Sunday, 22 March 2015

A Farm Discovery

The Scottish 1865 Valuation Rolls were recently released on Scotlands People. The index is currently free to search, however images cost two credits. In 1865, my Great Great Grandfather William Gow was raising his family at Cairn Farm, Muthill, Perthshire, and I did indeed find him at Cairn Farm in the Valuation Roll.

My 2x Great Grandfather William Gow
[Source: Personal Collection]
I was intrigued to discover that William was leasing Cairn Farm from Robert Thomas Napier Speir. I did not even know that William had leased his farm from someone! I also found that William was leasing a second farm from Speir - Drummawhance Farm. This is the first time I have heard of this farm. Cairn Farm has always been the only farm ever mentioned in reference to William Gow and his family. It is the farm listed on census records and birth and death certificates. My Dad and I both agree that Drummawhance might not have been mentioned in these records because it was only a working farm. The other surprise was that both farms, a long with a few others, were part of Culdees Castle, which was owned by Speir.

The website linked for Culdees Castle provided the longitude and latitude of the Castle's location - 56.324191N, 3.804687W. I popped that into Google Maps to see where the Castle was, as I had found that it was demolished in 1967. We did not know the exact location of Cairn Farm before either, so I was hoping this might provide me with a general area. The pin is the location of Culdees Castle according to the longitude and latitude co-ordinates. But wait, what is that farm in the bottom right corner? Drummawhance Farm!

Image from Google Maps showing the location of Culdees Castle
[Source: Google Maps]
 I scrolled down a bit further and what do I see...CAIRN FARM!

Image from Google Maps showing the location of Culdees Castle, Drummawhance Farm, & Cairn Farm
[Source: Google Maps]
My Dad and I have spent countless hours exploring Muthill on Google Maps and we have no recollection of Cairn Farm being labelled. Otherwise, well, we would have sent my Aunt there when she went to Muthill a couple of years ago. I am so excited that we now have an exact location of Cairn Farm! And the fact that the farms are across the road from each other would have been pretty handy for William.

Cairn Farm & Drummawhance Farm - pretty close together!
[Source: Google Maps]
I googled Drummawhance Farm and it seems to still be in operation. It even has its own website with a contact form. I might send a message through and see what information, if any, they have on either farms. I cannot wait to go to Scotland one day and visit Cairn Farm to see where my Great Great Grandparents lived, and where my Great Grandfather lived before coming to Australia!

Thank you Valuation Rolls - you've given me a lot more than I expected.

Have you found anything exciting or unexpected in Scotlands People's Valuation Rolls?


  1. Great Work Caitlin!

    My Scottish ancestor came to Australia prior to 1865. However I found his father's property and a potential lead for a brother. Fingers crossed it leads to something more!

  2. Hi Caitlin! I met you at Rootstech this year and I just read your interview at Geneabloggers. It's fun to find your blog and learn a little about your research.