ORDAINED MINISTERS AND MISSIONARIES
OF THE FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
The aim in providing additional information is to bring Ewing’s Annals towards the standard set in Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, edited by Hew Scott. Thus the information provided may correct or confirm what is given by Ewing but especially it is designed to complete it. It is not to be read independently but only along with the text of Ewing.
Some of this information is not hard to come by – but it is hoped that it will be found beneficial to have it all together in one place.
Within this general aim, there are two main factors which limit the scope of this Supplementary Information.
Secondly, as Ewing is particularly short on genealogical information, our focus of attention is on making good that deficiency. However, in the course of time other areas of a minister’s life and ministry have been looked at, though no special attention has as yet been paid to two areas: the place of a minister’s education; and his publications.
Similar Sources of Information
There are four sources which contain an account of some Free Church ministers and to which we make reference in the supplementary information:
Scott, Hew (Editor), Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, The succession of Ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation, Vol.1-8, Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh, various dates. These are available on line through different sites including www.archive.org. Where references are made here to these volumes, the relevant volume and page is given in the form of a link which leads to the appropriate online reference
Robb, J., (Compiler and Editor), Cameronian Fasti: Ministers and Missionaries of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland, 1680- 1929. As with FES, there is a link provided along with every reference to this source.
Lamb, John Alexander, The Fasti of the United Free Church of Scotland, 1900-1929, Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh and London, 1956
Scott, David, Annals and Statistics of the Original Secession Church till its Disruption and Union with the Free Church of Scotland in 1852, Andrew Elliot, Edinburgh. As with FES, there is a link provided along with every reference to this source.
State of the Project
There are 2,809 ministers listed in Ewing’s Annals. Most of the men whose names appear in these other ministers’ lists have been identified – approximately 1,176 appear in FUFC only; 487 in FES only; 31 in FRPCS only; 34 in Scott’s Annals only; and 55 others who are in more than one of these lists. This means that there are approximately 1,026 ministers for whom supplementary information needs to be provided.
When this went on line in mid-February, 2015, substantial additional information was provided for about 52% of these men. By the end of October, 2015, additional information was available for over 98% of these men. Further progress has been made since then. So the immediate aim has been substantially completed.
It is now necessary to state where we are intending to go in the future. We are now in a stage of revision, review and consolidation. More specifically:
(1) It is very difficult to maintain a consistent standard of format, when adding information here and there to an existing web-site, on a weekly basis. There needs to be a constant process of reviewing the ministers’ lists to attain a more consistent format, correct minor errors, repair links etc.
(2) We will continue to work on the ministers’ lists. There are a number of men who are proving elusive and we shall cast our net more widely looking for information on them. There are also a number of entries where the data is far from complete and we shall continue to look for information to supplement what is already available – especially in cases where the parental background of a minister or his wife is not yet provided.
(3) We will continue to work on the provision of obituaries and any other material which will enhance this web-site as a tool for researchers of Free Church ministers and their families.
Originally no effort was put into identifying material written by or about each minister. But now I have taken up this area of research. The parameters of this exercise are as follow:
(1) Only online material is being sought and anything else that emerges is incidental.
(2) I have looked at various general sources to see what has been written by or about any minister whose name appears on the General Index of Scottish Presbyterian Ministers. These include the following:
Scots Worthies, by John Howie;
Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900);
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography;
The Edinburgh Encyclopedia;
The Statistical Account of Scotland, by Sir John Sinclair, 1791-1795 commonly now called the Old Statistical Account;
The New Statistical Account;
Nathaniel Morren, Annals of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland;
Relevant Doctoral Theses accesible at EthOS (e-theses online service);
Relevant online articles produced by the Scottish Church History Society;
Relevant online articles published in the Scottish Reformation Society Historical Journal.
This provides a mixture of older and newer material, of a basic and a more academic nature.
(3) I have looked at the articles in The Scottish Pulpit, The Scottish Christian Herald and The Free Church Pulpit. This was done with a view to identifying material by Free Church ministers, but any information about ministers in the General Index has been recorded.
(4) I am in the process of gathering bibliographical material relevant to all Free Church ministers who didn’t end their days in the United Free Church. This is a slow process. If you look for someone Auld, you will find it; if for someone Young, you will have to wait – perhaps a very long time.
(5) These references are incorporated into the General Index of Scottish Presbyterian Ministers, except for publications referring to Free Church ministers 1843-1900, and to ministers of the Original Secession Churches. In these cases the information on Publications will be included with the biographical information already provided on each man on this web-site.
Some similar ministerial lists are written in note form and in a sort of code, where every second word is a contraction – which does not make for easy reading, especially for the occasional researcher. Here we generally do not use contractions and we write in sentences, rather than notes. Latin expressions, which tend to be used in similar material, are also avoided as far as possible.
This work involves the interpretation of data.
For example, how do we know that the David Cunningham who appears in the 1861 census as Free Church minister of Kirkintilloch is the same as the David Cunningham which the Old Parish Records record as being born in 1814 in Kilmarnock? There are various factors involved. The minister was born in Kilmarnock about 1815 according to the censuses. In fact, he is the only person of that name and about that age born in Kilmarnock. Moreover, there is only one birth of a David Cunningham recorded in Kilmarnock about that time. Finally, the minister had a daughter Ann Loudon Cunningham, and the mother of the boy born in 1814 was Ann Lowdon. We have not lightly jumped to the conclusion that the minister is the same person as the child born in Kilmarnock in 1814; nor however have we examined the minister’s marriage or death certificate to confirm his parentage. Many genealogical judgements here are now based on this “balance of probability” method of research.
However, as the work developed, we have begun to look up original statutory records, where the parents of an individual could not otherwise be discovered. When this has been done, the registration numbers are given in brackets. This means, for example, that where the registration data of a marriage have been recorded, not only the details of the marriage but the name of both sets of parents have been ascertained directly from primary sources. As over 300 original birth, marriage or death records have been looked at, fewer genealogical judgements are now based on the “balance of probability” method.
We have generally accepted transcriptions of original records and printed materials from reputable sources at their face value, but information from web-based genealogies has only been accepted if there was good reason to think it reliable. We have further information about some of these men and their families which we have not yet presented, because, although it may well be accurate, there has been no good reason to think it sufficiently reliable as to be worth publishing.
In other words, reasonable standards have been applied – but we make no claim to have interpreted the data with 100% accuracy. Moreover, this is a project in process of development. It cannot be expected that it will be entirely free of inconsistencies and inaccuracies and glitches at this early stage.
The genealogical data have been compiled using the standard sources mentioned below. Similarly, information about a minister’s studies has generally been taken from the standard published records of matriculation or enrolment or graduation of the Scottish Universities mentioned in the bibliography. If information has been gained from these standard resources, no further sources are mentioned under each entry. Only where additional sources are used for specific individuals, are they mentioned under “Sources” at the end of the entry.
These standard genealogical sources are listed in the Online Genealogical Sources section of this introduction; and the educational ones are given in the University Sources section.
Every endeavour is made to identify locations as clearly and consistently as possible, bearing in mind that some who use this will not be familiar with Scottish geography. The policy applied in this respect is as follows:
All places not identified, directly or by the context as being in a certain country, are to be taken as being in Scotland. Thus “Perth” means “Perth, Scotland.” Other Perths will be specifically identified as “Perth, Ontario, Canada” or “Perth, Western Australia”.
Scottish places will be described, wherever possible, using the traditional parishes and counties, as employed on the Scotland’s People web-site.
There are 33 traditional Scottish counties. But there was no uniform way of referring to them. Some were sometimes called “shires”; some were never called by that name. Some old records use different names and styles. We have tried to use the following uniformly – in brackets are names some documents use for these counties:
East Lothian (Haddingtonshire)
Ross and Cromarty (Ross-shire)
West Lothian (Linlithgowshire)
All Scottish places will, as far as possible, be identified by a parish name and one of the counties, as above – except for:
(2) the towns which bear the same name as counties. Thus, for example, “Perth” means “Perth, Perthshire” and “Banff” means “Banff, Banffshire”. “Perth” or “Banff” on its own does not refer to the county.
(3) certain island parishes are often referred to in the records as being on an island rather than in a county. For this reason, we generally describe parishes which are part of an island in terms of both their island and their county. Thus we don’t say “Stornoway, Ross and Cromarty”; or “Portree, Inverness-shire”, but, for the sake of clarity: “Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Ross and Cromarty”; and “Portree, Isle of Skye, Inverness-shire.” To those familiar with Scottish geography this may appear cumbersome – but it is designed to be more helpful to those not so acquaint with Scotland.
(4) sometimes a village or a farm etc within a particular parish precedes the parish and county names.
(5) sometimes the name of the Registration District is given as the place where a birth, marriage or death occurred. This may not be the same as the parish name and may cover a wide area. Wherever we lean on the indexes to the Statutory Records, it is the Registration District rather than the parish name which is given. However, wherever the street address of an event is known, it is given in preference to the name of the Registration District.
When referring to large cities – especially, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, England – we refer to “Greater Glasgow” etc. Thus Leith or Corstorphine, even before they were incorporated into Edinburgh, are described as being in Edinburgh – in a similar way as Scotland’s People refers to them as “Edinburgh City”.
In regard to other parts of the world it has not been so easy to achieve uniformity in describing locations. As this material has to do mainly with the period from 1843 till 1900, we try and use the names of localities which would have been used at that time. Thus we refer to “Rhodesia” rather than “Zimbabwe”; and “Natal” rather than “KwaZulu Natal” – if that is what these areas were called at the time. In this there is no disrespect for the present residents of Zimbabwe or KwaZulu Natal. On the other hand, I generally write “Transvaal” rather than the “South African Republic”, as being a name more widely known for that country.
More specifically, as Australia did not achieve federation until 1901 and South Africa till 1910, we do not use these terms unless we do not know enough to be more specific. Thus we refer to “Cape Colony” – not “Cape Colony, South Africa”; “New South Wales” – not “New South Wales, Australia”. The exception to this is Victoria which is sometimes referred to as Victoria, Australia, to distinguish it from other Victorias. On the other hand, as Canada achieved federation in 1867, we describe the provinces throughout as “New Brunswick, Canada” or “Quebec, Canada”.
Care is needed when interpreting dates derived from the index of the Statutory Indexes on the Scotland’s People web-site. Strictly speaking what is given there is the year in which the event was recorded. This will generally, but not necessarily, be the date at which the event occurred: it might have occurred towards the end of the previous year.
Care is also needed in interpreting dates of births and marriages drawn from the Old Parish Records on that site. In regard to marriages, the date given may be the date on which the banns were called. As they might be called in different parishes – that of the bride and that of the bridegroom – there may be different dates and places given for the event.
Online Genealogical Sources
Roll of the Graduates of the University of Aberdeen, 1860-1900, William Johnson, Aberdeen, 1906
A Catalogue of the Graduates in the Faculties of Arts, Divinity and Law of the University of Edinburgh, since its foundation, Neill and Co., Edinburgh, 1858
University of Edinburgh, List of Graduates 1859-88, James Thin, Edinburgh, 1889
The Matriculation Albums of the University of Glasgow from 1728-1858, translated and annotated by the late W. Innes Addison, James Maclehose and Sons, Glasgow, 1913
St Andrews University
Books and other sources that are used only in connection with specific individuals are given under these individuals. The following sources are used more generally.
Balfour, R. Gordon, Presbyterianism in the Colonies, MacNiven and Wallace, Edinburgh, 1899
Cameron, James, Centenary History of the Presbyterian Church in New South Wales, Sydney, 1905
Dickson, John, History of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, J. Wilkie & Co., Dunedin
Hamilton, Robert, A Jubilee History of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, M.L. Hutchison, Melbourne, etc, 1888
Hunter, Robert, History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland in India and Africa, Nelson and Sons, London, 1873
MacKelvie, William, Annals of the United Presbyterian Church, Oliphant and Co., and Andrew Elliot, Edinburgh, 1873.
McCosh, James (Editor of the Dundee Warden), The Wheat and the Chaff gathered into Bundles: a Statistical Contribution towards the History of the Disruption of the Scottish Ecclesiastical Establishment, James Dewar, Perth, 1843
Small, Robert, A History of the Congregations of the United Presbyterian Church from 1733 to 1900, Vol.1, and A History of the Congregations of the United Presbyterian Church from 1733 to 1900, Vol.2, David Small, Edinburgh, 1904
The Free Church Monthly – published under various names – 1843-1900