In 1871, the Butt of Lewis lighthouse’s two-storey house was home to its 53 year-old keeper, George Edgar with his wife Grace and four of their children.
George had been born in Portpatrick, Kincardineshire in about 1818 and his lightkeeping days can be traced by the exploring the birthplace of his 8 children and the censuses:
1843 James, Portpatrick, Wigtownshire
1847 Elizabeth, Dunnet Head, Caithness-shire
1848 Alexander, Girdleness, Aberdeenshire
1850 George, Girdleness, Aberdeenshire
1851 Ardnamurchan Point Lighthouse
1853 Archibald, Ardnamurchan, Argyll
1856 William & John, Sanday, Orkney
1858 Isabella, Barvas, Lewis This is particularly significant as the light at Ness wasn’t completed until 1862 and suggests that George possibly played a part in the construction process.
1861 Start Point Lighthouse, Orkney
1871 Butt of Lewis Lighthouse
1881 1 Europie – Principal Lighthouse Keeper, Butt of Lewis
1891 73 year-old Retired Lighthouse Keeper George is back in his hometown of Portpatrick with his unmarried daughter Isabella Beattie. Son James, 48, is Keeper at the lighthouse in Killkorran, Argyll whilst his younger brother John is one of three keepers on Scotland’s most Northerly light, that on the island of Muckle Hugga in the Shetlands.
1901 – George and his daughter are still enjoying his retirement in Portpatrick but son John is Principal Light Keeper at Whalesay Skerries, Shetland whilst his eldest brother James is the keeping the light at Holy Isle, Bute.
The Edgar family, led by father George, shone lights to sea for over half a century, during which time they served the Stevenson family,the Northern Lighthouse Board and countless sailors in aiding the process of safer seafaring.
Note: The bold locations indicate lighthouses served by the Edgar family.