|Description||Ranald Macdonald was born in Benbecula, the son of a banker, around 1835, and was appointed secretary to Colonel John Gordon of Cluny in 1852. He married Clementina, the daughter of William Birnie, his predecessor as factor to Cluny, and had one son, Ranald R., and four daughters, three of whom married respectively George Esslemont, M.P., of Esslemont and Macintosh (this was Clementina, O.B.E., J.P., LL.D.: one of their daughters was the noted Aberdeen doctor Mary Esslemont), the Rev. William Cruickshank of Inverurie U.F. Church, and the Rev. Adam F. Findlay of Whithorn U.F. Church. He died 31 March 1903. Under his supervision, the estates office was organised and the filing system established. His papers consist mostly of letters written to him by his son Ranald R. Macdonald during his absences from the office on estate business, as well as papers relating to the estates of Ormiclate and Bornish in the Western Isles which he held from the Gordons of Cluny.|
Ormiclate and Bornish farms on Long Island belonged to the Cluny Estate but were leased, long term, by the Macdonald family with tenants and / or farm managers in place. Map of 1805 shows them belonging to Ranald George Macdonald of Clanranald. Around 1904 Ranald R. Macdonald was keen to get rid of the farms and pass the tenancy on to someone else under Lady Cathcart, though his sister still derived income from the estate.