Early Family History


The Family Name

Document passed down through the Family

Nicola Horsburgh is studying a document giving an account of the Horsburgh family. This is believed to have been written, probably around 1880, by one of the ladies in the Horsburgh family - possibly by Agnes Horsburgh (née McIntosh), the wife of John Horsburgh b.1835.

This document has been passed on through:
 John Horsburgh b.1835
 to his son James b.1873
to his son Ronald b.1917
-   to his son John
 to his daughter, Nicola, who e-mailed me.

This document states  that the Horsburgh family name can be traced back to 1479.

Descendant of Joshua Reynolds

Nicola Horsburgh's great grandmother Helen Reynolds, married to James David Horsburgh, is apparently a descendant of Sir Joshua Reynolds the artist.  

Nicola adds: "I can only assume the family moved in artist circles and this is how they met."

Origin of the Family Name

Thank you to Dr Dave Horsburgh for sending the following details on the family name.

Dave wrote:


Regarding the origins of the name, it comes from the old estate of Horsburgh in Peeblesshire.  First recorded in the 13th century as Horsbroc, meaning literally 'Horse brook'.

By the 16th century the ordinary forms Horsbruik/ Horsbruke were becoming corrupted to Horsburgh.

 The family tree of the Horsburghs of that Ilk can be traced unbroken from the 1450s until it became extinct in the direct line in 1929.

The family also had other land-owning branches in the East Neuk of Fife.

Dr Davie Horsburgh (no sib tae the penter):  12 January 2006



Thank you to Dr Davie Horsburgh for sending me the details on the origin of the Horsburgh name in January 2006.

Thank you to Nicola Horsburgh (Derby, Derbyshire, England) who gave me the remainder of the information above in February 2005.  Nicola is:

- great-great-granddaughter of the Edinburgh photographer, John Horsburgh.b.1835.

- great-granddaughter of James David Horsburgh, one of the children in the 1881census.

- daughter of John Horsburgh b.1935.

- niece of Helen (Shena) Bulcock, née Horsburgh, also an artist.



Thank you to Mac Horsburgh, Canada, who wrote:

Mac Horsburgh

Youngest son of John Horsburgh

"I am the grandson of Mac Horsburgh, brother of James David Horsburgh.   Mac was born in I875 and would have been 3 years younger than James.   Mac was the last of John's 10 children.  He enjoyed golf and tennis as do I.

Mac emigrated to Winnipeg, Canada where he married and had two children, my father John and my aunt Jean.

 In response to the artistic question, my father was very artistic and talented in many areas. He was also always the top student in his class and became a Civil Engineer."

Family Painting

possibly of an earlier John Horsburgh?

"I have a family painting that I believe may be of an earlier John Horsburgh.

  A Painting of John Horsburgh, probably a self-portrait ©

I also have a copy of  account of crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a Clipper ship in 1855 written by John Horsburgh's b.1835.   This article was published in the Scot's Magazine."

Thank you to Mac Horsburgh, Canada, who gave me the details above on  12, 13 September 2005.  Mac is:

-  great-grandson of  John Horsburgh.b.1835

-  grandson of Mackintosh Horsburgh, the youngest of John Horsburgh's 10 children.





Jenny Harris

North Wales

Thank you to Jenny Harris, who wrote:


Horsburgh Family Photos

"I am the great granddaughter of John Horsburgh.

We have an original (we think) photo of my late mother, Margaret Mealand nee Loudon as a baby with John Horsburgh and family, and other Horsburgh family photos."

Relatives Today

"I would very much like to make contact with any descendants of John Horsburgh, if there are any living in the UK."

Jenny Harris, North Wales:  8 October 2015

Reply to Jennifer?

If you'd like to contact Jenny, please email me to let me know, then I'll pass on her contact details to you.    Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  10 October 2015



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