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Effie was born in 1812, the daughter of Norman MacKinnon and Mary Morrison of North Uist, although the 1861 census shows her place of birth as Edinburgh. She married soldier Donald MacAskill, with whom she was to have two sons in 1842 and 1844, (although family records show the date of marriage as about 6th March 1849). They lived at Siabaidh.
Following her husband’s death, in about 1853, she and her sons became cottars at Pol an Oir, in a house known, appropriately, as Taigh an t-Saighdeir.