The Willison Family Tree
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The Willisons Liked To Write!

There are in existence a great many Willison family papers, dating back from the late 18th century until the early years of the 20th.
 
Most of the papers consist of letters; business & private, addressed to the John Willison of the day.
 
By tradition the eldest son of the family was named John, so in referring to them it is usually necessary to identify them by their dates.
 
The papers also include wills, valuations of farms and stock, receipts and accounts. There are also letters from the Buchan nephews of John Willison (1806-1884), some of them are from Matthew Buchan, a New Zealand sheep farmer in the 1860's and poems by John Willison (1772-1841). 
 
The papers refer to the various farms rented by family members. These include Auchendaff, (the first known home of John the Covenanter), Parish Holm, Middlefield, North Bottom, Greenburn, Whitecleuch and Dalpeddar. All of these farms lie in the part of South Western Scotland, where Ayreshire, Dumfriesshire and Lanarkshire meet.
From the mid 19th century there are papers relating to Glen Lochay and Acharn, farms managed and rented in Perthshire.
 
Most of the family letters were written in the mid 19th Century and the greatest correspondnts of this time were Alexander Willison (1808-1865) and his younger brother James Patterson Willison (1822-1885). Alexander was both a Minister of the Church, and a farmer. James farmed at Dalpeddar near Sanquhar.
 
The letters provide a fair picture of the social lives and the economic circumstances of a typical middleclass farming family in rural Scotland in the nineteenth century and are now housed at the National Library of Scotland. Their inventory can be downloaded here.                                                                                                  Parish Holm
 
We have also recently discovered that an account book for Auchendaff Farm, with childrens drawings within it is archived in the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford in a catalogue of manuscripts collected by the Institute of Agricultural Economics, 1788-1929.
 
Auchendaff Farm Cottage
 
Extracts from the Willison papers were typed up by Ralph Willison in 1989, before he passed them onto the National Library of Scotland and can be downloaded from this site:
Chapter 1: The Willisons of South Lanarkshire Origins; 17th & 18th centuries; farms in Lanarkshire; John Willison the Covenanter; Old Auchen the Droll; Robert Willison the soldier; family expenditure; farm business; leases on farms; correspondence with lairds; James Paterson Willison.
Chapter 2: The Rev Alexander Willison; Dundonald and Luing; Isabella Campbell Willison; the Buchans.
Chapter 3: The young Buchans; Mathew Buchan in New Zealand; John Willison (1806-84) and his son John (1844-89); Glenlochay and Acharn in Perthshire.
Chapter 4: John Willison (1772-1841) and his poems; Duncan Willison; prevention of sheep stealing in Breadalbane; note on Willison Family Tree.