Lots of Greenfields in East Lothian

I’m currently looking at the digitised hearth tax records from the 1690s at ScotlandsPlaces (a subscription site). Among other things I was hoping to find clues to my Somner ancestors in there. I have a Somner ancestor farming in 1720s Garvald parish, and there were Somners in mid 17th century East Lothian, so it’s worth a hunt.

However I’m getting really distracted by all the Greenfields I keep seeing as heads of household in Bara, Garvald and Yester (Gifford) hearth tax returns. Through the Hall side and the Fairs I reach Greenfield ancestors in 18th century Coldingham. I know the earliest known, John Greenfield who married Janet Denholm in 1703, was from East Lothian. When he married her at Coldingham he was living in Spott parish, East Lothian. However I wasn’t quite prepared for the sheer number of Greenfield families I’m finding throughout these East Lothian heart tax returns. Some of them really jump out at me as well, like David Greenfield: David was a recurring name among my Coldingham Greenfields. Maybe a relative? Would be hard to tell, but it’s intriguing.

About vivdunstan

Academic historian, genealogist, former computer scientist, and Doctor Who fan.
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2 Responses to Lots of Greenfields in East Lothian

  1. Just found this post from 2012 concening Greenfields in East Lothian. i believe that I am descended directly from a man we refer to as The Mariner, Archibald Greenfield, who immigrated from East Lothian to Salem, Massachusetts about 1712. I am aware of three Greenfield boys named Archibald all born in Spott in 1682, 1685, and 1688, each with different fathers, who I am guessing were either brothers or cousins in the same family. The one who is the best candidate to be my ancestor is James Greenfield, the father of the 1685 Archibald, based on the fact that The Mariner’s son and grandson were also named James, and the name appears several more times in the tree, while the names of the other two fathers do not appear at all among the American descendants of The Mariner (although the name John is there amost as many times as Archibald and James). I do not know anything about James Greenfield of Spott or of his wife, Margaret Denholm (or Denholme), except that their son Archibald baptized January 31, 1685, in Spott. It seems plausible that this Margaret and your Janet were also related.

    I have only begun to search our Spott connection and would appreciate any information or even hints you can supply.

    -Jerry Greenfield, Portland, Oregon

    • vivdunstan says:

      There is a Greenfield surname researcher on Twitter, if you can find them. Sorry I can’t remember their Twitter name right now. Your best bet is to pore over the parish registers, but if I recall correctly they don’t start that much earlier than your period, which makes it a challenge. Also I failed to turn up any usable kirk session records, which might have been useful for my Deans/Denholm couple. Have you looked at wills and inventories? Those that survive are generally available online, in digitised form, at ScotlandsPeople. You can search by surname, but use some sort of fuzzy search e.g. Soundex or wildcard, to pick up on variant spellings. Good luck!

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