29 March 2016

Kirk Sessions, Isle of Coll - 4

Many of the minutes begin on one page and end on the next. The minutes vary in length and detail.
The Laird of Coll at this time, unnamed in the minutes, was Hector Maclean.
"Mr. Hector McLean," the meeting moderator here and in previous minutes, was the assistant parish minister for (and residing in) Coll, a distant relative of the same-named Laird. Mr. William Morisson who moderated a few sessions was the Coll and Tiree parish minister living on Tiree.

Breacha September 23rd 1733
After prayer
                 Sederunt Mr Hector McLean Modr
                 The Laird of Coll
                 Allan McLean of Tottranald            Elders
                 Donald McDonald at Tottamore

John McAlan vc Neil oig being ^cited to our Session
and having Compeared was Interrogate if he was
willing to Submit to Discipline & Censure
here for his guilt with a Certain woman
at Glasgow Said he was, and? was much
rather? willing to dread penance here than
at Glasgow where he Committed this sin
Nothing else occurring the Session closd with prayer

26 March 2016

Kirk Sessions, Isle of Coll - 3

In general it's difficult to tell whether capital letters are being used or not on some words.
The people identified by patronymics: I am not able to guess at what their surnames (as we know them!) evolved to.
There are actually two entries here, August 15th and 19th. The latter records a very brief meeting occasioned by the absence of John Duigh at the former meeting.
Can anyone solve the mystery of what the [black]smith was making for the community (see second illustration below)?
The bedle (more familiarly, beadle) in the Church of Scotland was a lay person appointed as a church official to assist the minister during Sunday service.

Ballihough August 15th 1733
After prayer Sederunt
Mr. Hector McLean Modr )
The Laird of Coll )
Allan McLean of Tottranald ) Elders
Lachland McLean of Torastan )
Hector McLean of Knock )

          Christian nin Terlich vic Neil oig [being?] Inter
rogate befor the Session who was father to her [Child]
answered that it was John Duigh McKerlich vic [Neil]
oig who being absent, the session suspended [any?]
further Enquiry into this ^affair till their next meet
ing And the said woman found Baill for her
Submitting to Discipline & Censure & paying
her fines Namely James McLeane Coll's [Child?]
       The Session appoints that Lachlan Mc
IanIar doe stand in Sack-cloath and also the
woman with whom he Committed adultery
and have modifyd his fine into ten pounds Scot
and her fines into eight
      Neil McKinnon being Cited to this [Session?]
and charged with Immorality in violating
the Lords day Confessed himself ^guilty and was appointed
to stand befor the Congregation in token of
his Repentance on the next Lord's day and be
publicly reproved
      The session discharges Murdoch
Kennedy of his Intromission with his fine
proceeding the date hereof
(next page)
The session appoints [Church?] Treasurer to give
----- Shillings sterling to the ^Smith in this Com
----- for making [Joggs?] for their W-
      The Session appoints that the Ancient
custom of giving a Cheese to the Bedle together
with a Sheaf should be renewed & observed
by all in this country who have any Labouring
and orders that this be intimated on the next
Lords day Immediately after Sermon Closd with
      John Duigh McKerlich vc Neil oig
being ^late to the Session met August 19th 1733
and interrogate if he had guilt with [*] nian
Terlich vc Neill oig owned he had, nothing else
occurring they closd with prayer

[*] a Christian name appears to be missing here

© 2016 Brenda Dougall Merriman

22 March 2016

Kirk Sessions, Isle of Coll - 2

A portion of the first entry for 1733
▪ Punctuation was clearly not an important issue.
▪ If anyone can fill the gaps please leave a comment or email me.
"Kock" was likely meant to be Knock.
▪ The second word after sessioner Lachlan McLean seems to be a word for his occupation/position with the Laird.
▪ "John Mc" was written thus, omitting his father's name.

            Cliad 18th febrie 1733
Sedt after prayer
            Mr. Wm Morison Modr
            Hector McLean of Torraston
            Hector McLean of Kock Elders
            Lachlan McLean [Breyr?] German
            to Coll and John McLean in
            Grishaboll sessioners
Upon on a report given in to the session that Kathrina Nian Doill in Cliad
was big with Child was summoned Called compeared was Interoget who
was the father of the Child that seemed to be in her bearing replied that
it was Lachlan McIan --- in Cliad he being upon the spot was summoned
----- [Ach--d?] was Called compered he was Interogate if he was Guilty in adultry
was the sd Kathrine replyed that he was guiltie but that he did Not know
if he was father of the Child then he was removed and she was asked the
time of his guilt with her replyd that it was in the latter end of Agust then
he was Called in and was Asked when he was guilty with sd Kathrine replyd
that it was about a Month of Harvest yet at the same time he aledgd that
John Mc [*] was guilty with the sd Kathrine So: being upon the spot was---
moved Called and compeared was Interogate if ever he had any carnal
Dealing with the sd Kath replyed that he was [this?] Instant content to [proving?]
himself by oath that he had Never any Carnal dealings with her less or
more but the session delayd his oath till the Child was born [the?]
Lach: was defered to find baile for his fine and satisfying the Church
----- found Lach McLean son to the Lord of Coll -- gave both by hand
and promise in face of Session Closed with prayer

[*] a name seems to have been omitted here

Full entry

© 2016 Brenda Dougall Merriman

16 March 2016

Kirk Sessions, Isle of Coll - 1

Some time ago I extracted a few random items from Isle of Coll kirk sessions minutes HERE, HERE, and HERE to illustrate the eighteenth century content and language. I promised myself I would do more ― proper transcripts ― because I have printouts of the entire works. Grateful thanks to my friend Victoria, Canadian ex-pat and archivist in Edinburgh.

Thank you, Keith Dash at Coll Genealogy (
Coll is in the inner Hebrides of Argyll, a geographic "twin" to the Isle of Tiree with which it had a shared parish history for a long time (Coll has always had a smaller population than its sister island). Savvy researchers know that the oldest surviving Coll baptisms and marriages were recorded not in Old Parochial Registers (OPRs) per se, but in minutes of the Kirk Sessions.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) have the surviving Coll records in CH2/70/1 (Kirk Sessions 1733-1813) and CH2/70/2 (Kirk Sessions 1813-1872). They've been digitized and can be viewed in the NRS Search Rooms on their Virtual Volumes system.[1] Several regional archives in Scotland also have access to the service. Kirk Sessions are not currently available on ScotlandsPeople but the NRS plan to begin placing them online in 2017 "following the re-launch of the ScotlandsPeople website in 2016."

The Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City calls the records OPRs, referring to their FHL microfilms 1041081 and 1041082 with dates for Coll births and marriages as 1776-1856.[2]

However, despite the CH2/70/1 description, there are no session minutes for Coll between 1735 and 1776, more than a generation. Although Coll had a resident assistant (Mr. Hector Maclean) during that time, the minister of the dual-island parish resided in Tiree; if minutes or a register were kept in Coll they have not been found.[3] Also, Coll researchers have noted in the later records that marriages about 1780-1792 are missing, a period coinciding with the lack of an assistant minister on the island.

One might ask, since Tiree OPRs begin/are available from 1766, do they contain Coll baptisms and marriages before 1776? The answer appears to be only if a Coll person came over to marry a Tiree person, or presented a child there for baptism.

I propose to transcribe the few pages of the earliest existing minutes. While the NRS and FHL both give "1733" as the start date, I find the first entry is 1732. Spellings are "as is" or as best I can decipher. Square brackets indicate guesses; lines ---- indicate indecipherable letters or words. Note that patronymics are still in usage in many instances. Unfortunately the width of the blog's column makes it awkward to keep each line on one line. Let's begin with the first, the only entry in 1732; the month was not given:

Ballohodh 26th 1732
after prayer
[Sedt]* Mr Wm Morisson Moderator
Laird of Coll
Allan McLean
Hector McLean
John McLean                    Elders
Lach: McLean absent
The session Appoints Donald og [ye?] Treasuror to pay to Mr William
Morisson five shilling Sterling out of the session box the [9th?] five shill his people
to And: Campbell Bursar to the people of Mull and [showed?] the r[eceip]t of the
sd money under Mr Campbell his hands
     The session finding of --- are several delinquents whose fines have not
been modified and having M--- upon that head do modify as follows
I---: Allan McAllan and his wife are fined in four pounds ---- 08
Nom Angus McDhoil vic Jamish and his Miss in six pounds ---- 06
Nom John McLean and Ann Man Jan vic Alister in six shills each 06
Nom William McNeill and Katherine Man Jan vic Eachnin in six mks each 08
Nom Lach: McHorlick and Mary Man Jan bhan in six mrks each 08
Nom John McAlister and his Miss Shiavonn----h in six merks each 08
Nom Donn McAllan og aroloss is fined in ten shill 00
[last line torn and illegible]
(next page)
     The session Appointed the Minister to ----- to Mr John McLean to
cause Eann McAllan og aroloss fornication pay his fine of ten shills
Ster:      The session being informed that [some?] two women came
from Barra who have brought forth children here since they came
the one in fornication the other in adultry as its to their fathers being
in Barra Therefor the Presbty appoint [Jo?] T---- forth with to go
and cause them leave this country otherways if they do not obey they will
meet with more [ink blot] treatment this was intimated to the bod--
      The session Appoints [ye?] Collector to give John McNeill
vic Dhoil[ink blot] blind boy three merk--- out of the former fines
Also[ink blot] Mary Nean Neill a ffool three merks out of the
sd fines[ink blot] they Appoint [Ihan?] Ian vic Lachlan in Arnabost
three Merk[ink blot] of the sd fines Nothing else occurring they closed
---- --[ink blot]

* No doubt the abbreviation for sederunt meaning they were seated, but more formally to indicate that a church session was underway.

Any corrections or additions are more than welcome.

[2] See "Tyree, Argyll, Scotland," in the FamilySearch Wiki (,_Arygll,_Scotland).
[3] Nicholas Maclean-Bristol, The Kirk on the Hill, the story of the church in the Isle of Coll AD 550-2007. Coll: The Society of West Highland and Island Historical Research, 2007.

© 2016 Brenda Dougall Merriman

03 March 2016

Maternal Family Fashion

Recent events as in moving from one place to another (are genealogists really hoarders?) led to sifting through piles and miles of photographs to scan. My mother as an only child had been the subject of oodles of proud-parent photos, many of them studio-taken to send to relatives in the old country. As time went on, friends and others took over. Plus, sidewalk photos used to be a thing. Said photos were scattered around various old albums and otherwise loose amongst miscellaneous stacks of chaotic proportions.

It's called playing around before I get serious again. What I've assembled is easier with female ancestors, and obviously only if enough photographs are available. It also helped that her mother was a seamstress.

For the kids and grandkids who never knew Grandma Clare.

Toddler Clara ca. 1914
ca. 1919
c. 1920
ca. 1921
ca. 1925
ca. 1928

1940 Vancouver
1947 Vancouver with sister-in-law Isabelle (Dougall) Miller
1954 Honolulu
ca. 1961
Clare by Clare ca. 1963
© 2016 Brenda Dougall Merriman