[MacIvor Crest] Crest of Clan MacIvor

Chapter XXI


When I began this, I confessed how little I know about the descendants of my grandfather's brothers. I had a hazy idea that one named Neil had gone to Cape Breton Island and I believe I called it the missing link. Since then, I have been very fortunate, through the medium of a friend in Pugwash, in getting in contact with a namesake of mine, who is a cousin, and a grandson of the aforesaid Neil MacIvor.

I am highly pleased to inform you that he has furnished me with just the information wanted; also, with the added information that (as you will see by reading his letter) four sons of Donald MacIvor, who remained in Scotland, had come to Canada, two of them settling in Cape Breton and two of them settling in the Quebec province, which latter was entirely news to me. Since learning this I have been, through the medium of the press, trying to find out something about their descendants, if there are any, and I hope to succeed in this, as I know of MacIvors up there.

You have no doubt noticed a difference in the spelling of the name. We, here in Cumberland county, have nearly always spelled it Mc, while in other places it was spelled Mac. Both may be correct though, in my opinion, is that Mac is, I believe, the Scottish way, but why the early settlers spelled it Mc, I can't say, only they were very busy people and did not want to fool away any more time than was necessary. I presume they were not very expert with the pen. They concluded that time saved, even in this small matter, was a gain. I am not giving this as the correct reason; 'tis only my idea.

It is awful hard to change old customs and habits, which is quite apparent in the pronouncing of names. We must not forget that those Highlanders spoke the Gaelic language and, of course, the Gaelic pronunciation of names is different from the English. I am sorry to say I don't know much Gaelic, but my father told me that the letter "I" in the Gaelic tongue had the soft Latin sound of "E". So the rising generation got into the habit of pronouncing the name "McEvor", though it was spelled "MacIvor," and 'Tis easier to say "McKever" than "McEver", so this became here the common mode of pronouncing the name. Although some still persist in the old way, the most now pronounce it as it should be as well as spelled MacIvor.

As regards the Cape Breton genealogy of this branch of the MacIvors, I do not think I can do better than give you his letter, just as he wrote it. Mr. MacIvor speaks of the religious character of those men and women. I am glad to add that my grandfather also was a Godly, praying Christian.

I have for some time, through the medium of the Post Office Department and other sources, been trying to trace the two sons of Donald MacIvor of Lewis' Island, Scotland, first cousins of my father, Donald MacIvor, who came out to Canada about a hundred years ago and settled in Quebec, in a place called Stormiway. But that is as far as I can trace them or their descendants, if any.

I have got in touch with several MacIvors around Stormiway. Although their ancestors came from Lewis Island, bearing the well known Scottish names of Malcolm, Murdo, John, Roderick, Angus, etc., in all probability related, yet they are not the ones I am looking for. They tell me that some McIvors from Lewis formerly settled in Stormiway. After a time, they moved away. It may be that those folks did so, but where they have gone I am unable to find out.

Before closing, I might state a well known fact, that many of these hardy Scots lived to a great age. One man named Moody, who lived here, was 107 years old when he died. One of his daughters is still living. She is over 90. Rory McKenzie (Big Rory, as he was called) is 87 and is doing most of his own work on his farm and is straight as an arrow, 6 feet, 2 inches tall, and weighs about 250 pounds. Also Dan McLeod, about the same age, and many others.

My grandparents on both sides of the house lived to an old age. Angus MacIvor was 89 when he died, and his wife, my grandmother, was 95. The combined ages of my four grandparents was 370 years.

My brother Malcolm, when making application for a life insurance policy, gave this record. The agent stated that he had not on his books another old age record as great.

Angus McAskill, the Canadian Giant, also Anne Swan, the Giantess. But I must stop, yet the half has not been told.

I also had a letter from a Murdo MacIvor, a postmaster in a place called Stormiway, Saskatchewan. His people came direct from Scotland in the year 1889. He tells me that there are quite a few MacIvors around there. He promised to help me in my quest, but after waiting for some time, I have come to the conclusion that he failed to find any trace of them.

I want to thank those who kindly did their best to assist me in this matter, both public officials and others. If we have failed in any way, it was not their fault.

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