|WILLS AND TESTAMENTS OF SCOTLAND 1513 TO 1901
RELATING TO THE SEPT NAMES OF THE CLAN MACTHOMAS
by Grahame Thom
I have prepared this index to enable those interested in the sept names of the Clan MacThomas to more easily search for a Scottish will or testament. The data was extracted in early 2010 from the official index found on the web site scotlandspeople.
The 667 entries relate to the sept names as follows.
Combe - 37
Combie - 1
MacColm - 11
MacColme - 2
MacComas - 2
MacComb - 3
MacCombe - 1
MacCombie - 21
MacComish - 8
MacOmie - 5
MacOmish - 11
McColm - 4
McColme - 3
McComas - 4
McComb - 2
McCombe - 2
McCombie - 65
McComish - 7
McOmie - 2
McOmish - 5
MacThomas - nil
Tam - 1
Thom - 314
Thoms - 52
In relation to Thomas I quote from page 179 of the book The History of the Clan MacThomas by Andrew MacThomas of Finegand, 19th Chief of the Clan MacThomas (published 2009),
“Thomas - But only those whose ancestors who originally come from Eastern Scotland, particularly the counties of Perthshire, Angus, Aberdeenshire, and Fife are likely to be MacThomases because the name Thomas is claimed also by other Scottish clans.”
Also Thomson is a sept name of the Clan MacThomas but as there were over 5700 entries on scotlandspeople I have not included any in this index. Again I quote from page 179,
“ Thomsons tend to come from three distinct areas of Scotland:
a) Those coming originally from the counties in Eastern Scotland mentioned above, who anglicised their names on leaving the Highlands, are likely to be MacThomases.
b) Those originating from Argyll in the west of Scotland are likely to be MacTavishes,
c) Those coming originally from the Borders Region in south east Scotland. Being lowlanders, such Thomsons are not linked to a Highland Clan.”
Some other interesting details from this index.
Males - 471
Females - 196
Those who died outside of Scotland (total 33). Interestingly none died before 1800.
At sea - 4
Australia - 2
Brazil - 1
Egypt - 1
Eire - 2
England - 13
France - 1
India - 2
Japan - 1
Northern Ireland - 1
South Africa - 1
United States of America - 2
Wales - 1
West Africa - 1
The following list of pre 1750 wills and testaments reveals the localities where our ancestors lived in Scotland. Interestingly there are no Thoms in this list. All the locality name relates to the Commissary Court name.
1596 - Johnne Thom - Hamilton and Campsie
1607 - Bessy McColme - Edinburgh
1618 - Johne McComas - Dunblane
1619 - John Thom - St Andrews
1620 - Christian Thom - St Andrews
1623 - Jonet McColme - Glasgow
1632 - John McGillichreist MacComas - Inverness
1634 - Thomas MacComas - Inverness
1643 - Johnne McColme - Glasgow
1652 - John Thomas - Dunblane
1656 - Elspeth Tam - Dunblane
1663 - Mareone Thom - Edinburgh
1663 - Margaret Thom - Glasgow
1666 - William McComas - Inverness
1667 - Jonet MacColme - Glasgow
1672 - Jonet Thomas - Edinburgh
1676 - Finlay McComas - Inverness
1676 - John McComish - Dunblane
1677 - John Thomas - Edinburgh
1686 - Elspeth Thomas - Glasgow
1692 - David Thom - Glasgow
1706 - Elizabeth Thomas - Edinburgh
1712 - William Thom - Hamilton and Campsie
1715 - John Thom - Hamilton and Campsie
1717 - James Thom - St Andrews
1718 - William Thom - Hamilton and Campsie
1718 - William Thom - Glasgow
1725 - John Thom - Hamilton and Campsie
1726 - Andrew MacColm - Wigtown
1728 - Andrew MacCombe - Wigtown
1733 - Alexander Thom - Edinburgh
1740 - George Thom - Dunkeld
1741 - John Thom - Aberdeen
1743 - Isabell Thom - St Andrews
1743 - Robert Thom - Morey
1748 - John Thomas - Dunkeld
The foremat of my index is
Family name, given name(s), date recorded after lodgement.
Type of document(s)
Name of Court, and a figure in brackets indicating multiple entries
The following information about the official index and the Courts of Scotland has been taken in part from the web site scotlandspeople.
Wills & Testaments
The wills and testaments index contains over 611,000 entries to Scottish wills and testaments dating from 1513 to 1901. It is compiled from the indexes to the official court registers of Scottish wills and testaments held in the Historical Search Room of the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh. These consist of,
- the Scottish Record Society’s printed indexes to the Commissary Courts registers of testaments up to 1800 (Edinburgh 1901)
- typed indexes to the Commissary Court indexes, 1800-1823
- manuscript tables of contents of the Sheriff Courts registers of inventories and settlements up to 1875
- the printed Calendar of Confirmations, 1876-1901.
Each index entry may include: surname, forename, title, occupation and place of residence (where these are given) of the deceased person, the court in which the testament was recorded, and the date on which the testament was recorded.
Index entries do not include names of executors, trustees or heirs to the estate, the deceased’s date of death, or the value of the estate.
In some instances, there can be more than one entry in the wills and testaments index for the same person.
About The Courts
Before the Reformation of 1560, bishops had the power to administer the estates of the deceased in cases of intestacy and to confirm testaments submitted to them by parish priests. For a few years after 1560, the situation was somewhat confused, but in February 1564, the first commissary court was established in Edinburgh by letters patent. Another twenty-one were set up over a considerable period, taking over the duties of the former church courts.
The districts covered by the jurisdiction of commissary courts were termed “commissariots” and the principal court officials “commissars”. The geographical boundaries of the courts’ jurisdiction remained the same as those of the pre-Reformation church courts and largely corresponded to the boundaries of the mediaeval dioceses. They bear no relation to present-day administrative boundaries, nor did they correspond to the old county boundaries. For example, the county of Perth was covered by Dunblane, Dunkeld and St Andrews Commissary Courts. This can cause confusion particularly when the county in which a person died bears the same name as a Commissary Court.
The Edinburgh Commissary Court was the principal court and heard appeals from the local courts. It also had the power to confirm testaments of those who owned moveable property in more than one commissariot, of Scots dying outside Scotland (‘furth of the realm’), and of others who held assets in Scotland.
Under the terms of the Commissary Courts (Scotland) Act of 1823, the system of commissary courts was abolished.
Sheriff Courts assumed official responsibility for the confirmation of testaments from 1 January 1824. However, the transfer of duties did not happen overnight. Some commissary courts continued in existence for a number of years after their statutory ‘demise’ and continued to confirm testaments (for example, the Edinburgh Commissary Court continued in existence until 1836). There is therefore considerable overlap between the testamentary records of the commissary courts and those of the sheriff courts. As such, it is advisable to check both courts during this period.
Each sheriff court had its own method of organising its executry records, so these records are not arranged in a consistent manner.
The commissary office of Edinburgh Sheriff Court assumed responsibility for confirming the executry of Scots abroad who died leaving moveable property in Scotland.
Will these documents tell me about land and buildings?
Before the early years of the 19th century do not expect to find any references to land and buildings. Testaments related only to the deceased's moveable estate, i.e. money, household furnishings, personal possessions, farm animals and crops etc. (In Scotland rules of inheritance differed in respect to moveable and heritable property, i.e. land and buildings). However, from the early 19th century, it was not uncommon to find dispositions, settlements, trust dispositions and settlements, etc. recorded in the commissary court registers, and these documents often included details of heritable property. After 1868 this could be bequeathed so you will find more instances of heritable property, or 'heritage', in the records.
Until 1964 the law of primogeniture applied with regard to heritage, i.e. the eldest son inherited everything, unless there had been a disposition or bequest specifically made by the deceased owner.
The following are comments bt Grahame Thom
Please appreciate that this information has been taken from an index and therefore both indexes may contain transcription errors. It is possible that I may not have included every relevant entry. Therefore please take this list as a guide and do check the index on the scotlandspeople web site.
Not being all that familiar with the spelling of Scottish place names, there may be some errors. If anyone finds an error could you please contact me.
When editing this list I noticed that some people with the same family name lived in the same locality. Therefore, I recommend researchers should scan the full list for a particular family name to see if there are other likely relatives that have been included in the list.
The scotlandspeople index includes many multiple entries for the same person. In order to reduce the size of this index, I have brought together entries that obviously relate to the same person. The number of multiple entries are indicated by a number at the end of each entry, for example (2).
It is likely that each entry for the same person will be for different documents. One could be an inventory and another a will. Therefore you should consider obtaining the documents for each entry where there are multiple entries for the same person.
In at least five cases there are two entries that appear similar, but as I could not say with certainty that the two entries related to the same person, I have included both entries.
For several entries the family name is indicated as Thom (Thoms). In other words both family names were applicable to the same person. I have included these entries under both family names.
I have not included reference details as this can be obtained by going to scotlandspeople.
You may obtain a copy of all the documents on the file refereed to on the web site scotlandspeople. This can be done by using a debit or credit card or by obtaining vouchers by cheque. The cost as at April 2010 is 5 pounds per entry.
My index is in strict alphabetical order. I have split the index into smaller groups and these can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate link below.
For access to the sites for scotlandspeople and the Clan MacThomas Society please click on links below.
Return to my summary page relating to indexes
Official government source for Scottish wills 1513 to 1901 (and other genealogical data)
The official web site of the Society
Combe to McOmish
Tam to Elspeth Thom
Forbes to James Thom
John Thom to Peter Thom
Rachel Thom to William Thom