Kinsearching November 14, 2010




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

     Genealogists who are trying to trace pedigrees back to Scotland probably recognize the name David Dobson. The author of numerous reference books about Scots and their New World descendants, Dobson is an authority on this ethnic group. By digging into an assortment of materials, he has managed to extract information that may otherwise remain hidden indefinitely. In the process, he has amassed thousands of clues for possible familial ties. It is no wonder that researchers welcome his new series pertaining to the inhabitants of Scottish towns and cities in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. One of the latest volumes in the series is THE PEOPLE OF THE SCOTTISH BURGHS, A GENEALOGICAL SOURCE BOOK: THE PEOPLE OF GREENOCK, 1600-1799.

     Located close to Glasgow, Greenock was primarily a small port trading with Ireland until 1681. In that year, the town secured a charter and began to engage in transatlantic trade, ultimately becoming Scotland’s leading port of exit for the New World. Although Greenock’s trading connections extended from Greenland in the north to the West Indies in the south, emphasis was on links to the colonies along the Chesapeake. Eventually, the town’s economy revolved around shipping, trade, and manufacturing. Interestingly, Greenock’s most famous native son was James WATT (1736-1819), who invented the condensing steam engine that made steam power practicable.

     Following his usual format, Dobson arranges names of the burghers alphabetically. For every individual, he furnishes a date and the source of his information. Supplementary details vary from person to person. Facts may range from occupation and date of birth or death to the name of ship on which he or she sailed and the name or names of parents, spouse, and/or children. Some recurring surnames are BAIN, BOAG, BUCHANAN, CRAWFORD, DENNIE, DONALD, GALBRAITH, HASTIE, HUNTER, LANG, LEITCH, LOVE, MCPHERSON, MORRISON, and WARDEN. Data came from the Ayr Burgess Roll, the National Archives in London, Fastil Ecclesiae Scoticanae in Edinburgh, and the newspapers, Scottish Guardian and Edinburgh Advertiser.

     As part of the title implies, this book is designed to serve as an aid for genealogists and local historians. Like Dobson’s earlier publications, the volume does not claim to be exhaustive for the period under study. Instead, it attempts to showcase some of the town’s residents and illustrate the types of records available for the era. Since Greenock became the favorite port of departure for people travelling to the Americas, THE PEOPLE OF THE SCOTTISH BURGHS, A GENEALOGICAL SOURCE BOOK: THE PEOPLE OF GREENOCK, 1600-1799 may provide hints for further ancestral research.

     The 105-page publication has soft covers, a brief introduction, and a list of references and their abbreviations. To the book's price of $17.50, 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 9702) 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

     Selected news from May in Brown County can be found in the 23 October 1908 (Vol. XXII, No. 8) issue of the newspaper, The Pioneer Exponent, published in Comanche, TX. (Surnames are capitalized for emphasis.)

     “W. H. C. BROWNE has sold his place one and one-half miles from town to J. A. HOBBS of Brownwood.

     Mr. Pat FORD of Brownwood is building the flues to the school building this week.”

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