E-mail Iain



Laird Family at John O'Groats, Duncansby, Freswick and Stroma


At John O'Groats, today a popular tourist attraction stands the Last House in Scotland Museum.  Inside it records it was once a Laird Family home.   There are pictures of the last family to live there.  Campbell Shearer, who married William Laird, and her daughter Elizabeth. There is an old photograph which shows the croft and the old hotel. 

Last_House2.JPG (344296 bytes)  Campbell_Laird1.JPG (279101 bytes)  Campbell_Laird2.JPG (281247 bytes)  Last_House3.JPG (257837 bytes)

The family details are recorded in a chart and a table.

LH_Lairds1.JPG (212420 bytes)  LH_Lairds2.JPG (190765 bytes)

Click on the thumbnails for a full image.

Lest we Forget: The Parish of Canisbay ISBN 0 9529167 0 3 edited by Anne Houston and published by the Congregational Board of Canisbay Church and printed Highland News Group, Henderson Road, Inverness, Scotland in 1996, has further information about the Lairds in Caithness. It is available cost £20 with postage and packing £4 UK and £7.50 overseas, from :
Anne L Houston
"St Magnus"
John O Groats
by Wick

It has a story involving William Laird of Stroma:

William_Laird_Stroma.JPG (203362 bytes)

and has maps showing the grazings of John and Gilbert Laird at Duncansby and Freswick. 

Duncansby_Grazings.JPG (319934 bytes)  Freswick_Grazings.JPG (285224 bytes)

Laird Shipbuilders: John O'Groats to Clydeside

Local historian George Watson, who has lived in Caithness since 1960 confirmed to us on a visit in August 2000 that it was Lairds from Stroma or Duncansby who founded Laird Shipbuilders in Birkenhead and  it is also thought, Burns Laird, the shipping company in Glasgow for which my Grandfather, James Laird was Company Secretary. However when we contacted subsequently Mrs Anne McGrail , named in the Canisbay Book as a source, and who is a descendant of the Laird Shipbuilders, she did not know of any Caithness connection, and believed that her branch of the family had originated in Ayrshire, and knew of no connection with Burns Laird.

In "Lest we Forget", it is recorded that two clever, well handed Laird brothers went from John O'Groats to Clydeside and got a start in a sail and rope making business.  One of the brothers became a partner in the business and helped many young men from Caithness to find employment. This was the start of the Laird Shipbuilders tradition, now Cammell Laird.  Ian Aitchison, of the Caithness Family History Society  documented the earliest record for the Shipbuilders to Alexander Laird, born about 1695, ropemaker, Port of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, married Elizabeth Crawford in 1720, son Henry Laird, rope and sailcloth maker born Kilmacolm, Renfrew, born about 1720, married Susan Stevenson, son William Laird of Glen Huntly, Renfrew.  In 2013 a new researcher has been unable to relate this to original documents so it looks like Mrs McGrail was correct.

Laird_Shipbuilders.JPG (353322 bytes)

Our earliest traced ancestor is Andrew Laird who died in 1840.