The Douglas Families of Lick, Bohally and Grennich

Lick on the south side of Loch Tummel

Lick on the southern side of Loch Tummel

There are several families by the name of Douglas around Loch Tummel, and indeed Croftdouglas is on its northern shore. In earlier times, before the roads were built around the loch, people travelled by water much more, so perhaps these Douglas families were also once linked. One family can be traced back to James Douglass of Lick, on the south side of Loch Tummel. Christian Douglas and Robert Douglas were also living at Lick around this time, and they may be siblings of James.

Blair Atholl parish (marriages)

31st December 1779.
James Douglass in Lick, parish of Dull and Elspeth Calmanach in Balnabodach in this parish.

There appears to be no corresponding marriage entry in the Dull parish records, which is unusual as they tended to be better kept than those of Blair Atholl. However, the following entry does exist.

Dull parish (marriages)

18th December 1779.
James Douglas in this parish and Isabel McOlman in the parish of Blair gave up their names to be proclaimed in order to marriage.

The closeness of dates and the fact that the name James Douglas is not all that common in Dull parish would be a strange coincidence. If one also takes into account that the Dow families in Blair Atholl parish were also called Calmanach or McColman, it would appear that this was the same couple, and that the Dull registrar was rather confused about the bride's name.

Between 1782 and 1788 the Dull OPR contains the christenings of four of their children.

Dull parish (baptisms)

7th July 1782.
John, son to James Douglass and Elspet Calmanach in Leiks, Foss, was baptised.

1st November 1784.
Alexander, son to James Douglass and Elspet Calmanach in Leeks was baptised. Tax paid.

14th October 1786.
Barbara, daughter to James Douglass and Elspet Calmanach in Leeks was baptised. Tax paid

24th December 1788.
Robert, son to James Douglass and Elspit Calmanach in Lickes was baptised.

There are no further baptisms in the Dull OPR and it is not until six years later that the following entry appears in the Blair Atholl OPR.

Blair Atholl parish (baptisms)

James Douglass (in) Portnellain and Elspeth Dow his wife had a child born 22nd and baptised 23rd February, named Margaret.

James and Elspet also had a son christened James. His death certificate (17th May 1856) and census returns suggest that he was born at Lick around 1792.

Elspeth Calmanach or Dow must have died soon after the birth of Margaret, as on 24th January 1797 James Douglas of Port (an Eilean) married Elizabeth (Betty) Stewart of Wester Invervack. The following year the family were farming at Bohally where Duncan and Christian were born. James's occupation was given as 'crofter' on the death certificate of his son Alexander in 1855.


(Generation 2) Children of James Douglass and Elspeth Calmanach (or Dow) of Lick and Port-an-Eilean

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
John Jul 7 1782 . . . d.
Alexander Nov 1 1784 Janet McDonald Sep 5 1810 Bohally h. Aug 15 1855
w. 1874?
Barbara Oct 14 1786 . . . d.
Robert Dec 24 1788 . . . d.
James c1792 Girsel (Grace) Gow May 6 1821 Grennich h. May 17 1856
w. 1844?
Margaret Feb 22 1794 . . . d.

(Generation 2) Children of James Douglass and Elizabeth (Betty) Stewart of Port-an-Eilean and Bohally

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Duncan Nov 16 1798 . . . d.
Christian Jun 1 1806 . . . d.


(Generation 3) Children of Alexander Douglass and Janet McDonald of Bohally

James's son Alexander continued to farm at Bohally and on 5th August 1810 he married Janet McDonald, the daughter of Peter McDonald and Janet McDonald of Chamberbane. Their first child, James, was born the following year and another four children were born at Bohally before the family moved to Dalcroy where the last two children were born. The circumstances of their move to Dalcroy are well documented in the Blair Castle archives.

John Robertson claimed that his ancestors had been good tenants of Dalno and Dalcroy for several generations, and in 1817 he rented the mill and mill-lands of Dalcroy on a 15 years tack (lease) for a rent of 85 10s 3d, but soon there were problems. The mill should have generated a good income, but it would appear that Mr Graham, the Blair Atholl Factor, was claiming that the farm was under-stocked and that the rent was in arrears. John Robertson had already raised money by a public roup in January of that year, and he was given 48 hours to remove his family and belongings.

His only recourse was to petition the Duke, asking for time to settle his debts. This he did, reminding the Duke that he had a young family to support, one being an eight-year-old boy who was "stone blind", and that his inablity to speak the English language caused misunderstanding. This lack of the English language also seems to have been the cause of a dispute between him and his brother-in-law, over the tenancy of the Dalno farm.

His petition was successful, but the situation did not improve. In 1820 he produced one load of coal and nineteen Kain hens as 'rent in kind', which the Factor valued at 11s 6d, and the following year was no better. Once again petitioning the Duke that he was unable to pay his arrears "due to unforeseen circumstances", he claimed to have exchanged barley worth 60 for goods which he expected to sell at a substantial profit. The goods turned out to be illicit and he was again penniless. It is quite likely that the 'illicit goods' were casks of whisky, which were discovered and destroyed by the excisemen. This time the petition fell on less sympathetic ears and new tenants were sought for the property.

Once again John Robertson petitioned the Duke claiming that his neighbours had agreed to lend him the money so that he could stay on for at least one more year, but the money was not forthcoming. Again he petitioned the Duke saying that he understood that his property was to be let to two other individuals, and that Alexander Douglas would let his family stay in one of the houses but was unwilling to do so without the concurrence of His Grace. Once again he reminded the Duke that he had stock with nowhere to graze them, a family of six children, the eldest blind. The Factor reported to the Duke:

This man I fear, will never pay any of his arrears. He is in a state of indolent poverty and appears regardless of anything.

In 1822 Dalcroy farm and mill were rented to W. Christie and Alexander Douglas, tenants of Bohally, for 92, but perhaps the Duke and Factor were not heartless towards the plight of John Robertson and his family as the 1822 rentings also relate:

This part of Dalno is let to John Robertson, late miller in Dalcroy, the greatest knave in that country.

Alexander Douglas and his family made a success of Dalcroy, with his eldest son James eventually becoming the miller. James married Catherine Menzies of Fortingall parish 24th March 1838 and the banns are recorded twice in the Dull Old Parish Records. The first entry is rather a scrawl, while the second entry seems to be a neat copy, except that "in the parish of Fortingall" has been added.

Dull parish (marriages)

1838, 24th March.
James Douglas, Bohally in this parish and Catherine Menzies, Inch Garth in the parish of Fortingall gave up their names.

Even so, the homeplace of Catherine Menzies is in doubt as the corresponding entry in the Fortingall OPR gives it as Over Blairish. This may be the correct place as a Robert Menzies was living here when he married Janet Stewart on 15th December of the same year.

Fortingall parish (marriages)

1838, 24th March.
James Douglas, Bohally, parish of Dull and Catherine Menzies, O(ver) Blairish in this parish gave up their names (for proclamation previous to marriage).

By the time of the 1841 census, James Douglas and his wife had two children.

Dwelling Name Age Occupation Birth-place
Dalcroy 1 Alexander Douglas 55y farmer Perthshire
Janet 54y Perthshire
Peter 25y Perthshire
Elizabeth 20y Perthshire
Janet 18y Perthshire
Robert 13y Perthshire
Dalcroy 2 James Douglas 30y meal miller Perthshire
Catherine 33y Perthshire
Catherine 2y Perthshire
Alexander 5m Perthshire

Peter Douglas worked the Dalcroy farm with his brother Alexander and their father, although the younger Alexander had already set up his shoemaking business and was employing two men. Strangely, on 31st December 1842, Peter married a girl with the same name as his brother's wife. This Catherine Menzies was the daughter of Donald Menzies, miller, and Catherine Tait from Dull parish.

Dull parish (marriages)

1842, 31st December.
Peter Douglas in Dalcroy and Catherine Menzies, Tominbogail(?) both in this parish gave up their names to be proclaimed in order to marriage.

So, by the time of the 1851 census there were three Douglas families at Dalcroy.

Dwelling Name Occupation Related Status Age Birth-place
Dalcroy 44 James Douglas miller head marr 38y Dull
Catherine wife marr 40y Dull
Catherine dau u/m 11y Dull
Alexander son u/m 10y Dull
William son u/m 8y Dull
Peter son u/m 6y Dull
Jessie dau u/m 6y Dull
James son u/m 5y Dull
Dalcroy 45 Peter Douglas ag. labourer head marr 37y Dull
Catherine wife marr 33y Dull
Janet scholar dau u/m 7y Dull
Catherine scholar dau u/m 5y Dull
Alexander son u/m 3y Dull
Christian dau u/m 1y Dull
Dalcroy 47 Alexander Douglas farmer of 10 acres head marr 66y Dull
Janet wife marr 65y Blair Atholl
Elizabeth house servant dau u/m 35y Dull
Alexander shoemaker, employing 2 men son u/m 27y Dull
Christian dau u/m 1y Dull
Alexander Douglas farm labourer u/m 43y Dull
Ann Douglas cow herd u/m 9y Kenmore

Alexander Douglass (note: ss) died at Dalcroy 15 August 1855 and was buried in the churchyard at Foss. From their father's death certificate it is known that all of the children were alive in 1855.

By the 1861 census there were also grandchildren, and one of them had been born in Edinburgh.

Dwelling Name Occupation Related Status Age Birth-place
Dalcroy 16 James Douglas miller head marr 50y Dull
Catherine wife marr 50y Dull
William shepherd son u/m 18y Dull
Jessie domestic servant dau u/m 16y Dull
Dalcroy 17 Elizabeth Stewart pauper head u/m 89y Fortingall
Dalcroy 18 Peter Douglas road labourer head marr 46y Dull
Catherine wife marr 40y Dull
Catherine domestic servant dau u/m 15y Dull
Christian scholar dau u/m 11y Dull
Donald scholar son u/m 8y Dull
James scholar son u/m 6y Dull
Donald Stewart falior (farrier?) visitor 57y Blair Atholl
Dalcroy 19 Janet Douglas farmer's widow head widow 70y Blair Atholl
Alexander farmer son u/m 40y Dull
Janet domestic servant dau u/m 42y Dull
Alexander1 scholar g.son u/m 12y Dull
Duncan2 scholar g.son u/m 8y Edinburgh
James3 domestic servant g.son u/m 16y Dull
Helen Stewart scholar visitor u/m 14y Dull

1 Peter's son
2 not yet traced
3 James's son


Summary of (Generation 3) Children of Alexander Douglass and Janet McDonald of Bohally

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
James Oct 29 1811 Catherine Menzies Mar 24 1838 Dalcroy h. 1875
Peter Jun 14 1813 Catherine Menzies Dec 31 1842 Dalcroy h. 1894
w. Dec 11 1862
Elizabeth Apr 29 1815 . . . d. after 1855
John Aug 9 1819 . . . d. after 1855
Janet Oct 2 1821 . . Dalcroy d. 1902?
Alexander Apr 20 1826 unmarried . Dalcroy d. Sep 24 1907
Robert Mar 22 1827 . . . d. after 1855


(Generation 4) Children of James Douglass, miller, and Catherine Menzies in Dalcroy

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Catherine May 20 1839 . . . d.
Alexander Jan 1 1841 . . . d.
William Oct 3 1842 . . . d. 1864?
Peter Jul 26 1844 . . . d. 1861?
Jessie Jul 26 1844 James Roger1 Jun 27 1873 . d.
James Jun 26 1846 . . . d.

1 On 27th June 1873 Jessie Douglas, aged 27, Dalcroy, married James Roger aged 24, photographer 42 South Tay Street Dundee. He was the son of Charles Roger, confectioner, and Mary Findlay who married Dundee 15 June 1838. Christian Douglas and William Roger were witnesses.


(Generation 4) Children of Peter Douglass, labourer, and Catherine Menzies in Dalcroy

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Janet Dec 8 1843 . . . d.
Catherine Sep 26 1845 . . . d.
Alexander Aug 3 1847 . . . d.
Christian Dec 19 1849 Alexander McNaughton May 18 1877 . d.
Donald Mar 12 1853 . . . d.
James Mar 16 1855 . . . d.

1 On 18th May 1877 Christian Douglas, aged 28, housekeeper at Dalcroy, married Alexander McNaughton aged 40, shepherd at Old England, parish of Kinclaven. He was the son of John McNaughton (dec), shepherd, and Margaret McNaughton. James Douglass was one of the witnesses.


(Generation 3) Children of James Douglass and Grace Gow of Grennich

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Janet c1826 Alexander Connacher Jun 21 1847 Croftdavid h.
Catherine Apr 27 1833 Peter Robertson Dec 27 1860 Stewartston h.
James c1835 . . . d.
John Jul 28 1837 . . . d.
Donald Jul 28 1837 . . . d.
Grace Jul 25 1839 . . . d.
Robert Oct 30 1841 . . . d.
Barbara c1844 James Hardie Nov 25 1864 Caputh h.
w. 8 Aug 1885

The first reference to James Douglass, the younger, is his marriage to Girsel (Grace) Gow in 1821, while he was working as a tailor in Grennich.

Blair Atholl parish (marriages)

6th May 1821.
James Douglas in Grennich and Girsel Gow in Cailvine, both of this parish.

The 1841 census return for Grennich provides the next information about James Douglas's family.

Dwelling Name Age Occupation Birth-place
7 James Douglas 45y tailor Blair Atholl
Grace Gow 40y Blair Atholl
Janet Douglas 15y Blair Atholl
James Douglas 6y Blair Atholl
John Douglas 3y Blair Atholl
Donald Douglas 3y Blair Atholl
Grace Douglas 1y Blair Atholl

James's 8-year-old daughter Catherine Douglas was absent at the time of the 1841 census. She was was staying with William Douglass (aged 22y) and Elizabeth Douglass (aged 18) at Middletown of Duntaulich on the other side of Loch Tummel, where the Douglases were working as servants for James McKenzie and his family who were farming Middletown. The relationship between these two Douglases and James the tailor is unclear.

James's wife probably died soon after the birth of Barbara in 1844, so the 1851 census shows James as a widower being looked after by his daughter Catherine.

Name Relation Status Age Occupation Birth-place
James Douglas head widower 58y tailor Dull
Catherine Douglas dau u/m 18y Blair Atholl
James Douglas son u/m 16y apprentice tailor Blair Atholl
Donald Douglas son u/m 13y scholar Blair Atholl
Grace Douglas dau u/m 10y scholar Blair Atholl
Robert Douglas son u/m 8y scholar Blair Atholl

At the time of this census James's son John was working as a herd boy for John Dow in Balnabodach, and his James's daughter Barbara was staying with her sister Janet at Croftdavid in the parish of Dowally. Janet had married Alexander Connacher, a joiner at Bridge of Tilt, on 21st June 1847.

Name Relation Status Age Occupation Birth-place
Alexander Conacher head marr 27y joiner Dowally
Jannet Conacher wife marr 25y joiner's wife Blair Atholl
Margret Conacher dau u/m 2y Dowally
James Conacher son marr 9m Dowally
Barbra Douglas neice u/m 6y scholar Blair Atholl

Barbara was actually Alexander's sister-in-law, but neice would have sounded better as the girl was only six years old.

None of the James's children were baptised at the time of their births and the entries in the Blair Atholl OPR were written one after the other, towards the end of the book. This suggests that James Douglas was one of those parents who had ommitted to have their children baptised, but suddenly realised that this was now an urgent matter before the Old Parish Records were closed with the introduction of Civil Registration in 1855.

Blair Atholl parish (baptisms)

Catherine, lawful daughter of James Douglass and Grace Gow his wife was born at Grennich 27th April 1833

John, lawful twin son of James Douglass and Grace Gow his wife was born at Grennich 28th July 1837

Donald, lawful twin son of James Douglass and Grace Gow his wife was born at Grennich 28th July 1837

Grace, lawful daughter of James Douglass and Grace Gow his wife was born at Grennich 25th July 1839

Robert, lawful son of James Douglass and Grace Gow his wife was born at Grennich 30th October 1841

James Douglas died at Grennich on 17th May 1856 and was buried in the churchyard at Foss. The death certificate was witnessed by his son John.


(Generation 4) Children of Alexander Conacher and Janet Douglas of Croftdavid

As previously mentioned, James's daughter Janet married Alexander Connacher, a joiner at Bridge of Tilt, on 21st June 1847. It is possible that she met Alexander through her cousin Sholto Douglas who was a shoemaker at Bridge of Tilt. By 1861 Sholto and his wife Isabella Robertson had moved to 28 Jamaica Street, Edinburgh, where Sholto worked as a cab-driver.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Margaret Aug 6 1848 . . Dowally d.
James Jul 8 1850 . . Dowally d.
Jean Feb 8 1853 . . Dowally d.
Ann Jan 17 1857 . . Logierait d.
Grace Jan 10 1859 . . Logierait d.
Christina Jul 26 1860 . . Logierait d.
Mungo Jan 27 1864 . . Logierait d.
Alexander Apr 10 1866 . . Logierait d.


(Generation 4) Children of Peter Robertson and Catherine Douglas of Stewartston

On 27th December 1860, James's daughter Catherine married Peter Robertson, the shepherd at Stewartston. He was the son of Peter Robertson, shepherd at Kinloch, Fortingall parish and Helen Lamont of Bohespic (married 30th December 1832, Blair Atholl). She was 24 at the time and was working as a farm servant at Grennich. As her father was dead, the wedding took place at Bohally where her cousin Alexander Douglass was one of the witnesses. She signed herself as Chatrine Douglass.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Peter Sep 26 1861 . . Blair Atholl d.
James Feb 16 1865 . . Blair Atholl d.
Helen Mar 6 1867 . . Blair Atholl d.
Margaret Feb 11 1869 . . Kingussie d.
William Jun 6 1871 . . Kingussie d.
David Douglas Apr 10 1873 . . Kingussie d.


(Generation 4) Children of James Hardie and Barbara Douglas of Caputh

On 25th November 1864, James's daughter Barbara married James Hardie, the son of John Hardie and Catherine Fraser.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
John Apr 29 1865 . . Logierait d.
Catherine Nov 24 1866 . . Clunie d.
Isabella Apr 26 1869 . . Caputh d.
James Sep 25 1871 . . Caputh d.
Barbara Jul 23 1873 . . Caputh d.
Jane I. c1876 . . Caputh d.


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