Dumfries & Galloway archives online

Dumfries - engraving by William Miller after C Stanfield
Dumfries - engraving by William Miller after C Stanfield

As part of my certificate in Family and Local History being run by Dundee University Archives we’ve been looking at the financial records of Scottish burghs and specifically at some records created by the burgh of Dumfries.

Because of this I’ve now discovered that Dumfries & Galloway Archives have some very useful online resources.

Contact details and a summary of their holdings are at http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2300

They’ve also put their catalogue online at http://archives.dumgal.gov.uk:8814/ Even without seeing the documents, it’s amazing what you can find just by playing with the catalogue:

Warrant to Arrest Elizabeth Gordon for Alledgedly Keeping a Disorderly House

Date: 5 Jun 1735

Scope & Content: Mittimus [ie warrant for the arrest and imprisonment] of Elizabeth Gordon, accused of keeping “a lewd & disorderly house by entertaining soldiers and young women”, contrary to public morality, with depositions relating thereto [RB2/2/162 CB821/5/7/]

– was she one of yours?

or this:

Instructions for the Commissioners of the Sheriffdom of Dumfries Against the Passage of the Act of Union with England, Signed by 32 Freeholders

Date: 29 Oct 1706

Scope & Content: Printed Instructions for the Commissioners of the Sheriffdom of Dumfries against the passage of the Act of Union with England, signed by 31 freeholders of the County viz: William Fergusson of Caitloch , Robert Murray of Dumcrief, John Creichton of Crawfurstoun [Crawfordton], Alexander McGahen of Dalwhat , James Kirk of Bogrie, John Maxwell of Steilston, William Johnston of Granton, Mr John Cunningham of Birkshaw, John Corsan of Meikleknox, James Carlile of Breakwhat, James Rorison of Calside, James Douglas of Dornock younger, Francis Maxwell of Tinwald, Andrew Johnston of Newton, David French of Frenchland, Mr John Henderson of Broadholm, Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, Sir John Jardine of Applegirth, Sir Walter Laurie of Maxwellton, Robert Johnston of Wamphray, George [Millar] of Dalswinton, Walter Riddel of Glenriddel, Alexander Fergusson of Craigdarroch, Robert Brown of Ingliston, Char[les] – of Cowhill, William Hairstains of Craigs, John ..Bedieknowe, James Ferguson of Fourmerkland, William Grierson of Lag, George Johnston of Girthhead and Mr Ar[ni]ston, portioner of Moffat [RG2/6/17]

If your ancestor was listed there, you now have some idea of his feelings about the proposed Act of Union.

Unfortunately, although I’ve got ancestors from Dumfriesshire, none of them could be classed as one of the “great and good”.

Even better, the Friends of the Archives of Dumfries and Galloway have produced a series of indexes to some of the records:

  • 1851 census for Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire  and Wigtownshire
  • Dumfries Kirk Session
  • Troqueer Kirk Session
  • Mouswald Kirk Session
  • Dumfries Jail
  • Dumfries Town Chamberlain’s Accounts
  • Dumfries Dean of Guild Plans
  • Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, Stranraer & Wigtown shipping registers
  • Dumfries Poor Board Minutes

You can search all these indexes free of charge at http://www.dgcommunity.net/historicalindexes/default.aspx

I’m away to play with the Jail and Poor Board indexes – that’s where I’m most likely to find my ancestors!


5 thoughts on “Dumfries & Galloway archives online”

    1. Hi Chris

      Brilliant thanks! They’ve even got Applegarth where some of my JARDINEs came from; and Canonbie for my DI[X/CKS]ONs – although I’ve got a horrible feeling they were shady characters. It’s very difficult to get any handle on the DI[X/CKS]ONs before the 1861 census in Edinburgh when he was a “horsekeeper”


  1. Hi I’m descended from the Johnston Clan, I am strong up to about 1717 in what is today N.Ireland, Armagh , Tyrone & Knappagh.

    I know that my ancestors were apparntly high up in the clan but due to dispute with the crown and others, the family moved to Ireland, although part of the family stayed in Scotland. Dumfries apparently.

    I can loosley go back to James Johnston c1500 who married Mary McLennan also circa that date they maried c1525

    James and Mary had two sons

    James & Gilbert Johnston.

    Our line continued down James Johnston.

    I can supply some family records both hand written from long ago as well as official copies of doccuments.I’d be greatfull of any help, exchange etc or just to exchange so you can store these for any other searcher to revew.


    Laurie Piper

  2. Hi Sheena am looking into my ” past ” !! just wondered if you may be related to Fiona ( nee Nicholson ) wendy

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