Re: Thomson/Thompson in the Borders of Scotland.


Anne Burgess
 

The union of the parish of Ashkirk to the parish of Selkirk took place in 1986 (see http://selkirkparish.church/about-us/congregation-and-parish/), so in in relation to baptisms and banns in the Church of Scotland registers in the middle of the 18th century it is completely irrelevant (I am surprised that the Borders FHS sees fit to say so, because they must be aware that mentioning a parish merger that took place in 1986 is not useful information for anyone looking for records over two centuries older). They were entirely separate parishes at that time. The implication of this is that if anyone mentioned in the registers of a particular parish lived in a different parish, the entry in the register will almost always say which parish they lived in.

Second, all the surviving registers of the Church of Scotland have been digitised and are available at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. As part of the legislation that set up the statutory civil registration system the Church of Scotland was required by law to hand over all its surviving pre-1855 registers to the Registrar General for Scotland so that they would be preserved and safeguarded for the future. This is why all this information is now available in one place.

However other denominations were not compelled to hand over their registers. Many of these, however, have since found their way into various archives.

The registers of dissenting denominations do not necessarily always cover the same geographical areas as the Church of Scotland parish registers, because their congregations were often smaller and a single place of worship might draw its congregation from several Chuch of Scotland parishes. This means that the places people lived are lkely to be spread over a wider area than is the case in the Church of Scotland registers.

I am mystified by the one you saw on microfilm, however. I have tried many times to find the baptism of Euphans Thomson in both the IGI and the FS general records, without success, so I can't follow the trail from that event back to the source of the information. It isn't listed in the catalogue of the National Records of Scotland (https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/catalogues-and-indexes). There is a register of the Midholm (Midlem) United Original Secession Church, with the following description: "The congregation of Midholm (or Midlem) belonged to the Antiburgher branch of the Secession church, and was first established in 1742, the year in which Patrick Matthew the first minister of the charge was ordained. The church was built a number of years thereafter in 1746. The congregation sat within the Presbytery of Melrose. In 1820 the congregation became part of the United Original Secession Church, and remained as such until 1938 when the congregation was dissolved." However the catalogue listing (CH3/234) says that it covers only the period from 1845 to 1938). This register is now in the Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Centre in Hawick, but can be viewed as part of the 'Virtual Volumes' at the National Records of Scptland and in other local archives that has access to the VV system, but as it doesn't cover the 18th century it isn't much use in this instance.

I would be very interested indeed in finding out how the LDS got the register you saw on microfilm, where the original book is, and most of all why I can't find the baptism of Euphans Thomson (or her brother, but I concentrated on her because her name is much less common) in the online indexes on the FS web site.

Anne

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