The Livingstone settlers of Southern New South Wales

Note: This is a joint effort to try to reconstruct family trees, in this case concerning the Scottish roots of my Australian Livingston family, which may contain errors. If you think you see something you want to copy, please also do me the favor of contacting me at to give me a chance to update you on the latest possibilities. Please see below for comments regarding people who have assisted.

Related pages:

· My main page, listing all my genealogical notes on-line.
· Further notes about this my Livingstone family, once they arrived in Australia.
· Livingston, Livingstone, Leviston, Livage, Livitch, Lovage: name study for Angus/Forfarshire in Scotland, including Dundee, Glamis, Forfar and the rest of the county.
· DNA studies: of the whole Livingston/Maclea group of surnames, and of this one family.
· The family of Lily Melrose, wife of David Peter Livingstone.

First a warning. You have to read to the end to see the conclusion and the solution to the mystery. This may seem overly corny, but in fact this webpage was written as it happened and it would be hard to reconstruct it! So by all means jump to the bottom if you are looking for the conclusion.

The Background.

My Livingstone ancestors and relatives all descend from a man remembered as David Peter Livingstone, who on 18th Dec 1838 arrived in Sydney, in the British colony of New South Wales, which is of course today a state of the modern country of Australia. He and his wife Lily Melrose had married on the 26th July 1838 in Edinburgh. Like many young free settlers, this had not been long before leaving their homeland forever: they left 24th August 1838, from the port of Greenock, near Glasgow. They travelled on a ship named the "Portland". They started in Sydney, moved into the nearby country at Dural for a while, and then headed southwards where they lived on the south coast of NSW for a while, at Broughton Creek (now Berry). Next, the family (or at least my branch of them) moved inland to the highland Riverina area near Tumbarumba, to the north and west of what is now famous as Australia’s “Capital Territory”, Canberra, and “Snowy Mountain Country”. This area, from which the inland flowing Murray River originates, is now a wine-growing area, and was very important in early colonial agriculture. It is also very close to the state boundary between Victoria and NSW, which are the oldest two states in Australia. The family in Australia is discussed further on another webpsge.

Long before I became involved in genealogy, many genealogist relatives have helped keep a connection between all of us in Australia, and our family history. My great uncle Kevin Livingstone was one of the first. In my own lifetime, Bev Penfold, Jack Piper, Malcolm Gain, Marj Livingstone and Julie Miller have all helped me and other people in our extended family. Ronnie Bates has also published a book on the family. The work of these people has been vital to me. Like many early Australian families we are now spread all over the enormous area of the whole Australian continent and beyond. While Southern NSW had been a very important centre of population in colonial times, post war Australians, with their very different sort of economy and lifestyle, have tended to re-settle in coastal cities such as Perth and Brisbane.

Anyway, the work already done left me looking at the big mystery of the origins back in Scotland.

When they married, David and Lily were both residents of Canongate, in central Edinburgh. They seem to have both had some level of education (they could both read and write) and though not well off themselves, they had been seemingly been employed in jobs working with better off people. There is good evidence that Lily was a local Lothian girl for several generations back, but David was from out of town. This page is dedicated to the search for his origins. This subject fascinates the whole family, because our family in Australia has always apparently said that we are related Dr David Livingstone, the famous Scottish explorer, missionary, and advocate of free trade and the end of slavery for Africans.

After reading a version of this webpage in 2012, Malcolm Gain pointed out to me that both David and Lily seem to have given information in Australian shipping records which implied that their fathers were still alive when they were not, and both instead gave information which would have led authorities to a brother of their father, who presumably acted as a guardian. More will be explained later.

The problem of the surname, part I.

The first surprising thing to note about our Livingstones is that all of the earliest records concerning David Peter Livingstone (as he finally came to spell his surname) actually use spellings of the type “Living”, “Leving”, “Livinge”, or “Levinge”. During the lifetime of our first Australian Livingstone family, Dr Livingstone the missionary was becoming famous in the British empire, including Australia, and people were learning to spell their own names, so it is no surprise that our family decided on the spelling which we now use. But what I have discovered is that Living, while having many possible origins, was not normally a variation of Livingstone or Livingston.

Living and Leving surnames are not common in Scotland at all, but they are common in East Anglia, where the name has been common since at least the time of the Domesday Book. Indeed there were families with this type of name all over England and Ireland. Many or most seem to derive from old Anglo Saxon names, once written as Leofwin and Leofing, though there is also good evidence that the earliest of all Livings, St Livinus who was a missionary to pagan Belgium in the Dark Ages, was a Gaelic speaker. In the 19th century, the time we are considering, these spellings were also definitely sometimes used in Britain by Jewish immigrants – families with “Levite” surnames such as “Levine” which are based on a claim to ancestry back to Levy.

Theories before me about the Leving/Living surname.

Those who studied this before me already saw one promising link in trying to establish who the parents of David were. The family had a traditional claim to be related to Dr Livingstone, whose family came from Gaelic speaking Northwestern or “Highland” Scotland, specifically on and near the Isle of Lismore in the region called Argyll. He was known to belong to a famously old clan, referred to variously as the clan MacLea, or the “Highland Livingstones”. (Other spellings connected to MacLea include MacLae[1], or older spellings such as Mac Onlea, or Mac Duinnshleibhe. I have made a separate webpage concerning more surnames which may be related.)

It is striking that many clans had alternative names which at first sight seem unconnected, for example “MacLea” and “Livingstone”. This particular clan may have believed that the “Living” component in the name Livingston (actually a town in West Lothian, Scotland), had originally been a name related to an ancient version of their own. Another theory is that the leaders of the clan took the Livingstone surname up as a deliberate sign of alliance, perhaps because of a marriage or other family link to the name. Indeed the chiefs of the clan MacLea on the Isle of Lismore have used this surname for centuries, and it seems clear that at least some of their followers took up the name at their example. In any case, for whatever reason the aristocratic Livingston family of lowland Scotland was considered a natural ally[2] and when they traveled into English-speaking towns, the clansmen, such as Dr Livingstone’s family who settled near Glasgow, used the surname “Livingstone” (with many spelling variations). So ironically, in modern times most families of this clan have taken up a surname associated with the most English speaking part of Scotland (Lothian was once under Northumbrian rule and was never Gaelic speaking). Indeed it is possible that most people of the surname Livingston or Livingstone descend from highlanders of the clan MacLea, and not dwellers in Livingston at all. The older name Maclea (or Maclay, Macleay, McClay etc) is possibly now more frequent in some parts of the new world than in Scotland.

Many or most modern historians and genealogists feel that the surname and town name come from an Anglo-Saxon (or even a Hungarian) man named Living, and had no link to Argyll, but this is not important for my family’s research. The fact is that people might have felt there was a link between MacLea and Livingstone. But apart from now saying that David’s ancestors might have been called MacLea, and not necessarily anything like Livingstone, this was where the track stopped. And this was not very satisfying. The surname Living was still not explained.

Based upon DNA evidence now explained on a seperate webpage, I do now believe there is a reasonable chance that our David had a distant link to the clan MacLea, the clan of Dr Livingstone. But even if David was quite a scholar and felt he was descended from a man named Living in the Middle Ages, why would any modern Scot not use either a name like Livingstone, or a name like MacLea? When our ancestor took up his special spelling (which he later changed to Livingstone) the name Living seems to have been used neither as a personal name nor surname in Scotland for centuries.

I should note that the standard version of our family tree when I started identified the father of David Peter Livingstone with a John Livingstone born in Argyll who was the uncle of Dr David Livingstone the famous missionary. Of course if that were correct then no explanation would be necessary, but this story never fitted together properly. I had already come to doubt this story by the time I found that there is a more convincing account of what happened to this John: From the other direction also, as I shall show below concerning our David, the evidence definitely seems to disprove this fine old story.

My best guess about the Leving/Living surname.

For reasons that will be explained, I think it is now clear that the family of David Peter L. were not recent immigrants into Scotland (for example Jewish, Irish or English), and that the changes of spelling are most likely a typical result of the changes happening in those times. On the one hand, if he chose the spelling himself, we should keep in mind that he lived in a time when ordinary people were trying for the first time to spell their own names, rather than leaving it to professional clerks (often clergymen) who either wrote whatever they heard, or whatever ancient name they thought lay behind the name they were writing. On the other hand, even if a clergyman chose the spelling, we should keep in mind that David, like many people in big cities in his time, was a long way from home, where traditions about rural spelling and pronunciation may have been distorted or dimly known.

Whoever spelled the name this way the first time, I now believe two different forces motivated the choice of spelling:-

  1. He probably knew this family felt itself to be a type of “Livingstone” family, but he also felt that these particular Livingstones had a very shortened pronunciation without the “-ston” which he was attempting to keep to. I must explain the evidence for this below.

  2. Major Charles Levinge, who I think was Anglo-Irish, lived just up the road in Edinburgh castle, which dominates that area. The Canongate baptism of his daughter Barbara a few years before in February 1836 is one of the only occasions such a surname had appeared in a Scottish parish register.

In other words, from the point of view of a Scotsman living in Edinburgh at that time, “Living” may have a seemed a respectable short variant of the name Livingstone, suitable for use by a Scot in the big city, whose own family (as I shall explain) also used short variants, but had no standard way of writing it.

So where was his family?

Connected to the problems explaining the surname, have been problems explaining why we couldn’t find any evidence for his family (whatever their surname) where David said they were. Records of him and his family could only be found in Edinburgh, not long before he left, but he said he came from Angus. I now believe that this is because his family was recorded in registers with a special local spelling of Livingstone, apparently based on local pronunciation, which was so far from “Livingstone” (or MacLea) as to be unrecognizable. The evidence I have built up now indicates that the difficulties with explaining the surname and the whereabouts of David’s closest kin, can be solved by the discovery of this 18th century spelling.

If we turn to the question of where David said he came from, the answer seems tolerably clear. According to Australian documents relating to David, he was born and baptised in Kinnettles in 1814, with his parents being John Living(stone) and Mary Craig (described as his wife, showing that this was a legitimate birth, so we would expect to find the baptism in the church register). David’s father was mentioned as if living: a stationer in Dundee. Dundee is the closest big town to Kinnettles. As a “bounty emigrant,” the information about David’s place of birth had even been vouched for, by a certificate made out by the Session Clerk of Kinnettles, one William Robertson. The signed document still exists, and William Robertson seems to have been real. Furthermore it seems from what I can find that the Kinnettles registers in this period are terribly incomplete, which explains why we could not find him.

Based on this however, I could find that there was a book-seller and stationer in Dundee named William (not John) Livingston or Livingstone. He appears in Directories as based at 75 High Street in 1837, and around the corner in 63 Murraygate, House 61 in 1846. The 1841 census shows that their family residence was in Rankins Close (now Rankins Court) which is an enclosed court behind this same intersection. The connection to Kinnettles and nearby Dundee show that David’s family is from the county or shire known as Angus or Forfar, with its main city being the aforementioned port of Dundee on the Forth of Tay. I will explain below how it was eventually proven that William was our David's uncle. Given the way his place of business was referred to by David in shipping records, William may well have helped bring David up.

Furthermore, it is lucky for us that this William helped his son Peter publish a book, Poems and Songs with Lectures on the Genius and Works of Burns, and the Rev. George Gillfillan; and Letters on Dr Dick, The Christian Philosopher, and Sir John Franklin and the Arctic and the Regions. We know from the prefaces what we can already guess from parish registers – that this family came from Hayston and the Plans of Thornton in Glamis, a block of fields right next to Kinnettles, in the valley of Strathmore, a short distance inland from Dundee. (I have made a rough map of the area, mentioning most of the relevant places: .)

However this family also don’t appear in parish registers! Not even in the 1801 lists of Glamis men fit to help in the event of an invasion from France, although William’s father James must have been an adult at his peak at this time. Why would Livingstones not appear in the registers in two different places now? At first Malcolm Gain and I considered that they might not have belonged to the Church of Scotland. But they seem to have been reasonably standard Presbyterians. Here though, are genealogically relevant notes summarised from that book:

Peter Livingston, the writer. Born 20 January 1823 in Hilltown, Dundee.

Father: William Livingston or Livingstone who "was for many years a bookseller and stationer in Dundee" and published the first editions of his sons books.

Father's father: James Livingston "at the end of the last century and beginning of the present century, possessed a farm on the Laigh Fields of Hayston, in the parish of Glammis". He "expired three hours after the death of his second wife in 1826, and both were buried in one grave in Glammis churchyard."

Mother's father: Charles Laing "a wright in Perth - a man eminent for Christian piety”. He died in 1805; the poet's mother is his eldest daughter. As a young serving girl the poet's mother is said to have suggested to Mr (afterwards Sir Walter) Scott the title of The Fair Maid of Perth.

The book also mentions an aunt, Mrs Warden of the Plans of Thornton, "one of ‘Nature's Nobles’". He writes about her kindness during a time when “a father,” perhaps James, was very ill. The Plans of Thornton and Hayston are neighbouring places within Glamis, and as we know the poet’s mother was from Perth, it seemed clear that Mrs Warden was William Livingston’s sister, and James Livingston’s daughter.

What can be found are:

  1. The 1826 probate documents concerning the decease of James Livingstone, farmer of the Plans of Thornton in Glamis, giving administration to his daughter and son-in-law John and Margaret Warden of Kinnettles.

  2. Hayston was very close to Kinnettles, and for example in one old parish register entry in Glamis it is even described as being in Kinnettles, and old maps show the Hayston topographical area as crossing parish borders into part of Kinnettles and Foffarty.

  3. The wedding, 19th November 1806, of William Livingstone and Christian Laing (“daughter to the deceased Charles Laing late Wright in Perth”) in Bridge End of Tay, Parish of Kinnoul, in Perth.

  4. This couple can be traced by the baptisms of their children, to have moved to Dundee, with William becoming a book-seller and stationer. Peter was the first baptized in Dundee on the 29 January 1823.

  5. One of their children was even named David, but he was younger than our David, born 1818, and he died young. Their monument in Dundee was very clear: “1835. by Wm Livingston bookseller & Christian Laing imo [in memory of] chn David & Robt d in childhood”.

(There is also an 1833 record of William Livingstone, bookseller and stationer in Glasgow, 404 Argyll Street. Could have lived there a while?)

But still these people did not turn up in Glamis or Kinnettles registers. They became visible when they moved away from their home towns! Could both registers be so incomplete?

My new surname problem.

In the place of Livingstones in the birth register however, another family who fits their story perfectly appears, and this family uses spellings such as the following (sorted by first vowel):

Lovage, Loveage, Lovadge, Lovatch,

Levage, Levidge, Levige, Levitch,

Livage, Liveage, Livetch, Livatch, Livich, Livish, Livitch,


Lavitch, Lavege

The earliest mention of this name I have found in parish registers so far is 12th June 1655, the isolated marriage of Agnis Lovatch in Dundee. Then there are more sightings in a small area nearby, as registers get better. I think the first are…

·         Kettins, Angushire (marriage and children of Alexander Livage and Lillias Malcolm in 1670s) Kettins is a little a little to the west of Glamis (with Newtyle in between). They continued to have children there, to be followed by other couples having children during the 1700s.

·         Longforgan, Perthshire (Janet Lavitch, daughter of James, 7 March 1673). Longforgan borders Kettins, and fronts the Forth of Tay like Dundee. There is only one parish between Longforgan and Dundee. I suspect this family continued having children under the name Livingstone in nearby Errol.

Parish registers in this area become very fragmentary when we get back to 1700 and earlier. But we can say that the tendency is that all earlier records are to the west, in or nearer to Perthshire. And as we get further back, records are all near the Tay river. The earliest records though, are in two distinct Perthshire places, the parish of Caputh, and the parish of Dull. (Because most of the earliest sightings use the same spelling, Levage, we can use that from here on as our “standard spelling”.)

Dull is firmly in the Gaelic speaking “highland” part of Perthshire and in that area we later find Livingstones but not Levages.

·         Record GD112/17/1/1/7 at the Scottish National Archives, is from the court records of the Campbells of Breadalbane or Glenorchy (Glenurquhy), who ruled this area. It is listed in the catalogue as “Minutes of court of justiciary held at Kenmore 1 August 1580. Panel, David MakPatrik alias Levage and other thieves”. We must keep in mind that this document is from the Gaelic speaking highlands, where surnames were not used, even though they might seem to be. MacPatrick most likely means simply “son of Patrick”. Levage is in a position where it might be expected to refer to the place where someone originated. David was found guilty of thevious steiling of cattle from Cranduyt (Crannich) on the west side of Loch Tay. Also involved were several men who were either in the Menzies family, or “servants” of them. David himself seems to have been a cottar under a Menzies who lived in Tullicro, a farmstead in the parish of Dull, between Dull and Camserney. David lived in Moan (Mowan), upland from Tullicro, which was a place where cattle were brought in the summer from Tullicro and Dull. There is no need to doubt that there was a real theft, but if the sentence was passed David appears to have been a victim of a much bigger tit-for-tat in which many locals were killed. The court was run by the Campbell constable Gregor MacEan, during a period when the Campbell and Menzies lords of this area were in a feud for land and other rights. Both lords were called to Edinburgh in the same month of this crime, though Colin Campbell did not come, in order to discuss various crimes committed by the Campbells against the Menzies. One of the most recent of those crimes involved slaughtering 20 head of cattle, the mirror image of the crime David’s group committed, and on the same day (20th July)! This region and period is today better known for the skirmishes of the MacGregor, the clan of Rob Roy, who were involved in various ways in these same feuds, but who eventually became outlawed. I have made a special separate webpage to go over this interesting document in detail.

·         Perhaps irrelevant, but in this region in the 1590s the Campbells had a “servitor” in their circle named Alexander Levingstoune, who appears in several Cambell documents as a witness.

·         In 1600, as per the Red and White book of Menzies, a Patrik Levage became involved in more clan trouble when £160 was taken from him after a massive cattle raid in Glenalmond. The money was apparently considered to be justifiably treated as Clan Cameron money. It was described as a price on cattle belong to the clan. Alexender Menzies of Weem stepped in to give surety for this amount, once again showing a Menzies connection to the Levages of Dull. The nature of the Clan Cameron connection is less clear. It has to be said that Patrick was one of several such people caught in this collective punishment, and that the cautioners including Alexander Menzies, failed to appear.

Caputh currently appears to be the source of all the Levages who were still using such spelling after 1700. They appear to have spread from there further lowland into Angus and southeastern Perthshire.

·         The Rotuli Scaccarri Regum Scotorum (Exchequers Rolls for the Kingdom of Scotland) for 1580-1588 show a record for 9 February 1584/5 concerning the barony of Fardle, in the parish of Caputh, possessed by the Scrymgeour family, who also had links to Dundee and other areas. Struggling with the Latin it appears that there was a free tenement in Mekle Fardle, whose life rents were outside the normal fees for this barony, and it was occupied “per Malcolmum Moreis, Brandonem Levage, et Johannum Sym”.

Much later, but still before most registers start to become clear, are two more records from this same area within Caputh…

·         The “testament dative with inventory” of James Strachan (Com. Reg. of Perth, vol. i. fol. 248) of Fettercairn, Monboddo, and Inchtuthill (also published and commented upon on Google Books), who died on the 6th January 1651. It mentions Alexr Levage apparently of Redghill (modern Redgoll Bank). Alexander Levage appears in a long list of people oweing money, specifically £87 5s. Redgill is the first place mentioned in the list. Other people at the same place were George Mackie £66 of bygane deutie James Willie £62 2s. off bygane dewtie David Ambros and Patrik Angus £83 10s. Redgole is in the parish of Caputh, very close to Fardle.

·         There is also a 1691 testament for Jean Livadge of “Harsetown” in Caputh. I have not found any place called anything like Harsetown, and I am at least a little tempted to suggest that Harsetown is Hayston, because there was in fact a small detached piece of Caputh at Hayston called Foffarty. However the only local person mentioned is one “John Ambross in litl Redgoll”, who was the person who received her wishes and Redgole is in the main part of Caputh, very close to the river Tay.

After these few early sightings come the 1700s. For not much more than one hundred years, spellings such as Levage appear in the parish registers, in a small number of parishes on either side of the Perthshire-Forfarshire border, between the Firth of Tay and the Grampians. (In the meantime the lowland Livingston Earls of Linlithgow, said to be direct descendents of Living who founded Livingston, had marriages and baptisms in Glamis and Longforgan also, but with their surname was always spelt Livingston as far as I can see.)

For example, in the 1801 list of men who could be called upon during an invasion, the following people appear.

James Livage of Hayston in Glamis

William Livitch of Thornton in Glamis

David Livitch of Arnafoul (now spelt Arniefoul)

Keep in mind that this was not a big population, so the lists are quite short. Coincidences are not likely. What’s more, by the middle of the 19th century, this spelling had disappeared!

Corresponding to this James Livage in the baptismal registers we can see his children, which looks very much like a man who had a second wife, as described by Peter Livingston:

23 Jan 1780 LIVAGE, MARGARET        daughter of JAMES LIVAGE (Hayston) (eldest child; note same name as adminstrator of will of James Livingston of Hayston, mentioned above)

11 Nov 1781 LIVAGE, JOHN            son of      JAMES LIVAGE (Haystown)

21 Oct 1783 LIVAGE, JEAN            daughter of JAMES LIVAGE (Haystown)

23 Oct 1785 LIVAGE, WILLIAM         son of      JAMES LIVAGE (Haystown)

9 Nov 1787 LIVINGSTON, DAVID        son of      JAMES LIVINGSTON (Heiston)

10 Aug 1789 LIVITCH, JANET          daughter of JAMES LIVITCH (Hayston)


12 Mar 1798 LIVITCH, ANN            daughter of JAMES LIVITCH (Hayston)

27 Jul 1799 LIVITCH, PETER          son of      JAMES LIVITCH (Hayston)

26 Jan 1802 LIVITCH, ELIZABETH      daughter of JAMES LIVITCH (Hayston)

29 Sep 1803 LIVISTON, MAY           daughter of JAMES LIVISTON (Haystown)

11 Jun 1808 LIVINGSTON, JANNET      daughter of JAMES LIVINGSTON (Grasshouses)

The first marriage of this James must be the one on 29 Nov 1778 in the neighboring parish of Kinnettles, between James Liveage and Margaret Williamson.

Furthermore, in the one fairly complete list of burials relevant to the area (the Howff in Dundee) we find some unexplainable Livingstones from Glamis (the birthplace and age clearly marked in the burial register) starting with the father of Peter Livingston the writer:

2099  Livingston, William     15 Mar 1853 66    Glammis     Sometime book seller       Scrofula    Seagate

2081  Livingston, Helen       2 Mar 1830  58    Glammis                             Dropsy

2143  Livingstone, Peter      26 Nov 1843 44    Parish of Glammis       Vintner      Consumption Gellatly Street

2126  Livingstone, James      3 Sep 1842  65    Parish of Kinnettles    Weaver      Apoplexy

2151  Livingstone/Hodge, Mary 5 Oct 1832  55    Glammis                             Cholera     Widow of Wm. Hodge

These people do however correspond very well to the register entries mentioned above (William and Peter), plus a few more:

Baptism 23 Oct 1785 of LIVAGE, WILLIAM son of         JAMES LIVAGE      in Haystown) in GLAMIS

Baptism 1 Apr 1771 of   LIVAGE, HELEN daughter of     DAVID LIVAGE      in Haystown in GLAMIS

Baptism 27 Jul 1799 of LIVITCH, PETER son of          JAMES LIVITCH     in Hayston in GLAMIS

Baptism 16 Sep 1781 of LIVEAGE, JAMES son of         DAVID LIVEAGE     in KINNETTLES

Marriage 4 Feb 1799 of MARY LEVAGE and WILLM. HODGES                   in DUNDEE

Searching through death registrations made things more clear. Several of the children of James Livingstone lived past 1855 after which time very accurate death certificates were made, mentioning father (with occupation), mother (with maiden name) and age. Margaret Warden for example died 5th October 1860.

Testing the theory

Once I had this theory, more examples showing the same “coincidences” were easy to find and test. The following are just examples. In all cases searches were done for alternative explanations.

1. Dundee baptisms:

Corresponding to marriage 26 Nov 1729 of JOHN LIVINGSTOUNE and HELLEN GIB



26 Apr 1741 LOVAGE, ALISON          daughter of JOHN LOVAGE & HELLEN GIB

3 Aug 1738  LOVAGE, GEORGE          son of      JOHN LOVAGE & HELLEN GIB

3 Aug 1738  LOVAGE, JANET           daughter of JOHN LOVAGE & HELLEN GIB

16 Jun 1743 LOVAGE, PETER           son of      JOHN LOVAGE & HELLEN GIB

Corresponding to marriage 18 Feb 1793 of JOHN LIVINGSTONE            and CHRISTIAN MACKENZIE (this case interesting because the name gets taken up quite late).







2. In St Martins parish in Perthshire:

These marriages…



must correspond to the father in these baptisms…

25 Sep 1743 LIVADGE, AGNES          daughter of PATRICK LIVADGE/

3 Jan 1742  LIVADGE, GRISELL        daughter of PATRICK LIVADGE/

1 Feb 1741  LIVADGE, JAMES          son of      PATRICK LIVADGE/

2 Apr 1749  LOVAGE, MARGARET        daughter of PETER LOVAGE/



Note that Patrick and Peter are known to have been considered equivalent names in this part of Scotland at this time.

3. In Kinclaven in Perthshire, this marriage…


Must correspond to this baptism in the neighboring parish of Auchtergaven…


4. In Errol in Perthshire (but near Dundee)…

banns 25/05/1789 and marr 29/06/1789 LIVAGE JAMES (of St Madoes) and MARGT. SMITH

Children’s baptisms:




13 May 1793 LIVAGE, JOHN      JAMES LIVAGE (weaver)/MARGARET SMITH         ERROL

This last one, John died in 1859

d. 1859     LIVINGSTONE JOHN  66 years old (so born about 1793) in  MONIFIETH,  ANGUS

He was described as the son of James Livingstone, weaver, and Marg. Smith

As in Glamis, Scottish style death registrations gave especially clear further evidence linking 19th century Livingstones back to Glamis Livages and Livitchs etc.

The area in question

I have sketched a rough map of the parishes where we find surnames of this type, mainly from the 1600s to the early 1800s. In the Highlands of Perth, to illustrate how inter-connected the parishes were, I have only outlined Kenmore’s territory in green, and Weem’s in Purple. I decided not to add more colours for Logierait and Dull, which complete the patchwork in the area around Loch Tay. Concerning the Glamis area, I have a more detailed map on another webpage.

A rough summary of where records have been found so far…



Campbell court

only one record





double Menzies wedding, also registered Kinloch-Lethendy





marriage (but note Ledwedges in mid 1800s, born Ireland)




only one record


















baptism (same couple also in Kettins)













Lethendy And Kinloch








only one record



baptism (parents marriage reg in Caputh plus Lethendy and Kinloch)

only one record



baptism of a Glamis family

only one record











Inverarity and Methy



only one record



one register entry

only one record




only one record

St Martins









baptism (Livingstone, but marriage in Kinclaven says Levige)




only one record








baptism in Foffarty


baptism in Foffarty

Mains and Strathmartine


burial, for a boy from Dundee

only one record




only one record






Currie, Lothian



only one record



marriage (one child later in Auchtergaven)

only one record




only one record

What have we discovered about the surname Levage?

After realizing the correspondence of Levage and Livingstone, I discovered that another genealogist, Catherine Kunkel, had already proposed an equivalence between the names Livingstone (and similar) and Levage (and similar) in the parish registers. She descends from the 19th century Levistons and Livinstons of the parish of Forfar, who are related to the Livingstones of Glamis. The ages at death of several Livistons and Levistons in that parish seem to indicate that David Livingston or Levitch, a contemporary of James in Glamis, moved to Forfar parish later in life. (However I do not believe that all the 19th century Levistons in the parish of Forfar are certain to share the same origin.) I believe David and James were probably first cousins.

Catherine had indeed gone so far as to propose ways in which a family tree could be constructed, starting in Kettins, and ending up in Glamis and Forfar. However, like me, Catherine had no explanation for the two very different surnames. I have also been able to make contact with Jen Atkinson, a descendant of the daughter of Margaret Warden nee Livage/Livingstone, the sister of William the bookseller, and aunt of Peter the poet.

We also still have no original Scottish register record of any birth or baptism for David Peter L, nor any relationship between a Mary Craig and any John Livingstone or Levage or Maclea (or similar). But there are gaps in those records. In the “assisted shipping” records, David’s baptism in Kinnettles is said to have been certified by “Wm. Robertson, Session Clerk”, who also vouches for David’s character (“good”). But no record of this appears on existing parish registers as far as anyone has been able to find. It is interesting that the mother-in-law of one of Margaret Warden (nee Livingston)’s daughters was one Margaret Craig, who possibly belonged to a nearby St Vigeans family that might also have had a Mary in it.

Concerning the name Levage, I can see no connection to the name Veitch. As mentioned above, families both Levage and Livingston type names, in the one parish. Veitch is never found with them. Scottish registers of that time often luckily indicate the names of both mother and father, and all surviving Scottish parish registers are searchable online, so coincidences can be checked.

The Caithness name, Levack or Levach, shows by the spelling variations that they were pronounced very differently to the name we are looking at. The -ack/-ach spelling seems to indicate the sound in the Scottish word “loch”, which some English speakers pronounce as “lock”, while the -adge/-atch spelling seems to indicate a sound similar to the ones in “hatch” and “badge”. Such sounds, in both English or Gaelic (and indeed any language) typically arise when “stop” consonants such as “t”, “d”, “k” or “g” are “palatalized” due to be close to a nearby letter (normally a “front vowel”) encouraging the tongue to pronounce on the “palate” or roof of the mouth rather than near the teeth, which is where “t” and “d” are normally made, or in the back of the mouth where “k” and “g” are normally made. (It is however interesting that these Caithness families also feel that they have an association with the clan Maclea.)

It is perhaps imaginable that the pronunciation of the name Livingston, which is known to have very often dropped the “-ng-” (giving Levistone or Livistone for example) could have gone several small and common steps further:-

  1. The -i- or -e- influencing the -t- to make -ch-. As mentioned, many languages have done this regularly including Latin and English. In Gaelic it is actually a rule of everyday speech that t and d can be pronounced something like tch or dge.

  2. The -s- being ignored because too similar to the -ch-. The dropping of s sounds when near other consonants is extremely common in many languages. In French it is a rule of everyday speech that many s sounds shown in spelling must not be pronounced when just before a consonant like “t”.

  3. The -on being dropped because not very easy to distinguish or pronounce now that it is close to a ch sound. (It may however have caused the “itch” to become “voiced” first in some cases, changing it to “idge”.) Again, dropping a sound like -n at the end of a word is very common in many languages and has happened in Latin and English. In French for example it is a rule of everyday speech that an historical n at the end of a word is not pronounced, but influences the letters before it.

Still, it has to be said that Levage simply does not sound much like Livingston.

Could the word be Gaelic? The earliest sightings of the surname in Kenmore and Caputh straddle the old language boundary and none of the areas linked to this surname are outside the zone where Gaelic speakers with their Mac surnames came to live. And ending with a sound that is sometimes transcribed itch and sometimes idge can happen in Gaelic if I understand correctly.

If the word were Gaelic though then I can come up with two similar sounding words: 

  1. “Bed” (leabaidh) which seems an odd name. But I must note my doubts that such a name was ever pronounced with a clear -dge or -tch sound at the end. I am not an expert in that area, but it appears that in modern Gallic, the word is pronounced something like lyebi. The tch/dge sound seems to imply an "-it" or "-id" ending, with no "h", and the "h" would be required after the "b" (or an "m") to make it sound like a "v". What is a bit promising is that there are at least two placenames using “leabaidh” as a component, and placenames are often reflected in surnames. These in Ireland, Leabaidh Dhiarmada, (the bed of Dermott) in Omey, and Leaba na Sornaighe (St Sorney’s Bed) in Drumacoo. It referred to a resting place in the sense of a grave in these cases, but obviously when a landmark is referred to as a burial place, it tended to be the burial place of some mythical or ancient entity. For example, to the northeast of the Taymouth area where we find Dull, Kenmore and Weem, in the high land of the parish of Kirkmichael, on the slopes of Ben Gulabein near Spittal of Glenshee, there is a placename of this form, Leabaidh an Tuirc. This means “Giant’s Grave”. 
  2. Another group of similar sounding words which might be promising are those related to the word leabhar, or book. This will be discussed further below. But it should be noted that the bh has its "h" this is a case where the sound has gone softer the "v" sound and the word is pronounced something like lyoer. I have not found any word ending in "-it" or "-id" but as I will explain below, such a word was claimed to exist in the 18th century, in the context of Livingstones-related surnames from the area of Perthshire.
  3. The word leamh (pronounced lyef) means annoying, and words with leamhan are various types of elm and hornbeam. Leamhnach refers to the cinquefoil herb (or weed), a relative of strawberries. Again I have found no sign of a derivative with the correct ending to give an atch or adge sound.

The best lead I have is a placename. In June 2010 I found a place within Perthshire, not very far north of Taymouth and Caputh, which was historically known as Levage, with that exact spelling. The place involved is today call Strathgroy, and it is an old farmstead in what was once called the Barony of Lude, just southeast of Blair Castle in the large highland Perthshire parish of Atholl. There were two Levages next to each other it seems, with the surviving one being the upland one known today as Upper Strathgroy. (And it may even be that my understanding of the probable meaning of the word is correct, because at the peak of Strathgroy is an ancient cairn, or “fairy mound”. But for now it has to be said that I do not really know the origin of this placename.)

Of course the surname we are studying has a simple two syllable sound, and if we did not know better it could have many origins. As we get into the later 1900s, and times of increasing international migration, surnames such as Levitch start appearing again in Britain as the family names of Jews from Eastern Europe. Many Jewish surnames start with Liv- or Lev- as a sign of descendency from Levi. The word could also be English or French. And lovage is of course a common European herb, which was certainly used in Scotland. (There is a native version called siunas in Gallic.) Livage or Levage is apparently a surname in France and Belgium, and Levage was even a word for a type of fee in shipping if I understand correctly.

Could these Livingstones really be from the same clan as Dr Livingstone (the clan Maclea)?

That it is possible for a Maclea family from Argyll to have moved long ago to Strathmore, perhaps via the Perthshire highlands, changed its surname or developed a new one, and yet still remembered their old links, is fortunately known to be the case because of the survival of an account by a Perthshire Maclea from the 18th century. To quote:

In Perthshire the few of them that are there, some of them call themselves McPhetie who, as I am told, take that designation from the first of their name who came to Appin of Dull and was a servant to the then Laird of Weem, and his descendants call themselves McPhetie, his name being Peter of Patrick; but all of them own themselves to be Livingston but own they are McLea's.

The relevant probate record also exists: Livingstone, Patrick, alias M'Fetie, in Tullochcoul 07 Jan 1729. Tullichuil is in the parish of Dull. And these baptism register entries from Dull are surely the family involved. Note that they are after the first Levage sightings, and we never find Levage spellings in Dull apart from that very early sighting mentioned above…



31/07/1712  LEVINGSTON, CHRISTIAN son of PATRICK LEVINGSTON and JANNET (this one in the parish of KENMORE)




After this, we see many Livingstones in the Dull register, apparently overlapping with families in Kenmore, but there is one last case of this surname…




Another early record of this family is GD112/2/117/4, from the Campbell Breadalbane papers held by the National Archives of Scotland, which seems to show one of them working for the Menzies of Weem, in a communication with the Campbells:

Bond of presentation by Robert McPhetie alias Livingstoun in Tullichhuill and Duncan Cananich in Dalravir, and John Scot in Ravir, tenants to the Laird of Weem, for John McAgowen, son to Alexander Bain McAgowen in Finard in Ranoch, 15 June 1698.

Unfortunately it is very difficult to establish how long this family were in Dull, under the Mezies family. They apparently lived very close indeed to the place where David MakPatrik alias Levage lived, only a few farmsteads away. Indeed it is striking that both families used patronymics based on Patrick, but also that their landlords both used the more unusual MacCuil within their longer names (Robert Makcouil VcRobert Menzeis in 1580 and Donald McCuil Cameron in Camvor in 1729).

At the very least this shows that while MacLea surnames do not appear in early Perthshire, MacLeas were there, using other surnames. A few observations are also interesting…

·         This shows that the name Livingstone was already being used by MacLeas before Culloden, proving that it was not Culloden which frightened them into dropping their highland name. However, that conflict was a reason is still very likely. The massacre of Dunavertie and other conflicts occurred long before Culloden. In the region of Dull and Kenmore, the higland name McGregor was even banned.

·         As another aside it is worth noting a comment in the above-mentioned account by a Perthshire MacLea, that some “derive the name of McLea from Leavensitdh, a Reader, and thus several of that name have been in several stations in the Church”. The word for book (leabhar, from Latin liber) sounds a bit like the word for bed in Gaelic, and a bit like our surname Levage. Despite what the author said, the normal word for "reader" appears to be leubhadair or leubhair. But could the author of the account be attempting to explain the Levage surname when he wrote this?

The MacGregor story in fact also helps give us an example of a documented case where a highland family was known to take up a lowland surname, indeed specifically including the name Livingston, in order to avoid trouble. Patrick Aolach or Adholach (meaning “of Atholl”) was a MacGregor who was executed in 1604, a generation after David Levage. His 5 sons are often referred to patronymically as MacPatricks or sometimes by their clan name as MacGregors, but they eventually had to take up the lowland surnames of the men who were their “cautioners”, or in other words the men who had to guarantee their good behaviour and make sure they were presented at court if called. In 1612 Alexander Livingstoun of Westquarter became cautioner for Duncan and Allester Livingston and with James Carmichael of Pottieschaw in the same year also for Patrik Livingstoun. Alexander Balfour of Torrie became cautionioner for Donald and Johne who took up the surname Balfour. These men continued to be accused of various acts of violence, and also to be victims of various acts of violence, and apparently broke loose of the oversight upon them and most or all were eventually killed. Some of them do appear to have had children though. This all happened after the name Levage was already in existance, but might these MacPatricks be ancestors to the MacPheties who used the name Livingstone in Kenmore and nearby Dull? (Dull and Kenmore and Weem formed an inter-connecting patchwork of parishes, with their “capitals” all around the outlet of Loch Tay.) And is there even perhaps the possibility that something similar happened more than once with the surname Livingston?

Further investigation!

As will be seen above, the evidence suggest that David Peter Livingstone’s father John may have been the older brother of the William Livingstone who was described in a book he published himself as a stationer and book-seller. But we have no evidence of what happened to this John. Good censuses did not start in Britain until 1841, but John does not seem to appear there. Civil registers of births, deaths and marriages were poor in Scotland until 1855. He could easily therefore have been working with his brother at some point before 1838 (when the shipping documentation for David’s departure to Australia seems to indicate that he is still alive) and then died or moved before 1841. His brother William seems to have become a book-seller at some point between 1820 and 1823. Perhaps his elder brother John was even the first into the trade.

The only way forward from the above has therefore been to compare notes with any families who may also be descended from the same families in Dundee, Glamis and Kinnettles, with this webpage hopefully helping develop contacts. This leads to the following...

  1. Firstly, with the assistance of other researchers in my family, we have determined a genealogically relevant “DNA signature” for male Livingstones of our family. By good luck it is so unusual that it can easily be compared with any potential relatives to give a very strong indication of the degree of relatedness. (We also take part in the on-going research into the links between Scottish clans and families in the older times before good written records.) What we have already discovered that we have a special DNA signature so far only found in a very small number of Scottish families including McClays, McLays, and Maclays. This seems reasonable evidence that our family really were descended from the highland Livingstones (clan Maclea). An information website about the Maclea/Livingston DNA project can be found here.

  1. Secondly, were able to compare DNA to another family from Longforgan and Errol, in the Dundee area, and even more critically from a family with a gapless pedigree back to Glamis itself. Both pedigrees show the same indications that they used the surnames Livingston and Livage in the 18th century. It was a great pleasure to find two perfect matches. So we know that David really was a Livingston and a Livage from the area he named.

  1. Thirdly, on other webpages I have drafts of what we can reconstruct of the all Livingstone family trees from Glamis, Dundee, and Forfar including the county generally. The latter two webpages show many partial family trees and some trees that probably indicate families that either left Angus/Forfar in the nineteenth century, or had arrived there only recently at that time. The Glamis tree is most relevant to my own research. I hope it will help all Tay Valley Livingstone families, as well as people researching these families. In effect this is turning into a surname study for the whole region, which will help Livingston(e) researchers to at least exclude some possibilities in their attempts to break down their “walls”.

  1. Another direction of searching which we can hope to progress with is to try to find out more about the Livingstones who continued to live in the parish of Dull at least into the 1800s. This is where the biggest advances have been made recently (2011). Several branches of the Glamis Livage/Livingstone family can be safely traced into the twentieth century. Reference should be made to the Glamis webpage where family trees are discussed in more detail. Of particular interest are:-

1. Forfar branch. These descend from David, a seeming cousin of James Livage, and eventually all changed to the spelling “Liveston”.


This line has been DNA tested and is a confirmed match to ours.

2. Liverpool Branch. These descend from William the book-seller of Dundee, via his son James. Two surviving male lines seem likely based on census records.

We are extremely keen to have contact with this family.

JAMES WILLIAM LIVINGSTON b. abt 1870 in Strathmartine m. Margaret Denny Biggar. March quarter 1897. 8b/830. West Derby civil district.
1911 census: 39 Kingfield Road Walton Liverpool, Stores Manager, with wife but no children.

Seems to have died in Liverpool North, 76y, 1947, 10d/324. James Livingston

WILLIAM FAIRNIE LIVINGSTON b. abt 1877 (or 1879? 8b/271) in Liverpool.
1911 Census: living with sister Esther Annie Holmes and family, in Crosby West Derby. Warehouse Porter.
Seems to have died in Crosby 76y, 1946 (10c/102). William F J Livingston.

3. Norfolk and South Wales Branch.

This is where the big breakthrough happens.

Jen Atkinson and I found that one William Livingston or Livingstone, a draper of Great Yarmouth contemporary with our David Peter Livingstone, kept close contact to the far away family of James Livage or Livingstone in Glamis. In 1851 his children were staying there, and his Norfolk wife’s surname, Bax, was used as a middle name by the Scottish relatives. It looked like he may in fact have been a son of John Livingstone and Mary Craig, but we were unable to prove this. One of his census records appears to say that his birthplace was Glasgow. Tantalizingly, William’s drapery business is referred to in early directories as “Livingston, John and Co.” It was possible to trace this family in censuses and track two brothers, likely to have surviving male lines...

No longer with parents in 1901 – student boarder in Beccles, Suffolk
1911: with brother Donald, 2 Euston Road Great Yarmouth, both called “Draper Tallyman”
It appears he may have married Amelia A Rushmer in Yarmouth in Q4 1912 (4b/34)
The following children appeared to be theirs:-

John W Livingston, born in Yarmouth Q3 1914 (4b/22)
Peter K Livingston, born in Wandsworth (South London, Surrey), Q4 1921 (1d/1286). Possibly married Jul quarter 1947, North Surrey. (5g/1793)
Paul J Livingston, born in Wandsworth (South London, Surrey), Q2 1924 (1d/1157)

DONALD LIVINGSTON b. abt 1890 (probably b June quarter 1890 4b/28 YARMOUTH)
1911: with brother William, 2 Euston Road Great Yarmouth, both called “Draper Tallyman”
Probably married Elsie F Williams, Romford Essex, Q2 1943 (4a/1305), but may have been married before also. (There were some Livingston children born in Romford in the 1830s, with mother’s maiden name Rumen.)
Probably died Romford Essex 1958, (71 years old, 5a/549)

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT. Trevor Kirkman, a genealogist working with Loma Livingston, a member of this family, contacted me in 2011 after finding this website. Amazingly, this family has possession of a 19th century handwritten genealogical note made by the same William Livingston who originally came to Yarmouth from Scotland! See below...

The family tree according to William Livingston, draper of Yarmouth

My transcription of the document made available by Loma Livingston and Trevor Kirkman, with numbered lists broken into paragraphs, and notes in square brackets:-

Genealogical account of the Livingston Family who haild from the Parish of Glamiss in the North of Scotland Strothmore [Strathmore] or Forfarshire

William Livingston was born at Hayston in the Parish of Glammis about 1690 [actually more likely to be 1719. See my Glamis webpage.] he married Janett Rough of Glen Ogilvie She died in 1784 he died at Hayston about 1787 were both Buried in Glamiss they had 4 children viz
1. Margrt. who married John Young of Kirk Hill Parish of Kinnettles.
[Glamis register shows baptism 26 April 1747]
2. Jean married [Geo?] Small of Fofarty Same Parish Kinnettles
3. James was born at Cotter Town Parish of Glamiss 10th May 1751
[also looks like 1757 or 1787, Glamis register gives baptism as 26 May 1751] - married Jannet Williamson [Rothcolte] Parish of Logie Fifeshire who was born 1745 [I can not find Rothcolte, but there was such a Williamson family in Logie] and died 30 Oct 1789 (and whose Father died in 1778 aged 103 years) they had 6 children viz

1. Margrt. Campell born 25 [could be 23?] Ja[rt] 1780 [Glamis register shows baptism 23 Jan 1780] who married John Warden 17 May 1789 [1789 obviously wrong. Canongate register gives 15 May 1809]
2. John born 12 Nov 1781 (my Father) [Glamis register shows baptism 11 Nov 1781] who married Mary Craig in Ireland (who afterwards settled in Glasgow) He died (or was drowned in a clay pit) 31st March 1823 was buried in Glasgow
3. Jean Fairnie born 21 Octr 1783
[Glamis register shows the baptism on the same day] Married John Cunningham [...]
William Fairnie borne 22 Octr 1785
[Glamis register shows baptism 23 Oct 1785] married Christian Laing of Perth
5. David born 9 Novr 1787
[Glamis register shows the baptism on the same day] married married Jean Taylor of Dollar fifeshire He died 17 Sept 1849 [I was able to find the marriage in Perth, 12 Feb 1808. James was a weaver and Jean was a resident in Perth daughter to George Taylor servant to Mr Foot at Dollar Parties]
6. Janett born 10 Augst [Glamis register shows the baptism on the same day] and died in 1789 infancy

- the above mentioned James Livingston was twice married the Second was Ann Couper of Ballingoy Tealing in 1797 who with Her Husband died a few Hours between each other and were buried together in Glamis 13 March 1826 - they had 5 children viz

1. Ann [Glamis register shows baptism 12 Mar 1798]
2. Elizabeth [Glamis register shows baptism 26 Jan 1802]
3. Peter [Glamis register shows baptism 27 Jul 1799, so he was probably actually older than Elizabeth]
4. May [Glamis register shows baptism 29 Sep 1803]
5. Jess [Glamis register shows baptism 11 Jun 1808, but records the name as Jannet]

they are all dead only Jess leaving [having?] [issue?] who married Thomas Rough of Kinnettles [e-mail from Irene Pollands has confirmed to me that there was issue] -

In the Church of Glamis is errected to the memory of James Livingston who died 13th March 1826 ag[ed] 74 and Jannet Williamson his first wife who died 30 Octr 1789 aged 44 and Ann Couper his second wife who died 13 March 1826 - also John Livingston His son who died 30 March 1823 aged 43 years also James who died in infancy [this memorial apparently no longer exists in a legible form, or has been misplaced] -

At the Head of the Stone is a monument with the following inscription Sacred to the Memory of John Warden of Plans of Thornton who died at Mary Bank House Broughty Ferry 18 Septr 1869 aged 90 years also Margrt. Livingston His wife who died at Plans of Thornton 6 Octr 1860 aged 80 years Both were interred here - Pedestal 1873 this stone was erected by their son Alexdr. Warden and others of this Family [this memorial does still exist in Glamis, and photos are shown below] -

John Livingston and Mary Craig who settled in Glasgow and had 7 children viz
1. Margrt.
[Possibly the baptism shown in Glamis register., 4 August 1802, with the father being John Livingston of Hayston]
2. Mary
3. Jess
4. William born 4 Septr 1810
[one census says he was born Glasgow]
5. John
[I wonder if he started the business in Yarmouth, because from 1836 to 1839 elector lists there show John Livingston, not William.]
6. David Born 1819 [A statement made by the Kinnettles session clerk and used in Australian records says he was baptised 1814, though shipping records to Australia imply a birth year of 1817. Although the shipping records imply he was born in "Kinsill" Forfarshire, his death certificate says Glasgow was his actual birthplace and also implies a birth year of 1814]
7. Eliza

David married Lilly Melross of Edinburgh 1838 and went to Australia same year and had 7 of a family viz
1. Rob[ert]
2. John
3. Adam
[my great great grandfather Adam Standish Livingstone, b. 9 Jun 1844, Dural, NSW; d. 14 Feb 1920, Tumbarumba, NSW]
4. Louisa Jean [predictably, Australian records spell her second name as Jane]
5. William
[actually should be older than Lousia Jane]
6. David
7. James

As can be seen by comparing to Australian records, this is certainly our family and this document solves the mystery of the Scottish ancestry of David Peter Livingstone.

Below are some photos I once took in Glamis showing the Warden monument mentioned above. Glamis monuments were moved around it seems in the 20th century so the Livingston monument it was apparently adjacent to is no longer to be found.

So here is a summary family tree for our Scottish roots in Glamis.

1. JAMES LAVITCH/LIVAGE/LEIVAGE/LEVIDGE is the first of this family appearing in surviving Glamis records.

Children’s baptisms:

1.1. 25 Feb 1699 LAVITCH, JOHN in GLAMIS (of Roods of the Glen, baptized in Tellen, which Jen and I think is Tealing)
witnesses: James Coupar and John Allon. See below, 1716, for evidence that John Allon was from Tealing.

1.2 26 Nov 1704 LIVAGE, DAVID in GLAMIS (of Haystown, baptised in presence of congregation)

1.3. 4 Dec 1712 LIVAGE, JEAN in GLAMIS (of Arnafoull, witnesses: William & Alexr Rinds, or perhaps Rind)

1.4. 29 Apr 1716 “a son” apparently James
The Tealing register says: “James Livetch in the parish of Glames had a son in mariag baptised after [???] presented by John Allon in Finberge his Brother in Law he being prisoner in Stirling himself sins Shirvemoor [or Shirremoor]”
Clearly the family was caught up in the events of 1715, a major Jacobite rebellion. Concerning their manor lord: “The forfeiture of the estate [of the earl of Strathmore, of Glamis castle] was prevented by the earl’s brother being killed at the head of his regiment on Shiremore” []. I presume this Shiremoor or Shirvemoor is not Shiremoor at the mouth of the Tyne, but Sheriffmuir near Dunblane, which was also sometimes spelt this way. See
I guess Finberge would be Finlarg in the northern tip of Tealing.

1.5. 27 Sep 1719 LEIVAGE, WILLIAM in GLAMIS (Haystown)

1.6. 29 Mar 1724 LEVIDGE, ALEXR in GLAMIS (Thorntown)


Just following 2 of these sons, whose families stayed in the area:-

The account of William Livingston of Great Yarmouth says this William was born in Hayston, died about 1787, and that his wife was Janett Rough of Glen Ogilvie, who died 1784. Both were buried in Glamis.
The Glamis list of people who were in the later 1745 rebellion includes two Liviechs:- Wm and John, both labouring men of Hayston, whereabouts unknown, who "Carried arms with rebels for a countryman who was obliged to find them a man and go himself". This is transcribed in Glamis, A Village History, by the Glamis Publishing Group.

Children’s baptisms:

1.5.1. 26 Apr 1747 LEVIDGE, MARGT daughter of WM. LEVIDGE in GLAMIS (Haystown Cong.)
The account of William Livingston of Great Yarmouth says she married John Young of Kirk Hill in Kinnettles.

1.5.2. 26 May 1751 LOVAGE, JAMES son of WILLIAM LOVAGE in GLAMIS (Hayston witt. Cong.)
James whose family is discussed in much more detail below. The account of William Livingston of Great Yarmouth confirms this, and says his birth date was 10th May.

1.5.3. JEAN
The account of William Livingston of Great Yarmouth mentions a third child, Jean, who married married a George Small of Foffarty in Kinnettles.

1.6. ALEXANDER LEVIDGE/LIVAGE/LIVINGSTON This is the first family in this register who uses the spelling Livingston.

Baptisms of children:

1.6.1       14 Aug 1748 LEVIDGE, HELEN          daughter of ALEXR. LEVIDGE in GLAMIS (Arnafoul, Congr.)
1.6.2       6 Dec 1749 LEVIDGE, MARJORY         daughter of ALEXR.
LEVIDGE in GLAMIS (Earnyfoul witnesses: Henry Watson & Samuel Mortimer)
1.6.3       18 Jul 1751 LIVINGSTON, KATHARINE   daughter of ALEXR.
1.6.4       2 Jul 1758 LIVINGSTON, LAUCHLIN     son of      ALEXR.
1.6.5       16 Sep 1759 LIVAGE, PATRICK         son of      ALEXR.
LIVAGE in GLAMIS (Haystown)
1.6.6       23 Dec 1761 LIVAGE, WILLIAM         son of      ALEXANDER LIVAGE in GLAMIS (Arnafoul)
1.6.7       12 Feb 1764 LIVAGE, DAVID           son of      ALEXR. LIVAGE in GLAMIS (Arnafowl). Seems to be the one discussed below.
1.6.8       13 Apr 1769 LIVAGE, MARGT           daughter of ALEXR. LIVAGE in GLAMIS (Arnafoul)


1.5.2.      Family of James Lovage/Livage/Liveage/Livingston/Livingstone/LIVISTON

marr 1. 29 Nov 1778 JANNET WILLIAMSON in KINNETTLES. The account of William Livingston of Great Yarmouth says she was from Logie in Fifeshire and that she was born in 1745. An appropriate baptism exists there, 4 Sept 1748. The father being David Williamson of Wester Forret, who William Livingston of Great Yarmouth says (without giving his first name) died at 103 in 1778.

marr 2. 28 JAN 1797 ANN COUPAR or COOPER in KIRKTON of TEALING (see death certificates of youngest children). William Livingston of Great Yarmouth says she was of Ballingoy in Tealing.

James possessed a farm on the “Laigh Fields of Hayston” (Glamis) according to his grandson Peter, as a farmer (see later editions of Peter’s book Poems and Songs with Lectures on the Genius and Works of Burns, and the Rev. George Gillfillan; and Letters on Dr Dick, The Christian Philosopher, and Sir John Franklin and the Arctic and the Regions. According to the Oxford Dictionary, “laigh” means low-lying. His residence must in any case have been close to what is now called Nether Hayston, which is very close to Kinnettles indeed.

According to the 1826 administration papers for his property (available in full from when he died he was at that time in the nearby Plans of Thornton (Glamis). Administration was given to his daughter Margaret Warden, who at the time lived in Kinnettles. Peter also mentioned his aunt Margaret Warden, as being of the Plans of Thornton (which was still her address when she died). A preface in his book also confirms that James died three hours after his second wife in 1826, a fact also mentioned by William Livingston of Great Yarmouth. Margaret Warden’s death certificate calls him a “crofter”. I have also been informed by Jen Atkinson that the word “plan” is probably equivalent to croft in this case.

Details on the children of James Livage: 23 Jan 1780 LIVAGE, MARGARET d/o JAMES LIVAGE, GLAMIS (Hayston)

(Death certificate says Margaret Campbell Walker Livingston, and her marriage as well as her grandson William's account in Yarmouth give Campbell as her middle name at least, but her husband’s calls her Margaret Fernie Livingston.)

She was clearly named after Margaret Campbell Walker, the wife of Rev. David Ferney in Kinnettles who left an account of Kinnettles. See This Margaret’s testament of 1821 does not appear to mention any link to the Livingstones.   


The Wardens had many children and kept contact with the Livingstons. One daughter married a Livingston cousin.

See separate webpage by Jen Atkinson. 11 Nov 1781 LIVAGE, JOHN s/o JAMES LIVAGE, GLAMIS (Haystown)

This is the one who married Mary Craig. We know now that this happened in Ireland, and that they later settled in Glasgow. John drowned in a clay pit 31 March 1823 at the age of 43 years - a fact apparently later memorialized in Glamis churchyard on the memorial of his father and mother, which is no longer visible today.

We know now that his children were... Margaret. Perhaps baptism 4 Aug 1802 LIVINGSTON, MARGARET D/O JOHN LIVINGSTON IN GLAMIS Hayston Mary Jess (short for Janet) William born 4th Sept 1810, and moved to King Street, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk where he was a successful haberdasher and draper. At first the elector books show a John Livingston, from about 1836 to 1839, but then during 1839 William starts to be the name. Apparently born in Glasgow. As mentioned above, we have contact with descendants. It was this William who wrote a document about this family in the 19th century that was a breakthrough for us. John (no children mentioned by his brother William in his account) David, who moved to Australia. William his brother said he was born 1819, but some Australian records suggest 1814, or even 1817. Eliza 21 Oct 1783 LIVAGE, JEAN d/o JAMES LIVAGE, GLAMIS (Haystown). William Livingston of Great Yarmouth says she married John Cunningham, that she was born 20th October, and that her middle name was Fairnie. 23 Oct 1785 LIVAGE, WILLIAM FAIRNIE (“WILLIAM LIVINGSTON senior”) s/o JAMES LIVAGE, GLAMIS (Haystown)

marr. 16 Nov 1806 Christian Laing at Bridge End of Tay in Kinnoull (over the bridge from Perth); banns 9th and 11th of Nov 1806, Kinnoull. Her father was a deceased wright of Perth. She died in Errol with medical attendant as informant: 21st April 1866, 83 years old.

He was a weaver at the time of marriage and then between 1820 and 1823 he moved to DUNDEE and became a book-seller and stationer in Dundee. Might he have been taking up a job left to him by his elder brother John? (There is also an 1833 record of William Livingstone, bookseller and stationer in Glasgow, 404 Argyll Street. Could have lived there a while, and perhaps learnt his trade there?)

In the 1841 census he appears in Rankine Close in Dundee with his wife, and his children Charles, Peter and George.

Dundee burial index (Howff) gives: 2099 Livingston William, 15 Mar 1853, 66 years old; born in Parish of Glammis; Sometime book seller; died of Scrofula; Resident of Seagate)

Lots of children, including a published poet named Peter. There is probably a branch surviving in Liverpool. 9 Nov 1787 LIVINGSTON, DAVID s/o JAMES LIVINGSTON, GLAMIS (Heiston).

The account of William Livingston of Great Yarmouth says he married Jean Taylor Dollar in Fife. A marriage record can be found in Perth, 12 Feb 1808. James was a weaver and Jean was a resident in Perth daughter to George Taylor servant to Mr Foot at Dollar Parties. William gives David the same birth day as his baptism. 10 Aug 1789 LIVITCH, JANET d/o JAMES LIVITCH, GLAMIS (Hayston)

Presumed to have died young, before 1808, as the name Jannet/Janet was used again. The account from Great Yarmouth confirms this, and gives the same birth date as the baptism date. Her mother also died about this time, and so it may have been a difficult birth.

At this point the account from Great Yarmouth tells us the children of Ann Couper begin... 12 Mar 1798 LIVITCH, ANN d/o JAMES LIVITCH, GLAMIS (Hayston)

marr. 2 Jan 1837, James Lydgate, Blacksmith, who pre-deceased her.
Bur. 22/2/1870, 60y, parents James Livingstone and Ann Cooper.
This couple had a niece named after them. See Peter Livingston below.  
1841 census: 45y at Ratrays Court, Dundee

b. abt 1838 James: appears on 1841 census, but maybe did not survive because William Livingston of Great Yarmouth believed there was no surviving issue of Ann. 27 Jul 1799 LIVITCH, PETER s/o JAMES LIVITCH, M GLAMIS (Hayston)

Possibly appears in Kinnettles militia records as a “lab. servant” in Invereighty in 1818, 1820 and 1821 (age unmarked in 1821, but under 30 in 1818 and 1819).

marr. JEAN LITSTER (burial in Howff; also appears as LIBSTER, SISTER in other records. Perhaps her family also appears as LISTERs) bur 18 Dec 1845 51y b. Wemyss, Fife. Died of consumption. Was resident of Dallfield walk.

Peter appears to have had a good connection with his brother William Livingston senior the bookseller, who lived not far away in central Dundee. Note the connection to Listers and Dallfield Walk for John Richardson Livingston, Peter’s nephew, who in turn had a grandson named John Livingston Lister. A John Litster, spirit dealer, also appears as a father in Howff records (1836), and he may have been connected with the business which William Livingston junior (Peter’s nephew) entered, after the bookselling finished? This William’s son James Livingston of Strathmartin, also perhaps worked a while in spirit-dealing with his father.

1841 census: in Gellatly Street, which is where Peter was resident when he died according to the Howff index:

Bur. In DUNDEE 26 Nov 1843, 44 years old; born Parish of Glammis; Vintner; died of Consumption

Children’s baptisms:

Presumably died young because William Livingston in Great Yarmouth says only Jess (Jannet) had surviving issue out of all the children of Ann Couper.

14 Oct 1838 LIVINGSTONE ANN LITHGATE d/o PETER LIVINGSTONE/JEAN LIBSTER. Buried in New Howff: 26 Jun 1839 at 9 mths old; died of measles, apparently named after her aunt. 26 Jan 1802 LIVITCH, ELIZABETH d/o JAMES LIVITCH in GLAMIS (Hayston)

? could be the wife of David Will, who appears in burial register: 29 Nov 1836 Elisabeth Livingston wife of David Will [of] Hayston died. Note: Hayston makes it likely to be her. In 1841 there is a 55 year old smith named David Will in Hayston. Nearby lives a 20 year old William Will.

? And/or Elizabeth perhaps had an illegitimate child (could theoretically also be the daughter of her father’s cousin’s daughter Elizabeth above, although note the 1851 census)…

bap. July 2nd 1820 Jannet DEUCHAR or DEUCHARS "ill. Daugr. to David, [of] Rochelhill, & Elisabeth Livingston”
This David Deuchars of Rochelhill had legitimate children with Agnes Halliburton in 1820 and 1822.
1851 census: niece staying with JOHN WARDEN and MARY nee LIVINGSTONE or LIVAGE
1881 and 1891: in Charlestown, pauper
d. 1892 Glamis. Certificate calls her the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth of Charlestown in Glamis. 29 Sep 1803 LIVISTON, MAY d/o JAMES LIVISTON in GLAMIS (Haystown) 11 Jun 1808 LIVINGSTON, JANNET d/o JAMES LIVINGSTON in GLAMIS (Grasshouses)

4 Aug 1859 in Kinnettles
Had children who survived.



This is the second family in the Glamis register to use the name Livingston.

He may be the one baptized in 1764 above.

It seems likely based on comparisons of baptisms in Glamis around 1793-1809, to several 19th century death certificates of Livistons in nearby Kinnettles, that David and his children moved to the latter parish later in his lifetime. He appears from these to have been married to a Margaret Meek and to have been a farmer and/or crofter, like his probable first cousin James. 1 Jun 1788 LIVINGSTON, ANDREW       son of      DAVID LIVINGSTON in GLAMIS (Arnifoul) 25 Feb 1791 LIVINGSTON, JAMES       son of      DAVID LIVINGSTON in GLAMIS (Arnifoul)

possibly James Livingston, weaver, Cottar in town of Hayston, under 30 in 1817 militia list. 23 Mar 1793 LIVINGSTON, DAVID       son of      DAVID LIVINGSTON in GLAMIS (Arnifoul)

possibly bur. Howff 15 Aug 1826     33    b. Dundee   Weaver      Accident? 31 May 1795 LIVINGSTON, JOHN        son of      DAVID LIVINGSTON in GLAMIS (Arnifoul) 30 Nov 1797 LIVINGSTON, MARGARET    son of      DAVID LIVINGSTON in GLAMIS (Arnafoul) 14 Nov 1799 LIVINGSTON, ELIZABETH   son of      DAVID LIVINGSTON in GLAMIS (Arnafoul) 22 Jul 1801 LIVINGSTON, MARY        son of      DAVID LIVINGSTON in GLAMIS (Arnafoul)

Seems to have died young, as another MARY appears later (whose baptism, on the other hand, we have not found). See below. 26 Jul 1804 LIVINGSTON, ROBERT      son of      DAVID LIVINGSTON in GLAMIS (Airneyfoul) (Glamis confirmed on 1861 census)

Married Catherine Torren (d. 21 Nov 1882; b. abt 1808 d/o Walter Torren, master shoemaker, & Agnes Torbert)
The surname is incorrectly transcribed on “Scotland’s People” for 1861 as Lurston.
d. 13 mar 1868 (certificate tells us b abt 1804, Linen Weaver) in KINNETTLES. On death certificate his parents are John Liviston and Margaret Meek
1841 and 1851 census: in Prior’s Place in FORFAR, Linen Hand Loom Weaver

A descendant of this line DNA tested and matched our family in Australia. Today they still live in Scotland and use the spelling Liveston. 12 Dec 1806 LIVINGSTONE, CATHERINE son of      DAVID LIVINGSTONE in GLAMIS (Airnyfoul) 8 Jul 1809 LIVINGSTON, ALEXR        son of      DAVID LIVINGSTON in GLAMIS (Arnyfoul) b abt 1811 LIVINGSTON, MARY; On death certificate parents are David Liveston and ? Meek,

If you have questions or comments, please pass them to me at Andrew dot Lancaster at Skynet dot be.

[1] For whatever reason, this is the spelling of the main entry in George F Black’s The Surnames of Scotland. To me it does not seem typical.

[2] The name which probably lies behind the Maclea name, and which they may have thought connected them to the Livingstone name, was spelt in various ways, for example “Donnsleibhe” (“bh” in Gaelic is pronounced a bit like an English “v”, or more precisely like the European Spanish “v” in “cerveza”).  According to Argyll genealogists, this ancient Northern Irish personal name, meaning “Brown from the Mountain”, changed after being added to the famous Gaelic “Mac” meaning “son of”, in order to become a medieval family name. MacDhunnshleibhe, simplified over many generations. The “s” and “d” being in difficult-to-pronounce positions, dropped out, giving results intermediate results like MacDonleavis, MacDonnslae, MacConleif and then Mac Onlea, and finally Maclea. According to one theory the old personal name also had a short version, pronounced Livin, and it was from this that the Macleas seem to have felt that the first Living in “Living’s Town” was a Gael with common ancestry to themselves. Such subjects are frequently discussed on the Clan Maclea Discussion Group.