ORDAINED MINISTERS AND MISSIONARIES
OF THE FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
This page provides details about the Supplementary biographical information that is provided in conjunction with the text of Ewing’s Annals found at List of Ministers. There the text of Ewing’s Annals is printed and, separated from it by a blue line there is whatever supplementary information we are able to supply.
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.
Most 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.
Firstly, a good number of these Free Church ministers are listed in other books. It is not part of our aim to provide further information about these men. Researchers are referred to these other sources of information. Where some additional information about these men is provided here, this is only incidental.
Secondly, as Ewing is particularly short on genealogical information, at the moment our focus of attention is on making good that deficiency. Again, other extra information may be supplied, but there has been no systematic effort made to provide information except genealogical information.
There are two areas in which these limitations have not been adhered to.
Some lists of University students or graduates contain biographical information. These have been systematically consulted. Hence, for example, we shall record the years in which students enrolled in New College, Edinburgh, even although these records contain little or no independent genealogical information.
Ewing refers to men who signed the Probationers’ Resolutions. We have found a Roll of Probationers adhering to the Free Church, published in The Wheat and the Chaff in 1843, and this information has been systematically recorded in the supplementary 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.1-7, 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.
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. So the immediate aim was substantially completed. Moreover, a lot of indexing and cross-linking – which had not been originally envisaged – was carried out, and additional materials – for example, Disruption Worthies – not originally planned, were added.
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. We need to review the ministers’ lists to attain a more consistent format, correct minor errors, repair links etc.
(2) We want to add more links and cross-references. We have already linked congregations to the ministers who served in them. Now we must provide links from the ministers to the congregations that they served in. Links to the online New Zealand Register of Presbyterian ministers or to an online version of Scott’s Annals would also be useful.
(3) There is room to set out genealogical relations in a more user-friendly fashion. Some of the entries are extremely complicated and a better way can surely be found to present this material – probably by the provision of more extended family trees to which ministers’ names can be linked.
(4) 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.
(5) 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.
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. Genealogical judgements here are based on a “balance of probability” method of research.
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.
Minor variations in the spelling of an individual’s name – for example, Mc/Mac; Ann/Anne – in different records have generally not been noted.
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 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 ScotlandsPeople 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:
(1) the four biggest cities, which will be referred to as Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. It is understood that Aberdeen is in Aberdeenshire, Dundee in Angus and Edinburgh in Midlothian. Glasgow is partly in Lanarkshire and partly in Renfrewshire.
(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 general 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.
In general, the same principles have been followed with regard to England.
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 ScotlandsPeople 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.
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”.
It is very difficult to pursue a consistent policy in this respect, through lack of information or for the sake of clarity or for other reasons.
International Genealogical Index: www.familysearch.org
ScotlandsPeople: www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk (referred to as SPI)
New South Wales: www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/bdm_fh.html
South Australia: www.genealogysa.org.au/resources/online-databases.html
England and Wales
Aberdeen Studies, No.1, Roll of Alumni, University and King’s College, 1596-1860, edited by Peter John Anderson, Aberdeen, 1900
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
Biographical Register of the University of St Andrews, 1747-1897, Robert N. Smart, St Andrews, 2004
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