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St Andrews University students from Melrose

An online database of St Andrews University students between 1747 and 1897 was recently launched. This provides a searchable biographical database of alumni between those years. The biographies were compiled by the former Keeper of the Muniments at St Andrews, Dr Robert Smart. For more descriptive details see the blog post here, and search the database here.

Fourteen students associated with Melrose show up in the database:

  • Frederick M’Lagan (1738-1818) son of Rev. Alexander M’Lagan, minister at Little Dunkeld, and Jean Glas. Student 1758-1760. Minister at Melrose 1768-1818. Died at Hayfield, Stirlingshire.
  • John Bain (1757-1837) son of John Bain, Flisk, and Christian Squire. Student 1771-1774. Teacher at Kirkcudbright, Cupar and Leith. Died at Melrose.
  • James Chalmers Herdman (1826-1899) son of William Herdman, minister Rattray, and Sophia Walker. Student 1838-1845. Missionary at Calcutta and minister at Melrose.
  • William Murray, from Melrose, possibly b. 1825 son of Thomas Murray, Melrose, and Louisa Thomson. Student 1840-1847.
  • John Y. Walker, b. 1831, son of John F. Walker, Anstruther Wester, and Elizabeth B. McBean. Student 1846-1851. Described in biographical register at “Schoolmaster Earlston, Melrose” – just Earlston or both?
  • John Dall Connel (1843-1901) son of David Connel, U.P. minister at Bo’ness, and Barbara Browning. Student 1859-1863. Began medical practice at Melrose, then moved to Peebles.
  • John Hill, b. 1850 son of Andrew Hill, Melrose, and Anne Scott. Student 1871-1872. Probably John Hill “English master” in Abbey Park in 1871.
  • Louis William Bodé, b. 1860 at Melrose, son of Louis Wilhelm Bodé, Captain Royal Hanoverian, and Mary McEwen. Student 1876-1877.
  • Robert Stevenson (1861-1947) son of John Stevenson, landed proprietor Alloa, and Jeannie Miller. Student 1877-1881. Minister at Gargunnock. Died at Melrose.
  • Richard M. Muckersie (1863-1888) son of Michael Muckersie, innkeeper Melrose, and Helen Mitchell. Student 1879-1886. Died at Edinburgh.
  • William Rae (1861?-1893), from Hawick/Melrose. Student 1883-1884. Congregational minister at Inverurie 1891-1893.
  • James Herbert Curle (1870-1942), born at Melrose, son of James Curle of Evelan, writer, and Marion Passmore Whyte Newlyn. Student 1887-1889. Later author, writer, mining engineer and philatelist. Died in Victoria, British Columbia.
  • Robert Nelson (1878-1951) son of Robert Nelson, Ruthwell, and Margaret Skeoch. Student 1894-1897. Minister at New Machar, Glasgow Abbotsford and South Leith. Died at Melrose.
  • William Scrimgeour (1878-1940) son of William Scrimgeour, master joiner Methven, and Jessie Dewar. Student 1895-1900. Teacher at Ayr, Peebles, Oban and Kirkbuddo. Died at Melrose.

Melrose parish names in Roxburghshire Lieutenancy Book

I’ve added transcripts of Melrose parish names in the Roxburghshire Lieutenancy Book, recording local men whose names went into the ballot to serve in the militia between 1797 and 1802. There are hundreds of local names, for men aged 18-45. Occupations and addresses are included, giving a useful insight into the area then. For the transcripts, and a description of the original records, see here.

17th century court clerk Thomas Wilkieson

I’m a member of the Society for One-Place Studies, which supports people doing one-place studies like mine. This year I took part in their annual A to Z blogging challenge. My blog post, which is now live on their site, is for letter W, and about one of my favourite people from 17th century Melrose, regality court clerk Thomas Wilkieson. I hope to write more mini biographies of some of the fascinating characters I’ve encountered in the rich Melrose court records. More soon, hopefully! Meanwhile enjoy the new blog post.

Creating new Melrose one-place study website

I’ve had a hand-coded HTML site for my one-place study for some years, but it has become rather unwieldy in terms of structure and organisation, and it’s not the easiest thing for people to read.

So I’ve now switched to a WordPress-based site, which will have a much more structured approach to the resources that I put online. I am also hoping it will encourage me to add more!

The new site also incorporates the accompanying blog. All the previous blog entries have been imported, but their original in-text links may not all work. I will fix them over time. And new posts will be added to the blog here in future.

Slides for talk about Melrose regality court in 17th century – a well used Scottish local court

Just put online slides from a talk I gave about 17th century Melrose some years ago.

Viv's Academic Blog

I’ve been spending much time in the last week in the 17th century, transcribing a lengthy poem about a corrupt court judge at Melrose in the 1680s. Doing that reminded me of the talk I gave in September 2013, at the conference of the Economic and Social History Society of Scotland, held in Inverness. I thought it would be nice if I put the PowerPoint slides from that online, so have done that – link here. It was a 20-minute talk, as is usual for academic conferences, so I was limited in how much I could say. But I covered a lot in the time allowed.

My talk was titled “Glimpses into a time of turmoil: examining the regality court records of Melrose, Roxburghshire, 1657-1706”, and was based on the dissertation for my taught MPhil degree at Dundee. I studied the voluminous local court records for Melrose regality…

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Major update to Melrose WW1 soldiers list

Today I’ve uploaded a new version of my list of Melrose WW1 servicemen. This is a major update, adding over 100 names of new soldiers to the list, taking the total to nearly 350. Significant numbers of soldiers who were born in Melrose but lived and enlisted elsewhere have been added, as well as new soldiers from and in Melrose itself. In addition new information has been found out about many of the previously known soldiers.

The online list will continue to be updated over the coming years. The next goal is to incorporate the names of the soldiers recorded in the town’s Roll of Honour in the Ormiston Institute. I hope to collect these names later in 2016, and add them later this year, or more likely in 2017. And I would also research any extra names, to find out as much as possible. This Roll of Honour includes men who survived as well as those who died. Though it will omit many who had moved away from Melrose, but were originally from the town.

Smallpox references in Roxburghshire, from my one-place study and personal family history

Just blogged about references to smallpox in Roxburghshire records, and in particular in Melrose records. Both parish registers and memoirs of a childhood inoculation at Toftfield near Darnick, probably in the 1780s.

Viv's Ancestry Blog

Reading a recent blog post by Emma Maxwell of Scottish Indexes re finding smallpox references in unusual places reminded me of some references to smallpox I’ve seen in my genealogical research.

Firstly from my Melrose one-place study the Melrose parish registers include a burial register from 1781 onwards which includes causes of death, including many cases of smallpox.

Melrose burials registerNames, addresses and ages at death are also given. The pre-1820 Melrose parish registers have been transcribed and indexed, and a PDF version of the resulting Scottish Record Society book is readily downloadable from archive.org. I intend to analyse these burial registers more fully soon as part of my one-place study, including analysing the causes of death as given.

I also have a nice reference to smallpox from my own family history. In his memoirs my distant uncle Andrew Usher (1782-1855) who founded the whisky distilling dynasty in Edinburgh recalled his smallpox…

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