Six Kinnis siblings in Ledaig, Argyll

John Kinnis and Janet Black immigrated to Ardchattan to live at South Ledaig Farm just north of what is now the Connel Bridge to farm, living there together during the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th.  None of their six children married, so the family and Kinnis name have evaporated locally, despite the six lifetimes and more lived in this beautiful area of Scotland. It would be nice to know more about them, and to know if such an “insular” experience was normal or unusual. Maybe they were sociable pillars of the community or perhaps they led an isolated existence. Were they happily self-sufficient?  They will never speak for themselves, but perhaps there are some folk memories (or photographs) of the family out there.

Immigration into Argyll from Lanarkshire

Janet’s Black surname suggests an Argyll connection, which could have attracted them to Ardchattan Parish, but I have not researched her parents yet. It would be lovely if there were a connection to the Blacks of Lismore, and my maternal grandfather’s family. Janet herself was born near Shotts, Lanarkshire to David Black (farmer) and Margaret Thompson. Maybe a link will be found to Argyll. It’s certain though that the Kinnis family had no connection. John Kinnis (also Kinnes) had been born near Falkland, Fife, like his mother Agnes. John’s father James had come from West Tayside: he and Agnes married near Dundee in May 1813.[1]

  • James Kinness or Kinnis, farmer, was born in Longforgan, west of Dundee. His father was James but his mother was “not known” when he died 03/2/1869 in Hattonrig, near Bellshill, Lanarkshire. It’s likely he was born on 27/09/1789 and that his mother was Isobell Sutor (with variant spellings).
  • Agnes Fotheringham was born in Falkland, Fife. It’s likely she was born on 7/12/1788, and that her father David was a baker and brewer, and her mother was Christina Bickerton (a name seen nearby in Portmoak, Loch Leven). She died 24/6/1863 in Bellshill, Lanarkshire.

They moved around Tayside and Fife, and their children were born in various locations. John Kinnis, the patriarch of this tale, was one of several siblings.[2]

  1. Christina/Christiana (b. 04/05/1814 in Murroes, just east of Dundee, d. 28/3/1892 in Bellshill). She married James Patrick (11/11/1838) in Falkland/Kinglassie and had five children (1840-1852) in Auchtermuchy and Wemyss parishes.[3] He was a farmer.
  2. James (b. 12/04/1816 Eassie and Nevay parish north of Dundee).
  3. David (b. 6/11/1820 in Longforgan just west of Dundee, d. 14/12/1903, Glasgow). He was married three times, to Isabella Mathieson (n.d., d<1862), Elizabeth Hutchison (8/10/1862) and Jane ?Miller? (1870) with several children and many descendants. David was a master tailor, clothier, draper. He and his portfolio family lived in/near Bellshill.
  4. Isabella (b. ~1821, outwith Fife, in the 1841 census): she may be a cousin rather than a sister.
  5. John (b. ~1823 in Falkland, Fife), married to Janet Black: the couple and their children are the topic of this blog.[4]
  6. William (b. 2/1/1825 in Falkland, Fife, d. 19/5/1899), married (21/02/1861) to Helen “Ellen” Dykes (b. ~1833 in Old Monkland Lanarkshire, d.4/4/1922).[5] William, a grain dealer and potato merchant, left a will, and the family moved to Lesmahagow, and had 6 children. He is a direct ancestor of my wife and children, which is how I became interested in his brother John’s story.
  7. Agnes (b. ~1827 in Fife, according to the 1841 census).

John and Janet

At some point, John (#5) and Janet Black met, and they married in 1853 in Lanarkshire – both were born in 1823, estimating from census returns etc.  Sometime after 1851, the Kinnis parents James and Agnes had left Falkland with their son William (#6) and grandson James to farm in increasingly industrial Lanarkshire: it’s not clear in what sequence, but the family were located very close together on census day 1861.

After John and Janet married, the first four of their children were born in Lanarkshire. (The last being Agnes in late 1860.) Two more children were born in Ledaig, which is therefore after the family moved there. What we will never know is why they moved away. The Arygll farmhouse was fairly new – it was built in 1840, according to the current owners, so it appears the couple took over a going concern. Perhaps the increasing industrialisation of Lanarkshire was generally intolerable, or this seemed like an ideal opportunity. What is clear is that John and Janet moved from Lanarkshire between 1861-63, set up on their own, far away in a new place, leaving behind the context of an extended and presumably close-knit family who had not long previously relocated, married and found farms in immediate proximity to each other. John died around 20 years later (28 May 1881) and Janet ten years after that (4 June 1891).

south ledaig farmhouse
South Ledaig Farmhouse (built 1840). Image reproduced (without permission) from recent owners’ now defunct Holiday Letting listing (2018).

The Six Kinnis Siblings

Their six children were as follows:

  1. James (baptised 08/01/1854, d. 18/05/1925), Church of Scotland OPR, registered in Shotts.[6]
  2. Margaret (born 4/10/1855, d. 25/03/1936), born Hartwoodhill, registered in Shotts.
  3. David (b. 1858, d. 8/5/1927), registered in Bothwell.[7]
  4. Agnes (b .11/09/1860, d. 3/07/1944), born Bankhead, near Bellshill, registered in Bothwell.
  5. Janet “Jessie” (b. 1863, d. 1/9/1895), registered in Ardchattan.[8]
  6. John (b. 1866, d. 2/7/1902), registered in Ardchattan.[9]

The birth locations of John and Jessie plus Agnes, Janet and John’s birth certificates indicate the family moved to Ardchattan after the census of 1861 and before the birth of Jessie in 1863. So John and Janet moved to Argyll when they were nearly 40 years old, with four small children.  After some searching,[10] the 1871 census for Ardchattan confirmed that they were all living in South Ledaig.

1871 South Ledaig noisybrain
1871 Census for South Ledaig (c) National Records of Scotland

As usual for an early census, there are some inconsistencies in birth locations, because this time the information was probably given to the census taker by one of the older children, a contemporary problem rather than a modern error of transcription or image quality. The census lists:

  • John, aged 48, farmer of 200 acres, of which 90 arable employing 2? servants.
  • Janet (age 48), farmer’s wife.
  1. James (age 17)
  2. Margret (sic) (15) and
  3. David (13) are listed as farmer’s sons and daughter. Younger
  4. Agnes (age 10) and
  5. Janet (8) attend school, while
  6. John (5) was educated at home
  • Also, dairymaid Ann Lindsay (age 27), from Bothwell; two farm servants Duncan Stuart (age 26), from Newcastle and Duncan Thompson (19) from Argyll; I think specifically Muckhairn just south of Loch Etive, near South Connel.

Various census listings suggest the family did not (often) employ local people on the farm. Perhaps there were not enough local people (left)? Perhaps they worked on their own family farms? I would like to know more about typical patterns of employment to see if this is unusual.

Ten years later, the 1881 census (taken on Sunday 3 April) locates the family in I think the same farm they had been in for nearly 20 years, though the non-arable portion seems to have expanded:

  • John Kinnis, age 58, farmer of 335 Acres (100 Arable) employing 1 boy & 3 women
  • Janet Kinnis, age 58, farmer’s Wife
  1. James Kinnis, age 27, farmer’s son, b. Lanarkshire.
  2. Margaret Kinnis, age 25, farmer’s daughter Lanarkshire.
  3. David Kinnis, age 23, farmer’s son, b. Lanarkshire.
  4. Agnes Kinnis, age 20, farmer’s daughter b. Lanarkshire.
  5. Jessie Kinnis, age 18, farmer’s daughter b. Ardchattan, Argyll.
  6. John Kinnis, age 15, farmer’s so n, b. Ardchattan, Argyll.
  • Alexander McNiven Servant, unmarried, age 18, agricultural labourer, b. Kilmore, Argyll.
  • Stewart Sinclair, servant, unmarried, age 18, agricultural labourer, b. “N K”, Argyll.
south ledaig farmhouse from
South Ledaig farmhouse from (c) Chris, August 2016

John’s Death and Will

John died just weeks later, on 18 May 1881 from a “disease of the heart, 4 years”, and his will and inventory (dated 22 Dec 1880) show he left over £300 in farm stock, farming implements and crops, and £100 in cash in the house. In comparison, the value of household furniture and “plenishing” plus silver plate was in total under £20.  Debts owed to John were valued at nearly £90, including nearly £40 from a firm in Oban (William Cromartie and Sons?) and £45 from Hugh McColl at Ballachulish. This seems like a successful farm. While this is a guess, it will be the working assumption throughout that the farm started out successfully, and initially grew, supporting the family and providing employment.

Presumably given his illness, in the years before the John’s death the farm had been run by Janet, the children and the servants. John prepared this will not long before his death, so we can guess that his health was poor, and he was preparing for the worst. Indeed, the will is quite specific about what he wanted to happen after his death.

His will (“I John Kinnis, farmer, Ledaig Benderloch…” gave over the entire estate to Janet his wife:

the liferant use and enjoyment of my whole means and estate all her days with power to her at any time of her life to apportion the same among our children in such shares as she may see proper: and in the event of her not exercising said powers then…”

and so on. His default distribution to the six children was as follows: for each of the daughters (Margaret, Agnes and Jessie) £60 sterling; to the sons, larger and different amounts related to their ages. James £200, David £150, and John £100. Any additional estate was to be divided equally among all six. (In fact, when he died, the estate did not appear to be big enough to make all these legacies in full.)

More interestingly, he was clear that:

it is my wish and desire that my family shall remain together as they have been hitherto or at all events as many of them as may be considered necessary to carry on the farm during the life of my said wide and that my estate shall remain entire: and in the event of any member of my family repudiating this settlement and claiming his or her legal rights I hereby exclude and debar him or her from any other benefit now and in all time coming from my means and estate, and in that event I leave and bequeath the remainder of my estate after the payment of the foresaid legacies to such of my children as will acquiesce in these presents equally among them, after the death of my said wife”.

He more than once noted that his wife would be able to establish her own legacies to over-ride these directives, and indeed she did make her own will, on June 1st 1891, three days before her own death on June 4th of influenza (after 14 days of illness), but it respected what he had written.

In her will (see below), it appears that indeed one of the children (David) had not acquiesced in a way equal to the others, and I think she reinforced in some way the terms of John’s will, by being specific, rather than softening its effects. But who knows how much David had already received from the farm, or when, or if her will was part of a mutually-agreeable negotiation. In any case, Janet’s will (see below) suggests that son David had already taken (or was at that precise moment taking) his share of the family’s estate. Other records make it clear that the apple did not fall far from the tree. David repeated the pattern of brothers on nearby or even adjacent farms. More on this below.

Since writing, in 2021 I found an entry at Scottish Indexes. Someone called David Kinnis seems to have been admitted to Argyll & Bute District Asylum in 1878. Our David would have been aged 20. Sometime I will check this out to see if it was him.

NameDavid Kinnis
Patient Number31835
Admission/Transfer Date17 May 1878
Institution (click for info)Argyll & Bute District Asylum
CountyArgyllshire; Argyll & Bute
NRS Ref (General Register)MC7/4 p. 239
NRS Ref (Admission Form)MC2/230

The Six Siblings in Adulthood

Meantime, in 1891, before Janet died, David (age 33), and his five siblings were all still in the same home at South Ledaig Farm, all unmarried, and (of course) all close in age (at that time ranging from 25-37).[11]  This appears to be in keeping with their father’s wishes that the family live and work together, on pain of losing some of their inheritance.  You might assume, however, that six siblings living in the same house and working together was rather unusual. I certainly do. However, I don’t know what was typical or unusual in this period, so I might be merely bringing my modern urban perspectives to bear in an inappropriate way.

In any case, I don’t think this can be purely a financial decision to live together, nor surely can it be a grudging and dutiful bending of the will to fulfil the desires of their parents. This is surely a very close-knit family of siblings. None of them ever married or moved away from Ardchattan, even after both parents had died. And Margaret, Agnes, James and David all lived long lives. Janet and John died younger, but still they reached an age in adulthood where they might have (been) expected to marry. Perhaps they could not find anyone to form relationships with? Perhaps they shared some personality traits that made them unappealing or unwilling to change their lives, or move away. Perhaps they didn’t get on with possible partners, or just had no desire to marry, enjoying each other’s company. Who knows?

Anyway, in the 1891 census, Janet aged 62 was head of household and “farmer’s widow” while eldest son James aged 37 was “farmer-joint”. There were three farm servants: Dougald McArthur aged 22 from Kilmore and Kilbride, bilingual in Gaelic and English, John Day aged twenty-something, from England, and John McLean from Ardchattan, aged 19, and also bilingual in Gaelic and English.[12]

Within a couple of months, their lives would change dramatically. After the death of their mother, two things affected the siblings’ lives greatly. One is that David, aged 30-something, set up on his own as a farmer, something that was perhaps precipitated by her death. The other is that sister Jessie (aka Janet) died on the 1st September 1895, aged just 32, of consumption (i.e. tuberculosis).[13] Then youngest brother John died a few years later, just after the next census, on the 2nd July 1902,[14] aged 36, of pulmonary phthisis (i.e. tuberculosis). He had suffered from the disease for 11 years.

So, ten years after the death of their mother, in 1901, the family had lost one sibling, another was presumably very ill, and they were living in two (nearby or even adjacent) locations near North Connel, as follows.[15]

Ledaig 19th C
Contemporary (mid 19th C) map of North Connel and Ledaig. Moss Cottage is visible below the “g” of Ledaig. South Ledaig farmhouses are just on the red line, and the farmland was probably the fields 45 & 46 (tbc). 
© National Library of Scotland.

David was on his own in Lochanbeich (sic) (Lochan Na Beithe or Lochanabeich). He was described as a farmer, and lived with just a bilingual Gaelic English domestic housekeeper from Eriskay aged 26, in a house with five windowed-rooms.[16] (Later he is pretty much classified as a crofter.)

The other four were (still) in South Ledaig (the house described as having five rooms with windows).

  • James (age 47) is listed as a farmer and employer
  • Margaret (age 45) is now a “housekeeper”
  • Agnes (age 40) is a “dairymaid”
  • John (age 35) is the “farmer’s brother”

There were 4 servants (again not local), suggesting a lot of work was undertaken on the farm, both arable and livestock. Perhaps they came together (from “Uist”) for work, and perhaps even knew each other, being from nearby places and of similar ages. All were bilingual in Gaelic and English:

  • Angus McDonald (age 20, from Benbecula, a ploughman)
  • Lachlan Morrison (age 20, also from Benbecula, a carter)
  • Neil McDonald (age 17, from Carinish, North Uist, a cattleman)
  • Katie McAulay (age 17, from Carinish North Uist, a general servant)

Ten years further on, in 1911, the remaining four siblings were all back together in the six-roomed house in South Ledaig. James the eldest is listed as head (age 57), a farmer and employer. Margaret (age 55) does not have a role, but both David (53) and Agnes (52) are said to be “working on farm”.[17] We don’t know why David has given up his croft. Maybe just age.

In 1911 they were one of two non-Gaelic-speaking families on that census page. The other family (at Lochanabeich) were also from Lanarkshire: Archibald MacDonald worked as a “bridge painter”: presumably the Connell Bridge, which had opened in 1903. The census header says there were 3 monolingual speakers of Gaelic and 168 bilinguals out of a population in the enumeration district of 257 (meaning exactly two thirds spoke Gaelic). It makes me wonder again about the reasons why none of the Kinnis siblings married locally. But that would not preclude them moving away to make their own independent lives, though that would be presumably much harder for the sisters. They had a farm that was (initially, apparently) successful, and they seem to be a harmonious family, able to get on for a lifetime under the same roof, at least. Were they happily self-sufficient? Or trapped?

Who was Where?

The Ordnance Survey name books (1868-1878) on Scotland’s People name Mr. John Kinnes (tenant) of South Ledaig as a source for the farm’s name (Argyll, Volume 1, page 67 OS1/2/1/67). It is described as “A very substantial farm house & outbuildings, on the East Side of the County Road and half a mile from Connell Ferry. Propy. [Property] of Campbell Esqr. of Lochnell.”

The naming of South Ledaig in OS maps cites John Kinnes as one of three authorities for the name.

From property valuation rolls,[18] [19], in which the spelling “Kinnes” is consistently used, we can get a little more detail about when, where and how David set up independently. In 1875 John Kinnes was the tenant of the farm at Mid and South Ledaig, paying over £115 in rent. In 1885, the tenancy had passed to “Mrs Janet Kinnes, widow”, paying a yearly rent of just over £103. Soon after her death in 1891, the two brothers had independent tenancies. In 1895, James remained as tenant and occupant in Ledaig, at the same annual rent. David moved, and was one of the crofters at nearby Lochanabeich, with an annual rent of £25 for his house and croft (the other croft being only £10). In 1905,  James’s rent had reduced to £80 while David’s croft rent had grown to £28. Only James is described as a farmer.  In 1915, the rent was still £80. More importantly, David was no longer a tenant at Lochanabeith (cf the 1901 census), just leaving James, farmer, as tenant and occupier of the farm, on which David is listed as a tenant and retired farmer. His independent two decades, in the croft “next door”, were over. In 1920, the South Ledaig rent was reduced again, to £70. The rolls of 1925 have no record of the Kinnis/Kinnes siblings, because all four had moved to Moss Cottage by then.

Ledaig 2018 labelled
Ledaig in 2018. Satellite image © DigitalGlobe and map data © Google

Janet’s Will of 1891

Four days before Janet died, she had made a (new?) will which was clear about the ways in which David should be treated differently from the others. Whether this was to his benefit, compared to the default situation of her husband’s will, and whether this replaced an earlier will of her own or not, I don’t know.

She dictated as follows, starting “I Mrs Janet Black or Kinnis, Ledaig, Benderloch, widow of the deceased John Kinnis, sometime farmer there…”. She appointed James as her sole executor, and assigned to him “the current lease of the farm of Ledaig left by my late husband to me, as his own absolute property”. Specific legacies were simple: she left £50 each to her sons James and John, and to her daughters Margaret, Agnes and Jessie.  But not to David.

Then the will continues, in legal language that sounds very blunt nowadays, and must have done so at the time. It says that

with regard to the powers conferred upon me by my said late husband’s settlement, dated the twenty second day of December Eighteen hundred and eighty, I declare that my son David has for all that he is to get by or through his father’s death and by or through my death”. This is followed immediately by “and without prejudice to my said late husband’s settlement in other respects I provide and appoint that my daughter Agnes is to get any one of the cows in the byre that she may select and a new chest: That my daughter Margaret shall get the two Chests of Drawers and the large Looking Glass in my bedroom: That my daughter Jessie shall get the Chest of Drawers and Looking Glass purchased at the McNiven’s Sale and my own Chest. That each of my said three daughters shall get four pair of blankets, with the China and Peweter candlesticks equally between them; and that the Spurgeon’s Sermons shall be divided between all my children including my son David:[20] and with the exception that my son David is not entitled to any more under his father’s settlement, and the alterations hereby made thereon, I declare that they (sic) said settlement shall have full effect: and I reserve my own use and enjoyment of the premises and all powers thereanent…”

The will seems to have been written out by Donald Macgregor, solicitor in Oban, called to Ledaig, on June 1st, before witnesses Donald Macgregor himself, “Dugald McArthur farm servant to me at Ledaig”.[21] It seems she had no “heritable estate”, and the value of the farm or its stock does not seem to have been estimated, unlike the case of her husband. The value of the estate was £15 cash in the house, and around £232 on deposit at the bank, making the entire personal estate just over £250 (approximately equal to the amount in the legacies). The total value of the personal estate and effects was under £300.[3]

The 1921 census will reveal where the four siblings were living in that year, but at some point between 1920 and 1925 (see above) some or all of them had moved into Moss Cottage, Ledaig, where they lived out their remaining years. This is clear because Moss Cottage is the home address given for all four of them on their death certificates, between 1925 and 1944. Here are the details.

  • James (“farmer”) died of cerebral softening died aged 71 on 18 May 1925,[4] informant a neighbour.
  • David (“farmer retired”) died of pernicious anaemia aged 69 on 8 May 1927,[5] informed by Margaret.
  • Margaret (“house-keeper”) died of laryngeal cancer aged 80 on 25 March 1936, informed by the undertaker.
  • Agnes died of cardiac syncope on 3 July 1944, aged 83, informed by Peter ?, executor, in Oban. Agnes died in the West Highland Cottage Hospital, Oban, though her usual residence is given as Moss Cottage.

James too wrote a will, on 3 October 1923, about 18 months before his death. He left his entire estate (the personal estate valued at just over £500 in investments (war bonds), on which about £5 was due in tax) to his two sisters, Margaret and Agnes, living with him in South Ledaig. He appointed them also as his executors. He did not mention David at all.

kinnis death notice 1944
from The Scotsman, 5th July 1944, reproduced without permission.

So, Agnes was the “last surviving member” of the family. After she died, the executors called for anyone with claims on the estate to come forward within 10 days of their announcement in the Scotsman on July 12th 1944. This followed the death notice (above). There is a large headstone in Achnaba Kirkyard that names all the family.

Top of the Kinnis headstone in Achnaba – copied without permission from somewhere that I can’t remember… probably the Ardchattan group on Facebook.

With added punctuation, it reads as follows:

Sacred to the memory of John Kinnis, farmer,
who died at South Ledaig, May 28th 1881, aged 58 years.
Also his wife Janet Black, who died June 4th 1891, aged 69 years.
Also their daughter Jessie, who died Sep 1st 1895, aged 32 years.
Their sons John, who died July 1st 1902, aged 36 years;
James, who died at Moss Cottage 18th May 1925, aged 71 years;
David, who died at Moss Cottage 8th May 1927, aged 69 years.
Margaret, who died at Moss Cottage on 25th March 1936, aged 80.
Agnes, who died 3rd July 1944.  

moss cottage - road across moss of achnacree geograph
The road past Moss Cottage, “road across Moss of Achnacree” from (c) Steven Brown November 2010
Moss Cottage, off the road, and larger than expected

In sum, as a family of eight, they lived 400 of their 500 years on Earth close together in Ledaig. Indeed, 380 of these years of human experience were in the same house. Five of the six siblings lived more than 90% of their lives in Ledaig. The two that were born there died young, in their thirties, of tuberculosis, but the others lived long lives in each other’s company, something that seems impossible, and perhaps even peculiar, nowadays. I would like to think of this closeness in a positive light, and look forward though “more in hope than expectation” to one day finding out more. But in terms of leaving a local human footprint, or descendants anywhere, it is like the Kinnis family of Ledaig never existed.

Whether that matters or not is one of those unanswerable, philosophical questions about the meaning of life, since the instinctive urge for animals to reproduce biologically is relatively meaningless for members of a social and self-aware species like ours.

south ledaig barns
South Ledaig dairy buildings, converted to accommodation. Image reproduced (without permission) from recent owners’ now defunct Holiday Letting listing (2018).


Personally, I can connect to these people in three main ways.

First, Ledaig is geographically and culturally not far from the home of my maternal grandfather Duncan Black (1886-1971) and his family, namely the Isle of Lismore, a place I am familiar with from my own childhood.

Second the Kinnis family left behind their relatives near Bellshill, in Lanarkshire, not far from Newarthill where my paternal great-parents lived, though the latter led extremely different lives (James Scobbie 1853-1943 and Williamina Laughland 1852-1945).

Finally, John’s parents James Kinnis and Agnes Fotheringham are my wife’s direct ancestors, being two of her 4x-great grandparent. She is descended through John Kinnis’s younger brother William Kinnis (1825-1899).


[1] OPR (Old Parish Records) marriage date (in fact a date for the proclamation of the marriage banns) is 17/05/1813 in Dundee (her parish) and 21/05/1813 Auchterhouse (his). His surname was spelled Kinnes in his parish and Kinnis in hers. His birthplace comes from the 1861 census. His possible OPR birth/baptism record suggests 3 siblings born Longforgan and Collace, his parents with various spellings. <Link to a specific blog entry to follow.> Note: Old Parish Records (OPR) prior to 1855 give dates of baptisms and proclamations of banns, rather than births and marriages. I’ve used “b.” and “m.” and referred to births and marriages in the text, for convenience. If the year is (almost) certain from various factors, it is given in a bare form, but if it is unclear (being based on one or more reported ages at some later date), it is prefixed with “~”.

[2] OPR index to birth (actually probably baptism) records provide place and date of birth/baptism only for Christina, James, David and William. Online info and censuses provide confirmations, confusions and various spellings. There is an unnamed female child born to James Kinnes (no mother named) in Falkland on 23/03/1827. She may have been an infant who died, or Agnes.

[3] A 1861 census (see below) includes a James aged 18 (b. ~1843 in Kinglassie) as a “son” of James and Agnes. In 1851 in Falkland he was their “grandson” (aged 8).

[4] John has no OPR birth record, so birth year and location are based on other documentation.

[5] Before the marriage, she was with her family at West Shaw Head, just south of Whifflet.

[6] OPR Reference FR1173, Reference 40 456, Parish # 655.

[7] Birth indexed as KINNIS, DAVID ref 625/1 36, Bothwell, not viewed, so precise details unknown at present.

[8] Birth indexed as KINNES, JANET ref 504/ 10 Ardchattan, not viewed, death indexed as KINNIS, JESSIE.

[9] Birth indexed as KINNES, JOHN ref 504/ 8 Ardchattan, not viewed, death indexed as KINNIS, JOHN.

[10] This time the problem was that the family has been incorrectly indexed as KENNIS.

[11] See the 1891 census, in the index for which Janet is currently mis-transcribed as AGNESS. Data was collected on Sunday 5th April 1891. Janet died on the 4th June.

[12] In the census, the adjacent entries are North Ledaig Cottar House #1 and #2, occupied by a salmon fisherman and his family and what looks like a single woman aged 56, general servant on a “pauper” farm? The South Ledaig farmhouse was large: it had 6 windowed rooms.

[13] Death certificate: not certified by a doctor; informed by James; her occupation “farmer’s daughter”.

[14] Death certificate: even at that age, he was described as “farmer’s son”. Informed by James.

[15] Currently, John is mis-transcribed as “JOLEN”.

[16] I can’t read her first name: Something McIntyre.

[17] The family are at the bottom of the page 504/A 4/ 8, so if they had servants, they would be on the next census page, 504/A 4/ 9, which I have not viewed. It may be blank or start with a new property/water district.

[18] for indices and images.

[19] Valuation rolls 1885, 5th page/image “page 164”, entry 5567. Owner Duncan Campbell of Lochnell, lease “not under lease of 19 years or upwards”. The owners are presumably related to the dukes of Argyll; Val. rolls 1895, 5th page/image, “page 248”, entry 9157. Owner Archibald A.L. Campbell of Lochnell; Val. rolls 1895, 2nd image, “page 305” entries 10624 & 10626. Trustees of Archibald Argyll Lochnell Campbell; Val. rolls 1905, 12th image, “page 373“ entries 12262 and 12264, same owner; Val. rolls 1915, 4th Image, “page 447” entry 12711, same owner;  Val. Rolls 1920, 4th image, “page 452” entry 12653. Owner the Earl of Dundonald.

[20] Lucky David! Perhaps the family were very religious, or perhaps this was typical for the time. But “Charles Spurgeon was one of the most evangelical and puritan of protestant minister’s in the 19th century” so perhaps their beliefs set them apart from the local community. It would be interesting to know the religious affiliations of their servants, to work out if religious conformity was of utmost importance in their lives, or not.

[21] In the documentation, James is identified as “James Kinnis, farmer South Ledaig” and his mother is said to have died “at Ledaig”. I presume the home/farm location in the census (and valuation rolls) are the same location through time, South Ledaig, and that sometimes it is referred to as just Ledaig – and that the latter does not refer to North Ledaig.

[22] The legal documentation says the date of death was 19 May, but the death certificate is more likely to be accurate.


  • I highly recommend the energetic and active  Ardchattan Parish Archive community organisation, online at, a member of the Society of One Place Studies, which was one of the 542 “All Our Stories” projects funded by National Lottery project. This blog entry is intended as a contribution to their fantastic efforts in collating material and promoting the study and enjoyment of the genealogy, history, geology, archaeology and ecology of Barcaldine, Benderloch, North Connel, Bonawe: linking people and places between Loch Etive and Loch Creran. Their focus is the sense of belonging to a place; its culture and traditions : connecting the people, their activities and the land together: “The Ardchattan Parish Archive is a collection of records, images, maps, books, memories. A bulk of these are unsorted, just as have been harvested from many sources over the past 10 years. Another bulk remain in the community, as family records, folk and family lore, and as structures raised over the millennia. A third untapped resource remain the various repositories of public archives.” I’ve used some of their digital resources, and donated images of digital documents that I’ve obtained myself from elsewhere which they didn’t already hold.
  • South Ledaig recently offered B&B in the house and in its converted farm buildings (which is where the photos came from), but the main house and the barns are now private residences.

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