What did your ancestors do in Edinburgh?

Princes St, Edinburgh

The Name

Edinburgh was named from the Gaelic Din Eidyn which was a large hillfort situated atop a volcanic core.

The Early Years

King Malcolm III Canmore (died 1093) built his castle at Edinburgh, and his wife Queen (Saint) Margaret built a chapel within its walls - now the oldest building in the city. Her son built the palace at Holyrood.

Old Edinburgh comprised of many 'closes' off the Royal Mile or the High Street between the castle and the palace. Each close had its own community with shops and houses. The most famous of which is Mary King's close.

In the Middle Ages the city was famous for making wool cloth. Nearby was the settlement of Leith which acted as Edinburgh's port. The main export was hides. Cattle and sheep were sold at a market in Cowgate. They were then butchered in the town. After 1477 grain and hay were sold in the Grassmarket.

The 1700 and 1800s

The New Town was an 18th century solution to the problem of an increasingly crowded Old Town. The city had remained incredibly compact, confined to the ridge running down from the castle. In 1766 a competition to design the New Town was won by James Craig, a 22 year-old architect. The loch on the North side of the castle was filled in and the new town emerged.

Edinburgh did not become an industrial city and was more favoured by literary figures. The only industries being printing and brewing. Edinburgh remained a city of lawyers and bankers.

Old Parish Records

OPR's began in Edinburgh in 1595. Edinburgh is split into 12 parishes. The Parish no 685/1 in the County of Edinburgh.

The 12 parishes are:

  • Canongate - births dating from 1564, for marriages from 1564 and for deaths from 1565
  • Colinton - birth dating from 1654, for marriages from 1654 and for deaths from 1716
  • Corstorphine - birth dating from 1690, for marriages from 1747 and for deaths from 1747
  • Cramond - births dating from 1651, for marriages from 1651 and for deaths from 1747
  • Currie - birth dating from 1638, for marriages from 1649 and for deaths from 1662
  • Duddingston - births dating from 1631, for marriages from 1653 and for deaths from 1631
  • Leith North - births from 1615, for marriages from 1605 and for deaths from 1754
  • Leith South - births dating from 1599, for marriages from 1588 and for deaths from 1662
  • Liberton - births dating from 1624, for marriages from 1631 and for deaths from 1647
  • Portobello - births dating from 1631, for marriages from 1653 and for deaths from 1631
  • Ratho - births dating from 1682, for marriages from 1741 and for deaths from 1682
  • St Cuthberts - births dating from 1573, for marriages from 1744 and for deaths from 1740

If you would to know where your ancestors came from and what they did there then we offer three packages to suit all needs and budgets.

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