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

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Crewmen of the CREST in the Censuses

I have found good matches to six of the ten men. In all but one case, that of John Macrae, Crofter of Habost, the records indicate that they were seamen. The four missing men do return several matches in terms of names, ages and locations but without the corroboration of occupation it is impossible to identify them.

John Macleod b. 1855 Stornoway RNVC No 9730
1901 (47) Seaman (Merchant Service) 20 Sandwick North Street, Stornoway

Malcolm Munro b. 1844-49 Stornoway
1891 (41) Sea Man 35 South Beach, Stornoway

John Macpherson b. 1852 Stornoway
1881 (26) Seaman and Crofter New Valley, Stornoway
1901 (48) Seaman (Merchant Service) 17 Newvalley, Stornoway

Alexander John Maciver b. 1881 Stornoway
1891 (9) 37 Bayhead Street, Stornoway
1901 (19) Ness House, Stornoway

These first four men I am very confident in having identified accurately but the next two are 'best fits'. The first, aboard ship in Gairloch, actually has two possibilities for there were two men from Lochs with the same name and age who were Master of a vessel in Gairloch at the time. The second, John Macrae, is included somewhat tentatively but because he specified Habost in the Crew Agreement (rather than just Lochs), I felt drawn to including him here. It is surprising how often such feelings are later proved correct, perhaps reminding us that genealogy is a rather intimate human activity rather than a purely 'scientific' exercise?

Donald Macdonald b. 1856 Lochs RNVC No 244
1901 (45) Master Vessels, Gairloch

John Macrae b. 1839 Habost, Lochs
1901 (60) Crofter Habost, Lochs

These men either returned no matches or too many to have any chance of identification. The nature of the life of a seafarer meant that many are not recorded in every census and the lives of many of these men, who were hired and fired at the start and end of voyages, included many occupations in addition to their seafaring role. They could well be in the censuses but hidden behind the words 'Crofter', 'Fisherman', or some other occupation. More likely, they were out at sea, risking their lives in the wild waters around Scotland's coasts...

John Macdonald b. 1851 Harris
Murdo Macelod b. 1881 Lochs
Donald Macleod b. 1882 Stornoway
Donald Macmillan b. 1880 Stornoway

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