Roxburghshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Guide to Roxburghshire County ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

Roxburghshire County

History[edit | edit source]

Roxburghshire is an inland county in the south of Scotland, bounded on the north by Berwickshire, on the east by Berwickshire and the English county of Northumberland, on the south by Dumfriesshire and the English counties of Cumberland and Northumberland, and on the west by Dumfriesshire, Selkirk, and Edinburghshire or Mid-Lothian.  It is 38 miles in length and 28 miles in breadth, comprising an area of 696 square miles or 445, 440 acres.

The county was invaded by the Romans, and following their departure, was often the scene of border warfare between the English and the Scots, which fostered a warlike spirit in the inhabitants.

The county comprises 32 parishes, and for civil purposes is divided into the four districts of Jedburgh, Kelso, Melrose, and Hawick, in which each a magistrate hold court quarterly. Jedburgh is a royal burgh and the county town. The others are market towns.  The county also contains part of the town of Galashiels.

The population of the county in 1851 was 46,025.[1][2]

ScotlandsPeople: An Important Online Source[edit | edit source]

ScotlandsPeople is one of the largest online sources of original genealogical information. If you are researching UK genealogy, your Scottish ancestry or building your Scottish family tree, they have more than 100 million records to look through.

The comprehensive choice of Scottish records includes:

  • Statutory Registers
  • Old Parish Registers
  • Catholic Parish Registers
  • CPR Others
  • Census
  • Valuation Rolls
  • Soldiers’ Wills
  • Wills & Testaments
  • Coats of Arms

For more detail on record availability, see Guides. For the content guide to what records are on the site, see Guides A-Z. More information on the site, its contents, and instructions for using it can be found in the ScotlandsPeople Wiki article. Indexes may be searched for free, and there is a pay per view fee to see the digitized record.

Census[edit | edit source]

Many census records have been indexed by surname. Some indexes cover one parish (and will be listed in the Wiki on the parish page) and some indexes are for the county as a whole. The Family History Library has county-wide census placename indexes for Roxburghshire for 1881.  Click here for other census indexes available at the library.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Civil Registration or Statutory Registers[edit | edit source]

For details on information found in statutory registers and other methods of searching them, see Scotland Statutory Registers.

Refer to the ScotlandsPeople Wiki article.
Images and Indexes Available at ScotlandsPeople Website ($)
Births 1855-1910 ◊ScotlandsPeople Website has indexes to 2012.
Marriages 1855-1935
Deaths 1855-1960

Parishes[edit | edit source]

Some of the Roxburghshire parish records are indexed in Roxburgh, Scotland, Extracted Parish Records.
This database is a collection of historical parish registers from the county of Roxburgh in the country of Scotland. The records in this collection can range in date from the early 1500s to the mid- to late-1800s. The records include baptisms/christenings, burials, marriages, tombstone inscriptions, obituaries, tax lists, wills, and other miscellaneous types of records. Also included are some records from non-conformist churches. You will find interesting phonetic spelling. Some of the records may be in Latin or even a Welsh or Scottish dialect. Due to the nature of the records and because the records were originally compiled by a third party, it is difficult to absolutely verify the completeness and validity of the data.

Here is a list of the historic parishes for the county of Roxburgh.  Click on the parish name to see information about records. Click on this link for an outline map of the parishes of Roxburghshire.

Historic Parishes for the County of Roxburghshire
Parish No. Parish No.
Abbotrule -- see Southdean 806 Lessudden -- see St. Boswells 804
Ancrum 780 Lilliesleaf 795
Ashkirk 781 Linton 796
Bedrule 782 Makerston 797
Bowden 783 Maxton 798
Castleton 784 Melrose 799
Cavers 785 Minto 800
Crailing 786 Morebattle 801
Eckford 787a Oxnam 802
Edgerston 787b Roxburgh 803
Ednam 788 St. Boswells (formerly Lessudden) 804
Hawick 789 Smailholm 805
Hobkirk 790 Southdean & Abbotrule 806
Hownam 791 Sprouston 807
Hume -- see Stichel 808 Stichel & Hume 808
Jedburgh 92 Teviothead 809
Kelso 793 Wilton 810
Kirkton 794 Yetholm 811

Court Records[edit | edit source]

The county of Roxburgh is in the Sheriff's court of Jedburgh (SC62). The Registers of Deeds for Sheriffs' courts contain much valuable information for family history research such as marriage contracts and deeds of 'disposal and settlement' (or assignment) of property, which both give names and relationships. The records are deposited at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh and are not indexed.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate records are those which deal with the settlement of the estate of a deceased person. In Scotland, until 1868, a person could only pass movable property such as household furniture, farm equipment, livestock, money and clothes through a document known as a 'testament.' Immovable property such as land was passed to the eldest son or heir through a document known as a 'Service of Heir,' which is not a record of probate. Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

Until 1823, the parishes of Roxburghshire were under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissariot Court of Peebles (CC18). Since 1823, the county has been under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Court of Jedburgh (SC62).

Probate records for 1513-1925 (including inventories of goods) 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' of Roxburgh (county) and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the 'Testaments registers.'

Maps[edit | edit source]

Poorhouse Records[edit | edit source]

NOTE: Workhouses in Scotland were commonly known as poorhouses. For more information on Scottish poorhouses, go to the Scotland Poorhouses, Poor Law, Etc page.

There were three workhouses:

A description with drawings and photos of the workhouses today along with databases of those living there from the 1881 Census are provided on the links above located on the site entitled The Workhouse: The story of an institution... which is owned and operated by Peter Higginbotham.

Societies[edit | edit source]

Borders Family History Society
52 Overhaugh St

Genealogy Society
15 Victoria Terrace
Phone-0131 220 3677

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Samuel Lewis. Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, England: S. Lewis and Co., 1846), 3 v.: 651, [FHL book 941 E5]. Digitized by FamilySearch International,, (accessed June 20, 2016).
  2. Samuel Lewis. "Ross, Little - Rutherglen," in A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, 1846), 430-443. British History Online, (accessed June 7, 2020).