When I started researching my family tree I was totally ignorant of the Dobson connection. A name never mentioned within my family but in 1867 my great-grandfather, Robert Morrison married Isabella Dobson.

9th great-grandfather Robert Robertson (c.1590-?)
Born: Scotland
Marriage: Unknown
Spouse: Unknown
Monarch: James VI, 1567–1625
Event: The North Berwick witch trials begin

The North Berwick witch trials

The North Berwick witch trials

There isn’t too much information about Robert other than he fathered a son, Alexander,  recorded on 1st December 1611 at Canongate, Edinburgh, Midlothian. I have his birth record which shows Alexander Robertson (Dobson) so I can only assume Alexander was given his mother’s surname.

8th great-grandfather Alexander Robertson Dobsone (1611-?)
Born: Scotland
Marriage: Unknown
Spouse: Katherine Thomson
Monarch: Charles I, 1625-1649
Event: St John Ogilvie, a Banffshire-born Jesuit priest, was hanged for refusing to renounce the supremacy of the Pope. He was the only Roman Catholic martyr in Scotland and was canonised in 1976.

Alexander and Katherine produced three sons and two daughters all born and/or baptised in Whittingehame in East Lothian. Katherine was born in 1618 at Prestonpans, East Lothian and baptised there on Monday, 8th October. Her parents were John Thomson (1593-?) and Margaret Chauslie (1593-?).

Isabella Dobsoun – 1629
James Dobsoune – 8th July 1632
Thomas Dobson – 26th April 1635
William Dobsone – 24th December 1637
Katharin Dobson – January 1640

Whittingehame is situated between the Lammermuir Hills and the Firth of Forth, about halfway between Haddington and Dunbar, 19 miles to the east of Edinburgh.

7th great-grandfather William Dobsone (1637-?)
Born: Whittingehame, East Lothian
Marriage: Tuesday, 19th June 1666
Spouse: Agnes Wood (1637-?)
Monarch: Charles II, 1649-1651
Event: Great Fire of Glasgow (17th July 1652), destroying nearly one third of the city.

In 1637 William, my 7th great grandfather was born. He was christened on 24th December 1637. In 1666 (at the time of The Great Fire of London and one year after the Great Plague) aged 28 he married Agnes Wood from Tranent, East Lothian.  They married in Haddington, East Lothian. Her parents are unknown.

In 1650 William may have witnessed the Battle of Dunbar between Cromwell’s Parliamentarians and Scots that were loyal to the new monarch, Charles II.

William and Agnes produced one son, Alexander.

Battle of Dunbar by Graham Turner

Battle of Dunbar by Graham Turner

6th great-grandfather Alexander Dobson (1667-?)
Born: Haddington, East Lothian
Marriage: Thursday, 22nd May 1692
Spouse: Isobell Logan (c.1667-?)
Monarch: William II, 1689-1702
Event: Philip van der Straten, a Fleming, was granted Scots naturalisation in 1672 and set up a factory in Kelso, thus starting the Border woollen industry.

Alexander was born on Friday, 29th April 1667 and christened on 5th May. Witnessed by Thomas Koddie and John Wood.

Aged 25 he married Isobell Logan from Tranent, East Lothian on Thursday, 22nd May 1692 at Stenton, East Lothian. Isobell’s parents were William Logan (1635-?) and Elizabeth Robertson (1647-?) both of Tranent. Her grandparents were William Logan (1608-?) and Janet Lyne (1612-?) also from Tranent.

Alexander and Isobell produced seven children, all born and/or baptised in Whittingehame.

James – 30th March 1695
Alison – 22nd November 1696
William – 30th January 1698
Patrick – 11th October 1701
Margaret – 27th February 1704
Alexander – 11th July 1708
Robert – 28th September 1712

5th great-grandfather William Dobson (1698-1761)
Born: Whittingehame
Marriage: 1717
Spouse: Isabel Veitch (1704-1747)
Monarch: William II, 1689-1702
Event: The Royal Bank of Scotland was formed (1727) from a company of debenture holders.

Aged 19 William married Isabel Veitch, aged 13, from Ashkirk, Roxburghshire in 1717 at Galashiels. Isabel’s parents were James Veitch (1660-?) and Elspeth Stuart or Stavert (1674-?).

In Scotland during these times females could marry from the age of 12 (yet 14 for boys).

He no longer had to worry about going to war against a neighbouring nation following the union of England and Scotland (Acts of Union 1706-1707).

William and Isabel produced eight children.

William was born on 22nd April in 1716 at Galashiels, Selkirkshire. He married Jane Pringle and they produced three children. William (1748-?), Elizabeth (1750-?) and George (1754-1755).

George was born on 22nd February in 1718 at Galashiels. He married Helen Blaikie (1713-?) from nearby Kelso on 20th October in 1738 at Galashiels. They had one son, William, who lived for just 6 months (1739-1740). Her parents were Thomas Blaikie (c.1680-?) and Helen Cornet (c. 1680-?).

John was born on 21st April 1720 at Galashiels. He married Janet Heslope (c.1714-?) at Dalkeith, Edinburgh on 19th April in 1735. She also was from Galashiels.

Unknown Dobson was born on 2nd September 1722 and as he was unnamed I assume he died in childbirth.

James Dobson was born on 22nd January in 1727 at Galashiels. He married Agnes Veitch at Traquair, Peeblesshire on 9th February 1750.

Now, here’s a tale: I spent hours on this Veitch/Veatch/Vetch puzzle as James’ father also married a Veitch. It turns out that James’s mother, Isabel, and Agnes’s father, Walter, were brother and sister making this a marriage of first cousins (and doubling all data for preceding generations).

4th great-grandfather Alexander Dobson (1732-?)
Born: Galashiels, Selkirkshire/Roxburghshire
Marriage: Friday, 2nd May 1760
Spouse: Elizabeth Aitchison (1731-?)
Monarch: George II, 1727-1760
Event: Jacobite rising of 1745: Charles Edward Stuart (“Bonnie Prince Charlie”) with his Jacobite forces occupies Stirling.

Alexander was born on Monday, 4th August in Galashiels and baptised there two days later.

He married Elizabeth also from Galashiels. Her parents were Simon Aitchison (1705-?) and Helen Tait (1701-?).

They produced three boys and a girl, all born and/or baptised in Galashiels.

William – 15th May 1761
Simon – 28th February 1763
George – 24th November 1765
Helen – 6th May 1770

He was born in the same year as when the British government was administered by Robert Walpole, the first prime minister. Alexander and Elizabeth would have witnessed England defeating the Scots in 1746 under Stuart Pretender Prince Charles at Culloden Moor. It was the last battle fought on British soil.

3rd great-grandfather George Dobson (1765-c.1862)
Born: Galashiels
Marriage: 1793
Spouse: Jane Jamieson (1777-1864)
Monarch: George III, 1760-1820
Event: Adam Smith publishes The Wealth of Nations.

George was born on Sunday, 24th November in 1765 at the same time as James Watt who invented the steam engine. George was a weaver.

He would have been aware of the news that in 1787 The Constitution of the United States was signed.

In Galashiels during 1793 George married Jean (Jane) Jamieson (1777-1855) from Darnick, Melrose, Roxburghshire. Her parents James Jamieson (1748-?) and Margaret Burn (1750-?). She had one brother and two sisters.

George and Jean had four children.

William was born in Galashiels in 1800 and died at Ladhope Bank on 15th July in 1864 of Apoplexy. He married Isabella Hardie (1802-1880). They produced ten children between 1826 and 1845.

James was born in Galashiels on 28th November in 1802. He married Isabella Purves (1801-1892) from Eckford. They produced four children. James died at Bank Street, Galashiels on 28th May in 1855. He was a woolen weaver.

Janet was born around 1805. She married Ewen Wanless (1806-1864) from Berwickshire in 1830. They produced five children. Janet died in Kelso on 22nd August in 1862.

George junior was born in 1807.

In 1841 the family lived at Dunsdale Haugh in Selkirk where he was working as a wool spinner possibly at Roberts of Selkirk, renowned for their fine Scottish tweeds.

By 1851 George and family have moved 5 miles away to Ladhope Bank, Galashiels where he is working as a Yarn/Wool Worker.

In 1861 he is a Foreman at a woollen factory and living at 4 Overhaugh Street a mere ½ mile from Ladhope Bank with his wife, daughter Jessie, aged 16 and her son James Dalgleish, 9 months.

George’s death certificate in 1864 records he is back at Ladhope Bank and his occupation is a Machine Manager. Five months later Jessie married James Freer (1841-1914) in Ladhope.

3rd great-uncle George Dobson (c.1807-1881)

George junior was born in Galashiels. He was married to Marion Sanderson (1810-1886) from Innerleithen, Peebleshire in 1842. They had three children. George (1842-1887),William (1846-1928), both born in Galashiels and Margaret (1851-1919) born in Leslie in Fifeshire.

By 1851 George is a foreman at a woollen factory and living at Rothes Mill, Kinglasse, Fife with his wife and family. He is employed by David Dobie & Son at Rothes Wool mill.

In 1861 the family are living at Sparrow Mill Cottage, Kinglasse. George is Foreman at a woollen mill. William has moved out.

Another decade later in 1871 the family have moved to 3 Bridge Street, Melrose and George is recorded as a mill worker.

He died aged 73 at 68 High Buckholmside in Ladhope in 1881 on 31st December at 5.30pm of Apoplexy. His son William recorded his death.

 Death extracts George and Marion Dobson

1st cousin 3xremoved William Dobson

In 1861, aged just 15, George’s son, William, left home and took up a position as a draper’s assistant at Miss Readdie’s shop at Kinglassie. He boarded at her home at 12 Burleigh Street, Kirkcaldy.

Ten years later he is now boarding at 163 Crown Street in Govan (Glasgow) with the Porteous family. He is now a draper.

By 1880 he has met and married Jessie Young (1852-1925) at Lilliesleaf, Roxburghshire on Wednesday, 11th August.

Within one year they are living at nearby Ladhope in Melrose where the census of the time records William’s occupation as draper employing 3 males and 6 females.

They had two girls, Maggie (1882-1965) and Marion (1884-1944), both born in Ladhope.

By 1886 William has a shop at 34 Fountain Place in nearby Loanhead located south of Edinburgh where he operated his business until 1891. The property is now The Mayflower pub.

The Mayflower pub

The Mayflower pub

In 1891 the family are living at Hawthorn Gardens, Loanhead.

A few years later William has moved his drapers shop a few hundred yards up the road to 46 Clerk Street which today is the business of One to One Beauty Therapy.

Around 1896 the family move home to Gowanlea, The Loan in Loanhead, a property previously occupied by a James Wilson. The whole family were still living there in 1901.

Business is good for William as in 1900 he acquired the premises at 113-115 Clerk Street and presumably the goodwill of James Crook’s business who was also a draper. William remained at these premises until at least 1908 trading as Wm Dobson & Co.

William died at 11pm on 4th March in 1928 at St Michael’s, Townsend Place in Kirkcaldy of cerebral haemorrhage. Marian S Dobson, his daughter, registered his death.

2nd great-grandfather James Dobson (1802-1855)
Born: Galashiels
Marriage: Friday, 1st December 1837
Spouse: Isabella Purves
Monarch: George III, 1820-1830
Event: The Scotsman newspaper first published (1817)

James married Isabella (1801-1892) who was born in Eckford, Roxburghshire to John Purves (1785-1892), a farm steward and Jane Leithead (?-1892). The wedding took place at Melrose (Galashiels) on 1st December 1837.

They lived in Galashiels at Bank Street and George worked as a weaver.

James and Isabella produced four girls, all born in Galashiels whilst living at Bank Street.

Jane born 10th February 1838 and baptised on the 14th. She married David Wilson (1839-1869) a blacksmith (journeyman) from Midlothian who died of Typhoid. They had a daughter Alison (1868-1874).

Isabella was born on 6th April 1840 followed by Mary on 3rd March 1842. Mary died aged 16 of pulmonary consumption.

Margaret was born on 11th February 1844 and died in Ohio, USA. She married William Haldane (1846-1907) in Galashiels on 25 March 1873 before emigrating to the USA where she lived until her death in Ohio on 10th January 1929. They produced four girls and two boys.

James died an accidental death (concussion of the brain) on 28th May 1855 at Bank Street and was buried in Galashiels graveyard leaving his widow and three daughters living at 30 Bank Street.

In 1871 George’s widow is living at 19 Greenbank Street, Galashiels together with widowed daughter Jane, Margaret and granddaughter Alison (Alice) Wilson.

By 1881 Isabella’s granddaughter has died of croup at 22 Greenbank Street on 12th January 1874 and her daughter Jane lives with her at 21 Greenbank Street. Ten years later is situation is the same.

On 26th January 1892 Isabella died at 21 Greenbank Street. Her death was registered by son-in-law Robert Morrison of South Main Street, Stenhousemuir.

Great-grandmother Isabella Dobson (1840-1931)
Born: Galashiels
Marriage: Friday, 28th June 1867
Spouse: Robert Morrison (1841-1919)
Monarch: Victoria, 1837-1901
Events: Collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank (1878)

Isabella was born on 6th April in 1840 at Galashiels and had one brother and three sisters. Robert (1842-?), Mary (1842-1857), Jane (1838-1925), Margaret (1844-1929). From birth Isabella had been brought up in Bank Street and in 1861 she is living at 30 Bank Street in Galashiels and working as a woollen power loom weaver. She lives at home with her parents and sisters Jane and Margaret.

Six years later she married Robert Morrison (1841-1919) from Larbert at Green Bank Street, Galashiels on 28th June in 1867.

They produced seven children.

Isabella “Bella” was born on 16th March 1868 at Greenbank Street. Death unknown.

Archibald was born in Galashiels on 21st June 1869. He died in Arbroath on 24th April 1950.

James was born on 29th April 1871 at 30 Croft Street, Galashiels. He died on 26th April 1950 at 18 Meeks Road, Falkirk.

Robert was born on 3rd December 1873 at Larbert, Stirlingshire and died of cerebral haemorrhage on 27th August 1944 at 414 Main Street, Stenhousemuir.

Philip was born on 25th February 1877 in Larbert and died on 11th February 1959 at 10 Mill Street, Montrose.

George was born in 1879 at Rotherham, South Yorkshire. His death is unknown.

John was born on 1st September 1882 at Bonnybridge, Falkirk, Stirlingshire. He died on 10th April 1960 at 41 Main Street, Stenhousemuir. In 1871 Isabella and Robert are living at 33 Croft Street, Galashiels with Bella and Archibald. Ten years later they are living at 126 High Street, West Bromwich, Staffordshire where Robert is an iron foundry manager.

By 1891 the family have moved back to Scotland and are living at Moir Villa, South Road, Larbert. There is no sign of Bella who would be 23.

In 1901 the family are still at Moir Villa. Bella is still not around and Archibald is married to Helen Blackie Steel (1876-1966) and living at 29 Kerr Street, Glasgow.

Isabella died at Mitchells Land in Stenhousemuir at 11.59pm on 15th September in 1931 of arteriosclerosis. Son, Robert, registered the death.