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Genealogy Pages >> Eastern Townships of Quebec | Ripley - Bruce County | Isle of Lewis


Available Books: 

Lingwick Crofts | Winslow-Storoway Crofts | Echo Vale Cemetery | Stornoway-Winslow Cemetery


From 1838-, over 600*(x10) families from the Isle of Lewis were evicted from their homes and sent to the Eastern Townships of Quebec (490*) and Bruce County, Ontario (110*). The majority of the Hebridean Scots settled around Lingwick, Winslow and Whitton Townships. These Gaelic speaking Scots stayed in the Eastern Townships up until the 1970’s. It was the third generation that these Gaels began leaving for the United States and Ontario and later the West. These Gaeltachtds (Highlanders) left their mark in the Eastern Townships, bringing many place-names from their tiny Island like Stornoway, Tolsta, Dell, Galson, Mcleod’s Crossing, Ness, Gisla, Balallan, Druim a’ Bhac, Lac Mciver, and Bosta. There are a number of Presbyterians Cemeteries full of “Macs”, which makes you feel like you are in LEWIS.

The most famous ‘Quebec-Hebridean’ was Donald Morrison: “The Megantic Outlaw” or “The Canadian Rob Roy”. Donald Morrison still holds the record for the longest manhunt in Canadian History. Today, in Lac Megantic, he is still remembered and celebrated by both French and English residents.

Donald Morrison

From 1880-1920s, the Eastern Townships of Quebec had the second highest Gaelic speakers in Canada and was the third unofficial language. Gaelic was the first European language of the Canadian West, thanks to Sir Alexander Mackenzie (Lake Mackenzie fame), a native Gaelic speaker, born in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis and who was the first white man to cross North America. In the 1970s the last Gaelic Church services was held in Scotstown and with only a few dozen Gaeltachtds still hanging on to the past reality began to sink in. As the service ended and as tears filled the room, again the Lewis people have been defeated by the social environment of Quebec. As the majority of young Quebec-Hebrideans have all but left and thus, leaving behind another sad chapter in the ‘History of the Gaels’.


Hebrides.ca publications - Understanding Croft Books

An Encyclopedia of every family that was cleared from Lewis and sent to the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Each family are assigned an ID-address number, village or township and head of family, spanning over three to four generations (1838-2000).

Quebec Crofts book are fictional addresses based on the Lewis Croft system. As an example,  my grandfather’s mothers people came from 7 Fivepenny Ness, but his grandparents were originally from 13/14 Skigersta, Ness and even before that North Rona. When visiting the Historical Society in Habost, Ness, and request to view the village records I can can cross reference 7 Fivepenny with 13/14 Skigersta to see the entire family tree for each generation. As expected this is an endless journey through dates, marriages and the many different villages throughout Lewis, Quebec and beyond. 

In the Eastern Townships, as stated such croft system do not exist. So I laid out the original families from Lewis and where they first settled in the Eastern Townships and created a numbering system based on the township or village.

  • Lingwick (Township) Crofts: Lingwick-Gould, Galson, North Hill, Red Mountain, Victoria Hill and Fisher Hill
  • Winslow (Township) Crofts: Stornoway and Winslow

Because Lewis families in Quebec were such a tight knit community, the first three generations rarely married outside their villages and religion. Making the entire Lewis settlement somehow cross-linked with each other in someway or another. In some instances, families that were cleared from Lewis left relatives behind including parents, siblings and cousins , which are included along with some personal notes and stories.

Each family are allocated a croft number within the village and township they settled. When a family member from #11 North Hill marries and moves to 15 Winslow, this starts another family and begins a new chain which ties each Quebec Croft book together while keeping it organized. With a database of over 35,000, you will be amazed how the Lewis families in Quebec are link to one another.

  • Lingwick Crofts - which includes Lingwick-Gould, North Hill, Galson, Red Mountain, Victoria Rd and Fisher Hill. With over 125 families expanding over three to four generations, from those who stayed in Lewis and those who were cleared to the Eastern Townships are documented and allocated to a fictional address, each family styled like the crofts in Lewis, Lingwick and Stornoway Crofts 
  • Stornoway-Winslow Crofts - Winslow and Stornoway contains over 91 families cross-linked with Lingwick crofts and other future Croft Books (Tolsta, Dell, Whitton)

Hebrides.ca publications - Cemetery Books

Cemetery books are an index for the Croft books. Listings include grave information, parents, spouse, croft address and where the original family came from in Lewis.

ETQ = *Eastern Townships of Quebec
HBC = Huron, Bruce County
EVE = Individual Reference Number
Bodach = Elderly
Gaeltachtds = Highlanders


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