Notes on Origins

In Scotland, early Wanless families were not Highlanders. They were often religious dissenters, typically Presbyterian or Methodist. The earliest recorded christenings are for a Wandles or Wanles family as follows:

  • 1620s: Kinfauns, Perthshire
  • 1640s: a Wandles family appears in Dundee, Angus (Forfar) and Dysart, Fife.
  • 1650s: a Wandles family appears in Kettins and Auchterhouse in Angus and Kilspindie in Perth
  • 1660s: a Wandlace family appears at Auchterhouse (Angus) and a Wandles at Longforgan (Perth)

Between 1700 and 1750, they were concentrated in the following areas:

  • Angus (formerly Forfar): Auchterhouse, Dundee, Liff & Benvie, Invergowrie, Kettins, Coupar Angus
  • Fife: Aberdour, Dysart
  • Perthshire: Abernyte, Errol, Inchture, Kinfauns, Kilspindie, Longforgan, Meigle
  • Roxburghshire: Linton

By 1800, Wanless families continued to populate the areas above and had spread to:

  • Berwickshire: Fogo
  • Perth: Alyth
  • Roxburghshire: Nether, Auchope near Morebattle, Yetholm, New Edmiston

Naming Patterns – Many Scots families followed a fairly strict naming pattern for their children. This can enable you to trace back 3 or 4 generations, armed with the name of a child who was named for her paternal great-grandmother. Of course, the pattern cannot be relied upon without additional documentation of relationships, but it can often serve as a good guide.


The 1841 census records place of residence, names and ages of everyone in the household, occupations of those who had them, and “Y” for “born in county”, “N” for born in Scotland but not in this county, “I” for born in Ireland, “F” for born in a foreign country. The information supplied for each person recorded in the census after 1841 is:

  • name – married women were often listed under their maiden surname, at least in 1841 and 1851
  • place of residence
  • relationship to head of household, marital status, age, occupation
  • place of birth

UK┬áSeamen’s Registers – some Scottish seamen are listed here, with their home ports and birth dates