Looking for Descendants of The Laphroaig Johnstons

Below is quite a moving story about WWI, originally from someone named Michelle, who is looking into the family tree of the Johnstons who founded Laphroaig. The story was forwarded by Roger McWee, who manages the Islay Cultural Database of the Finlaggan website. Perhaps some of the readers of this blog are able to help Michelle, she would appreciate it very much. You can find her email address at the end of the article.

Michelle: On July 19th 1916 during WWI a battle took place in the village of Fromelles between the German and Allied troops - it was actually more of an Attack than a battle as it was basically a diversion tactic. Fromelles was 50 miles away from the Somme where a great battle was raging at that point in time and the British commanders, in their infinite wisdom, decided that it would be a great idea to attack the Germans at Fromelles in order to prevent them from sending reinforcements out to the Somme. The problem was that the Germans had been occupying the area in Fromelles for a lot longer than the Allied troops, had the high ground (an area called the SugarLoaf), knew the terrain like the back of their hands and basically had every advantage. To attack them was tantamount to suicide - add in the fact that the troops to carry out the attack comprised in the main of a large group of Australians who had just arrived and never seen any sort of battle before and a smaller group of British who likewise were green recruits just sent over the channel at the end of May and you get an idea of the utter lunacy of the decision. In any case it was sanctioned, went ahead and, highly predictably, was an unmitigated disaster and slaughter. It also did not prevent the German troops from heading off to the Somme at all. Continue reading....

Donald Bell of Portnellan Islay

I had some doubts whether to write about this subject or not for quite a long time but then I realised that many readers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US have an interest in Islay Genealogy. I have a feeling that this post could perhaps help them out and if not they, and hopefully all the other readers, will probably appreciate the old images. The blog is from Laurie and Dave Harron and the post I'm talking about is about the descendants of Malcolm Bell (1780-1871) and Margaret McDuffie/McPhee (1783-1851) at Portnellan Argyle Islay. Portnellan, also spelled Portaneilan or Portenolen, was a farm at Kilmeny and further investigation learned that many people lived on these farms in the old days. If you read this post on the Rootsweb Islay list and the other messages in the thread there is an interesting paragraph about Portnellan farm: "On the census of 1841 there were 116 people living on the farm. In 1851 it looks like there were about 120 people." I can't tell if these numbers are correct but if they are I'm quite surprised.

Now back to the blog post. The title of this post is about Donald Bell and I quote a paragraph from it: "Donald Bell was born 11 May 1826 to Malcolm Bell (1780-1871) and Margaret McDuffie/McPhee (1783-1851) at Portnellan Argyle Islay Scotland. In 1853 he came to Canada with his writing desk and 2 gaelic testement books on the ship The Corra Linn. He purchased lot 7 con. 5 Proton twp. Grey co Ontario Canada. On Dec 4 1855 in Erin twp. Wellington co Ontario Canada he married Ann McFee (26 Mar 1830-Scotland) daughter of Archd McFee (1791-1868) and Sarah McLachlan (1799-1878) of lot 32 con 9 Erin the McFee's came to Canada in 1837." As I said above, the information might be very valuable to some people and perhaps the images can be too. There are ten images of people, I assume relatives of Donald Bell, and perhaps you recognise some ancestors from a long long time ago.


Tag: genealogy history portnellan

New (Islay) Genealogy Resources

Genealogy, tracing your ancestors, is one of the reasons for people to visit Islay. Sometimes research has to take place in local archives and/or visual information is needed from the many headstones on the many cemetaries on the island itself. There is a page on the Islayinfo website called Islay Genealogy which is packed with information for people who trace their ancestors. With the start of the internet more and more of the archives put their information online. One of the leading genealogy websites is Ancestry.co.uk which was launched in 2001. The site offers members access to 800 million searchable names and their extensive collection enables them to explore their family history using censuses, birth, marriage and death records, passenger lists, the British phone books, war and parish records. Continue reading......

Isles of the Hebrides DNA Project by Linda Heron

A few weeks ago I came across some messages about the Isle of the Hebrides DNA Project. Curious as I am I contacted the originator, Linda Heron from Canada, to ask her what this was all about. Linda responded promptly, for which I'm very gratefull, and offered to write something for the Islay Weblog about this intriguing project which could help many people in the search for their ancestors. Below is Linda's very well written and clear explanation including links to related websites. If anyone wants to contact Linda for more information please use the email address provided below.

MY OWN JOURNEY INTO THE WORLD OF DNA
I am certainly no expert in the field of DNA testing, as I only recently decided to test my own mt-DNA. I am still on the sharp side of the learning curve, but I have found the best way to learn is to jump right in with both feet, and that's what I've done. I consider my journey into the world of DNA to have been very worthwhile, and quite fascinating!!

I will give you my own personal opinions which do not represent any authority on the subject, by any stretch of the imagination, so please do your own research to draw your own conclusions. There is a lot of information out there and I am only going to tell you about my own experience, and to briefly cover a few basics. If you would like to learn more I highly recommend you check out the links below. Continue reading here......