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Norman was born in 1871, the son of Donald MacLeod and Christina Shaw of Backhill. He worked as a fisherman until, in 1900, his father obtained the croft at 5 Borve. Norman then worked on the farm, variously as a carter and labourer.
In 1907 he married Marion MacLeod of 9 Borve, with whom he was to have six children. Norman continued to live and work on croft 5, which he inherited following his father’s death in 1917.