Sunday, 20 December 2015

An Ancestor Search

 A fortnight ago, I received an email from Malcolm Camp, as follows:

"My great-great-greatgrandfather was Donald 'Lang' Cameron. All I know about him is that he moved to Alexandria, Dumbarton and his descendants ended up in ship-building and factories in Glasgow and eventually Jarrow and latterly London and the southeast of England.

"In the 1851 census (aged 47) he is described as having been born on Ardnamurchan Point. He has a second name 'Lang' , which I'm not sure is a second name or a nickname meaning 'tall' or 'thin' or both.

"If a person said they were from 'Ardnamurchan Point' as opposed to simply 'Ardnamurchan', would this mean anything? Would this tie a person to a particular clachan or village? I realise Donald Cameron is quite a common name historically on the peninsula. My family members, being predominantly working class shipbuilding folk until the 40s, know very little about their history, so it would be great to have a croft of origin from 1800. I'm also interested to learn how dispersed the little community became after Sir James Liddell's excesses.

"All my siblings have Scottish names after three generations out of Scotland. My great-grandmother insisted!"

I suggested to Malcolm that the clachan referred to might be Grigadale, and sent him this clip from the Bald map of 1806, but if anyone has further information please either give it as a comment or write to the blog's email address,, and I'll pass it on to Malcolm.

It was only after I had replied to Malcolm that I noticed the lochan shown on Bald's map just to the northwest of the clachan. Loch Grigadale is clearly shown by Bald in the correct place, to the south and across the map join on the next map. Since Bald's maps are remarkably accurate, this suggests there was once a lochan in this place, and.... may have occupied the area of brown vegetation to the right of the farmhouse in this picture, which does look as if it has channels which have drained it.

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