Wednesday, November 21, 2007

an addition to Knapdale People Site

I have added a section called (loosely) "Every Day Living" to Knapdale People. The major item here is a pdf of an inventory of houses done by the Poltalloch Estates, in 1798 and 1803. To help figure out what they are talking about, I have included some Auchindrain Museum photos of housing back in the day.

Also, note that I have figured out how to put links to other websites onto this blog! I have done the same at Knapdale People, too.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

After Arichonan: the fate of the Allan McLean Family

One of Allan McLean's descendents informed me that he and his family - after being 'cleared' from Arichonan, North Knapdale - had emigrated to Ekfrid Township, Middlesex County, in Upper Canada. Furthermore, Allan and his wife, Catherine Campbell, were buried in Murray Cemetery, also in Ekfrid.

So, with the help of 2 Ontario researchers, I have been able to add a page to the "Leaving Knapdale" section! Lee Dickson (lee dot dickson at sympatico dot ca) found the McLean family in the 1851 and 1861 census', plus the Agricultural Census that went along with that information. Art Currie (concur at sympatico dot ca) sent me the transcription of the McLean gravestone, PLUS photos of the cemetery, etc. I have included all of this at Knapdale People, "Leaving Knapdale".

Sunday, October 28, 2007

updating the website, making corrections

When I updated Knapdale People yesterday, I didn't notice the really egregious error I made on the 1st page of the Colin McGugan presentation/pdf. You see, I missed the part of the sentence which explained that "Nellie's Hill" in Ontario, commemorates a Nellie Campbell who carried a barrel of salt up that hill. "Preview" is definitely your friend!
This has necessitated my re-doing the pdf document, which takes a looooong time. But it is done. If you come across other errors, etc., let me know, OK?

about signatures (a followup) and leases and setts

if you want to know if one of your ancestors left a signature on an Inverneill Estates paper, one that I can photo for you, go to KnapdalePeople in the Inverneill People listing. The "tenants" therein listed will have signed a "set agreement" with the Proprietor.
In the early 19th century and before, most Knapdale people lived on agricultural "estates". SOME of them were "tenants", that is, they had leases or "setts", agreements with the landowner to farm portions of the estate. "Cottars" did not have this status. Lots of cotters were retired tenants; or relatives that were not 'tenants', but farmed some of the land and paid rent to the tenants for that privilege. The tenants, on the other hand, were people 'of standing', and played a role beyond that of simple renter. The Agreement made in 1802 for the farm at Cosandrochaid states:
The forenamed Tenants Engage to give ?Juste & presence to the Baron Bailie Courts held upon the Estate by the Proprietor or his aforesaid or other authorised by them as often as Cited thereto And to observe and fulfill all the lawful Enactment thereof for the Improvement of the Estate maintaining Civilization and good order in the Parish
Most of the tenants I have noticed were either the widows, the sons or the sons-in-law of previous tenants. In fact, if you check the "Kilmory Ross" agreement at KnapdalePeople, you will see that Duncan Campbell, son of John Campbell, expected to 'inherit' the right to be a tenant, because he was the ELDEST son (unlike Archibald). As I have mentioned, the Knapdale Estates were a very awkward combination of modern farming management with ancient tradition. It is no wonder that it did not flourish, financially or socially.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

those "Sett" agreements in Knapdale

I have a microfilm reader, and have discovered that one can make a reasonably good photo of the signatures of the signatures to be seen on the Inverneill Estate papers. These were made on the occasion of the signing of the "Minute of Set of the Land of Coshindrochet," 24 December 1802. The latter has been transcribed at Knapdale People as well as within the McGugan Presentation.

The signatures are by: Duncan Campbell, the proprietor of Inverneill Estates; Mathew McBride (schoolmaster) and Donald McVicar (Estate's Baron Officer), both witnesses; and the tenants:

Neil McGugan, Ronald Johnston, John McGalloglich and Angus McGugan.

a new section added to Knapdale People Site

I have added a new section, and called it "Leaving Knapdale." The first item is a contribution by Colin McGugan. He is the descended from Donald McGugan, who left Knapdale in 1819 for Upper Canada. Colin made a presentation to the Ontario Genealogy Society in 1998, and has very kindly allowed me to put it in 'pdf format' on KnapdalePeople. Also part of this is a copy of a picture done back in 1929, by a relative of mine, Jack Ferguson, in commemoration of the "Landing of Argyllshire Highlanders, Caroc Nellie, New Glasgow, 1816."

As usual, I have added some 'people lists' for the section (including one of Ontario's New Glasgow Cemetery).
The photo used for the design portrays my great grand parents, John Campbell and Effie McIntyre. My own grandfather, Archibald John Campbell, is not in the photo. But the HOUSE is! And a great big house it was, too - which I think is one of the points the photographer wanted to make.

Monday, October 15, 2007

a very healthy Highland lady!

Tarbet, Monday, 17th September, 1838:

... Nothing particular in Court except the account which a worthy sempstress of Campbeltown, a witness, gave of her habits. For above twenty-five years she has scarcely ever been in bed after five. The first thing she does after dressing is, to go to a rock about a mile off, and take a large draught of sea water. She then proceeds about another mile, in a different direction, where she washes the taste of this out by a large daught of fresh water, after which she proceeds home, and about half-past six puts on the tea-kettle and breakfasts.

This is a healthy and romantic seeming morning. And therefore I regret to add that it was proved that three of four times a week, the rest of the day is given to whiskey, a result of early rising which will delight Jeffrey*, to whom morning, except before going to bed, is horrid.

(from Circuit Journeys; and "Jeffrey" was a friend of Cockburn's)

bagpipes at Arichonan!

I received this kindly note from Mid Argyll...

Hi Heather - I just wanted to thank you for all the work you have done on the Knapdale area. I have just recently found out that part of my family originated in Knapdale - which is a bit ironic as I live just 6 miles from Arichonan and it takes a web page hundreds of miles away to give me information on the settlement and those who lived there.
Having just visited the site this morning - where my son played a tune on his bagpipes in memory of our ancestors and all those who were evicted, also to all those firey women who put up such a good fight - it has intensified my sense of belonging. I was born and brought up in Mid Argyll and my ancestors, both my maternal grandmothers side - from Bridgend & Kilmichael Glassary and now I have found out that my maternal grandfathers side are from Knapdale - the Grahams and Blues.

introducing Lord Cockburn

Lord Cockburn (1779 - 1854), besides being a very substantial leader of mid 19th century Scottish society, was also the judge during the Arichonan Affray trial. Thus, in the hope that he said something off the record about that trial, I borrowed his book, "Circuit Journeys" published after his death in 1889.

Well, he doesn't say a thing about Arichonan. But it turns out that he has a LOT to say about Scotland, and the people therein. I am therefore going to put quotes from this book in this blog, whenever I find a gem I think you will enjoy.

The portrait of Lord Cockburn that I am using is from the cover of "Lord Cockburn: selected letters" edited by Alan Bell (John Donald, 2005.) The original, by Sir John Watson Gordon, can be found in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Arichonan Photos

Some lovely photos of Arichonan are up on the web right now! The first is wonderful, taken from above the settlement remains, featuring the view of Loch Sween (which was makes me think that the original settlers were thinking hard about defense, when they founded Arichonan ... for Vikings, etc were sea-going slave traders back in the day).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Loch Sween, again

while I am working on a new entry at Knapdale People website, on "Leaving Knapdale", as well as adding to the section on Major General Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, good ol' Google sent me a story from people who sailed on Loch Sween, and put into "The Fairy Isle." Evocative, eh? And there is a photo, too. This is their story:

"We spent a week in one anchorage, just reading, going for walks and doing small DIY tasks around the boat. We met a single-hander who invited us over for a drink, and saw some freinds from Ardfern, but most nights we were the only boat there. The Fairy Isles is a wonderful location, tucked away near the head of Loch Sween, it offers a sheltered anchorage from all but north-easterlies, and has a gooey, muddy seabed. We dropped our Rocna anchor there one Friday, and after having been blown almost round the compass in the course of the week, hauled it up from the same spot the next Friday morning.
That was the start of a brisk sail back home, as the wind had gone round to the north west, and we beat all the way up the Sound of Jura assisted by a strong tide, which gave us five 'free' miles on the journey. We used the engine to get into the Sound, as the swell was coming straight into the mouth of Loch Sween.
Glad we came home on Friday though, as the weather otherwise over the weekend was stormy, rainy and thoroughly dreich!"

Sunday, September 9, 2007

sailing Loch Sween

Sharing his sailing trip up Loch Sween... a nice description for those of you who are sailors:

....After a leisurely breakfast we launch from the slipway by the jetty in Tayvallich and leave the car in the space opposite the shop. The weather is dull but dry as we leave the perfectly sheltered harbour and cut across the mouth of Scotnish on route to the Fairy Isles.This is a really incredible place, an a rea of shallow banks and lagoons. The perfect place for a canoe to explore....

Saturday, September 8, 2007

travelling to Knapdale

Google lets me know when Knapdale and Arichonan and etc come up on the 'net. Yesterday, they noted an interesting site for you who may want to travel to the Knapdale area. The website is called, "Page Most", and you can find it, with a handy-dandy map, here. It's worth a good look, as it pinpoints surrounding attractions, all placed on a map with roads and everything!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

addendum to The Hearth Tax entry (below)

I did some more thinking (always a Good Thing), and compared the Hearth Tax list with known population figures, and... added the following to Knapdale People, "Hearth Tax of 1694" section:
"However, if you look at the "Statistical Accounts of Scotland",(3) completed a century later, there are actual population figures given by each Parish Minister. Accordingly, we find that in 1796, South Knapdale's population was 1524 souls; and in 1799, North Knapdale's population was 1009, for a total of 2533 souls in Knapdale as a whole. Now, the Hearth Tax list includes a number of villages in Kilberry Parish; but it misses places like Arichonan, up near Bellanoch. There are a total of 383 dwellings on that 1694 list. If there were some 2,800 people - at most - in Knapdale, that indicates some 7 people per dwelling... which is not out of line, I think, given my impression of the 'huddled masses' of my ancestors, having porridge around a centre hearth.
So, just maybe, this Hearth Tax List is a reasonably faithful picture of Knapdale in 1694!"

Monday, September 3, 2007

Argyll and Bute Archives

Mr. Ian MacDonald, a historian of Kintyre and Knapdale, and a great help to all family historians, has this to say in a letter:
"We have not done much since the Archives were shut down by the A-B Council. A very retrograde step taken by people not interested in Argyll's past history. Many have complained from abroad about its loss. It opens but consultation charges presently operating scare would-be ancestral researchers...."
It is a great pity that Argyll cannot see that a well supported Archive would attract people from around the world, and keep them in the area for longer than the 15 minutes it takes to buy petrol in Lochgilphead, while travelling to Oban. Not many areas possesses the history that is appealing to so many people from North America and Australia and New Zealand, etc. Genealogy is the most popular (legal) topic on the internet, and people are willing to travel around the world, to spend time in the lands in which their ancestors lived.
I worked in tourism for almost 2 decades, and cannot understand Argyll/Bute's lack of interest in the 'mother lode' that is sitting right there in their Archives. Oh well...

Taxing Knapdale in 1694

And why is this interesting? Well, things were different then.... spelling, names, poverty, etc. I have 2 data bases on this: one by modern surname; and one by modern place.
ALSO, a pdf of the relevant pages, with typed transcriptions of each; and a map showing the layout of the various landowners (Campbell of Auchinbreck was the biggest landowner in 1694; it seems he backed Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 and was down and out and very poor when he died...his story is a tragedy, I think, and I will add what little I can find out about him, in the near future.)

Given that almost everyone on the list has only 1 hearth (there is a McAlister with 5, of course), I would say that there were lots of poor people in Knapdale in 1694.
I want to add two more pdf's to this section: an inventory done for the Poltalloch Estate in 1800; and the report of the S Knapdale Parochial Board (dealing with the poor, the lunatic, etc.) from 1845 to 1855. So the new section will be about.. people.
So, go to Knapdale People and check out the handwriting of the taxgatherers in 1694!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Inverneill Sailing Ship

A photo of the sailing ship Inverneill has appeared on the 'Web, posted by Australia's Victoria State Library. They say they have 3 negatives on glass, and would like to hear from anyone who knows about this vessel....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hearth Taxes and Auchinbreck

The "Hearth Tax" of 1694 was an attempt of the central government to tax the Scottish population according to the number of hearths in their dwellings. The attempt foundered on the reality of the central government's weakness in the face of the Clan organization of the highlands. You need roads and addresses to even start to properly tax the peasantry. And Knapdale had none of these modern conveniences in 1694.

HOWEVER. The Hearth Tax lists have proven to be a great source of names and places, ie for genealogists and historians. For my website, at Knapdale People, I am working on the hearth tax records that exist. The Argyll and Bute archive has provided a typed list of said pages; the local LDS has provided a microfilm of said (tattered) records; and Ian MacDonald, one of the great western highland historians, has provided me with modern versions of the 1694 surnames.

So, I have been adding said names etc to my data base, and thought to add this to the Website. But. There is this matter of Campbell of Auchinbreck. Large numbers of farms belonged to this gentleman. But. He joined the losing side in 1745, and he lost his properties after Culloden.

So. Where is Auchinbreck? (I found it, via 'mapquest.') And what is there to say about Knapdale when one of its major landowners fell into bankruptcy in the mid 1700s? The best story of this time is by Alexander Fraser, "North Knapdale in the XVII and XVIIIth centuries", published in Oban, 1964. I found a copy of this in the Guelph University Library and photocopied the relevant pages...

And . I realize I must re-do the front page of the Site, to make things ever more clear to my readers. This will take a couple of days.

Friday, August 24, 2007

an interchange on Scotland and Slavery...

... a journal of scottish studies asked me to write something on Knapdale. I am having trouble with doing that, not just because of Sloth, but because I am puzzled as to what approach to take re slave owning Knapdalians, pre Civil War, USA, ie, the letters of that McMillan (among the Donald McGilp letters at Knapdale People website). I am of the school that thinks one should be cautious of judging one's predecessors, especially since they are no longer able to explain themselves. It is so easy to point and denounce those of another time and place... and so difficult to figure out where we in our time may be committing atrocities ourselves (with the best will in the world, of course.)

No, I do not think that it is possible to morally justify owning slaves. On the other hand, such people as that McMillan did not think of themselves as hypocritical: he was, in his own eyes, a good, God fearing Christian. It is more interesting (to me) to figure out how he thought. And what he thought, as all his work disappeared during the ensuing Civil War (or did it disappear? did he continue to prosper? He had sons. Did they survive to 1865? )


Very interesting to see your musings on Archibald McMillan. The family history says that "There is little doubt that Archibald S. McMillan took a severe economic loss as a result of the emancipation of slaves following the War Between the States." (McMillan Family History by John Q. Edwards, III) Archibald died in 1867, but has many descendants in North Carolina (some of which I have met.)

AND, From a descendent of the Blue Brothers, who emigrated from North Knapdale in 1803, about slavery.
Now, about that slavery thing...something of interest for you. Malcolm, John, and Daniel Blue emigrated from North Knapdale to the USA with their families en masse in 1803. Malcolm and John settled in New York State which was a free state and they did not own slaves. Daniel Blue settled in North Carolina and did own slaves. I do not know why they chose to settle in different states, but perhaps discomfort or comfort with slavery played a part. These three men had a younger brother named Dugald Blue who originally settled in the southern US in 1804, but was so troubled by the institution of slavery that after a short time he moved to be near his brothers in Upstate New York. I think we can judge the people of that time about their views on slavery because they judged each other on it, struggled with its morality, and some concluded it was immoral. Thought you would find that interesting.

Scotland and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (II)

The Scottish Local History Forum is presenting a conference on "Scotland and Slavery", Saturday, 29 September, 10 am - 5 pm, at the AK Bell Library, Perth.

The papers presented will be:
The Sugar Plantocracy of Scotland. Dr. Eric Graham

The Anti Slave Trade Tour of William Dickson in 1792. Dr. Iain Whyte.

Glasgow University, Slavery and Abolition: An Untold Story. Lesley Richmond, U of Glasgow Library.

Scotland and the Slave Trade: South West Connections. Dr. Lizanne Henderson, U of Glasgow Crichton Campus.

Servitude or Slavery? Scottish servants in the early colonies. Sheila Millar, Local Studies Librarian, East Lothian.

'And some have slaves thrust upon them': early 19th Century letters between Paxton, Berwickshire, and Grenada. Sonia Baker, Editor, 4th Statistical Account of East Lothian.

The conference fee is 18 pounds for members of the SLHF and 20 pounds for non members. This includes a buffet lunch. Closing date for applications: 21 September, 2007.

Mrs. Doris Williamson, SLHF, c/o Scottish History, School of History and Classics, U of Edinburgh, 17 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh. EH8 9LN
tel: 0131 669 8252

Scotland and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (I)

Dumfries Museum, from 1 September to 6 October:

An exhibition opens here to mark the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in Britain. Frances Wilkins is curating this event, which will coincide with her new book on the subject.
She has written other books about west highland shenanigans: "Strathclyde's Smuggling Story;" "Scottish Customs & Excise Records with particular reference to Strathclyde from 1707 onwards ;" "The Isle of Man in Smuggling History;" and "Family Histories in Scottish Customs Records." All of these have been published by Wyre Forest Press, 8 Mill Close, Blakedown, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, DY103NQ.

Monday, August 20, 2007

more on the Arichonan Blue/McGuirmans

Among the items I included in my book on "Arichonan Farm" are the people mentioned in a housing inventory done in 1798 and 1802, by the new owner of the Estates, Malcolm of Poltalloch. There were 4 tenants at the time: Donald Blue, Malcolm Johnson, Malcolm McLean and Niel McMillan.

Donald Blue/McGuirman lived in a "dwelling house, good, 4 couples; a Barn, 1 couple; and 1 Bothie, 2 couples" *
His wife was Flory Lamont (McIlchombie), and they had 6 children. His brother John was also at the farm. John's wife was Mary McLean, and they had 3 children at the time.

The man taking the inventory noted that, on Arichonan Farm, "the Houses in this farm and mostly on this Estate was built by the Tenants themselves and by the way, they were not built right at first."

*"couple": these are the main supports for the roof, consisting of two lengths of timber, and attached at the apex of the roof. The number of couples is an indicator of the length of a dwelling. A "bothie" was a one room hut. The sketch is from I. F. Grant's "Highland Folk Ways", page 145 (Birlinn, 1997).

The complete inventory, at Argyll and Bute Archives, is entitled "Report of the Houses of Dunad, 1798; and 1802: the Rest of the Houses on the Estates of Neill Malcolm Esq is added."

more on Arichonan

From a gentleman who lives in Massachusetts: "I am related to the John Blue and Daniel Blue who you show as tenants at Arichonan in 1802. These two had a brother, Malcolm Blue, who was Tackman of Drynoch across Loch Sween from Arichonan. The three brothers and their families emigrated en mass to the USA in 1803. I have family trees and histories for these Blues if you are Interested, including some birth and death records from while John and Daniel were living in Arichonan.

also, another email, from a man in Britain, which fits in well with I.F.Grant's sketch of a 'town', below, and MacInnes' contention that Arichonan was 'anachronistic', ie, not the usual crofter community:
"Although I have done a master research degree (urban housing in Liverpool) and quite a lot of local history and vernacular architecture work, in this instance I was just totally affronted how such a beautifully wrought working village could have been cleared. This was clearly something of a different order to the clearing of single story croft houses that took place all over the highlands. The detail of the houses, barn and sheep folds show such a complete master of 'intermediate technology', exactly what was needed for getting a living in this environment." He has put up his photos here. They are very lovely.
(my website, Knapdale People, has an extensive section, with photos, on Arichonan, and also, a link that helps you order that book of mine. )

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Arichonan, the Imperial context of the Clearance

The Arichonan Clearance has been treated fairly extensively by University of Aberdeen's Allan I. MacInnes, in an article entitled, "Commercial Landlordism and Clearance in the Scottish Highlands: the Case of Arichonan."

Most interesting (to me) is his remark that "... Arichonan does not easily fit the traditional picture of Clearance associated in the Scottish Highlands with crofting communities, that is, communities of tenant farmers with small holdings of land. In the first place, Arichonan was a traditional township whose survival was anachronistic. Most townships had been broken up between the 1730s and the 1820s, to make way for cattle ranches and sheep walks as well as crofting communities, in what can be termed the first phase of Clearance. The second phase of Clearance from the 1830s to the 1880s is usually associated with the attempted removal of crofting, with the rampant commercial pastoralism associated with sheep farming and with the turning of whole glens over to the shooting of deer and other game." (p 49)

Check out the 2 posts and sketches below. They help to clarify what exactly MacInnes means by "town" versus "croft".... and the additional insight that Arichonan was - in 1848 - a very 'old fashioned' sort of place.

MacInnes is also very interested in the Poltalloch landowner's experience with his Jamaican plantations, and how this translated into management of his Highland estates.

Crofting Layouts

Another sketch from I. F. Grant's "Highland Folk Ways" (page 63), this portrays a modern crofter settlement, strung along a road, and with land holdings demarcated. Note that the houses are no longer built in clusters, nor are they necessarily to be found by the sea.

According to A.G.M. Duncan's "Green's Glossary of Scottish Legal Terms" (3rd edition, 1992), a "croft" is "An agricultural holding of limited size located within the counties in Scotland designated as crofting counties, the tenant or crofter or his predecessors having provided the buildings and fixed equipment." The topic of "crofts" and "crofting commissions", and etc., was a huge issue in the Highlands. My impression is that it was a late 19th century attempt to establish some security of tenure for remaining Highland crofters, on land that continued to be owned by others.

A "Town"

This is a sketch of a 'town' in the old style, from I. F. Grant's "Highland Folk Ways" (page 45). In 1630, according to Ms Grant, a Captain Dymes wrote of these 'towns' of joint tenants, "which towns are some half a score of cottages built together neare some piece of arable land where they make their abode in winter, for the most part of the common people in the somer they remaine in the hills to graze theire cattle."(page 44).

Saturday, July 21, 2007

and then there were the parties at Auchindrain...

This is a whiskey jar. Sturdy little thing, isn't it?
As to Auchindrain. Okay, I live on the other side of the world from Argyll. But I am EXTREMELY interested in that little corner of the world, so I will tell you what I think. MY suggestion would be to put the Argyll Bute Archives - with a FULL TIME archivist, by the way!!! - on the Auchendrain site. The resulting centre would, I think, work really well for the museum, and the totally marvellous records that are held by the Archives.

Auchendrain Museum: another hearth!

Another hearth, this one with a chimney! and, to repeat:

"Auchindrain Museum outside Inveraray ( is a wonderful example of a traditional farm township of the kind our forefathers inhabited and worked. Hundreds of similar townships throughout Argyll were abandoned or cleared but this little gem has survived.Please will you help to preserve this unique township by writing or emailing to the Achindrain Manager to support a bid to get Auchindrain recognised as being a Museum Collection of national significance through the Scottish Museums Council’s Significance Scheme. Letters or emails must refer to the completeness of the township and that it survived the Highland Clearances. It should also be mentioned that it was the first open air museum to open in Scotland (greatly supported by the late Miss Marion Campbell of Kilberry, an outstanding local historian) and that the original buildings are located within their original context etc etcPlease write or email to support this bid. Note that names and addresses must accompany emails to verify their provenance."

Auchindrain Museum and the Hearth Tax of 1694

I want to start a section of the "poor" in my website, Knapdale People, and am currently obsessing over the 1694 Hearth Tax lists (the hearths throughout Britain were counted, reported, and the people were supposed to be taxed accordingly.) One of my conclusions has been that - in our terms - the Highlanders, even the "rich", were really really poor.
The above is an example of a hearth. The little pile of brown stuff underneath the kettle is 'peat moss'. In the absence of wood and coal, our ancestors, "rich" or "poor", used peat as their fuel, for cooking and for heat. Peat was cut out of the surface of the earth, collected and stored near the home, and dried over the summer. If the summer was particularly wet and rainy, the peat did NOT dry properly, and it was a cold cold winter.
Such a 'hearth' as you see in that Auchindrain Museum exhibit would have been situated in the centre of the home. The smoke drifted out through a hole in the roof. Over time, the house ceiling would become black with that smoke. Hence these houses were often known as "black houses."

more on Auchindrain... and weaving

Among the exhibits in the museum part of Auchindrain (as opposed to the various homes on the site) is a loom. It was given to Auchindrain by the McTaggart family. This family had been weavers in Kilmory Knap since at least the early 1800s. Duncan McTaggart, 48 in the 1851 census, was called a "country weaver." His wife, born in NORTH Knapdale parish, was Janet McDougall, and he had lots of children, among whom was John (11 years old), who in 1861, when he was 21, was ALSO a weaver. According to Marion Campbell of Kilberry, who gave her heart and soul to this museum, and the history of Mid Argyll, this loom was hand made!

Auchindrain: an open air museum

Yep, it is a very impressive 'museum.' This is a photo of SOME of the buildings on the site (which is, by the way, south of Inveraray, on your way to Lochgilphead, by the side of the road). The teensy green-topped hut is a "cotter's hut." When I was there I had a good time just wandering around looking inside the buildings. Each of them is furnished with items peculiar to the status of the family which lived in it. It is an incredibly vivid way to 'see' how our Scottish Highlander ancestors actually lived!

Auchendrain Museum, south of Inveraray...

I received this email and want to ensure that a LOT of people interested in Knapdale know about this, and extend their help in the manner suggested:

"Auchindrain Museum outside Inveraray ( is a wonderful example of a traditional farm township of the kind our forefathers inhabited and worked. Hundreds of similar townships throughout Argyll were abandoned or cleared but this little gem has survived.

Please will you help to preserve this unique township by writing or emailing to the Achindrain Manager to support a bid to get Auchindrain recognised as being a Museum Collection of national significance through the Scottish Museums Council’s Significance Scheme. Letters or emails must refer to the completeness of the township and that it survived the Highland Clearances. It should also be mentioned that it was the first open air museum to open in Scotland (greatly supported by the late Miss Marion Campbell of Kilberry, an outstanding local historian) and that the original buildings are located within their original context etc etc

Please write or email to support this bid. Note that names and addresses must accompany emails to verify their provenance."

Monday, July 2, 2007

Arichonan Affray and Allan McLean family

It was obvious that Allan McLean and his family left North Knapdale after the July Arichonan Riot in 1848. His brother, Duncan, was one of the people imprisoned for his role in that event. Allan's wife, Catherine, was very pregnant in July, and gave birth to a child, Allan, that October.

I have been interested in the fate of this family: the Glasgow slums, Australia, Canada or the USA, Knapdalians left their homes for all of these places.

Well. I have heard from one of Allan's descendents! It seems that he and his family went to Canada in 1849. "They owned land and farmed in Ekfrid township, Middlesex County, Ontario. Once in Canada, they had two more children.* Allan died September 10, 1868, and his wife, Catherine, June 30, 1870. They are buried in a small rural cemetary called Murray Cemetary in Ekfrid township, Middlesex County, Ontario."
* (Janet, born 1851; and Daniel, born 1857.)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Arichonan and the Free Church

I published a book on the 1848 Arichonan Clearance a couple of years ago. Since then, I have picked up bits of information, which I have added to the "Arichonan" section on my website.
And here is another interesting piece of information, taken from the Inveraray Jail site: of the rioters who were jailed, only Mary Adams (an eighteen year old Paisley servant working at Gallachoille farm) listed her religion as "Established Church." All of the others list themselves as members of the (relatively new) "Free Church." I am not implying that the riot was caused by a religious impulse. Consider, however, that the Landlord, Malcolm of Poltalloch, was a member of the Church of ENGLAND (not of Scotland.) The Free Church was adamantly Presbyterian, but of a more radical kind than the established Church of Scotland.
This is, in my opinion, a significant marker of the great distance that existed between tenant and proprietor.
I hope to add something about this "Free Church versus Established Church" to my website. It was of very great importance to Knapdale people in the 1840s and beyond.

Friday, June 8, 2007

on Archie Campbell of Inverneill

When I first came across this guy, he was - to me - quite simply a 'laird'; he owned the estates upon which my own Knapdale ancestors lived, until they left for Canada in 1853.

But as I found more and more information about him, it turns out that he is a very interesting man, and one who was respected - and liked - by all who knew him when he was alive - even, by Americans who had been enemies of the British Empire. He was, quite simply, a very great representative of the British Empire - and of Scotland, too.

This painting, by Romney, dates from 1790, AFTER Campbell's return to Britain from Madras. One remark made by Lieut Col Ian McCulloch (Ret) is that it reflects the fact that by this time, Archie Campbell had been ill (which is why he returned to Britain). He died early in 1791.

a new feature at Knapdale People website!

a whole April and then a May has gone by, and my apologies for not keeping up with this blog. However, I do have some news: I have been keeping up with the website and (mostly) completed the biography of Major General Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill. The most recent entry concerns this painting, one of Archie as a young man in India. I was very fortunate to have the following advice from Ian MacPherson McCulloch, Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding Officer (1993- 1996), The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada:
"Based on my limited knowledge of uniforms, including my statement upfront that what we have here is the earliest known portrait of Sir Archie, done sometime between the Seven Years War and the American Revolution. Why? The gold embroidery lace on the uniform is very similar to that found on other British officers serving with the East India Company at this time. We know that Archie served in India after the Seven Years War (did James?).
The uniform has the shoulder epauletter instead of a hanging aigulette, placing this uniform post 1768. Archie was in India in post 1768. If you look carefully at the sword knot of this officer's sword, you'll note the gold knot tied up around the hilt denoting him as the rank of captain or below. Majors and above wore their knots loose and hanging. Archie was a captain at this state in his career.
The fortress on the hill looks like it might be in India."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Donald McGilp Letters: a NEW SECTION

In 1851, Donald McGilp ("McKillop"), his wife, and all of his children, left Knapdale for Canada West (now it's known as Ontario). Some letters written from his Knapdale friends and relatives survived in a small wooden box until his great great granddaughter found them and copied them. They have already been carried in the website, Kintyre Mag, but since that site is now in hiatus, I have put them up on Knapdale People. Also, I have indexed all of the people mentioned in these letters. You can find this alphabetical list at the "Donald McGilp" section in my site.

There is a lot to be said about these letters: the strong religious faith of the writers just glows in every letter. It should be remembered that this group of friends were members of the breakaway "Free Church" of Scotland, and were therefore more religiously intense than their neighbouts.... but then again, who knows?? We live in a secular age and place, and sometimes, for some people, this intensity is embarrassing, which is a pity.

There are a couple of letters from Archibald McMillan, one of Donald McGilp's many nephews. In the 1850s, he was living in Robison County, North Carolina, and he was the owner - the proud owner - of some 40 slaves. As he notes, he was now living as well as the Factor back in Knapdale. Yet, he was also a religious man. After reading these letters, there is plenty to think about and... discuss!

Note that the American Civil war was just over the horizon from these letters.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Inverneill Estate papers

There is something about original documents that is fascinating... the handwriting, the casual references that are strange to our time, etc. I have a copy of some Inverneil Estate papers on microfilm, and am in the process of working through them a second time, in order to smarten up my knapdalepeople data base.

Two items have jostled their way to my attention, and it would be marvellous if someone out there has anything to say about either:
1. in determining the volume of grain, etc., owed by the tenant, the papers use "pecks" according to "Auchinbreck Measure."
2. the leases were (in 1819 at least) based on "... Reservations and Conditions and Regulations and Rotation of Tillage expressed and contained in .... the first BOOK OF SETS OF THE ESTATES OF TAYNISH, ULVA AND DANNA...."

Comic Books and Graphic Novels

I have just returned from the San Francisco Comic Book convention. It was filled with people rummaging through vast stacks of old comic books (encased in plastic pockets, the better to preserve them for all time..); and of course, lots of people dressed up as their favorite comic character (even one who had an extremely impressive and scarey Alien costume.) There were lots of old "Classics Illustrated" comics (which I read instead of reading the book itself).

Which brings me to an important realization: there is a new kind of comic book out there, folks! No more line drawing, pale colors, or cheap paper. Today, there are "Graphic Novels". And they can be BEAUTIFUL. Check these sites for renditions of Neil Gaiman's works, and go to the mother ship of "graphic novels" at Marvel Comics.

You may have heard of the very spectacular movie about the Battle of Thermopylae, "300." It is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel, "300", published originally by Dark Horse Comics.

And how does all this relate to Knapdale? Well. Think about all the great Celtic stories and adventures, and creatures; and the wonderful art work evidenced in the "Book of Kells" (written on Iona) and the stone monuments scattered over the landscape! THIS IS THE WAY TO TEACH HISTORY, FOLKS! Somerled; the Arichonan uprising; the McLean attack on Gigha; the adventures of Major General Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill... and all the stories buried in 19th century books.. are just waiting for artists and publishers to start mining them.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

MacSween Lords of Knapdale

According to Somerled MacMillan:
'.... From the well-known Niall Glun-Dubh (Black-Knee), High King of Ireland, who was slain by the Danes in 917 AD, the descent ran -- ( ) Aedh Alain (Hugh Splendid) who died in 1047. Aedh Alain had a son called Dunslebhe (progenitor of the MacLays or LIVINGSTONES), and from the latter's sonSuibhne or Sween, sprang the MacSweens.

Sween's lands' were well fortified. Castle Sween dominating the western sea-board and abptly called 'the Key of Knapdale', also Skipness Castle, built by him, which dominated eastern approaches to his lands in the Barbert and Cowel areas. One of Sween's daughters married Sir Colin CAMPBELL of Loch Awe, by whom she had IVER, progenitor of the MacIvers of Asknish in Glassary, and TAVISH, progenitor of the MacTavishes of Dunardary in North Knapdale. In order to make a more powerful alliance, Campbell repudiated Sween's daughter. This naturally led to a feud between the Campbells and the MacSweens. The lady, deserted by her husband, was remarried to MacLachlan and received as a dowry from her father all his lands in Glassary, namesly DUNAAD, DUNAMUICK, AUCHENSCHOLLOCH, SHERVAIN AND BRENCHYLIES, which subsequently became the property of the MacLachlans....
(And more on this MacSween bunch tomorrow)
(Somerled MacMillan, 1960, "Families of Knapdale.")

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Knapdale ancestors, booze and gambling...

The Statistical Accounts for the west highland area are great reading. The writers are all local pastors, and as such as interested in the morals of the populations as they are in the plants and mountains and history of their parishes.

One thing has occurred to me, morality-wise: the comments reflect a continuing concern with the locals' over-indulgence with whiskey. The role of whiskey in the life of the Gael is well known, of course.

However, there is one human weakness NEVER mentioned by these pastors: gambling. Fighting, yes. Drunken brawls, yes. Petty crime and even major crime, yes. Immorality, yes.

But gambling, never.

I wonder why??

answering email

If you have sent me any email during the past week... I haven't answered it because I cannot access my email account. I will be back at home base by the 12th of March, though. And will answer any and all requests!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Inverneill Mausoleum

I have some good news about Inverneill Mausoleum (see Knapdale People Website, in the Monument Inscriptions section): it seems that the descendants of the Campbell of Inverneill family still own the mausoleum, and gather regularly to keep it in good shape.

on childrens' books.. again

When I was a child, I loved reading 'popular' histories, ones with lots of action and romance, but little or no historical nuance. On the other hand, those storybooks helped fix names and dates in my memory in a way that was interesting and fun. In fact, if you are beginning to study anything for the first time, the wisest move is to make your first stop the childrens' section of the Library.

So, I recommend that book on the Campbells of Argyll: you will be surprised how much easier it is when - or if - you move on to more serious works.

There is a copy of the Black Douglas family history book somewhere in Australia (I think).

Cool Book I came across

The author is Hilda T Skae who, it seems, made a career of writing popular histories of Britain. Thomas Nelson published it, but the year of publication is not to be found on my copy.

It's a childrens' book, and it has mistakes (my hero, Major General Sir Archibald Campbell was NOT born at Inverneill...), however, it exemplifies a time when kids read about heroes. And, might I add, CAMPBELL heroes!! Sir Archibald's nephew, James (also buried at Westminster Abbey), is mentioned also, as showing "the true fighting spirit."

A quick look through the internet lists only one in this series: "Black Douglas's", which you can order here (at ) or at abebooks, here. I found this "Campbells of Argyll" book in a second hand bookstore in York.

Celtic Knapdale

On the front page of my "Knapdale People" website, I make the claim that Knapdale and environs was the place where the "Celtic Renaissance" happened. In support of this, I have listed a number of places in Knapdale with the prefix "KIL" meaning a "little cell", or more generally, a place where a Celtic Priest lived, worshipped, and evangelized the Highlanders. After the 17th century, these chapels and burial grounds fell to ruin: the Protestant Reformation replaced them with their own places of worship. Some of the very fine carvings in the Celtic manner have in more recent years been rescued and sheltered in a few re-built chapels. These are well worth a visit when you are in the area.

The "Celtic Page" also has some photos I took while I was in Knapdale a few years ago. I will be adding to this section, showing off some of the carvings I have seen and photographed.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Grahams in Knapdale, by Somerled MacMillan

Catherine Czerkawska in her "God's Islanders" about the people of Gigha, mentions that "Graham" is a very old name on that Island. Well, Somerled McMillan, in HIS book (mentioned below) has a section on the Grahams in Knapdale:
"This very old family is of ecclesiastical origin, their name in the Gaelic language being MAC-GHILLE-MHEARNAIG, 'son of the servant of St Mernoc', but through fanciful etymology they imagined that it was derived from GILLE-BHEARNAIG, 'servant of the bite', or 'greim', hence the change of their surname to GRAHAM. Their lands were known as Oib-MacIlvernock, and latterly as Oib-Greim..... On 22nd June, 1946, the following notice appeared in a well-known Scottish Newspaper: 'By giving up New Danna Farm, Tayvallich, Argyll, Mr. Archibald Graham is said to be ending a tenancy held by his family since 1692."
Such local information is valuable, because this western highland area is simply not covered by the usual Scottish reference books. For example, George F Black's book, "Surnames of Scotland" speaks only of the Anglo Norman Grahams who settled in Dalkeith and Abercorn, etc. The Grahams whose ancestors lived in Knapdale and on the edge of the Celtic Sea were of quite a different people.

A couple of good books on Knapdale

... although they are closer to pamphlets than to 'books.'

The first is called "Mid Argyll: an Archaeological Guide", and was written by one of Scotland's foremost historians and storytellers: Marion Campbell of Kilberry. The book follows various routes around the area, and describes archaeological sites along the way, with nifty stories to go with it. Thus at Keills Chapel, she tells us that a stone in the floor, decorated only with a raised strap and a perforation, reputedly marked the grave of Lame Eoghan, a noted robber, who had the hole made so that he could look out at his beloved hills, or - perhaps - so that he could take snuff with his descendants.

The Natural History and Antiquarian Society of Mid Argyll published this wonderful source in 1984, and (to my knowledge) has not been re-published.

The second is also by a local historian, Somerled MacMillan, described as "Bard and Historian of the Clan MacMillan". Entitled "Families of Knapdale: their history and their placenames", its subtitle says it all: "Being a Compendium of Information on the MacMillans, the MacSweens, the Campbells, the MacNeills, the MacAllisters, the MacTavishes, the MacIlvernocks (or Grahams), and others of Knapdale." Mr McMillan used primary materials as sources, and it is a mine of specific information for Knapdale families and history. It was specially written for a Clan McMillan Rally held in 1960 in Asheville, North Carolina.The book is little more than a typescript, privately printed by Edward B McMillan of Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Those Difficult Campbells

The trouble with the Campbells is that (a) there were a lot of them living in Knapdale back then; and (b) they were extremely frugal with forenames: Duncan, Archibald, Donald... and for a flighty moment every now and then, James and Colin. Girls? Margaret, Sarah, Mary, and then.. Anne/Agnes. Katherine and Effy.

I have been working on a data base of people who lived in Knapdale during that century between 1750 and 1850. The reason I started was to try to differentiate among the Campbells, so as to pick out the progenitor of MY ancestor, Donaldborn about 1800. This data base now includes 38,000 entries, and I am still not sure which Donald is MY Donald.

For example, in the Inverneill Papers, we have the following: a 1814 lease agreement involving the deceased John Campbell, his wife Sarah Lamont, and his sons Duncan, Donald and Archibald. The Proprietor of this Kilmory Ross farm was Duncan Campbell. John Campbell, before his death, had signed up for the 9 year lease (in 1809) along with James Campbell (relationship unknown), so we are talking about half the farm. Duncan Campbell (John's son, NOT the Proprietor) was the "Master of the Charlotte Katharine Sloop" and the eldest son of said John Campbell.

I don't know about you, but half way through this, I was reduced to making notes and diagrams.

Also, John's other son, Archibald, had signed on the lease upon his father's death. However, by 1814, Archibald was set aside (pushed?? He left the country?? He hated Kilmory Ross?? There was a better farm down the road??) in favor of Duncan, who was after all John's eldest son. Then, in 1814, Duncan signed over this lease to his mother, Sarah Lamont, and his OTHER brother, Donald, which is what this paperwork is about.

The rent was L42 for the half of Kilmory Ross... which is in today's terms, L1,426 Sterling, PLUS a list of services and chickens and eggs and grains to be delivered to the Proprietor at Taynish... You can read the whole agreement (upon which Sarah made her "mark", and her son Donald wrote his signature) at Knapdale People website, in the "Inverneill Estate" section.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

another thought on Gigha

One of my ancestors was a McNeill. Her son married a Galbraith in the 1830s, in Knapdale. MY Mary McNeill was born and raised in Killean Parish, but Gigha has always looked (to me) like the mother lode of McNeills and Galbraiths. When Mary had her child in Killean, in 1808, she was unmarried. Subsequently, she moved to Knapdale. Family connections MAY provide the answer. However, when Mary was born, the Killean parish minister did not record the name of the mother (curses!), and so that line of enquiry does not exist.

Another connection with Knapdale: the McNeills of Taynish, and much of the Loch Sween area, were the lairds, before the Great Bankruptcies of the 1700s.

Czerkawska's book notes that there are no more people with the surname of Galbraith on that island. And truly, there is - in our day - a dearth of McNeills in Knapdale.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Book review of "God's Islanders"

Gigha is a small island (7 miles long) beside Kintyre. It is blessed with a fine climate, fertile land, an ancient and rich history, and flowers that produce "a glittering of yellow (that) dazzles your eyes to the point of pain."

Catherine Czerkawska (she has a blog, too) has written a very fine book, the kind that makes you want to stop reading, and go right on over there and visit that lovely place!

Knapdale People now has a review of this book, as well as a listing of people who lived there in 1791. The latter was made when Major General Sir Archibald Campbell was offering to purchase Gigha. This sale did not go through: McNeill of Colonsay stepped in and bought Gigha instead. I wonder if this had anything to do with a traditional antipathy towards the Campbell clan?? All I have are financial accounts left over from the Inverneill Estate recording that long ago inventory.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Inverneill info added to Knapdale People

I have started to add information on the Inverneill Estate of Knapdale in my website. Inverneill was one 2 very large Knapdale properties, along with the Malcolm of Poltalloch lands. Since my ancestors inhabited Inverneill - and since I have had access to Inverneill Estate Papers - I have gathered a lot of information on Inverneill which I will add to the site as time goes on.

One thing: the surname listing for Inverneill encompasses 3482 entries, so it may take some time to download. Also, in this section, are a couple of documents made when the new owner was taking inventory of Inverneill, specifically, Knap Estate in 1778, and Taynish Estate, in 1779. This 'inventory' or 'souming' consisted of asking respectable people who had lived on that estate for most of their lives, how many cattle, etc, a particular property handled in the past. Our interest today lies in the men thus queried: Neil McIntyre, Aulay Galbreath, Gilbert McIlchombie and Donald McMillan, in 1778, in Knap Estate; and Neil McLuccash and Malcolm MacIntaylor in the Taynish Estate in 1779.

The new owner was the very important Major General Sir Archibald Campbell, by the way. Among other things, in 1776, he was a prisoner of war of the American Revolutionaries. More on him later!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The worth of money, 1780 and today

How much exactly did property cost, back in the 1790's? Well, the British National Archives has an online currency convertor now, and it is stupendously simple to use. I am interested in the Inverneil estate of Knapdale (from whence came most of my Highland ancestors), and have found, in the Inverneil Estate Papers, the cost of the 4 estates purchased back in the 1780s, and the rental totals for the year 1791.

Thus, Major General Sir Archibald purchased the Knap Estate in 1776 for L4852.2.8, or in today's terms, L304,956. He was, at the time, a prisoner of the Americans, by the way. The rental income for that Knap Estate was - in 1791, L15,502. *

The Inverneil Estate project will not be on Knapdale People website until the end of this weekend.
* I am using "L" to signify the British Pound symbol.

my email address and other stuff

I had thought I could use the very cool email address, heather(at), but it didn't work out.. too many glitches. So, my email address will be the boring heathermc (at) northwestel (dot) net.

As to adding to the knapdalepeople website: I am working on adding material from the Inverneil Estate records, which is moving in on Major General Archibald Campbell of Inverneil. This is a Big Thing, and so will require a few days.

Another issue: the Free Church. We in the early 21st century are looking across a great chasm of more than time when we try to understand our Highland ancestors. First, we tend to be secular. Even if we are not secular, it is unlikely that we have ever heard of the "Great Disruption" that rocked Scotland in 1843... however, if you have ever noted that suddenly your ancestors stopped baptizing their children in the local Parish Church... then, you have stumbled upon the "Great Disruption" and the Free Church. More of that too..

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Castle Sween Information at Website

I have done some re-arranging of Knapdale People and added information on Castle Sween. Included is a listing from my data base on the people who lived at Castle Sween from the late 1700s to the 1850s. This list joins two others: the listing of people in 11 Knapdale Burial Grounds; and a listing of the people involved in the 1848 Arichonan Affray.

In the process of doing this, I realized that (a) it is very easy to transfer my data base program (Paradox) into html format... and my data base at this point has some 37,000 entries.

(b) If you go to Google Books, you can download all sorts of old (the copyright has died) books, that previously would only be accessible in faraway libraries, or in second hand bookstores somewhere. Thus, I have the Book of the Dean of Lismore, as it was translated and published back in the 19th Century, and therefore, my website now has TWO ancient Gaelic poems in which Castle Sween plays a central role!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Shipwrecks and Barra

History Scotland has another winner in the Jan/Feb edition: "Shipwrecks and Barra" by Michael Clark. It describes an 1866 report by Thomas Gray who investigated shipwrecks for the Board of Trade.
Mr. Gray was shocked at what he found on Barra. His personal reactions were recorded in a strictly confidential memo, which has lain undisturbed "at the bottom of a box of Board of Trade papers in the National Archives" until now.

I like to think my ancestors were a noble and kindly bunch, so this article makes depressing reading. According to Mr. Gray, Barra's people were extremely poor and dirty living in windowless chimneyless huts. Upon the wreck of the "Annie Jane", the farmer charged the ship's owner 365 pounds for cattle too scared to eat, 360 pounds for cows that aborted, and 420 pounds for calves lost. To quote Gray:

"It would appear that all the cattle in the Island went to see the wreck and that all these cows were in the family way and all in such a precarious state at one and the same time, that the wreck had such an effect on them as to bring on premature delivery and cause the offspring to die. This would not be believed in a novel."

Barra's landlords had been absentee since 1838, and a factor squeezed every penny it was possible to squeeze from the tenantry. Among other joyous things, it seems the landlord decided who could be an innkeeper. Comfort was not required. Clark says,

"At one wretched local inn, Gray slept on a table in a tap-room, with a brick floor that was swilled down twice a day with water, and chickens and ducks for companions.... (in another)... "The ceiling was not watertight but the bedstead was - it had a good strong wooden roof and could be moved to the dry parts of the room when it rained..."

One interesting aspect: Barra people did not eat eels, because they believed that eels spring from human hair, so eating them would be a form of cannibalism. According to Clark, this idea was commonly held in the Orkneys, as well as parts of Essex (where the tail of a horse was put under a stone in a pond to breed eels.)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

History Scotland subscription

I have started to subscribe to "History Scotland" (website address is and received the Jan/Feb 2007 magazine this week. In an article by D C McWhannell, on Campbell boatbuilding, there is a reproduction of a painting of Sir Duncan Campbell, Glenorchy/Breadalbane branch of the Campbell Clan (1550-1631.) The man looks like a biker. Really! But in his time, you would have to be rough, if you were to survive to old age, as Sir Duncan did:
"Between 1600 and 1700, as in earlier times, significant raiding and local warfare was pursued. This required galleys to transport men, materials and booty around the coastlands of Argyll, between islands like Islay and Mull, and to Ireland." (p. 16)

The painting itself can be found in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Knapdale People Data Base

I am working on a data base of Knapdale's population. The names included are from the South and North Knapdale census for 1841, 1851 and 1861 (EXCLUDING ARDRISSAIG); parish registers for N and S Knapdale ( ie, marriages and births/christenings); various Malcolm of Poltalloch records; Inverneill Estate papers; Road Money listings; the Argyll Militia listings; the South Knapdale Parochial Board minutes (1845 - 1855), ie, listings of paupers, etc; and Monumenti inscriptions for 11 Knapdale cemeteries.

I would be pleased to help you find/describe an ancestor. Email me at . I can't do your work for you, but I can get you a listing of a particular person who is on the data base. Remember that there were not a lot of names to go around back then... and the settlements are mostly gone, although most of them can still be found on maps.

My data base is in PARADOX format. It can provide a list in Wordperfect, and also in Microsoft Word.

Knapdale People Website Open

The Knapdale People website is finally open! You can find it at

It has at this point, 2 batches of names: monument inscriptions found in 11 Knapdale burial grounds, including an alphabetical list; and an alphabetical listing of all people who were involved in the 1848 Arichonan Clearance.

So... take a look!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

a blog for Knapdale, its history & its diaspora!

Welcome to my blog... it will function in partnership with my website.