The Ancestry of Lilly Melrose.


These are notes and could be wrong. Please contact me if you are thinking of using them. I am also interested to hear from anyone with any ideas or questions about this family.



Lilly Melrose married David Peter Living and together they left Scotland and founded my Australian Livingstone family. David's ancestry is the subject of another webpage.

Concerning her ancestry, I’ll start by quoting my distant relative Malcolm Gain (copied in):

Lily gave William Melrose, coachman in a private family, deceased pre 1838, as the name of her father on the parish register [at her wedding] and ship's records, but Adam was the name given on Lily's death record. It is more than likely that William Melrose, maybe Adam's brother, who had raised 8 or 9 children of his own in Temple, Midlothian (including a James, a William and a Robert) was foster father to Lily perhaps after her parents' early death.”

The shipping record for the Portland of 1838 shows that Lilly was a "nurserymaid" aged 21 years old (so born about 1817), who could read and write, was Presbyterian, and born in Temple Midlothian, outside of the city of Edinburgh. She named her father as William Melrose, and her mother as Elizabeth Stirling, although as we shall see below there are some doubts about the father's first name.

The marriage register, for the record, said:
--26th July 1838--

Living & Milrose
David Peter, Domestic Servant, Davies Lodgins, No. 309 Canongate Leith [*Wynd?] Parish, and Lilley Milrose, Kemlo's Lodgings No.241 Canongate, New Street Parish, and both in the Original Parish of Canongate, Daughter of the late William Milrose, Coachman, EdinBurgh, gave up their names for Proclamation of Marriage certified by William Kemlo, No.241 Canongate, Andrew Davie, Spirit Dealer, No.309, there, Mr David Allan, one of the Elders, of Leith [*Wynd?] parish and Mr David Arthur, one of the Elders of New Street, the above named Parties were three times regularly proclaimed in the Parish Churches of Canongate, Leith [*Wynd?], and New Street, on Sabbath the 29th Current, and no objections being offered.

It seems the 2 parishes of Leith were North and South so I do not know why the word Wynd, a type of street, might be inserted. Furthermore, although others have read "Wynd" I find this only the most likely reading of the word.

Lilly and her siblings

There is no serious doubt about the baptism of Lily, but the father's name is wrong.

14/03/1815    MELROSE, LILLY daughter of  ADAM MELROSE and BETTY STIRLING in  Temple,    MIDLOTHIAN 

Looking at the original is interesting because there are two baptisms next to each other:

"Alison Melrose.
Adam Melrose & Betty Stirling his wife had a Daughter born 15 March 1813 and baptized shortly after named Alison Lilly Melrose.
They had a Daughter born on the 14 March 1815 & baptized in April named Lilly."

Why are these two far apart births and baptisms mentioned together? Maybe Alison Lilly died, and Lilly's name is meant to recall her? And why does this baptismal register give no exact baptismal dates? Were they baptised elsewhere and mentioned in the Temple district register?

There is at least one more sibling, William:

24/02/1817    MELROSS, WILLIAM son of   ADAM MELROSS and BETTY STERLING in Borthwick,    MIDLOTHIAN

"Melross. William Melross lawful son of Adam Melross servan[scan stops] Middleton and Betty Stirling was born 4th Feb. and Baptised 24th. Feb 1817 before witnesses Mr Allan and Mr Thirr(?)"


A will and burial can be found for this William, Lilly's brother. The will is for Melrose, William 20/04/1874, Coachman at No.115 Rose Street in Edinburgh. It is from the Edinburgh Sheriff Court Inventories SC70/1/167. The executor is named Adam Melrose, groom, of 33 Russell Street Glasgow, but this must be a younger Adam, not the father of Lilly.

The corresponding death registration 16 March 1874 for William Melrose, "coachman (domestic servant)" of 115 Rose Street, shows that he is 56 years old, and the son of Adam Melrose deceased (also  "coachman (domestic servant)") and Elizabeth Melrose née Stirling, also deceased. William was married to Grace Ferries.

On the other hand, there appears to be more to this family! I have also been contacted by Sue Harvey, a descendant of Elizabeth Melrose who married Robert McGlashan 2/6/1831 in St Cuthbert's parish in Edinburgh, and came out to Australia in the same year as Lilly. (They even appear together in a newspaper article, described as relatives.) As Sue says: "Interestingly her marriage certificate suggests that Adam is alive in 1831":

"Robert McGlashan, coach wright, residing in No. 18 William St, and Eliza Melrose, also residing in same place, both in this parish, daughter of Adam Melrose, Gentleman's servant there, have been three times proclaimed in order to marriage in the Parish Chrich of St. Cuthbert's and no objections have been offered.
Married on the second day of June thereafter by the Reverend Robert Renwick Minister of the United Associate secession Congregation, Dean Street Stockbridge."

Elizabeth died in Lockwood in 1857 and her death certificate information would put her date of birth at about 1810. It is clear that Elizabeth is a fourth child in Lily's family (Elizabeth, Alison, Lilly, and William). There may be more, because we are clearly missing a thread.

Lilly's parents

The wedding of the parents of Lilly is clear:

01/06/1806    MELROSE, ADAM  &  BETTY STIRLING/FR2518    M    Temple    /MIDLOTHIAN    700/ 0030 0277

"Adam Melrose & Betty Stirling. Intimation of a purpose of marriage between Adam Melrose in this parish & Betty Stirling in the parish of Dalkeith was made the 1 June 1806, and after due Proclamation were married."


Based on the information we have about Adam, Lilly's father, we can say that his burial is almost certainly that of 19/08/1831, in St Cuthbert's Edinburgh. This Adam was a coachman, 49 years old, resident of 14 William St. He died of apoplexy. It would imply a birth year of about 1782.

It is more difficult to find Elizabeth's burial, but the neat habit of the St Cuthbert's burial register of putting addresses brings us great benefits. We find that Elizabeth Stirling of 14 William St was buried there 19 October 1840. She was 52 and the cause of death was inflammation. This would imply a birth year of about 1788.

So who is William, presumed step-father of Lilly mentioned by Malcolm Gain above? Malcolm proposes that Adam and William were brothers. Or could Lilly have been naming her brother as a kind of next of kin, or maybe just to give a simple answer to all the questions? (We know she had a brother named William, who followed the same occupation as her father.)

Taking Malcolm's idea though, that William was her uncle, if we look for a family that might be William's find this group looking like a family, partly in Temple parish, and also using the name Adam for one child...

1    15/08/1809    MELROSE    ADAM    WILLIAM MELROSE/ELISABETH HARPER     Penicuik    /MIDLOTHIAN
2    09/07/1807    MELROSE    ALEXANDER    WILLIAM MELROSE/ELIZABETH HARPER     Temple    /MIDLOTHIAN
3    27/02/1803    MELROSE    ELIZABETH    WILLIAM MELROSE/ELIZABETH HARPER     Temple    /MIDLOTHIAN
4    01/01/1793    MELROSE    JAMES    WILLIAM MELROSE/BARBARA HARPER     Penicuik    /MIDLOTHIAN
5    05/07/1805    MELROSE    ROBERT    WILLIAM MELROSE/ELIZABETH HARPER     Temple    /MIDLOTHIAN
6    28/01/1800    MELROSE    WILLIAM    WILLIAM MELROSE/ELIZABETH HARPER     Temple    /MIDLOTHIAN
7    04/06/1799    MELROSS    JAMES    WILLIAM MELROSS/ELIZABETH HARPER     Temple    /MIDLOTHIAN
8    28/03/1797    MELROSS    MARGARET    WILLIAM MELROSS/ELIZABETH HARPER     Temple    /MIDLOTHIAN

...notice how one (but only one) of the Penicuik baptisms gives the mother's name as Barbara. Is it is the same family? I have my doubts about the two baptisms in Penicuik. Looking for a marriage I find two, making it clear that these were two Melrose/Harper couples, but at a very similar time...

1    02/02/1792    MELROSE    WILLIAM    BARBARY HARPER    Penicuik    /MIDLOTHIAN
2    08/04/1792    MILROSS    WILLIAM    ELIZABETH HARPER    Temple    /MIDLOTHIAN

Both records, when examined, say that both participants were of the parish where the marriage occurred, so I think these are two families, which means the Temple family did not use the name Adam, and that seems to weaken the case for this being the William on Lilly's marriage registration. For now I am not confident that we have any good explanation of the wrong name Lilly gave for her father, two times in 1838. In 1838 though, we do know that her father had actually been dead for several years.

Adam's Melrose family

It is possible to make wrong guesses, but one baptism stands out for Lilly's father, at least amongst those which still exist and are indexed...

14/11/1779    MELROSS, ADAM  son of  WILLIAM MELROSS and HENARTTA SMITH, West Linton    /PEEBLES

(Born October 25 and baptised November 14)

These seem to be the siblings, Adam and William included...

22/03/1777    MELROSE    JAMES    WILLIAM MELROSE/HENNY SMITH     West Linton    /PEEBLES 
14/11/1779    MELROSS    ADAM    WILLIAM MELROSS/HENARTTA SMITH FR196    M    West Linton    /PEEBLES
30/07/1763    MELROSS    ROBERT    WILLIAM MELROSS/HENRIETTA SMYTH FR153    M    West Linton    /PEEBLES 
21/04/1765    MELROSS    WILLIAM    WILLIAM MELROSS/HENRIETTA SMYTH FR154    M    West Linton    /PEEBLES

I don't find the marriage of his parents. Concerning Henrietta I do seem to seem find a baptism, in Newlands, neighbouring on West Linton. The parents must be
11/06/1725 SMITH WILLIAM AGNES RAMADGE/FR268 M NEWLANDS /PEEBLES:-

15/04/1728 SMITH JAMES WILLIAM SMITH/ M NEWLANDS /PEEBLES
01/05/1726 SMITH JANET WILLIAM SMITH/ F NEWLANDS /PEEBLES
31/08/1735 SMITH HENRIETTA WILLIAM SMITH/ F NEWLANDS /PEEBLES (a tenant in Scotstoun, which is to the south of Newlands near Kirkurd)
26/02/1738 SMITH HELEN WILLIAM SMITH/ F NEWLANDS /PEEBLES
04/05/1740 SMITH WILLIAM WILLIAM SMITH/ M NEWLANDS /PEEBLES
31/10/1742 SMITH ROBERT WILLIAM SMITH/ M NEWLANDS /PEEBLES
02/10/1745 SMITH MARION WILLIAM SMITH/ F NEWLANDS /PEEBLES

Surprisingly, there are not only lots of candidates for William Smith in the area, but also for his wife Agnes Ramadge. The surname seems unusual, but Black's Surnames of Scotland mentions that it was "long associated" with Stobo in Peebleshire. The earliest mention Black found was in Perth in the 1200s.

Peebles seems to have been a big centre for the Melrose family. But in West Linton, there were two Williams having children there at the same time and two born about the same time. Here are the parish baptisms...

10/04/1659    MELROSE    JOHNE    WILLIAM MELROSE/AGNES WILSONE FR10

15/05/1659    MELROS    WILLIAME    JOHNE MELROS/

12/03/1665    MELLROS    JOHN    JOHN MELLROS/
19/03/1665    MELLROS    JONET    JOHN MELLROS/
01/02/1657    MELROSE    AGNES    JOHN MELROSE/

18/09/1698    MELROSS    ANDREU    ANDREU MELROSS/
15/12/1700    MELROSS    BESSIE    ANDREU MELROSS/

20/05/1673    MELLROS    WILLIAM    THOMAS MELLROS/CHRISTIAN TAIT FR21
10/08/1679    MELROS    JEAN    THOMAS MELROS/CHRISTIAN TAIT FR30
17/02/1678    MELROS    JOHN    THOMAS MELROS/CHRISTIANE TAIT FR28

16/02/1673    MELLROS    AGNES    ANDREW MELLROS/JEAN SCOTT FR23
17/06/1671    MELLROS    ISOBELL    ANDREW MELLROS/JEAN SCOTTE FR19
28/02/1686    MELROSS    ANDREW    ANDREW MELROSS/JEAN SCOT FR36
20/09/1676    MELROSS    MARGARET    ANDREW MELROSS/JEAN SCOTT FR26
11/08/1678    MELROSS    JENET    ANDREW MELROSS/JEAN SCOTT FR29
13/02/1681    MELROSS    HELEN    ANDREW MELROSS/JEAN SCOTT FR33
24/02/1684    MELROSS    JAMES    ANDREW MELROSS/JEAN SCOTT FR34

31/01/1703    MELROSSE    WILIAM    ANDREW MELROSSE/HELEN SHARP FR51
20/02/1704    MELROSSE    THOMAS    ANDREW MELROSSE/HELEN SHARP FR53
16/02/1707    MELROSSE    ROBERT    ANDREW MELROSSE/HELEN SHARP FR57

22/05/1670    MELLROS    WILLIAM    JAMES MELLROS/BESSIE PURDIE FR19
06/07/1672    MELLROS    JAMES    JAMES MELLROS/BESSIE PURDIE FR21
12/02/1667    MELLROS    AGNES    JAMES MELLROS/ELIZABETH PURDIE FR14
07/05/1678    MELROSS    AGNES    JAMES MELROSS/BESSIE PURDIE FR28
11/04/1686    MELROSS    ARCHBALD    JAMES MELROSS/BESSIE PURDIE FR37
14/04/1668    MELLROS    GEORGE    JAMES MELLROS/ELIZABETH PURDIE FR17
09/05/1680    MELROS    JOHN    JAMES MELROS/BESSIE PURDIE FR30
20/08/1676    MELROSSE    ANDREW    JAMES MELROSSE/BESSIE PURDIE FR26
03/06/1683    MELROS    ROBERT    JAMES MELROS/BESSIE PURDIE FR34

30/03/1673    MELLROS    ISOBELL    JOHN MELLROS/BESSIE RANKINE FR21
20/07/1675    MELROSE    JAMES    JOHN MELROSE/BESSIE RANKINE FR24
16/01/1670    MELLROS    MARGARET    JON MELLROS/BESSIE RANKINE FR17
09/06/1667    MELLROS    JONET    JON MELLROS/ELIZABETH RANKINE FR15

30/08/1668    MELLROS    JAMES    JON MELLROS/MARION PORTEOUS FR17
29/03/1671    MELROS    HELEN    JON MELROS/MARION PORTEOUS FR19

19/01/1697    MELROSS    JAMES    JAMES MELROSS/
15/09/1700    MELROSS    JAMES    JAMES MELROSS/
30/12/1711    MELROSS    RICHARD    JAMES MELROSS/BESSIE GOULDIE FR62
21/09/1701    MELROSSE    AGNES    JAMES MELROSSE/
21/02/1703    MELROSSE    ELIZABETH    JAMES MELROSSE/BESSIE GOULDIE FR51
02/07/1704    MELROSSE    ISOBELL    JAMES MELROSSE/BESSIE GOULDIE FR53
30/03/1706    MELROSSE    WILLIAM    JAMES MELROSSE/BESSIE GOULDIE FR56
14/04/1708    MELROSSE    MARGRAT    JAMES MELROSSE/BESSIE GOULDIE FR59

18/01/1728    MELROSS    JOHN    ANDREW MELROSS/... ALEXANDER FR81
06/06/1725    MELROSS    AGNES    ANDREW MELROSS/JANE ALEXANDER FR77

11/08/1741    MELROSS    JEAN    ROBERT MELROSS/HELEN WALLACE FR103
27/11/1743    MELROSS    ANDREW    ROBERT MELROSS/HELEN WALLACE FR106
09/11/1746    MELROSS    JAMES    ROBERT MELROSS/HELEN WALLACE FR111
15/01/1749    MELROSS    MARGARET    ROBERT MELROSS/HELEN WALLACE FR115
03/10/1751    MELROSS    ELISABETH    ROBERT MELROSS/HELEN WALLACE FR125
15/04/1740    MELROSS    HELEN    ROBERT MELROSS/HELEN WALLACE FR97
07/09/1735    MELROSS    JOHN    ROBERT MELROSS/HELLEN WALLACE FR91
11/09/1737    MELROSS    WILLIAM    ROBERT MELROSS/HELLEN WALLACE FR94

04/12/1747    MELROSS    ANDREW    WILLIAM MELROSS/ISABEL ALEXANDER FR113
14/04/1734    MELROSS    BESSIE    WILLIAM MELROSS/ISABEL ALEXANDER FR89
12/07/1741    MELROSS    JAMES    WILLIAM MELROSS/ISOBEL ALEXANDER FR103
03/07/1743    MELROSS    WILLIAM    WILLIAM MELROSS/ISOBEL ALEXANDER FR105
06/08/1732    MELROSS    JEAN    WILLIAM MELROSS/ISOBEL ALEXANDER FR87

24/07/1748    MELROSS    ADAM    /AGNES MELROSS FR115

29/07/1770    MELROSS    JEAN    JOHN MELROSS/JANET KECHEN FR169
05/07/1767    MELROSS    MARGARET    JOHN MELROSS/JANET KETCHEN FR160
12/05/1776    MELROSS    JAMES    JOHN MELROSS/JANET KETCHEN FR185
09/06/1765    MELROSS    HELEN    JOHN MELROSS/JANET KETCHING FR155

22/03/1777    MELROSE    JAMES    WILLIAM MELROSE/HENNY SMITH FR187
14/11/1779    MELROSS    ADAM    WILLIAM MELROSS/HENARTTA SMITH FR196
30/07/1763    MELROSS    ROBERT    WILLIAM MELROSS/HENRIETTA SMYTH FR153
21/04/1765    MELROSS    WILLIAM    WILLIAM MELROSS/HENRIETTA SMYTH FR154

17/12/1775    MELROSE    ELIZABETH    WILLIAM MELROSE/AGNES PATERSON FR183
10/11/1776    MELROSE    ISOBEL    WILLIAM MELROSE/AGNES PATERSON FR187
25/01/1778    MELROSE    JEAN    WILLIAM MELROSE/AGNES PATERSON FR191
12/09/1779    MELROSE    JOHN    WILLIAM MELROSE/AGNES PATERSON FR197


Notice how the name Adam was used often in this family. I believe that one way or another the West Linton Melrose's are the ancestor of Lilly, though this can not currently be considered proven.

Betty's Stirling family

Concerning Betty Stirling, I had long thought that I knew who she was until I found a family who also claim the baptism I found in Dalkeith. To quote a member of the Falconer family who contacted me:

"The Elizabeth Stirling I have was married to Andrew Falconer on the 20th June 1795. According to the OPR records they married in the Cannongate in Edinburgh however the marriage is also recorded in Dalkeith on the same date. The only relative listed for Elizabeth is her father James Stirling a Weaver in Dalkeith.
Census information in 1841 confirms that Elizabeth was born in Midlothian.
The only Elizabeth Stirling born in Midlothian with a father called James was born in Dalkeith in about 1776. (20th March 1776), parents James Stirling and Ann Witherspoon."

The marriage register 01/06/1806 in Temple for Adam and Betty, transcribed fully above, mentions that Betty was from Dalkeith. That certainly seems to be the daughter of James Stirling and Anne Witherspoons. But I notice that indeed the other Elizabeth's marriage to Andrew Falconer in 1795 also says she is from Dalkeith! I also see that this marriage in was recorded in the registers at both Dalkeith and Canongate, and the one in Canongate says her father was James Stirling, weaver.

The marriage of James and Anne was 15/07/1773 in Dalkeith, but does not say if James was a weaver. At the baptism of his youngest children, the twins Ann and Jean, he is called a woolen manufacturer. In summary I'd say that the Falconers have a slightly stronger claim on the daughter of James Stirling and Anne Witherspoons!


The discovery of Elizabeth's burial registration in 2014 gives a new lead, and that is her age at death. It seems from this that she was born about 1788.

Unfortunately however, there are no such Elizabeth or Betty Stirling baptisms on the Scotlandspeople index in the whole region of Edinburgh, including all the surrounding countryside.