There are ruins in the parish of Kilfinan thought to have been Druidial Temples or places of worship and the name of this parish signifies the church burying place of St. Finan.

The Old Statistical Accounts tells me that the inhabitants of the northern division occupy the same lands upon which their forefathers lived while in the southern division (Kerry) new tenants from neighbouring parishes have taken over the farms.  The last generation of Kerry citizens, prosperous smugglers engaged in a “ruinous” trade with the Isle of Mann, became addicted to their contraband and through ill health or bankruptcy were obliged to quit their farms.

Generally the people are of a middle stature, thicker in proportion to their height than the inhabitants of the low country.  They are more attached to a seafaring life than to husbandry and although often at sea, they are in general sober.  Gaelic is spoken, although not in the degree of purity and perfection as on the north side of Lochfine.

My Kilfinan ancestors dwelt at Barranlongairt, alternative name, Auchnaha, a Fort situated on a rocky ridge 1.6km S of Ballimore and 250m N of the fort (NR98SW 7) details of which are held in the Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland (Canmore ID 40006).

A chambered cairn with a cross incised stone (Canmore ID 40000) is not far from the McLachlan dwelling or fort.  “A cairn containing [Ristoanes] near Otter, Argyllshire called Clachan Taggart or priest’s stones and the farm of [Achunchar] on field of battle close to a hill fort is near, in the mofs below are the remains of a Roman camp where a camp kettle was found of bronze.  7th Aug 1834” – blog with photos.

“Dugald Ferguson and Catherine McLachlan in Auchnaha, Otter – 20th March 1809 gave in their names for proclamation of marriage Banns and were married” by the Rev. W D McFarlane.”  (OPR 518/00 10 0332)

As far as I can ascertain, Dugald and Catherine’s first child Donald was born in 1812 followed by 3xggm “Catherine – daughter to Dugald Ferguson and Cath. McLachlan born 15th March was baptised 16th 1814 at Auchnaha near Otter” (OPR 518/0010 0246).

Who Dugald Ferguson and Catherine McLachlan descend from and when they departed this world, I have no idea, but 70 year old Catherine McLachlan was enumerated on 6th June 1841 at Barranlongairt with daughter, Catherine Ferguson and three year old granddaughter, Elizabeth McPhagan.

Elizabeth McPhadyen born in May 1838 at Barranlongairt was baptised on 3rd July (OPR 518/00 0020 250) seven months after her parents’ marriage – “A.D. 1837 – 4th November, Charles McFadyne of the Parish of Torrisdale – and Catherine Ferguson of this Parish intimated their purpose of marriage for proclamation of Banns and were married”. (OPR 518/00 0020 0348)

A question of residency pops out at me – was Charles actually living in Torrisdale or had the Minister confused Torrisdale with Torosay?  If he was at Torrisdale that might explain how Charles and Catherine met; employed for the herring fishing season which commences in July and continues until the end of Christmas.

I am speculating here, but a hint of Dugald and Catherine’s lineage comes from the 1895 death certificate of Elizabeth, where suddenly she has a middle name of Campbell and the other indicator is the name Robert conferred on her first son.

By the time of the 1851 census, Catherine and Elizabeth had joined Charles in Shore Street, Oban.


[The families living at Barranlongart [sic] at the time of the 1841 census were Thomas Currie, agricultural labourer, wife and six children; Nicol Ferguson (b. 14 Aug 1806, Stralachlan f. Dugald m. Mary McNicol; baptised on the 16 Aug 1806), agricultural labourer, wife Mary [McKellar] and four children the youngest Dugd. age 4 (b. 1837 Kilfinan); Walter Weir, Shepherd, wife Margaret and nine children; Dunn McCallum, agricultural labourer, wife Ann and their three children plus a Mary Lamont, right next door to Ballimore (Estate).]

[Robert McLachlan and Mary Campbell of Stralachlan had the following children: Mary baptised 11 April 1774; Catherine baptised on 26 Nov 1778; Elizabeth baptised 14 Oct 1780; Archibald 14 Oct 1780; Lachlan baptised on 29 May 1784; Alexander b. 2 April 1789 and baptised on the 7th; Lachlan b. 9 May 1791 and baptised on the 12th May]