Are You a Descendant of Roderick Campbell and Margaret McRae? You may not be a Campbell.
Alexander Campbell (1830-1915) gave the name Alexander
MacKeiver Campbell on admission to Dunwich Benevolent Asylum in Queensland in 1896. This is the first written record of
McIvor/McIver/McKeiver I can find associated with Alexander Campbell or his paternal ancestors.
Alexander Campbell's Dunwich admission form.
Alexander's father, Roderick (c1800-1854),
is listed as from Invervenie, Strathconan, on his 1820 marriage record with
Margaret McRae (c1801-1854). Invervenie was a small settlement in a remote Highland glen of Ross-shire, Scotland. In the early
19th Century Invervenie (also known as
Glenmeanie, Glenmeinich or Invermeinie) was associated with both sheep and cattle rearing, and the
illegal distillation of whisky.
A researcher from the the NOSAS Strathconon Project 2006-09, informs me of the following:
Campbell is an unusual surname for the glen [i.e. Strathconon], most of the area was Clan Mackenzie land with Strathconon
coming under the Seaforth Mackenzies, Chiefs of the Clan - the predominant surnames were MacRae, MacLennan and MacIver
(all septs of the clan Mackenzie). I have a list of householders in the Parish of Contin drawn up by the minister of the parish in 1798,
it does not mention a Campbell in Invervenie (also known as Invermeinie or Invermenie - it was at the lower end of Glen Meinich
a side glen of Strathconon).
You will be interested to note that a court case was reported in the Inverness Journal on 29 April, 1831; For Assault and Deforcement
of Officers of Revenue - the diet was called against Alexander Campbell, otherwise known as MacIver or Broker, Finlay MacIver,
otherwise Broker and Donald Mackay, all from Strathconon. The two latter were outlawed for not appearing. The charge was that of
having, on the 14 May 1829 on the hill of Glen Meinie deforced a party of Excise Officers and prevented them from continuing a
survey and from searching a bothy where they had reason to suppose illegal distillation was carried on. It is difficult to know
whether this Campbell was his real name or just an alias! Whatever, he was found guilty and got 12 months in Tain jail.
Roderick Campbell and Margaret McRae's Marriage record.
The full report of the NOSAS Strathconon Project is here.
The report includes a detailed examination of Invervenie and notes:
The approximate location of Invervenie in Ross-shire.
The practice of distilling illicit whisky had continued throughout the first part of the 19th Century. Although this was a
clandestine operation and there are no documentary accounts, we can get an understanding of what was going on from the number of cases of
"the crime of assaulting, beating, wounding, obstructing and deforcing the Officers of the Revenue". The following cases were noted from the
High Court and North Circuit minute book, probably by no means a comprehensive list. Most culprits were outlawed and "put the the horn" [...]
- In April 1819 - Kenneth MacIvor of Invervenie.
- In September 1825 - Roderick Mackay - Crannich (transported for 7 years), John MacIver of Invervenie, Kenneth Beaton of
Balblair and Donald Beg Mackay of Dalnacroich (transported for 7 years).
- In October 1831 - Donald Mackay of Invermeinie, Alexander Mackay of Gertan of Balblair, Finlay MacIver and Alexander Campbell
(or MacIver) of Invermeinie and Donald Mackay of Crannich.
Being "put to the horn" involved the authorities issuing a document that publicly declared that a person had become a rebel.
Note that Kenneth, John and Alexander are all family names of Australian descendants of Roderick Campbell and Margaret McRae, and in the above
reports they are associated with the name MacIver and Invervenie.
So, a working theory is that Alexander Campbell's father, Roderick Campbell, was using the name Campbell as an alias to avoid
legal consequences associated with bootlegging, and in fact the family name was actually McIver/McIvor. If more information
becomes available I'll update this document.
Update: 30 August 2016
I have received the results of a Y-DNA67 test from Family Tree DNA. My closest match, with a Genetic Distance
of 0, has the surname McIvor, and can trace his paternal-line ancestry, all men named McIvor, to Fannich Parish in Ross-shire, approximately 8 miles north of where
Roderick Campbell was born around 1789. Y-DNA67 analysis indicates there's a 90% chance we share a common ancestor on our respective paternal lines within 4 generations.
Contemporary photo of Invervenie/Glenmeanie. The foundations of stone cottages are buried in the grass in the foreground.
The creek called Allt Gleann Meinich ran next to the settlement. An ample supply of cold water was required for distillation!