I congratulate you on your website & the wonderful historic work you are undertaking.  I have been to the area on 2 occasions: in 1995 and again last August.

A couple of locals seemed to think that at one time there was a baker named Burnett in the area.

On this visit I specifically looked for where the farming properties may have been where my 4Xg grandfather Alexander Burnett and his family farmed:  Ballangan (farm area at time of death),‘Ballichirnock’ (1861 census- 40 acres),and Culduthel (where he died).  From my search I’m inclined to think that the first 2 places were near Fargaig, and Culduthel further north towards Inverness.  Also on the Linton gravestone Leadolurs.

All these 3 families originated in the Borders: Ettrick, Yarrow, Selkirk, and Ashkirk areas. By 1830 Alexander Burnett (& Helen Stoddart & young family) was a shepherd in the Loch Broom area.

By the 1861 census they were farming land at Loch Ness.  I assume some link with the Frasers must have prompted this.  Isabella Linton née Stoddart (who is inscribed on her husband’s grave stone – Robert Linton) was Helen Stoddart’s sister.  Helen Stoddart had had a first husband in the borders named George Linton, before she married Alexander Burnett 03 Sep 1826.

The 2 graves are side by side in the Dores kirk yard.

Then again when Alexander Burnett’s eldest son Arthur Burnett came to Australia in 1854, he worked as a shepherd in Victoria on Brie Brie station (still wealthy holding with large tracts of land) where the manager in those decades was another Robert Linton.  At least one of Alexander Burnett’s children, Walter Burnett went to New Zealand (Invercargill) in the 1800s.

The children to Alexander Burnett and Helen Stoddart were:

Arthur Burnett b.10 Sep 1826 at Ely Bank, Selkirk; emigrated to Australia on Wanata in 1853/4 (my 3xggfather)

James Burnett b.1830; present at his mother’s death at Achtraid, Sheldaig, Applecross in 1886.

Andrew Burnett b. 1833 Lochbroom; present at death of his father in Inverness in1872.

Robert Burnett
 b. 1837 Lochbroom

Walter Burnett b. 1838 Lochbroom; emigrated about 1863.
d. 17 Dec 1900 Wyndam, Sth Island, NZ.
m. Elizabeth Cumming Invercargill, NZ; no children living at the time of death.

Alexander Burnett b. August 1841 Lochbroom; d. Oct 1842 (lived only 14 months).

Alexander Burnett b. 1844; on 1861 census Ballangan was listed as a 17 year old scholar.

Isabella Burnett
 b. 1847; on 1861 census was listed as a 13 yr old scholar.

I need to do further research on this family.  I should like to know (a) the location of the places mentioned; (b) if any Burnetts stayed on in the area into the 1900s; (c) if there was a baker named Burnett in the area what was his first name?

In any case this will provide some info on these 2 graves in Dores.

Yours sincerely
Helen Lucas

Helen – I can confirm some of the details you give about your ancestors, because the farms of Ballaggan (not Ballangan) and Ballichirnock belonged to my ancestors at this time. In fact Balichernoch (closer to the original spelling), usually represents the whole district, including Ballaggan, so may not indicate that they were living in a different place. I have a rent ledger which shows that Alexander Burnett and Robert Linton were paying a rent of 65 pounds 10 shillings and 5 pence per year during the period covered by the ledger, 1851 to 1858, so the lease was presumably in their joint names.  

I have not looked at the gravestones themselves, but I am pretty confident that what you have as “Leadolurs” will actually be Leadclune, which doesn’t sound very similar, but the form of the letters might be mistaken if they are hard to read. (In fact I have just confirmed this by looking at the published list of gravestones in Dores). Leadclune is about 2 miles East of Ballaggan, on the other side of the Farigaig river.

 I also note from the list, that there is another Alexander Burnett, who died at Culduthel in 1865, and I wonder whether you have confused the place of death with this man? Having said that, there is on old hospital at Culduthel, so it is possible that both Alexander Burnetts died there!

 With regard to the bakery, there certainly was a major bakery in Inverness by that name until quite recently, but, although I know nothing of the history myself, a quick look on the internet suggests that this was possibly a company with more than one branch in Scotland, so I don’t know if there is any connection with your family.

Iain Cameron


Ian re the Burnett information on this site. My Burnett family is this same family.

Alexander Burnett b. 1844; on 1861 census Ballangan was listed as a 17 year old scholar

Alexander was my Gt Grandfather and came to New Zealand via California where he was married in Los Angeles to Agnes Linton, they lived a few years near Julian in California and sold wool from sheep farm he went horse and cart to San Diago to sell wool and buy supplies.

Alexander and Agnes and son Robert Alexander (born near Julian) sailed from San Francisco to NZ and went on to Australia where they worked on a farm and had daughter Isabella they then left Australia for NZ joined brother Walter and farmed near Edendale southland NZ, my Grandfather Walter John was born there and they worked there way north to Cheviot and one more daughter Mary born near Timaru.

In Cheviot Alexander lived on his farm about 1/2 a mile from our farm where we live now.

I’m excited to see Arthur Burnett who was Alexander’s older brother went to Australia, Alexander also worked in Australia after leaving Julian, California USA. I would like to talk to Helen Lucas who is my relation!! and we can exchange information, Alexander kept a diary while in Julian 1874

Can you please give me contact phone, email, or address for Helen Lucas in Brisbane, or forward my email to her.

Lynda Schroder nee Burnett)
South Island
New Zealand

Hi Iain,

How wonderful! For 16 years I’ve been searching for a Burnett descendant in NZ, and now you and South Loch Ness Heritage have facilitated that dream for me. Thank you so much. I shall send an e-mail to Lynda Schroder this very afternoon.

Your friend

Helen Lucas


Ramsay – Village Store at Foyers

What an interesting website!  The quality of many of the photographs is quite superb given the age of many of them.

We visited Foyers recently having only just discovered a family connection with the area.  My partner’s Grandmother, a Ramsay, came from Foyers where we believe her father ran the local shop.  We visited the cafe and saw a photograph of the village store dating from about 1910 but the owners of the cafe seemed to think that the family in the picture were Camerons or Frasers.

The cafe owners pointed us in the direction of the graveyard at Boleskin and we jotted down details from a couple of Ramsay graves we found and will speak to relatives to see if we can make a connection with the family from any of these.

Incidentally, my partner’s grandmother left Foyers to become a nurse in Inverness where she met and married, we think at the Crown Church, her husband, a Reverend Duncan in or around 1920.  They later moved to Kilmarnock where he became one of the local ministers and raised their family, many of whom also took up careers in the health service, following in the footsteps of their Foyers mother.

If you can shed any light on the above we’d be delighted to hear from you.  It was a real pleasure to visit such a beautiful and fairly undiscovered part of Scotland and we will definitely be back again especially if we find we are able to trace our roots further.  I hope that this lady’s story is also of interest to you.

With best wishes

Kate Young


Hi Kate,

The photo you were shown of Foyers shop, is of Ramsays shop about 1910 the gent in the middle of the picture with the cap is John Ramsay and the girl sitting on the basket is your partners grandmother Winnie who married the Rev Robert Duncan who was for a time in Foyers as the United Free Church Minister. The other daughter  Kate standing in white beside her father married Donald Maclean who had three daughters, Nancy, Margaret and Catherine two of whom are still living in the  area . There was a brother David he is sitting also on the basket. He joined the merchant navy and lived in America . John Ramsay had three brothers Duncan ,William &Tom . Tom went to Glasgow was an enginer, William married Lexie worked in British Aluminium  factory at Foyer had three of a family. Duncan married Eva Fraser worked in Factory had no family 

The Ramsays gave up Foyer shop about 1929

 all the best

 Alister Chisholm 


Alexander MacDonald

My name is Dawneen McKillop and I am writing to ask if there is anyone who can give me any information on my Great, great, great, great, great Grandparents Jessie Fraser born 1758 died 1838 and Alexander MacDonald of Knock born 1761 died 1828 I understand both were buried at @ Boleskin Parish Invernesshire Lochness I believe they had more than 1 child however the only one I have record of is my direct connection son John MacDonald born 1799. I know that his son Senator John MacDonald (born Perth 112/27/1824) did place grave markers on their burial sites. Any information you may have that relates would be greatly appreciated or any other site information that would be useful in tracing this heritage would be greatly appreciated. I am leaving for Scotland on July 13th and will be in your area for at least a day or two so would greatly appreciate any info you could pass on to help make my trip more productive.

Thank you in advance

Dawneen McKillop,10450 Dunsford Dr.,Lone Tree, Colorado,U.S.A.

We are pleased to record that not only were we able to locate the gravestone of Alexander and Jessie in the Boleskine Burial Ground but also a family “plot” with graves as recent as the 1960s. A nearby floorslab appeared to be the grave of Alexander’s parents.

Dawneen did pay us a visit in the summer of 2008 and we were able to show her the graves, identify the location of Knock farm and, most importantly, put her in contact with George MacDonald (Teep) who is descended from the MacDonalds of Knock and is therefore a distant relative of Dawneen.



The Group have had correspondence from George MacDonald who is Factor of the North Uist Estate.  He is anxious for information about ACHADIACH or possibly a name very similar, which is referred to in various early documents but fades out of sight in the later years of the eighteenth century. The farm was situated on Lord Lovat’s lands within Stratherrick. He feels it might then have been incorporated into another farm or given a new name altogether.  The earliest reference to this farm that he can find is contained in a charter of ‘the half davoch of Achidiach with the glen thereof called Glenmoin’, that was granted by 9th Lord Lovat to Alexander MacDonald in 1638.   The MacDonalds , who were of the Clanranald family, continued to hold this tack until as late as 1765 when John MacDonald, Travelling Chapman, petitioned the Commissioners of the Forfeited Estate of Lovat for a further lease of the farm.  It appears that he was unsuccessful in retaining the farm for George MacDonald has come across a petition from ‘Thomas Fraser, in Auchdioch, in the Barony of Stratherrick who applied for a 41 year lease of the farm in 1773.  Thomas Fraser states in his petition that, “This Barony is divided into half davoch lands bounded by natural marches, of rocks, rivers and lakes.  Some of the half davoch lands are far better than others.  The petitioner considers his farm much inferior to any in the barony, but it is saddled with an equal share of public burdens”.   It is mentioned again in an extract taken from the judicial rental of Lord Lovat’s Estate taken in the year 1698

Achadioch payes – and one stone of butter, a stone of cheese and a wedder   £60.

Mr MacDonald has obviously done much  research and it would be great if any one reading the Website could add further information for him.



I have an ancestor Hugh Francis Fraser born 2 October 1846. The family Bible says he was born in Knockmite but the IGI records show Dores. I can’t find any reference to Knockmite on the Internet. Could it be a small village that has vanished? Hugh’s parents were Alexander Fraser and Janet McDonald. The family emigrated to Australia as assisted migrants in 1855 on a ship called the Covenanter.

I find tracing the Frasers very difficult because they had such a small number of Christian names. Any information you have would be very welcome.
Regards from Sandra Torpey


Your enquiry has been forwarded around the area! I’m not sure if anyone has responded to you directly, but we have all been puzzling about “Knockmite”!

I am almost sure that this is not a genuine name – they do get corrupted so easily with poor handwriting, or sometimes no writing at all, and just poor hearing! There is a place called Knockie in the area, between Whitebridge and Fort Augustus, and this is the closest to Knockmite, not just in this area, but in the whole of the Highlands. As you say, the place might have vanished, but it just doesn’t sound right to me.

Do you know what Alex and Janet’s parents were called? Obviously if they emigrated there are no gravestones for them, but we might be able to trace their parents.

I presume you conatcted us through www.soutlochnessheritage.co.uk? There is a document on the site called “Tales of the Old Days on Aldourie Estate”, which gives a flavour of life in the Dores area.

Good luck, and let me know if you have any additional information.

Iain Cameron


Dear Iain
Thank you for your reply. I had another look at the family bible but the writing is hard to read. I have now got a death certificate for Janet Fraser which is a little clearer. Her birthplace and place of marriage seems to be “Knockchoilne” or “Knockchoilue” in Inverness. We don’t know anything more about Alexander Fraser, I think he died on the voyage out leaving a widow and 7 children. Janet Fraser’s parents were Hugh and Jane McDonald, farmer of  Dores. She was said to be 48 in 1855 when they arrived in Australia and 62 when she died in 1867 so she must have been born some time around 1805-1807.

I found your internet site very interesting thank you.
Regards from Sandra


Dear Sandra,

This looks to me very much like Knockchoilum, about a mile south of the settlement of Whitebridge, which is in turn about 15 miles south of Dores. just a couple of houses now, but its an old name so there would have been a settlement therein the 19th century.

I have to go now but I’ll see what else I can turn up, a map or a photo perhaps.
Iain Cameron


Thank you. How do you pronounce Knockchoilum (with an Australian accent)?
Regards from Sandra


This would be knockcoylum, with the c in coylum being slighly rough “ch” sound as in “loch” as opposed to “lock”.

According to some who know a lot more than me, the name would come from cnoc – a small hill, and cuingleum – a gorge-leap. (I don’t know the area well enough to know whether there is a spot where someone might have attempted to jump the river!). Myself, I wonder whether the second part could be from “Collum” the gaelic name of St Columba, who operated in these parts. There is, close by a Killiechoilum, and the Kil bit is known to come from cil, a small church. Often you can take your pick when it comes to the meaning of place names – the early map-makers spoke no Gaelic, so just recorded what they heard, or thought they heard

Iain Cameron


4 Responses to Old letters

  • Looking for an address for the old Fraser House in the Dores/ Diviot area called Leidclune Farm abut 1880


    Tony Baldwin
    Fraser Grandson
    Christchurch New Zealand

    • Tony go to google maps near Torness Inverness-shire on the minor road heading west from torness is Leadclune at grid reference 57°18’01.1″N 4°22’50.7″W 57.300297, -4.380751. Leadclune, Torness, Inverness,IV2 6TZ, Scotland .

  • Burnett/Stoddart

    Helen Lucas Says;
    “Helen STODDART had had a first husband in the borders named George LINTON, before she married Alexander BURNETT on 03 Sep 1826.”
    This is of course nowhere near the truth. These are two completely different Helen Stoddarts. The first Helen born 15 June 1797 in Yarrow was the daughter of James STODDART and Mary BURNETT. This Helen STODDART married Alexander BURNETT on 3 September 1826 in Yarrow.
    The Helen STODDART that married George LINTON was the daughter of Walter STODDART and Isabella TAIT and she was born on 13 July 1806 in Ashkirk. She married George LINTON son of John LINTON and Sarah ARMSTRONG on 9 April 1878 in Inverness.

    Helen STODDART 1806 was the sister of Isabella STODDART b13 October 1814 Ashkirk. Isabella married Robert LINTON son of Andrew LINTON and Mary INGLIS on 11 Jun 1834 in Glenshiel, Ross & Cromarty.

  • I remember Burnett’s baker’s shop and tearoom on Academy Street Inverness, their bakery was on Longman Road Inverness taken over by Rank Hovis MacDougal, Harry Gow’s bakery is in Smithton, just outside Inverness, and Harry is a nephew of the Burnett’s although Harry’s son David runs the bakery now, Harry is still very much involved. I worked for Harry for a while and his Dream Ring cakes are amazing. Hope this helps someone tracing the Burnett’s.

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