother as she was born in 1811 in St.Endellion, Cornwall.

    Any help appreciated.

    • Angus Macmillan

      December 8, 2010 at 10:29 am

      A question. Are you absolutely sure Hector was not a son of this couple? It was entirely normal for women to return to one or other set of parents for a childbirth, especially a first or second. If, for some reason, Mary’s path had crossed that of Hugh and she had become pregnant without courtesy of marriage, which was entirely possible at 16 or 17, it would make sense for the ‘lying in’ as it was called, to be in South Uist. Of course, if Mary was still in Cornwall until after 1828, this does not wash. Looking at locations, could Hugh have been a seaman at this stage in his life? Touch of exotic glamour and ‘wife’ in every port and all that.

      • sandra moffatt

        December 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

        I know for a fact (have proof from a genealogist) that Hugh and Mary were living in Plymouth from at least 1827. I thought of the seaman idea until I found out that Hugh was the son of Alexander MacDonald III of Boisdale. On every piece of evidence I find on him it states he is a “fund holder” or a gentleman or independant which I take to mean he is wealthy enough to not work. It’s not until about 1857 or 58 that he shows up insolvent. He could have met Mary on his travels but it would surprise me that she would have given birth in S.Uist if her parents were in Cornwall. His father was deceased and would it not have been unthinkable of his family to have had her there for the lying in? I also wonder why they waited until after she had given birth to over 8 children before marrying? All very interesting but confusing. I lose Hector after the 1851 census.

  138. Jan Fisher

    December 7, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Thank you to all for all the interest you take in the history of the Uists. I read through all the posts today and I found them to be fascinating. I’m new to family genealogy so please be patient with me if I ask questions that have obvious answers. I’m trying to identify my clan (Clanranald, I think), connections between Clanranald and the other MacDonald families that are mentioned in the posts below, and where to go to gather any family information (occupation, connections to others, interesting facts/stories).

    My family of MacDonalds came from from Liniclate (Site 28), Benbecula, to Saskatchewan, Canada in 1883. They were Lady Cathcart Settlers. The obituary for Roderick McDonald (b.1826 d.1909) says he was a stone mason of comfortable means. He was married to Mary McRury. Roderick’s parents were Donald MacDonald (1795-1869) and Jane MacPherson (1804-1871), unconfirmed but may have been of North Uist. His grandparents were Ruairidh MacDonald (b.1765) and Marion MacDonlad (b.1768). My research hits a cold trail with that information. Does anyone have any pointers on where I should look next to get a better sense of the family story?

    • Don MacFarlane

      December 7, 2010 at 8:29 pm

      Memorandum of arrangements with the Canadian Government and the Principal Land Companies for starting a Colonisation Scheme for the Crofters and Cottars of the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland (1888).

      A more personalised reply will come from Angus MacMillan who has good knowledge of the Cathcart Scheme in Saskatchewan but these extracts from the Memorandum give some insight:

      ‘Each [emigrant] was assisted with a loan of £100, which was made a charge on the homestead, in accordance with the provisions of the Dominion Land Act. Every necessary convenience was afforded the party by her [Lady Cathcart’s] representative, and also by the Canadian Government’s agent at Brandon. No houses were built for them but they lodged for a time in tents, and ultimately erected some turf and log houses for themselves, much after the style of those they quitted in Scotland’.

      ‘The Settlers seemed industrious, they appeared cheerful – a necessary factor for success – and their belongings were estimated as being worth £260 on an average. A different condition of affairs arose when expiry of the second year of tenancy, the initial repayment, fell due. Instead of speaking of their ease and comfort, the party complained of poverty and want, but to what extent this condition of need actually existed is somewhat doubtful’.

      ‘When heard of twenty-three years later the settlers were hopelessly in arrears, only one amongst them having paid both capital and interest in full. Financially the scheme has been an undoubted failure, but as the people have improved their conditions of life, and as the majority of them have kept to their plots, some measure of success must be credited to Lady Cathcart’s efforts. The average cultivation of land for each settler would be about one hundred and fifty acres’.

      ‘Lady Gordon Cathcart was anxious to know how the colony of crofters between Moosomin and Wapella was succeeding. The first ten or twelve years were a struggle, but the young men grew up able to earn money, and the settlement to-day is all right and the people doing well. They have good buildings, good horses and cattle, good machinery and equipment, and the schools and churches are very good. There seems to exist some grounds for alleging that the settlers could have repaid their loans, but did not feel inclined to do so. One man rather resented the idea that he ought to repay it; he thought he had quite done his duty in going out that he was, in fact, more a creditor than a debtor’.

      ‘English is spoken exclusively by the younger people, but the older ones, although they speak English, prefer the mother tongue’.

    • Angus Macmillan

      December 8, 2010 at 1:25 am

      Hello Jan: as Don promised, I can fill in quite a bit about your family. The parents Donald MacDonald and Jane MacPherson came into Benbecula from 82 Garryganichy in Iochdar, the northern portion of South Uist, in 1868. However that does not necessarily mean that your thought about a North Uist origin is wrong as Jane was born in Hougharry, North Uist. That means that she was of the Liosadair or linen printer MacPhersons from the ‘little red clan’ that moved from Trotternish in Skye to North Uist either side of 1750 when a job creation scheme saw flax growing and linen working introduced to the area round Knockline. Those MacPhersons were descended from the warrior priest who commanded the mercenary soldiers known as gallowglasses, who helped Hugh MacDonald a younger son of the Lord of the Isles, establish his own branch of Clan Donald in Skye in 1469. The name MacPherson was mac ‘a Phearsain, son of the parson after that ancestor.

      The family left 82 Garryganichy apparently as a result of some persuasion on the part of the Gordon Estate as the new tenant there was Alasdair MacDonald mac Iain Ruaidh ‘ic Alasdair a three or four times great grandson of Ranald MacDonald I of Benbecula, son of a Clanranald chief.

      The carrot was not only that Donald obtained a croft at Ruabruach or Redbank, close to the Benbecula end of the South Ford, and where the modern causeway arrives in Benbecula from Iochdar but that Roderick, who was already married and in Torlum, should have a holding on the Muir of Lionacleit and that his brothers. Ewen and Angus should also have tenancies there. Donald was not to enjoy his new location for long as he died the next year but Jane remained in situ as a widow.

      You mention a number 28. In fact, it was Ewen who had 28 Lionacleit while Roderick was at 27 and Angus at 33. This was new, rocky, unimproved land and it is not really suprising either that Roderick should choose to vacate it once the opportunity arose nor that the croft returned to moorland once he left. If you have a map of the island, the holding was just to the east of the main road north from Creagorry where a road branches off to the northern portion of Hacklet. The three crofts will have been within a few minutes walk of the parents’ holding.

      Roderick’s wife was Mary MacRury, daughter of James MacRury from Torlum/Griminish, closely related to me.

      If you care to let me have an email address via Don, I can let you have details of the various families.

      I hope this helps for starters. Angus

      • Jan Fisher

        December 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm

        Thank you for this information Angus (or should I say cousin?). The details are much appreciated. My e-mail is I’d love to see more of the information you have on my family.

  139. Don MacFarlane

    September 24, 2010 at 6:22 am

    These MacDonald Annals give a new meaning to the phrase – ‘an heir and a spare’: the following about the MacDonalds of Ulster:

    Alasdair Og, on account of his friendship to the English cause, was deposed from the Lordship of the Isles. From him were descended a number of Irish MacDonald families.

    Clan Donald of Ulster were originally descended from Iain Dubh, oldest son of Alasdair Og. Iain Dubh was followed by Somhairle, first Captain of the Gallowglasses, who found service with the O’Neills. He was assassinated in 1385 by his father-in-law, Brian McMahon. Of the following twelve chiefs or chiefs-in-waiting, nine were quickly killed in battle. In general, the Irish MacDonalds had a very hard time compared to their Scottish cousins, and most of the chiefs died in battle fighting for the causes of their Irish masters.

  140. Bruce MacMillan

    September 23, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    In the Clan Donald Vol III by A MacDonald there is mention of Iain Dubh Mac Iain ‘ic Ailein

    JOHN MACDONALD, known patronymically as Iain Dubh Mac Iain ‘ic Ailein, was of the Morar family,and lived at Gruilean, in Eigg. We have not been able to trace his descent, or find, indeed, any trace of his identity among the tacksmen either on the Morar or on the Clanranald estates. Tradition and his own songs which have come down to us are our only sources of information regarding him. He was born about the middle of the 17th century, and is said to have been a man of good education for the time in which he lived. One of his descendants, living in Benbecula, assured us, on the authority of his father, that Iain Dubh lived for a considerable time at Ormiclate, in South Uist. He is said to have left many songs of his own composition in a manuscript, which, according to the Benbecula descendant, fell into the hands of Raghnall Dubh,the editor of the Collection of Gaelic Songs published in 1776.

  141. Angus Macmillan

    September 13, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Returning to the Iain Dubh/Ormacleit topic above, I have come across one of the references to him, complete with examples of his poetry plus a snippet of biographical information. He is one of the poets included in a Victorian collection, ‘The Beauties of Gaelic Poetry’ by John MacKenzie, who died in 1872. It is available online at the Email and Text Archives maintained by Canadian Libraries.
    A sloinneadh, Iain Dubh Mac Iain ‘ic Ailein, is given and Iain is described as being a gentleman of the Clanranald family, from the branch known as Maer resident on the Isle of Eigg. This is not a cadet known to me and I wonder whether it is a slight misunderstanding on the part of the collector relating to his or the family function as Maor in Eigg i.e. Ground Officer or assistant factor? The sloinneadh I would read as relating to Allan IX of Clanranald, son of the great Captain of the clan, Iain Moidertach VIII of Clanranald. This would explain why he pops up in an Omacleit context as the relevant chief who built Ormacleit was Allan Dearg XIV of Clanranald, who was similarly descended.

  142. Angus Macmillan

    August 19, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Anything is possible but would the timing be right for the Iain Dubh at Ormacleit also to be Sir Iain of Keppoch? I am in any case inclined to doubt the coincidence. There is no tradition of the Uist character being of that status and if, as it seems, he was the Iain Dubh who wrote the familiar poem praising Allan Dearg XIV of Clanranald, it would seem he was from Benbecula. Norman MacDonald in his book The Clanranald of Garmoran could just, knowingly or not, be supporting that connection, in writing: “It has been claimed that the well known song in praise of Allan (Oran do Thighearna Chlann-Raghnaill) by Iain MacDhughaill MacLachlain, a Benbecula man, was composed shortly before the rising of 1715.” This would suggest that Iain was of the MacDougal MacDonalds of Morar, a group of whom were established in Lionacleit for four generations until emigrating to Canada in the 1780s.

  143. Angus Macmillan

    August 18, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Puzzlingly my response identifying Iain Dubh at Ormacleit as a well regarded poet seems to have disappeared. The other matter on which it is possible to speculate is the ‘of the battles’ attached to his name. It was Allan Dearg XIV of Clanranald who built Ormacleit soon after 1700 as the family base at Castle Tioram on the mainland was still occupied by Williamite troops following the Jacobite rising of 1689.

    Allan’s father, Donald XIII of Clanranald was dead by then so the Clanranald forces at the time, as Allan was a minor, were led by Donald MacDonald III of Benbecula. It is possible that Iain Dubh got his soubriquet from that involvement – and there are hints that Iain Dubh may have originated in Benbecula where he could have been closely associated with Donald of Benbecula. The alternative is that Donald XIII of Clanranald was himself a central figure in many battles and Iain Dubh could have been his companion in those. It is conceivable that, as a young man, he was involved in the Montrose and Alasdair Mac Cholla wars in the mid-1640s but that would mean that Iain Dubh was about 80 when recorded at Ormacleit. It is more likely, if the battles were ones in which he accompanied Donald XIII that they refer to Donald’s involvement in a series of later battles in Ireland, connected with resistance to Cromwell in support of the Royalist cause.

    • Don MacFarlane

      August 18, 2010 at 9:18 pm

      Or was the soubriquet ‘Black John of the Battles’ (Iain Dubh nan Cath) filched from famous Sir John MacDonald of Keppoch from Rannoch Moor who went by that moniker? Was there a connection between this gent and the MacDonalds of Clanranald – could it be one and the same person?

      The MacDonalds of Keppoch are descended from Alistair Carrach (Scabby-Faced) Macdonald who was a younger son of John of Islay, Lord of the Isles, 6th chief of Clan Donald and his second wife Margaret Stewart, daughter of King Robert II of Scotland. So it is conceivable. Moidart may be the common link as there have always been strong connections between Uist and Moidart (Castle Tioram is in Moidart), which is also less than a hundred miles from Rannoch as the crow flies. Keppochs and Clanranalds were cousins after all?

      On balance, however, the shared nickname is probably nothing more than a coincidence and the Keppoch MacDonald would appear to have certainly earned his.

  144. Janet B

    August 17, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Have been looking for information on MacDonalds from Ormacleit, South Uist. My GGG-grandfather, Aodh MacDonald, came from there in 1826. He and his father, Donald, sailed aboard the Northumberland in 1826 and came to River Denys Mountain, Cape Breton. They were Gaelic-speaking and they helped build a Catholic Church on the mountain. Our family are MacDonald of Clanranald and in our family history there is also reference to us being descendants of Black John of the Battles as well. Are there any resources I can go to?

  145. Don MacFarlane

    August 15, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    When MacDonalds became Red Indians

    Prof Jim Hunter tells the story of the MacDonalds who were Red Indian grandsons of Angus McDonald from Loch Torridon. Angus, born in October 1816 (d. Flathead Reservation in February 1889), came to North America in 1838 where he married Catherine, who was part-Mohawk/part-Nez Perce. As founding members of the Tribal Council of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, his grandsons, Duncan and Joseph, took part in the Nez Perce War of 1877.

  146. Don MacFarlane

    August 13, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Some of the Fallen in the Great Wars 1914-18 and 1939-45

    Angus Robertson, Angus Laing, Malcolm Docherty

    Additional Details
    Malcolm Docherty, Rank: Lieutenant Colonel; Regiment/Service: Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians); Age: 40; Date of Death: 01/12/1917; Buried in Heudicourt Cemetery near site of the Battle of the Somme; Awards: D S O; Act of Gallantry – Details Unrecorded; Son of Charles Docherty, of Island of Uist, Scotland; husband of Catherine M. Docherty, of 10161, 88th St., Edmonton, Alberta.

    Archd. Douglas

    Donald Paterson

    Angus MacLeod

    Donald Salmean, Angus MacCorquodale


    Archibald Boyd

    John Campbell-Orde, Alistair Chisholm, Donald and Finlay Gibbon, Frank Coull, Peter Wilson

    Angus Stewart

    Various Unknown Servicemen

    Donald MacCormick

    William Colquhoun

    John Rose

  147. Don MacFarlane

    August 13, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Names in 1881 South Uist Census

    Anderson (10); MacBain (1); Barron (1); Begg (1); Bennie (2); Bowie (62); Boyd (12); Bremner (1); Brewster (3); Chisholm (6); Douglas (7); Downie (8); Duncan (6); Findlay (4); Fyffe (5); MacGaw (7); Versions of MacEachan – McGeechan (9), McKeggan (3), McKigan (3), McKiggan (14); Mearns (5); Miller (8); Monk (32); O’Henley (20); Paterson (22); Peteranna (3); Ritchie (5); Robertson (8); Struthers (7); Taylor (5); Trantor (8); Watson (4).


    MacDonald (971); Campbell (330); MacPherson (161: MacMillan (158)

    • Don MacFarlane

      August 15, 2010 at 11:16 am

      These numbers are at variance with local knowledge in at least one respect. Angus MacMillan is able to count 96 people (at least) of the name O’Henley living in Uist fifty years before the 1881 Census – which is at variance with the mere 20 in the 1881 Census itself (unless there was a mass exodus in the intervening years).

  148. Don MacFarlane

    August 9, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Further to the reference to Reverend Sir Andrew MacEachern of Ardnamurchan, there appears to have been another of that name and title of Kilchoman in Islay:

    ” At the head of the pier in Campbeltown there is a Celtic Cross which dates from 1380. The inscription is very worn but readable. The translation is:-

    This is the cross of Sir Ivor MacEachern,
    sometime of Kilkivan, and of his son,
    Sir Andrew, parson of Kilchoman,
    who caused it to be made.

    It is thought that the cross was moved from Kilkivan into the town when it became a burgh in 1609. The Sir Andrew MacEachern who set it up was promoted from Kilkivan (four miles from Campbeltown) to serve as parson at Kilchoman on the Isle of Islay off the West Coast of Scotland before 1376 and was dispossessed of that post in 1382. Above the inscription are three empty spaces on the cross face – areas mutilated by zealous Protestant reformers at the time of the Reformation. It is believed that the cross was carved on the Isle of Iona”.

    There is obviously a story to be told here of a fall from grace?

    • Andrew McEachern

      August 9, 2010 at 10:12 pm

      I wish I could source some information about this. I understand the Vatican has some information about this, but the chances of getting access to any records there are about zero. Throughout the ages there has been quite a few of us in the clergy. Have you read Siol Eachairn by Rev. Dugal MacEachern? Its about the only decent document on us. Some of it is conjectural such as the progenitor of the clan etc, but most of it is quite factually correct. Siol Eachairn is posted on

  149. Don MacFarlane

    August 2, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Candidates for Least Illustrious Clan award?

    Nominations now open (all very tongue-in-cheek) – as a counterpoint to the MacDonalds’ extravagant claim to be the Noblest and Oldest of the Scottish clans.

    MacFarlanes – for losing out on the Earldom of Lennox which was theirs for the taking. Illustrious MacFarlane – Alexander MacFarlane, discoverer of hyperbolic quaternions which are essential for navigation in outer space.
    Campbells – for the massacre of Glencoe. Illustrious Campbell: Sara Campbell, World Champion Freediver.
    MacGregors – for being a nuisance and eternal bugbear. Illustrious MacGregor: Ewen McGregor, British Actor.
    Lamonts – for being such pushovers. Illustrious Lamont: Position Vacant.
    MacPhies – for being such coat-trailers. Illustrious MacPhee: Ian MacPhee, Australian politician and multiculturalist.
    MacSweens / MacQueens – for always allowing others to steal the march. Illustrious MacQueen: Alexander MacQueen, fashion designer.
    MacPhersons – for being such sycophants. Illustrious MacPherson: Elle MacPherson (actually Eleanor Gow), supermodel.

  150. Laurie

    July 29, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Enjoying the Carmichael Watson Project blog. Thanks for the link!

    • Don MacFarlane

      July 29, 2010 at 9:50 pm


      If you can get a dialogue going with Angus MacMillan, that could be interesting as the Carmichael Watson Project is a keen common interest you share. It is lost on me – I confess to being a literary philistine – but, if either of you finds anything you wish to share with the general readership of this blog, feel free! Don’t be misled by the small numbers who post as the traffic counter for the site tells me there are circa 800 visits each month, more than half being new, so there is a readership out there!

  151. Don MacFarlane

    July 29, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Norse-origin placenames in the Uists:

    In favour of Clachan-a-Ghluip (Clachan of the sea-cave), rather than Clachan-na-Luib (Clachan of the bends): Norse name derivations were very prevalent throughout the Highlands and Islands? This small sample comes from Scottish Gaelic Placenames by Iain Mac-an-Tailleir (John Taylor):

    Bagh a’ Chaise from the Norse, Caise, for ‘spume'(sea-spray)> Cheesebay (misnomer because ‘cais’ is Gaelic for cheese, but it should be Seaspray Bay).
    Berneray, ‘Bjorn’s Island’.
    Boisdale (Baghasdal), ‘Baegi’s (Norse personal name) valley’.
    Borer, ‘fort’, as in Boreray (as an aside, a saying from there goes ‘na toir bo bho Paibeil
    no bean bho Boraraigh’ – ‘do not take a cow from Paible nor a wife from Boreray!’
    Bost, ‘small farm’, as in Frobost and as in Kirkebost for ‘church farm’.
    Bornish ‘Broad Headland’
    Carinish ‘Kari’s Headland’
    Cears-a-bhagh ‘Copse Bay’ as in Kersavagh
    Cleit, ‘cliff or rock’, as in Ormiclate ‘shale rock’, Hacklett and Smerclate
    Daliburgh (Dalabrog), ‘Valley Fort’; -dale is Norse for ‘valley’, as also in Glendale
    Heisker, ‘holy rock’
    Fadhla, ‘fords'(due to the many lochs)>Peighinn nam Fadhla (corrupted to Beinn na Faola) or Benbecula.
    Peighinn, ‘pennyland’ as in Peninerine, Pennylodden and Peighinn nam Fadhla.
    Langass, ‘long ridge’.
    Langavatn, ‘long lake’ as in Loch Langavat.
    Lierinish, ‘muddy headland’.
    Lingay, ‘Heather Island’.
    Liniquie, ‘flax enclosure’.
    Locheynort (Lochainort), ‘isthmus loch’.
    Lochskiport, ‘ship loch’.
    Olavat, ‘Olaf’s Lake’.
    Ronay, ‘rough island’.
    Sandvik, ‘sand bay’ as in Sandvig/Sandwick

    Vikings were very big into land measurement to collect their rents, hence the likes of the term pennyland (Scottish Gaelic: “peighinn”) as an old West Highland land measurement. The Rev. Dr Campbell of Broadford on Skye says, “The unit was the ‘ounce-land’, i.e. the extent of land which paid the rent of an ounce of silver. This was further divided into twenty parts, which parts being called ‘peighinn’.”

  152. Don MacFarlane

    July 28, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    GLOUP or GLUIP, noun. Also gloop, glupe – a sea-cave or chasm. Gluip as in Clachan a Ghluip in North Uist, or in Glupe in Orkney, refers to a deep chasm or pit, a little way back from the cliff-edge, but having an opening to or connexion with the sea down below. Looking down into the gloop one may see the sea dashing about in the bottom. A gloop is thus a big cave, the top of which has fallen in at the inner end. The water at the bottom communicates with the open sea by a passage through which a boat may enter, at certain states of the tide and weather.

    A superstition grew about a Gluip, or deep cavern, that the moaning sound that originated from it was the moaning of melancholic elves who dwelled in the Gloup. The whole point of interest here is that Gluip is not a Gaelic word but Norse and it points to the presence of Viking visitors or inhabitants, together with their superstitions, in that part of North Uist. Fascinating though all of that may be, it may be that Carmichael got the spelling wrong and it should be Clachan a Luib, luib of course being a Gaelic word which means a bend in the road, which would fit the geography of where Clachan is situated. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that Carmichael, with his refined ear for the Gaelic language, would have misheard or mistakenly prefixed the distinctive palatal ‘gh’ sound to ‘luib’ so as to totally change its meaning. The Isle of Handa off the west coast of Sutherland has a Gluip and a seacave to match. Local people in North Uist would be better placed to say if there is a seacave near Clachan which would also make it fit?

    • Laurie

      July 29, 2010 at 2:59 pm

      I’ve heard that it was his wife that did most of the transcription-my theory is that the “g” somehow was put in there by mistake and that they did mean Clachan a Luib.

  153. Don MacFarlane

    July 28, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    That would be perhaps Catrine MacCuithean (more correctly NicCuithein?) from Clachan-a-Ghluip? The footnote for her records ‘ Her people were noted old-folklorists. For fans of Carmina Gadelica, like Laurie, a taster can be read in SMO Gadelica. Catrine’s uncle, Ruaraidh Ruadh MacCuithean, was story-teller to Lord Macdonald, from whom he had free lands for his services to the MacDonalds of Sleat (Hebridean MacQueens /MacQuiens/MacCuithein gave allegiance to MacDonalds, unlike mainland MacQueens who gave allegiance to Mackintoshes).

    Not far from where the North Uist MacCuitheans lived, there is a Knockquien which one might be tempted to think was named after these MacQueens. It is perhaps just as likely that it means ‘Cnoc Cuithean’ or ‘hill of the small snow-wreath’, as ‘cuithe’ is Gaelic for snowcap. Stretching the analogy further, and knowing the wry humour of Hebrideans, one might be tempted to think that the origin of the MacCuithean / MacQueen / MacQuien name was from a progenitor who had gone prematurely white! However, the Clan MacQueen Society state that MacQueens are really MacSweens (Sweeneys from Castledoe in Donegal in Ireland) who came over to the Hebrides as part of the O’Cahan dowry – see Angus MacMillan’s entry on this page, dated November 16th/19th, 2007.

  154. Angus Macmillan

    June 28, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    In 2006 I and the History Society published a booklet that is still available identifying who contributed what to Alexander Carmichael, complete with an attached tree that showed how closely related most of them were. It was a much longer list than that above and was published to coincide with the Conference on Carmichael held at Lionacleit school in August that year. Quite a few more South Uist folks also contributed and, though not published yet, are all fully recorded and identified and there is a thought that at some stage in the Edinburgh University research into the Carmichael/Watson collection a consolidation might be worthwhile.

    One introduction to Alexander Carmichael’s Carmina Gadelica, Ortha nan Gaidheal or Songs of the Gael says of the collection:

    “This may overrate what is a pretty eclectic mix of religious verse, day-to-day rhymes, and sayings and fragments of older poetry in the heroic mould. It does not, however, overstate the importance of the work in conserving much that would subsequently have been lost of the largely monoglot oral culture of [principally] the western isles in the third quarter of the 19th Century.”

    At first sight, a surprisingly high proportion of what was eventually published in the five volumes of Carmichael’s work, and especially in the first and second volumes, originated in the small island of Benbecula. However, the literature is not short of observations that might be prayed in aid generally to explain the wealth of material to be found in the area. As early as 1618, Cathal MacMhuirich of the bardic family is on record as saying “Innse Ghall (the Isles) is a forest of learned men.” Martin Martin, perhaps registering as much as anything the presence of those same MacMhuirich bards, each of whom was educated in Ireland, says in relation to the natives of Eriskay, one of the smaller islands of the group, but rehearsing a claim that has continued to be made more generally of the whole original parish of South Uist, that they:

    “speak the Irish tongue more perfectly here than in most of the other islands, partly because some of them are scholars and versed in the Irish language.”

    There is further, more concrete, reason that the Benbecula connection was not chance. For much of the time when at his most active in collecting original material, Alexander Carmichael was ‘am Geidseir’, the guager, exciseman or revenue officer at Creagorry, on the site of the present day Co-operative Society store, close to the Benbecula end of the causeway connection with neighbouring South Uist. At the time, this station was at one end of the South Ford, where the crossing was dependent on the state of the tide and there will have been recurrent opportunities to talk to those waiting for the tide to ebb. The location also explains why the adjacent township, known at the time as South Hacklet or Haclet of Iochdar, today’s Hacklet, was so well represented in the collection.

    A hundred years after first publication, the collection is, if anything, more valued than ever because it is now irreplaceable and will never be augmented. As Ronald Black has it: “Carmina Gadelica is by any standards a treasure house … a marvellous and unrepeatable achievement. There will never be another Carmina Gadelica” Accordingly, it remains a fascination who the people were that contributed the material for Carmina Gadelica.

    There is another factor apparently influencing what was, no doubt, in some degree, a self-selection of contributors. The sort of tradition-bearing that produced material for Alexander Carmichael tended to run in families. In some cases this appears as a talent or habit across the generations, and in others the connection was that it was localised among neighbours and the inter-married.

    It might have been expected that those from the educated and more-travelled chiefly lines, which were, in some degree, still represented in the island at the time, would have had a major contribution to make. In fact, the names contain at most two or three instances of those closely connected to the chiefly or tacksman class. It is perhaps even noticeable that it was more likely to be the cottars, including among them the very poorest, rather than the general run of crofter tenants, that had material to give. This could simply be that the sort of small charms and superstitions that, in part, make up the collection, had survived longest in such households. It could equally point to the main contributions coming from those living in the closest communities, from the little clusters of cottar houses, especially from those individuals with a trade that saw them move about or come into daily contact with other people. By contrast, the main run of crofters/tenants in their separate holdings, small as most of those were, and notwithstanding the long winters and the ceilidh tradition, may be thought to have led fractionally more remote lives.

    Raonaich MacPherson [Vol I, Item 10, Bless O Chief of Generous Chiefs] cottar, South Hacklet: Rachel MacPherson 1810-15.9.1894 daughter of Donald MacPherson and Margaret Gillies, was from a Lionacleit then Balivanich family. The former in particular was the area where the established MacPherson families are likely to have had their name Anglicised from MacMhuirich, the bards and oral historians to Clanranald, located at Staoligarry not far away across the South Ford, so it is good to start with this name.

    Rachel was widow by 1851 of Lachlan Morrison, who may have been a son of a Michael Morrison from Aird. Rachel had a house at what is now 4 Hacklet from 1860 until her death but for much of the period, remained, as Carmichael notes, a cottar. This was by virtue of paying £1 p.a., below the £1.50 qualification for a tenancy, until the general reorganisation of crofts in 1879-80, at which point the rent became £3 p.a. and the holding was formally recognised as a croft.

    10 Bless O Chief …, Myself and everything anear me, Bless me in all my actions, Make Thou me safe for ever …

    Mary MacInnes [Vol I, item 23, The Lustration] cottar, South Hacklet: This family at 9 Hacklet consisted of Mary MacInnes 1818-3.6.1895, her sister Christian and Mary’s son Dugald MacAulay, all three on the list of Carmichael’s donors in their own right. The sisters, together with their widowed mother, Effy MacInnes, were already cottars in the area in 1841, the location probably indicated by the story in the next paragraph. Mary MacInnes was a cottar and head of the household in Hacklet by 1871 but from 1879, which was presumably when the Angus MacMillan family then holding the lands moved back to 25 Lionacleit, her son Dugald MacAulay began to pay a rent of £1 6s. p.a. Mary MacInnes’ sister Christy MacInnes was also in the household until her death in 1894. The house remains can still be seen on the croft. Carmichael’s notes indicate that what he passed on, Dugald had learned from his mother and her sister. The note continues:

    “The two old women had innumerable hymns, songs, stories and fables, sayings and proverbs, full of wisdom and beauty, almost all of which died with them.”

    There is another reference to Mary MacInnes in the literature. J L Campbell in his book ‘A Very Civil People’ records how a letter survived a bonfire of the Factor’s records at Askernish in South Uist. As everyone had been warned off helping the writers, the letter is in halting English. It is a plea to Colonel Gordon of Cluny to be allowed to stay on their four acres of moss apiece at Ardaneoin where the South Uist causeway now reaches Benbecula and very close to Carmichael’s later location in Creagorry. The new Factor, from the timing probably William Birnie, had relet the lands involved, presumably as part of the Creagorry Farm that supported the changehouse/inn. The five cottars involved pointed out that they had no horses or boats and that what they could grow kept them for only half the year, being supplemented by ‘fish and … what we could get.’ They had done their best to pay their rents ‘honourably by kelp just carrying the seaweed on our backs very scarce of food.’ The five signatories were Margaret McAnnish, Angus MacLellan, Neil MacPhie, Angus MacLean and Margt widow of Charles McAnnish. The letter finishes ‘We have no more to add … this is the name of our place … Airdneon, Benbecula, South Uist.’

    There is no direct record of how their plea was dealt with but they do not appear to have been altogether dispossessed. Before the notice of eviction, all but Neil MacPhie are identifiable in the 1851 Census, the only one that separately details Ardaneoin. The four others are shown as cottars. As they evidently each had some land and paid some rent, this perhaps indicates simply that they had located themselves on unimproved moss, had no formal tenancies and were paying a peppercorn rent. The first signatory, ‘Margt McAnnish’, was Mary MacInnes, the donor here, who settled at 9 Hacklet, initially like Angus MacLean and widow Margt MacInnes, as a cottar. Angus MacLellan obtained the tenancy of 8 Hacklet alongside Margt/Mary MacInnes.

    23 I am bathing my face In the mild rays of the sun, As Mary bathed Christ in the rich milk of Egypt …

    • Bruce MacMillan

      August 2, 2010 at 11:56 pm

      My grandmother’s family (MacDonald) came from Benbecula and I can remember her conversations with my grandfather in Gaelic when they wanted privacy.

      After my mother passed away I found a little book she had been given as a wee bairn. It is titled “Ceol nan Gaidheal” or Songs of the Gael. It appears different than the one mentioned. This book was published in 1905 in Glasgow by Angus MacIntyre. It is a wonderful collection of Gaelic song and melody with musical notes, words in Gaelic and an English translation for each song.The book is about 120 pages and dedicated to Donnachadh Ban Nan Oran

      To quote one song:

      The floodgate of English is open full wide,
      And threatens our Gaelic to drown in its tide;
      But we will stand true to the tongue we adore,
      And never forsake it till Time is no more.

      • Don MacFarlane

        August 3, 2010 at 12:47 am

        A little treat in a soundbite of the Gaelic that was overheard at your grandmother’s knee and an explanation as to why Donnchadh Ban was held in such affection as a bard – from Larach nam Bard (BBC Alba).

  155. Don MacFarlane

    June 28, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    The following Uist and Benbecula people were some of those recorded in Alexander Carmichael’s Carmina Gadelica. This site will attempt to dig up more information on these worthies over the months to come:

    Duncan MacLellan (Carnan, South Uist)
    Rachel MacPherson (South Hacklet, Benbecula)
    Janet Currie (Iochdar, SU)
    Janet MacIsaac (Stoneybridge, SU)
    Archie Currie (Ardnamonie, SU)
    Donald MacCormick (Kilphedder, SU)
    Patrick Smith (Leath-Meanach, SU)
    Angus MacIntosh (Dunganichy, Benbecula)
    Sarah MacPhee (Stoneybridge, SU)
    Kirsty Gillies (Dunganichy, Benbecula)
    Donald Wilson (Ardmore, SU)
    Fiona MacNiven (South Hacklet, Benbecula)
    Margaret MacRae (Tiobartan, SU)
    Malcolm MacPherson (Bagh-nam-Faoilean, SU)
    Christine MacVicar (Muir of Aird, Benbecula)

  156. Gerald Bradley

    April 29, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Thanks gentlemen for responding. I will continue to research the sites you mentioned. I did see the query related to Lt. Samuel Steele. If I’m reading it correctly, there was a question in 1975 by a Steele, of the Lieutenant. In another entry the inquirer asked about a Roderick McNeil of Barra and a Noah’s Ark. Would any of you know anything about what a question related to this entry could mean? Could Noah’s Ark have been a ship of the period? Learning on the fly. Thanks

    • Angus Macmillan

      April 29, 2010 at 9:06 pm

      There were quite a few Rodericks in the MacNeill of Barra tree. The most (in)famous was Rory ‘the Turbulent’ who, as it happens was involved in piracy. However, the Noah’s Ark reference rings only the faintest of bells so I will have to have a ponder on that. Meanwhile, good hunting. Angus

      • Bernardine MacNeil-Campbell

        November 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm

        Hi Angus, it’s been a long time, hope you are well. Could Gerald Bradley’s query be a (very) loose reference to the old saying…”the Macneils had their own boat at the time of the flood!” Just a thought when I read it.

        • Iain MacKillop

          January 27, 2013 at 12:06 am

          Re Noah’s Ark. That was my first thought too Bernardine.

  157. Angus Macmillan

    April 28, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Starting at the wrong end of your message, I am no expert on finding land grant info. in PEI. However, kind folks there have certainly found that information for some of my migrant relations. Have you tried the Island Register and its contacts? If not, that might be a good place to start. As to Lieutenant Samuel Steele, I do not know if he was from Uist but the Fraser Highlanders connection is encouraging. He may have been from Clanranald territories, whether on the islands or from Arisaig/Moidart on the mainland. Another piece of strong evidence in that direction would be if he was Catholic. Finally, there are lists of officers and soldiers at The National Archives at Kew in London and there are indexes on line and various of the commercial companies are now publishing them, either online or as disks.

    Reverting to Steele/O’Henley, there are a few reasons I can think of why they should appear to be closely associated. The first is that they were both concentrated in the southern townships of South Uist and so the odds favoured intermarriage and group emigration. However long before, both were incomer families and so less deeply rooted in Uist and on the more marginal lands than, say, MacDonalds, so perhaps a greater proportion chose to migrate or, by the 1840s were cleared as Colonel Gordon moved people to create profitable farms. Lastly, neither was a Gaelic name widely shared so Steele.O’Henley shows up in the records and graveyards more than MacDonald or MacKinnon and one or the other.

    Whatever the cause, I am off on the ferry from Oban to Lochboisdale on saturday and will call in to see a friend close by the cemetrey at Cladh Hallen at Daliburgh that is full of good folks who bore each of the names. Hope this helps a little. Angus

    • Don MacFarlane

      April 29, 2010 at 9:43 am

      Clicking on the names highlighted in bold in Angus’s reply and below will take you directly to sites mentioned. I see from the 78th Fraser Highlanders site, that there is indeed a Lieutenant Samuel Steele mentioned. They have already had a query about him, so perhaps a certain amount of legwork has already been done. The 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band is alive and strong today and, as the premier Canadian pipe band, it has also been World Champion.

  158. b flewelling

    January 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I am a descendant of Alasdair Steele, reportedly an immigrant from South Uist to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia about 1820. I have heard the story of the ship Captain and the name change when the Steeles ‘escaped from Coll’. Can anyone shed any light on the Steele families of South Uist ?

    • Gerald Bradley

      April 27, 2010 at 10:40 pm

      Hello Angus
      Your note about the O’Hanley and Steele connection interests me as my grandmother Sophia (Steele) Bradley was born on Prince Edward Island as well as her parents Clement and Catherine (MacKinnon) Steele were. Next to their graves at Saint Peter’s Cemetery are Archibald O’Hanley and his wife Matilda J. (Steele) O’Hanley, as well as a daughter Katherine Rose. I was wondering if you could expound on this relationship between the two families. Also, do you know if Lieutenant Samuel Steele (1742- 1810) of the Fraser Highlanders was from South Uist? I understand that many of the officers of this Regiment were granted land on lots 41 and 42 after it was dispanded. How could I find out if Samuel Steele was granted property? Clement Steele, noted above, lived on Cardigan Road about three miles south of Saint Peter’s. Thanks for your comments.

  159. Matthew Pease

    July 21, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    On the question of the succession to the Captaincy of Clanranald after 1944, the issue was in abeyance until 1956. From family information and without having examined the evidence; there seem to have been two main contenders, Ranald MacDonald descended from Colin MacDonald II of Boisdale, and Allan MacDonald XI of Belfinlay and Waternish. Both claims were based on pedigrees containing “irregular” marriages, and in the event the Lord Lyon considered that the answer came down to whose irregular marriage was the more ancient, or the more irregular, on which counts Ranald won.

  160. Angus Macmillan

    June 5, 2009 at 8:38 am

    My comment was not suggesting that the Lord Lyon might undo the 1844 decision about the Captaincy, that rarely if ever happens, simply that the few facts suggest a very close relationship. Again, they go a very long way to track down the nearest male relative.

    However, what does occur to me is that, in normal circumstances, comprehensive efforts are made to follow up and ‘kill off’ all the obvious lines. You might accordingly find that the Lord Lyon’s files answer all the questions about what happened to the Boisdale line. As things stand, Boisdale seems to be used by the eldest son [and tanist] of Clanranald and, in fact, is applied to a pair of restaurants, one in Central London. My only question would be whether in wartime the same degree of care will have been dedicated to obtaining all the relevant family detail.

  161. Don MacFarlane

    June 5, 2009 at 6:58 am

    I understand that the O’Donnells of Islay/MacSweeneys of Doe (in Donegal) went through similar travails in proving their family tree. They would know all the ins and outs and might be worth contacting as they have been down this road before. The Western Isles – Ulster connection came about because the Sweeneys (MacSweeneys) were banished by Robert the Bruce but became the best known of the warrior Hebridean clans, known as Gallowglasses (Galloglaigh).

  162. sandra moffatt

    June 4, 2009 at 2:56 am

    It is interesting because I have yet to find another male descendant of Hugh IV of Boisdale. The other very interesting fact to me is that the only record of marriage I have ever found for Hugh is in 1843 after he already had 6 children with his wife. It was an “irregular” marriage in Dumfries. Makes me wonder! Thanks for the advice and I look forward to finding yet more details about this man.

    • Don MacFarlane

      June 4, 2009 at 7:27 am

      If I pick up the gist of this exchange correctly, perhaps an extract from an earlier post is relevant here:

      ‘Like any other arena where there could be claims, matters to do with pedigree could go to the Heraldry Society of Scotland. The duties of the Court include establishing rights to pedigrees, which, when satisfactory evidence is produced, results in granting a warrant to the Lyon Clerk to record in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings the particular coat of arms and genealogy which have been established to his Lordship’s satisfaction.’

  163. Angus Macmillan

    June 4, 2009 at 12:04 am

    How interesting. The Captaincy of Clanranald passed in 1944 to a descendant of the second son of Colin MacDonald II of Boisdale, while your husband’s ancestor will have been Alexander, the first son. As to Hugh, I knew he had a few of a family but had specifically heard only of the eldest daughter,who married Allan Williams and died in 1858, and the youngest son, who died aged only 22.

    I don’t have an answer to your question about how he lived and his contacts, I am afraid. It may be that, as the eldest, he received some modest inheritance when his father died. It might be worth following up the nature of the tenure of the house where that happened. Hugh’s cousin, Ranald George MacDonald of Clanranald, was similarly strapped for cash through two marriages. It may well be that there was some correspondence between the two as they were cousins, though somehwat distant by that time. There may well be a tranche of Ranald George’s papers that would answer that question, either in England, as he was an MP and died in London, or in Edinburgh.

    Good hunting

  164. Angus Macmillan

    June 3, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Hugh MacDonald IV of Boisdale was born 2 February 1785 and succeeded on his father’s death in 1818 to the representation of the family i.e. to the name. However, he never succeeded to the lands in South Uist or elsewhere. His father, Alexander III, had contracted large debts and the estate was in the hands of trustees for the debtors until sold to Col Gordon of Cluny in 1839. The indebtedness is often put down to his attempts to make provision for his progeny but service as a Captain in the 73rd Regiment in the American Wars and then especially as Colonel of his regiment may have been a sharper cause.

    The family had already left South Uist and so Alexander died at Lasswade House, Midlothian and he was buried in Greyfriars’ churchyard in Edinburgh. It seems well before the sale that Hugh had ‘left the country’, presumably when he moved to Liverpool. Accordingly, as Hugh probably never spent any significant part of his life in South Uist, there is no island-related cause for his ‘leaving.’ Similarly, this explains the paucity of references to his status during his lifetime.

    • sandra moffatt

      June 3, 2009 at 9:26 pm

      Thank you very much. This does explain a lot for me. I had only made the connection from Hugh MacDonald IV of Boisdale to my husband in the last 2 weeks after connecting the dots for 20 years. I do know that he lived in Plymouth, Swansea and Liverpool. Of all his 10 children that are recorded, only three survived to have children of which my husband is descended from one. Where would one get more information as to how Hugh IV lived “as a gentleman” for so many years without inheritance? Are records kept of correspondence with contemporary clan chiefs etc? It’s sad to see a once significant branch of this tree decline due to bad stewardship of monies. (or bad decisions)

  165. sandra moffatt

    June 1, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Hugh MacDonald IV of Boisdale died in Liverpool in 1875. I have searched in vain to find any information on why he left S.Uist. I have details on who he married and all his children but wondered why there is so little written about him. As stated previously, he did not live the “life of Reilly”. At first he is shown as a gentleman on all documents but later in life he is shown having spent time in debtors prison and then living with his son in Liverpool. The only record of his tie with the MacDonalds of Boisdale that proved his line is his tombstone which has him shown as the Laird of Boisdale, nephew of Hector MacLean Grand Knight of the Bath.

  166. Angus Macmillan

    April 10, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    There is only one Neil who, to my knowledge would have been a baby on arrival in Ontario from South Uist at that time. Allan O’Hanley from Milton South Uist and his wife Jamet (MacDonald) originally from North Uist left South Boisdale and settled in Galt Township, Waterloo Cnty, Ontario in 1850/51 with children Janet 1838, Murdo 1838, Angus 1839, Angus 1841, Murdo 1845 and Neil 1850. John was born to the couple in 1853 after they had settled in Canada. Though he was evidently married before the 1841 Census, which is a bit of a nuisance, it may be possible to find parents for Allan and Janet via a marriage record either in Boisdale or North Uist. Does this match whatever information you have? Angus

  167. Deb Munks

    February 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Greetings from County Cork!

    I have only recently started looking for info on my ancestors of North Uist, (Houghharry), namely MacLean (and on some birth certs McLean) and have come unstuck.

    I have the following:
    Charles MacLean and Mary MacIntosh c1770s
    son John MacLean b1798 m Janet McInnes b? m 1836
    son Alexander b1845 m Catherine MacCuish 1877
    son John 1877 m Eliza Bostok 1912 (Bulawayo -Rhodesia)
    son Alistair b 1914 (Bulawayo)

    I would like to visit Houghharry and area this summer (2009) and would be most grateful for any advice and some pointers regarding further research.

    Much obliged.
    Deb Munks (nee McLean)

  168. Angus Macmillan

    January 1, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Just for the avoidance of frustration for searchers, there were more O’Henleys than the above in South Uist in 1841. Setting aside ten singletons[visitors, old and young living alone or in other households, the household heads as I have them listed were: Finlay 50 farmer Howbeg; John 45 farmer Stoneybridge; John 30 joiner Peninerine; Donald 20 farmer Upper Bornish; Angus 50 Ag lab N Frobost; John 45 farmer Kilpheder; Allan 35 farmer S Boisdale; John 50 tailor S Boisdale; Isabella 35 farmer/widow S Boisdale; Murdo 40 farmer S Boisdale; Allan 30 farmer S Boisdale; Marion 35 farmer/widow S Boisdale; Donald 20 farmer S Boisdale; Mary 30 S Boisdale; John 25 farmer (Garrynamonie?); John 40 cottar Smercleit.

    Turning to the suggested familes, Sarah 55 was a cottar living alone. The household of John the cottar in Smercleit approximates No. 3 above as he had a wife Catherine 40, Ranald 13, Alexr 12, Neil 5 and Angus 2. John in Stoneybridge was married to a Mary also 45 with children Christina 15, Neil 14, Michael 11 and John 7.

    I ran out of fingers but at a quick count the O’Henley total was 96 persons. I hope this helps clear things up a bit.

  169. Don MacFarlane

    December 26, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    O’Henleys in South Uist, 1841

    Alexander (2) – aged 7 and 11
    Angus – aged 2
    Ann – aged 15
    Catherine (2) – aged 20 and 40
    Christina – aged 10
    Donald (4) – aged 21, 20, 14 and 1
    John (4) – aged 45, 40, 30 and 7
    Marion – aged 20
    Mary (3) – aged 45, 6 and 3
    Michael – aged 11
    Neil (2) – aged 14 and 5
    Ronald – aged 13
    Sarah – aged 56

    This suggests 2 couples from the Johns, Mary and Catherine; with Sarah being a widow?
    Family #1 – perhaps Sarah (56) with John (30) and Donald (21)
    Family #2 – perhaps John, Mary with Donald, Alexander, Mary, Neil
    Family #3 – perhaps John, Catherine with Donald, Alexander, Mary, Neil

    As these were the only O’Henleys left in South Uist, according to the 1841 Census, most appear to have already left for PEI.

  170. Don MacFarlane

    December 6, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    I find this aspect of Uist history to be particularly fascinating as I have never believed Uist to be insular or cut-off. Most of my own forbears do not have surnames indigenous to there.

    I have had a fresh look at Prof. Tom Devine’s book on the Highland Clearances and Improvements. There is little enlightenment to be had there. He would have you believe that all the internal migration within the British Isles was one-way, from the Western Isles to the Lowlands. I know this not to be true and Angus MacMillan has cast some light on this matter in this website. However, Prof. Devine confirms that, if not by internal migration, the other route of exit was to Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island. This latter route was favoured by many as it provided a chance to maintain a form of livelihood and lifestyle Uist folk were most comfortable with.

    As far as the O’Hanleys (O’Henleys) are concerned, Irish migrations to the Outer Hebrides would be less common. My theory is a) that they left en masse before the 1800s for a reason such as already explained by Angus MacMillan and/or b) those that remained in Ireland dropped the O’ prefix. If the latter is true, there is a substantial presence of them to be found in a pocket of County Roscommon on the North West shore of Lough Ree. Their domain forms a triangle which is boundaried by Lough Ree to the East, then by Roscommon Town to the west, and Strokestown to the North.

    On the other hand, Angus’s account of the connection between the Bourkes of Roscommon and the Clanranalds is supported by the Heraldry Society of Scotland. Angus believes the O’Hanleys came over from Ireland with the Burkes. That could definitely fit as Burke is a common name in Roscommon as well. In which case that might place the O’Hanleys in another pocket in West Roscommon, which would make them next door neighbours of the Burkes whose domain was around the town of Castlerea. This might fit better as West Roscommon is next door to Galway which was the main stomping ground of the Burkes. As to why Clanranald would have gone to Ireland for a bride, the Burkes were one of the most important landed families in Ireland at the time, of Norman descent rather than native Irish and highly educated.

  171. Shawn T O'Hanley

    December 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    First, thank you very much for the information. there is much there to consider. It is nice to know the truth. Tradition in the family believed, probably in a false manner, that perhaps the O’Hanley’s of Roscommon were somehow forced off their lands do to being Catholic or otherwise. Your version sounds more interesting.

    According to generalized surname searches the O’Hanleys are often connected to a bishop or arch-bishop Dooey O’Hanley in Roscommon or Dublin Ireland.

    Another generalized comment is to place the O’Hanley’s as some sort of chiefdom along the river Shannon (Paying tributes to the O’Neil’s) One source found online quoted a 14th century listing that an O’Hanley or variation of being run down and killed by an O’Neil. Even still one sight claimed, and this is where I truly draw the line in sanity, that the O’Hanley name was connected to some ancient Irish king who was in turn first Spanish. The Irish sure know embellishment!

    What I have established is that my ancestor who immigrated to Judique Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in 1800 was already married to a Mary Maclellan or MacIntyre. A Scottish book in 1922 about the history of Nova Scotia clans, describes them being of high Scottish highland stock long before arriving. Also large family of violin players.

  172. Angus Macmillan

    December 4, 2008 at 3:09 am

    There is a specific local tradition in the Uists which does not entirely match the often repeated County Ross origins with a missionary impulse. It is that, when Fionnsgoth Burke of Connaught married Ranald MacDonald I of Benbecula as his second of five wives in about 1601, her tail of followers included not only men of the Burke surname [hence Ned Burke, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s ‘body servant’ throughout the ’45 Jacobite Rising] but also the progenitor(s) of the O’Henleys. That timing, at least would seem to be about right as they never got their feet really firmly under the table in South Uist/Benbecula, being overwhelmingly cottars and, where they did have tenancies were not on prime lands [Stoneybridge is the perfect example of that]. That is probably why so many emigrated; their roots were relatively shallow.

    On the missionary notion, the names of the missionaries at the time are pretty well known [Hegarty, Ward, Wynn and the others]. However, the situation was that the reformation had never come to South Uist. Priests were hounded so families legitimately there who had a steady Catholic background may well have had a useful backup function to the efforts of the itinerant Franciscans.

  173. Don MacFarlane

    December 4, 2008 at 1:10 am

    As far as the Irish connection goes, there were no Henleys, O’Hanleys or O’Henleys to be found in Ireland by the early 1800s, if they were ever there at all.

    The name Hanley, without the O’ (meaning Ogha for grandson) was common in the provinces of Leinster (Roscommon) and Munster (Limerick and Cork). It looks like the O’ prefix was appended after they left Ireland, perhaps to accentuate the Irish origin.

    I am not sure what you mean by Clearances in Ireland. The pattern of emigration could probably not be called Clearances other than around the Famines of the 1800s, by which time the O’Hanleys had already left Ireland (unless they were still there as Hanleys).

    As far as the questions about the O’Hanleys after their arrival in Uist, I hope Angus MacMillan can pick up on that as it is not within my area of expertise.

  174. Shawn T (O'Hanley)

    December 3, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    I’m a descendant of:

    “3. Neil – in Stoneybridge, 1798, whose son was
    probably Roderick, ancestor of the O’Handleys
    of Judique, Nova Scotia.”

    According to the Oban Times 1933 and Canadian O’Hanley beliefs, the O’Hanleys came from County Ross-C. Ireland either, because of the land clearances or as missionaries? If our real name is O’Henley how did it become O’Hanley? Interesting history. Wish I new more about them! I wonder if the remnants of Neil’s house are still there! Oh, and did the O’Henley, O’Hanley families ever support or mix in with Clanranald members?

    We believe that our O’Hanley’s may have originated from County Ross-C., Ireland as a result of the land clearances or as missionaries. To me the first sounds right. Roderick O’Hanley son of Neil arrived in Judique Cape Breton in 1800. Anyone know about the ship? Wish I knew more about the history of the O’Hanleys!

  175. Angus Macmillan

    June 7, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    As I understand it, like the MacDougall MacDonalds of Morar, the Bornish family were from Dougall MacDonald VI of Clanranald, murdered in 1520, in this case from the fourth son, Ranald. Ranald had a son John, hence the family is known as ‘sliochd Iain ‘ic Raonuill’. Though the family had previously had lands in South Uist, it is Iain’s son Dougall III who is the first of the family known to have had a tack of Bornish as well as being made hereditary Bailie of the Clanranald lands in Uist. His son Ranald IV received a feu charter of Bornishuachdrach [Upper Bornish] in 1672 and he was followed in turn by his son John V and grandson Dougall VI who was recorded as Bailie of South Uist in 1699. There followed Ranald VII, John VIII, whose brother Alexander became a priest and Bishop of the Highland Region, and the last Bornish, Ranald IX. Ranald appears as a resident heritor in Bornish in 1837 but by 1845 Bornish had become the property of Colonel Gordon of Cluny. By 1837, Ranald was an oldish man, his father having been born c. 1737 and it seems likely as there is no further trace of him, that he sold his interest in Bornish at the same time as the Clanranald sale in 1838, which took effect in 1839. There is no island trace of which I am aware that he had issue though he is recalled as a fine fiddler.

    Incidentally, it may help to know that, as well as the free transcription of the last volume of Clan Donald referenced above, there is a full commercial transcription of the whole work available from Quintin Publications in Florida.

  176. Bruce MacMillan

    May 26, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    For those interested in MacDonald of Sleat, the University of Toronto has scanned all 800 pages of volume three of “The Clan Donald” by A & A MacDonald. I’m told the three volume set is the best reference on the Macdonald families of the Uists. Volume three is available as a free download in pdf format. Alexander MacKenzie’s “History of the MacDonalds and the Lords of the Isles” from the 1800s is also available.

    URL is

  177. Angus Macmillan

    March 6, 2008 at 2:22 am

    Hello Ebby: Let’s start with the simplest first. Gerryghoil was the settlement in Lionacleit, Benbecula when it was still in the hands of a cadet family of the MacDougall MacDonalds of Morar.

    I mentioned that there were layers of factors and the Judicial Factor was, I assume, the top layer. MacDonald of Boisdale was replaced in 1764 when a Commission & factory was granted to William MacDonald WS in Edinburgh. He may well have retained the role until the appointment of Hector MacDonald-Buchanan 29.3.1794, who was joined as Joint Factor the next year by Alexander MacDonald of Sanday. Meanwhile, there were factors on the ground, including Patrick Nicolson, who held the role for a while from 1788. He was a Skyeman, innkeeper and merchant in North Uist, who supplied Lady Margaret MacLeod of Bernera, wife of ‘Old Clan’ of the ’45 and sister of the Old Trojan, with the black tobacco to which she and her husband were addicted. Patrick Nicolson then acquired the tack of Torlum in Benbecula.

    He was replaced from 23.2.1795 by John Butter from a family of factors and land agents in Pitlochry, who had been Commissioner of a number of forfeited estates in Argyll and then briefly Factor to MacNeill of Barra. Butter was dismissed at Martinmas 1797 and the estate was in such a mess that Patrick Nicolson had to conduct the Judicial Review of 1797 to establish who held what lands and at what rentals.

    Robert Brown was the Factor 1797-1811 at an initial salary of £200 p.a. Along the way, he also became factor of Vallay 1802, Harris 1804, Kinlochmoidart 1805 and of the Seaforth estates in Lewis. On leaving, he became factor of the Hamilton estates, a role he retained for nearly fifty years. As you know, he was succeeded by Duncan Shaw and Ninian Clark before William Birnie took over. One of the Birnie daughters married Ranald MacDonald, born at Pennyloddan in Benbecula, who moved to Cluny and became factor of the whole Gordon of Cluny estates and gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Torlum schoolhouse in 1883. Another Birnie daughter married Charles Maclean, a major farmer in south Uist, son of the Rev Roderick MacLean.

    That brings us to the Ministers. Ignoring the intinerant Catholic priests such as Ward and Hegarty, what I know of the Protestant Ministers is as follows. The first name was that of Donald MacMillan in South Uist ‘ane very old man’ in 1626. In 1633, John Mackinnon was Rector at Howmore and he was succeeded in 1642 by the unfortunate Rev Martin MacPherson who, finding no congregation in an island to which the reformation had never penetrated, like so many successors, set himself up as a farmer. He was resented as an incomer and the locals raided the farm, stealing 54 cows, 60 sheep, 28 lambs and 13 horses, causing MacPherson to flee to refuge with MacLeod of Dunvegan. There is then a gap in my knowledge to the Rev Munro, appointed 1737, father of the later Minister, the Rev George. In 1745, the locals petitioned for the removal of the Rev John Macaulay, ancestor of the historian, perhaps as much for the family arrogance as for the anti-Jacobite stance that saw him try to arrange the capture of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746. The Rev George Munro was appointed in 1773 and was hopelessly inefficient from the beginning. Again he was primarily a farmer with no more than six Protestants of a congregation. He was suspended, probably for drink, in 1780; and an assistant forcibly appointed in 1813 but clung on until 1832. He was succeeded by the Rev Roderick MacLean a man of nearly seventy, ‘a mass of indolence, listless and harmless’, who conducted no services and added to the record of the sacrament being served just twice in thirty years. In 1854 he was succeeded by his son-in-law, The Rev Roderick MacDonald, Minister of Harris, who is recalled as an able man but who quickly recognised the realities and took to the farming. Arbuckle, Boyd, Bell and Malcolm Laing from Applecross are other names you should be able to find in Fasti.


  178. Laurie

    March 5, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Blair- yes, indeed, you were very helpful to me a few months back, off of the Rootsweb page.

    Heads up to folks looking for Uist records: Blair has put together an incredible database!

    I was looking for some “unpublished” knowledge from local people who may have MacQueen relatives.

    In a story similar to some above, my 4xgreat granduncle John McQuien, who was reputed to be a “sea captain” brought his family from Uist to the USA in the 1830s when he was in his fifties. His first wife died (I still haven’t discovered her name) when he was in his sixties. At the age of 67, he married a 21 year old woman and had 5 more children. He was at sea with a younger cousin Rory “Pomona” McQuien, who emigrated to Cape Breton.

    If anyone knows any records that track seafaring folk, I’d be interested.

    Thank you all for all your posts!

    • Richard MacQueen

      August 9, 2010 at 9:24 pm

      I believe Rory “Pomona” MacQueen is my relative and I am from Cape Breton. I haven’t been able to trace him back prior to immigrating from North Uist. I believe he arrived with at least 3 other brothers.

      • Don MacFarlane

        August 10, 2010 at 12:32 am

        Hi Richard

        Thanks for your post and I hope you keep contributing. I take it that you and Laurie are somehow connected? I don’t know if Laurie got any useful information from Blair MacAulay as he posted his email address (see above). If you got any snippets from him, please post here as clues for other visitors, or try Blair again?

        I class myself as a bit of a magpie and confess to being only interested in family trees (including my own) just as far as they can provide social commentary on the ‘times that was in it’. I looked into the ‘Pomona’ wreck story but I am unclear whether this particular wreck was the one off Wexford in Ireland, the one off California or the one off New Jersey?

      • Laurie

        December 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm

        Hi Richard-just saw your post! We may be distantly related-email me when you have a chance and we can compare notes.

        Don-got a chuckle out of your MacQueen name derivation theory, as I’m prematurely grey myself!

        Angus-I’m simply amazed with all the information you have posted here. Wonderful reading and thanks to all who have contributed.

  179. Ebby Ritchie

    March 5, 2008 at 2:23 am

    wow, thanks, Angus. That certainly helps me understand the socio-economic structure more clearly and gives me more names. I have a lot of specific questions – I wonder if you could help me with one or two of them?

    Do you know anything of Dr Alexander McLeod around in the 1830s?

    J. McMillan “a creature” employed by Col. Gordon who, judging from the Oban Letters, was not popular with the Catholic clergy (described as a “senseless bigot”), was around in 1840. Have you heard of him?

    I am also interested in the CofS ministers. I know George Munro held land. I also know Roderick McLean was minister for a long time. Do you know anything about them, especially their relations to land and sub tenants?

    Alexander McRae, who had a legal dispute with Col. Gordon, was tacksman at Askernish in the late 1830s and had been judicial factor for the Boisdale estate. Have you heard of him, and do you know what a judicial factor is?

    From an 1811 publication on Hebridean agriculture I gleaned that a Mr Nicolson of Ardmore (possibly called Patrick, was factor before Robert Brown. Is this incorrect?

    I am particularly interested in Robert Brown as he was an elder in the CofS and my primary research topic focuses on religion. Do you have any details on him?

    Where is Gerryghoil?

    On another note, today in my online searching I particularly enjoyed reading about Donald “Old Trojan” MacLeod in Berneray (sire of the wife of Major James MacDonald of Askernish who I was really meant to be investigating!) who had 12 surviving children by his first wife, none by his second to whom he was married for 19 years, and nine more by his third wife whom he married at the age of 75!

    I realise that is a lot of questions. Sorry….! Any help at all appreciated.

  180. Angus Macmillan

    March 5, 2008 at 12:49 am

    The factor situation was a bit more complicated than one at a time. The Clanranald chest has grants of the factorship to Edinburgh lawyers such as Hector MacDonald Buchanan alongside the regimes of the [land agent type] factors in the islands. As to the latter, the succession was: John Butter for a couple of years, sacked in 1797; Brown to 1811; Shaw through to the sale of the estate to Colonel Gordon becoming effective in 1839; Ninian Clark, drowned in the Minch in 1842; and then William Birnie through the potato famine years.

    There were also some powerful and lond serving maors, who exercised very much the same powers for more restricted areas. They included Donald Ferguson at Pennyloddan when Butter was failing; Donald MacPherson covering Iochdar from Kilaulay farm; and Peter Morrison in Balivanich.

    As to principal tenants, they were fading from the scene by the period of your interest. There was Boisdale, of course, which was feued and run separately from the Clanranald lands. The main Morar held lands had been sold back to Clanranald in 1764 and their cadets such as Gerryghoil and Geirinish were withdawing to Nova Scotia and Upper Canada from the 1770s. The MacDonalds [by then of Milton] had also lost their main tack of Balivanich by the 1760s and also lost Milton and Garryvaltos following the death of Capt Angus IV of Milton, drowned in Locheynort on 1809.

    The main replacement was by the small tenants first in club farms and then through lotting off into crofts. However, Ersikay was initially in the hands of John Ferguson son of Capt John ‘of the Maiden’, who had the tack swapped for Glendale when the Gordon regime cleared land for six (?) farms in South Uist and moved the previous tenants to Eriskay, the bays and Stoneybridge. Most or all of those farms then landed up as tacks for the Ferguson descendants. Apart from that, there was the odd Clanranald cadet or family member, such as ‘Miss MacDonald of Clanranald’ who was at Ormacleit in the earlier rent rolls; a succession of Ministers who, having no congregation in Catholic South Uist, set themselves up as substantial farmers; and some tenants with access to cash eg the millers and changehousekeepers.

    If you have specific names/families you are looking for, do post them. I hope this helps.


  181. Angus Macmillan

    February 24, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    There were two Mary Ann MacDonalds born in Dunganichy at about the same time. Am I to assume this was the one born about 1875, daughter of Allan MacDonald and Flora MacKinnon married 16 February 1863, who settled at 5 Dunganichy? If so, I wonder where the problem is. As I have it, Allan was son of Donald MacDonald and Flora MacDonald, 23 Balivanich. It was Allan’s wife who was a daughter of Donald MacKinnon and Christina MacDonald. Allan was born about 1818 as far as the censuses are concerned and surely the first birth and marriage records for Benbecula date from 1829 so 1827 is an unfamiliar thought.

    Is it possible that you are working from a transcription that has rolled together some of these records? My email if you would be happier contacting me directly is

  182. Blair MacAulay

    February 23, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    The surname “MacQueen” (and also “MacQuien” and “MacSween”) are surnames found in North Uist in the 19th C. The seminal work on the origin of the families of North Uist is Rev. William Matheson’s “Notes on North Uist Families”, a lengthy monograph first published c1982 in the “Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, Vol. LII. Rev. Matheson was a native of North Uist and although an ordained Church of Scotland minister, spent most of his career on the Faculty of the School of Scottish Studies at Edinburgh University.

    The great interest in the monograph, particularly in North Uist, resulted it being re-printed in pamphlet form and for some years thereafter it was available for purchase in several North Uist stores. I have not seen re-prints available in North Uist in recent years. At pages 356-358 of such monograph Rev. Matheson discusses the origin of the surname “MacQueen” and “MacQuien” in North Uist. If you contact me directly at