We are sad to pass on the news that Duncan Grant, a founder member of An Iodhlann, died on Tiree in early January.
Having been a leading light of the Gaelic community in Glasgow, Duncan was there at the establishment of the Tiree and Coll Gaelic Partnership by Strathclyde Regional Council in 1996. After we set up An Iodhlann in the old Reading Room in Scarinish in 1999, Duncan quickly established himself as an expert genealogist in the days when data retrieval meant hours of spooling through reels of microfilm, and information storage meant keeping thousands of family connections in your head. Duncan – using his local knowledge, infinite patience and prodigious memory – handled hundreds of enquiries from the Tiree diaspora, and played a big part in establishing An Iodhlann’s reputation around the world. From his time in Ruaig School during the Second World War and many summers spent with his family on Tiree, he was a keen observer of island life and had a wonderfully humorous way of re-telling it to a new generation. He ‘retired’ in 2016, although he was still able to come into the archive occasionally to help visitors with particularly difficult problems. He was delighted when Flo Straker, with all her expertise, agreed to take on his role. We will miss him.
Dr John Holliday