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Norman was born in 1791, the son of John MacLeod and Ann MacAskill of Borve. It is likely that Norman was the son who co-tenanted a Borve croft with his widowed mother in 1818, paying annual rent of £5.10s. By 1830 he held a tenancy in his own name, working as a boat carpenter and paying annual rent of £2.
Norman married Ann Shaw from Pabbay, with whom he was to have eight children. Following Ann's death he married Catherine Campbell who, like his first wife, was from Pabbay. They moved from Borve to Quay. With Catherine he had a further three children.