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

Thursday, 18 February 2010

An Old Photograph From Stornoway

This family portrait was taken by Mcleod's of Stornoway.

It is of the family of a tailor, Norman Montgomery (1853-1899), his wife Marion Maciver (1853-1951) and includes seven of their eight children.

The youngest two, Johanna and Donald, were born in 1887 and 1889 respectively. I think this dates the photo to circa 1897, a couple of years before Norman's early death in Glasgow.

My interest in the photograph is that Norman Montgomery was my grandfather's father.

Norman married Marion Maciver on the 30th June 1875, my grandfather John Kerr having been born less than four months earlier on the 5th March 1875.

On the 13th July of that year, the Sheriff's Court in Stornoway ruled that Norman's name be added to the records as the illegitimate John's father.

His mother, Annie Kerr, a dressmaker, went on to have seven more children after marrying her cousin William Maciver, a baker, on the 21st April 1881.

They left 6 year-old John to be raised by his grandparents which was not unusual in cases where births out of wedlock were being concealed but seems somewhat strange given Annie's pursing of Norman in the courts?

Note: Until a few years ago I knew nothing about my grandfather other than his name and that he was born in Stornoway. It was a phone call from an historian in Edinburgh in 2006 that informed me of his father's details. As a result of that information, and a bit of 'Googling', I came upon someone seeking information on a Norman Montgomery of Stornoway. I composed a rather delicate email to this fellow descendant who was totally unaware of Norman's first venture into fatherhood. Three years ago we met at her home on Skye and a couple of days later her brother gave me a whistle-stop tour of Lewis. Annie & Norman were united again...


  1. Norman Montgomery was my grandfather's father also! My grandfather was Donald Norman born in 1889 in Stornoway. He emigrated to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and in 1918, married Gladys Webb. They had two children, Patricia Margaret and John, separated in about 1924 and divorced in 1929. Patricia was my mother. She never saw her father after the separation and knew very little about him. Before her death in 2006, she was able to obtain a photo of him taken in the 1950's. He died August 11, 1960. I would be thrilled to be in contact with you or any of his family to share information. Lyn Reid Salyn Victoria, BC Canada email: lynsown@gmail.com

  2. Hi - this is really interesting! I am wondering if we are related in some way. My Granny was Catherine Montgomery of 43A newmarket and she would always tell me that her uncle built the bridge in Carloway. She had a painting of the bridge as well that still hangs in her old home. I bring my children up every summer and remind then of the connection. My 6 year old is doing a project on bridges at school and that is how we came across your website. My granny was born in 1905 and died in 1995 and was a teacher in Carloway in the 20s.
    I'm amazed at all the information you have collected here! Kirsty

  3. Hi Kirsty, so your granny and my great grandfather were 1st cousins? Hello cousin! :) Glad you are exploring the blog and best wishes to your offspring with the project. Cheers, Peter.