Kinsearching June 3, 2012




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     After many years as the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh forfeited that role when the country became politically united with England in 1707. Despite that loss, the burgh remained an influential hub. Since the mid-eighteenth century was a time of growth as well as change, David Dobson has compiled data on thousands of the city’s citizens or former inhabitants in THE PEOPLE OF EDINBURGH, 1725-1775.

     During much of the period under study, the majority of the population resided in the Old Town, as Edinburgh’s medieval site was called. By 1770, however, the elite started moving to the north to the New Town of Edinburgh. As it expanded, the city became integrated with the burgh of Canongate to the east and to the burgh of Leith to the north. Since Canongate was a center for skilled craftsmen and Leith had a large number of shipbuilders, merchants, and seafarers, Edinburgh began to encompass a wide variety of specialized crafts. In addition, the city remained the center of the Scottish legal system, the Church of Scotland, university education, medicine, the printing industry, and breweries.

     As in the case of the city of Glasgow, burgesses dominated the economy as well as the society since they were the only group that could operate businesses, train apprentices, and elect members of the town council. Becoming a burgess, therefore, was the key to obtaining economic and social success. Only a minority of male citizens had the right to be burgesses. Since they were either merchants or craftsmen, they were members of the appropriate guild, which required essential records to be maintained. Dobson used those materials as his major source of the information in this volume. To complement the burgess resources, he gleaned data from documents of the Commissariat Court, the High Court of Admiralty, and the Court of Session; burgh sasines (property) and the register of deed records; monumental inscription lists; and miscellaneous published materials.

     Following his set format, Dobson furnishes a date and the source of his information about each individual. Supplementary details, however, vary from person to person. For example, the entry for John COLVIN states he was a candle-maker in Holyroodhouse Abbey in 1769. The entry for Daniel FRASER asserts he was a sailor in Leith and the husband of Janet KELMAN in 1742. Even more informative is the entry for John NASMITH, which states that he was the “son of James Nasmith of Earlshaugh, a merchant from Edinburgh, died in Virginia, 1742.”

     Although the volume focuses on Edinburgh’s residents or former citizens during the mid-eighteenth century, Dobson’s publication does not claim to be exhaustive. But it pertains to an era during which many Scots immigrated to the New World. Because many people who lived in a burgeoning city still sought opportunities elsewhere, THE PEOPLE OF EDINBURGH, 1725-1775 may provide clues for further ancestral research in Scotland.

     The 156-page publication has soft covers, a brief introduction, a glossary of occupations, a list of abbreviations used in the text, illustrations, and a list of references. Names of the main individuals appear in alphabetical order; any additional persons mentioned in the entries are not indexed. To the book's price of $19.50, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order 8091) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

     The Texas Czech Genealogical Society (TCGS) is sponsoring a genealogical seminar with the theme “Two Became One – The Perfect Pair” on 16 June 2012 at the Caldwell Civic/Visitor Center in Caldwell, Texas. Featured speakers will be Anne and Michelle Hyzak, Tresa Tatyrek, and Art and Ellie Woytek, who will discuss such topics as World War II weddings, trips to the Czech Republic, how to use the FamilySearch website collection utilizing the card catalog, what is “Wiki” and how to use and edit it, and how to use databases. Henry and Susan Machicek will provide musical entertainment.

     The fees per person for registrations postmarked on or before 7 June will be $30 for TCGS members or $35 for non-members. Registrations postmarked after 7 June will cost $35 for members and $40 for non-members. At the door registration fees will be $45 per person, whether you are a member or not. Checks, payable to TCGS, and registration forms should be mailed to Bennie Stasny, 8402 Shenandoah, Austin, TX 78753. To receive a brochure or to obtain more details about the meeting, get in touch with Stasny at the above address, e-mail, or call 512-497-6007. You may also go to the society’s website at

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