v 6.30.00
28 Jan 2022
updated 28 Jan 2022

Historical Sources for the Waddell family tree
as drawn up by Alexander Wingate Waddell, 1987

Uncle Sandy was untiring in the research and preparation of the family trees and biographies that he produced, but nothing comes from nothing and he duly credited two previous authorities in this area (as per his acknowledgements in the bottom RH corner of Waddells et al)

  • James Waddell's The Waddell Pedigree, Glasgow, 1904.
    (James was Sandy's grandfather, who died in 1907, long before Sandy was born, but they evidently shared a common genetic interest in family history.)
  • Gavin Main Waddell's so far unpublished researches to which Sandy had been given access. (Gavin himself is located very near the lower edge of the Stanrigg zone of Waddells et al.)

Unfortunately, as he is the indisputable doyen of researchers in this area, I don't think that Gavin Waddell's magnum opus, The Waddells of Scotland, has ever yet been published – a great pity, for it has evidently been many decades in the gestation, as this //boards.ancestry.com/surnames.waddell/ posting on 30 Aug 2008 indicates:

As you may have seen on an earlier posting I am writing a book entitled "The Waddells of Scotland" which is nearing completion. I have a chapter on Medieval Waddells including Adam and his brother Walter of Newton. I have studied, I hope, all available manuscripts and where possible the original text but there does not appear to be much more than you already have on Adam – do you have the quotation from Bain's Documents Relating to Scotland? I have found an earlier member of the family Gilis de Wedala c 1173 who signs two documents that are recorded in the Munimentia of Melrose.I am not sure that any earlier family in England is necessarily connected – I also deal with this in my Chapter, Origins of the Name.

I am afraid it is all very complicated and after over forty years of study I feel I am just at the beginning.

Well, not much hope for the rest of us, then. The best is the enemy of the good. But as an unlettered chronicler I have no qualms about omitting the small print of historical detail and am happy with broad-brush material that is plausible and self-consistent1.

What appears to be a cut'n'paste extract of paragraphs from Gavin Waddell's draft version, dated Feb 2009, and entitled A Short History of the Waddells of Scotland is displayed on www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/waddell/disc and I reproduce below the section on the Balquhatstone branch and its cohorts. This is a huge help in understanding the layout of Waddells et al, and plausibly establishes the pre-eminence of the Balquhatstone branch of the family. But note its ascription of the first charter as being to George Waddell from King James V in 1536, though the land had been granted to his father James Waddell from King James IV King James IV at some earlier time prior to the latter's death at the catastrophic Battle of Flodden in 1513.

The Balquhatstone, Stanrigg, Airdriehill and Easter Moffat branches

James V of Scotland

James IV of Scotland

James V of Scotland

James V of Scotland

An important branch, probably the senior, settled in the lands of Balquhatstone in Slamannan, Stirlingshire between 1470 and 1536, the first charter to the Waddells of Balquhatstone was granted by King James V to George Weddell and his wife Jonet [sic] Russell in November 1536 and recorded in the Register of the Great Seal although it has been suggested that the lands had been granted previously to James the father of George by King James IV before 1513. This branch seems to be the immediate progenitor of the New Monkland Waddells. New Monkland in Lanarkshire, is the parish where the town of Airdrie is situated, about four miles West of Slamannan and where the name in the 19th and early 20th century was most prevalent. The Stanrigg, Airdriehill, in New Monkland parish, and Easter Moffat in adjoining Shotts parish, branches are directly descended from Balquhatstone and the Magiscrofft, Ryden and Gain branches, also in parish of New Monkland probably spring from the same root. Other Lanarkshire Waddells that were farmers in Lesmahagow can trace their ancestry back to the 16th century.

1: This assumes that small-print analysis does establish the if's and but's satisfactorily. But it might not, and ever since encountering the quotation

"What song the Syrens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among women, although puzzling questions, are not beyond all conjecture."

in a newspaper column by the late great Bernard Levin decades back, I've wrestled with its implications. If something can probably never be established by empirical or documentary means, and unverifiable conjecture is all that remains, are we not in a Schrödinger's Cat situation where the box can never be opened? What does it mean to say such-and-such is "probably true" if we can never know? I admit that I don't get out much, but it's still a valid question. Professional historians probably assume that all such questions have a Platonic (or theistic) answer and leave it at that.