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Finlay, born in 1876, was the son of shopkeeper & merchant Angus Paterson and his wife Catherine MacCuish of Geo Dhubh. When his parents and family moved to 20/21 Borve, Finlay was passed the property at Geo Dhubh. He worked initially as a draper’s assistant, presumably in his father’s business, later becoming a merchant in his own right. He was also a ferryman and JP and, from June 1903 until 1952, registrar for the island of Berneray.
In 1907 he married Christina MacCuish of Backhill, with whom he was to have six children.
Finlay set up a windmill generator to charge accumulators (batteries). He took many early photographs of the island with his camera, and was also the first to bring a motorised boat to Berneray, the Kelvin. The second motorised boat, the Cabar Feidh, was also Finlay’s. He and his family collected peat from the tidal island of Am Propaiste. Two local skerries were named for him, Sgeir Fhionnlaidh and Sgeir Mhic Aonghais.