Sunday, 3 April 2011

Napier witnesses: Ronald Macdonald

Ronald Macdonald is the brother of the tacksman for Taransay, and the second of the witnesses from that island.

We find him in the 1881 census as a farmer's son on Taransay. Other family members include Mary Macdonald (80), farmer's widow, Kimber.  Rodrica (39) is her daughter. Listed alongside the Macdonalds are John Morrison (32), a sheepherd (sic); Mary Macaskill (22, general serv, domestic); Mary Mackay (16, general serv, domestic) and Archibald Macdonald (16), a herdboy. Whether he is related to the family is not mentioned on the census.

A decade earlier, we find the Macdonalds at Paible House, Taransay. Mary (63) is a farmer's wife with her sons Donald (43), Ronald (34), Roderica (28), Catherine Mary (24) and Donalda (20). In addition, we find Mary Morrison (22, born at Ardhasaig), a farm servant; Christy Macaskill (30, born at Berneray), a farm servant; and Johny Morrison (16), born at Kendulavig (near Obbe), a cattle herd.

In 1861, Ronald's father John appears on the census form, aged 81. He is a farmer of 700 acres employing 3 labourers and 1 boy. His wife Mary is listed as aged 63; rather strange, as her age remains the same in 1871! Their children are Marjory (40), Donald (35), Ronald (26), Roderica (22), Catherine (7) and Rondaline (4 mo). We saw her as Donalda on the 1871 census.
Farm servants include John Mcrae (68, shepherd), Norman Mcaskill (38, ploughman), John Macaskill (8, ploughman - age is obviously wrong), Malcolm Mackennon (6, reed rig); Anne Mckinnon (18, housemaid) and Effa Mckinnon (78, diarymaid).

I have been unable to reliably trace him in the censuses for 1851 or 1841.
In 1891, we find Ronald (aged 50) living on private means with his eldest sister, Marjory, then aged 70. As far as I can make out, he does not feature on the 1901 census.
Ronald Macdonald passed away on Taransay on 18 June 1913, aged 81, of supposed old age. No doctor attended his death. He is quoted as being single.

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