Garvabeg: Keppoch Macdonald home?

Garvabeg, possible home my ancestor Alexander Macdonald of Garvabeg

I found the above photograph of Garvabeg on It may the home of my ancestors. My great great great grandmother was Christina McNab. Her mother was Jessie Macdonald, the daughter of Alexander Macdonald, of Garvabeg, and Charlotte Macdonell, of Keppoch (see Alexander Mackenzie’s History of the Macdonalds and Lords of the Isles; with genealogies of the principal families of the name, 1942).

Alexander was the son the Rev. Patrick MacDonald, of Kilmore by his first marriage to unknown Macintosh of of Balnespick. Kilmore is Argyle & Bute and Patrick was born at the Manse of Durness in Sutherlandshire, so I’m not sure how Alexander and Charlotte ended up at Garvabeg unless it was bequeathed to them by the Keppoch Chief.

Charlotte was the younger sister of his Barbara Macdonell, of Keppoch, the second wife of Alexander’s father. Both Barbera and Charlotte were born at the earlier Keppoch House built probably in the second half of the 17th century and burned by Government troops after Culloden. They were the daughters of Alexander, the Keppoch Chief who fell at Culloden. The new Keppoch House was by their brother Sir Ranald Macdonell, 17th/18th Chief of Keppoch, somewhere between 1760-5.

I don’t know much else about Garvabeg other than the following snippet I found in the Glimpses of Church and Social Life in the Highlands in Olden Times article by Alexander Macpherson on the Clan Macpherson Association site:

GARVABEG (Gaelic, Garbhabeag, the little rough ford). Garvabeg was long possessed by a family of the name of Macdonald, from whom the late Mr. D. P. Macdonald of Invernevis was descended. Mrs. Macpherson of Corrimony is also descended on the maternal side from the same family. During the French war this family, like every other family of note in Badenoch, gave several brave officers to the British army.

My great great great aunt Jospehine M. Macdonnell of Keppoch wrote a number of books about the MacDonald Clan including MacDonells of Keppoch and Gargavach (1931). The Complete title is An Historical Record of the Branch of “Clan Domhnuill” called The MacDonells of Keppoch and Gargavach. Can’t find a free version so might put this on my Christmas list, and maybe it will help shed some light on these interconnected branches of my ancestors.

Garvabeg, home of my Macdonald of Garvabeg ancestors?


2 thoughts on “Garvabeg: Keppoch Macdonald home?

  1. Alexander Macdonald of Garvabeg was the leading drover in Laggan, a collapse in the cattle trade followed the end of the war against Napoleon, this affected Macdonald badly, the story is told in a new book, “The Wild Black Region” by David Taylor, pub’ John Donald. The present double house was built around 1880 for his shepherds by Sir John Ramsden of Ardverikie, the house in ” Monarch of the Glen.”

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