Coigach Lines

Tenant Genealogy of Coigach Crofts, Scotland, 1800-1900

Archive for the ‘Coigach Crofts’ Category

(SDD21) Maclennan 226 (also 239 and 243)

Posted by alibaster on August 11, 2009

SDD 21

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(SDD19) Macleod 299, 212B

Posted by alibaster on August 4, 2009

SDD 19

Posted in Altandu, Coigach Crofts, Macleod, Reiff, scanned diagram | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

(SDD13) Macleod 255,256, (250, 207,253)

Posted by alibaster on July 9, 2009

SDD 13

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(SDD10) Macleod 234, 241, 246

Posted by alibaster on May 31, 2009

SDD 10

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About the geography of Coigach

Posted by alibaster on February 24, 2009



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.

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(SDD1) Maclean 210, 211

Posted by alibaster on February 1, 2009

Maclean 210-211

Maclean 210-211

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Coigach Crofts – Tenant Genealogy – 1800 – 1900

Posted by alibaster on January 19, 2009

Coigach and the Summer Isles lie in Ross-shire, 60 miles north-west of Inverness, capital 0f Scotland’s Highland Region.


            In the early 1800s the Coigach townships were “lotted” into over 200 small-holdings

of 2 to 4 acres of cultivable land, each with proportionate hill-grazing rights. Most of these crofts extended from High-Water mark on the north-east shore of Loch Broom to the hill dyke, behind each crofting township, which kept the hill grazing stock out of the crops under cultivation.


            Access to the sea was important for bringing in seaweed for fertiliser and for subsistence fishing, using open boats small enough to be hauled up above High Water mark. Catches from the seasonal shoals of herring in Loch Broom were salted for the winter to provide the staple meal, along with home-grown potatoes kept away from the frost in a pit.


            The first crofting tenants had to clear, drain and enclose their croft and build thatched cottages and other shelter. The Cromarty Estates landowner’s factor came from Easter Ross annually to collect rents and any rent arrears due from each tenant. Once a family had established themselves in a croft they retained their tenancy through several generations.The tenant’s surname rarely changed except where the tenancy passed to a married daughter. Families were large however, and a croft was too small to share, so younger siblings who married locally often left Coigach, and many emigrated.


            Genealogist/descendants of these families face the problem of frequent repetition in Coigach of both surnames and given names, and the difficulty of identifying their own ancestor Murdo Maclean or Margaret Macleod from among the many on offer. This difficulty is reduced by wider knowledge of the local families and of potentially relevant pairs of parents of the time. It should vanish when all family parents are known and all the wrong Murdo Macleans can be eliminated. These family descent diagrams result from my study of the records of Coigach between 1800 and World War One.


            Crofts Numbers 210 to 223 inclusive are in Altandu township which was inhabited for most of the 19th century by eight distinguishable Maclean families, three part-time Macleod families and one each Stewart and Mackenzie families. Their descent diagrams are on pages 1 to 9. Eight daughters of these families married into other Altandu families, five into families from the adjacent township of Reiff, and eighteen into families from other crofting townships within Coigach.



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