A clutch of Cavers burials in the Lauder kirk session records

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.

Cavers apprentices in Scotland, 1762-1800

I’ve recently been studying the new database of apprentice indenture duties available on Ancestry.co.uk. This is based on records held in The National Archives at Kew in Surrey, and includes the names of many masters, apprentices and details of the trades they were pursuing, across the UK, between 1710 and 1811. By studying the original document images I’ve already extracted the details of apprentices in Melrose parish in Roxburghshire, 201 pairs of master-apprentice names between 1734 and 1804, and I will be doing a similar extraction for Coldingham parish in Berwickshire, my other one-place study.

However it’s also possible to search for apprentices or masters with the surname Cavers. There are very few, just three.

The earliest recorded is Robert Cavers at Lauder in Berwickshire in 1762, who was apprenticed to shoemaker Robert Romanus. This may be Robert Cavers who married Mary Tweedup at Lauder in 1784 and had descendants. There was certainly a Cavers cluster at Lauder around then, though I don’t know where they came from originally.

Then in 1793 there was a payment for James Cavers who was apprenticed to John Lydon junior taylor at Denholm, in Cavers parish. It’s difficult to be sure about this, but from the date, and the likely age at which he would have been apprenticed it’s possible that this was the son christened in 1780 at Cavers parish to father Robert Cavers. If so that would match up with James Cavers (1780-1866) husband of Margaret Blackburn who emigrated to Ormstown in Quebec, was a farmer there, and had many descendants.

I’m most confident about the third Cavers apprentice. This was Charles Cavers whose apprenticeship dues to Adam Hart weaver in Lockieshedge in Wilton parish were paid in 1800. This has to be Charles Cavers (ca1784-1864) son of Thomas Cavers and Janet Scott who had other children christened in the Wilton/Hawick area. Charles was known to be a weaver, and also a soldier, married at Wilton in 1805, and later settled in Lilliesleaf.

I had hoped to find a reference in the records to William Cavers the gunsmith in London, which might have helped me identify his origins more. It’s possible he was apprenticed, but his name could have been misrecorded or mistranscribed. As it is there are only these three Cavers apprentices that I can confidently identify as part of the one-name study.