Supposed Ancestry of John Borthwick of "Langlees", Biggar,
In the 1950s and 1960s members of my family
in Australia began searching for their ancestors in Scotland. Assistance
was sought from the Scots Ancestry Research, many letters were written,
visits were made to Scotland and a family tree was compiled.
I suspect, however that this tree is not correct.
The first glitch I came across when working back was that my great-great-great-great
grandfather John Borthwick, if his age on his headstone
is correct, must have been born when his father was only 15 years old,
and 7 years before his parents were married. This seems unlikely but I'm
willing to be convinced!
In my research so far I have concentrated
on discovering more about the life, times & families of our known
Borthwick ancestors, John Borthwick
& Elizabeth Dinwoodie of Scotland. At various times I've made
some efforts to try to get back beyond John. This has not been easy as
I've not found his birth, or any other documents that might lead to his
parents. No wills, no deeds, no family bibles, no letters or documents.
For those reasons I am posting this information
here - in the hope that someone else with an interest in these families
may be able to confirm or remove my suspicions. In all my research so
far, via public records, email and internet I have met only one Borthwick
researcher with an interest in any of the families. She is interested
in William Borthwick & Margaret Sinclair but does not have clear evidence
yet that they were her own ancestors, ie parents of her ggggrandfather,
If you know anything at all about any of the
families listed here I would be very pleased to hear from you. Perhaps
a mystery or two may be solved!
On this page I will work back from my known,
definite, absolutely certain ancestor, John Borthwick, husband of Elizabeth
Dinwoodie, who was a farmer at Langlees near Biggar, Scotland, when he
died in April 1835. The supposed ancestry of John Borthwick is as follows:
- William Borthwick & Margaret Sinclair,
- Alexander Borthwick & Isabel Mitchelson
- William Borthwick & Isabell Rutherford
- then lots of gaps & supposition
Borthwick & Margaret Sinclair
To begin with I hasten to say that I am not
really sure how it was that we in Australia first discovered that William
and Margaret were supposedly the parents of our John Borthwick. There
is quite a lot to suggest that the Scots Ancestry Research Society (SARS)
reached this conclusion when asked to do some research for an Australian
Borthwick family member. The papers from SARS cannot be located however.
Marriage: William Borthwick & Margaret
Sinclair were married on 18 September 1757 in Edinburgh Parish, Edinburgh,
Midlothian, Scotland. The Parish Register, searched by a family member
in August 2000, records:
Sabbath 18 September 1757 William
Borthwick Merchant in the Tolbooth Kirk parish and Margaret Sinclair
daughter to James Sinclair Fractor to William Sinclair of Frizwick in
Cathnips now in the new Kirk parish.
Occupation: According to old research
notes, the Register of Edinburgh Apprentices shows that a William, son
of Alexander Borthwick, deceased farmer of Prestongrange, was added to
the roll on 26 Aug 1762 (?) as apprentice to Patrick Drummond. A Directory
of Edinburgh in 1752, by Gilhooley, under Apprentices lists a William
Borthwick whose Master was Patrick Drummond, merchant. William's indenture
year was 1752 so it seems that 1762 was a transcription error and should
have been 1752.
The same Directory indicates that Patrick
Drummond and Andrew Drummiond were "Seedsmen". In the list of Residents
of Edinburgh Patrick Drummond's occupation is seed merchant and his address
is given as Galloway's, Lawnmarket North.
The main source of the directory is a list
of ratepayers from the city archives, They paid a window tax or a annuity
tax. If you did not qualify for the tax you would not appear in the list.
Canongate and other parts of present day Edinburgh were then outside the
Apprenticeship was an important employment
practice in those times but obtaining an apprenticeship was not easy.
Gilhooley lists the Total Indentured Apprentices in Edinburgh for the
years 1746 to 1753. In 1746 there were none, apparently because following
the Jacobite occupancy there existed no City Council to approve indentures.
The figures for the following years were: 1747 (65); 1748 (45); 1749 (42);
1750 (49); 1751 (46) and 1753 (39).
SARS advised in 1960 that from the list of
Burgesses and Guild-Brethren of Edinburgh it was found that William Borthwick
became a Burgess and Guild-Brethren on 7 June 1758 by the right of his
apprenticeship to Patrick Drummond merchant Burgess. This is a record
of William in 1758 finishing his apprenticeship and being added to the
list of Craftsmen. An apprentice was generally around 14 years old and
apprenticeships lasted around seven years. If this is our William Borthwick
he was 18 years old in 1752 and his apprenticeship lasted 6 years.
If this is the William who married Margaret
Sinclair in September 1757, the marriage took place nine months before
he finished his apprenticeship. However, William is referred to as a "merchant
in the Tolbooth Kirk Parish".
Tolbooth Parish is in Edinburgh and is pronounced
Toll Booth. It refers to a Toll Booth in the Canongate. As the name implies
there was once a "Gate to the City" on what is now called "The Royal Mile"
and at the Canongate there was a Toll Booth where people entering the
City had to pay a Toll or Tax (Tacks) There have been many books written
about this part of Edinburgh and it is often referred to as the Old Toun.
(The New Town being to the North of Princes Street.)
Children: The children of this couple
- 1.1 John Borthwick, born
1759 in Edinburgh, not 1750 as should be expected if he were the John
who later married Elizabeth (Betty) Dinwoodie
- 1.2 James Borthwick,
born 17 November 1760, Edinburgh Parish.
- 1.3 William Borthwick
(infant). LDS Scottish Church Records CD shows birth of a William Borthwick,
son of William Borthwick & Margaret Sinclair as 8 April 1762. Same date
shown on Scots Origins site Order #3588539. However, it seems that this
child died and they named another son William in 1766.
- 1.4 Jean Borthwick ,
born Edinburgh, 16 August 1763
1.5 Alexander Borthwick, born Edinburgh, 4 March 1765
- 1.6 William Borthwick,
born 20 August 1766 and baptised Edinburgh, 21 September 1766. Our Australian
Borthwick family was advised of the christening date for William in
1766 & also a birthdate of 20/7/1766, as a result of a search of
the Old Parochial Registers of Edinburgh, conducted by the Scots Ancestry
Research Society of Edinburgh & dated 31/3/1952
- 1.7 Samuel Borthwick,
born Edinburgh, 15 February 1768
- 1.8 Margaret Borthwick,
born Edinburgh, 28 March 1770
- 1.9 Robert Borthwick,
born Edinburgh, 8 December 1774
- 1.10 Janet Borthwick,
born 28 August 1777, baptised Edinburgh 24 September 1777.
Residences: The only Borthwicks listed
in the 1752 Directory for Edinburgh are a Resident, Mrs Borthwick, no
occupation, of Gedd's, Byres Close and under Apprentices, William Borthwick,
apprentice to Patrick Drummond. I haven't yet tried to locate William
and Margaret Borthwick and/or their family in any other directories or
records as I am fairly well convinced that they are not the family of
our John Borthwick.
Death: In 1963 Isobel M Allan of the
Scots Ancestory Research Society advised our Australian Borthwick family
that there was no will or testament registered for William Borthwick in
the Commissariat of Edinburgh (which includes Prestonpans)
Who were William's parents?
Birth of William, son of Alexander Borthwick
& Isabell Mitchelson: Again the reason for making this link is
uncertain but somehow, somewhere, members of our family in Australia were
told that the parents of William Borthwick (above) were Alexander Borthwick
and Isabel Mitchelson.
A record of a William, born 1735, the first
son, and apparently the only child, of Alexander and Isabel, was found
in 1960 in the Old Parochial Registers at Prestonpans. This has been confirmed
by recent research. It is recorded as follows:
Alexander Borthwick, Gardener
and Isabel Mitchelson had a child born May 31 baptised William June
4th 1735. John Waddel and William Borthwick. (They were the witnesses).
According to SARS no further children of Alexander
Borthwick and Isobel Mitcheson were recorded in that register. I have
searched the LDS Scottish Church records CD, and the IGI (1992 version
plus 1994 addendum), and also could not find any record of any other children
of Alexander Borthwick and Isabel Mitchelson (or any similar surname).
As noted above we have nothing to prove that
this particular William is the one who married Margaret Sinclair. Therefore,
and even more importantly, we have nothing to connect him to John Borthwick,
husband of Elizabeth Dinwoodie.
Borthwick & Isabel Mitchelson
Marriage: Alexander Borthwick &
Isabel Mitchelson were married on 25 July 1734 at Inveresk with Musselburgh,
Isabel is also recorded on various family
trees as MITCHESON and even HUTCHESON. On the Scots Origins site and in
LDS Scottish Church Records CD the name is spelt MITCHELSON. That is also
the spelling in the Old Parochial Register.
Children: No other children have been
Death: According to one set of family
notes Alexander died on 26 August 1752. I have not yet found a source
for this. In 1963 Isobel M Allan of the Scots Ancestory Research Society
advised EF Gill that there was no will or testament registered for Alexander
Borthwick in the Commissariat of Edinburgh (which includes Prestonpans)
Who were Alexander's parents?
Birth of Alexander, son of William Borthwick
& Isabell Rutherford: Again I don't really know how or why it
was ever decided that Alexander (above) was the son of this couple but
that is what we have recorded on the family tree.
In 1960 the Scots Ancestral Research Society
provided the names of two sons of William Borthwick and Isabel Rutherford,
Alexander and James, to our Borthwick family in Australia. Another problem.
Alexander was said to have been born in 1693 or 1697 and John to have
been christened in 1697, yet Alexander was not christened until 1706.
Could this be mixed up? Was Alexander born about 1706? I checked the Scottish
Church records CD at LDS and could not find any Alexander, son of William
& Isabel, born or christened 1693 or any time nearby. Also searched
the film of OPRs for Prestonpans for 1693 and could not find an Alexander
birth or christening. It seems from family notes that the birth of this
Alexander was not recorded in the registers at Prestonpans. One Australian
family member searched the records of Prestonpans from 1700-1716 but no
record of his birth was found there. On the other hand a christening date
of 17 Feb 1706 was found on LDS Scottish Church records. So ... where
did the SARS get the year 1693 ? And why do we believe that Alexander,
son of William Borthwick and Isabel Rutherford, was our ancestor?
Borthwick & Isobell Rutherford
Family histories written for our Australian
Borthwick family in the mid- to late 1900s all state that "This is
the earliest Borthwick to whom lineage of our Australian New England Borthwicks
can be traced". As can be seen from the above, I don't think we have
enough evidence to show that this is the lineage of our family. It seems
that it was the SARS that advised family members in the 1960s that the
parents of Alexander who had married Isabel Mitchelson were William Borthwick
& Isobell Rutherford. I haven't yet seen any records which prove that.
Marriage: A marriage date of 1681 was
found by an Australian Borthwick in the Old Parochial Registers at Prestonpans
when she visited Scotland in August-September 1960. She recorded the name
as "Isobel Rutherford" but it seems to have been recorded as "Issabell
Rutherfoord" when the births and christenings of the children were registered
(assuming of course that this is the same person!) At this period in history
of course there was no convention about spelling names carefully or consistently.
I checked the LDS Scottish Church Records
CD and could not find any record of this marriage. However there is a
record which appears to be a birth record for William "about 1660" and
it states that his spouse was Isabel Rutherford. I also checked th OPR
microfiche for East Lothian, which includes Prestonpans, and found no
record of this marriage. On the LDS IGI, however, I found a (guessed?)
marriage of William Borthwick and Isabel Rutherford "about 1691" at Prestonpans,
East Lothian, Scotland.
Children: Need to look for more children
between 1692 and 1697. Either Prestonpans or Innveresk.
Who were William's parents?
Birth: As noted above the LDS IGI records
an estimated date of "about 1660" for William's birth but also lists "spouse"
as Isabel Rutherford so perhaps this is actually the marriage record (the
computer record is confusing). It lists William as William Barthwick.
Source is Film no 453864 page 22 Reference no 38499. This birth is NOT
on the microfiche index to Old Parochial Records at Prestonpans however
two volumes of those registers, from 1642-1688, are apparently missing.
If this William does become important to our family we may need to search
the Kirk Session records. And we need to find other documents to discover
Birth of Isobell
Rutherford: The church records for the children of William
and Isabel use various spellings of her name. Although we have most often
recorded her as "Isobel Rutherford" in Australian family trees etc, it
seems that she, or the people who took her details, most often recorded
her name as "Issabell Rutherfoord" or "Issobell Rutherfoord"..
On the LDS International Genealogical Index
(1992/1994) the Isabel Rutherford who married William Borthwick is recorded
as being born "about 1660". Film no 453864 page 23 Reference no 37495.
Could not find Isabel's birth on Scottish Church Records CD.
Occupation: According to the baptism
record for their daughter, Grissol, William was a gardener in "Olivestobo"
in Parish of Tranont. There was a house/estate called Olivestob, just
to the north of Tranent, very close to Prestonpans. Most of the owners
were Hamiltons who had it at the time of this William Borthwick.
Children of William & Isobell:
The children of William & Issobell, according to the IGI, were:
- 1.1 Grissoll Borthwick,
Born 9 September 1692 in Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland496. Baptised
11 September 1692 in Prestonpans. The LDS IGI records this birth of
a daughter to William Barthwick and Isabel Rutherford. Here her name
is recorded as Grizell Barthwick. Source is F#: 453864. Also on the
Scots Origins site (Order #1091905). The original record states: "William
Borthwick Gardoner in (Olive stobo?) in the Paroch of Tranont, and his
wife Issaboll Rutherford had a Daughter brought forth on friday the
9th, and Baptised Grissoll on Sunday the Eleventh of Septb'r 1692. Witnesses
John Borthwick, Rob't Nessbitt and John Rolly (?)." Microfilm No 1067855
- 1.2 Rachell Borthwick.
Rachell "Bortwich" daughter of William Bortwich and Isobell Rutherfoord
was christened at Inveresk with Musselburgh on 24 February 1695.
- 1.3 John Borthwick, baptised
21 February 1697 in Innveresk with Musselburgh, MidLothian, Scotland.
- 1.4 William Borthwick,
baptised 19 March 1699 in Inveresk with Musselburgh.
- 1.5 Issobel Borthwick.
Baptised 23 March 1701 in Inveresk with Musselburgh.
- 1.6 Charles Borthwick.
Baptised 18 October 1703 in Inveresk with Musselburgh.
- 1.7 Alexander Borthwick,
Baptised 17 February 1706 in Inveresk with Musselburgh. Said to have
married Isabell Mitchelson. According to one set of family notes Alexander
died on 26 August 1752. I have not yet found a source for this.
- Fact or Fiction?
Other clues to possible ancestors or family
relationships are as follows.
John Livingston Dinwiddie BORTHWICK was a
grandson of John Borthwick and Elizabeth Dinwoodie, born in Philadelphia
August 11, 1840. In "Annals of the Family and House of Borthwick,"
by Alexander E Borthwick, quoted in manuscript "A History and Genealogy
of the Family of Borthwick" Part 1, Borthwicks of Scotland, 1945,
p.29, it is stated that John was a cousin of Lord Glenesk twice removed,
and was "allied" to the present Lord Borthwick. These possible
relationships are being researched. In relation to Lord Glenesk, however,
I have been able to trace back only as far as Thomas Borthwick and Jennet
Blake, who were married in 1802 in Peebles, Scotland. I would be very
interested to hear from anyone who knows more about the ancestry of Lord
Early generations of the family had a copy
of the book "Lord Glenesk and The Morning Post" published in
19??. Was this just because it was about a Borthwick, or because there
was some connection as suggested?
William Murray Borthwick III and Maude Mary
Alexandra Johnston named their home in NSW "Crookston". Was
this because they had some connection to that branch of the Borthwick
family? If there was any connection then I would guess that John Borthwick
of "Langlees" near Biggar, Scotland, was a younger son of a
younger son of a younger son, etc. and therefore without any particular
status or property of his own.
Members of the family who visited the Crookston
Borthwicks in the 1950s and 1960s came away believing that they were related
in some way. Unfortunately the details weren't revealed or recorded! Was
this just a polite and generous impression given by an inclusive important
member of the family?
to from here?
Where to from here? I really would like to
track back another generation or two in Scotland but don't have much at
all to go on.
If you "own" or have an interest
in any of the families mentioned on this page I'd love to know more and
would be happy to share my research with you.
A New Lead, February
Jean Borthwick, daughter of John Borthwick
& Elizabeth Dinwoodie, was baptised on 13 July 1787 in Tweedsmuir
& apparently survived to adulthood. The Tweedsmuir OPR is as follows:
Baptisms 1787. July 13. Baptized
Jean lawfull daughter of John Borthwick Shepherd in Riggs and Elisabeth
Dinwiddie his spouse. Witnesses John Rennvick [?] Shepherd in Glenbreck
and Alexander Borthwick Shepherd in Over-Minzion. (This certainly looks
like "Minzion" in the OPR but was apparently spelt "Menzion".
Lilias B, a descendant of this family and
excellent researcher of their history advises that Alexander Borthwick,
born about 1750,
It is thought that Alexander's first wife
was Janet Blaiklaw, with whom he had at least two children, Elizabeth
and Robert. Then in 1891 Alexander married Agnes Hyslop, born about 1768.
Alexander Borthwick have a large number of descendants.
For some photos of Over-Menzion
click here. And for a page on the family of Alexander Borthwick, shepherd
in Over-Menzion, who surely must be a brother or cousin of our John Borthwick,
*LDS, IGI, Scots Origins.
Copyright: Ann Carson 2001
All rights reserved.
Created: 29 April 2001