Midlothian (Edinburghshire), Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Midlothian



Edinburghshire, or Midlothian, is the metropolitan county of the kingdom of Scotland, bounded on the north by the Firth of Forth (along the shore of which it extends for about twelve miles), on the east by Haddingtonshire and small portions of the counties of Berwick and Roxburgh, on the south by the counties of Lanark, Peebles, and Selkirk, and on the west by Linlithgowshire.  It is about 36 miles in length from east to west and 18 miles in extreme breadth, comprising an area of 360 square miles or 230,400 acres.

The county originally occupied the central portion of the ancient and extensive province of Lothian, or Loudon, and from this circumstance it obtained the appellation of Mid Lothian.  After the departure of the Romans, this district very soon fell into the power of the Saxons where it remained until Malcolm II defeated the Saxons and gained the area.

The county comprises 30 parishes besides those in the capital city of Edinburgh, which is also the county town.  Edinburgh is the only royal burgh.  Musselburgh and Canongate are burghs of regality, Dalkeith and Portsburgh are burghs of barony, the chief port is Leith, and there are seventeen flourishing villages and numerous pleasant hamlets.

About 100,000 acres are arable, 80,000 area meadow and pasture, and the remainder are moorland and waste.  The surface is diversified with hills, of which the two principal ranges are the Pentland and the Moorfoot.  The richest soil is found in the lower part of the county, towards the Forth.  The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, potatoes, and turnips.  Vegetables and fruits of all kinds (including strawberries) are raised in abundance for the supply of the city.  Cattle, milk cows, and horses are raised; also sheep, swine, and large numbers of poultry and geese.

The substrat comprise limestone, freestone, and whinstone, all of which are quarried.  Coal is very abundant and there are at present about twenty mines in constant operation.  The principal munufacture is that of linen.  There is also the manufacture of gunpowder, glass, soap, salt, candles, bricks, tiles and pottery of various kinds, and papger.  The manufacture of silk has been introduced.  There are iron-works, tanneries, distilleries, breweries, and numerous other manufacturing establishments.  There are excellent roads, the Union canal, the Firth of Forth, and several railways for transportation.  The Firth abounds with herrings and other fish, and the beach with shell-fish of every kind and beds of oysters. 

The population of the county in 1851 was 225,454.

(Source:  Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 2nd ed., 1951.  Family History Library book 941 E5L.)


The Family History Library has county-wide census indexes for Midlothian (Edinburghshire) for 1841, 1851 and 1881.  

The library also has a collection of census surname indexes for different places within Midlothian. Click here to see a table listing these other census surname indexes that are available at the library.

Cargill, David C.  Irishmen in Scottish Census Records.  Two census returns in respect of Irish Regiments stationed at Leith Fort and Piershill Barracks in Edinburgh 1851. Regiments - Royal Artillery - gives places of birth in Ireland, civilian occupation.  13th Light Dragoons only gives name, position in Army, age, where came from in Ireland, wife and any children.  Article in The Irish Ancestor, Vol. IV, no. 1. 1972, pages 8-14, Family History Library Book Ref.941.5 B2i 


Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland, Post Office Directories are avilable online. The directory available for Musselburgh is:

1903: These are available in either PDF format or viewable online.


Here is a list of historic parishes for the county of Midlothian (or Edinburghshire) with their parish numbers. Click on a parish name to see information about records.

Parish No. Parish No.
Borthwick 674 Lasswade 691
Canongate 685-3 Leith (North) 692-1
Carrington (or Primrose) 675 Leith (South) 692-2
Cockpen 676 Liberton 693
Colinton (or Hailes) 677 Mid-Calder 694
Corstorphine 678 Newbattle 695
Cramond 679 Newton 696
Cranston 680 North Leith -- see Leith (North) 692-1
Crichton 681 Penicuik 697
Currie 682 Primrose -- see Carrington 675
Dalkeith 683 Ratho 698
Duddingston 684 South Leith -- see Leith (South) 692-2
East Calder -- see Kirknewton 690 Soutra -- see Fala & Soutra 686
Edinburgh 685-1 St. Cuthberts 685-2
Fala & Soutra 686 Stow 699
Glencorse (formerly Woodhouselee) 687 Temple 700
Hailes -- see Colinton 677 West Calder 701
Heriot 688 Woodhouselee-- see Glencross 687
Inveresk 689
Kirknewton & East calder 690


Click on the map at the right to see a larger version, and click again on the larger map. Next, click on the ‘Expand’ button when it appears in the lower right-hand corner of the map.

Click here to see an outline map of the parish of Midlothian.

Helpful Websites

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