"GORDON, a parish, containing a post-office station of its own name, in the western part of the Merse, Berwickshire. It is bounded by Westruther, Greenlaw, Hume, Earlston, and Legerwood. Its length westward is nearly 5 miles; and its greatest breadth is 4 miles. The surface is uneven; has several rising-grounds, one of which is entitled to be called a hill; and, in general, lies higher than any district in the eastern part of the Merse. Till a recent date it had great tracts of moss and moorland, and wore a bleak sterile aspect; but it is now very extensively cultivated, and considerably sheltered with plantation; and it begins to wear a smiling and productive appearance."
View a Map of the Area.
from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson, 1868.
The Borders Family History Society has published a booklet of monumental inscriptions for Gordon, Nenthorn and Westruther.
Nigel Hardie has transcribed and published parish of Gordon deaths for 1818-1854.
Pre-1855 inscriptions for the parish are contained in the Scottish Genealogy Society's volume of Berwickshire Monumental Inscriptions (Pre-1855).
Census returns for Gordon in 1801, 1811 and 1821 have apparently survived among kirk session records held in the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh (NRS reference CH2/457/2). Please bear in mind that the amount and depth of information in these early returns may differ from that in later ones (source: Gordon Johnson's Census Records for Scottish families at Home and Abroad - see the Census section on the main Scotland GENUKI page for further details of this publication).
Graham and Emma Maxwell have transcribed and indexed the 1841, 1851 and 1861 census returns for this parish.
The following quotation comes from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson and published in 1868. This reference was found in volume I, p.816:
"Gordon parish was formerly of very large extent. But part of it, called Durrington-laws, was annexed to Longformacus, 12 miles distant; and out of it, jointly with Bassendean, a parish formerly in the presbytery of Melrose, was also erected, about the year 1647, the parish of Westruther."
Rutherfurd's Southern Counties Register and Directory of 1866 lists the following non-conformist church:
There may have been other non-conformist churches at different times.
According to Rev. William Ewing's Annals of the Free Church of Scotland (published 1914 in Edinburgh) a congregation was formed here in 1843. By 1848 the membership was 128; by 1900 it was 159.
The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1652. Old Parish Registers (before 1855) are held in the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh, and copies on microfilm may be consulted in local libraries and in LDS Family History Centres around the world. Later parish registers (after 1855) are often held in the National Records of Scotland as are any records of non-conformist churches in the area (often unfilmed and unindexed, and only available there).
In his entry for the Statistical Account of Scotland (compiled 1790s, see the Statistics section of the Berwickshire page for more details) the Rev. Alexander Duncan made the following comment about deficiencies in the registration of births, marriages and deaths in the parish of Gordon in the late 18th century:
"Although a register is kept, as appointed by act of Parliament, of marriages, christenings, and burials, it is so inaccurate, that no confidence can be placed in it."
The parish registers available worldwide on microfilm include some kirk session records:
More information on kirk sessions and their records can be found in the Church Records section of the Berwickshire page.
The LDS Family History Library catalogue lists a microfilm version of Church records, 1843-1886 of Gordon Free Church. The catalogue entry (under Scotland/Berwick/Gordon/Church Records) records this as a microfilm of records held at the Scottish Record Office (now called the National Records of Scotland). The microfilm copy in the LDS catalogue should hopefully be viewable at LDS family history centres around the world.
Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. For further details of this see the National Records of Scotland website.
The parish registers available worldwide (see Church Records) include records of testimonials for the years 1697-1708. These were essentially certificates of good conduct needed by people moving from one parish to another.
Ordnance Survey maps covering Gordon include:
Gordon is also covered by an old Victorian one-inch to the mile Ordnance Survey map published by Caledonian Maps. The relevant sheet is sheet number 25 "Kelso & Melrose" which also includes Earlston, Galashiels, Gordon, Greenlaw, Lauder, Polwarth, Roxburgh, St Boswells, Selkirk and Westruther.
Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time:
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