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"A parish in Roxburghshire, about 12 miles long, and 7 broad, lying on the banks of the Jed, and comprehending a part of the old parish of Abbotrule ... Like the rest of the border districts, this parish affords many monuments of warlike antiquity, as camps, castles, and other fortifications. Population in 1801, 697." from Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.


George Tancred's Rulewater and its People was first published in 1907 and reprinted in 1992 by the Borders Regional Library. This gives "the history of many parishes in Rulewater, Roxburghshire, and adjoining lands and families." It is listed in the LDS Family History Library catalogue in microfilm format, so is hopefully available worldwide in LDS family history centres.


Selkirkshire Antiquarian Society has published a CD containing transcripts and digital photographs of gravestones in the Southdean cemeteries old and new.

Nigel Hardie is transcribing parish of Southdean and Abbotsrule burials.


Graham and Emma Maxwell have transcribed and indexed the 1841, 1851 and 1861 census returns for this parish.

Church History

Rutherfurd's Southern Counties Register and Directory of 1866 lists the following non-conformist churches:

There may have been other non-conformist churches at different times.

Rev. William Ewing's Annals of the Free Church of Scotland (published 1914 in Edinburgh) notes that Wolflee congregation "was formed by people who in the parishes of Hobkirk and Southdean 'came out' in 1843". Tancred's Rulewater and its People (see Bibliography section) has quite a bit about this Free Church (on pages 318-326), including a list of the congregation in 1849.

Church Records

The parish church (Church of Scotland) has registers dating from 1696. 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).

Civil Registration

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.


A number of articles on this parish have been published in the transactions of Hawick Archaeological Society. These include:


Here are some figures showing the parish's population through time:

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Page created by Vivienne S Dunstan.
Last updated: 9th July 2012

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