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Galashiels

Selkirkshire map
Galshiels is the second largest town in the Scottish Borders and was once home to a thriving textile industry. The ancient Parish of Galashiels is bounded on the north and east by the Parish of Melrose, on the south by the Parish of Bowden and on the west by the Parishes of Selkirk and Caddonfoot. The history of the church in Galashiels in the 19th and 20th centurues is complex but there are now three ecclesiatical parishes in the town - Galashiels Old & St Pauls, Galashiels St John and Galashiels Trinity which is linked with Caddonfoot.

  • Old Parish Birth Records exist from 1714 to 1854.
  • Marriage Records exist from 1728 to 1776 and for 1837.
  • Death records exist from 1715 to 1781 and from 1831 to 1841.

Sales List

  • 1841 census Galashiels.
  • 1851 census Galashiels.
  • 1861 census Galashiels.
  • Gala Aisle Monumental Inscriptions by Selkirk Genealogy.
  • Caddonfoot Monumental Inscriptions by Selkirk Genealogy.
  • Galashiels Death Records 1762 to 1788 by Selkirk Genealogy.
  • CD Galashiels Eastlands and St Peter's Episcopal Church Monumental Inscriptions.
  • CD Galashiels Heatheryett Monumental Inscriptions.
  • CD Old Ladhope Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions.
  • CD Hall's History of Galashiels.

See our sales list for full details and cost of postage.

Galashiels Parish Church Galashiels Parish Church

Local Pictures

Volumes available for consultation within our Archive

Magazine Articles

Please note that the heading Author includes persons who have compiled or transcribed records; and that the topics indexed, and the synopses are subjective opinions.
See the Sales List to buy copies of the magazines containing articles in which you're interested.


Title Synopsis Size Description Issue No Author
Newspapers published in the BordersBorder newspapers published in the Borders, 65 in total.2 pages or more 5Peter Elliot 
Baillie John Smail of GalashielsBaillie Smail, born at Clovenfords, was First Baillie in 1867, and was renowned for severe punishment . He died of chronic alcoholism.1 page or more 36 
Alexander Turnbull and his FamilyIf you have any Turnbulls in your family and you think that you came from the Borders, this is a must for you. Turnbulls from Galashiels, Selkirk and Hawick.5 pages or more 25Jane Gibson 
Parochial Return of the Parish of GalashielsThis is a transcript of a list of Galashiels men willing to serve their country during the Napoleonic times as pioneers, guides, and providing horses, carts, and drivers. This information was obtained from a document lent by Murray Dickson of the Old Gala Club.1 page or more 47 
Galashiels through TimeA review of the book 'Galashiels through Time' published by Amberley Press.1 page or more 91 
Galashiels History TourReview of a book entitled 'Galashiels History Tour' by Sheila Scott.less than 1 page 94 
Historic Galashiels - Archaeology and DevelopmentNotes on the book 'Historic Galashiels, Archaeology and Development', produced by Historic Scotland.less than 1 page 98Ronald Morrison 
Gala RemembersReference to a book published by the Old Gala Club on the Centenary of the Armistice bringing an end to WW1.less than 1 page 99 
Coercion or Consensus? The Government of a Border Burgh in the Sixteenth centuryThe burgh of Selkirk, their trades, who controlled them. The baillies sergeants and how they came into being. Continued from issue 25.4 pages or more 26Peter Symms 
Know Your Parish - LadhopeDescription of Ladhope (now Galashiels) and historical notes. Includes a drawing of Ladhope Parish Church.1 page or more 20 
New Premises - 52 Overhaugh StreetAn announcement of the opening of the Society's new premises.less than 1 page 82 
PringlesA letter regarding the Pringles of Overhaugh Street, Galashiels and a Captain George Sharp Pringle, with response and follow-up.2 pages or more 87Alexander Watson/ Liz McGregor 
Heatheryett, Galashiels Monumental InscriptionsAnnouncement of publication of C.D. of Monumental Inscriptions at Heatheryett Cemetery Galashiels; also some notes on the history of St Aidan's Church Galashiels.1 page or more 97 
The King and I and the Galashiels War MemorialBackground on the life of Captain V.G.A. Bush, the only member of the R.A.F. whose name appears on the Galashiels War Memorial and his connection with Anna Leonowens the 'I' in 'The King and I'.1 page or more 97Gavin McLelland 
Charles and the Chocolate FactoryAn account of the Schulze family; Charles William Schulze moved to Scotland from Braunschweig in the 1800s, founded Schulze, Gow and Co., wool exporters in Galashiels, and had 5 children, Charles, Rudolph, Hugh, Johanna, Mary and Alwine, all in Galashiels. In 1911 Charles founded the Continental Chocolate Factory in Portobello, with the family home moving to Brunswickhill 10 years later. The factory was requisitioned by the army at the start of WW1.1 page or more 101Mike Chandler 
Charles Lapworth, GeologistAn account of the unveiling of a plaque in recognition of Charles Lapworth, palaeontologist (born 1842), at St Peters School, Galashiels where he was Headmaster. Further information on his wives (Eliza Cooper and Jenny Sanderson), and their children in England.less than 1 page 101Enid Cruikshank 
Letter to the Editor - Mystery Photo AppealA request from the Pavilion Cinema, for identification of an old photo.less than 1 page 101Pavilion Cinema 
The Johnstone Family from Galashiels - Tasmanian Woollen Mill PioneersThe story from the emigration of George McKenzie Johnstone (son of Walter and Mary Johnstone), the great grandfather of the author Graeme Wood, from Galashiels to Tasmania in 1887, after marrying Marion Dallas of Ladhope, and having 3 children Walter, John and George born in Galashiels, and Ann born in Keith. They had 4 more children in Tasmania (Mary, Lillian Marion, Jessie Gladys and Allen Brownlee, by 1898. George joined his brothers David and Archibald, and uncle Daniel, to help setting up a new woollen mill in Hobart, based on their successful building of the Burn Mill on the Ettrick River. George focussed on tailoring, and as a wool merchant.1 page or more 103Graeme Wood 
Archibald Johnstone, Galashiels weaver and Australian mill ownerThe story of Archibald Johnstone from Galashiels who set up a mill in Selkirk (Burn Mill) with his uncle Daniel, who were then persuaded by Peter Bulman (a wool mill engineer and machinist originally from Denholm; a cattle farmer in Australia) to relocate to Australia in Australia to develop a mill (the Waverley mill) in Launceston, Tasmania. The new mill opened in May 1874. Peter Bulman bought out the Johnstones in 1883 and the mill passed to his brother-in-las Robert Hogarth. The mill is still operating at the time of writing. The Johnstones set up a new mill in Hobart (the Johnstone Bros Derwent Mill) with production starting in 1884 using members of the Aiken family from the Borders. Archibald died in 1917. The mill ceased operating in 1939, the building now used for multiple purposes.3 pages or more 105Marion Johnstone 
Bessie Quinn, Survivor Spirit - from Galashiels Mills to Garden Cities. The story of an Irish family in Scotland, 1845-1922Book review. Author: Ursula Howard. The story of an extraordinary woman who moved from famine-ravaged Ireland to settle in the Borders, in the tenements of Low Buckholmside, Galashiels in the 1800s.less than 1 page 109Ronald Morrison 
James Melrose ScottFurther to a request for information on Margaret B Scott (1874-1953) in Issue 108, more information is included from member Bruce McCartney regarding James Melrose Scott, Margaret's brother. He joined the KOSB July 1888 and died at Loos August 1915 as a sergeant in WW1, leaving a widow Louisa Selina (Hamilton) Scott of Halliburton Place, Galashiels, and 2 adopted daughters, known as Isabella Melrose, and Agnes Scott. Piper Daniel Laidlaw of Swinton, was later awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery playing the company out of the gassed trench.less than 1 page 109Editor 
Bessie Quinn : Survivor SpiritBook review. Author: Ursula Howard. An account of the Quinn family fleeing the famine in Ireland in the 1840s. Bessie's' parents - father Owen via Haddington, and mother Mary Lyons via Glasgow, Haddington and Walkerburn, spent a lot of time in the Borders towns, including Galashiels. Bessie ended up in Hampstead Garden Suburb with her husband Cecil, the son of Ebenezer Howard, and had 2 children, one of which was the authors' father. Bessie dies of the Spanish flu in 1919.less than 1 page 111Ursula Howard 
One of the many Brown FamiliesA family tree of Browns in Galashiels, Selkirk areas.1 page or more 26I.M. Brown 
The Walter Mason PapersThe Walter Mason Papers. This is a brief description of the collection held by the museum services of Scottish Borders Council.1 page or more 19Walter Elliot 
The Cairncross family - an example of a 16th-17th century family of feuarsThis is the text of the authors' talk to the Society on 18th September 2005 titled 'Cairncross, a Border Family'. Outline of a typical noted old family in the Lauderdale/Melrose/Galashiels district, with descriptions of some of the local areas and ownership.12 pages or more 59Gregory Lauder-Frost 
New Collections at the Heritage HubCounty council records, diaries and estate papers were identified amongst the backlog of uncatalogued material at the Scottish Borders Archive.4 pages or more 69Juline Baird 
Premises ReportReport on proposed works to the Society's new premises in Overhaugh Street, Galashiels.2 pages or more 83Bill Stewart 
New PremisesAn account of the opening of the Society's new premises at 52 Overhaugh Street, Galashiels.2 pages or more 86 
Great Tapestry of ScotlandSome notes on the proposed housing of the Great Tapestry of Scotland in Galashiels.less than 1 page 93Ronald Morrison 
A Borders Man in the American Civil WarA research for Borderers who fought in the American Civil War with particular reference to Thomas Affleck born in Galashiels.3 pages or more 94Michael Hammerson 
The Welsh Family from GalashielsAn account of the lives of the Welsh (Welch) family from Galashiels, their emigration to South Africa and the problems which befell them.4 pages or more 99Malcolm Tait 
Robert ColtartAn account of the life and death of Robert Coltart an itinerant confectionery salesman on whom the popular song Coulter's Candy is based1 page or more 100Ronald Morrison 
John White and Margaret BrownA summary of research into John "Jock" White and Margaret "Maggie" Brown born in Scotland, but lived in Hyde Park Massachusetts. Census records revealed John's father (John White Senior) was born at Needlehall, Galashiels, May 1852, near the Needle Ha' ford across the Tweed. Jock was brought up in Galashiels (Low Buckholmside per the 1861 census) and Maggie married in Innerleithen - both were power loom weavers. They, and 2 sons, and John Senior emigrated to the USA July 1884. Maggie's father was William Brown (born Yarrow 1827) and Jane Anderson (1816), with previous generations hailing from Peebles and Innerleithen.2 pages or more 105Jane Stephenson 
James the ClockAn account of the sourcing and transportation of a James Gowans (1800-1886) clock to Australia by the Ball family. James Gowans was the 3rd great grandson of the authors husband. James Gowans worked in East Linton, working in his shop in Galashiels 47 High Street from the 1840s to 1890s. His son John was a prize winning chronometer maker and jeweller in New York; his son James was a watch and clock maker in Hawick; his son William became a doctor.1 page or more 105Jill Ball 
Thomas Alan Charters ScottA partial story put together based on a collection of documents bought at auction in 2018. Thomas Alan Charters Scott born Galashiels 10/Jun/1925. Father Thomas Allan Charters Scott (1898-1938); mother Mary Anderson (1900-1980) woollen reeler - her parents William Anderson (goods porter) and Mary Phillips. Thomas served an apprenticeship as an engineer, fitter and turner at Burnside Iron Works, Galashiels from 1941, and served in the RAF as an Aircraftsman 1st Class from 1945 to 1948. He returned to Scotland, but then joined the Merchant Navy as 3rd Engineer until 1955. In 1956 he moved back to Galashiels, living at Magdala Terrace, but left his employment after 15 months, to possibly spend time mining in Rhodesia, later returning to marry Margaret Anne Brownlee and purchase another property in Magdala Terrace. Further work has been performed in trying to trace the Brownlee family in Newton St Boswells, Bonjedward, Greenlaw, Huntlywood. Also, efforts to trace back Thomas senior from Newtown St Boswells, through Selkirk and Galashiels. There are many more recent photos in what is thought to be a Royal Marines uniform. Contributions welcome.3 pages or more 105Editor 
One line of Descent from John Simpson and Elizabeth SandersonA targeted tracing of the family of Kenneth Alan Simpson, of Vermont, USA. Kenneth was 5th generation of the Simpsons, starting with John Simpson (b. about 1775), married (about 1795) to Elizabeth Anderson - all 8 of their children were born in Galashiels. The article traces the generations mentioning Hawick, Earlston, Barnard Castle in connection with William Simpson (3rd generation) who emigrated with his family to Ontario, Canada, and died in Vermont USA. The account takes the tree to the 6th generation - Kenneth Alan Simpson Steeter and Roberta Nelson and 2 children who died in 1948 and 1955.3 pages or more 106James Alan Steeter 
Robert Mabon Laidlaw. Woodside Nursery 1900-1950 Wood Street, GalashielsA brief account of the development of the Wood Street nursery in Galashiels by Robert Mabon Laidlaw (1868-1950), from Bowhill, and the Laidlaw family in Wood Street in Galashiels. Robert was the grandfather of the author. The nursery land was re-developed to form the new housing development called Woodlea 40 years after Roberts death.3 pages or more 108Marjorie McLauchlan 
Henry Mitchell 1877 - 1950Based on a collection of personal documents found in Edinburgh, the story of Henry Mitchell (b. 1877) has been pieced together from his parents Thomas Mitchell (b. 1888 - Channel St., Ladhope) and Isabella Kerr. He had 5 siblings, moved to Edinburgh around 1906, and married Martha Isabella Allan Keddie and had 2 children. Testimonials to his life are presented.2 pages or more 111Elma Fleming 
My NamesakeAbout the Telford family from the Hawick area. He moved around from Langlee, Ancrum. They were buried in Melrose.less than 1 page 3Helen (Telford) Reichenbach 
The Power of the Family History CommunityAn account of a successful attempt to return war medals belonging to an Andrew Colville born in Galashiels to his family (now in New Zealand).2 pages or more 90 
Coulter's Candy and other DelicaciesReminiscences of Coulter's Candy and other Borders sweetmeats. Also notes on the statue erected in his memory and the sculptress Angela Hunter.1 page or more 100Enid Cruickshank 
The See-Through House: My Father in Full ColourA review of a book by Shelley Klein, the younger daughter of Bernat Klein, who built a modern house between Selkirk and Ettrick, and who ran a textile design business in Galashiels in the 1950s to 1970s. It is the story of Bernat's life.less than 1 page 104Enid Cruikshank 
Nae Luck!Letters. No success as regards more information on William Gray (grocer), William Sanderson (Galashiels Building Society), William Dalgleish (coal merchant), Tweed Mill enquiry or Greenlaw Galbraiths in Ed. 105. Pursuing more information on TAC Scott or Walter Brownlee (Melrose postman) additional photographs are presented.less than 1 page 106Editor 
Charles Lapworth and the Borders connectionAn account of the life of Charles Lapworth, the renowned geologist, who although born in Berkshire became a schoolmaster in Galashiels where he married and had a family. He carried out much of his early work on the rocks in the Galashiels area before moving to St Andrews and subsequently obtaining a professorship of Geology at Birmingham University.3 pages or more 83Enid Cruickshank 
Transcribing the StonesNotes on the publication of the monumental inscriptions at Heatheryett, Galashiels with some notes on the history of Galashiels Parish and the first Church at Lindean burial place of the second wife of John Knox.2 pages or more 84 
Torwoodlee TowerSome history of Torwoodlee Tower, Galashiels and proposals to restore and renovate.1 page or more 88James Pringle 
Old Town Dairy, GalashielsA history of the Old Town Dairy in Galashiels and the Anderson family.1 page or more 98Marjorie McLauchlan 
William Kemp LettersA description of a volume of 80 letters covering the period 1840 to 1861 addressed to William Kemp a valued member of the Galashiels community in the mid 1800s. Born in Bleachfields, Melrose 1788, first child of James Kemp (linen bleacher) and Christian Skirvan (Skirving). Williams' siblings were John, Georgina and Andrew. Harried Elisabeth Ketchen 1821, his children were James, Mariame(Marianne?), John, William and George Macdonald. Kemp was an engineer and amateur geologist. The letters travelled out to Queensland Australia with William's son John, and years later passed to the author (David Cramond) via his great grandparents and grandfather. The letters include a number letters from Charles Darwin arising from a discovery of old seeds in a sandpit near Melrose.3 pages or more 104David Cramond 
My Ancestor Fought at BalaclavaRobert Brand (born 1815 in Ceres, Fife) was the son of John Brand and Helen Patie. He was a weaver and joined the 93rd Highlanders, serving for 21 years. In 1851 he, and his wife (Anne, Co. Tyrone), were based at Edinburgh Castle. He fought at Balaclava in the Crimean War as one of 'The Thin Red Line'. When he left the army he lived with his sister Elizabeth and husband Robert Nicholson, in Bank Court, until he died in 1875.less than 1 page 105Liz Cowie 
Band of BrothersAn account of the First World War experiences of the Murdoch family, originally from Perthshire but who settled in Galashiels, their deaths and tragedies and the effect of the families back home.3 pages or more 88Trevor Stewart 
Rev. Robert Douglas, 1747-1820 The father of GalashielsThe Rev. Robert Douglas, minister of Galashiels, 1747-1820, was a man of great ability and served his parishioners so well he was called "The Father of Galashiels".2 pages or more 37Donald Whyte 
Tracing Your Family Tree May Not Always Be PleasantAccount of research into one specific family. Very detailed - a lot of research.3 pages or more 42Margaret C. Lawson 
Archie's Walking StickAn account tracking down the provenance of a walking stick inscribed A.C. Abbothill Galashiels N.B. It was traced to Adam Cochrane co-owner of Mid Mill Paton Street, or to his son Archibald who took over the expanding business with his brothers. The family tree from Adam Cochrane (died 1818) married to Agnes Tait), through to great grandson Archibald Leman Cochrane b. 1909 (Archie Junior) . Archie's Walk in Galashiels was named after Archie Senior Archie Junior's father.3 pages or more 102Alverie Weighill 
Galashiels and some of its familiesTalk given to the society by Mr. Ian Miller, President of the Old Gala Club. Gala indeed goes back along way perhaps even to 7000 B.C. It covers the history up to the 19th Century.3 pages or more 31Ian Miller 
Coulter's CandySome investigation into the life and background of Robert Coltart, confectionery manufacturer who probably compiled the song 'Coulter's Candy', his connections with Galashiels and the history of the song.3 pages or more 86Ronald Morrison 


Map of Galashiels from UK Great Britain, Ordnance Survey one-inch to the mile (1:63,360), 'Hills' edition, 1885-1903
by kind permission of the National Library of Scotland.
Use the control at the top left of the map to zoom in or out and drag the map left, right, up, or down as you wish.


Map of Galashiels from UK Ordnance Survey Historical Maps from 1919-1947
by kind permission of the National Library of Scotland.
Use the control at the top left of the map to zoom in or out and drag the map left, right, up, or down as you wish.

20 Most Common Surnames

The 20 most common surnames on gravestones recorded by us in the Galashiels Eastlands and St Peterís monumental inscriptions volume are (number of gravestones in brackets): SCOTT (132), BROWN (109), THOMSON (71), WILSON (69), MURRAY (67), SCOTT (62), BROWN (61), DAVIDSON (57), ANDERSON (54), HENDERSON (53), SMITH (53), ROBERTSON (48), SANDERSON (47), BELL (41), TURNBULL (41), DOUGLAS (39), STEWART (38), WOOD (37), DICKSON (37), WILSON (36).

Other Sources

Scottish Borders Archives, The Hub Hawick

The National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh

Galashiels Parish Church (Ref - CH2/1255

Ladhope Church (Ref - CH2/734)

Free Church of Scotland (St John's) (Ref - CH3/529)

Galashiels Relief Church (Ref - CH3/1257)

Galashiels East Church (Burgher)(Ref - CH3/920)

Galashiels Roman Catholic Church (Ref- RH21/78)

Galashiels Branch Church of Latter-Day Saints

Map

The Southern Annual

Websites

Old Gala Club - contains a detailed history of the Town - also a fine collection of Old Photographs and a Sales List.
Town Web Site.
History of Galashiels.
Old Parish and St. Paul's Church.
Gala Rugby Club
RCAHMS website Scotland's Places contains details of

Place and Farm names in Census Records

1841 census: Galashiels, Huddersfield, Netherhaugh, Corn Mill, Tent, Damside, Cuddie Green, Hunterfield, Overhaugh, Clearburn, Cowgate, Chingle, Wilderhaugh, Linty Mill, Wilderburn, Hemphaugh, Mossilee, Kilnknowe, Meigle, Caddonfoot, Fairnalee, Netherbarns, Boldside, Cascade, Portage, Rink, Holy Bush, Bridgeheugh, Lindean Mill, Lindean, Faldonside, Long Moss, Wester Whitlaw, Faldenside.

1851 census: Galashiels, Huddersfield, Neither Haugh, Damside, Cuddy Green, Clearburn, Overhaugh, Willderburn,, Rosebank, Hemphaugh, Mosilee, Meigle, Caddonfoot, Fairnilee, Kilnknowe, Calfshaw, Rink, Cascade, Mossend, Boleside, Netherbarns, Faldonside, Lindean, Nether Whitlaw, Over Whitlaw, Bridgeheugh.

1861 census: Galashiels, Huddersfield, Mossilee, Hemphaugh, Kilnknowe, Leabrae, Meigle, Fairnielee, Calfshaw, Rink, Mossend, Hollybush, Rink Barn, Waitknow, Netherdale, Netherbarns, Boleside, Lindean, Lindean Mill, Bridgehaugh, Long Moss, Over Whitlaw, Nether Whitlaw, New Faldonside, Old Faldonside.

Population

The population has been recorded as follows:

Selkirkshire map

Local Pictures

 Abbotsview Convalescent Home and the Eildon Hills
Abbotsview Convalescent Home and the Eildon Hills (before 1905)

 Ashiestiel House, Galashiels
Ashiestiel House, Galashiels

 The Meeting of Ettrick Water and River Tweed
The Meeting of Ettrick Water and River Tweed (before 1945)

 Galashiels - Abbotsford and Eildon Hills, Melrose Abbey, Galashiels
Galashiels - Abbotsford and Eildon Hills, Melrose Abbey, Galashiels

 Galashiels - Gala Hill, Cornmill Square, Abbotsford
Galashiels - Gala Hill, Cornmill Square, Abbotsford

 Bank St, Galashiels
Bank St, Galashiels

 Gala House Lodge, Galashiels
Gala House Lodge, Galashiels

 Cornmill Square, Galashiels
Cornmill Square, Galashiels

 Galashiels from Bruce
Galashiels from Bruce's Hill

 Galashiels - War Memorial, Bank St Gardens, Cprnmill Square, Abbotsford Ferry
Galashiels - War Memorial, Bank St Gardens, Cprnmill Square, Abbotsford Ferry

 Valley of the Gala from Old Buckholm, Galashiels
Valley of the Gala from Old Buckholm, Galashiels

 Galashiels from Bruce
Galashiels from Bruce's Hill, Bank St, Channel St, Abbotsford, Scott Park, Tweed Valley from Caddonfoot (before 1965)

 Galashiels from Bruce
Galashiels from Bruce's Hill, Bank St, Channel St, Abbotsford, Scott Park, Tweed Valley from Caddonfoot

 Galashiels - Abbotsford and Eildon Hills, Melrose Abbey, Galashiels
Galashiels - Abbotsford and Eildon Hills, Melrose Abbey, Galashiels

 Rivers Tweed and Ettrick, near Selkirk
Rivers Tweed and Ettrick, near Selkirk

 Tweed Valley
Tweed Valley



So far as we are aware, the copyright on these pictures has expired. However, if you wish us to remove the images and you can demonstrate that you hold the copyright, please contact us.