Garthbeg Coat Of Arms

The Lost Families of Stratherrick, Strathnairn, and Dunmaglass, Inverness-shire, Scotland


Our Metis Cousins

The Story and Mystery of Donald and Duncan McTavish


Metis is defined in the dictionary as:   A person of mixed Native American and French-Canadian ancestry.

However, and Metis were the offspring of our Scottish Ancestors and their Indian wives. Many of our Scottish ancestors left for Canada and became part of the North American Fur Trade.  They "wintered" as voyagers living by themselves.  Sometimes they had wives they left in the city, sometimes they were single.  But not many of them wintered alone for too long.  Many took Indians as their wives.  If they were already married they were called "Country Wives".  Very often children of these marriages ended up very badly.  Voyagers went back to the city, leaving their Indian family or the men died leaving the families penniless.  Please don't mistake me, often our Scottish ancestors did remain with their Indian families, but all too often they did not.  This is a story about Alexander McTavish (1784-1832), and Isabel, a Metis woman.  Alexander was Chief Trader with the Hudson Bay Company at Lake Nipigon in Canada when he died.  In his Last Will and Testament, he named Duncan McTavish of Garthbeg as the Guardian of his two Metis sons, Duncan and Donald.  Donald and Duncan were sent to Scotland, and their mother married Peter McKenzie and had two more sons, who became Chief Factor, and Chief Trader of the Hudson Bay company.   Back to the story of the boys.  Donald  and Duncan were sent to Scotland and educated there.  Donald briefly became a writer in Inverness, while his brother immigrated to New South Wales Australia.  Donald soon followed his brother to Australia.   They did keep in touch with their mother and it is through these letters we learned that upon their arrival in Australia, the letters of credit they came with became worthless.  Suddenly they were penniless.  And they suddenly disappeared.



If so, please contact their grand niece    or their Step Grand Niece with information. 


Following are transcriptions of their letters supplied by their Grand Niece.

December 8th 1837 from Duncan McTavish - Garthbeg

May 14, 1838 letter from Donald to his Mother

December 15, 1837 from William Smith to Duncan MacTavish

June 12, 1838 from Garthbeg

June 14, 1839 Garthbeg to Isabel McKenzie

  Abt 1840 Duncan to his mother

July 22, 1841 Donald to his mother

May 1, 1849 Donald in Australia to his mother