Peeblesshire, Scotland Genealogy Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Peeblesshire



Peebleshire, also known as Tweeddale, is an inland county in the southern part of Scotland, bounded on the north by Edinburghshire, on the east by Selkirkshire and Edinburghshire, on the south by the county of Dumfries, and on the west by Lanarkshire.  It is 30 miles in length and 22 miles in extreme breadth, comprising an area of about 360 square miles or 234,400 acres.

The county takes its name from the county town of Peebles, and Tweeddale from the river Tweed which divides it into two nearly equal parts, flowing in a winding course along an ample vale of great fertility and beauty.  Secured by their extensive forests, the ancient inhabitants managed to withstand the Romans, the Picts, and the Saxons, until they became identified with the emigrant Scots from the coasts of Ireland who, settling in the peninsula of Cantyre, were soon mingled with the native inhabitants.  Afterwards a party of Anglo-Saxons from the Lothians established themselves in the valley of Eddlestone, and from these are descended many of the most ancient families in the county. 

Over the next few centuries the county was the scene of many conflicts between the English and the Scots which threatened the peace and independence of the inhabitants.  Many of the gentry attended James IV to the battle of Flodden Field (1513) and fell in that disactrous conflict.

The county contains fourteen parishes. Peebles, a royal burgh, is the county town and seat of the sheriff's court. There is also the burgh of barony of Linton, five villages, and a few inconsiderable hamlets.

In general, the surface of the county is hilly and mountainous with intervening tracts of level and fertile land. The most mountainous district is on the south side of the Tweed.  The hills in the other parts of the county afford good pasturage for cattle and sheep (mostly sheep). More than 35,000 acres are arable, about 8000 are meadow and pasture, and the remainder are moorland, hill pasture, woodland, plantations, and waste. The crops are barley, oats, potatoes, turnips, and a small quantity of wheat. Though anciently abounding with timber, and a favorite hunting resort of the Scottish kings, there are now scarely more than twenty acres of natural wood in the county. However, there are now extensive plantations.

The principal substrata area whinstone, and freestone. There is also some coal, and blue slate which is quarried and sent to Edinburgh. The chief manufactures are carpets, serge, and coarse woollen-cloth, and the weaving of linen and cotton for the manufacturers of Glasgow. 

The population of the county in 1851 was 10,499.

(Source:  Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 2nd ed., 1851.  FHL book 941 E5L, 2 vols.)


Here is a list of historic parishes for the county of Peebles.  Click on a parish name to see information about records.

Parish No. Parish No.
Broughton 758 Megget -- see Lyne 765
Drumelzier 759 Newlands 767
Eddlestone 760 Peebles 768
Glenholm 761 Skirling 769
Innerleithen 762 Stobo 770
Kilbucho 763 Traquair 771
Kirkurd 764 Tweedsmuir 772
Lyne & Megget 765 West Linton 773
Manor 766

Census Records

A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. In 1841, the British government began taking censuses of the population of Scotland every ten years, listing all persons by name.  The census records must be 100 years old before they are released to the public, so the 1841 through 1901 are currently available.  Read more about Scotland Census Records.

Most available census records have been indexed by surname. Indexes are online at these Web sites:

The Family History Library has county-wide census indexes for Peeblesshire for 18411851, 1861, and 1881.

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

Civil Registration Records

Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Annual indexes are available for the whole country. See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Court Records

The county of Peebles is in the Sheriff's court of Peebles (SC42). The Registers of Deeds for Sheriffs' courts contain much valuable information for family history research such as marriage contracts and deeds of 'disposal and settlement' (or assignment) of property, which both give names and relationships. The records are deposited at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh and are not indexed.

Probate Records

Probate records are those which deal with the settlement of the estate of a deceased person. In Scotland, until 1868, a person could only pass movable property such as household furniture, farm equipment, livestock, money and clothes through a document known as a 'testament.' Immovable property such as land was passed to the eldest son or heir through a document known as a 'Service of Heir,' which is not a record of probate. Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

Until 1823, the parishes of Peeblesshire were under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissariot Court of Peebles (CC18). Since 1823, the county has been under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Court of Peebles (SC42).

Probate records for 1513-1901 (including inventories of goods) are indexed online at You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place' of Peebles (then select the county) and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the 'Testaments registers.'


Peebles, c. 1845.jpg

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 parishes of Peeblesshire.

Poorhouse Records

Peebles Combination

Helpful Websites

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