Robert and Margaret Douglas Taylor

Margaret Douglas

Robert Taylor

Parents: (maybe) Unknown and Thomas Douglas

Parents: (very likely) Margaret Turnbull and John Taylor

Born: (maybe) Dec 18, 1709 Cavers, Roxburghshire, Scotland

Born: (very likely) June 27, 1703 Hawick, Roxboroughshire, Scotland

Married: Nov 22, 1730 in Wilton and Dec 30, 1730 in Cavers to Robert Taylor

Married: Nov 22, 1730 in Wilton and Dec 30, 1730 in Cavers to Margaret Douglas



Interred: Scotland

Interred: Scotland

Occupation: Tobacconist, Merchant

Douglas tartans - more information on tartans.

Taylor tartans - more information on tartans.

William Perry Hay (1871-1947) never learned anything about Jane Ann Taylor's father Thomas Taylor.

It is thought that Thomas Taylor's circa 1740 birth record would likely be found in the established church. Although the majority of Jedburgh parishioners belonged to one of the secession churches in the latter part of the 18th century, Ann Cranston and Thomas Taylor baptised their first five children (1761-1773) in the established church -- therefore, at least one side (paternal/maternal) is thought to be non-secessionist. Since it is thought that the Cranston side may have belonged to a secession church prior to 1760 (no possible Ann Cranston record found), it is assumed the Taylors did not. This is supported by the fact that while there were many Cranston entries in the secession church records starting in the 1740s, the Taylor records start in the 1790s. Plus, virtually all Roxburghshire parish records are extant circa 1740. Although Taylor is a common name in Scotland, it is not so prevalent in Roxburghshire (there are 63 Cranston birth records in Roxburgh in 1730-50, and 55 Taylors). However, while it is more likely that OPR records found would be a match, it still is not definitive -- records could be missing/illegible, the family may not be living in Roxburghshire, etc.

Based on OPR church records found, it is likely that Thomas is the son of Robert Taylor and Margaret Douglas of Hawick/Wilton and Cavers. In 1705-1745, there were only three Thomas Taylor birth records in the OPR for Roxburghshire -- the two children of Margaret Douglas and Robert Taylor listed below and Thomas Taylor born 4/24/1742 to John Taylor and Sarah Duncan in Kelso. The location (Hawick/Cavers are closer to Jedburgh), date (1742 would make him young for marriage in 1760), and naming patterns of the children (first son Robert and not John), all suggest that the Hawick Thomas Taylor is the more likely, although not definite, lineage. However, the fact that Thomas did not name any of his three daughters Margaret argues against this match. Also, although the Cavers/Hawick/Wilton Robert Taylor is not a tailor (as is the Thomas Taylor for whom we are seeking a father), it is noteworthy that on this Thomas Taylor's 1739 Hawick birth record, the witnesses were Mr. John Lawrie, preacher of the gospel, and George Telfer, tailor -- perhaps this was related to Thomas becoming a tailor. These towns are all close together -- map of Roxburghshire; Kelso highlighted in yellow, ancestral towns highlighted in blue. It would be more definitive if some of Thomas' siblings could be found in Jedburgh -- while there were no birth records for children of his brothers John or Robert in Jedburgh, there also were no such records in Hawick (only 1761-1785 christenings in Hawick were for children of James and William Taylor, and in Jedburgh the only ones were the ones for Thomas). So it would appear that if his brothers married and had children, they also left the Hawick area.

As for Robert's father, again there are few Taylor alternatives, so it is quite likely that they are John Taylor and Margaret Turnbull of Hawick, based on OPR church records found. In all of Roxburghshire, there were only four Robert Taylor (and its spelling variations) births in 1670-1720; this was the only one that fit the date and place, and the names are perfect too. Virtually confirming this lineage is the fact that the 1742 and 1745 christening witnessess of Robert Taylor and Margaret Douglas' children were Turnbulls -- Robert had James Douglas, merchant and Robert Turnbull, gardener; Margaret had Walter Turnbull at Hawick Shiels and William Scoon(?), Sert(?) (this William Scoon(?) was also a witness to Walter Turnbull's 1745 child). Robert was an only child of John Taylor, a weaver from Cavers, and Margaret Turnbull of nearby Wilton -- on his 1703 birth record, the witnesses were William Henderson m. flox and Andrew Riddell m. Goto & ___.

The Douglas side of Thomas' likely mother is more difficult than the Taylor side, since there are many possibilites. It is likely that Thomas' mother, if she is a Douglas from the Cavers area, is related to the noble family of Douglas of Cavers, as probably all the Douglases in Cavers are somehow related. It is possible (but not certain) that if all the Douglas of Cavers wills are examined (at the Edinburgh Archives), the exact heritage may be discernable. A burial record, and even more helpful, a tombstones (with a birthdate) may also confirm the heritage. However, it is significant that the Douglas family of Cavers were "strong covenentors" who often worshipped with the Cameronian dissenters, even being imprisoned for their religious convictions, so their records may be missing from the parish registers, so our specific ancestors' records may not exist. The record of Margaret daughter of Thomas was chosen as a likely possibility due to naming patterns. However, it is of concern that the 1730 Wilton marriage consignment record stated that Robert Taylor was from Cavers and Margaret Douglas was from Wilton. Although Wilton/Cavers/Hawick are three different parishes, they are all just a couple miles apart, so while this is a concern, it does not preclude this being a possible match.

It is certain that Margaret Douglas and Robert Taylor who were married in 1730 are the parents of the five children below. What is not certain is that the Thomas Taylor below, born in 1739, is "our" Thomas Taylor, tailor in Jedburgh, who marries Ann Cranston*. (Curious as to why he moved to Jedburgh; neither of his brothers seem to have, as Thomas is the only Taylor registering children's births in the OPRs in 1760s/70s.) Although Robert Taylor's ancestry is virtually certain, that of Margaret Douglas is simply speculative.



Date of Baptism
Place in Scotland

Date of Death, Place

Married - date and to whom

# children

1. John

11/21/1731 Cavers

2. Thomas

2/2/1734 Cavers

(died young)



3. Thomas

8/20/1739 Hawick


(likely) ~1760 Ann Cranston*


4. Robert

5/9/1742 Hawick

5. Margaret

2/20/1745 Hawick

Notes: Scottish research is difficult as the records are incomplete. Prior to 1855 the main source of information in Scotland is OPRs (Old Parochial Registors), but these have significant problems -- incomplete (not compulsory to register, so many events not recorded, especially deaths), missing (many old records lost, destroyed or unreadable), one church only (only the Church of Scotland, no secession churches after 1733), insubstantial (little information on records, e.g., often no maiden names). The census data in Scotland start in 1841, after our ancestors left. Since it is impossible to know how many records are in fact missing, it is not adequate to assume that the single possible remaining record is in fact a match. OPRs prior to 1700 become sporadic, and research in the 17th century is virtually impossible for less-than-famous people. Since additional record books are unlikely to be found, it is unlikely that any additional headway will be made on the ancestry of the Scottish forbears.

The records prior to 1700 become very sporadic. There was only one John Taylor found in the correct time frame -- born 1679 in Kelso. However, this is assumed not to be a match due to distance. The records in Hawick start in 1634, but those in Wilton start in 1694 and Cavers in 1694. And, of course, at some point our ancestors were not even from Roxburghshire. On the other hand, Turnbull is a very common name in Roxburghshire and there were 18 Margarets born in 1650-1685 that were recorded in the OPRs, 3 from Hawick -- Look These Up! However, with less and less record coverage, and less information in the records, it becomes impossible to match anything up with certainty.

In 1760-1770, there were only two children born to a John Taylor in Roxburghshire (1 in Kelso and 1 in Oxnam) -- four to Thomas Taylor (ours in Jedburgh) -- and 1 to Robert Taylor (in Oxnam). Interestingly, Oxnam is 2 miles from Jedburgh and 8 from Hawick. (4 records 1750-1790 and 12 Taylor records for forever -- Look These Up! but since there were other Johns and Roberts born in 1720-50, this may not be ours -- 11 John, 4 Thomas, 4 Robert. However, it is positive that Taylor births to John and Robert were not found in the Hawick area. And of course, it is uncertain if John and Robert grew to adulthood, got married and had children. This was only researched to aid in determining the probability of our Thomas moving from Hawick to Jedburgh.

Although Cavers, Hawick and Wilton are three separate parishes (counties) and not just separate towns, the towns of Cavers, Hawick and Wilton are actually less than four miles apart; today, Wilton is considered a suburb of Hawick, and Cavers is virtually deserted.

Return to Hay Tree