Part 584dr – Smith Robertson Genealogy – To “B” or Not To “B” - Is That My GGGG-Grandmother Christian (née Dudgeon) Robertson?

13 October 2011

Good Evening,

It is amazing the immediate amount of effort that one has to take to correct and notify all contacts and acquaintances when there is a threat of an Internet hacking… but even that does not dull the elation I feel when I am able to stumble upon a find in my genealogy search and research. It also is astonishing how an errant hacker, and I’m being polite, can cause a drastic drop in Visitor Traffic to my Blogs, A Genealogy Hunt and Quilts SB. But life and genealogy search goes on.

I discovered who my gggg-grandmother Christian (née Dudgeon) Robertson was a couple of years back. I learned that this ancestor had married my gggg-grandfather John Robertson on 26 June 1778 at Butterdean Mains in the Parish of Oldhamstocks in the County of Haddington, (now East Lothian) in Scotland.

I discovered that she had had six sons, at least, and that I am descended from her second son ggg-grandfather Thomas Robertson, see Part 580r. And I have all the pertinent Old Parochial Records (OPR) on file.

I have spent the last number of years searching and searching for any iota of information of her birth. I have looked into OPRs of neighboring counties in all directions from Oldhamstocks as far west as Glasgow and as far south as the English borders.

And Christian was not an uncommon name. But I have never been completely satisfied with any of the documented information that I found. There wasn’t that definite “Aha!” moment… “This is my gggg-grandmother Christian!”

The closest document, an OPR entry that I had discovered, referenced a “D B N Christian” and was dated 22 May 1774. The following is the image as downloaded from

And my transcription –


22 May

Eodem Die

Thomas Dudgeon & Janet
Hope in Hume Miln had a
D. B. N. Christian Wit
Wm Dugeon & Jas Coldeleig?

And here is where I have had an issue with this Registration entry. For some time I have thought that the “D. B. N Christian Wit…” actually stood for “Daughter Born Named Christian Witness”. If this was a Birth Registration it would have meant that gggg-grandmother Christian would have married gggg-grandfather John Robertson on 26 June 1778 when she was just four years old. I then discovered this information on Genuki

Old Parochial Registers

The third main source of records in the General Register Office are those of the Church of Scotland prior to 1855. These consist of baptisms, marriages and burials recorded in Church of Scotland parishes all over Scotland. Unfortunately not every birth, marriage or death was recorded in these records. Often for example baptisms had to be paid for which meant that many children were not baptised. Other reasons can include the minister or clerk forgetting to record an event; registers being incomplete or damaged for periods; families falling out with the ministers; or people being members of other religious denominations (e.g. Roman Catholics, Free Church, Episcopalians etc.)

To trace an individual in the OPRs, it helps to have some idea of where that person lived. Census returns can be very useful in identifying birthplaces of those alive after 1841. In the past, it was almost impossible to locate a baptism or marriage without a very good idea of where it occurred. This was because all possible parish records had to be checked which could be a long and laborious process. Now, fortunately, baptisms and marriages in the OPRs can be searched using a computerised index, either on a county basis or searching over the whole country. The index gives the reference number for the relevant microfilm roll together with the frame number (page), allowing you to go straight to the record you are interested in.

The information contained in the OPRs can vary immensely. For the birth of a child you will usually be given the names of both parents (including maiden name of mother) and often an address and names of witnesses (often relatives). A marriage will sometimes name relatives of the couple. Burial registers usually provide the least information, if they exist at all for the period you need.

The abbreviation must have meant “Daughter Baptized Named Christian…” All-things-being-equal gggg-grandmother Christian (née Dudgeon) Robertson may have been baptized at an elder age.

The next compelling reason for a logical acceptance of this Registration is the naming pattern in use. GGGG-Grandparents John and Christian (née Dudgeon) Robertson’s first two sons were named John and Thomas. In this case the possibilities are ggg-granduncle John, the first son, could have been named after his father’s father, ggggg-grandfather John Robertson, and ggg-grandfather Thomas, the second son, could have been named for his mother’s father, ggggg-grandfather Thomas Dudgeon.

The following is an extract from Family Search Wiki on Given Names.

Definitely something to think about. And take a gander at the Baptism Registration... GGGGG-Grandparents Thomas and Janet (née Hope) Dudgeon.

The above inserted image is of Hume Castle from

Stay tuned for the addition of the information I have discovered.




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