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

Saturday, 16 April 2011

1911 Harris Households containing Kerr folk

In the previous piece I mentioned that there were only 15 people left on Harris bearing the family name Kerr:
There are some 18 people listed here so quite why three of them were missing from my original search is a (somewhat concerning!) indexing mystery...

Please note that all spellings are given as they appear on the census sheets.

I have shown in bold those who are my relatives.

DERECLET – 7, living in 3 consecutively listed households

Catherine, 35, G&E, Hand Loom Weaveress (Home Spun), Own Account, At Home, b. Harris
Married 9 years, 3 children all still alive. Her husband, my cousin John Kerr, was a Salmon Fisher at Chanonry Point in 1901 and died on the 8th of November 1950 in Direcleit. His mother is the Widow Mary Kerr seen below.
Christy, 7, Daughter, G&E, School, b. Harris
Mary, 5, Daughter, G&E, School, b. Harris
Angus, 2, Son, b. Harris

W Mary, 72, Gaelic, Widow, Tweed Making Home Spun (Old Age Pensioner), Own Account, At Home,
Marion, 43, Daughter, Single, G&E, Woollen Weaveress Home Spun, Own Account, At Home, b. Harris
Mary was the wife of Angus Kerr, a Fisherman and the younger brother of my great, great grandfather.

Effie, 80, Single, Gaelic, Tweed Making OA Pensioner, Own Account, At Home, b. Harris
I think this is my great, great grandaunt who was my great, great grandfather's youngest sister and a sister-in-law of her neighbour, the Widow Mary.

Christina Kerr, 21, G&E, Servant, b. Harris
Christina was the eldest daughter of my great grand uncle Roderick of Obbe. She was living in the household of Norman Robertson, 29, Estate Factor, b. Portree.

Their neighbours (in what appears to have been the smaller od the two houses) include the 70 year-old widow Sarah Macdonald, the Mrs Macdonald of Kyles Lodge who wrote an account of the origins of Harris Tweed.

Annie, 17, Niece, G&E, Hand Loom Weaveress Harris Tweed, Own Account, At Home, b. Glasgow
As far as I know, Annie has no connection to the Kerr families of Harris.

OBBE - 5
Roderick, 68, Gaelic, General Labourer, b. Harris
Peggy, 57, Wife, Gaelic, Harris Tweed Spinner, Own Account, At Home, b. Harris
Married 30 years, 8 children of whom 6 still alive.
Angus, 20, Son, Gaelic & English, General Labourer, b. Harris
Kate, 16, Daughter, G&E, b. Harris
John, 9, Son, G&E, At School, b. Harris

Roderick, who was born in Direcleit, was the son of my great, great grandfather Malcolm Kerr and his first wife, Bess Macdonald. He was raised by his grandparents in Direcleit before returning to the family roots along the Sound of Harris. His son, Angus, was wed at Scarista in 1923 and the Minister performing the ceremony was John Kerr, the 'Ayatollah' of Finlay J Macdonald's books.

Ann Maclean, 44, Gaelic, Single, Harris Tweed Spinner, Own Account, At Home, b. Harris
John Kerr, 15, Son, G&E, b. Harris

Jessie Macleod, 74, Single, Harris Tweed Spinner, Own Account, At Home, b. Greenock
Donald Kerr, 49, Son, Single, Crofter Fisherman, b. Harris
Susan Kerr,, 46, Daughter, Single, Harris Tweed Spinner, Own Account, At Home, b. Harris
Donald Morrison, 19, Grandson, Single, Assisting on croft, b. Harris

This family descend from a Shoemaker, Angus Kerr, and his wife Margaret Mackay. The 15 year-old John Kerr was the son of the unmarried Ann Maclean and Donald Kerr, who in turn was the son of the unmarried John Kerr and Jessie Macleod. Quite why this family shunned wedlock is unknown but it certainly proved challenging when I was mapping all the Kerr families on Harris!

Lexy Kerr, 79, Widow, G&E, Private Means, b. Harris

Lexy, whose husband Angus Kerr spent his whole working life serving the South Harris Estate, was living three doors down from the 'Boarding House' ie what began life as Rodel House and is currently the Rodel Hotel.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect is that 1911, the year that the Clo Mor was first stamped with the Orb Mark, displays in the census returns for the first time the words 'Harris Tweed'...

...and I'm very proud to have several female relatives shown to be engaged in spinning & weaving this most famous of Home Spun fabrics!

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