Wednesday, 20 June 2012

50 Lower Garrabost, 31 March 1901

What went on at 50 Lower Garrabost on the night of 31st March 1901? The night of the 1901 census sees a number of visitors was present in the house of Murdo and Mary Mackay, a couple in their early fifties. Apart from their children John (12), Malcolm (10), Murdo (8), Mary (27) and Annie (6), we also find these visitors, most from the village of Aird Tong, about 10 miles away on the other side of Stornoway.

Annie Macleod (40) - crofter's wife, Aird Tong
Isabella Ross (68) - crofter's wife, Aird Tong
Mary Macdonald (43) - crofter's wife, Aird Tong
Paggie Graham (68) - crofter's wife, Shader (Barvas)
Cate Macritchie (68) - crofter's wife, Benside
Paggie Dods (51) - watchmaker's wife, Aird Tong

Census returns offer us a narrow glimpse into the past, and what happened at this abode to prompt this influx of female visitors will probably remain hidden in the past. If anyone does have information, please leave a note. 


  1. I think the watchmaker was James Dodds from Edinburgh, the couple having settled in Glasgow by 1881 and where, by 1891, they had a son and two daughters.

    Isabella Ross appears to have been married to Donald Ross, a Crofter & Mason, whilst Ceit's husband was possibly Murdo Macritchie?

    Not a lot of help unless some event links the husbands, perhaps?

  2. The reason for the visitors at this address on that date was that this was the first of the twice yearly Communion services of the Knock Free Church, starting on Thursday 31st March through to Monday 4th April (Communion Sunday the first Sunday of the month, the other held in November). It was common back then for visitors to stay over the five days with relatives and friends, as no public or private transport was available at the time. The reason for only lady visitors could have been, men folk at sea fishing or away working etc, or that their men were non-communicants. Mrs Mackay originating from Tong, these would have been her family and friends and her house was very close to the church.

    Hope this answers the query.