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A MacRae Family From The Isle of Lewis, Scotland
Part of our story concerns a MacRae family whose earliest known ancestors came from a few small villages on the Isle of Lewis in
The Isle of Lewis is not an island in and of itself. It is actually the northern part of the largest of The Western Isles, or Outer Hebrides,
of Scotland. The southern part is called Harris. Lewis is generally the lower lying part of the island. Harris is more mountainous.
Many well-known historical and present-day figures have ties to Lewis. Alexander MacKenzie, the famous explorer, after whom the
Mackenzie River in Canada is named, was born in the town of Stornoway. Mary MacLeod, the mother of American president Donald
Trump came from the village of Tong.
MacRae is not a particularly common name on Lewis. It probably came to the island with the MacKenzies of Kintail when they took
over from the old MacLeod chiefs in the late 1590s. At that time MacRaes were employed by the MacKenzies as 'bodyguards' and
'keepers of the peace'.
The earliest known ancestors of our family are Donald MacRae and his wife Kirsty (family name unknown). They were born in the mid-
1700s. They came from the villages of Gress and Vatisker. The couple had at least one child. His name was John MacRae.
Born in 1778, John was the first to acquire the croft (farming homestead) at 33 Back and the associated croft at 34 Back. These two
crofts are still owned by MacRae family members today. Locally, this John MacRae is referred to as 'Old John'. He married Margaret
MacIver who was born in 1779. The couple had eight children. John died in 1858. Margaret died in 1865.
Although several members of our MacRae family still reside on Lewis, the great majority are spread around the world, from New
Zealand to New Brunswick, from Texas to Toronto.
A Stover Family From Markham, Ontario, Canada
Our Stover family of Markham, Ontario, Canada actually came to this country from Pennsylvania, USA in the year 1801. Before that
the family had lived in Switzerland, mainly in the Bern area.
Our family was not always called Stover. All of our ancestors who lived in Switzerland were called Stauffer. Stauffer was changed to
Stover by Hans Jacob Stauffer, born August 6, 1717, after he came to Pennsylvania, which was before 1730.