Old WALKER papers – I, James Walker

This is my sixth blog post in a series about some old papers of the WALKER family, from Kirkliston, West Lothian, Scotland. See a list of these papers HERE.

IMG_7620-edBelow is one of several documents from an envelope labeled “Old Wills etc. of the Walker family”, which is part of a box full of family papers that I received from my aunt at a family gathering in January 2014. The contents of this envelope all date from the 1700’s.

This letter is from James Walker, b.1769. He is the nephew of the James Walker mentioned in several other documents that I’ve posted. He’s the son of Thomas Walker (b.1735), and grandson of William Walker & Elizabeth Barron (m.1728).

IMG_9490-croppedPlease click on the images to see the scans at full resolution. Transcribed text appears in a Maroon colour below each scanned image. At the bottom I’ve made some notes of my own about the document.

Letter; I-James-Walker_1789_300dpiTranscription;

I, James Wallker, being in a laguishine Condition #
and going twenty one years, called Lues Alexandr #
tenant in Murend and David Fortune tenant #
in Birds mill to bear witness what my #
wills is which I declare befor them to be #
as follows. I would have my uncel James #
Walker if Providen should take me #
away to pay all my just debts to give my #
sister Elizabeth five pounds hir husband #
five pounds my cusion John Walker five #
pounds the first term after my decease #
and my Mother to Lifereant what remains #
which will be more than one hundred #
pounds sterling and then at her death to #
be divided equally among my survive- #
-ng sistors leaving the management of all #
to my three uncles James Broun, Peller #
Broun and James Walker this [I atest] #
Before thes as above Hiddlefolds twenty #
fourth of subtember 1789

Witnes Lewis Alexander
David Fortuna, witness

James Walker


  • “Murend”; Muirend lays southwest of Hiddlefaulds, across the Union Canal.
  • “Birds Mill”; lays southeast of Hiddlefaulds, on the River Almond.

Lewis Alexander, tenant in Muirend; There is a gravestone in St Nicholas churchyard, Uphall, EH52 6JP, West Lothian, which from the dates on it, could be recording the parents and siblings of the witness to the document above. See grave no.60, here; http://www.uphall.org/downloads/stnicholas-gravestones.pdf


“James Broun” and “Peller Broun” (possibly “Peter” Broun) appear to be the brothers of Janet Broun (or Brown), who married Thomas Walker, at Kirkliston on 16/10/1761. Thomas and Janet had 8 children christened at Kirknewton, Mid Lothian;

  • Mary, chr. 5/9/1762
  • Janet, chr. 3/11/1763
  • Elizabeth, chr. 17/1/1764, (married bef.1789, according to the letter above)
  • Marion, chr. 31/5/1767
  • James, chr. 14/5/1769 (writer of the letter, above)
  • Isobel, chr. 28/9/1771
  • Margaret, chr. 9/5/1773
  • Jean, chr. 10/5/1776 (source; IGI).

Thomas Walker’s brother, James Walker (b.1731) married Janet Flint and had 3 children;

  • Mary, b. 23/6/1767
  • Elizabeth, b. 1/10/1769
  • John, b. 13/1/1772 (he “irregularly” married Isabel Neil, in May 1816)

Note that the girls here share the same names as their cousins, which could cause confusion when we search the parish registers!

There is a marriage in the Kirkliston parish registers between an “Elizabeth Walker” and James Cunningham on 11/6/1785. I once found a tree on-line which had assumed that this Elizabeth was the daughter of James W & Janet Flint! But she would have been only 16 years old at that time (unusual, but not impossible!). However the evidence in the document above, which says that Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas W & Janet Broun, was married before 1789, leads me to believe that she is the wife of James Cunningham. She would have been 21 at the time of that marriage.

I would be interested to find any other evidence that could confirm which “Elizabeth” married James Cunningham, or that could help to solve any similar confusions that might occur. If you have (or know of) such evidence please use the Contact Form. Thanks.


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