Ancestral Footprints

During 25 years of research into the social history of Scotland, the Isle of Man and Cumbria in the 18th and early 19th centuries, Frances Wilkins has identified more than 20,000 people. She recorded details of their lifestyles, whether they were rich or poor, honest or dishonest.

Was one of these people your ancestor?

If so, there may be a wide range of information available about them:

  • where they lived

  • what they wore, ate, drank, read

  • the furniture they sat or slept on

  • their favourite entertainment

  • what their garden looked like

  • their ailments and which herbal remedies they used

  • their occupation:merchant, shopkeeper, physician, apothecary, writer, miller, farmer, blacksmith, labourer, mariner

  • were they a banker or customs officer, a forger or smuggler (or all at once)?

  • who were their friends, and enemies?

What happens if you think that your ancestor may have been identified?

  • A search will be made for your ancestor in the databases.

  • If your ancestor is identified then a request will be made for one single payment of £25 (per ancestor).

  • Once this has been received, a report will be produced, including details of contemporary documents where information has been found about your ancestor together with a list of any other documents where their name appears. This will be forwarded to you by email or by post.

  • If any further references to your ancestor are found, these will be forwarded to you, at no extra charge.

  • If there are no details about your ancestor at this stage but references to them are found in the future, you will be contacted immediately. Once a payment of £25 has been received then you will be sent a report, as outlined above. Any further information will be provided at no extra charge.


    Your enquiry will be answered as soon as possible.

    I answer all enquiries in date order but already each day I am receiving a large number of requests for information about ancestors and their lifestyles. As a result, my response may not be by return.


  • Ancestral Footprints Launch

    22 May 2014 - Castle Douglas

  • Was your Ancestor a Smuggler or a Revenue Officer?

    22 July 2014 - Castle Douglas
    23 July 2014 - Kirkcudbright
    21 August 2014 - Ballantrae