My research last night found evidence in the 1851 census that Walter Ballantyne (age 53) (his father) is now living in the parish of Lochs in Lewis at a place called Keannacaridh with a wife, Agnes (age 50), a son Robert, 12, and a daughter Catherine, aged one, born in the parish of Lochs. Walter is listed as a shepherd.
There are certain facts and coincidences that cause me to believe that this is the correct family line.
1. Walter's occupation - he has always been a shepherd.
2. There is already a link with the Isle of Lewis and this explains why Robert was on the island and ultimately married there.
3. The ages check out, wit only Robert being slightly young at 12 years old in 1951, I would rather he was listed as 14 but given that I don't know the month that the survey was carried out, it may well be correct.
4. Robert's place of birth is listed as Contin, Ross-shire, which is correct.
If this is the correct family, and here's hoping, Walter's place of birth is given as Selkirk while Agnes was born in Hawick. As Ballantyne is a Borders name, this information firmly links the Ballantyne line to where one would expect to find that they originated from before the move north to the Highlands.
As ever, more questions open up. Whose child is Catherine?
What has happened to Helen, Walter's first wife?
Where are the rest of Robert's siblings?
- Andrew - now living in Australia
- Walter - not yet left for Australia, but may also have moved back south before emigrating to Australia in 1855 as I've found a record of a Walter Ballantyne of the right age, 22, in Denholm, working as a stocking maker.
- Betty - last known place 1841, aged 20, working for Robert & Isabella Laidlaw in Achnasheen.
- Helen - perhaps has moved back to the Borders with her mother and dies in Hawick in 1863
- Agnes, born 1831 - no information
- James, born 1836, appears to have remained in the Highlands, working as a shepherd and marries Barbara in Resolis.
- [Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]"RESOLIS, (or Kirkmichael), a parish in the district of Easter Ross, county Ross and Cromarty, Scotland. It comprises the villages of Gordon's Mills and Jemima. It extends in length about 8 miles, with a varying breadth of from 3 to 4 miles. It is bounded on the W. and N. sides by Cromarty Frith, and on the other sides by the parishes of Cromarty, Rosemarkie, Avoch, and Urquhart. The surface is moderately even, except towards the water shed of the Mullbury, where it rises considerably. The arable land is chiefly in the valley, which reaches nearly across the parish. It is watered by the Resolisburn, which works two or three mills in its course, and finally falls into Cromarty Frith at Gordon Mills. There are traces of lead ore. Old Red sandstone is the predominant rock. The soil is generally of an unproductive nature, except on the banks of the Resolisburn. In the vicinity are many Danish earthworks and other ancient remains. This parish is in the presbytery of Chanonry and synod of Ross. The stipend of the minister is £252. The church was rebuilt in 1830. There is a parochial school, also two other schools. The principal seats are Poyntsfield and Braelangwell.
- Isabel died at one year old in 1841.
The search goes on!