Author Topic: Ancestors of Kenneth Macleod born abt 1759 Parish of Durness  (Read 24081 times)

Offline Forfarian

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Re: Ancestors of Kenneth Macleod born abt 1759 Parish of Durness
« Reply #72 on: Thursday 28 July 22 13:42 BST (UK) »
Here's a conundrum on the identity of Island Hall:
Why not go back and check the original baptism records in case it's been incorrectly transcribed?

And is there any reason wny they could not have been on one island at one time and the other at a later date?
Never trust anything you find online (especially submitted trees and transcriptions on Ancestry, MyHeritage, FindMyPast and other commercial web sites) unless it's an image of an original document - and even then be wary because errors can and do occur.

Online djct59

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Re: Ancestors of Kenneth Macleod born abt 1759 Parish of Durness
« Reply #73 on: Thursday 28 July 22 17:12 BST (UK) »
The explanation's probably very simple.
 
Reverend William Findlater took over responsibility for the the parish records very late in 1811. His handwriting was much worse (although the paper he used was also of inferior quality) and his record keeping far inferior to that of Reverend Thomson. It's at this point that several more births start appearing as on Eilean Hoan, so the most likely explanation is that that's what he thought was the correct name of Eilean Choarie.

Offline meanno

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Re: Ancestors of Kenneth Macleod born abt 1759 Parish of Durness
« Reply #74 on: Friday 29 July 22 13:59 BST (UK) »
The whole story of Laid (Leathad) is a deeply depressing one. The land was so poor that it was unihabited until the 19th century Clearances, but the Eriboll estate then placed several tenants on crofts on which tenants could only eke out a very meagre living. The croft houses were of very rudimentary construction, with some limited power obtainable via windmills. Even as recently as 1978 it was not attached to the National Grid, although it is now a lively little community.

To give an idea of how tough life was: In 1945, when it was still not verified that Adolf Hitler was dead there was much talk about what should happen if he were to be captured. At a meeting of Sutherland County Council it was suggested "Give the bugger a croft on Laid".

There is an interesting description of life in Laid from Donald Mackay, a witness at the Napier Commission in 1883:
http://napier-sutherland.blogspot.com/2010/10/kinlochbervie-sutherland-26-july-1883_27.html

Offline Rw2

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Re: Ancestors of Kenneth Macleod born abt 1759 Parish of Durness
« Reply #75 on: Friday 29 July 22 17:23 BST (UK) »
Thank you again!  What an edifying interview, and with a man so well-spoken.  Here's an interesting excerpt re local life until the time of the Clearances from the book to which djct59 had posted a link re the Reay Fencibles (from pp.s 15 and 22,  An old highland fencible corps : the history of the Reay Fencible Highland Regiment of Foot, or Mackay's Highlanders, 1794-1802, with an account of its services in Ireland during the rebellion of 1798 : Scobie, Ian Hamilton Mackay, 1883).:

"In  those  days [the 18th cent. and earlier] education,  the  education  of  the  school,  was  not much  diffused.1  The  early  training  of  the  Highlander  was  round the  home  fireside ;  he  was  taught  to  revere  parents  and  ancestors, to  be  faithful  to  trust,  to  despise  danger,  to  be  respectful  to superiors,  to  fear  God  and  honour  the  king.2  The  scenery  round his  mountain  home  excited  his  imagination  and  feelings ;  adventures by  flood  and  field  were  congenial  and  familiar.  There  were frequent  social  meetings,  or  '  ceilidhs,' 3  at  which  romantic  tales and  the  traditional  poetry  of  his  country  were  rehearsed,  where songs  of  love  and  war  were  sung  and  tales  of  battle  told.  New Year's  Day  (Latha  bliadhn'ur),  peat-cutting  time  (Latha  buain  na moine),  harvest  homes,  Hallowe'en  and  Christmas  (Nollaig),  were seasons  of  great  enjoyment.  The  christening,  banquets,  and  weddings were  occasions  of  much  gratification  and  delight."  ..."  Few or  no  strangers  were  seen  in  the  northern  parts  of  Sutherland.  The  Government  itself  seemed  to  be  oblivious  of  its  geographical position,  as  no  exciseman  or  revenue  officer  appeared  in  those  parts ; hence  large  quantities  of  spirits,  gin,  and  brandy from  Norway, Sweden,  Holland,  and  France were  landed  at  various  places  along the  west  and  north  coasts  of  the  country."  l
The  change  in  the  life  and  habits  of  the  people  towards  the  end of  the  century  had  not  been  without  its  advantages,  for  "while Calvinism  eclipsed  the  gaiety  of  an  earlier  time  and  rendered  the life  of  the  people  more  solemn,  a  higher  standard  of  conduct  and morality  was  undoubtedly  attained.  The  various  regiments  raised in  the  county  between  1759  and  1800  were  invariably  noted  for the  stalwart  appearance  and  good  conduct  of  the  men.  General Stewart  of  Garth  gives  ample  testimony  to  this  effect,  and  his testimony  is  confirmed  by  all  who  write  the  history  of  the  Fencible Regiments."
In  spite  of  the  strict  teaching  and  rigid  discipline  of  Presbyterianism,  however,  there  was  still  a  distinct  leaning  towards  the ancient  superstitions.  "There  was  a  firm  belief  that  the  devil,  or donas,  roamed  about  in  bodily  shape.  There  were  witches  by  day and  ghosts  by  night.  Fairies  (Ban  -  Siths)  on  land,  mermaids (gruagachs)  in  the  sea,  and  the  each  uisge  (water-horse)  in  lochs and  rivers.  There  were  omens  of  good  and  ill,  observances  for  luck in  connection  with  everyday  occupations,  such  as  baking,  milking, and  marketing.  There  were  also  regular  observances  at  lyke-wakes and  funerals,3  births,  and  marriages,  when  setting  forth  on  a  journey, or  when  entering  a  house  for  the  first  time.  Certain  animals  were regarded  as  of  evil  omen for  example,  the  hare,  the  fox,  the  magpie, the  yellow-hammer."  .  .  .  "There  was  a  superstitious  belief  in  the healing  powers  of  certain  herbs  and  plants.  On  the  other  hand, as  there  was  seldom  more  than  one  doctor  in  the  whole  country, people  resorted  to  herbalists  to  relieve  them  in  their  many diseases."
At  this  period  many  people  of  other  names  than  that  of  Mackay were  to  be  found  in  the  Mackay  country.  Some  of  these  had  been settled  in  that  district  from  earliest  times.  Morrisons,  Sutherlands, and  Campbells  were  a  numerous  name  in  the  parish  of  Durness,  the former  having  at  one  time  possessed  lands  there,  while  the  latter appear  to  have  been  descendants  of  the  followers  of  a  certain Campbell,  Bishop  of  Durness.  In  the  parish  of  Eddrachilis,  there were  many  Morrisons  and  Macleods.  The  Mackay  sept-names,  such as  Neilson,  Abrach,  etc.,  together  with  a  few  Clarks  and  Calders, were  found  scattered  throughout  the  country.  Murrays,  Munros, Macdonalds,  Mathesons,  Macphersons,  and  Mackenzies  were  also found  in  Mackay's  territory  at  this  time,  having  in  some  cases  been brought  in  by  the  3rd  Lord  Reay  and  General  Alexander  Mackay, in  connection  with  their  schemes  of  improvement,  while  the  remainder had  migrated  from  their  own  clan  districts  at  different periods.  (to be cont.)


Offline Rw2

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Re: Ancestors of Kenneth Macleod born abt 1759 Parish of Durness
« Reply #76 on: Friday 29 July 22 17:24 BST (UK) »
Lord  Reay's  estate  at  this  time  did  not  include  the  whole  of  the Mackay  Country  proper.'  Strathnaver  had  been  sold  in  the  17th century  to  the  Earl  of  Sutherland,  while  the  two  branches of  the  Chiefs  family the  Mackays  of  Strathy  and  of  Bighouse held  the  lands  of  Strathy  and  Strathalladale  respectively.
The  inhabitants  of  the  Mackay  Country,  we  have  already  seen, were  mainly  occupied  in  pastoral  pursuits,  but  the  kelp  industry, fishing  and  droving,  gave  extra  employment.  The  failure  of  the  crops in  1782-83  had  forced  many  to  emigrate  to  America,  or  seek  work in  the  South,  and  every  year  a  good  number  left  the  country  in search  of  employment  elsewhere.  Manual  labour  or  any  handicraft trades  were  disliked,1  and  the  one  outlet  for  enterprising  young  men was  the  army. ...
Although  situated  for  the  most  part  near  the  sea,  the  majority of  the  people  do  not  appear  to  have  been  fond  of  a  seafaring  life.  The  staple  forms  of  food  were  potatoes,  oatmeal,  fish,  and  mutton. Salt  was  scarce,  and  barley  or  beremeal  the  only  bread.  "  The people  here  live  very  hardy,  principally  on  milk,  curds,  whey,  and a  little  oatmeal.  Their  best  food  is  oat  or  barley  cakes.  A  porridge (brochan)  made  of  oatmeal,  kail,  and  sometimes  a  piece  salt  meat in  it,  is  the  top  fare."  Tea  was  known,  but  seldom  drunk  on  account of  its  expense.  Whisky  had  begun [only begun?] to  take  the  place  of  ale  as  the favourite  drink,  and  brandy  and  other  spirits  were  easily  obtainable, owing  to  the  extensive  smuggling  which  went  on.  Excessive  drinking had  been  sternly  put  down  by  the  Church,  but  still  prevailed, although  to  a  diminished  degree.  Snuff  and  tobacco  were  luxuries practically  unknown.
Every  district  had  its  miller,  every  township  its  weaver,  while the  shoemakers,  like  the  tailors  of  that  day,  were  itinerant,  going from  house  to  house  to  work.  The  few  artificial  and  finery  requirements of  the  population,  especially  those  of  the  female  portion,  of the  communities  lying  scattered  in  secluded  and  out  of  the  way districts,  were  supplied  by  travelling  packmen  or  pedlars,  who  frequented the  fairs  and  markets,  or  perambulated  the  countryside exhibiting  and  selling  their  wares,  and  relating  the  gossip  and  news of  the  day  in  return  for  free  board  and  lodgings.
(To be continued)

Offline Rw2

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Re: Ancestors of Kenneth Macleod born abt 1759 Parish of Durness
« Reply #77 on: Friday 29 July 22 17:24 BST (UK) »
Gaelic  was  the  language  spoken  by  all,  but  English  was  beginning to  make  considerable  progress  among  the  people.
The  Act  of  1747,  abolishing  the  Highland  Garb,  had  been  at  length repealed  in  1782.  As  the  Mackays,  however,  were  a  loyal  clan,  this obnoxious  and  unjust  ordinance  had  never  been  enforced  in  their country  to  any  extent.  In  1794,  many  of  the  people  still  wore  the Highland  garb, but  the  lowland  dress  was  fast  coming  into  general use,  and  the  gentry,  and  those  engaged  in  seafaring  pursuits, had worn  it  for  some  years previous  to  this.  The  bonnet [a bonnet?  like the 'Tam'?],  however,  continued  to  be  the  head-dress  of  the  people  until  well  on  in  the  19th century,  when  this  last  relic  of  the  ancient  garb  finally  disappeared.
The  women  wore  the  ordinary  dress  of  their  sex  at  the  time,  but for  best  wear "all  of  them  have  a  small  plaid,  a  yard  broad,  called 'Guailleachan,' about  their  shoulders,  generally  fastened  by  a  brooch." The  "breid," or "curtah," a fine  linen  handkerchief  fastened  about married  women's  heads,  with  a  flap  behind, had  given  way  to  the "currachd," or mutch, a head-dress  of  linen tied  under  the  chin.  The unmarried  girls  were  distinguished  by  a  snood,  or  ribbon,  which adorned  their  hair.
The  population  was  kept  down  by  constant  visitations  of  small-pox and  other  diseases,  directly  attributable  to  defective  accommodation and  insanitary  surroundings, while  the  generally hard  conditions of  life prevented  any  but  the  strongest  children  reaching  maturity. On  the  other  hand,  owing  to  the  climate,  although  moist,  being bracing  and  salubrious,  longevity  was  common.
The  people  married  young and had usually large families; their physique  was  of a high  order, and  their  height  above  the  average.
Athletic  exercises  were  encouraged,  and  trials  of  strength  and agility  essentially  Highland  in  character  frequently  practised, while poetry,  music,  and  dancing  still  found  willing  devotees  among  this fine  peasantry.
"Of  their  character  at  home  one  minister,  writing  in  1791,  pays a  noble  tribute  to  his  people,  when  he  says  that  only one criminal case  had  been  known  in  his  parish  within  the  memory  of  man."  ... " [!!]   Another  minister  is  able  to  affirm  that  his  parishioners  were  sober, serious, and  industrious,  attentive  to  their  business  and  credit, humane in  deportment, respectful  to  superiors,  and  ready  to  show  kindness to  strangers.
"  One  feature  of  the  social  life  of  the  times,"  observes  the  Rev. Thomson  Mackay,  B.D., "was  the  thirst  for  knowledge,  and  a  love  of reading, through  which  both  classes (tacksmen  and  tenant) could clearly discern  the merits of  questions  of  the  day  and  the  relative importance  of  passing  events." ...

Again, fascinating!

Offline Rw2

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Re: Ancestors of Kenneth Macleod born abt 1759 Parish of Durness
« Reply #78 on: Saturday 06 August 22 00:14 BST (UK) »
Hi again,

Would anyone who's responded in this thread (or anyone) have any insight as to a few Gaelic names in the records.  My great x 6 grandmother Catherine MacKay (wife of John Morrison and mother of Ann) is listed in the Registry as "alias nin Dholicustian" (in a birth record for Ann's sister dating from 1782).   Would anyone guess how Dholicustian might be translated? 

There was some discussion of the different forms of the name for Margaret Sutherland, my great x 5 grandmother (Kenneth MacLeod and Ann Morrison's son-n-law Andrew's mother).   As noted earlier, one record has it as 'nin sainach' (all lower case).  (Someone mentioned that if the name is in fact cainach, that would be Kenneth, which might explain why her marriage record as a widow to the much younger Angus MacPherson [a "single young lad"] has her name written as 'alias MacKenzie').  From a bapt. record in the Durness register dating from 1790 "32.  Angus MacPherson, tenent in Islandhall, and ... Margaret Sutherland, alias Na airiaich [or more likely 'Na ainaich' from my reading], [bore] Fairly   11 Sept."   Would Na airiaich or ainach make a difference?

Thank you in advance for any response.




Offline Forfarian

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Re: Ancestors of Kenneth Macleod born abt 1759 Parish of Durness
« Reply #79 on: Saturday 06 August 22 08:39 BST (UK) »
Would anyone who's responded in this thread (or anyone) have any insight as to a few Gaelic names in the records.  My great x 6 grandmother Catherine MacKay (wife of John Morrison and mother of Ann) is listed in the Registry as "alias nin Dholicustian" (in a birth record for Ann's sister dating from 1782).   Would anyone guess how Dholicustian might be translated?
I have already done so - see Reply #49 on 25 July 2022. Page 6 above.

Quote
Would Na airiaich or ainach make a difference?
It would if it were not a mistranscription.
Why not post an extract of the original to see what Rottschatters make of it?
Never trust anything you find online (especially submitted trees and transcriptions on Ancestry, MyHeritage, FindMyPast and other commercial web sites) unless it's an image of an original document - and even then be wary because errors can and do occur.

Online djct59

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Re: Ancestors of Kenneth Macleod born abt 1759 Parish of Durness
« Reply #80 on: Saturday 06 August 22 22:32 BST (UK) »
Here you go.

To my eyes looks like Hew Morison was correct to suggest nin ainaich, but I'm not sure what it means