1841 census of Fortingall

Written 3rd September 2008.

Copyright © 2008 Iain Kennedy

By the time of the 1841 census most of the Kennedys of Fortinall/Rannoch had already left; many of them later turn out to be strays in other parishes in the area - it wasn't until 1851 that the precise parish of birth was added to the return form. By 1881, the census which is easiest to study, there were only 10 natives of Fortingall in the whole country. Unlike their neighbours in Dull, their departure for Canada is not so well documented. Below I have transcribed most of the remaining Kennedys - including one or two at our old farm at Ardlarich! (I have used modern map spellings of placenames where they are still evident). The analysis is made more difficult by the confusing parish boundaries, with enum district 4 of Fortingall including the village of Urlar, Bolfracks and Dunacree which I would call Dull, not Fortingall. In the 2nd edition OS maps from 1895, following the boundary revisions, Urlar and Bolfracks are shown as part of Dull parish. However the 1st edition map from 1860 shows all the earlier detached districts and demonstrates that Urlar and Bolfracks were in a Fortingall district bounded on the east by the Urlar Burn and on the north by the Tay above Bolfracks; on the west by a line through the peak of Craig Hill. The southern boundary is on the Crieff sheet and untitled but appears to end at Meall Dun Dhomhnuill. The wording at the end of the enumeration is 'end of the district of Fortingall & also the village of Urlar'.

Enum district 4. Urlar - Donald Kennedy farmer age 55 (rounded), Catherine 45, Catherine 20; then Alexander Kennedy ag. lab. 45 with Christian. Catherine Kennedy 50, Catherine 10, James 8. John Kennedy 65, William 2.

Enum district 8 (about 20 miles NW of Urlar!). Hill of Ardlarich. Ann Kennedy age 55. Attonagan: Cathrine Kennedy age 57. Attonagan appears as Auldtongan on the first Stobie map of 1783 and on the John Thomson 1832 map of Perthshire but is too small and/or depopulated to show on the OS maps later on. Ardlarich contained several farming families plus some outhouses to accommodate the labourers. The farm owners were William Menzies, Robert Stewart and Peter Cameron. The two Kennedy spinsters were servants. The other occupier of Hill of Ardlarich was the family of Archy Campbell. The other occupants of Auldtongan look to be farm workers. Killichonan has several farming families (Menzies, Stewart, Campbell) plus Donald McLeich the schoolmaster, and Aulich which used to have Kennedys now just has a family of McGregors, farmers.

Enum district 9, south shore of Loch Rannoch. West Camghouran - Cathrine Kennedy age 75. Finnart - Catherine Kennedy age 55 and Chirstan 60. George Town (later Rannoch Barracks) - Donald Kennedy 35 with Cathrine and children Cathrine 15, Ewan 9, William 4 and Donald 3. Craiglui - Duncan Kennedy 25 with wife Chirstan and Margaret age 4. (Craig-luy is roughly south of Georges Town, see Stobie).

A quick look at these places in the 1851 census, where we have the benefit of exact birth places, shows Ann Kennedy age 75 at Urlar, a native of Fortingall, mother in law of Archibald Campbell shepherd and his wife Christy. This sounds a bit like the occupants of Hill of Ardlarich ten years earlier. Ardlarich itself has Catherine Stewart head of a farming family household; she has several servants including a Catharine Kennedy age 27 but the servants including Catharine are listed as natives of Glenorchy in Argyllshire. Altonagan has a Catharine Kennedy age 69 former general servant, native of Fortingall, presumably the same woman as in 1841. Catharine is a good candidate for the daughter of my own Kennedy family from Ardlarich as she is of just the right age. However she is still at Altonagan in 1861 and died at Killichonan in 1863 where her death certificate states her parents as Alexander Kennedy and Katrin (Catherine) Fletcher, who raised a family of 7 or more at Fortingall in the 1760s and 1770s. There is no marked grave for her at either Killichonan or Kinloch Rannoch graveyards. Peter Cameron's family are still farming at Ardlarich as before.

As ever, consult the digital online maps of Perthshire at NLS to locate the places referred to above.