This section attempts to document the Townsley families found in Scotland while researching the surname within the UK.
Some families with Scottish connections appear in the North East of England so are not repeated here.
As covered on the Origins of the Name page there is a steady growth in the number of Townsleys spotted in the Scottish Census -
Census 1841 - 7 Townsley | 3 Townsly | 5 Tounsley | 11 Townslay
Census 1851 - 29 Townsley | 7 Townsly | 12 Tounsley | 0 Townslay
Census 1861 - 33 Townsley | 4 Townsly | 4 Tounsley | 17 Townslay | 1 Townslie | 7 Townslee
Census 1871 - 57 Townsley | 1 Townsly | 1 Tounsley | 0 Townslay | 8 Townslie
Census 1881 - 127 Townsley | 3 Townsly | 17 Tounsley | 0 Townslay
Census 1891 - 167 Townsley | 3 Townsly | 6 Tounsley | 0 Townslay
Census 1901 - 234 Townsley | 6 Townsly | 4 Tounsley | 3 Townslay
In 1841 family occupations were listed as itinerant tinker, metal caster, blacksmith and tinsmith. The changes in numbers seem to support a theory that the Townsley families in Scotland were immigrants from other parts of the British Isles. Many of the 1841 entries give a birth place of Ireland. The largest Irish family group (12) is recorded at Broompark, Old Luce (see Glenluce History for maps, census and parish records) with another family of 5 at Stranraer. Both near the short sea crossing from Ireland. The remaining entries are 1 family at Campbeltown (Argyll) another family at Craigie (Ayr) plus individuals at Kirkliston (West Lothian), North Knapdale (Argyll) and 3 at Campsie (Stirling) - sister + 2 brothers?
The combination of travelling, repeated first names and not being part of a settled community make tracing families difficult. Also there seem to evidence that some Townsley marriages being were held at "irregular" marriage venues. The General Register Office for Scotland has details at Irregular Border and Scottish Runaway Marriages. The Marriage House at Coldstream was one place possibly used by some families but its records may not have survived. Finally migration impacts the research efforts as family members (or whole families) disappear completely from the Scottish records.
Being based in England I have had limited access to the family records for Scotland - also needing a better understanding of the Scottish laws and practices regarding births / deaths / marriages. One example of a situation that I have not come across in England is the marriage of Andrew Townsley to Martha Whyte at Perth as recently as 1914.
Here the couple are married "By Declaration" at what seems to be a private house - 42 Tay Street. The double surprise is that the witnesses themselves married at the same address on the day before - with Andrew Townsley and Martha Whyte as witnesses for them!
Note also that Mary Whyte's mother is another Townsley and that Andrew Townsley's mother is another Whyte
After some more work this page will be extended to cover the type of family trees listed for the other regions.