Kinsearching September 16, 2012




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

     Although many individuals who immigrated from Scotland in the mid-seventeenth and eighteenth centuries came from the Highlands, a large number moved from the Lowlands. Renowned genealogist David Dobson focuses on the latter group in his newest book, THE PEOPLE OF THE SCOTTISH BORDERS, 1650-1800.

     Dobson provides information on residents of the counties of Berwickshire, Peebles-shire, Roxburghshire, and Selkirkshire—the region known as the Scottish Borders. Lying in southeastern Scotland, mainly along the border with England, the area was associated with almost continuous conflict from the Middle Ages through the early 1600s. Causes of the turmoil were invading armies and raiders who made forays across the border to rustle livestock and steal goods. Existing on both sides of the Anglo-Scottish border, the raiders (known as “reivers”) were usually members of the same extended family, often bearing the same surname. After the royal union of Scotland and English in 1603 under King James VI and I, better law enforcement began breaking the power and influence of the reiving families, many of whom opted to settle in Ireland or fight in foreign wars. Others went to England, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia.

     In the 1700s, the Agricultural Revolution restructured farming, causing large scale evictions or “clearances” of surplus population. As a result, many displaced persons moved north to the burgeoning industrial towns of the Scottish Lowlands or south to those in England. An even greater number settled in North America while some eventually went to Australasia.

     For this volume, Dobson gleaned data from National Archives of Scotland manuscripts, which are taken mainly from court and burgh records, family and estate papers, published monument inscriptions, and registers of deeds, sasines, and testaments. Entries furnish the name of the individual, a location, a date, and the source of information. In addition, entries may supply facts like occupation and names of family members. Surnames of many of the “reiving” families (for instance, ARMSTRONG, BEATTIE, BELL, CARRUTHERS, CRANSTON, CRAW, DALGLEISH, DAVIDSON, DICKSON, DOUGLAS, ELLIOT, GILCHRIST, GLENDINNING, GRAHAM, HENDERSON, HUME, HUNTER, IRVINE, JOHNSTONE, KERR, LAIDLAW, LITTLE, LYLE, MAXWELL, MOFFAT, OLIVER, PRINGLE, REDPATH, ROBSON, RUTHERFORD, SCOTT, TAIT, TROTTER, TURNBULL, TURNER, and YOUNG) appear in the material.

     Since so many people left southeastern Scotland in the mid-seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Dobson’s publication does not claim to be exhaustive. His latest work identifies approximately 3,000 inhabitants who took part in the exodus or who had descendants who immigrated elsewhere. Needless to say, THE PEOPLE OF THE SCOTTISH BORDERS, 1650-1800 will be another valuable addition to genealogical library holdings.

     The 149-page publication has soft covers, an introduction, illustrations, and a list of abbreviations for references used in the text. 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 $19.95, 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 8094) 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

Kinsearching Home Page