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Janet Paterson was born in 1857, the daughter of Norman Paterson and Margaret MacLeod of Rubha Mor. In 1861 the family was registered visiting Janet's maternal grandmother at 2 Urgha. During the 1880s they became cottars on 8 Ruisgarry (Baile). Janet became a domestic servant, and was working for Reverend Dugald Gillies at the Established Church Manse at the time of the 1881 census.
In 1892 Janet married Norman MacKenzie of 34 Upper Carloway. They married in Lochcarron, near the home of her older sister Mary, then settled in Stornoway, where they had a family of three children - Malcolm, Catherine and Norman.