The Island of Islay (pronounced ‘eye-la’), today famous for a number of high-quality, peat-fired whiskies. Robyn’s 3g-grandmother Jean Morrison (Morison) was born in the parish of Kilchoman around 1802. Jean’s parents were Angus Morrison and Flora McLean, but very little is known of them from parish records. However, we have been able to find a younger sister, Mary, who married an Archibald McDonald and lived the rest of her life around the head of Loch Indaal (she had at least seven children). Mary died at Lyrabus in 1890.

Jean Morrison had left the island and moved to Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, by 1826 when she married Thomas [1] Barr and had at least six children of her own — their son Thomas [2] Barr married Robyn’s great-great-grandmother Ann McColl (from Mull) in 1853 at Eaglesham, Renfrewshire, and this family emigrated to Queensland in 1886.

An interesting DNA discovery in recent years shows that almost everyone from Islay is of Viking descent rather than from Dalriadan Scots. It seems the island had been permanently settled by Vikings in the 9th century, and the previous Gaelic inhabitants completely ‘displaced’. Indeed, the name Morrison is uniquely Viking in origin, and this probably accounts for Robyn’s 10% Scandinavian genes.

And as my favourite whiskies are made on Islay, I have marked the nine main distilleries on the Island! 😀


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