Some time ago I blogged about Cavers references in the apprenticeship records that recently went online at Ancestry.co.uk. These include Robert Cavers, shoemaker at Lauder, Berwickshire, who was one of a Cavers family living there for several generations. I commented in that post that I didn’t know where they came from before then. I do now.
Graham and Emma Maxwell are indexing baptisms, marriages and burials in non Church of Scotland parish registers. More specifically that means non-conformist (i.e. not Church of Scotland) parish registers, and Church of Scotland kirk session records – the other records kept by the local church authorities for each parish in Scotland. And searching their database I found lots of Cavers burial references in Lauder. I bought a few, and Emma revealed that they were all on the same page of the parish’s kirk session records, all burials for the one family. Result! Here’s what it says:
Records of Funerals in Lauder Beloning to the Faimely of Robert Cavers since the year 1785.
John Cavers His Sone Departed this life 1785 Aged 3 years.
William Sone to Robert Cavers Departed this life June 11th 1794 Aged 23 years.
William Father to Robert Cavers Departed this life September 1798 Aged 79 years.
Ebenezer Sone to Robert Cavers Departed this life December 25th 1801 Aged 24 years.
Christean Daughter To Robert Cavers Departed this life March the 6th 1806 Aged 24 years.
Marrion Tweedhope 2d Spouse to Robert Cavers Departed this life May 29th 1819 aged 71 years.
John Waddel Sone to Christean Cavers Departed this life Febuary 13th 1825 Aged 24 years.
Robert Sone to James Cavers & Agnes Waddel Departed this life June 28th 1806 Aged 2 years 3 m.
Robert Cavers Departed this life June 20th 1827 Aged 80 years.
Margreat Cavers daughter to James Cavers & Agnes Waddel Departed this life July 13th 1831 Aged 2 years 10 months 2 Weeks.
James Waddel Sone to Christean Cavers Departed this life July 18th 1832 Aged 29 Years.
John Cavers Sone to James Cavers and Agnes Waddle Born 13 octr. 1830 Departed this life 4th May 1849 Aged 18 years 6 Months 3 Weeks.
The most interesting ones for tracing the family back in time are the burials for the first Robert Cavers, buried in 1827 aged 80 years, and his father William Cavers, buried in 1798 aged 79 years. I hadn’t known the first Robert’s father was William. Both of these burials can be confidently linked up to earlier baptisms, in Galashiels, Selkirkshire. Robert Cavers was christened on 9th August 1746 at Galashiels, son of William Cavers and Christian Currer. And his father William Cavers was christened at Galashiels on 21st January 1719, son of Robert Cavers and Margaret Easton. So that takes the family back in time confidently. At the moment it isn’t possible to trace further back than this, though there are other references to both families. For example I know that William and Christian Cavers had a son John christened in 1749 at Melrose parish in Roxburghshire, which lies somewhat on the way from Galashiels towards Lauder, so perhaps the family were already started on their gradual move from Selkirkshire to Berwickshire.
I plan to research the family further, and write up my findings in a future blog post. As far as I can recall I haven’t been contacted by a descendant of this family before, but I may be in future. In any event I want to research it as much as any other Cavers family in the past.
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.
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
FATAL RESULT OF PERSONAL INJURIES
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.
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
GALASHIELS. POLICE COURT.
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.