One of the particular pleasures of genealogy is how when one is pursuing of one particular area of interest an altogether new one manifests itself.
I was trawling (pun intended) for Stornowegian Herring Fishermen when I happened upon one such instance.
In 1881 I was astonished to find no less than 291 of these men in Ardersier, Inverness. Such a concentration in one place clearly implied that something was going-on. My initial thought, given that it was early in April of that year, was that perhaps I’d found the Herring Fleet massed during a fishing expedition.
The truth was altogether different and reflected another aspect of the lives of the islanders:
In 1769 the fort at Ardersier on the Moray Firth was completed and by 1881 had become
Fort George and Fortified Garrison, On the Moray Firth, Ardersier, Inverness-shire.
In the census of that year there were 1211 people at Fort George, 1043 of the males including the men of the Highland Rifle Militia:
Major Highland Rifle Militia, Commander HRM – Alexander C Macleay, 38, b. London
Major Highland Rifle Militia, Second in Command HRM
Hon Major H R Militia Full Pay – Joseph Charles Ross Grove, 46, b. Demerera, West India
Pipe Major – Robert Mackenzie, 38, b. Fodderty, Ross (Wife & Children) 4 Pipers
Bugle Major – William Thomas Smith, 41, b. Barbados, West Indies (Wife & daughter) 4 Buglers
Sergeant Major – Alexander Sutherland, 44, b. Latheron, Caithness
Sergeant Major – John Anderson, 38, b. Dundee
39 Corporals, 3 Stornoway, 1 Lochs
Kenneth Munro, 23, Tailor (Master) b. SY
Alexander Macdonald, 22, Herring Fisherman, b. SY
John Maclean, 21, Herring Fisherman, b. SY
Malcolm Morrison, 23, Herring Fisherman, b. Lochs
66 Sergeants, 1 Stornoway
Nicol Nicolson, 23, Sergeant Military Duty, b. SY
The Isle of Lewis supplied 379 men to the Militia of whom 331 were Herring Fishermen.
Here are the total number of people at Fort George for each census, with those listed from the Parishes of Lewis:
1881 1211 – 331 Stornoway, 30 Lochs, 11 Uig, 1 Barvas = 379 Lewis
1891 1131 – 286 Stornoway, 70 Barvas, 63 Lochs, 29 Uig = 648 Lewis
1901 756 – 5 Stornoway, 1 Barvas = 6 Lewis
Finally, this is the wonderfully graphic address of Fort George from the 1901 Census:
North West Corner of Parish of Ardersier – Washed On Three If Its Sides By The Moray Firth
Fort George: Fort George
Possible Badge of the HRM- http://www.scottishmilitaryarticles.org.uk/smhsbadgebox01.htm