The People of the Scottish Burghs: Kirkcaldy, 1600-1799


Author: Dobson, David
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: viii 108 pp.
ISBN: 9780806355009


This volume is part of a series of records pertaining to the inhabitants of Scottish towns and cities in the 17th and 18th centuries, any number of whom or whose progeny ultimately made contact with the New World. It covers the town of Kirkcaldy, while other volumes in the series treat
Greenock, Dundee, Perth, Stirling, and, to a limited extent, Aberdeen. The books are designed to be aids to local historians and genealogists. This volume, like all volumes in this series, is based overwhelmingly on primary sources, such as the burgh of Kirkcaldy, National Archives of Scotland, Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, and Calendar of Treasury Books.

Kirkcaldy lies on the Firth of Forth on the east coast of Scotland. A royal burgh since 1664, its economy depended on the production of linen from local supplies of flax, as well as imports from the south Baltic Sea. The town also exported coal to continental markets and the Americas. Native son Adam Smith (1723-1790), author of The Wealth of Nations, was the son of the town’s Customs Controller.

Like the earlier books in this series, the Kirkcaldy volume does not claim to be exhaustive for the years under investigation; instead it captures some of the town’s inhabitants and illustrates the kinds of records that are available for the period. Dr. Dobson has arranged the burghers alphabetically and has unfailingly given the individual’s occupation, an identifying date, and his source. In numerous instances he has also extracted supplementary information, variously consisting of date of birth; name of spouse, children, and/or parents; name of ship traveled on; date of will; etc., in the process amassing thousands of significant leads for genealogists.

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