Copyright 2024 Mary McGonigal Updated 7 June 2024 'Update' refers to the whole section update, not to each separate file.
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(About 1690-)
OLIVER, Margaret
STIRLING, John Farmer in Cakemurehall, in Borthwick parish
(About 1685-)
HAY, Jean
SMALE, Andrew
SMAIL, Elder
(About 1748-)


Family Links

1. SIMSON, Thomas

SMAIL, Elder

  • Born: About 1748, probably Prestonkirk, East Lothian, Scotland
  • Marriage (1): SIMSON, Thomas

   Other names for Elder were SMAIL, Alder,1 SMAIL, Helder,2 SMAILL, Elder, SMALL, Elder and SMALL OR SNAIL, Ellen.

  General Notes:

No baptism record has been found for 'Elder', which raises the question : Is 'Elder' a nickname, and might she have been one of the twins - the 'elder' of the two, Agnes or Jean?

  Research Notes:


The name Elder struck me as odd when I first read it. There are a few different possibilities of what it might be. It appears in more than one child's christening information so it seems feasible to rule out a wrong reading or a scribal error.

At the simplest level it may be a personal or corrupt form of 'Elinor' or 'Eleanor'.

Or it may be a surname used as a forename, which has a strong tradition in Scotland.

Or it may be simply an unusual forename. 'Helder', as a male forename is found in Portuguese and other cultures. It may have been transferred to a baby girl if no suitable boy babies were available. It may even be a form of Hilda or Ada.

Or it may be a nickname - she may have been the 'elder' of two.

Elder married Thomas SIMSON, son of Thomas SIMSON and Jennet JARDAN. (Thomas SIMSON was baptised on 16 May 1736 in Pencaitland parish, East Lothian, Scotland 3.)


1 Old Parish Registers of the Church of Scotland, Inveresk and Musselburgh Parish Midlothian Baptisms.

2 GRO Scotland, Haddington Parish East Lothian baptisms.

3 GRO Scotland, Old Parish Registers Baptisms.

Copyright 2024 Mary McGonigal

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