A Cavers girl winning prizes at school in 1874

Again in the Southern Reporter back issues I found this reference. It’s from the 1874 August 6 edition, and is a prize list for Selkirk Grammar School. Elizabeth Cavers won two prizes: Recitation for Class IV, and the second prize for Writing in Class IV.

I’ve looked to see who she might be, and think she was probably the 1862-born daughter of William Cavers shoemaker at Lilliesleaf who I blogged about the other day. By the time of the 1881 census Elizabeth and her father and brother were living in Selkirk. She was recorded as her father’s housekeeper, aged 18. A decade earlier she was recorded in Edinburgh, as 8-year-old Lizzie Cavers, in the home of her older sister Margaret, Mrs Wood. Perhaps Lizzie moved back to live with her widowed father a few years later, and attended the local school in Selkirk for a while? There are no other likely candidates for Elizabeth Cavers in the prize list, so I’m fairly confident the identification is right. For more information about Elizabeth’s life see the Cavers family web page created by her relative.

Annie Cavers appointed physical and hygiene instructress

Another Southern Reporter report, this time concerning, I think, a granddaughter of George Cavers and Annie Richardson of the John Cavers and Elizabeth Hislop line:

Southern Reporter, 1921 September 1

Miss Annie Cavers, daughter of ex-Councillor Walter Cavers, Temperance Hotel, Moffat, has been appointed physical and hygiene instructress at Biggar, under the Lanarkshire Education Authority at the salary of £200 per annum.

If I’ve found the right family, Annie, aged 9 months, appears in the 1901 census for Moffat in Dumfriesshire (where her Cavers grandparents had settled), along with her parents Walter (a tailor) and Euphemia, and older sister Jane. Also living in the house was Walter’s niece Minnie Cavers, born in Brechin: presumably the girl whose birth was registered there as Williamina Murray Cavers in 1887, and married as Wilhelmina Murray Cavers at Moffat in 1909. Minnie was almost certainly the daughter of Walter’s older brother John Cavers, and appears with her parents and siblings at Brechin in the 1891 census.

New Zealand Cavers soldiers in World War One

I previously blogged about known Cavers soldiers in World War One, covering soldiers in the UK, Canada, and Australia. I’ve now learned of a new resource for New Zealanders, who often enlisted in other countries. The Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database, is gathering information on known New Zealand WW1 soldiers.

Searching the database there are currently two Cavers entries in there, and it looks like two brothers from Galashiels, Selkirkshire: Francis Cavers (b. 1891), and David Hunter Cavers (b. 1897), sons of David Cavers the policeman who I blogged about the other day.

Both when they enlisted gave their next of kin as their father David Cavers, of Hauturu, New Zealand. Both were farmers, and both joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, specifically the Mounted Rifles division. Both sailed from Wellington, New Zealand to Egypt: Francis in 1916, David in 1917. I don’t know what happened to them after that.

I wonder if there are more New Zealand World War One soldiers to be uncovered. And I wonder if their service records may yet be digitised, as Canada and the UK have done.

More details about Francis Cavers who died after being assaulted in 1874

Previously I blogged about the death of Francis Cavers, after being assaulted. I’ve just found another newspaper report which gives more details, particularly of his life and character:

Southern Reporter, 1874 May 28


Mr Francis Cavers, a native of Tweedside, and for many years gardener at Ashiestiel, and latterly jobbing gardener at Galashiels, and who also acted as sexton at Ladhope, has died from the effects of injuries received in the neighbourhood of Hawick. He was set upon one evening by a party (now in custody) on the way from Hawick to Wilton Dean, and so brutally maltreated that he died on Saturday last. He was interred yesterday. He was a quiet, industrious man, very peaceable and obliging in disposition; and much regret is felt for his widow and family.

Francis has descendants living today. I descend from his younger sister Margaret, Mrs Hall, who lived not far from Francis when he died. Both were great-grandchildren of James Cavers and Isabella Coltherd.

Gardening at Lilliesleaf

Southern Reporter, 1863 December 10

… In the garden of Mr William Cavers here, a late cabbage was taken up weighing 33 lbs and in the same garden a drill of “Dalmahoy” potatoes, 24 yards in length, taken up early in October, produced nearly 3 1/2 bushels, the largest single potatoe weighing 2 lbs.

This would have been William Cavers (ca1818-1886), shoemaker at Lilliesleaf in Roxburghshire, and husband of Margaret Grieve. For more information on this family see his descendant Sheila’s web page.

An ancestor losing a collie dog in 1896

Reblogging this because it’s also about a Cavers man losing a dog. Actually two probable cousins (one with Cavers as a middle name) losing dogs at same time.

Viv's Ancestry Blog

I stumbled across this newspaper advert the other day:

Southern Reporter, 1896 November 19

LOST, Black and White Collie Dog; string on neck. Communicate with Hall, Gattonside Mains, Melrose.

This would have almost certainly belonged to my great-great grandfather Thomas Cavers Hall (1850-1917) who farmed at Gattonside Mains. It’s possible Thomas had only moved to Gattonside shortly before this, but I need to research that more.

I only found this advert because it appeared immediately below an advert for a lost dog that belonged to a Cavers man:

LOST, Collie Bitch; black, white and tan; answers to the name of “Jed.” Apply, Walter Cavers, Kersknowe, Selkirk

Frustratingly I’m not quite sure who this Walter was. He appears in the 1891 Bowden census, farmer of Kersknowe, aged 69 born Hawick. He’s still there in 1901, aged 79, recorded as born Cavers. Going back to 1861 he looks like the 39-year old…

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A Cavers policeman with beer all over his face

Thanks to the British Newspaper Archive digitising many decades of Southern Reporter issues I’ve been able to find more Cavers references. There will be more to find in local Borders newspapers: Hawick had its own newspapers at this time, so this may explain why the Hawick coverage in the Southern Reporter isn’t as good as some other areas of the Borders. And the Hawick papers haven’t been digitised yet, so I can’t readily search them at the moment. However searching the Southern Reporter has revealed new references to Cavers people, and I will share them on the blog over the coming months.

First up here is a Cavers policeman in Galashiels who ended up with beer over his face:

Southern Reporter, 1894 February 1


David Cleghorn pleaded not guilty to a charge of assaulting Constable Cavers by throwing a pitcher of beer on his face in High Buckholmside on the evening of Wednesday last week. Constables Cavers and Quarry stated in evidence that they saw accused go into Hare’s public-house eight or nine minutes past ten o’clock carrying a pitcher, and when he came out they wanted to learn what was in the pitcher, when Cleghorn threw the contents in Cavers’ face. Accused said it was milk, and asked how the constable could prove it was beer. Constable Cavers said some of it went into his mouth. (Laughter.) Charge found proven, and sentence of 10s, or five days, imposed.

Constable Cavers was David Cavers born in 1849 at Ashkirk, son of William Cavers and Mary Hunter. See the relevant blog post for details of his family line. David married Margaret Chisholm at St Boswells in 1875, and by the time of the 1891 census was living in Galashiels, at 73 Lintburn Street with his wife and many children.

Obituary of Thomas Cavers Hall (1850-1917)

Here’s the obituary of one of my ancestors, whose mother was a Cavers. He was one of 10 children, 4 of whom had Cavers as a middle name. He grew up in Hawick and in later life settled at Melrose, also in Roxburghshire, to be a farmer.

Viv's Ancestry Blog

Here’s another obituary of an ancestor, this time another great-great grandfather.

Southern Reporter, October 4 1917

DEATH OF A WELL-KNOWN FARMER.- We regret to learn of the death, following an accident, of Mr Thomas C Hall, for over 20 years tenant of the farm of Gattonside Mains. On Thursday last Mr Hall had just left the farm-house to drive over to Melrose, and when not far from the steading he was pitched on to the road and rendered unconscious. He died on the following Saturday. Mr Hall was a successful farmer, and was well-known at the various sale rings.

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Cavers events database uploaded to Google Docs

Ever since I registered my Cavers one-name study with the Guild of One-Name Studies I’ve been building up a database of events of Cavers people, using Microsoft Excel. So births, marriages, deaths, christenings, census returns, and so on. In the last few years it has stopped being updated, as my illness got worse, but it is still a useful resource, often including very obscure references that I have found, or friends have found and forwarded to me. As of today there are nearly 3000 entries in the Cavers events database.

In the interests of sharing this resource, and in particular in case anything happens to me (my health situation is extremely precarious), I have just uploaded it to Google Docs and it can be found and viewed through this link.

I need to explain the format though. There are 13 fields, each taking up a column of the spreadsheet:

  • surname (not always Cavers)
  • forenames
  • date
  • event
  • place
  • age
  • relatives (if named in record)
  • source (identifying the original record I found)
  • notes (for miscellaneous things like occupation etc.)
  • birthplace (if recorded e.g. in birth or census returns)
  • other names (surnames)
  • connection (where person fits into Cavers trees, e.g. c[hild of] Adam Cavers and Janet Clark or s[pouse of] Helen Scott)
  • other (for any other genealogical notes)

As you’ll probably gather it’s quite ad-hoc! But it sort of works.

The entries are sorted by forename, date, event. But because of the way the dates were entered as general text fields, including dates that may or may not have a month and day after the year, the sorting isn’t perfect. So, for example, there are entries in the spreadsheet for Adam Cavers in 1855, 1864, 1879 etc. and then these are followed by Adam Cavers references to years+months+days, e.g. 1770 Nov 11, 1782 Oct 9. Apologies. But keep that in mind when browsing through the data.

Places in the database are generally abbreviated for county names, at least in Scotland. So, for example, Hawick would be recorded as “Hawick, ROX”, using the standard genealogical abbreviation for Roxburghshire. Apologies if this is confusing in places. The spreadsheet was created for my own use. Other common county abbreviations you may see include SEL for Selkirkshire, BEW for Berwickshire, DFS for Dumfriesshire, MLN for Midlothian and so on. For a full list of them see here.

The events database is particularly strong for Scotland. And also very good for Ontario (Canada). Moderately good for England. But it has a way to go.

Census events in it generally go up to 1891. There are obviously later census references that can now be found for the family, but I haven’t put them into the database yet. They are generally well indexed though, at the various websites such as Ancestry.

At the moment I am not inviting new entries for the database, though that may change. In the meantime though, please feel free to browse it on the web, and to download it if you want. Using the file menu provides various download options, and you can save the whole sheet to your computer. But other people can’t currently edit the document online.