If you are thinking of visiting Dumfries and Galloway to research you Ancestry, the local Dumfries and Galloway Council have fantastic information and archives to assist you in your research.


The council keeps archived material including Parish Registers, Plans and Maps and many other historical documents. This information is kept at the Archive Centre on Burns Street, Dumfries, however they can also be accessed online or if you visit any library in Dumfries the staff will be pleased to assist you. I am sure that most of the fun is finding out the information for yourself but if you preferred or if you were short of time the council also have a team of qualified and experienced staff who will do your research for you at a relatively small cost.


On my return back to my birthplace of Dumfries I decided to look into the family name “Irving” and it has been  very interesting.


For all you “Irving’s” out there our illustrious surname was first used in the Scottish Borderlands and it was the name for someone who lived in the parish of Irving in this very county of Dumfriesshire!


The name of Irvine and Irving have became indistinguishable over the years. Going by earliest records one of the first listings is William De Irwin who was an armour bearer for Robert the Bruce in the early 1300s.


Our sense of adventure was very evident in the early days and many “Irving’s” headed to North America and were amongst the many Scots who fought with vigour in the American war of Independence. Our forefathers arrived in the mid to late 1600s and over the next 200 years the Irving name was to settle mainly in the state of Pennsylvania.


The family name has it’s own clan badge with the Motto “Sub Sole Sub Umbra Virens” which translates to “ Flourish in both Sunshine and Shade” – what a fantastic motto!!


I will finish with a few famous Irving’s you may have heard of :


  • Rear Admiral Sir Edmund George Irving K.B.E., C.B. (1910-1990) – British Naval Hydrographer.

  • Washington Irving (1783-1859) – American author – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle.

  • Sir Henry Irving (1883-1905) – famous English actor and first to be knighted in the acting profession in 1895.

Enjoy your searching and feel free to contact me – info@glenaldorhouse.co.uk if I can be of assistance.