Isle of Lewis Macdonald Y-DNA search

+4 votes
I am looking to possibly hear from any Macdonalds of Isle of Lewis, Scotland descent, who might have had their own (or relatives) Y-DNA tested.

Being a typical Hebridean; I have four or five distinct Macdonald groups in my family tree. My direct paternal line came from the village of Shawbost, with Bernera/Uig origins. My other ancestral Macdonald families came from the districts of Barvas, Bragar, Swordale and Sheshader.

I would be interested to discover if the various Lewis Macdonald groups are related or possibly connected to any Macdonald kindreds resident elsewhere in the Scottish Highlands and Islands. It would also be also be intriguing to hear from any DNA tested Macdonalds who have Y-DNA matches with persons of Lewis descent.

Any information is much appreciated.


Yours Sincerely

Donnie Macdonald
in Genealogy Help by Donnie Macdonald G2G1 (1.8k points)
edited by Ellen Smith
I expect you are already aware of




3 Answers

+3 votes
Norman Hector MacDonald was my second great grandfather. He was born in Barvas, Isle of Lewis in 1794. I have had my DNA tested. Third great grandfather, Alexander also born there in 1756.

Colin MacDonald
by Colin MacDonald G2G1 (1.3k points)
Hello Colin

Many thanks for getting back to me.

My maternal grandfather, Donald Morrison was from Barvas.

His GG Grandfather, John Mackay, emigrated to Eastern Quebec sometime during the 1830's. He settled in Lingwick and was a church missionary. His Son, Donald Mackay, remained in Lewis.

My Morrison ancestors left Barvas for the Saskatchewan sometime during the Mid 19th Century. A few of them appear to have crossed the border and settled in Montana. My grandfather's uncle, Murdo Morrison, emigrated to Ohio before WW1.

My GGG Grandfather, Alexander Macdonald, had siblings who left Barvas for Ontario around 1863. Unfortunately I do not have any first names for these persons.

I undertook a Y-DNA test with FTDNA several years ago. I belong to a rather obscure sub-group of R1a. My closest matches were with American gentlemen of Lewis and Skye ancestry. My paternal line appears to have arrived in the Northern Hebrides from Scandinavia back in the Middle Ages. Did your own Y-DNA matches shed any light on the origins of your own paternal line?

Regarding my Mackay ancestors, family lore claimed that they were cleared from Sutherland sometime around 1817 and arrived in Barvas. I don't know how accurate this claim is. They were known in Gaelic as 'na taillearan' (the tailors).

I hope this information is helpful.

Best Wishes

Thank you Donnie. I am finding the MacDonald's very difficult to research. It seems there are many who had the same first name, same wife name or same children's names. My ancestors immigrated to Nova Scotia.
+2 votes
I noticed you have MacKay and Morrison mentioned on your profile. I also have those names in my direct ancestry.

Colin MacDonald
by Colin MacDonald G2G1 (1.3k points)
+3 votes

My maiden name was MacDonald. During WW2, my uncle stayed with a cousin, (not sure whether a 1st or 2nd etc), near Shawbost.

In 1989 I made a trip to the Isle of Lewis and managed to find the elderly cousin, Christina Mitchell, in north Shawbost, (close to 24 North Shawbost Rd). Unfortunately her memory was not 100% so answers were not 100% clear, but she did remember my uncle and I was able to take some photos of old photos she had.

I seem to remember that she was married but widowed in a very short time, but it was a very brief visit and quite a few years ago now. I lost contact with her after the trip and am uncertain when she passed away.

If any of this seems to ring a bell, I would love to hear from you.

My Great Grandfather was Donald MacDonald married to Maggie McIsaac.

Sincerely, Judy Chaffin
by Judy Chaffin G2G Rookie (290 points)
Dear Ms Chaffin

Many thanks for contacting me.

My paternal grandfather, William 'Uilleam Taibhse' Macdonald was brought up at 11 North Shawbost, on the maternal (Maclean) croft.

His Macdonald forebears had lived at 3 North Shawbost since the 1820's. This was when his great-grandparents, Murdo 'Murchadh Dearg' Macdonald and Catherine Ferguson moved to Shawbost, possibly from Bernera. These Macdonalds were known in Gaelic as 'Na Deirgan' after the progenitor of the line 'Red haired John' or 'Iain Dearg.'

I'm aware that a number of these Macdonalds emigrated to Canada and the US, infortunately I'm unaware of specific destinations.

Best Wishes


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