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Rachel MacDonald was born in 1819, the daughter of John MacDonald and Catherine MacQueen of old Ruisgarry. Rachel worked as a general servant, and lived as a cottar with her children on her brother William's croft - 15 Ruisgarry (Trealigarry). Living in her household in 1851 was her younger sister Chirsty.
In 1863 she married widower Neil MacLean of Vallaquie Farm, North Uist, which is where they made their home. Together they had a daughter, Catherine.
Rachel died at Backhill, Berneray in 1894, presumably at the home of her eldest daughter, Christina.