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You will probably recall some time ago, a debate about the Douglas footprint in Cockpen and adjacent parishes,
My personal interest in this is in Newbattle but having returned to the subject recently I think that I may have some information which may be of more general interest. From that comes some issues with the research I was doing in Newbattle/Cockpen.
First the general bit which concerns an Alexander Douglas, a writer married to a Magdalene Murry in Edinburgh. By writer of course I mean a member of the legal profession albeit he does not seem to have been admitted as a Writer to the Signet or W S - all the reference on the births records have him just down as Writer.
There is of course another Alexander Douglas W S in the generation before who married a Pringle but as far as I can see they did not have a son called Alexander so possibly the same extended family but not direct.
So The Douglas Murray marriage had issue as follows
I do have more notes re the witnesses etc but to keep things brief I just wanted to confirm that regarding the birth of Mary a Sylvester Douglas (also a writer) was a witness at the baptism, This may be the Sylvester who is down in the Douglas archives connected to Glenbervie and descending from Bishop Robert, Query is that credible
If so query what is the relationship between him and Alexander - if any.
Moving on, and if you bear with me, and I think this has some relevance to Newbattle/Cockpen, there are a number of other families living in Edinburgh at the same time who were all members of the legal fraternity and clearly linked by marriage. You can certainly see them all acting as witnesses in the births of their respective children
The first is a Lawrence Oliphant who married a Catherine Murry - I suspect a sister to Alexanders wife.
This Lawrence was. according to the WS archive the son of Lawrence Oliphant of Orcharmilne but is almost certainly linked to the Oliphants of Gask - because someone of that name appears in one of the birth records. in fact for the first born son William
Lawrence was clearly connected in the legal establishment - and part of that may be down to the influence of another brother in law ?- of which more below.
This Oliphant\Murray marriage had issue as below and I suspect further children through a separate marriage to Mary Hepburn (of Blackcastle).
As noted above there is also another family linked to the above where the same first names keep on cropping up.
This is the marriage of Thomas Murray and Barbara Hepburn, I strongly suspect but not yet ;proven that this Thomas was the brother of the two Murray wives noted above and in all probability with connection to Lawrence Oliphants second wife - particularly as a Hepburn of Blackcastle appears as a witness at births consistently.
And for general background this Thomas was descended from the Murrays of Woodend who were in turn a cadet branch of the senior Murray line of Athol. Thomas was in fact the second cousin of Elizabeth Murray Countess of Dysart who firstly married a Tollemache and subsequently the Duke of Lauderdale . He was later raised to the bench as Thomas Murray, Baron of Glendoick but at the start he was just plain Thomas Murray advocate.
So a fair bit of high politics and influence there but I put it in to flesh out the picture because of the
connection to what I will call the Murray sisters, including the Douglas marriage, and because Thomas of Glendoick had issue as follows - note some similar names
So for context what we appear to have here are three families lined professionally and I suspect socially.
and from a wider Douglas perspective to what extent does this link back to Glenbervie.
So moving on to my personal issue in 1688 in Newbattle we find a William Oliphant being admitted as an elder to the Kirk and in the same year he appears as a witness at the baptism of Lawrence, son to John Douglas and Issobell Hardie
This William Oliphant married a Scott and had issue as follows.
Even on this I would be tempted to call a connection with the Oliphamt family in Edinburgh but the Lawrence Oliphant WS referred to above appears as a witness at the baptisms of Williams children both in Edinburgh and Newbattle. So that is baked in as they say
So this William in turn was also at least known to John Douglas in Newbattle - whatever the connection actually was..
Which in turn brings me to the issue of John Douglas and Issobell Hardie which is where the research started.
At the time I was frankly puzzled by the fact that the childrens names sounded rather grand and a bit out of tune with what you might expect in a rural parish in Midlothian. I did try and find some local connections but none of them carried conviction - given how important the Scottish naming tradition was.
What I found interesting subsequently is that the names Amelia. Lawrence and Anna keep on cropping up in Edinburgh in the Douglas/Murray/Oliphant network but particularly in the Douglas Murray marriage. Even Robert Thomas and Elizabeth as well but these are not that unusual. The only name I could not find is Henreta
So to, eventually, to cut to the chase do you think there is any possibility that my John Douglas could be connected in some way to Alexander Douglas in Edinburgh. It would certainly be a departure from trying to establish a connection to the Douglas/Witherspoon marriage in the adjacent parish of Cockpen.
Incidentally I did also find a Lawrence Douglas Married to an Elizabeth Carfrae in Dalkeith a generation later. He was a schoolmaster so maybe that is a later connection from the Lawrence above.
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