Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Friday, 19 February 2010

A House

I find the history of buildings, whether they be monumental statements of public and private pride or the humblest of constructions, fascinating.

I came upon this reference to a house in Stornoway:

20 Bayhead
18th century
A lone survivor, albeit altered, of the old settlement around Bayhead.
The building's age is indicated by its roof pitch, low entrance and the disposition of windows, which are well set back into their reveals.


(Ref: "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008.Rutland Press)

It is also a British listed Building and can be seen here: 20 Bayhead

It is particularly awkward to accurately trace the occupancy of a specific building when interrogating a database of census transcriptions.

In England, it is possible to view original images of the census returns and page back and forth, thus retracing the steps taken by each enumerator and this is particularly useful in rural areas where roads and houses often lack precision in naming and numbering.

The Scottish records cannot be researched in this manner and one has to resort to a number of tricks to locate the information that is being sort. But that's part of the fun!

1821 - The Town Plan of 1821 should enable identification of the owner of the building.it also shows the extent of the bay that lay North of it, in contrast to the present day situation near the head of the bay. I think it was the property of a Mr D McDonald in 1821, the 6th site down from New Street.

1841-1861 Insufficient address data to identify occupants

1871
Norman Mciver, Shoemaker, 56, b. Stornoway, wife Catherine and 5 children
Murdo Mackenzie, Cooper, 55, b. Stornoway, wife Isabella and 3 children
Total 12 people

1881
Norman Mciver, Shoemaker, 65, wife Catherine and 9 children including Norman, Apprentice Blacksmith, 26 and Duncan, General Labourer, 18.
Alexander Morrison, Seaman, 58, b. Barvas, wife Mary
Margaret Maciver, 60, Margaret Morrison, 59 b. Aberdeen
Total 15 people

1891 – Address not listed

1901
Donald MacFarquar 47, b. Stornoway, Blacksmith & Wheelwright, wife Catherine and 6 children including Janet, Dairy Keeper, 19 plus Annie Macleod, Domestic Servant, 19.
Total 9 people

1911
Donald Macfarquhar dies at No 22 but the Informant is his Brother-in-Law, Archibald Munro of No 20.
Archibald was the Town Clerk and Harbour Master and husband of Donald's sister, Mary.

1927
John Kerr, Blacksmith, 27, b. Stornoway and wife Mary Ann Macdonald 26
 (According to Marriage Certificate, at time of his Death in 1957 he was a Motor Mechanic)

1935
Ronald MacFarquhar, but I think it was Donald!
(According to Death Certificate of Donald Kerr, 51, Building Contractor, of 10 Bayhead Street)

1945
Donald MacFarquhar, Grain Merchant, son of the 1901 Blacksmith & Wheelwright
(According to his wife Mary Kerr's Death Certificate - she was the third child of Alexander John Kerr and his first wife, Margaret Macarthur)

2010 – Veterinary Surgery

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