Between the late eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries many crofters in the Scottish Highlands were forced to continue crofting on inferior lands and many of them chose to emigrate, often to countries such as the US and Canada. For some reason, not known to me, many people that migrated from Jura ended up in North Carolina. This forced movement of people is known as “The Clearances” because the land they lived and farmed on was needed by the estate owners for sheep, a real money maker in those days, and deer, for sports. This was a time of huge depopulation in the Scottish higlands and islands, also on the Isle of Jura. The situation on Jura regarding these clearances were very different from the mainland and the following paragraph from the book ‘Island of Deer’ written by Peter Youngsten shows what happened on Jura:
We studied the population if Jura during the second half of the nineteenth century through the records provided by the national censuses and watched it drop from 1158 to 614 during the fifty years from 1841 to 1891. We know tha tmany families left the island, both to emigrate and to settle on the mainland. Much of the period during which this exodus took place is give the term ‘The Clearances’, in the Highlands and Islands at large. We must now see whether this description applies to Jura. Was Jura ‘cleared’ of people to make way for sheep and deer, and to allow the landowners to gain bigger incomes than those supplied by the rents of the settled tenants? Miss Campbell insisted to the Commission that nothing of the kind ever took place on the island. ‘Not one single family was ever evicted from their dwelling’ she said, ‘and those who left did so voluntarily, because they preferred to go.’
There are other stories from these times that say that there was some sort of clearance which is about the Cnocbreac eviction in the 1840s. Initially there were five families living there and later only one family was left. The others were relocated elsewhere on the island, in better housing than before, and under the same laird. This doesn’t sound like a clearance in the true sense of the word.
Many people who’s ancestors came from Jura, and who are now living far away from their ancestors homeland, have an interest in finding out where their ancestors lived, worked and who they were. Because of the mass migration many records have gone lost but there are still several sources where information can be obtained. If you are searching for your ancestors from Jura the following information, links and resources could be of any help. Providing you have done some basic research and have knowledge of your family tree, it is possible to access a complete range of Parish, Census and Statutory Registers in several places in Scotland to continue your investigation.
ScotlandsPeople is a partnership between the General Register Office for Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland, The Court of the Lord Lyon and brightsolid (formerly Scotland Online). ScotlandsPeople is the official online source of parish register, civil registration, census and wills & testaments records for Scotland. They are holding over 50 million records, making the ScotlandsPeople database one of the worlds largest resources of genealogical information and one of the largest single information resources on the Web. The website address is www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
Jackie Davenport from the Argyll and Bute Council is the Council Archives and Administration Manager. She has a special Archives email address for Genealogy related questions. Your enquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Another interesting Jura Genealogy resource is provided by the members from the Jura e-mail list. By “subscribing” to this mailing list, you will become part of a loop of people who are researching their ancestors from the Isle of Jura, Scotland, and the related lines of their study. To SUBSCRIBE, send an e-mail to: SCT-JURA-Lemail@example.com with the word subscribe as your message. you will receive a welcome message with instructions for sending messages to the list.
Below is an interesting collection of links to various resources that might be of help. The links are provided by Gavin, a regular visitor of this blog.