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Margaret was born in 1830, the daughter of Allan MacLeod and Rebecca MacLeod of Siabaidh. Her father died about 1853, which was the year Margaret married Norman Paterson, with whom she was to have a family of seven children.
Margaret's widowed mother was removed to Urgha, Harris, which is where Margaret, her husband and eldest three children were registered for the 1861 census. However, the children seem to have been born on Berneray. The family lived at 'house 5' Rubha Mor until the 1880s, when they moved to become cottars on her brother-in-law Archibald's croft at 8 Ruisgarry (Baile).