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Norman was born in 1877 to John and Ann nee Maciver from 4 Croir. The family moved to 13 Hacklete when it was lotted in 1880. He married Christina Macarthur from Carloway and settled on the family croft with his family.
According to tradition he went to work for an uncle, who was a cobbler in Stornoway, in order to learn the trade. The work however was not to his liking and after completing one shoe he left; Norman was called "am Brog" (the shoe) after that.