Once I had completed researching my own lineage on Harris and Lewis, I thought that it would be interesting, and fairly easy!, to chart all of the Kerr families on Harris. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It has taken a considerable effort to amass the information.
The excellent thing about Scottish records is that they contain more information than their English counterparts and it only costs pennies over £1 to access an image. Compare that with the £9.25 for a (less-informative) Birth, Marriage or Death Certificate from England! Nevertheless, I have not accessed every single such record for Harris but sufficient for me to be able to present the following with a pretty high degree of confidence.
Oh, and my one complaint where the English records are superior to the Scottish, is that the indexing of those in Scotland is comparatively poor and one is charged to view each set of results, whether or not a likely ‘hit’ happens to be found within them.
These, the, are the 10 original ‘Hearth-holds’ (as I have elected to describe them!) from 1841.
I have only included the male descendants as their histories show how the name expired from the island:
A) Chersty (1761-bef1851) Tarrinsay, Hand Loom Weaver
B)Rock (1800-?) Strond, Tenant, Emigrated? bef1851
C) Rodrick (1800-?) Rha (Taransay), Ind, Emigrated? bef 1861
D) Peter (1796-) Glendsiluvaig, Tenant, 1851 – Kentulavick, Dry Mason, Moved to Argyllshire
E) Angus, Strond, Shoemaker (1791-bef1851) and Margaret (1790-1864)
e1) Donald (1816-1887)
Strond, Shoemaker, 1851 Farm of Strond, Shoemaker, 1881 Strond Merchant
1851 Farm of Strond, Port Esgein, Shoemaker, 1861 Tarbert, Grocer, 1871/81 Strond, Merchant
e2e) Donald (1858-1925) (John’s Son)
1901 Berneray, Road Labourer 1925 Strond, Crofter, Single
e2e1) John (1895-1958) (Donald’s ‘Illegitimate’ Son)
1958 Crofter, Single
F)John (1796-bef1861) Obb, Tenant, 1851 Obb, Farmer
f) Malcolm (1814-1894) Obb, Ag Lab
1861 Obe, Crofter, 1871 Smithy, Crofter 1891 Obbe, Crofter)
G) Marrion, Scarrista, Weaveress (1786-bef1871)
g1) John (1811-1879) Scarista, Carpenter
1851 Laskintyre, Joiner By 1871 he and his family had moved to Birkenhead, England
g2) Rodk 1816-1877 Scarrista, Carpenter
1851, Bowes, Farm Labourer & Joiner
g2g) John Kerr (1855-?) (Roderick’s Son) ‘Ayatollah Kerr’
H) Alexr (1796-bef1851) Tarbert, Fisher
h1)Malcolm (1816-1894) Tarbert, Fisher
1861 E Tarbert, Lobster Fisherman 1871 Boat Carpenter
1861 E Tarbert, Lobster Fisherman
I) Angus (1801-1867) Obb, Tenant
1851 Farm of Strond, Port Esgein, Ag Lab
i1) Angus (1826 -1910)
His career at Rodel I have described in detail elsewhere
i2) Malcolm (1831-1905)
Strond, Shepherd 1871 Strond, Cottar 1881 Strond Shepherd
i3) Roderick (1831-1891)
Post Runner, Single
i4) Wiiliam (1836-1862)
J) John(1801-1867 Dirachte, Tenant
1851 Direcleit, Tailor)
j1) Malcolm (1821-1898) Ag Lab
Moved to Stornoway by 1848 to pursue his seafaring career, remarry and produce my Lewis cousins
j2) Angus (1835-bef1881) One of Angus’ daughters leads to my only known cousin in Harris.
1861 Direcleit, Fisherman
j3) John 1839-1917(?)
j4) Donald (1843-?) 1891 Auctioneer’s Labourer, Glasgow
j5) Niel (1846-bef1871?)
j2j) John (Angus’ son) 1868-1950 1891 Direcleit., Fisherman
j2j1) John Kerr (prob911-1985, NOT born on Harris) (John’s Son) witness on his father’s Death Cert.
j1j) Roderick (Malcom’s Son) 1901 Obbe Farm Servant
j1j1) Donald (1885-?) (Roderick’s Son)
1901 Farm House, Herd Cattle on Farm
j1j2) Angus (1892-1963)
j1j3) John (Macleod) Kerr (1879-?) (Roderick’s Step-son)
1901 Obbe, Sailor/Tailor
j1j4) John Kerr (1902-? Died elsewhere)
This John, son of Roderick, son of Malcolm, son of John, son of Malcolm, was the last male Kerr to be born on Harris. He died elsewhere.
My grandfather was John, son of Annie, daughter of Malcolm, son of John, son of Malcolm.
One odd fact that I have noted is that those who ’emigrated’, whether to Lewis, Argyll or England, produced significantly more male heirs, both during their time on Harris and after.
There must be many in Argyll and England with Harris roots, but whether they are aware of them or not I have absolutely no idea!
Similarly, the daughters of some of the men who remained on Harris had families so, hidden within Harris amongst the more-familiar island names, are people descended from my original ‘Hearth-holds’ …
Note: I hope that the combination of letters and numbers used to identify each generation is reasonably easy to follow. I opted for it for reasons of brevity.