Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Notes on some Dalkeith families, part 1

No stitchy news at the moment, so a bit of family history!

George Wilson m. Jean Walker

Janet Mary Agnes Marion Isabella

Porteous Chisholm
descendants descendants

On 5th January 1799, in the parish of Gladsmuir, George Wilson, described as a Militiaman from Pencaitland married Jean Walker from Gladsmuir (5). The 1841 census suggests they were both born around 1772 – 1776 in locations outside Midlothian (2).The East Lothian location of the marriage might suggest similar East Lothian origins for both Jean and George.

In all, George and Jean had seven known children, five daughters who survived to adulthood, and two children who died in infancy (1). No record has been found of the births or baptisms of these children, but it is likely they were born in Dalkeith. Later family history suggests George and Jean may not have been members of the Established Church so any baptism may have taken place elsewhere and not been recorded in the parish register.

Jean Walker died, probably in Dalkeith, on 17 July 1841 and George Wilson on 30 June 1842 (1). They are buried in the New Burial Ground, Dalkeith with daughters Mary, Janet and Agnes, Agnes's husband, James Porteous, and their family.

George Wilson in his will (4) names four executors: George Gray, banker in Dalkeith, James Porteous Grocer, John Chisholm Tobacconist both in Dalkeith and Alexander Steel, Baker in Pathhead. Very usefully, George also described three of his exectors as his sons in law, James Porteous as the husband of daughter Agnes, John Chisholm as husband of Isabella, and Alexander Steel as husband of Marion (4). George Gray, a well known public figure in 19th century Dalkeith (3), must have been a family friend as he was to later generations of Wilson descendants.

George Wilson worked as a merchant, a draper, and possibly also a grocer and handloom weaver, and at least some of his drapery business appears to have been taken over by his daughter Janet following his death (6). Janet appears to have continued with the business until the 1860s (6) and died, in her 80s, in 1885 (1) having never married. Her 1885 death certificate describes her occupation as ‘Proprietor of Houses’. Janet was predeceased in 1843 by her sister Mary (1), aged around 30, who also died unmarried.

Marion Wilson married Alexander Steel (4), Baker in Pathhead on 27 June 1838 in Crichton/Dalkeith (7). They had one known child, Jane Walker Steel, baptised on 1 June 1845 (7). Jane Walker Steel died in Crichton parish on 10 Jul 1857. Marion Wilson died in Crichton in 1874 and Alexander Steel in 1891 in Edinburgh.

Entries in Edinburgh & Leith P.O. directories -


Date range
of entries



Wilson, Miss Janet

1850 - 61


High street


Steel, Alexander

1850 - 75




Steel, Alexander

1875 - 91



1. Unpublished monumental inscriptions, Dalkeith New Burial Ground, held by the Scottish Genealogy Society -

George Wilson, merchant, Dalkeith 30/6/1842 wife Jean Walker 17/7/1841 dau. Mary 5/8/1843 dau. Janet 25/12/1885 2 children d. in inf. dau. Agnes 26/1/1869 and James Porteous her husband 26/6/1876 David K. Porteous, merchant 7/3/1890 60 yrs. Rev. Andrew M. Porteous, B.D., son of above David K. Porteous d. at Ikorofiong, Old Calabar 26/1/1892 34 yrs. buried there. Mary Melville, relict of David K. Porteous 21/5/1908 73 yrs. son George Wilson Porteous, merchant 6/1/1949 78 yrs. His wife Euphemia Mercer 28/4/1961 87 yrs.

2. 1841 census, Dalkeith

Dalkeith, Midlothian, 1841 census
Enumeration District: 7
Folio 7, Page 11
Address - High Street
SurnameFirst nameSexAgeOccupationWhere Born
WILSONGeorgeM65Draper Outside Census County (1841)
WILSONJeanF65 Outside Census County (1841)
WILSONJanetF35 Midlothian
WILSONMaryF25 Midlothian

Transcription from the FreeCEN project.
3. Alexander Mitchell, Political and Social Movements in Dalkeith from 1831-1882, privately published, 1882
4. Will and Inventory of George Wilson Merchant in Dalkeith, Edinburgh Sheriff Court Inventories, 19 Aug 1842.
5. Parish register for the parish of Gladsmuir.

WILSON GEORGE, Militiaman from the Parish of Pencaitland, and JEAN WALKER in this Parish, gave their names in order to be proclaimed to marriage 5th January 1799, and after being regularly proclaimed were married.

6. Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directories, 1850 – 1900, Edinburgh : printed by Ballantyne 1850 – 1864, printed by Ballantyne Roberts 1865 – 66, printed by Murray & Gibb 1867 – 1882, printed by Morrison & Gibb 1883 – 1900.
7. IGI online at

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