Coigach Lines

Tenant Genealogy of Coigach Crofts, Scotland, 1800-1900

About geography of Coigach

 Blog about Coigach Crofts – Tenant Genealogy 1800 to 1900 – Crofting townships.

The Barony of Coigach was historically a separate western portion of the east coast Cromarty Estates. Their original croft numbering system included over thirty crofts at Morefield beside Ullapool and crofts 37 to 83 in smaller townships in Strathcanaird on the 1853 road built to connect Ullapool to Ledmore in Assynt. These crofts were separated from the Coigach townships listed below by the Ben Mor Coigach mountain barrier. Travel to Coigach was by sea or on foot by the precipitous coastal path, known as “Walking the rock”.

The present single-track road from Drumrunie to Achiltibuie follows an 18-mile detour northwards around the mountains via the north shores of Lochs Lurgainn, Badagyle, Oscaig, Ra and na Badachan. It was built between 1853 and 1876 to link the tenanted establishments of Drumrunie Lodge, Inverpollaidh Lodge, Achnahaird Farm and Badentarbet Lodge with Ullapool and the south. After the Napier Commission crofting inquiry in the 1880s it was extended from Badenscallie to Coulnacreag, the present termination,and linked between Achnahaird and Achiltibuie by a coastal road connecting to Reiff, Altandu, Dornie, Polbain and the new (1890s) Badentarbet Pier.

The crofting townships of Coigach can be subdivided as follows:-

The Coigach peninsula…..Crofts Numbers 187 to 257 in Dornie, Polbain, Altandu, Reiff, Achnahaird.

The central coast………………………………..89 to 152 in Achiltibuie, Polglas and Badenscallie.

The south-east coast………………………….160 to 174 in Achavrai, Achininver, Achduart, Coulnacreag.

The crofting islands…………………………….176 to 186 in Tanera, 260 to 268 in Isle Martin.

The tenants of each croft are named in published Valuation Rolls which originated in handwritten Rent Rolls kept by Cromarty Estates until about 1865. At first the crofters of each township are grouped in the number of small tenants paying less than four pounds per year, but after the Crofting Acts, i.e. from 1888 on they are named individually. Copies of the Valuation Rolls published at ten-year intervals commencing 1868 are held at Ullapool Museum.


7 Responses to “About geography of Coigach”

  1. John Cameron said

    This is a wonderful resource but I wish that it had not excluded the crofts at Morefield. I understand they are separated by Ben Mor Coigach but they were nevertheless considered part of the region and I believe that the families were connected.

    My ancestors were among those who emigrated to Van Diemans Land (Tasmania) on the Sir Alan McNab in 1853 following the Coigach Insurrection. This has been well documented by Hugh Campbell – see This group of Coigach people were also described by Eric Richards and Monica Clough’s book: “Cromartie: Highland Life 1650-1914”. See page 234.
    This group seems to have been tightly connected – as they re-congregated in the small town of Winkleigh in Tasmania once they had worked off their passages.

    The passenger list for the Sir Alan McNab appears at Of the 16 Coigach families on the passenger list, 10 of them come from Morefield.

    I descend from family 532 –

    I have tried for years without success to link that family (Alexander and Rachael Mackenzie) into existing Scottish genealogy.
    Your approach seems to be an extremely promising one – but it needs to include the Morefield crofts.
    I wonder if you could help me (and many other descendants in Australia of these forgotten Coigach families) to make this link with our Scottish ancestors.

    • alibaster said

      Your family 532 lived between two other Mackenzie Morfield families in 1841 and 1851 and therafter in crofts 18 and 19. Their parents were Colin and Margaret in 18 and Donald and Jane in 19, altho they did not get these numbers until1865 or so. Sorry for the lack of descent diagrams and the 4-year delay – Alibaster

      • alibaster said

        John ; I have drawn up a Descent diagram for the above Mackenzies of crofts 18 and 19 Morfield and the three families above con fit on the diagram for the one progenitor. If you give me a pick-up address – your mailingaddress if you are happy to do so, Ill mail you a photocopy

  2. Simon John McKenzie said

    I have copies of my gr gr grandfather John McKenzie and gr gr grandmother Catherine McKenzie(nee Campbell) death certificates, John’s states that he was from Morefield in Scotland. It states his father was John McKenzie merchant and his mother was Annie McKenzie nee McLeod. Catherine’s states she was from Ullapool. Her father is Donald Campbell school teacher and her mother is Margaret Campbell. I believe John and Catherine to be passengers on the Sir Alan McNab family 531. We have only anecdotal family information as all records/letters were lost when their house burnt down in Victoria, Australia. Also wondering if you have any links to my forebears.

    • alibaster said

      In the 1841 Census household 13 has John Mackenzie b 1786, Catherine Mackenzie b 1821 John b 1841 and John b 1832. In 1851 this family is absent from Morfield and I cant help with Ullapool. In 1861 Household 22 has Jn Mackenzie b 1785, widower and illegitimate son Jn b 1836, So Catherine and other son John might be family 531, on Sir Allan Macnab. The other 5 Morefield John Mackenzie crofts were kept by the early families until late in the 1800sand have no matches for your names, Best I can do-Alibaster

  3. John Duncan MacLennan said

    Hello. I believe my mother was descended from Hector MacKenzie of Isle Ristol (born c. 1796) and Janet MacDonald of Polbain. They immigrated to Cape Briton, NS.

    • alibaster said

      your janet macdonald is on my SDD 16, marrying hector on 12/3/1830Children were Murdo 1831 Kirsty 1833 john1837 Donald 1842 and isobel 1844, all at Balintore Fafm, where Hector died on21/1/1890,Reg by son John. cant improve diagrams, can mail fair copies

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