The Tree of a Son of Skye

History | Culture | Ancestry

About

My name is Colin MacDonald and I was born to Scottish parents in Stuttgart, West Germany in 1985. I live in the West of Scotland and I’ve started this blog to document and share the history of my ancestors and to highlight other aspects of Scottish history that I find interesting.  I began researching my family tree in 2010 and have accumulated a significant amount of information which I feel should be shared, rather than sitting in the virtual equivalent of a dusty old filing cabinet.

My family history tells the story of not only myself, but of my people and the history of Scotland, Ireland and beyond. Researching my family tree has often taken me on unexpected paths and produced some surprising discoveries. As many family historians will sympathise, the research often leads to more questions than answers, and many family mysteries still remain. There is a strong tendency in the modern world to deify anything that speaks of individuality, and often we forget that we are more than an individual. For better or worse, we are the product of many people and many generations and that is something that continues to be important to me.

My ancestors came from all walks of life. Some were woollen weavers from Skye and crofters from Argyll, while others were Irish soldiers, shipyard workers from Greenock or engineers from Glasgow. There are many more and they had varied, interesting and often tragic stories. I hope to document those that came before me in the context of their own time, and I hope to also use this blog as a useful way of documenting all the other background information I have accumulated about their lives.

I am proud of my people and who I am from. I hope that this blog proves interesting to read and please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to exchange research or make corrections.

 

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24 comments on “About

  1. Martin Macdonald
    July 30, 2014

    Hey Colin, what a fascinating blog you have put together, particularly the information on the Isle of Skye. I’ll read through this in more detail, but can’t help but feel we must be related – we are both Macdonald’s, my old man was from Sleat (Tokavaig) and my mother is from Springburn! Martin

    • Colin MacDonald
      July 30, 2014

      Wow Martin! That is very interesting, thanks for letting me know! A fellow MacDonald with links to Sleat (yours a bit closer than mine) and a connection to Springburn. Certainly within the realms of possibility that we have a relation in common!

      I would be interested in hearing a bit about your family when you have time.

  2. j.s.mcleod
    August 8, 2014

    Hey MacDonald! It’s McLeod from Canada. Nice description of your blog. And thanks for the link to MacDonald and King Louis XVIII. All the best, Janet

    • Colin MacDonald
      August 11, 2014

      Thanks Janet. I have another interesting piece coming up about MacDonald’s tour of Scotland in 1825. I will try and get it up soon.

  3. Flora Macdonald
    October 1, 2014

    Hi Colin, I just got home from Paris last night where I had discovered the street named after your descendant and being a Macdonald of Clanranald of UIST I googled your ancestor to find his history, I knew of Neil Mc Eachern,s link to the famous Flora and thought he might have gone to France after Prince Charles ! Of course the street was named after his son. Great details Colin! my daughter Fiona wrote Alexander date of birth and death down for me, j have Hugh Macdonald born UIST (1755~1835) died at Skye loads of info from his son Archibald who was a weaver & his wife Chirsty Gillies, their many children etc etc my grandfather Hector came from Bracadale Skye~ I was born in SPRINGBURN Glasgow…………………….Flora Macdonald…………….Awesome site Colin………………..

  4. Colin MacDonald
    October 2, 2014

    Hi Flora, I’m afraid to say that Marshal MacDonald is not a relation of mine, I merely have an interest in his unusual career. A lot of my interest came from trying to look up various sites associated with him when I visited Paris earlier this year. I really hope to generate a bit more interest in him and to make him more well known in Scotland. Nice to see you are yet another MacDonald with links to Skye and Springburn, seems there are a few of us! I stayed near Bracadale once, at Portnalong, it’s certainly a nice part of Skye. Thanks very much for the feedback, its always nice to hear people find this history as fascinating as I do. As for your Uist connection, I have a post coming up about Marshal MacDonald and his links to Uist which I think you will enjoy. Slainte!

  5. j.s.mcleod
    March 21, 2015

    Hi Colin, I am planning a trip to UK and Europe late May and June. I’m thinking about a trip to Skye. Looking at the dates would be around June 5. I will be coming through Glasgow. I wonder if there is a boat trip from there it would be interesting to travel by sea. Anyway, want to meet up? I am also looking to do a presentation on family lineage, Intergenerational trauma and DNA research. It’s about a half an hour and it’s based on the research I’ve done on Ledger 1807. If you have any ideas of places to do this presentation that would be appreciated. A church? Women’s Institute? Hope we connect! Janet

    • Colin MacDonald
      March 25, 2015

      Hi Janet, I’m happy to meet up when you are here if you feel it might be useful. I would suggest however that Chris Paton might be better placed to help you with the work you are carrying out. He is a professional genealogist who I’ve dealt with before andhe is very good at his work. He could point you in the right direction. His website is: http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/about-chris-paton.html

  6. Guy Ayres
    July 17, 2016

    My Uncle came across your website and wants to get in touch with you. I told him that I would try to get an email address from you so that he could contact you regarding a common ancestor our ours. (We have the same great great great or great great great great grandfather, Alexander MacDonald) If you could send me your email address I will forward it to him.

    Thanks,
    Guy Ayres

    • Colin MacDonald
      July 17, 2016

      Hi Guy, I can see your email address through the admin page. I will send an email to your gmail account. Thanks.

  7. Jeremy Macdonald
    August 30, 2016

    Hello Colin, Just came upon your blog as i search my own MacDonald Family history. interesting read about Alexander MacDonald . I have now found out i have 3 grandfathers with that name, hence how i found your blog. Will continue to follow along.

    Jeremy MacDonald
    Napan Bay, New Brunswick
    Canada

    • Colin MacDonald
      August 30, 2016

      Thanks Jeremy, I do plan on posting more articles about the MacDonalds, but sadly I don’t always have the time to do the necessary research. I’ve been doing more of my private research recently, but I will definitely try to get back to a more regular posting schedule.

  8. Bev'y Kins
    October 19, 2016

    I am a Jean McLarty+Coll Sinclair/Nancy Sinclair+JamesLocke/L.Mabel Locke+R.B McGregor/Jean McGregor+D.H Ward/Bev’y Ward+W.N.Kinnear descendant from Toronto, Canada and…
    I’ve been trying to establish whether my ancestry descends from EITHER Coll Sinclair b.1810 m. Jane McLarty b.1814 OR Coll Sinclair b.1811 m. Jean McLarty b.1817!
    However, even if ‘Jane’ or ‘Jean’ McLarty are not related to any of the ancestors on your blog, Coll Sinclair’s father, Malcolm, was born in Craignish & his son, Coll Sinclair, 22y, married Jean McLarty, 16y, in 1833 in Argyllshire, but no specific location is given, so the information you’ve given about the Craignish area is much appreciated!
    I still have some work to do with this genealogical connexion…
    Cheers, Bev’y

  9. Judith Baker
    February 19, 2017

    Colin this is a fascinating piece of work and I wanted to thank you for it, I am currently reading the autobiography of Molly Weir and I needed to be able to visualise the places she decribes in and around Springburn in the early 1900s. I came across your blog and it started to fill the gaps. I am in the process of researching my own family, from the Renfrew area, grandparents, born in 1906 and 1907. Your blog has given me the inspiration to go on and also some valuable indicators for my own research. Thank you.

    • Colin MacDonald
      March 3, 2017

      Hi Judith, thanks very much for your nice comments. It’s always nice to know that history continues to inspire people, particularly to find out more about their own family. I’ve been researching my family tree for seven years now and I’m still learning new things all the time. Good luck with your research.

  10. Bob Cardona
    March 3, 2017

    Hi Colin, I’m working for Aulds in Greenock, refurbishing a Cafe. I’m looking for an old map of the Docks and came across your site. The old map you show of Greenock back in the 1700’s is the kind of thing. Do you have digital files of it and would they be suitable to enlarge and print? If so would you be interested in selling to us for a reasonable fee? Many thanks Bob – bob@marketreactive.com

    • Colin MacDonald
      March 3, 2017

      Hi Bob, the maps I use are available from the National Library of Scotland. I’m not sure what the rules are with respect to them being used in a commercial premises but I will email you with further details of how you can contact them.

  11. Zoe Weir
    May 1, 2017

    Hello Colin,
    I am writing a preview of the upcoming annual jousting event at Linlithgow Palace for iScot magazine, which will include an introduction on the history of the Palace. My preliminary searches suggest to me that the decline of the Palace buildings has been concurrent with Scotland’s slide into Union..starting with the royals disappearing down to England at the beginning of the 1600s, and culminating in the building’s destruction by Cumberland’s army. Do you think this would be a fair analogy to make?
    I came across a comment of yours that the destruction of the Palace was one of the great (and little known) works of cultural vandalism by the British Army. This resonated with me and I would be keen to expand this a little, please could you tell me a little more, and/or point me towards any sources to prove it was a deliberate fire-raising? I am away to Linlithgow library at the weekend to investigate this, meanwhile I have bought a copy of George Waldie’s Linlithgow, which claims the fire was accidental and that the limit of the Cumberland force’s culpability was carelessness followed by lack of interest in putting the fire out (p89). It seems ridiculous that the fire was an accident but I need to find some reasonable proof that it wasn’t. Can you help?
    Many thanks
    Zoe Weir

    • Colin MacDonald
      May 2, 2017

      My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that it’s fair to say that Linlithgow, along with all Scottish Royal buildings declined in importance and prestige after our monarchs scurried off to London.

      As for whether or not it the Linlithgow fire was an accident, I have certainly read before that the fire was due to an unattended fire but I suspect the Hanoverian soldiers weren’t exactly distraught at the thought of the palace going up in flames. I have my own views, but no doubt there is an academic source which explores the evidence in more detail.

      What I would say is that this is the same army who damaged the royal portraits in the gallery of Holyrood House after the Battle of Falkirk, murdered unarmed prisoners and stole a massive amount of cattle and other economic assets from the highlands after Culloden. This shows a clear pattern of behaviour which may help to provide answers in relation to Linlithgow.

  12. Zoe Weir
    May 2, 2017

    Thanks for this. It corresponds very well with what I’ve unearthed so far -Waldie’s evidence is that the soldiers were disorderly and were still in the Palace when the flames spread and that they and their General (Hawley) refused to tackle the blaze. Not quite the accident reported on various websites and in official guidebooks then.
    I hope to find out more at the weekend. I’m still trying to clarify whether there were two groups of British soldiers, one fleeing Prestonpans under General Cope to Holyrood, the second under General Hawley fleeing Falkirk to Linlithgow. These two vandalisms both occurred Jan/Feb, then Culloden was in April.
    Possible route Falkirk-Linlithgow-Edinburgh-Perth-Culloden?
    I will let you know if I find out more.
    Zoe

  13. Zoe Weir
    May 13, 2017

    Hello again. I found nothing in the books at Linlithgow to disprove Waldie’s account. I also found out that Cope was supposed to be replaced by Cumberland after his defeat at Prestonpans, but Cumberland was otherwise disposed so Hawley took over. So it was the same army under a different leader. After leaving Linlithgow the Brits followed the Jacobites north until Culloden.
    I plan to give your website a mention at the end of my piece if that is ok, as I think iScot readers would really enjoy it. Article should be in June 1st edition of iScot, available online at pocketmags. Thanks again.

    • Colin MacDonald
      May 15, 2017

      Hi Zoe,

      Thanks for giving my website a bit of a plug, it’s much appreciated although I have been tardy with my posting these days.

      Also, if you are interested in another useful resource about the ’45, I’d recommend ‘Falkirk or Paradise’ by Geoff Bailey. I remember contacting him a few years ago about specific questions relating to points on the battlefield and he was very helpful. In terms of your work it gives some extensive detail about troop movements, much of which is not otherwise well known.

      • Zoe Weir
        May 15, 2017

        Thank you Colin, this will be useful. If you email me an address, I will post you a copy of next month’s issue. My email is weireleven@gmail.com.

  14. Shayna Conn
    October 23, 2017

    Hi Colin, my organisation is putting on a talk about the Jewish Community in Greenock on Sunday 19 November, 2017. I couldn’t find a private comment / contact area so I’m writing here. Could you email me at shayna@scojec.org so I can pass on details. Thanks.

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