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

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Harris Catechists

These are the Catechist (Instructor in Religious Doctrine) records for the 1841-1901 censuses.

There is probably not much to be learnt from this particular group of records but I have included them for the sake of 'completeness' in composing an ecclesiastical account from the Harris censuses.

1841 - None

Donald Mackinnon, 39, Catechist and Farmer, Obe, b. Harris

John Morrison, 55, Free Church Catechist, Leac a Li, b. Harris

Donald Mackinnon, 48, Catechist, Obe, b. Harris

Neil Stewart, 70, Catechist, Diraclet, b. Kilmuir, Inverness-shire

Donald Mackinnon, 56, Catechist, Smithy, Harris, b. Harris

Malcolm Morrison, 36, Free Church Catechist, Meavaig, b. Uig, Ross-shire

Donald John Maclean, 55, Catechist, Rushgarry, Bernera, b. Uist

John Smith, 41, Catechist, No 80 Scalpay, b. Uig, Ross-shire

We know that John Morrison (Gobha na Hearadh) had to vacate An-t-Ob as a result of his Free Church adherence so it appears likely that Donald Mackinnon was working for the Church of Scotland.

The 1871 'Smithy' is presumably that in An-t-Ob, rather than the one established in Tarbert by Ewen Morrison, a Blacksmithing Son of John Morrison, Blacksmith and Catechist!


  1. John MacDermid [Iain Ban na Faolinn] my Great Great Grandfather removed to Scalpay from Rodel/Strond as a Catechist/Laypreacher.
    Occupation on Death Certificate is given as Retired West Coast Missionary.
    Incidentally John MacDermid gave evidence to Napier Commission in 1881

  2. Thank you, Angus. I wrote a short piece about your great, great Grandfather's evidence: http://direcleit.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/i-will-tell-you-how-rodel-was-cleared.html .