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Borders Family History Society

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Our Archive and Search Room is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to 4pm and by confirmed appointment at other times. We will be closed from 15 December 2018 to 6 January 2019 inclusive.


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-ROM Galashiels Eastlands and St Peter's Episcopal Church Monumental Inscriptions.
  • CD-ROM Old Ladhope Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions.
  • CD-ROM Hall's History of Galashiels.
See our sales list for full details and cost of postage.
Galashiels Parish Church Galashiels Parish Church

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 
Coercion or Consensus? The Government of a Border Burgh in the Sixteenth centuryThe burgh of Selkirk, their trades, who controlled them. The baillies sergents 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 
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 
Premises ReportReport on proposed works to the Society's new premises in Overhaugh Street Galashiels.2 pages or more 83Bill Stewart 
New Collections at the Heritage HubCounty council records, diaries & estate papers were identified amongst the backlog of un-catalogued material at the Scottish Borders Archive.4 pages or more 69Juline Baird 
New PremisesAn account of the opening of the Society's new premises at 52 Overhaugh Street, Galashiels.2 pages or more 86 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 Quarter-inch to the mile, Scotland, 1921-1923 or One-inch to the mile, Popular edition, Scotland, 1920-1930
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 on gravestones recorded by us in the Galashiels - Eastlands and St Peter's monumental inscriptions volume are (number of gravestones in brackets): SCOTT (132), BROWN (109), THOMSON (71), WILSON (69), MURRAY (67), DAVIDSON (57), ANDERSON (54), SMITH (53), HENDERSON (53), ROBERTSON (48), SANDERSON (47), TURNBULL (41), BELL (41), DOUGLAS (39), STEWART (38), DICKSON (37), WOOD (37), HALL (35), McLAREN (35), WELSH (35).

The 20 most common on gravestones recorded by us in the Galashiels - Old Ladhope monumental inscriptions volume are (number of gravestones in brackets): BROWN (29), SANDERSON (21), SCOTT (20), ROBERTS (14), PATERSON (13), HALL (13), MURRAY (12), THOMSON (10), WALKER (9), WILSON (9), DICKSON (9), MARK (8), CAIRNS (8), SIME (8), LAIDLAW (8), CLARK (7), HEWAT (7), HOGARTH (7), MAXWELL (7), ANDERSON (7).

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


The Southern Annual


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.


The population has been recorded as follows:

Selkirkshire map