Family History

Fingland Smith

The Fingland Smith Family, married approx 1776-80

Fingland Origins

Fingland is a Gaelic name for Finn glend, later Fionnghleann, meaning 'white glen', or 'fair glen'. The name occurs several times in the border counties of Dumfriesshire and Peeblesshire. Other variations of the name over the course of time have included Finglen and FynGlen.

In Scotland, the practice of using surnames is of late origin; they evolved slowly and often appear in changed or corrupt forms. Amongst the indigenous peoples of Nithsdale, surnames begin to emerge towards the end of thirteenth century and appear to have been used first by landed families. One of the earliest instances can be traced to Richard Edgar who possessed Sanquhar Castle early in the reign of Robert the Bruce (1309-29), and is thought to have descended from Edgar, lord of Nithsdale.

Covenanter's Graveyard

There are a number of place names using FINGLAND, including OVER FINGLAND, LOWER FINGLAND and FINGLANDRIG with two villages of FINGLAND located in Dumfriesshire. Other occurrences are in Peeblesshire (dating back to at least the early 14 century) and across the border to England where a FINGLAND can be found in the shire of Cumbria 14km due west of the city of Carlisle. The second FINGLAND in Dumfriesshire lies on the White Esk (river) at Davington, NE Dumfriesshire and approx 36km due east of Thornhill and 16km NW of Langholm. It has a waterfall (Wellsburnspout) with a 56ft leap.

It appears that a number of the larger farms in Dumfriesshire had been divided up into smaller lots and then rented out. Thomas FINGLAND apparently must have rented/owned one of these lots as his Memorial Inscription on his tombstone reads in part 'Thomas FINGLAND of Laught'.

Most of the old estates were rented out in parts, like 'upper' 'nether' 'mid' 'over' and so on. Over time as the farms grew larger, parts were amalgamated and often only one of the original names is now evident. In some of these cases, the original estate name was dropped leaving the name like Laight or Laught to stand on it's own.

Laight, or Laught, simply means 'low'. Hence, the lower lot of the main farm would have been called the 'Laught' or 'Laught {farmname}'.

The Laught relevant to the FINGLAND's is most likely in either the Tynron or Morton parish. There is a farm called Laught (Laught Mains) just southeast of Thornhill (Morton parish), and there is a farm called Laight almost due west of Thornhill and due north of Tynron, in Scaur Glen, at the foot of Laight Hill.

The descendants of Thomas FINGLAND have their origins in the north of Dumfrisshire, with numerous references to the villages between Thornhill in the south to Kirkconnel in the north. A very small village called FINGLAND exists in the Kirkconnel Parish, being about 6km NNE of Kirkconnel and about 8.5km NNW of Sanquhar.

It appears that the village FINGLAND was once a larger estate, with LOWER FINGLAND recorded just outside the village.

Thomas probably had something to do with the farming community.

Thomas and Mary were both burried at Penpoint Cemetary which now is a very well kept Covenanters memorial.

Mary Smith's grandfather was a Dr Grierson from Thornhill so the family must have been well know in the local area. After Mary's death in 1784 (she was only 27) Thomas married Agnes Menzies.

Thomas Fingland

Born: 1753
Married: approx 1776-80
Died: 1810 (age 57)
Father: See notes below.


Mary Smith

Born: 1757
Died: 1784 (age 27)
Father: Thomas Smith
Mother: Mary Grierson

And then married Agnes after Mary's untimely death.

Agnes Menzies

Born: 1759
Died: 1843 (age 84)

CHILDREN (Only details of the one, see notes below ...)

John Fingland

Born: 1780
Married: 22nd April 1803
Died: 8th June 1844
Place: Thornhill
Spouce: Agnes Rorison (1781-1867 age 86)


FINGLAND stands on an old drover's road from Muirkirk (NW) to Sanquhar (SE) at the junction of the drover's road from Wanlockhead (due east). FINGLAND is also on the junction of several waterways including the FINGLAND BURN (from the south west) and the FINGLAND LANE from the North west; both which flow into the Spango Water at FINGLAND which then heads in an easterly direction.

The drover's road would have been used until the Muirkirk to Sanquhar road was built sometime prior to 1790. For Muirkirk, the building of the Sanquhar road significantly improved short and long distance travel. The Great New Inn, built in 1790 at the top of Furnace Road in Muirkirk was a halfway house on the coach run from Ayr to Lanark and Edinburgh and also served travellers on the Strathaven (North of Muirkirk) to Sanquhar run.

(Source Ian, Perth)

If we go on the scottish naming pattern then this Fingland should be Thomas, as 1st born son should be named after father father.
Thomas and Mary's 1st son could have been named Thomas ...

Possible parents..

Scotsorigin, download

Janet Fingland chr 9/5/1750parents William Fingland and Janet Hunter, Penpont
Thomas Fingland chr 12/7/1752parents William Fingland and Janet Hunter, Penpont
Margaret Fingland chr 9/5/1756parents William Fingland and Janet Hunter, Penpont
John Fingland chr 12/11/1758parents William Fingland and Janet Hunter, Penpont

This Thomas Fingland b1752 compares with Thomas Fingland b1753 (above) so could have William and Janet as parents.

Possible, (source George Canada)

Found out about a William Fingland who came to Canada and settled near Guelph, claims William 1793-1870 was son of John 1757-1830 and that the line eventually goes back to William Douglas of Fingland of Annie Laurie fame, ( great to hear at last someone else has heard of the Douglas conection) also purhaps a generation who came to Canada before William 1793, Samuel, John, Gilbert, James, Thomas, Walter and Elizabeth, father shown as James, Sanquhar, Scotland.

Hypothesising, that their William could be the son of John while George and Agnes are sibblings of the brother Thomas.

Updated September 2009

William Fingland
Janet Hunter

Janet Fingland
born 9th May 1750

Thomas Fingland
born 12th July 1752

Margaret Fingland
born 9th May 1756

John Fingland
born 12th November 1758

Fam Tree
for more information

William Fingland
(1793 - 1870)
Canada connection