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Neil was born in 1881, the youngest child of John MacAskill and Marion MacAskill of 11/12 Ruisgarry (Quay). Inheriting the croft after his father's death, he married Marion MacLeod in 1917. Their only son John was to die in infancy. John and Marion later moved to 2 Hoebeg in North Uist. The croft at Quay was passed to his cousin Archie MacAskill. John and Marion later returned to a cottar's house at Quay, where Neil earned his living as a fisherman.
Following his first wife's death, Neil married Marion MacAskill from 4 Ruisgarry (Tarraloch), with whom he had two sons.