Garthbeg Coat Of Arms

The Lost Families of Stratherrick, Strathnairn, and Dunmaglass,

 Inverness-shire, Scotland



Home  McTavish


 Investigative Reporting


As a student of Genealogy, you begin to think like a detective would.  The McTavish name is more rare than most, so in many instances it makes it much easier.  My 3rd great-grandfather left Scotland sometime before 1841, when he is first found on a Canadian Census index.  His brother, Duncan MacTavish stayed in Scotland, and his family lived the life of a more wealthy family of the British Empire, scattering throughout the empire, to India, Singapore, and the Philippines.  As my name is rare, I constantly do searches on Ebay for the names McTavish or MacTavish.  Recently I came across a photograph of William MacTavish.  It was a picture of a WWI soldier.  On the back of the picture, it was labeled, W. MacTavish, 15th Can Bttn, France 1918.  So I put on my investigator hat, and go to the Canadian version of  I find that Ancestry has a new listing of Canadian WWI soldiers, and I find two Williams.  One William is listed as being born in Calcutta............a  light goes on!   I go to my family file data base, and look for Williams born in 1884, and I have one, born in Calcutta, and his father's name is Duncan!  I have a match!   I bid and am successful in purchasing the photograph.  This man is my second cousin, two generations removed.  I go back to my 3rd great grandfather's brother, Duncan's descendants, and start looking for more possibilities.  I find another database of Canadian WWI Soldiers and discover that Williams brother also came to Canada and enlisted. 

William's Picture   Williams Attestation Paper  Duncan's Attestation Paper

I would very much like to locate the descendants of Duncan MacTavish of Garthbeg.  Following is the information that I have.  If you have any information please e-mail me!


Descendants of Duncan McTavish

Generation No. 1


        1.  Duncan8 McTavish  (Archibald7, Donald6, John5, John4 Fraser, Donald3, Tawis McEan2 VcConnochie, John McEan Vc Ean1)1 was born 17 Nov 1803 in Boleskine, Inverness-shire Scotland, and died 30 Jul 1884 in Heathmount, Inverness, Scotland.  He married Helen Burnet 07 Nov 1833, daughter of Alexander Burnet.  She was born Abt. 1813, and died 25 Dec 1859 in Planefield, Inverness, Scotland.       

Children of Duncan McTavish and Helen Burnet are:

+      2                 i.    Ann9 McTavish, born 13 Aug 1834 in Boleskine, Inverness, Scotland.

        3                ii.    Archibald McTavish, born 08 Aug 1835 in Boleskine, Inverness-shire Scotland; died 21 Jun 1862 in Singapore.

Notes for Archibald McTavish:

Commander of the SS Armenian in the Indian Seas, In a memorial at Fort Channing, Singapore

Sacred to the memory of


Late of the STR 'ARMENIAN'

Born at Garthbeg Invernesshire

Augst 8th 1835

Died at Singapore

June 21st 1862

This tablet is erected

to his memory

as a last tribute of one

who deeply laments his loss

More About Archibald McTavish:

Burial: Fort Channing Cemetery, Singapore

Cause of Death: Infectious disease

+      4               iii.    Helen Mary McTavish, born 24 Nov 1836; died Aft. 1884.

+      5               iv.    Alexander Burnett McTavish, born 02 Oct 1838; died Aft. 1884.

        6                v.    Robert McTavish, born 05 Apr 1840 in Boleskine, Inverness-shire Scotland; died 16 Dec 1857 in Berbice, Scotland.

+      7               vi.    Duncan MacTavish, born 14 Feb 1842; died Aft. 1915 in Calcutta, India.

        8              vii.    William Burnett McTavish, born 10 Oct 1843; died Abt. 05 Jan 1900 in Calcutta, India.

        9             viii.    George McTavish, born 10 Nov 1845; died Aft. 1884 in America.

More About George McTavish:

Christening: 26 Dec 1845, Boleskine, Inverness, Scotland

        10              ix.    Catherine McTavish, born 08 Dec 1846.

        11               x.    Elizabeth McGillivray McTavish, born 02 Aug 1849; died Aft. 1884.

Notes for Elizabeth McGillivray McTavish:

Per her father's will, she was unmarried and living with him at the time of his death.

More About Elizabeth McGillivray McTavish:

Christening: 04 Sep 1849, Inverness, Inverness, Scotland

        12              xi.    Margaret McTavish, born 15 Jul 1852; died Aft. 1884.  She married Esquire James Sloan.

More About Margaret McTavish:

Christening: 03 Aug 1852, Inverness, Inverness, Scotland

Notes for Esquire James Sloan:

Manila, Philippines

        13             xii.    Josephine McTavish, born Abt. 1856 in Garthbeg, Inverness, Scotland.

Notes for Josephine McTavish:

I only learned of Josephine's existence through her father's will.  At the time of his death she is unmarried and living with him

Generation No. 2

        2.  Ann9 McTavish (Duncan8, Archibald7, Donald6, John5, John4 Fraser, Donald3, Tawis McEan2 VcConnochie, John McEan Vc Ean1) was born 13 Aug 1834 in Boleskine, Inverness, Scotland.  She married Joseph Knapp 01 Jun 1854 in Christ Church, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  He was born Abt. 1809, and died 13 Feb 1858 in New York, New York.

Notes for Ann McTavish:

Per the will of her father, in 1884 Ann was living on the Isle of Man in Scotland.

Notes for Joseph Knapp:

Per the  Knapp GenealogyJoseph was a merchant in New York in 1839, returning to Montreal bet 1846-1850, partnering with John Young and Benjamin Holmes.He died in New York on business and his body was returned to Montreal for burial.       

Children of Ann McTavish and Joseph Knapp are:

        14               i.    Helen Elizabeth10 Knapp, born 08 Feb 1855.

        15              ii.    Edward William Knapp, born 04 Jan 1856.

        4.  Helen Mary9 McTavish (Duncan8, Archibald7, Donald6, John5, John4 Fraser, Donald3, Tawis McEan2 VcConnochie, John McEan Vc Ean1) was born 24 Nov 1836, and died Aft. 1884.  She married Captain Peter Taylor.  He died Bef. 1884 in Calcutta, India.

Notes for Helen Mary McTavish:

Per her father's last will and testament Helen Mary was married to a Taylor and had been living in Calcutta, India, but at the time of her father's death was in Heathmount, Scotland.       

Child of Helen McTavish and Peter Taylor is:

        16               i.    Helen B10 Taylor, born Abt. 1866 in India.

Notes for Helen B Taylor:

PER THE 1901 Scotland Census, Helen is living in Edinburgh.

        5.  Alexander Burnett9 McTavish (Duncan8, Archibald7, Donald6, John5, John4 Fraser, Donald3, Tawis McEan2 VcConnochie, John McEan Vc Ean1) was born 02 Oct 1838, and died Aft. 1884.  He married Emily Unknown.  She was born Abt. 1853 in Chatham, Kent, England, and died 10 Sep 1888 in Inverness, Inverness, Scotland.

Notes for Alexander Burnett McTavish: Captain in the Merchant Service, Commander SS Arratown Apcar, belonging to Apcar and Coy., Calcutta India Merchants

Notes for Emily Unknown:

Per the 1881 British Census, Emily was living at 2 Belgrave Place, Upton Cum Chalvery, Buckingham, England

Per her will of 1888, she was living at 10 Ardross St., Inverness, Scotland       

Children of Alexander McTavish and Emily Unknown are:

        17               i.    Phoebe10 McTavish, born 1876 in Calcutta, India.

Notes for Phoebe McTavish:

Surname: Mactavish

Given Name: Phoebe

Birth Date: ----

FIRST COMM: 31 Mar. 06

DATE RANK: 31 Mar. 06

RANK: Nursing Sisters

COMPANY: Queen Alexander's Military Nursing Serv. for India

REMARKS: Rawal Pindi

Page #: 458

she was living in Inverness, scotland at the time of the 1891 Scotland Census, at 10 Ardross St. 

        18              ii.    Archibald McTavish, born 31 Dec 1876 in Calcutta, India; died Aft. 1918.

Notes for Archibald McTavish:

the Indian Army Quarterly List for 1 January 1912.  I can find evidence that Archibald was a Major in the Brahmans in WWI

Surname: Mactavish

Given Name: Archibald

Birth Date: 31 Dec 76

FIRST COMM: 20 Jan 97

DATE RANK: 20 Jan 06

RANK: Captain

COMPANY: British Officers of the Indian Army

REMARKS: 3 Brahmans

Page #: 124

I find evidence that Archibald was a Major in the same division in India. 

        19             iii.    Helen McTavish, born 07 Mar 1878 in Calcutta, West Bengal, India; died Bef. 1888.

        20             iv.    Duncan McTavish, born Abt. 1879 in Calcutta, India.

        21              v.    Blanche McTavish, born Abt. 1881 in Slough, Buckingham, England.

        7.  Duncan9 MacTavish (Duncan8 McTavish, Archibald7, Donald6, John5, John4 Fraser, Donald3, Tawis McEan2 VcConnochie, John McEan Vc Ean1) was born 14 Feb 1842, and died Aft. 1915 in Calcutta, India.  He married Blanche Unknown.  She was born Abt. 1855 in France.

Notes for Duncan MacTavish:

We know through the Canadian WWI Enlistment papers of Duncan and William that in 1917 Duncan was alive and living in Mardingunge, Eastern Bengal, India.

Notes for Blanche Unknown:

In the 1891 Hampshire, England Census,  Blanche is living with her 3 children, a service and a nursemaid.  She is listed as the head of the household.        

Children of Duncan MacTavish and Blanche Unknown are:

        22               i.    Duncan Tavish10 McTavish, born 09 Oct 1884 in Calcutta, Bengal, India.

Notes for Duncan Tavish McTavish:

Duncan and his brother Willie, are listed as borders in the 1901 English Census taken in Old Stratford.

In 1917 Duncan was living in Acadia Valley, Alberta Canada and was a Rancher from his WWI Canadian over Seas Expeditionary Force Registration.

        23              ii.    William MacTavish, born 22 Nov 1885 in Calcutta, West Bengal, India.

Notes for William MacTavish:

I have a copy of the Attestation Paper for the WWI Canadian over-Seas Expeditionary Force for William.  Lists his next of Kin as Duncan MacTavish residing in Narangunge, India.  It is dated 7/30/1915.  He has indicated on this document that he served 2 years and 6 months in the Royal Canadian Dragoon.His occupation is listed as a machinist.

        24             iii.    Donald McTavish, born Abt. 1890 in England.