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Neil MacAskill was born in 1837, the son of Angus MacAskill and Marion Ferguson of old Ruisgarry. His widowed mother became a cottar on 2 Ruisgarry (Sandhill) in 1850, before being removed to Brusda in 1854.
Neil was shown as a labourer in the 1861 census. It seems likely that he moved to Bornish, South Uist, as did his brothers.