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Guide to Roxburghshire, Scotland Genealogy ancestry, family history and genealogy parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.




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 surface of the county, though comprising some fine tracts of level land, is mountainous towards the south, and is throughout strikingly diversified with hills.  About two-fifths of the land is arable and the remainder is chiefly sheep- pasture, with about 8000 acres in woodland and plantations.  The principal rivers are the Tweed and the Teviot.  There are no minerals peculiar to the county.  The coal formation occupies all of Liddesdale.  The principal manufactures are those of woollen cloth, flannels, blankets, and stockings and worsted pieces.  Tanning and skinning are carried on to some extent, and there is a manufacture of coloured thread.

The population of the county in 1851 was 46,025.

(Source:  Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 2nd ed., 1851.  Family History Library book 941 E5L.)


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 Stitchel 808 Stichel & Hume 808
Jedburgh 92 Teviothead 809
Kelso 793 Wilton 810
Kirkton 794 Yetholm 811

Census Records

A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. In 1841, the British government began taking censuses of the population of Scotland every ten years, listing all persons by name.  The census records must be 100 years old before they are released to the public, so the 1841 through 1901 are currently available.  Read more about Scotland Census Records.

Most available census records have been indexed by surname. Indexes are online at these Web sites:

The Family History Library has county-wide census indexes for Roxburghshire for 18411851, 1861, and 1881.

The library also has a collection of census surname indexes for different places within Roxburghshire. Click here to see a table listing these other census surname indexes that are available at the library.

Civil Registration Records

Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Annual indexes are available for the whole country. See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Court Records

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.

Poorhouse Records

There are four poorhouses:

Hawick Combination

Jedburgh Combination

Kelso Combination

(parts also included in Galashiels Combination)

Probate Records

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.'


Click on the map at the right to see a larger version, and click again on the larger map. Next, click on the ‘Expand’ button when it appears in the lower right-hand corner of the map.


Click here to see an outline map of the parishes of Roxburghshire.

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  • This page was last modified on 31 January 2016, at 23:05.
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