The town of Montrose in the 17th and 18th centuries was a major Scottish port and market town. As a Royal Burgh it was authorized to conduct overseas trade and had developed important economic links with Scandinavia and the Baltic lands, as well as with the Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and America. As early as the 1680s, ships from Montrose had carried immigrants to the new colony of New Jersey. Since the medieval period, Montrose had been semi-autonomous under the control of an elected council. Only the burgesses had the right to elect the burgh council. The burgesses were a self-perpetuating minority of the population and were formed by the merchants and craftsmen of the burgh. Many of them have been identified and are listed in this book.
Typically, each of the roughly 2,000 entries in this volume identifies a Montrose inhabitant by name, occupation, date and source, and oftentimes by one or more of the following attributes: name(s) of family member(s), places visited, university attended, and ships traveled upon.