Who We Are
The Comainn Eachdraidh
Thirty years ago a movement began in Ness in the Isle of Lewis to research and record local histories, to collect and to exhibit material, to acquire and to apply skills and to increas their own understanding. The result was the establishment of Comann Eachdraidh Nis (Ness Historical Society). Since then, the intiative has spread throughout the deeply rural and traditional Western Isles and now every community supports a Comann Eachdraidh engaged in the preservation and promotion of Gaelic and the rich local heritage. The societies work singly and in partnership to maintain local archives and registered museum collections, to run events and projects and to produce publications, for the benefit of local residents and visitors. A distinctive feature of Hebridean communities is the comprehensive local memory of village and family histories, and these living histories form the heart of each society’s collections. In recent years several of the Comainn Eachdraidh have come together to launch the Hebridean Connections project, an innovative web-based project aiming to provide easy online access to these histories through a complete genealogical database supplemented by thousands of photographs, recordings, documents and stories.
An Caidreachas Eachdraidh (the Federation of Historical Societies) is the coming together of these societies to share information, develop joint projects and contribute to the development of the heritage sector in the islands. Membership is open to all Comainn Eachdraidh in the Western Isles, and associate membership to other heritage bodies, including the Islands Book Trust, Northton Heritage Trust, Hebridean Connections and the Angus Macleod Archive. We also work in partnership with Lews Castle College (UHI) and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
Contacting the Comainn
All of the Comainn Eachdraidh are happy to help with research into genealogy and other areas of local interest, and generally have excellent local knowledge that can help to break through the “brick walls” familiar to all genealogists. If you know which area is relevant to your research, please contact the comann in question directly; if unsure, feel free to contact the secretary of the Caidreachas for advice.
Please note that all societies operate on a voluntary basis and resources are limited. Donations are always gratefully received and substantial research projects may attract a fee.
The townships of Eoropie, Port of Ness, Fivepenny, Habost, Lionel, Eorodale, Calicvol, Skigersta, Swainbost, Cross, North Dell, South Dell, Galson, Melbost, Borve and Shader
The townships of Barvas (Upper Barvas, Lower Barvas, Monard, Park Barvas, The Corners, Heatherhill and Loch Street) and Brue (Am Baile-stigh nearest the shore and Park Brue).
Dalbeg, Shawbost, Bragar and Arnol.
Dalmore, Upper Carloway and Park, Garenin, Borrowston, Knock, Kirvick, Doune, and Tolsta Chaolais.
Breasclete, Callanish, Garynahine and Linshader.
The island of Bernera (Barraglom, Kirkibost, Breaclete, Croir, Tobson, Hacklete) and the Tir Mor: Earshader, Crulavig, Linshader.
Kinlochroag, Morsgail, Scaliscro, Strome, Gisla, Enaclete, Ungeshader, Geshader, Carishader, Miavaig, Cliff, Valtos, Reef, Uigen, Timsgarry, Crowlista, Aird, Ardroil, Carnish, Mangersta, Islivig, Brenish, Mealista, Hamnaway, Kinresort; and the islands of Pabbay and Vuia.
North Tolsta, New Tolsta, Glen Tolsta.
Melbost, Branahuie, Aiginish, Knock, Swordale, Bayble, Garrabost, Shader, Sheshader, Flesherin, Broker, Aird, Portvoller and Portnaguran.
The town of Stornoway and surrounding settlements that have been absorbed into the burgh.
Leurbost, Crossbost, Grimshader, Ranish, Achmore and Lochganvich.
Soval, Keose, Keose Glebe, Laxay, Balallan, Arivruach
Habost, Kershader, Garyvard, Caversta, Crobeg, Cromore, Marvig, Gravir, Lemreway, Orinsay, Steimreway and Eishken.
All of the Island of Harris.
The small island of Berneray (townships of Borve and Rushgarry) in the Sound of the Harris. Not to be confused with Great Bernera in Lewis.