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

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Striking Gold – or, rather, Tin

It is the 31st March 1901 and we are at the Tinkers Camp in Market Stance, Stornoway.

There are two families here, the Macdonalds and the Stewarts:

Donald Macdonald, 45, Travelling Tinsmith, b. Lochcarron, Sutherland
Christina Macdonald, 40, Travelling Tinsmith, Wife, b. Gairloch, Ross
Jane Macdonald, 20, Travelling Tinsmith, Daughter, b. Stornoway
Donald Macdonald, 19, Travelling Tinsmith, b. Stornoway
George Macdonald, 15, Son, b. Stornoway
John Macdonald, 15, Son, b. Stornoway
Peter Macdonald, 6, Son, b. Stornoway
Benjamin Macdonald, 4, Son, b. Stornoway

Alexander Stewart, 22, Tinsmith Traveller, b. Stornoway
Mary Stewart, 21, Tinsmith's Wife, b. Broadfield, Inverness
Coll Stewart, 2, Son, b. Barvas, Ross
Jane Stewart, 2 months, Daughter, b. Barvas, Ross

Several things strike me:

These two families were obviously welcomed within the town and given a prime location to stay.

The two Stewart children were both born in Barvas and the youngest some two months earlier so the family had been on the island since at least January of that year.

All the Macdonald children are said to have been born in Stornoway. Was this the fact, indicating at least 20 years of visiting the town, or did the person responsible for providing the birthplaces simplify things? Only a search of the records can answer that question.

My earlier entry on 'Two Traveller Families' dealt with two Stewart families, one of which included a couple of Barvas-born offspring but no Alexander.

If nothing else, I have learnt that in 1901 there was a 'Tinkers Camp in the Market Stance' in Stornoway.

(Earlier piece can be found here: Two Traveller Families)

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