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In researching my family history I have come to a halt with my great great grandmother, Martha McColl(nee Macrae).

Tracing the history through census information and family records, I discover that my grandmother (Margaret McColl who I remember before she died in 1947) was the daughter of Alexander McColl (a schoolmaster in Bolton) who was born in 'Inverness' in 1827. Further research revealed that he was the second son of Martha McColl (nee MacRea). Census information then revealed that she (Martha), and her sister Catherine were born in Genshiel. Catherine in 1789 and Martha in 1798. Somewhere in the early 1820s Martha married John McColl and moved to Glenelg where her sons John (b. 1825 - emigrated to Australia), Alexander (b. 1827, my great grandfather - 'emigrated' to Bolton Lancashire) Christina (b. about 1828) and Hugh (b about1837) were born. Another son, Malcolm was born in Glenfinnan - a long way away. After John McColl's death (about 1840 - buried in Glenelg) Martha moved back to Kintail where her sons learned to speak English (she only ever spoke The Gaelic). Then, by the time of the 1851 census, for reasons I do not know, Martha had then moved to Ballahulish in Argyll with her sister Catherine MacRae and some of her children. She is buried in Corpach (outside Fort William).

Her offspring all did well. Alexander a Head Schoolmaster in Bolton, Malcom became a Canon of Ripon and a friend of Gladsttone (but upset the Presbyterian Church by crossing to the Church of England)and Hugh, a very well known mathamatician, logician and writer of eraly science fiction novels (his books on algebra will still in use in the 1950s)

Martha's father according to unverified family record was Malcolm McRae (son of Murdo, son of John) who lived in Letterfearn, Kintail. Married Anne MacDonald.

Can anybody help to establish Martha's ancestors.

Query posted by : Geoffrey Edwardes

15 Dec 2006 at 17.40
The following replies have been posted in response to the above query. They are sorted chronologically according to the time of receipt, with the most recent at the end of the page.
Hello Geoffrey
I know it's a long time since you posted your query but perhaps you are still involved and continuing the research? In any case, the small snippets of info I have here you may already have yourself by now! Apologies if so.
I am a great grandson of John, brother of your Alexander. Unfortunately I do not have any information further back than you have regarding the McRae side. John married a Whitgreave and there is much history on that side of the family going back to the 1100s, but that is probably only of incidental interest to you.
You mentioned that Alexander and John's father (also John) married Martha McRae "somewhere in the early 1820s". In fact they were married on Feb 6 1823. Marriage register records show that "John MacColl Glencamgarry and Martha McRae Murlaggan" were married on that date.
Also, John died on 8 Feb 1840 in Moror, about 40 Km west of Fort William, and he was buried in the Corpach cemetery (I have a photo of the grave headstone). It is unfortunate that I had not read your forum posting when I visited the cemetery as I did not realize that Martha was buried there also! I knew that she had spent her latter years in Ballachulish and the Letterfearn, dying, I thought, in Glenelg.
Like your Alexander, my great grandfather was also a school teacher and school principal, being associated with a number of schools in rural Victoria (Australia) from the mid 1770s until he died in 1892.
If you have any further info on Martha's background, I would be pleased to hear of it.
Paul McColl

Reply posted by : Paul McColl

31 May 2012 at 03.05
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