Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Jedburgh (#92)

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

History[edit | edit source]

JEDBURGH, a burgh, market-town, and parish, in the district of Jedburgh, county of Roxburgh, of which it is the capital, 11 miles (S. W. by S.) from Kelso, and 49 (S. E. by S.) from Edinburgh containing the villages of Bongate, Bonjedward, Lanton, and Ulston. This place derives its name, originally Jedworth, or Jedwood, from its situation on the river Jed. The town is pleasingly situated in the picturesque and fertile valley of the river Jed, over which, within the parish, are nine bridges. The parish is divided into two detached portions by the intervening parishes of Oxnam and Southdean. The church is part of the ancient abbey, of which the western portion of the nave has been fitted up for public worship, and affords accommodation to 910 persons. Places of worship have been erected for one congregation of the denomination called the Relief, and for two congregations of the United Secession; the meeting-houses are all neat buildings of stone. There are also a Free Church and Episcopal chapel.[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 Jedburgh.  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 <u>census records of Jedburgh.</u>

Below is information for any known surname indexes:

Family History Library

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: 1639-1737 1067943

1737-1821 1067944

1820-1857 1067945

1838-1851 - neglected entries 1067945 item 1
Marriages: 1669-1739, 1758-1772 1067943

1821-1854 1067945 item 1
Deaths: 1641-1649 1067943

1822-1854 1067945 item 1
Condition of Original Registers[edit | edit source]

Indexed: 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: The second page of volume 1 is almost entirely destroyed. All the leaves of the record 1664–1670 have been more or less wasted by mice, many entries being entirely destroyed. There is a duplicate record 1758–1782. Mothers' names not recorded until 1758.
Marriages: The first page is almost wholly destroyed by mice. There are no entries September 1739–November 1758. After June 1765 there is only one entry 1772, until 1821.
Deaths: Burials; two pages wasted by mice and no entries 1648–1822.
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:

1672–1885 (with gaps)
Scroll Minutes
1707–1730, 1737–1778, 1809–1847, 1845–1886
Church Collections
Robson Mortifications Accounts 1761–1776
Poors’ Fund Accounts 1760–1775, 1778–1823
Testimonials 1727–1759 - with gaps
Communion Rolls 1839–1925

Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/552.

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.

Blackbriars Associate Session Burgher Church[edit | edit source]

A number of the parishioners of Jedburgh withdrew from the Established Church and united in a formal accession to the Associate Presbytery. The persons who had thus seceded were joined to the congregation of Gateshaw, now Morebattle, then forming. In 1739, the whole together presented a petition praying for supply of sermon at Jedburgh. The Presbytery did so a short time later and supply of sermon was continued thereafter upon an average of once a month, until a minister was settled over the congregation. The first minister adhered with the great majority of his congregation to the Associate Burgher Synod at "The Breach" in 1747. There were 120 children belonging to seceders resident in Jedburgh district, baptized by Secession ministers between the years 1738 and 1746. This gives an average of 15 a year, the average of a congregation of about 300 members. When the second minister represented to his session in 1791 his inability to overtake the duties of his charge; stating that the congregation consisted of more than 800 members, and that all of them resided in the country with the exception of 180. The first church was built in 1746, the second built 1801 and a third was built in 1818.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source.

Family History Library Film Number
Baptismal Register 1737–1858 0559522
Congregational and Managers’ Minutes 1761–1877
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/350.

Castle Street General Associate Anti-burgher Church, extinct[edit | edit source]

At the Breach in 1747, one elder and eighteen members of the first Secession congregation, Jedburgh, adhered to the General Associate Anti-burgher Synod, while all the rest adhered to the other branch of the Secession. Those adhering to the Anti–burger party, attended public ordinances at Gateshaw, now Morebattle, until 1752, when encouraged by the settlement of several other General Associate Seceders in the locality, they applied to the Presbytery of Edinburgh, to be disjoined from Gateshaw, and formed into a separate congregation, which was granted. The church was built in 1765. After the last minister’s resignation in 1853, the congregation became extinct, most of the remaining members connecting themselves with the other United Presbyterian congregations in the town.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source.

Extent of records is unknown.

High Street Relief Presbyterian Church[edit | edit source]

In 1755, the elders of the parish of Jedburgh, anticipating the settlement by patronage of another, unacceptable, minister among them, entered into a written compact in which they "unanimously agreed and resolved to stand or fall together in the election or choice of a minister for the parish." Immediately after, they proceeded to procure votes in favor of Mr. Thomas Boston, minister of Oxnam. The congregation, having separated from the Established Church for the purpose of obtaining Mr. Boston, formed the "Presbytery of Relief" along with the Rev. Messrs Gillespie of Dunfermline, and Colier of Colinsburgh, in 1761. A church building was built by the end of 1757. It was superseded by another in 1818.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source.

Family History Library Film Number
Baptismal Register 1840–1861 0559522
Session Minutes 1841–1883
Account Book 1816–1851
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/351.

Jedburgh Free Church[edit | edit source]

Dr. John Purves, minister of the parish, and a large congregation, "came out" in 1843. For about three months, while the church was being built, they worshiped in the assembly room of the Spread Eagle Hotel. The manse was erected in 1850; and a school was provided. While a new church was in process of erection in 1854, the congregation enjoyed the hospitality of the High Street United Presbyterian congregation. Emigration to some extent adversely affected the congregation.
Membership: 1848, 526; 1900, 384.
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.

Family History Library Film Number
Baptismal Register 1844–1854 1068241
Presbytery Minutes 1843–1858 1562918 item 4

Jedburgh Congregational Evangelical Union Church[edit | edit source]

The history of this congregation was brief. It was formed in 1841 by members of Denholm Church, of which Ebenezer Cornwall became pastor in 1843. It was admitted to the Evangelical Union in 1875. It ceased as a church in July 1886, and thereafter became a mission station. It was ultimately closed in November 1886.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960;Family History Library British Book 941 K2es.

A list of ministers is found in: The Scottish Congregational Ministry, 1794–1993, by Rev. Dr. William D. McNaughton, pub. by the Congregation Union in 1993;Family History Library British Book 941 K2mwd.

Extent of records is unknown. For more information write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow, G1 2BX

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.

Prison Records[edit | edit source]

A transcription index has been published by Maxwell Ancestry (of Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire) of the following:

  • Jedburgh Prison Register, 1848-1869    (FHL book 941.47/J1 J62m, 2 vols.)

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Jedburgh 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.

[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 584-592. Adapted. Date accessed: 27 March 2014.

Return to the Roxburghshire parish list.