Janet Blair b1772

We first pick up the Blair family at Borthwick, south east of Edinburgh, when a Michael Blair marries Janet Jonstoun in 1702.

Their son, another Michael Blair, was born at Borthwick in 1714, and married Margaret Burntoun in Borthwick in 1742. They only have one child recorded in the records, who was yet another Michael Blair, born in 1748 at Borthwick

This third and last of our Michael Blairs was working as a gardener in Kinghorn, Fife, when he married Jean Purves in 1771. They raise their family principally at Colinton in the outskirts of Edinburgh, and have moved to Arniston by the time their daughter Janet Blair marries Thomas Roger. Michael works as a gardener all his life.

Janet Blair was born in 1772 in Colinton, then a village just outside Edinburgh, the daughter of Michael Blair (a gardener by trade) and Jean Purves. When she marries Thomas Roger (a printer by trade) in 1802, she is living at 5 Argyle Square, Edinburgh, and her parents are at Arniston. She and her husband live most of their life at Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, where their three children are born. Her husband dies in 1830, and she dies in 1836 in Edinburgh.


The first of our Blairs is Michael Blair, who married Jane Jonstoun of Middletown, Borthwick on 22 May 1702.

1714 There are records of 5 children being born to them at Borthwick between 1709 and 1720.

There are no other records of any other children being born to this couple after 1720.

1742 Michael Blair and Margaret Burntoun get married on 12 June 1742 at Borthwick

There appear to be 2 candidates for Michael Blair's birth, assuming it was recorded (We know from family records that the marriage of Thomas Roger to Janet Blair is correct, which gives her father as Michael Blair). The IGI and ScotlandsPeople only give 2 Michael Blair in the whole of Scotland between 1730 and 1770. Both are in Borthwick Parish. The first is the more likely as the name "Eupham" in the second, is not used by "our" family. The two Blair families in Borthwick are almost certainly related. The christening records run from 1706-1819, and the IGI shows 17 Blair christenings,including the above 2 Michael Blair, in Borthwick.

There are no other recorded births of children to this couple on ScotlandsPeople or IGI.

1771 We know we are looking for a marriage of Michael Blair to a Jean Purves from the birth details of their daughter Janet from whom I descend. The only marriage possible on ScotlandsPeople is on 19/05/1771, with banns read at at Kinghorn, Fife. Michael Blair is described as of the Parish of Kinghorn. It does not give her father. Michael has moved from Borthwick to Kinghorn, presumably to get work.

"Haddos Hole Parish" would appear to be an Edinburgh City Parish. Old Kirk Parish in other document was at Holyrood Road, before it was moved in recent times. However we can get the other set of banns, and it would appear to be the right Michael Blair (gardener at Balmuto, Kinghorn Parish), and his wife is given as "Jean Percie" (but is certainly Jean Purves of later documents), she being the daughter of Thomas Percie, Vintner. The two dates are banns dates in different churches. Balmuto in the parish of Kinghorn, in Fife, was an estate with a mansion, 3 miles northwest of Burntisland

"Kinghorn parish extends along the coast of the Firth of Forth for 4 miles. It contains the Royal Burgh of Kinghorn, the village of Invertiel (now a suburb of Kirkcaldy), the harbour of Pettycur and the island of Inchkeith. To the north-west of the town is Kinghorn Loch, which extends to about 20 acres. It is well stocked with pike. There are 2 spinning mills and a bleachfield at Tyrie at which great numbers of the inhabitants are employed. There is also a brewery, a large corn & flour mill and an extensive glue manufactory in the town..." edited from Westwood's Directory for the counties of Fife & Kinross published 1862.

Balmuto Castle, Kinghorn

After he marries Jean Purvis, they live in Edinburgh while the family are born between 1772 and 1780. ScotlandsPeople shows 5 children born to them. One assumes he is still a gardener at Coliton, given that he was one before (at Balmuto, Kinghorn Parish when he married) and after (at Arniston when his own daughter marries). There appears to have been plenty of scope for a gardener there. Several beautiful mansions adorn the parish, of which Colinton House was built in the beginning of the present century, and is agreeably situated, commanding extensive prospects to the north and east. Dreghorn Castle, built about the same time, stands encompassed with thick plantations, some parts of which consist of ancient beech-trees, conferring a venerable and majestic appearance. Comiston House and Craig-Lockhart House were both built but a few years ago, and are pleasantly situated, especially the latter, having for its site a wooded bank, gently declining to the margin of the Leith water. In a hollow which commands the pass through the Pentland hills, near the House of Bonally, stands a Peel tower, in the midst of beautifully romantic scenery, built by Lord Cockburn.

1772 Janet Blair was born to Michael Blair & Jean Purvis 7 June 1772 at Colinton, Midlothian (birth record) . "Colinton is a village and a parish of Edinburghshire. The village 4 miles South West by South of Edinburgh, is charmingly situated in a hollow on the water of Leith, which here is spanned by a high stone bridge; at it are a station on the Balerno loop-line of the Caledonian (1874)."

Michael is stated as living at "Easter Hails". Today it is mentioned only as Easter Hailes Gate is part of a cycle track from Lanark Road, south-east to Balerno and Slateford . Michael is stated as living at "Easter Hails". Today it is mentioned only as Easter Hailes Gate is part of a cycle track from Lanark Road opposite No.312 south-east to Balerno and Slateford .

The parish of Slateford Longstone is part of the ancient parish of Hailes. The first parish kirk, dedicated to St. Cuthbert, was somewhere near Hailes House, but later a new kirk was built in the crook of the river at Colinton. It was called Hailes Kirk until the 17th century, when the name ‘Collington’ began to be attached to it. By 1712 most of the parish, except the tip of it beyond Kingsknowe Park and the land north of the Water of Leith, was joined to the Redhall Estate. Redhall Tower stood on the high promontory north of the present Redhall House, and dated from the 13th century. In 1756 George Inglis bought the estate, pulled down the old Tower and built the mansion house nearby, at a cost of £928:17:9. For another £40 he built the dovecote which you can see in Slateford Dell.

1772. 07/06/1772 Janet Blair daughter of Michael Blair & Jean Purves at Colinton (or Hailes)
1775. 25/03/1775 James Blair son of Michael Blair & Jean Purves at Colinton (or Hailes)
1776. 17/11/1776 Margaret Blair daughter of Michael Blair & Jean Purves at Colinton (or Hailes)
1778. 23/07/1778 Elizabeth Blair daughter of Michael Blair & Jean Purves at Colinton (or Hailes)
1780. 22/06/1780 Jean Blair daughter of Michael Blair & Jean Purves at Colinton (or Hailes)

The family appears to have moved to Arniston sometime after the last child was born, as Michael Blair was given as working as a gardener at Arniston when his daughter married in 1802

Arniston is situated almost due south of Edinburgh about eleven miles from the city centre. The mansion house you see today was begun in 1726 and completed in the 1750's on the site of a previous tower house. The architect was William Adam but the building was completed by his son John, brother of the more famous Robert. The Dundas's of Arniston were, through the generations, a successful family and in the 1700s were one of the most powerful families in Scotland.

Robert, the 4th Lord Arniston, died in 1787 and his son, Robert, inherited. It is from his manuscript accounts of Arniston that much of the detailed history is known. He was concerned with agricultural improvements and was founder Vice President of the Highland Agricultural Society of Edinburgh from 1784. He too rose to high political office, acquiring the title of Lord Chief Baron to the Court of Exchequer in Scotland. Thomas White was commissioned to prepare an improvement plan in 1791. A sketch map of 1800 indicates that little of White's proposals had been carried out. www.arniston-house.co.uk/

1802 Marriage in April 1802 in St Cuthbert's, Edinburgh to Thomas Roger b1780 a printer in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh. Her father is a gardener at that time at Arniston, close to where he had been born

1805 Mary Roger born

1807 Elizabeth Roger born 11 June 1807 in 39 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh

1813 Violet Smith Roger born

1830 Thomas Roger Died: 23 July 1830 Edinburgh , Gravestone, St Cuthbert's, Edinburgh

1836 Janet Blair died 11 September 1836 at Edinburgh

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