Today was a “Family Search Day.” We decided to be adventuresome and ride the bus to the South Leith area in Midlothian. This area is on the other side of Edinburgh. We took one of our “normal” buses downtown and then took the #22 to South Leith. It goes down the “Leith Walk” which is one of the longest roads in Edinburgh. The road connects Edinburgh to the South Leith area. (One of the advantages of being over age 60 and being here for over 12 months is that we get to ride the bus for free – a “Concession fare”. We have a bus pass and can ride all over town at no cost. Oh, the joy of living in a welfare state…riding the bus is “free”. – I won’t get on that soapbox today however.)
Looking down "Leith Walk" - Yes, we do drive on the left side of the road over here!!
From Wikipedia – “Leith Walk owes its existence to a defensible rampart which was constructed between Calton Hill and Leith. The northern march of Cromwell's army, in 1650, was halted at this line by the Scots, under David Leslie (who was subsequently defeated at the Battle of Dunbar). The rampart was then developed into a footpath described by Daniel Defoe in 1725 as "a very handsome Gravel-walk, 20 Feet broad, continued to the Town of Leith, which is kept in good repair at the public Charge, and no Horse suffered to come upon it." which explains why the street became known as Leith Walk. At the time of its creation it provided an alternative (and shorter) route to Edinburgh to the pre-existing Easter Road and its then counterpart Wester Road (now called Bonnington Road/Broughton Road) although it did not supplant these routes as the main road to Leith until after the building of the North Bridge in 1769.”
The "Water of Leith" is a river that empties into the Firth of Forth at the town of Leith.
I have been looking at some Family History records and found that some of my ancestors were born and also died in the South Leith area. I looked up on the intranet and found the South Leith Parish Church which was established in 1483 and saw that there was a cemetery at the church. We decided to go look for Sarah Richardson. Sarah was born in 1767 and died in 1833. Sarah was my grandmother Boden’s great-grandmother. She was the wife of Robert Rutherford. Sarah’s father, John Richardson, and her mother Helen Vincent, also died in South Leith. It was a long shot that we could find anything as there are churches everywhere in many of the older neighborhoods, and many have cemeteries in the church yard.
We found the South Leith Parish Church with the cemetery and went inside and talked to a lady who pulled out a book of the burial records…at least one book that she had of records in the late 1700 to mid-1800s. We could not find the names of the individuals we were looking for. We wondered through the cemetery and found some Richardsons and Rutherfords, but don’t know if they were our relatives. Most of the headstones in these old cemeteries are really hard to read. The material used was often like a sandstone and the weather has worn many of them smooth.
This is the church in South Leith.
We did find some Rutherford names but I don't know if they are related.
We stopped at four other churches in the area but none of them had cemeteries. We decided that we needed to go the Scottish Archives to look up some records. We went back to Edinburgh to the Archive building, but it was closed. We will need to go down during the week.
In reviewing my family records, I have found that I have a number of relatives who lived in South Leith, Edinburgh, Dunfremline, Kinross, and Kincardine – all of which are within 15 – 20 miles of where we are living. We will do some checking in the Archives, and maybe go on another family history excursion another day.