Copyright (C) 2020 by Patrick's People all rights reserved Updated 12 September 2020
CURRAN, Michael
(About 1810-Before 1858)
ROUKE, Margaret
(About 1810-Before 1858)


Family Links

1. ADAMS, Rebecca (DNA Linked)


  • Born: 1838, County Leitrim, Ireland 2 3
  • Marriage (1): ADAMS, Rebecca (DNA Linked) on 12 March 1858 in Jordanlaw, Westruther, Berwickshire, Scotland
  • Died: 10 January 1904 at 10.15 am, 5 Courtland Place, Lothian Street, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, Scotland

   Cause of his death was bronchitis over 5 weeks and catarrhal pneumonia over 21 days.

   Other names for Hugh were CAIRNS, Hugh,1 4 5 6 7 CARRAN, Thomas 8 and CARRON, Hugh.8

  General Notes:

No birth or baptism evidence has been found as yet for Hugh Curran, other than information given by him and recorded in Scottish documents. The earliest of these is the marriage certificate of Hugh and Rebecca, and since both bride and groom were recorded as making their X mark, we cannot even be sure that all of the information contained there is accurate. In the marriage certificate of 1858, Hugh's age was noted as 19 years, and three years later, in the 1861 census, it was recorded as 22 years. These earliest records have been used to establish a presumed year of birth in the absence of more certain evidence.

There is an entry for a 'Hugh Cairns' in the 1851 census. The entry was for Biggar in Lanarkshire, and Hugh Cairns was a servant who worked as a farm labourer for his employer, James Brown, who farmed 200 acres at Candy Bank. He was recorded as 12 years old and had been born in Ireland. We know that the Hugh Curran or Cairns that we are investigating was born in Ireland, and that he would have been 12 years old in 1851, his birth year being about 1838-39. We know Hugh married in 1858 at Westruther in Berwickshire, and at that time lived, and presumably worked, in the parish of Lauder. Biggar is about 45-50 miles from Lauder. In 1860 Hugh's daughter was born in Borthwick, Midlothian, about 18-20 miles from Westruther and Lauder, so he was a man on the move, probably for reasons of employment. The use of the surname 'Cairns' rather than 'Curran' casts some doubt on whether this entry refers to 'our' Hugh, for Hugh and his family seem to have changed their name from Curran to Cairns only later in his life, as far as we know. However, pronunciation is a factor here, and we do not know what the enumerator heard or interpreted what he heard, about Hugh's surname, and who he heard it from. The scarce evidence is not totally decisive either way, but the tilt is in favour of this entry being Hugh. The social background of famine stricken Ireland in the mid to late 1840s also lends some weight as to why this 12 year old boy would be in rural Scotland in 1851.

Hugh Curran married Rebecca Adams in 1858 at Westruther, Berwickshire.

In 1860 Hugh Curran gave notice of his daughter, Sarah's birth. He gave notice before the registrar at Borthwick, Alexander MacDougall, on 29 March 1860. He was present where the birth occurred and recorded himself as a labourer by occupation. To this he made his X mark.

The 1861 census for Borthwick, Midlothian, recorded Hugh Curran as head of the household comprising himself, his wife, and his two small children, Hugh and Sarah, living at Esperstone [sic] Lime Works. Hugh worked as a lime carter. He was 22 years old and had been born in Ireland.

The 1871 census for Liberton Midlothian recorded the Curran family, consisting of the parents, Hugh and Rebecca Curran, and their five children, living at Old Dalkeith Road, Little France. Hugh, head of the household, was recorded as aged 36 years, and had been born in Ireland. He worked as an agricultural labourer.

The informant of Helen Curran's birth was her father Hugh Curran. He gave notice before the registrar at Musselburgh on 5 July 1875 and made his X mark. He recorded himself as a ploughman by occupation, and gave his date and place of marriage as 12 March 1858 at Jordanlaw, Westruther.

In the marriage certificate of his son, Hugh Cairns, in 1880, Hugh Cairns, senior, was recorded as being a farm grieve.

The 1881 census recorded Hugh Cairns, his wife, and family, living at Cairnie Hinds House in Inveresk, Edinburgh. Hugh was a ploughman, aged 43 years, and had been born in Ireland. He lived with his wife and seven children; all of the latter were born in the Edinburgh district.

Hugh was a farm steward according to his daughter, Sarah's marriage certificate in 1880, and her death certificate in 1882.

Hugh's son, Thomas, was married at Newbattle on Hogmanay 1884. In his son's married certificate of 1885 Hugh was recorded as a ploughman.

In 1888, James Cairns and John Cairns, two of Hugh's sons, married. In the marriage certificate of both sons, their father was recorded as 'Hugh Cairns farm grieve'.

In 1891, Hugh Cairns was head of a household living at Cuiken Cottages, Glencorse, Midlothian, according to the census of that year. Hugh was 54 years old and worked as a ploughman. His birthplace was County Leitrim, Ireland. With him lived his wife and 10 year old son.

In the marriage certificate of his daughter, Margaret, in 1898, Hugh Cairns was recorded as a ploughman.

The 1901 census for Inveresk in Midlothian recorded Hugh Cairns as head of a small household living at Smeaton Shaw. With Hugh lived his wife, Rebecca, and his son, William. Hugh was recorded as aged 63 years and as having been born in Ireland. He worked as a cattleman. His dwelling had four rooms with one or more windows.

Hugh Curran died in 1904. He was a 'gardener journeyman' according to his death certificate and aged 65 years. He was survived by his wife Rebecca Adams.

When Hugh's son, Thomas, married for the second time in 1906, his father was recorded in the marriage certificate as 'Hugh Cairns farm servant deceased'.

Hugh's wife Rebecca died in 1913. In her death certificate she was recorded as the 'widow of Hugh Cairns farm servant'. The informant was their grandson James Cairns.

When Hugh's son, James, died in 1929, the death certificate recorded the dead man's father as 'Hugh Cairns ploughman deceased'.

In 1932, Thomas Cairns, Hugh's son, died. In his death certificate his father was recorded as 'Hugh Cairns farm servant deceased'.

When Hugh's son, John Cairns, died in 1949 in Penicuik, his father was recorded in the death certificate as 'Hugh Cairns farm grieve deceased'. This name and description was also used in the death certificate of Hugh's daughter Margaret in 1959. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

  Research Notes:


A baptism for a Hugh Curran, not a terribly common name, has been found in County Cavan. The address for the family was Polemalady (Pollamalady) in the Roman Catholic parish of Lurgan, County Cavan (not Co Armagh). County Cavan is to the east of County Leitrim, and has its own village named Leitrim in it. the father was named Patrick Curran, the mother Brigid Brady. The sponsors were Michael Reilly and Anne Curran. the date of the baptism is the one thing that fits Hugh perfectly: it is 7 December 1838, which would fit exactly the age Hugh is recorded as being when he married, 19 years going on 20. The details contain one of the names he gave for parents 'Michael' and one his death informant gave 'Anne'. Said in a strong northern Irish accent 'Lurgan' may have been mistaken for 'Leitrim'. There seems to have been a lack of knowledge, and, or, confusion regarding the names of Hugh's parents in his family so we cannot dismiss this entry. Only six entries for Hugh Curran birth or baptism are listed in Roots Ireland for 5 years + or - 1838. The other nearest one is in County Meath around Dublin. In the conditions of the early 1840s Hugh's parents may have died and been replaced by sundry others, leaving only a hazy memory of his true identity. Still, we cannot say that this baptism record fits what we know from other sources of Hugh Curran's circumstances.


'Curran' is a native Irish surname. In Gaelic its form is 'O Corrain', or in an older form 'O Currain'. There are more than a dozen spelling variants of the name, the consonants (except 'C') doubling or becoming single, the vowels interchanging and combining in a festival of sounds. Beyond the Gaelic name, its origins may lie in 'Curadhan' (dh mute) therefore becoming Cura(dh)an - Curaan, meaning hero or champion. Or from the diminutive of 'Corradh', meaning a spear. It is widespread over all Ireland but associated particularly with the western counties and especially Galway.

One researcher found that when the history of Ayrshire, Scotland, Curran families was traced back, the spelling of their surname was often 'Kern', and he makes the point that 'Kern' as defined in the Oxford Dictionary was a light armed Irish foot-soldier: peasant, or boor. 'Kiernan' or McKiernan' in Ireland is known as a substitute for 'Cairns'.

The pronunciation of 'Curran' and 'Cairns', the two surnames, used by Hugh and his family, is not miles apart, especially when the names are pronounced by an Irish accented tongue. It is the written form of the names, alphabetically ordered in lists of all kinds, that makes them seem so separate.


Esperton Limeworks was owned by the Mitchell family and working conditions were hard and dangerous. Limestone was quarried or mined then burnt in large kilns until fine. The resulting product was used in many industries including gas works, pottery industry and the iron industry.

A description selected from the Scottish Mining Website Lothians section:

"Newbattle, a parish, in the county of Edinburgh; containing, with the villages of Easthouses and Newton-Grange, 2033 inhabitants, of whom 159 are in the village of Newbattle, 1 mile (S.) from Dalkeith. This place, which forms a kind of suburb to the town of Dalkeith, originated in the foundation of a monastery by David I. in 1140, which he endowed for brethren of the Cistercian order, from the abbey of Melrose.

The village consists chiefly of old and irregularly built houses, inhabited by persons engaged in the various handicraft trades requisite for the wants of the neighbourhood, and of cottages for agricultural labourers. Easthouses, in its vicinity, is inhabited by persons employed in the collieries of the Marquess of Lothian, which are very extensive, and from which a line of railway, one mile and a half in length, has been formed at the expense of his lordship, to Dalhousie-Mains, where it joins the Edinburgh and Dalkeith railway, which thence proceeds north-westward. In its progress it is carried across a deep ravine of most romantic appearance, by a spacious bridge of cast-iron, of three arches resting on stone piers, sixty-five feet each in span, and of which the central arch, over the river, is seventy feet high. There are one or two other villages and several rural hamlets.

Facility of communication with Dalkeith and the neighbouring towns is afforded by the railway, and by roads kept in tolerable repair. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Dalkeith and synod of Lothian and Tweeddale: the minister's stipend is 188, with a manse, and a glebe valued at 21 per annum; patron, the Marquess.
Newton, a parish, in the county of Edinburgh, 2 miles (N. W.) from Dalkeith; containing, with the villages or hamlets of Adamsrow, Claybarns, Edmonstone, New Engine, Old Engine, Easter and Wester Millerhill, Pentecox, Redrow, Sherriffhall-Engine, and Squaretown, and the hamlet of Backdean, 1743 inhabitants.

This parish, including the old parish of Woolmet, united with it at the Reformation, is about two miles in length and a mile and a half in breadth; comprising an area of 1256 acres, nearly the whole of which are under profitable cultivation. The surface is generally level, and the soil fertile; the scenery is finely varied, and the tract of country between this place and Edinburgh abounds with interesting features. The substratum is chiefly coal, of which there are several mines in extensive operation; and freestone is found at a great depth below the surface, but no regular quarries have yet been opened. In the strata of coal occur various geological specimens, some of which are very beautiful. The collieries have been worked for more than a century, and afford employment to about 1000 of the population.

There are several villages, chiefly inhabited by persons engaged in the coal-mines, of which the principal are Edmonstone, Easter Millerhill, Wester Millerhill, and Adamsrow; and various small hamlets, among which are Little France and Sheriffhall. Some others, from the exhaustion of the mines wherein the inhabitants were employed, have become extinct. The Edinburgh and Dalkeith railway intersects the parish." 21 22 23

  Medical Notes:

John H. Aytoun MB certified the cause of death.

H. Curran, daughter [sic] of the deceased, gave notice of Hugh's death before the registrar, S. F. Forbes, at Cockpen on 11 January 1904.

Hugh married Rebecca ADAMS (DNA Linked), daughter of Thomas ADAMS (DNA Linked) and Sarah McMILLAN (DNA Linked), on 12 March 1858 in Jordanlaw, Westruther, Berwickshire, Scotland. (Rebecca ADAMS (DNA Linked) was born about 1839 in County Armagh, Ireland 2 3 10 and died 8 October 1913 at 8.00 pm in 22 Morrisonshaven, Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland 10.). The cause of her death was pneumonia over 3 days.

  Marriage Notes:

The marriage took place after banns according to the forms of the Established Church of Scotland. The minister of Westruther, Henry Taylor, presided. The witnesses were James Brydon and Isable Anderson.

Hugh Curran, who made his X mark, was an unmarried man of 19 years of age. Resident at Muircleugh in the parish of Lauder, he worked as a labourer. His parents were deceased.

Rebecca Adams was also 19 years old and unmarried. She was resident in Jordanlaw in the parish of Westruther. She was a domestic servant by occupation, and made her X mark. Her mother, Sarah, was recorded as deceased.

The marriage was registered in Westruther on 12 March 1858, the registrar being James Wilson.


1 GRO Scotland, Death certificate RDS 685/5 No 145 Edinburgh/Newington 1882/daughter Sarah.

2 1871 UK census, Liberton Midlothian 693 en d 3 page 26 Old Dalkeith Rd Little France.

3 GRO, Glencorse Midlothian 687 en d 2 page 7 Cuiken Cottages.

4 GRO Edinburgh (2002), Inveresk Midlothian 689 en d 15 page 29 Smeaton Shaw.

5 GRO Scotland, Newbattle 695 no 1 1885.

6 GRO Scotland, Marriages Haddington 709 no 13 1880.

7 GRO Scotland, Deaths Prestonpans and Cockpen 718 no 26 1932.


9 GRO Scotland, Marriage certificate Edinburgh/Inveresk 1880 July 16/daughter Sarah.

10 GRO Scotland, death certificate 718 no 51 Prestonpans Haddingtonshire 1913.

11 GRO, Borthwick Midlothian 674 en d 1 page 18 Esperstone Lime Works.

12 1851 UK census, Biggar Lanarkshire 623/3/7.

13 GRO Scotland, Deaths Leith North 685/10 no 15 1929.

14 GRO Scotland, Deaths Penicuik 697 no 37 1949.

15 GRO Scotland, Deaths Portobello 685/3 no 480 1959.

16 GRO Scotland, Births Inveresk 689 no 198 1875.

17 GRO Scotland, Marriages Kirkliston 667 no 13 1898.

18 GRO Scotland, Marriages Leith South 692/2 no 132 1888.

19 GRO Scotland, Marriages Portobello 684/1 no 5 1888.

20 GRO Scotland, Marriages Inveresk 1907 689 no 11.

21 Internet Site,

22 Internet Site,

23 (Irish Family History Foundation), County Cavan baptism 1838.

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