Borthwick, Midlothian, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #674

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Borthwick. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.

History[edit | edit source]

BORTHWICK, a parish, in the county of Edinburgh, 3 miles (E. by N.) from Temple; containing the villages of Clayhouse, Dewartown, Middleton, North Middleton, Newlandrig, and part of Stobbsmills. This place, anciently called Locherwart, assumed the appellation of Borthwick about the time of the Reformation, from the family of that name. The church, which was built in 1780, on the destruction of the ancient edifice by fire, contains about 450 sittings.[1]

    This parish received its name from the family of Borthwich and was anciently called Locherwart.  This family migrated from the continent during the early periods of Scotish history.  The castle of Borthwich is remarkable for the beauty of its proportions, and the impressive effect which it porduces on all beholders.  Inside the castle there is a room called the "Queens Room" in which, it is said, Queen Mary resided until she "went to all her sorrows."  The population of the parish in 1801 was 842, and in 1831 it was 1470.  The land was primarily used for cattle, sheep, corn, potatoes, turnips, barley, wheat, barley and oats.  The six villages in the parish are Ford, Dewarton, Newlandrigg, Clay Houses, Stobbs Mills, Castleton, and Middleton.  Of 300 families, 60 belong to the Secession and 240 to the Established Church.

This account was written in 1839.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland (FHL book 941 B4sa, series 2, vol. 1)

 The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records
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A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Borthwick, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available.

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1901, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access the separate indexes through the library.

Church Records
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The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records.
Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers[edit | edit source]

Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1706-1854 1066641 items 1-3
Marriages: 1700-1749, 1759-1854 1066641 items 1-3
Deaths: 1784-1854 1066641 items 1-3
Condition of Original Registers[edit | edit source]

Index: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Some records may also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.  
Births: There are no entries for June 1728–May 1735, except two for 1733, and two for 1734. There are seven irregular entries for 1747–1717 found after 1734. Also, there are entries for 1739–1717 after June 1753. A portion of the page after October 1758 is pasted over with eight entries recorded thereon, and two entries are pasted over part of a page at 1806. Irregular entries are frequent after 1811. After 1819, there are omitted entries dated 1793–1908 on four pages.
Marriages: There are no entries for May 1728–May 1735 and September 1749–April 1759. The record is mainly proclamations from 1735–1797. There are a considerable number of entries of irregular marriages.
Deaths: The record is Mortcloth Dues through 1790, and burials 1793–1807. There are Mortcloth Dues again for September 1807–March 1810 and then there are no entries until January 1817 when a record of burials is resumed.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records
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The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of the minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

The extent of surviving records is unknown.

Nonconformist Church Records
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A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union List.

There are no nonconformist records. See Cranston and Temple parishes.
Note: There were about 60 Dissenter families in the parish in 1839.

Civil Registration Records
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Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.
See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Probate Records
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Borthwick was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Edinburgh until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Edinburgh. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Midlothian and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Edinburgh.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Midlothian. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Midlothian and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 124-151. Adapted. Date accessed: 10 April 2014.

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