William and Alexanderina McIntosh

Researchers have failed to find a record of this marriage or the birth or death of either of William or Alexanderina. I have researched several William McIntoshs in the 93rd Regiment and have gone down a few blind alleys searching for William and also Alexanderina.

Search by Norma MacLeod Skye-Roots 2002
Report 1

Information given:
Your Gt-gr-father was John MacIntosh who married Catherine Ryan on 7th November 1870 at Stirling. At that time John, age 25, was a piper with the 93rd Regiment based at Stirling Castle. His parents were William MacIntosh, a pensioner of the 93rd Regiment of Foot, and Alexandrina MacLeod (her maiden surname).

William MacIntosh was born in Urquhart c1796. He enlisted in 1813 and was pensioned in 1834. He is on record as being in Skye in 1846. He is not shown as having died in the period 1855-1865, but cannot be found in the 1881 census.

The 1871 census shows that John was from Skye, although his army record has him as being from Urquhart, Inverness. John is not with his family in either the 1881 or 1891 census. He had died by 1901, when Catherine is shown as being a widow, but his death certificate has not been found so far.

The IGI internet search indicates that William is the son of John MacIntosh (bc1769) and Bessie Chisholm. They married c1794 in Lewiston, Inverness. Their family is given as

William (b1795 Urquhart)
James (b1799 Balnacahan)
Isabella (b1801 Balnacahan)
Alexander (b1803 Lewiston)
and Duncan (b1805 Balnacahan)

In the 1881 census, You found a John MacIntosh of the right age staying with an Alexander MacIntosh in Portree. John is married but no wife is recorded at the address. John is given as the son of Alexander.

Abbreviations used: b - born: c - circa / about: d - died: dau - daughter: Mar - married: Wid - widow: unm - unmarried
Approximate dates of birth, based on age given in the various records, are shown in grey.

I began looking for William, his wife and child in 1851, as it is always easier to find a family than an individual. They were found in Portree Village, in the area know today as Bayfield. At that time it was known as Slignach. They appear as -

William MacIntosh Head Mar 54 Pensioner from Army Urquhart (1797)
Alexandrina Wife Mar 33 Portree (1818)
John Duncan son 9 scholar Brown St. Glasgow (1842)

It is interesting that John Duncan MacIntosh was born in Glasgow.

In the same house in 1851 was another family who may or may not be relevant to your search. I have shown them here because the maiden surname of Chirsty Nicolson (bc1833 Snizort) was MacLeod. They were

Alexander Nicolson Head Mar 31 fisherman Portree
Chirsty Wife Mar 18 Snizort
Effy sister unm 51 cooper�s dau Portree
Chirsty sister unm 34 pauper Portree

The MacIntosh family was not found in Portree parish in 1861 or 1871 and I was afraid that I had lost them. They were found eventually in 1861 in the parish of Snizort. In the township of Tote, near Skeabost, and appear as -

William MacIntosh Head Mar 60 Chelsea Pensioner Urquhart (1801)
Mary Wife Mar 41 Portree (1820)
John D son unm 19 Glasgow (1842)

They were still in Tote in 1871 and show as -

William MacIntosh Head Mar 75 Pensioner Urquhart (1796)
Mary Wife Mar 52 Portree (1819)

In Tote in 1881 I found -

Mary MacIntosh Head Wid 60 cottar Portree (1821)

Although I have searched all the north Skye parishes - Portree, Snizort, Kilmuir and Stenscholl - for William MacIntosh in 1841, I have not found him. It seems reasonable to assume that he was not on Skye at that time. In view of the fact that his son, John Duncan, was born in Glasgow in 1842 it may well be that William was in Glasgow in June 1841 at the time of the census. It is also possible that he and Alexandrina were married in or before 1841, again perhaps in Glasgow.

John Duncan MacIntosh was born in Brown Street Glasgow in 1842. Brown Street is near the centre of Glasgow, between the Broomielaw (which runs along the north side of the River Clyde) and Argyle Street. The IGI internet search does not show either John�s birth or his parents� marriage.

According to the 1851 census, Alexandrina was born c1818 in Portree. John�s marriage certificate gives her maiden surname as MacLeod. I have searched the parishes of Portree and Snizort for Alexandrina in 1841 - assuming that she was not married at that time. I found only one entry that could possibly be her. However, it is notoriously difficult (particularly in the early census) to find a single person without knowing more about parents, siblings etc. I must therefore stress that there are no grounds for assuming that this is the correct person. For what it is worth I will give you the entry.

1841 in Collieshader (the area is now considered part of Glen Varragill, to the south of Portree village) were -

Donald MacLeod 60 pauper
Catherine 50
Margaret 30
Lexy 25
Donald Nicolson 5

Although no relationships are shown in this census, it may be assumed that Margaret and Lexy were daughters of Donald & Catherine. I have not found the family in 1851 and so cannot say if Lexy appears with them (which would eliminate her from our search).

The censuses indicate that Alexandrina, wife of William MacIntosh, died sometime between the 1851 and 1861 census. By 1861 he had married Mary, who was born c1820 in Portree parish. She appears as his wife from 1861 and his widow in 1881.

The register of deaths for the parish of Snizort gives information about both William Macintosh and his second wife, Mary. William MacIntosh died on 25th March 1877 at Tote, Snizort. He was a Chelsea Pensioner, age 77. He was married to Mary Nicolson. His parents were John MacIntosh, dyke builder, and Betty. No maiden surname is given for his mother. The informant was Mary MacIntosh, his widow.

The age given here suggests that William was born about 1800, but the census information puts the date closer to 1796 or 1797, in agreement with the information you found. Although his mother�s maiden name is not given, there is confirmation of her Christian name.

Mary MacIntosh died on 27th March 1889 at Lag-a-Chlachan, Snizort. This is not a place name that I am familiar with, but I assume that it is a specific place in the Tote area. Mary was described as a pauper, widow of William MacIntosh, Army pensioner, aged about 85. Her parents were John Nicolson, crofter, and Catharine MacKay. The informant was Catharine Matheson, niece.

Mary�s age is not given accurately here, but that is not at all unusual. It appears that her parents were from the township of Glenmore, which lies in the hills between Portree village and Tote in the parish of Snizort. She is with them in the 1841 census, but missing in 1851. Because she was not a blood relative of yours, I have not spent time looking for her in 1851.


You found a possible John MacIntosh, son of Alexander, in Portree parish in 1881 and wondered if they could be connected to your MacIntoshes. I have found the family in the township of Mugeary, in the hills to the south west of Portree village. Alexander and his family are found there in the census from 1841 onwards, and in all of them are said to have been born in Portree parish. I feel that it therefore most unlikely that this Alexander is William�s brother.

The information you provided from the IGI internet search shows that the family of John & Bessie MacIntosh were all born in the Urquhart / Lewiston area to the south west of Inverness. Although I cannot find Balnacahan on my road-map, I have found Balmacaan Forest in that area, and would assume that this is the same place (spelt differently, but sounding very similar) and that there was once a township / small village (perhaps only one house) of that name.

When he joined the Army, William is described as a labourer. It seems to me quite likely that William�s parents had nothing to do with Skye - that they were from the Inverness area. That raises the question - what brought William to Skye? The answer may be - his first wife, Alexandrina MacLeod. It is possible that they met (and married?) in Glasgow and then moved back to her home area (Portree village). William�s pension district is given as the Inverness district between June 1848 and 1850. Could that mean that they lived for a while, near his people? The move to Skye seems to have been about June 1850. However, this must remain speculation. There were MacIntoshes in Skye, and it is possible that William had some other family connection with the area.


John Duncan MacIntosh, son of William MacIntosh and Alexandrina MacLeod, was born in Brown Street, Glasgow in 1842. The date and place of John�s birth are confirmed in both the 1851 and 1861 census entries when he was living with his father in Skye.

Although it must be said that there seem to be many queries about the information collected about John, I believe that a great deal of it can be explained. Information you have provided about John states that he joined the 93rd Regiment in 1863, aged 18, at which time he was a labourer from Urquhart. In June 1874 he transferred to the 79th Highlanders. In April 1875 he was invalided out, at which time he was in Aldershot and was said to be going to Edinburgh. The 1871 census says that John was born on Skye. His children were -

John William - b 24/8/1871 Glencorse:
Duncan - bc1873 Aldershot
Norman Donald - b 7/1/1876 Edinburgh
James - b 11/9/1880 Stirling
Andrew Banks - b 1/3/1884 Stirling
Mathew Banks - b 1/3/1884 Stirling
Thomas - b 1/1/1886 Stirling
Mary - b 27/11/1888 Stirling

It must be assumed that John�s age should have been given as 21 in 1863. Clearly he does not appear in Skye in 1871 with his father, because he had joined the Army. Muster sheets say he was a labourer from Urquhart. This could well reflect the fact that his father had also been in that Regiment and was from Urquhart - thus he was �one of the MacIntoshes from Urquhart�. I suspect that family connections in the Army may have been important. His father too had been a labourer when he joined the army in 1813.

John appears in the 1871 census - aged 24, born Skye. That would put his date of birth at c1847 - about 5 years too late. The �born Skye� may be because he had spent a great deal of his life on Skye and his father & stepmother still lived on Skye. He could have felt that he �belonged there�, rather than in Glasgow - the actual place of his birth.

It appears that the Army records were correct, in that he had been in Aldershot (where Duncan was born c1873) and that he moved to Edinburgh (where his son Norman Donald was born in 1876) after he was invalided out. The births of the rest of his family took place in Stirling between 1880 and 1888. The family was living in Stirling in 1881 and 1891.

I would suspect that John was not far away from home at the time of these censuses. Possibly his age was given more accurately then - ie about 39 in 1881 and 49 in 1891. You have been looking for someone born in Skye or Inverness - maybe he has Glasgow as his place of birth. He could be using John Duncan or (less likely) Duncan. There are various ways of spelling MacIntosh - Mac, Mc or even M� may be used for the first part; and sometimes Kintosh is used for the second. I�m sure you have already thought of some of these possibilities, but the double barrelled Christian name, the date and place of birth were not known to you before. Good luck in the search for him!


I have searched the death registers for both Portree and Snizort parishes for the death of Alexandrina MacIntosh, maiden surname MacLeod, but without success. These registers began on 1st Jan 1855, and I think it would therefore be safe to assume that she died before that when no records were kept. It is unfortunate as without knowing the names of her parents we can go no further in tracing her.

Neither is there any sign in the IGI of the marriage of William MacIntosh and Mary Nicolson between 1851 and 1861. This marriage must also have taken place before civil registration became compulsory on 1st Jan 1855.


I hope that this information is of interest to you. If you have any queries about anything given here, or if I can be of any further help to you, please let me know.

Norma MacLeod
March 2003

Report 2

Information given: This follows on from the Report of March 2003. You found a William MacIntosh in Portree in 1841.

William MacIntosh, age 40, Inspector of Rural Police, born Inverness-shire was living on his own in Portree Village in June 1841. The minutes of the Inverness Constabulary Committee (held in the Highland Council Archives, Inverness) was recommended for the post of Sub-Inspector of Police in December 1840. It had been decided that police officers should not be locals of any district to which they were appointed. William submitted accounts / claims for expenses from January 1841 until March 1842, when he is referred to as �late Sub-Inspector in Skye�.

John Duncan MacIntosh, son of William MacIntosh & Alexandrina MacLeod, was born about 1842 in Glasgow. The timing of William the policeman�s departure from the service in Portree and the birth of John Duncan in Glasgow, seems more than coincidence.

In 1851, William and his family are living in Slignach / Bayfield area of Portree village. By 1861, Alexandrina had died (it is assumed) and William had married Mary Nicolson and was living in Tote, Snizort.

A search for Alexandrina MacLeod (bc1818) in the Portree area in 1841 found �

1841 Collieshader, Portree
Donald MacLeod 60 pauper
Catherine 50
Margaret 30
Lexy 25
Donald Nicolson 5

Collieshader is in the Glenvarigle area, on the southern outskirts of Portree village. In 1841 there were seven households in Collieshader; in 1851 there were only two. No other Alexandrina MacLeod, of the correct age and not otherwise accounted for, has been identified in the north end of Skye.

The marriage of William MacIntosh & Alexandrina MacLeod was not found in the OPR, IGI or FS (on-line), but it was not unusual for marriage of that time to be unrecorded. The birth of John Duncan MacIntosh does not appear to have been recorded.

When searching for possible Alexandrina MacLeods, the following marriage was found �

OPR Portree: Marriage: 6th June 1837: John Campbell, Private 93rd Reg�t, Collieshader & Alexandrina MacLeod, Collieshader

No births have been found in the OPR, IGI or FS for this couple. Once again, this appears to be the same Alexandrina as in the 1841 census, although John Campbell is not with her. She is named as MacLeod in 1841, but (assuming this is her) with her husband absent. It is not unusual in the early census to find women using their maiden surnames.

Another entry in the OPR appears to explain Donald Nicolson, aged 5 in 1841.

OPR Portree: Birth: 14th February 1833: Donald C.F. son of Donald Nicolson, Gedintailor & Margaret MacLeod, Collieshader
Young Donald�s parents were not married, and the place of residence of both is given.
None of the people in the 1841 census record has been found / identified in any later census.

Alexandrina / Lexy MacLeod is a mystery. John Campbell was a private with the 93rd Regiment. Could it be significant that William MacIntosh was also with the 93rd Regiment?

Further search for these people may or may not find them, but a great deal of time could be spent looking so this search was stopped. I have noted your interest in all of them and will let you know if anything else is found.

Norma MacLeod
16th July 2007
Skye Roots



John McIntosh
New Zealand
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