The Loddy MacDonalds by A. Grahame MacDonald FSA Scot.

The Loddy MacDonalds are an interesting family who appear to have originated in Morar. These people are obviously of the Clan Ranald and are probably descended from the MacDonalds of Morar. Their progenitor was undoubtedly one Ludovick MacDonald from whom they take the appellation “Loddy”. According to “Clan Donald” by Revs. A. and A. MacDonald, Allan 7th of Morar had a son Ludovick who was killed in America without issue. However, this may not be correct or there may have been other Ludovicks who escaped the notice of the reverend gentlemen.

The name Ludovick is very uncommon in the Highlands in general and in the Clan Donald in particular although it does appear in the clans Grant, Gordon and Colquhoun. The English rendition of the name is Lewis, which to the Gaels is Luthais. However, Ludovick is rendered as Maldonuich – the tonsured one.

A Lodyvick MacDonald emigrated from Suanisleiter, South Morar to Prince Edward Island in the ship “Jane” in August, 1790. He later moved to Antigonish, Nova Scotia. All the Loddies in Nova Scotia are descended from him. Of his many descendants in Canada, USA and Australia, the most prominent was the late Hon. Angus Lewis MacDonald, former Premier of Nova Scotia and later Canadian Minister of National Defence for Naval Services. Angus L. MacDonald was a great grandson of Lodyvick’s daughter Margaret who married Alexander (Alasdair Mor) MacDonald of the Kinlochmoidart family.

The name Lewis occurs in most of the families descended from the pioneer Lodyvick who has been invariably recorded as Lewis by the Nova Scotia authorities.

Rev. D. J. Rankin in his book “A History of the Country of Antigonish, Nova Scotia”, published by MacMillan in 1929, writes of Donald Grant, who with his wife and children, emigrated from Scotland to Nova Scotia in the “Hector” in 1773. The Grant family moved to Prince Edward Island but later returned to Nova Scotia. Rev. Rankin states:

“A third daughter came back to Nova Scotia with them and became the wife of Lewis MacDonald (Loddy). Although the name Grant is not common in these parts, because it seems that the male members of the family were frequently delicate in health, still perhaps no family is spreading more rapidly, nor acquiring more deserving fame for intellectual energy than the descendents of the Loddy family, especially those of them who have gone over to Inverness County. Two of the MacDonald (Loddy) women were married in Broad Cove, one to James (sic) MacDonald and the other to Rory MacIsaac, and out of the two families, come much of what is desirable in the intellectual and commercial life of the Maritime Provinces.”

Where the name James is shown above, it should read Alexander, who is previously mentioned as being of the Kinlochmoidart family.

In an MS history of “The Clanranald MacDonalds of Moidart” compiled in 1954, the late Colin S. MacDonald of Canada wrote:

“In Moidart, Arisaig and South Morar from one hundred and fifty to two hundred years ago there were certain families noted for their musical talent. One such family or group of families were of the MacDonalds or Mhic Dhugaills of Morar, and these families had many pipers and fiddlers – the musical talent being handed down from one generation to another.

One particular family I have in mind were of very dark complexion and dark eyes, and there was a prominent family in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia with relatives at Soldiers Cove, Cape Breton, who were of the same stock …

In Scotland I was informed that these dark complexioned dark eyed families were known there as MacLoddies.”

The name MacLoddy does not appear to have been used in Nova Scotia, nor do the present day descendants in Scotland call themselves anything but Loddies. Although probably no descendants today know exactly who their progenitor was, they do know who they are. An illustration of that fact was contained in an address by Rory MacKay of Inverness delivered during the International Gathering of the Clans in 1977. The following is a short extract from Mr. MacKay’s address:

“There are scores of humble people in the Highlands still who can trace their descent direct from leading families right back to the Dalriadic Gaels. Near here in Kintail there are people who can trace their descent through many marriages in the female line ultimately to Edward I of England and to the Kings of France. It is argued that because surnames were not used, they could not be related. This is to overlook that in the old days people knew themselves to be members of a group or family, or clann and that it was not considered necessary to label themselves to prove it. There are slight survivals of this still – for example, there are MacDonalds in Arisaig who are known as the Loddies, similarly, in Lewis there are MacDonalds known as the Goileagan. In the firsst case, they are descended from one Ludovic or Loddie and in the other from a Donald MacDonald who had the diminutive or pet name Goileagan. The important thing to remember and understand is that in a poor country and in difficult times, people were sustained and supported and life was more bearable because they had a pride in themselves and their institutions.”

Loddy MacDonalds are known to be living in Morar, Arisaig, Moidart and Lochaber. One such family is that of Allan MacDonald, Kinsaddel, Morar who are fortunate to be living in the district of the origin of the distinctive Loddies.