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, 15 September 2010

Alexander Carmichael in Uist

Alexander Carmichael (1932-1912) spent two periods of his life living in the Western Isles and, as luck would have it, we catch sight of him there during the night of two consecutive censuses:

1871 The Manse of Trumisgarry, North Uist

Alexander A Carmichael, 38, Officer of Inland Revenue (Excise Branch), b. Lismore, Argyle
Mary F U M Carmichael, 29, Wife, b. Par. of Tongue, Sutherlandshire
Elizabeth C Carmichael, 7 months, b. Par. Of Lismore, Argyle
Catherine Carmichael, 17, Niece, Visitor, b. Par. Lismore, Argyle

Catherine Macaulay, 22, General domestic Servant, b. North Uist
Margaret Macinnes, 18, Nurse, b. North Uist

(Alexander Carmichael, 3, Visitor, Newton Farm House, North Uist, b. Lismore, Argyle)

1881 Scolpaig Farm House, North Uist

Alexander Carmichael, 49, Officer Inland Revenue, b. Lismore, Argyleshire
Mary F Carmichael, 39, Wife, b. Logie, Inverness-shire
Alexander M Carmichael, 12, Son, b. Lismore, Argyleshire
Elizabeth C Carmichael, 10, Daughter, b. Lismore, Argyleshire
Eon K Carmichael, 9, Son, b. South Uist
John M Carmichael, 6, Son, b. South Uist

John Macdonald, 26, Farm Grieve, b. North Uist
Alexander McQuinn, 20, Ploughman, b. North Uist
Alexander MacDonald, 25, Shepherd, b. North Uist
Roderick Macrury, 16, Cattle Herd, b. North Uist
Mary Maclean, 36, Domestic Servant, b. North Uist
Janet Macdougall, 27, Dairymaid, b. North Uist

It is known that the Carmichael's lived at Creagorry on South Uist and I presume that the two youngest boys were both born there. It is also known that they spent their second stay in Uist, beginning in 1880, in Scolpaig but I think that the record of them living in the The Manse at Trumisgarry in 1871 (and us seeing the eldest son Alexander staying 3 miles away at Newton perhaps as a treat, perhaps due to the recent arrival of his baby sister?) is 'new' information.

Whatever the circumstances, I thought I'd add this little piece on a man who did magnificent work in recording Gaelic culture and whose path crossed, productively, those of Captain FWL Thomas and Admiral Otter. Oh, and let us not forget their wives for, to differing degrees and in various ways, these three ladies also appear to have played significant roles in this work in their own right.



  1. A statement by Alexander Carmichael is contained in Appendix XLVIII to the Napier Commission's Report on the Conditions of Crofters and Cottars in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland,

  2. Many thanks for notifying me of that and supplying the link - much appreciated!