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

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Enumeration Districts of Harris in 1911

I have previously written of the useful information to be found lurking in the Header pages of Census images that one views on ScotlandsPeople as may be seen in these pieces relating to 1851 and 1871.

The 1911 header pages unfortunately do not appear to have maintained the previous practice of allowing the Minister of the Parish space to make his (often extensive & always interesting) comments.

However, the Headers do include useful Summary pages and continue the practice introduced in 1891 of including data on Gaelic and Gaelic & English speakers.

I am looking at the data from just three of the Enumeration Districts (purely because the people whose records I have had cause to investigate so far all lived in just these three areas).

Enumeration District 2 South Harris – includes Strond

357 people, 156 male, 201 female (43.7% male, 56.3% female)

Gaelic 91, G&E 247

338 speakers (94.7% of population) of whom Gaelic 26.9%, G&E 73.1%

Enumeration District 5 South Harris – includes 'Kylis' & Kintulavig

298 people, 142 male, 156 female (47.7% male, 52.3% female)

Gaelic 81, G&E 188

269 speakers (90.3% of population) of whom Gaelic 30.1%, G&E 69.9%

Enumeration District 4 North Harris – includes 'Kendibeg & Dereclet'

156 people, 80 male, 76 female (51.3% male, 48.7%female)

Gaelic 25, G&E 122

147 speakers (94.2% of population) of whom Gaelic 17.0%, G&E 83.0%

I am reluctant to draw strong conclusions from just three samples but the broad similarity for the Gaelic/G&E figures in the two Southern districts certainly contrast with that from their Northern neighbour. Many factors will be at play here including the age distribution (especially the proportion of people of school age pre & post the 1874 Education Act), the location of the schools and the ability for the children to have attended both for financial and physical reasons. The island's teachers from the previous decade are to be seen in this piece from my series on Education in Harris. Also, does the lower proportion of 'speakers' in District 5 as compared to the other two districts indicate a greater proportion of pre-verbal infants there, perhaps?
A complex topic and I hope that this brief incursion into it has been of some interest.

Finally, an illuminating extract from the Description page for District 4 of North Harris:

'A road leads from the foot of the Leachan Road to the little pier at east loch Tarbert in front of the Old Post Office in the March between North Harris and South Harris, the said house being in South Harris though it is in the Registration district of North Harris, the same road leads to the little pier at West Tarbert, it pass in front of the new post office, which is also in South Harris though in the Registration district of North Harris. The Old Post Office and the new Post Office are in South Harris, though in the Registration District of North Harris.'

The Enumerator who wrote that paragraph was Mr Finlay Macleod and we can only guess at the point he was making to his census superiors by including it as his only comment on the roads etc of this District!

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