Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Dairy Maids of Harris

Here are the Dairy Maids on 'mainland' Harris from 1841-1901

Ann Mcpherson, 30, Rodel, b. Inverness

Flora Mcdonald, 25, Urgha, b. Harris
Marion Mackinnon, 46, Lukentyre, b. Harris
Effy Mackinnon, 43, Luskentyre, b. Harris
Christina Mcleod, 21, Luskentyre, b. Harris
Marion Mcdiarmid, 25, Nishishee, b. Harris
Cath Macdonald, 27, Nisshishee, b. North Uist
Cathi Maclennon, 27, Nissishee, b. Lochalsh, Ross-shire
Catherine Morrison, 28, Kyles Stockinish, b. Uig, Ross-shire
Ann Mclellan, 80, Pauper (Dairymaid), b. Harris
Mary Ross, 26, Rodel, b. Harris

Ann Mcdonald 20, Marvig, b. Harris
Effie Mckinnon, 57, Seilibost, b. Harris
Ann Mackinnon, 24, Big Borve, b. Harris
Catherine Mckennon, 18, Big Borve, b. Harris
Christina Morrison, 24, Glebe, b. Harris
Marion Maccuish, 20, Kyles (ED 4), b.?
Janet Mclennan, 30, Rodel, b. Harris

Rachel Mcleod, 43, (ED 16), b. Harris
Effy Mckinnon, ?, Main Road of Harris, b. Harris
Mary Macleod, 24, Rodel, b. Harris
Ann Macrae, 32, (ED 4), b. Glenelg, Inverness
(Anne Morrison, 24, Visitor (ED 4), b. Harris)

Margaret Mcleod, 23, Free Church Manse No 20, b. Harris
Ann Macdonald, 52, Nisebost, b. Lochalsh, ross-shire
Mary Mackenzie, 27, Big Borve, b. Berneray, Harris
Marion Mackinnon, 25, Big Borve, b. Harris
Isabella Robertson, 25, Kyles House, b. Duthil, Inverness-shire

Peggy Mcinnes, 21, Hamlets Scaristaveg, b. Harris
Marion Mackinnon, 27, Hamlets Scaristavore, b. Amhuinnsuidh, Harris
Williamina Macdonald, 28, Hamlets Glebe (ED 6), b. North Uist
Jessie Morrison 40, ?? (ED 6), b. Harris

1901 None on 'mainland' Harris

An interesting set of records that are quite informative. The apparently lone Dairy Maid of 1841 is an artifice of that particular census and I am sure that each of the established farms at that time would have had at least one woman whose role was that of the Dairy Maid. By the following decade we can see that the fertile farms of the West required no less than six ladies performing this task (seven, if we include the one living in Kyles Stockinish who would probably have been engaged by the farm of Luskentyre) with one each at Urgha in the North and Rodel in the South.

The pattern in later years probably reflects the trend away from cattle towards sheep until the only Dairy Maids in the area by 1901 are to be found on the surrounding isles. Rodel was joined by the farm at Kyles for a while but it appears that first Rodel, then Kyles, ceased to need a Dairy Maid and they disappeared from the landscape.

I must mention the Mckinnon sisters one of whom, Effy, appears to have been a Dairy Maid for at least the years 1851-1871 by which time she would have been well into her 60s.

That's a long time to be performing the far from simple, effortless or safe duties of a Dairy Maid!

A couple of articles on songs sung by these women can be read here:

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