Fishery Officers of Stornoway

In 19th century the ‘Commissioners of the British White Herring Fishery’ were established.

Fishery Officers were appointed with responsibility for branding the barrels of cured herring to certify compliance with the strict quality controls that had to be met prior to export.

It was only in 1939 that the requirement for one to have experience as a Cooper in order to become a Fishery Officer was ended.

David Comer, 32, Officer of the Fishery, Kenneth Street, b. Wick, Caithness
Catherine Conner, 19, Wife, b. Stornoway
Elizabeth Macpherson, 16, Visitor, b. Cumber, Dumbarton
Catherine Murray, 19, House Maid, b. Stornoway

John Doull, 33, Fishery Officer under the Board of British White Herring Fisheries, 20 Kenneth Street, b. Latheron, Cathness-shire
Ann Klind Doull, 22, Wife, b. West Wemyss, Fife
Mary Morrison, 16, Domestic Servant

In 1882 the Fishery Board for Scotland assumed responsibility for the protection of sea fisheries in Scottish waters.

James B Ingram, 38, H M Fishery Officer, 15 Kenneth Street, b. Peterhead, Aberdeenshire
Mary Ingram, Wife, 36, b. Peterhead
James C Ingram, 14, Son, b. Peterhead
Alexander Ingram, 13, Son, b. Peterhead

Telegraph Post

This marker, on the island of Kerrera, presumably warns of where the undersea cable
from Oban makes its landfall. However, the first successful Transatlantic Telegraph
cable led from here to Newfoundland and it was not until the Cold War years
 of the mid-1950s that a voice cable link to America was established,
 running, perhaps appropriately, along the Sound of Kerrera.
17th  May 2009

Ships Served by Hearachs – a few additional details

1871 EUPHEMIA CAMPBELL, Drainie, Moray
John Campbell, 27, Master, Ewan Campbell, 25, Mate, Neil Kerr, 21, Able Seaman all b. Harris

1881 Ships in European Ports, Shipping at Sea
John Smith, 62, Master, ‘Euphemia Campbell 52971 Stornoway’, b. Banff, Portsoy – plus Mate and 1 Seaman

1884 Dec. 14, 4 55 p.m.. The schooner EUPHEMIA CAMPBELL, of Stornoway, from Lossiemouth for Leven, in ballast, has stranded on Cairnbulg Briggs.

1884 Dec. 14, 7 55 p.m.. The EUPHEMIA CAMPBELL schooner, from Lossiemouth for Leven (ballast), stranded on Cairnbulg Briggs at 6 o’clock yesterday morning: crew saved.

1884 Dec. 15. The EUPHEMIA CAMPBELL has become a total wreck. Everything is being saved as far as practicable.

1884 14 December 1884, EUPHEMIA CAMPBELL, 19 yrs old, registered Stornoway, wooden schooner, 52 tons, 3 crew, Master and Owner H. Forbes, Stonehaven. Departed Lossiemouth for Leven in ballast. Wind SW5, stranded Cairnbulg Briggs, Aberdeenshire.

1891 STATE OF GEORGIA, Vessels, Plantation, Lanarkshire
Robert Macdonald, 32, 3rd Mate and John Cunningham, 27 Able Seaman both b. Harris plus another 73 crew and passengers.

The two-and-a-half thousand ton liner SS State of Georgia was built in 1873 and sold in 1891 to the Allan Line. She made two transatlantic crossings before joining Aberdeen Altantic line in 1893.

1901 SS LOCHIEL, Lying at Dunvegan Pier, Duirinish, Inverness
Hugh Campbell, 26, Able Seaman b. Harris
She was a MacBrayne’s Mail Steamer built in 1877

1901 JAMES HALL, Burghead Harbour, Moray
William Macdonald, 45, Able Seaman,  (b. Obe!)
James Hall’ had 19 crew on board

1901 GLENIFFER, James Watt Dock, Greenock East, Renfrewshire
Robert Macaulay, 23, Seaman, b. Harris
Built of iron in 1866 in Glasgow, this 800 ton sailing ship made no less than four trips to the St Lawrence in 1871. Alexander John Kerr sailed on her for several years ‘in foreign parts’, as his obituary puts it.

1901 GLEN ROSA, Lamlash Pier, Kilbride, Bute
Finlay McDermid, 22, Able Seaman, b. Harris
There were 16 crew aboard this steamship.

1901 HESPERUS, South Pier Oban, Argyll
Dugald Macaskill, 42, Seaman, b. Harris
There were 14 crew aboard this steamship

1901 LINGAL, Victoria Dock Leith, Midlothian
Murdoch Munroe, 26, A B Sailor, Passenger, b. Harris
There were 15 crew aboard this steamship

Seafarers from Harris

Each of these Masters, Mates, Seamen and Sailors was born in Harris.

Here we find them having put down permanent roots elsewhere, in lodgings and on a variety of vessels:

Alexander Ross, 62, Seaman, Head, Upper Sandwick, Stornoway
Angus MacQueen, 30, Seaman, Stornoway.

John Campbell, 50, Seaman Merchant Service, 57 Main Road, Sandwick, Stornoway
John Campbell, 32, Seaman Merchant Service, 8 Cromwell Street, Stornoway

Donald Macdonald, 24, Seaman Merchant Service, 69 Main Road, Sandwick, Stornoway

Kenneth Macdonald, 66, Sailor Merchant Service, 9 North Beach Street, Stornoway

William MacQueen, 47, Master, ‘Mary Ann Machlachlan’, Vessels, Stornoway
Alex Macrae, 42, Seaman, ‘Mary Ann Machlachlan’, Vessels, Stornoway
John Martin, 30, Seaman
John Martin, 18, Seaman

Kenneth Macaskill, 30, Seaman, ‘Christina’, Vessels, North Uist

John Campbell, 40, Seaman, Havelock Lane, Stornoway

Alexander Morrison, 47, Seaman, 27 Keith Street, Stornoway
Alexander Macleod, 30, Seaman,

William MacQueen, 55, Master, ‘Mary Ann Machlachlan’, Vessels, Stornoway
John MacQueen, 21, Able Seaman, ‘Mary Ann Machlachlan’, Vessels, Stornoway

John Campbell, 27, Master, ‘Euphemia Campbell’, Vessels, Drainie, Moray
Ewan Campbell, 25, Mate, ‘Euphemia Campbell’, Vessels, Drainie, Moray
Neil Kerr, 21, Able Seaman, ‘Euphemia Campbell’, Vessels, Drainie, Moray

John Campbell, 27, Master, ‘Cavalier’, Vessels, Drainie, Moray
Roderick Mackinnon, 20, Able Seaman, ‘Cavalier’, Vessels, Drainie, Moray

Donald Macaulay, 42, Seaman, ‘Queen of the South’, Vessels, Greenock

Donald Maclennan, 22, Able Seaman, Vessels, Gretna

Kenneth Campbell, 32, Seaman, 5 Keith Street, Stornoway

Malcolm Kerr, 58, Seaman, Stornoway

Thomas Miller, 60, Seaman, New Holme Road, Stornoway

John Campbell, 39, Seaman, Spy’s Road, Row, Dumbartonshire

Donald Macleod, 37, Seaman, 112 Dempster Street, Greenock West

John Ferguson, 33, Sailor, Solitote, Kilmuir, Inverness

Sandy Mcleod, 37, Mate, ‘Parratto’, Portree Harbour, Skye

Kenneth Macleod, 26, Master, ‘Pearl’, Aberdeen Harbour, Aberdeen

Malcolm Kerr, 68, Seaman, 37 Bayhead Street, Stornoway
Norman Macleod, 35, Seaman, 18 Keith Street, Stornoway
Alexander Morrison, 65, Seaman, Keith Street, Stornoway

John MacQueen, 57, Seaman (Unemployed), 7 Keith Street, Stornoway

John Macleod, 30, Seaman (Unemployed), 5 Lowers Sandwick Road, Stornoway

Hugh Macleod, 57, Seaman, 10 Links Street, Aberdeen

Murdoch Morrison, 20, Sailor, 11 James Watt Street, Glasgow

Alexander Macdonald, 24, Able Seaman, 20 Brown Street, Glasgow
Norman Macleod, 23, Seaman

John Macinnes, 26, Seaman, 47 Crawford Street, Greenock
Ewan Macleod, 30, Seaman
Roderick Robertson, 21, Seaman

Donald Macleod, 45, Seaman, West Shaw Street, Grennock West

Daniel Maclennan, 41, Seaman Merchant Service, 467 Govan Road, Govan

Robert Macdonald, 32, 3rd Mate, ‘State of Georgia’, Vessels, Plantation, Lanarkshire
John Cunningham, 27 Able Seaman, ‘State of Georgia’, Vessels, Plantation, Lanarkshire

Hugh Macaulay, 25, Able Seaman, ‘Catherine and Mary’, Vessels, Cumlodden, Argyll

John Macleod, 61, Able Seaman, ‘Cornelia’, Vessels, Kirkintilloch, Dumbartonshire

John Macleod, 18, Able Seaman, ‘Rona’, Vessels, Anderston, Lanarkshire

Kenneth Macleod, 35, Master, ‘Welcome Home’, Leith North, Midlothian

John Macleod, 41, Seaman and Royal Naval Reserve, 5 Lower Sandwick Street, Stornoway

Donald Macdonald, 27, Sailor, Kipper Road, Stornoway

Donald Campbell, 42, Able Seaman, The James Watt Street Home, Blythswood, Glasgow

John Mackenzie, 31, Seaman Home Trade, 90 Jamieson Street, Hutchesontown, Glasgow Govan

Murdo Morrison, 35, Able Seaman, 106 West Street, Tradeston, Glagow Govan

Donald Macdonald, 25, Sailor (Sailing Vessel), 127 Blackburn Street, Govan
Roderick Macdonald, 21, Sailor (Sailing Vessel), 127 Blackburn Street, Govan
Alexander Macleod, 31, Sailor (Sailing Vessel), 127 Blackburn Street, Govan

Malcolm Mackenzie, 26, Seaman, Pointhouse Restaurant, Anderston, Glasgow Kelvinside
William Macleod, 51, Seaman
Kenneth Patterson, 25, Seaman

Angus Macleod, 35, Sailor, 93a Main Street, Anderston, Glasgow

Donald J McKillop, 22, Seaman Merchant Navy, 70 Maclean Street, Govan, Lanarkshire

Kenneth Macaskill, 33, Sailor, 174 Cowcaddens Street, Glasgow Milton

Aulay Macleod, 27, Seaman, 26 Wellington Street, Greenock West, Renfrewshire

Angus Macleod, 26, Merchant Seaman, 6 Chapel Street, Greenock West, Renfrewshire
Donald Macleod, 22, Merchant Seaman

Hugh Campbell, 26, Able Seaman, ‘SS Lochiel’, Lying at Dunvegan Pier, Duirinish, Inverness

William Macdonald, 45, Able Seaman, ‘James Hall’ Burghead Harbour, Moray (b. Obe!)

Roderick Macdonald, 41, Master, ‘Rona’, off Sandbank Holy Loch, Dunoon, Argyll

John Macaskill, 32, Able Seaman, ‘Tuscorora’, off Sandbank Holy Loch, Dunoon, Argyll

Donald Maclean, 29, Able Seaman, ‘Aster’, off Sandbank Holy Loch, Dunoon, Argyll

Kenneth Macaulay, 35, Able Seaman, ‘Dunara Castle’, Port Tarbert, Harris
Neil Mackenzie, 23, Able Seaman

Robert Macaulay, 23, Seaman, ‘Gleniffer’, James Watt Dock, Greenock East, Renfrewshire

Alex Cunningham, 56, Master, ‘Jane’, East India Harbour, Greenock East, Renfrewshire
John Cunningham, 26, Mate, ‘Jane’, East India Harbour, Greenock East, Renfrewshire
Angus Macleod, 27, Able Seaman, ‘Jane’, East India Harbour, Greenock East, Renfrewshire

Finlay McDermid, 22, Able Seaman, ‘Glen Rosa’, Lamlash Pier, Kilbride, Bute

John Macdonald, 22, Able Seaman, ‘Inchmurren’, Vessels, Kilmartin, Argyll

Dugald Macaskill, 42, Seaman, ‘Hesperus’, South Pier Oban, Argyll

Murdoch Munroe, 26, A B Sailor, Passenger, ‘Lingal’, Victoria Dock Leith, Midlothian

Seamen of Harris

This is a ‘companion’ list to that of the Sailors. The terms ‘Seaman’ and ‘Sailor’ are interchangeable, but distinct from those of ‘Fisherman’ and ‘Fisher’.

I have given the number at each location, arranged roughly North to South plus an indication of the number of Seaman’s Wives listed in each census:

1851 -6 Seamen, 2 Wives
Tarbert – 5
Kentulavig – 1

1861 – 6 Seamen, 2 Wives
Finsbay – 3
Strond – 3

1871 – 4 Seamen, 1 Wife
House at Tarbert
In Postoffice Tarbert
House at Little Urgha
Harris – 1

1881 – 4 Seamen, 0 Wives
East Tarbert No 5 – 2
North Harris – 1
Ardhasaigh No 77 – 1

1891 – 7 Seamen, 4 Wives
Scalpay No 2 – 1
Kyles Scalpay – 2
No 26 East Tarbert – 1
Scadabay – 2
Kentulvig – 1

1901 – 16 Seamen, 0 Wives
Scalpay – 1
Kyles Scalpay – 1
Carragreich – 1
No 53 North Harris – 1
No 54 North Harris – 1
No 67 North Harris – 1
Direcleit – 2
6 Drinishader – 1
18 Drinishader – 1
Stockinish – 1
Finsbay – 3
Cuidinish – 1
Obb – 1

Of these 43 Seamen, only 6 are found on the South Coast and none on the West Coast of South Harris. The North (East and West Loch Tarbert ) plus the island of Scalpay and the Bays predominate.

The small numbers of Seamen, taken with the similarly small number of Sailors seen earlier, appears to suggest that Harris was able to provide a living for, and therefore to hold-onto, onto very few of her seafarers.

Table of Sailors, Seaman and the Total

Year    Sailors   Seamen   Total
1841      8             0             8
1851    10             6           16
1861      1             6             7
1871      2             4             6
1881    17             4            21
1891      4             7            11
1901      6            16           22

Placenames Collected by Iain Mac an Tailleir – Harris

Harris, Na Hearadh ‘division’ or ‘portion’

In South Harris, the West side is known as a’ Mhachair, “machair land”,
contrasting with the East side which is na Bàigh, “bays”.

The hilly area inland from the east coast is Bràigh nam Bàgh, “upland of the bays”.

A Harris person is a Hearach or Tearach.

The full list is here:
There are 5 pdf links at the bottom of the page that can be downloaded and searched which is extremely useful!

The ‘Town’ of Oban in Harris

In the course of researching the Sailors of Harris I was somewhat taken-aback to find one in 1881 who’s address was ‘Oban No 4’. I expanded my search for all occupants of this place and became even more mystified when it appeared from 1891 as a ‘Town’, a term usually reserved for one of the few larger settlements on the island.

Where was this town of Oban? Was it perhaps a transcription error of ‘Obbe’? Clearly further investigation was demanded. I patiently went through each census, noting the number of people, and looking for clues as to this mystery location.

It dawned upon me, when I reached 1881, that this Oban was in North Harris (ruling-out the Obbe conjecture) and that it was tiny. Four houses worth of smallness.

I had already tried Googling for it but without success. There was nothing for it but to look at the maps. Carefully. Starting at Tarbert, where North & South Harris meet, I ‘walked’ less than a mile before four letters leapt out at me…Oban. Four letters and a lot of nothing-else-ness.

Oban is on the road to Scalpay. It lies no more than a mile from the Post Office in Tarbert. I’d walked past it last year, oblivious that it existed as a named settlement, let-alone somewhere demanding a separate set of entries in the censuses.

I next looked at the area on the 1883 map to see if, perhaps, I could see whereabouts the old houses had been. I could clearly see those of Tarbert and of nearby Urgha Beag but I’ve yet to find the four houses of Oban.

I turned to Streetview on Google Maps and was reminded that I had stopped to take photographs from Oban (as I now know it) because it affords a rather fine view across East Loch Tarbert to Direcleit. The small bay is Ob Liceasto.

So, here are the detailed census returns for Oban, Harris from the 1861 & 1881 censuses plus the number of inhabitants for the other years. The reason for ommitting 1841 and 1851 is simple – Oban doesn’t get a mention, well, not the Harris one…

Margaret Macdonald, 48, Tenant’s Wife, Private House Oban, b. Harris
Margaret, 19, Daughter, b. Harris
Anna Bella, 11, Scolar, Daughter, b. Harris
John Macdonald, 13, Ag Lab, Servant, b. Harris
Angus Macrae, 37, Free Minister Officiating and Leader, Oban, Lodger, b. Kintail, Ross-shire

1871 – 20 people

1881 NB 1881 sees separation of N & S Harris

Norman Macleod, 40, Fisherman, Oban No 1, b. Harris
Jane, 47, wife, b. North Uist
Donald, 18, Fisherman, Son, b,North Uist
Neil, 15, Fisherman, Son, b. North Uist
Rachel, 12, Scholar, Daughter, b. Harris
Archibald, 9, Scholar, Son, b. Harris
Margaret, 7, Scholar, Daughter, b. Harris
Mary B, 5, Scholar, Daughter, b. Harris
Effie, 3, Daughter, b. Harris
Christina, 9 months, Daughter, b. Harris

Murdo Mackinnon, 43, Fisherman, Oban No 2, b. Harris
Catherine, 36, Wife, b. Harris
Effie, 12, Scholar, Daughter, b. Harris
Duncan, 10, Scholar, son, b. Harris
Angus, 9, Scholar, Son, b. Harris
Donald, 7, Scholar, Son, b. Harris
Marion, 5, Scholar, Daughter, b. Harris
Murdo, 4, Son, b. Harris
Malcolm, 2, Son, b. Harris
Betsy Macdonald, 23, General Servant, Oban No 2, b. Harris

Ann Ferrier, 40, Wool Spinner, Wife, Oban No 3, b. Harris

Robert D Macleod, 32, Sailor, Oban No 4, b. Harris
Hannah I, 30, Wife, b. Harris
Peggy, 6 months, Daughter, b. Harris
Robert Macdonald, 15, General Servant, Nephew, Oban No 4, b. Harris

1891 – 22 people

1901 – 15 people

After the division of Harris into North and South for the purposes of the censuses, from 1881 onwards, a further refinement began. Starting in 1891, and expanded by 1901, many places that had previously simply been an ‘Address’ became a ‘Town’. This appears to have taken place somewhat arbitrarily and certainly not in proportion to the size of any given settlement.

It was certainly a useful development, particularly when accompanied with an increasing use of numbers to identify individual houses but nevertheless, for a wee while, the Town of Oban in Harris had me foxed!

Tinker, TAILOR, Soldier, SAILOR

Tailors & Sailors of Harris

This is a very simple, crude listing of returns for the search terms ‘Tailor’ and Sailor’.

I came upon several ‘Tailors’ in ‘Merchant Service’, perfectly reflecting the perils of dealing with this data which is what led me to take a look simultaneously at these two very different occupations.

1841 14
1851 07
1861 13
1871 07
1881 14
1891 11
1901 18

With a range from 7 to 18 and an average of 12, Tailors certainly fluctuated but hardly alarmingly.
I shall detail these Tailors another time.

1841 08
1851 10
1861 01
1871 02
1881 17
1891 04
1901 06

With a range from 1 to 17 and an average of 7, it appears that very few folk on Harris worked as Sailors.

Of course, it is entirely possible that, due to these censuses being taken in late March or early April, all the sailors were at sea. In theory they should still appear, listed aboard their ‘Vessels’, but in practice this is often not the case.

The other clue as to whether there were more is by looking at the number of Sailors’ Wives left at home:

1851 07
1861 00
1871 02
1881 04
1891 01
1901 02

These figures tend to confirm that Harris was home to very few Sailors, but what about Seamen?

Dressmakers of Harris

Here are the dressmaking ladies of Harris that appear in the censuses from 1841 to 1901.

1841 None Listed
1851 none Listed

1861 – 8
Rachel Macaulay, 25, Dress Maker, Daughter, Strond, b. Harris
Johanna Macaulay, 21, Dress Maker, Daughter, Strond, b. Harris
Ann Silver, 24, Dress Maker, Daughter, Strond, b. Harris
BAYS – 4
Mary Mackinnon, 30, Dress Maker, Daughter, Ardvey, b. Harris
Mary Macleod, 36, Dressmaker, Head, Leacli, b. Harris
Mary Mackinnon, 24, Dressmaker, Leacli, Visitor, b. Harris
Mary Maclean, 24, Dress Maker, Granddaughter, Geocrab, b. Harris
Marion Macleod, 21, Dress Maker, Visitor, West Tarbert, b. Harris

1871 – 3
Isabell Kerr, 41, Dressmaker, Wife, Strond, b. Harris
BAYS – 1
Mary Mackinnon, 32, Dress Maker, Sister, Arvey, b. Harris
Ann Macleod, 30, Dressmaker, Daughter, Tarbert Cottage, b. Harris

1881 – 3
Marion Macdonald, 26, Dress Maker, Daughter, East Tarbert No 5, b. Harris
Christina Macdonald, 24, Dress Maker, Daughter, East Tarbert No 5, b. Harris
Ann Macaulay, 42, Dress Maker, Wife, North Harris, b. Stornoway

1891 – 8
Ketty Macaulay, 23, Dressmaker, Niece, Strond, b. Harris
Johanna Stewart, 24, Dressmaker, Daughter, Strond, b. Harris
BAYS – 2
Ann Macaulay, 58, Dressmaker, Wife, Geocrab, b. Durness, Sutherland
Maggie Martin, 18, Dressmaker, Sister, No 3 Scadabay, b. Harris
Catherine Macrae, 17, Dress Maker, Daughter, Hamlets Little Borve, b. Harris
Maggie Mckay, 23, Dressmaker, Daughter, No 17 East Tarbert, b. Harris
Bella Macleod, 22, Dressmaker, Daughter, No 18 East Tarbert, b. Harris
Mary B Macleod, 15, Apprentice Dressmaker, Visitor, No 11 East Tarbert, b. Harris

1901 – 18
Obb – 2
North Bayhead
BAYS – 4
Geocrab – 2
Grosebay – 2
NORTH – 10
No 27 – 2
No 36
No 45
No 62
Kyles Scalpay
Little Urgha – 3

(I have not listed the individuals for this year in order to keep this entry to a reasonable length)

The first thing that strikes me is how few Dressmakers there were but then it has to be remembered that in those days all girls would be expected to be able to wield a needle and thread with a high degree of accomplishment. Thus these may merely be the lucky few who were able to generate extra income from their skills.

The second thing is how many are spinsters in their twenties and thirties. Presumably once married for the majority their dressmaking was largely subsumed within the demanding role of being a wife.

Finally, we can see evidence of the growth in importance of the North over time but the South and Bays areas appear to have remained more resilient in Dressmaking than in other fields.

I intend to conducting a similar exercise for the Tailors of Harris but have been putting that off due to known transcription errors that confuse Sailors and Tailors!

The Harris Walkway – Leacli to Greosabhagh via Caolas Stocinis

This marker is on the road between the A859 and Aird Mhighei.
The Walkway has only been open since 2001and the effect of the 
island climate on the marker (unlike the writing) is clear to see.
Note the Waymarker and sign to the Coffin Road

A full description of this route, including photos, can be read here: