Ancestor hunting

Achinduich Lodge. © Donald Bain and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.

Achinduich Lodge. © Donald Bain and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.

This week I received a wonderfully detailed email from William Macintosh’s descendant, Deirdre Grieve, who—with her sons—has recently completed an “ancestor hunting” trip around the Highlands in search of locations associated with the Macintosh family.

One of Deirdre’s first ports of call was the old parish church at Alness, where it is presumed certain members of the Macintosh family were buried. The building is, however, in a parlous state and fenced off. Moreover, various grave markers (that were removed by the local council for safekeeping) seem to have been lost or misplaced—a fact confirmed to Dierdre by the Alness Heritage Centre. It is not, therefore, possible to visually confirm any Macintosh family burials on that site.

More positively, Deirdre reckons that there is reason to suspect that Achinduich—a small settlement on the Skibo Estate—was at one time home to Macintosh’s parents. The present building at the site, Achinduich Lodge (above), was built for Andrew Carnegie in the early twentieth century and is now available to rent as a holiday let.

Deirdre went on to meet with the local historian Reay Clarke (author, most recently, of the 2014 book Two hundred years of farming in Sutherland: the story of my family). Reay is a descendant of Macintosh’s sister, Mary.

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