Margaret Douglas and Robert Taylor - Roxburghshire OPR records


Assuming that "our" Thomas Taylor's parents were Margaret Douglas and Robert Taylor, the possible birth records for his parents in Roxburghshire are detailed below. While 1700-1720 is a good time for OPR records (most Roxburghshire parishes were keeping records, most Scots were Presbyterian then, and there were no secession churches so everyone will be using these churches), there is still a significant chance that the actual person may not have a record. The record books were not maintained faithfully ("Parochial Registers - These have hitherto been very imperfectly kept, and are consequently very defective" in Cavers; "There is no exact register kept of marriages, baptisms, or burials" in Hawick Statistical Accounts), entries were omitted, entries faded to illegibility over the years until the books were microfilmed circa 1950s, and the individual we are searching for may not even have lived in Roxburghshire at that time (another county or another country!). A tombstone/death record from Hawick/Wilton/Cavers/Jedburgh* that listed both Robert and Margaret as well as the birth years for each could confirm the correct genealogy.

Marriage:
The intended 1730 marriage for Robert Taylor and Margaret Turnbull was announced ("banns") in both Wilton (on November 22nd) and in Cavers (on December 30). Wilton today is a part of Hawick, but in 1730 it was considered a separate town as it was just across the river. These marriage records do not provide details on ages or parents:
Wilton -- ""
Cavers -- ""

In all of Roxburghshire, there were only five marriage records for any Robert Taylor (and its spelling variations) prior to 1750:

The first two predate the period we are interested in, the last two are the same couple (it was common to have "banns" in both the groom's and the bride's parishes). So there are only two possibilities in these records: 1730 in the Hawick area or 1729 in Stichill and Hume. It is, however, important to note that, unlike birth/christening records, many marriage records are missing, so that it is likely that there were other Robert Taylor marriages in this time frame.

It is certain that the five children born in 1731-1745 in Cavers and Hawick to Robert Taylor and Margaret Douglas are for the couple in the 1730 marriage. What is not certain is that the 1739 Thomas Taylor born to this couple is the Thomas Taylor who was a tailor, moved to Jedburgh, and married Ann Cranston.

Birth -- Robert Taylor:
In all of Roxburghshire, there were only five Robert Taylor (and its spelling variations) birth records in 1670-1720:

The first two are not only too early for a 1730 marriage (ages 50-53) but also do not match the town. The last two are the same person. Thus, there are two possibilities: Robert born in Hownam or Robert born in Hawick. Obviously, the Hawick one is the more likely, simply because it is in the same town as the marriage, 27 years later. However, it must be noted again that in 1690-1710, birth records were incomplete. A tombstone/death record from the Hawick/Jedburgh* area that could confirm a 1703 birth for Robert Taylor married to Margaret Douglas would be definitive.

Birth -- Margaret Douglas:
In all of Roxburghshire, there were 25 Margaret Douglas birth records in 1696-1720:

The ones born in 1715-1720 would likely be too young for a 1730 marriage (although in Scotland the official age at which a woman could marry in those days was 12!!). Births before 1695 would likely be too old since daughter Margaret was born in 1745. The birthplace for Margaret Douglas who marries Robert Taylor is likely to be Cavers, since that is where she marries in 1730 and bears her first two children in 1731-1734. Since she named her sons John, Thomas and Robert, one of these are likely to be her father's name -- it was traditional in Scotland at this time to name the first son after his paternal grandfather, and the second son after the maternal grandfather, so Thomas would be the most likely of these three names. This reasoning leaves two possibilities -- the 1699 born to John and the 1708 born in Thomas. As her husband Robert is thought to be the one born in 1703, and the naming of both the second and third sons was Thomas, it is thought that the 1708 birth to Robert Douglas in Cavers is the more likely. Again, it must be noted that the Cavers records were considered incomplete, so that there is always the possibility that there is another correct record that is missing. The 1707 birth record to John and Marie Horseburgh is considered unlikely not only because it is in Roxburgh, but also because the name Marie does not appear in the family. Again, a tombstone/death record from the Hawick/Jedburgh* area that could confirm a 1708 birth for Margaret Douglas married to Thomas Taylor would be close to definitive.

*The death records/tombstone search should include Jedburgh as well as Hawick, Wilton and Cavers. Note that if a tombstone or death record for Robert and Margaret were to be found in Jedburgh instead of the Hawick area, it would also serve as a confirmation that their 1739 Thomas is "our" Thomas. However, the reverse does not necessarily mean that their 1739 Thomas is not "our" Thomas -- the parents may not have moved to Jedburgh while Thomas did. If we could find Thomas' siblings in Jedburgh, this would also lend confirmation to the match.
-- In Jedburgh, the only burial records are for the established church for 1822-1855 -- too late for our purposes. Only 315 tombstones MIs (Monument inscriptions) have been published so far, and these are for the Abbey Cemetery, and do not include our Taylor/Douglas/Cranston family.
-- In Wilton, 1707-1853 burials -- FHL BRITISH Film 1067953 Items 4 - 6 -- YES
-- In Cavers, 1796-1800 OPR burial records (too late) -- 1067933 Items 2 - 4 -- NO
-- In Hawick, 1758-1841 burials -- 1067935 -- YES and 1067936 Item 1 -- YES
These were examined and

In the early 1700s, Cavers was the larger community compared to Hawick. Robert Taylor moving from his home in Wilton/Hawick to Cavers for the birth of the first two children is somewhat unusual. In 1700, the Douglases of Cavers were a noble family. With the popularity of the names Margaret and Thomas in the Douglas line, it may never be possible to determine how Margaret relates to the first Douglas Earl of Cavers (Archibald, 1370s-~1435), but it is virtually certain her father Thomas is a descendant.
1755 -- Cavers:   993, Hawick 2713, Wilton   936
1801 -- Cavers: 1382, Hawick 2798, Wilton 1307
1861 -- Cavers: 1824, Hawick 8726, Wilton 3357

There were only four Robert Taylor birth records in the Roxburghshire OPRs prior to 1720 (and virtually all of parishes do have records for 1700-1720) and two of these four were too early: 1676 to Richeard Tailior in Stichill and Hume (too early, and no Richard names in family), 1680 to Robert Tailyour in Stichill and Hume (still too early); the only other alternative to the 6/27/1703 birth to John Tayler and Margaret Turnbull in Hawick is a 1698 birth to Robert Tailyor in Hownam. This is almost certainly not a match for several reasons: 1) Hawick is much closer to Cavers, 2) Robert named his first child John not Robert, and importantly, 3) Margaret Douglas and Robert Taylor move back to Hawick for the births of their last three children, and 4) Wilton is virtually a part of Hawick, just across the river, so a Wilton marriage would be common for Hawick residents and 5) it is noteworthy that Margaret Turnbull and John Taylor were also married at Wilton, Roxburghshire on 11/23/1702, just seven months before Robert's birth in Hawick.

"WILTON, a parish in Teviotdale, Roxburghshire. It contains the villages of Dean and Appletree-Hall, the Wilton suburb of the post-town of Hawick, and another small portion of that town. It is bounded on the north-west by Ashkirk, and a detached part of Selkirk; on the north and north-east by Minto; on the east by Cavers; on the south-east and south by Hawick; and on the west by Roberton ... Wilton suburb consists principally of a long street, which commences near the end of the old bridge across the Teviot, and files away in the segment of a circle behind the town's 'common haugh'. It contains about one-half of the parish's population; and, as to its factories and nearly all its social interests, is completely identified with Hawick" --- from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson, 1868. (Hawick and Wilton parishes together make up the modern town of Hawick with the Hawick parish lying to the south of the River Teviot and Wilton parish to the north.)

Genealogist Glenn Hay chose a Roxburgh John Douglas as Margaret's family; most likely he had not found OPR records for Cavers (this would be the best non-Cavers choice). There were 25 Margaret Douglas births 1695-1720 in Roxburghshire, including 10 in Cavers and 3 in Roxburgh. Since the second and third sons of Margaret's were named Thomas, I would think that Thomas would the most likely name for her father (although John and Robert are also possibilities). Furthermore, Marie is not a likely name for her mother since there are no daughters named Marie, not in the first or subsequent generations. Finally Cavers is a more likely birthplace as that is also her marriage place 21 years later. Only one of these 25 Margaret Douglas birth records had Thomas as a father -- and that was for a Margaret born 12/18/1709 in Cavers (no mother specified). I think this is a more likely lineage for our Margaret. The "bold and ambitious" Douglas family possessed the lands of Cavers together with the sheriffship from the 15th century until the abolition of heritable jurisdictions.

Wilton: Baptisms, 1694-1804 (Indexed); Marriages, 1756-1832; Baptisms, 1799-1820; Burials, 1756-1832. (Preferred film for viewing. Use this before ordering the other filming.) FHL BRITISH Film 1067953 Items 4 - 6 -- YES Baptisms, 1820-1854 (Indexed); Marriages, 1707-1854; Burials, 1707-1853. (Preferred film for viewing. Use this before ordering the other filming.) FHL BRITISH Film 1067954 Items 1 - 3 -- YES Another filming, 1951. VAULT BRITISH Film 102304 - 102305

Hawick: Baptisms, 1634-1726 (Indexed). (Preferred film for viewing. Use this before ordering the other filming.) FHL BRITISH Film 1067934 Item 5 -- YES Baptisms, 1723-1854 (Indexed); Marriages, 1699-1815 (Indexed); Burials, 1758-1820. (Preferred film for viewing. Use this before ordering the other filming.) FHL BRITISH Film 1067935 -- YES Marriages, 1821-1854 (Indexed); Burials, 1819-1841; Neglected Births, 1836-1852. (Preferred film for viewing. Use this before ordering the other filming.) FHL BRITISH Film 1067936 Item 1 -- YES Another filming, 1951. VAULT BRITISH Film 102287 - 102288 -----Annals of Hawick, 1214-1814 with an appendix, containing biographical sketches FHL BRITISH Film 257830 -- NO ------Harwick and its old memories : with an appendix, containing biographical sketches FHL BRITISH Film 257831 -- NO -----Hawick and the borders three hundred years ago : a paper by Mrs. Oliver of Thornwood, and read by her before the Hawick Archaeological Society , on 10th March, 1875 941.47/H1 H2o -- NO ----- 1546-1935 Monumental inscriptions FHL BRITISH Film 990094 Item 23 -- NO -----Monumental inscriptions 1606-1939 FHL BRITISH Film 990095 Item 2 -- NO

Cavers: Baptisms, 1694-1854; Marriages, 1695-1854, 1780-1841; Burials, 1796-1800. (Preferred film for viewing. Use this before ordering the other filming.) FHL BRITISH Film 1067933 Items 2 - 4 -- NO Another filming. 1951. VAULT BRITISH Film 102285 Item 1 -- NO Check Cavers microfiche index listings for marriage and children: Births and christenings, A thru Z 1694-1854 (2 microfiches) FHL BRITISH Fiche 6901635 -- YES Marriages, A thru Z, 1695-1841 (1 microfiche) FHL BRITISH Fiche 6902374 -- YES

Roxburgh: Baptisms, 1624-1760. (Preferred film for viewing. Use this before ordering the other filming.) FHL BRITISH Film 1067950 Item 8 -- YES Baptisms, 1702-1854; Marriages, 1654-1794, 1801, 1826, 1849-1854; Burials, 1783-1812, 1854. (Preferred film for viewing. Use this before ordering the other filming.) FHL BRITISH Film 1067951 Items 1 - 2 -- NO Another filming, 1951. VAULT BRITISH Film 102301 Item 1 -- NO -----Roxburgh - BFHS - 941.47/R1 V3r 2001 including cemetery inscriptions and heart tax -- NO