Scotland (Counties as in 1851-1901) => Scotland => Selkirkshire => Topic started by: worth on Thursday 03 July 14 13:19 BST (UK)

Title: 1841 census help please?
Post by: worth on Thursday 03 July 14 13:19 BST (UK)
Hi all
I am looking for a Robert Heatlie born around 1820 who was married to a Elizabeth Dobson in Selkirkshire Scotland. They had a son in 1844 also called Robert but I cant find the family in 1841. Another pair of eyes needed please.
Thanks in advance
Dawn ;D
Title: Re: 1841 census help please?
Post by: Scottish Janealogy on Thursday 03 July 14 13:28 BST (UK)
Do you know when and where Robert and Elizabeth were born and married? Any other children born before 1841? Where were they in 1851?
Title: Re: 1841 census help please?
Post by: worth on Thursday 03 July 14 15:44 BST (UK)
Hi and thanks for replying.
Robert their son (born 1844) was married in 1868 in Ladhope Roxburgh to Margaret Smith, I got his parents Robert Heatlie and Elizabeth Dobson from his marriage record but I have no other info on them and Robert is the only son and child I can find for them. I cant find any of them in 1841 or 1851. I have their son Robert down as being born in Selkirk in 1844 but I can't for the life of me think why I have added that. Also Elizabeth, Roberts mother was deceased at the time of his 1868 marriage.
Title: Re: 1841 census help please?
Post by: ScottishAncestry on Thursday 03 July 14 17:14 BST (UK)

I think the reason you know Robert Heatlie was born in Selkirk would be from the prison register index:

I searched for Robert Heatlie, there is one entry: Robert Heatlie, Slater, residence Galashiels, age 28, born in Selkirk, in Selkirk prison in the year 1872. This gives a year of birth c. 1844.

On searching the 1861 census no Robert Heatlie can be found. I therefore searched for Robert, born 1844 plus or minus 4, occupation slater. I found Robert Lindsay living as a lodger in Stow:

Going now to Elizabeth Dobson I searched the 1841 census and found this entry:

I now went to Family Search ( and looked for marriages of an Elizabeth Dobson, looking for one between 1841 and 1851 around Selkirk. I found one to a William (you guessed it) Lindsay in Selkirk in 1845!

Going back now to the 1851 census I found this family:

I would therefore say Robert was illegitimate. I have searched the paternity index ( but have found nothing. Kirk Sessions may be helpful. The prison register gives his religion as the Free Church. If this religion came from his mother it may also be worth looking to see if there are any Free Church baptisms for Selkirk.

Title: Re: 1841 census help please?
Post by: worth on Thursday 03 July 14 18:14 BST (UK)
Hi Emma
Thanks loads for the info, ive just checked the prison register and its definitely my Robert so that's a good start. Going to have a look at the other info now.
Thanks a million
Title: Re: 1841 census help please?
Post by: ScottishAncestry on Thursday 03 July 14 18:54 BST (UK)
Hi Dawn,

You're very welcome. I had hoped to go to the 1841 census and find a Robert Heatlie who would fit the bill; but I can't.

I have however found a Robert Heatlie in the 1851 and 1861 census, he is a baker from Selkirk.

This may or may not be 'your' Robert, in fact we don't know for sure that the father of your Robert Heatlie/Lindsay/Dobson was named Robert; illegitimate children often lied on marriage certificates. An interesting thing though is that Robert Heatlie the baker named his daughter Andrina: looks like a desperate attempt to follow the naming pattern.

I see your Robert, who married Margaret Smith, had a son called Andrew. Given Andrew is not too common a name and neither is Heatlie, one has to think there might be a connection.

This is really more workings than anything concrete but perhaps Robert the baker should be investigated a little further.

I would definitely say the Kirk Sessions though are your first port of call.

Title: Re: 1841 census help please?
Post by: worth on Saturday 05 July 14 17:48 BST (UK)
I have got Roberts death record and his father is named as Robert Heatlie on there as well and his occupation was given as a baker which would go very well with the above Robert in the above 1851/61 census. BUT, and I cant say for sure, I dont think this is the correct father of my Robert. The Robert Heatlie in the above 2 census was married to Jessie Rutherford in 1851 in Selkirk I already have him in my familytree, I also have his will and there is no mention of the Robert Heatlie I am looking for. Im going to check out the other links you have given me now. Also thanks for the prison record x
Title: Re: 1841 census help please?
Post by: ScottishAncestry on Saturday 05 July 14 19:10 BST (UK)
Hi Dawn,

It would not be unusual for an illegitimate or 'natural child' not to be mentioned in a will, especially when a man has 'legitimate' children. In fact it would not be unusual if Robert junior had never met his father. Of course he may have had a good relationship with him and perhaps Robert the baker made some provision for him.

Given, however, the fact that Robert is down as Lindsay in 1851 and 1861 (even while he was away as apprentice) makes it seem more likely that whoever his natural father was, it was William Lindsay who was supporting him through his childhood.

I suppose there are questions we may never be able to answer. The Kirk Sessions however will be the best hope you have of finding out what really happened and how people felt about it.


Title: Re: 1841 census help please?
Post by: worth on Sunday 06 July 14 09:34 BST (UK)
Hi Emma
How do I go about looking at the Kirk sessions records?
Title: Re: 1841 census help please?
Post by: ScottishAncestry on Tuesday 08 July 14 14:05 BST (UK)
Hi Dawn,

The first thing to do is search the National Records of Scotland catalogue to find out what exists and where they are (they hold the vast majority of historical Kirk Session records for the Church of Scotland and other Presbyterian churches in Scotland). I’m not sure how familiar you are with it so I have written out how to do it, not only for this search but for any future Kirk Session search.

Go to which is the NRS online catalouge.

In the search fields you will see one labeled ‘Search for’, enter in the parish name: Selkirk
Then, in the Reference field enter: CH2

(All Church of Scotland Kirk Session records begin CH2, by adding this you will narrow down the results considerably.)

Now scroll through until you see something like “Records of Selkirk, St Mary's Kirk Session”. I say something like because if you do this again for another parish it may be worded slightly differently. For the moment ignore the presbytery records. In this search a lot of other parish records show up because they were in the Presbytery of Selkirk for a time (the Presbytery was a higher level in the hierarchy of church courts and would cover a number of parishes).

In this search the result you are looking for will likely be on the third page; reference number: CH2/1380. Click on the reference number to go into the record.

CH2/1380 are the Records of Selkirk, St. Mary’s Kirk Session 1700-1986, it tells you the repository is Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Centre.

What it also tells us is that the Level is ‘Fonds’. This is the upper level reference. Take the reference, CH2/1380 and go back to the search page of the catalogue, leave everything blank apart from the reference field, and type in CH2/1380. You will now see a breakdown of items within this reference, each with their own reference.

What to do now is scroll down the dates and the titles. You are looking for Minutes around the time of Robert’s birth.

CH2/1380/5 is entitled ‘Minutes 1823-1880; Minutes certificates received 1823-1835’ and dated 1823-1880. Click on the reference to see more information.

Again we are told that the repository for this item is the Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Centre.

Under access conditions it says, “This record has been digitally imaged and will not be produced for readers. The digital images may be seen in the NRS Search Rooms on the 'Virtual Volumes' system.”

What this tells us is that you can either go to the NRS in Edinburgh and view it on their ‘Virtual Volumes’ system or go to Hawick where again you will likely be shown the same digital images, although as they also hold the original you may also be shown them if you need to see them.

If you cannot visit in person I believe Hawick has a research service and therefore may be able to search them for you, I’m not sure though however if they provide copies. You would be best to email them and ask:

The NRS do provide some copy services but not research, I’m not sure if this falls into research, it probably does. You can email them, and they have some good tips for you to consider before you make an enquiry:

There are also a number of independent researchers who could do the job. The Scottish Genealogy Network would be a good place to contact one:

If you can’t go yourself and you are asking somebody to do it, an archivist or a professional, I wouldn’t expect to pay around £25-£50.

This is a relatively quick search because you now know the reference number and the books are digitally imaged. You have a specific question too and that speeds up research considerably. Quite a number of Rootschat members go to the NRS regularly, why not ask on one of the boards if anybody can look for you the next time they are in.


P.S. There is more information on the Virtual Volumes system here: