Cavers, Roxburghshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Cavers (#785)

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


History[edit | edit source]

CAVERS, a parish, in the district of Hawick, county of Roxburgh, 2 miles (N. E. by E.) from Hawick containing the village of Denholm. The name of this place is supposed to be derived from a compound British word signifying "a short field" or "inclosure," applied originally to a part of the parish. The church is an elegant and substantial edifice, situated in the lower division of the parish; it was built in 1821, with sittings for about 400 persons, and is in very good repair. There is also a chapel at Caerlanrig, in the upper part of the parish.[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 Cavers.  Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

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

Click here for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Cavers.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:


Years Surname Index         
1841 941.47/B3 X2m 1841
1851 941.47/B3 X2m 1851
1861 941.47/B3 X2m 1861
1881 6086664 ( 3 fiche)

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 indexes through the library.


Church Records[edit | edit source]

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about Scotland Church Records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

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

Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1694-1807, 1795-1854 1067933 item 2-4
Marriages: 1695-1754, 1780-1841 1067966 item 2-4
Deaths: 1796-1800 1067933 item 2-4
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 be indexed in the International Genealogical Index. 
Births: Births are intermixed with marriages until 1754. Mothers' names are rarely recorded before 1806. Entries are irregular with respect to dates after 1780.
Marriages: Marriages are intermixed with births until 1754, and there are only a few entries after 1749. Prior to 1754 they are among births for the same period. There are no entries 1754–1780. There are transcribed entries of proclamation fees, etc., 1780–1800; no entries except one, February 1783–January 1787 and one entry for November 1793–February 1797. There are no entries January 1801–February 1808, when a record of proclamations is begun and no entries April 1810–June 1812.
Deaths: A few entries of Mortcloth Dues.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records[edit | edit source]

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:

Minutes 1758, 1765, 1769–1782, 1784–1791, 1834
Accounts 1758–1957
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1118.

Nonconformist Church Records[edit | edit source]

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 Lists.


Denholm Free Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation was formed in the autumn of 1843 by adherents of the Free Church from the parishes of Minto, Bedrule, and Cavers, in the last named of which Denholm is situated. The first minister was settled in 1844. The church was built in 1845, with an enclosed gallery which was used for a time as a school. The manse was built in 1849, and the Pitt Memorial Hall in 1893. The people were mainly quarrymen and stocking weavers. The quarries were closed, the weavers disappeared, and the population of Denholm greatly decreased.
Membership: 1848, 155; 1900, 174.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source.

Extent of records is unknown.

Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Cavers was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Peebles until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Jedburgh. 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 Roxburgh and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Peebles.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Roxburgh. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Roxburgh and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

See also Hawick parish.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 185-200. Adapted. Date accessed: 21 March 2014.

Return to the Roxburghshire parish list.