Margaret Thomson and John Wilson were married at Canonbie in 1796. The 1851 census returns show Margaret as aged seventy-nine and born at Half Morton.[1] She appears to be the Margaret, daughter of William Thomson and Helen Hogg, who was baptised at Gretna in 1771. The residence at that time was given as Cow Garth, which was near the border with Half Morton parish. The residence of William Thomson at his marriage in 1769 is given as Half Morton. Moreover, Robert Thomson, whose death record identifies him as a son of William Thomson and Helen Hogg, is shown by the 1851 census returns to have been born about 1772 at Half Morton.


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WILLIAM THOMSON of Half Morton, Dumfriesshire, labourer, married in February 1769 at Gretna, HELEN HOGG.[2]


Children of William Thomson and Helen Hogg:

i               MARGARET THOMSON, bap 19 Apr 1771, Gretna,[3] d 30 Sep 1853;[4] m 28 Sep 1796, Canonbie, JOHN WILSON[5] (see here).

ii              ROBERT THOMSON of Eaglesfield, Middlebie, labourer, b ca 1772, Half Morton,[6] d 22 Apr 1860, Kirkpatrick Fleming;[7] m HELEN MATHIESON.[8]

iii             JEAN THOMSON, bap 5 Jan 1776, Gretna.[9]

iv             WILLIAM THOMSON, bap 28 Feb 1778, Gretna.[10]

v              MARY THOMSON, bap 5 Sep 1782, Gretna.[11]

vi                        THOMSON, bap 6 Mar 1785, Gretna.[12]

[1] 1851 census returns, Canonbie (online at

[2] Gretna parish registers (online at Helen is said to be of Canonbie in the marriage record. She was probably Helen, daughter of Walter Hogg and Margaret Elliott, who was baptised at Canonbie on 1 Sep 1745. There was also a Helen, daughter of Thomas Hogg and Margaret Graham, baptised at Canonbie on 21 Aug 1737, but the 1745 baptism seems more likely in view of the baptism dates of the children of William Thomson and Helen Hogg. The Helen Hogg baptised in 1737 could be “Eleanor” Hogg, wife of Francis Forster, who died on 28 Sep 1802 aged 66 according to her monumental inscription at Canonbie.

[3] Gretna parish registers (online at

[4] Transcription of monumental inscription at Canonbie (online at; burial abstracts in England & Scotland, Select Cemetery Registers, 1800-2016 (online at The MI transcription gives the date of death for Margaret Thompson, widow of John Wilson, as 30 Sep 1855 and her age as 84. I was not able to find a death entry for Margaret in the statutory registers (although they had only been started earlier in 1855 and undoubtedly were not entirely complete). In the “Select Cemetery Registers” collection is an entry for Margaret Thomsen, buried on 3 Oct 1853 aged 84. The burial place is only given as “Scotland” and the entry is not linked to an image of the register. However, the only area of Scotland listed in the sources for the collection is Dumfries and Galloway, and a comparison with census returns and monumental inscriptions shows that some of the other 1853 entries in the collection are for Canonbie residents. Given the absence of Margaret’s death in the statutory registers and the ease with which 1853 on the inscription could be misread as 1855, it seems most likely that Margaret died on 30 Sep 1853.

[5] Canonbie parish registers (online at

[6] 1851 England, Wales & Scotland Census (online at

[7] Statutory deaths, Kirkpatrick Fleming (online at

[8] The death record of Robert’s son Thomas Thomson (d 25 Nov 1883) gives the decedent’s mother as Helen Mathieson: statutory deaths, Middlebie (online at

[9] Scotland Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950 (

[10] Scotland Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950 (

[11] Scotland Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950 (

[12] Gretna parish registers (online at The entry is unclear, but the accompanying transcription gives the child as a son of William Thomson and Helen Hog.