National Records of Scotland

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James Geikie (1839-1915)

James Geikie (1839-1915)

Geologist

James Geikie served on the Geological Survey of Scotland until 1882 when he succeeded his brother, Sir Archibald Geikie, as Murchison professor of geology and mineralogy at the University of Edinburgh. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1875. He studied the Scottish landscape; published works on the effects of the Ice Age and inter-glacial periods; and contributed to advances in geological research and teaching. He was dean of the university's Faculty of Science from 1891 to 1913 and co-founder and president of the Scottish Geographical Society. The conservationist, John Muir, named the Geikie glacier in his honour.

Birth in 1839

James Geikie (here spelt Geekie) was born on 23 August 1839, the son of James Geekie, perfumer, and Isabella Thom. The entry (number 1490) in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Edinburgh gives the date of baptism as 31 December 1853 and the place of birth as Hope Park, Edinburgh. Entries 1488-1489 and 1491-1495 are for his brothers and sisters who were born between 1835 and 1852. Each gives place of birth. It isn't unusual to find baptisms of several children from the same family registered together in this way in the OPRs.

Birth and baptism entry for James Geikie

Birth and baptism entry for James Geikie (147 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-2/39, page 242

1841 to 1871 censuses

In 1841, James Geikie, aged 2, was enumerated at 47 Hanover Street with his parents and three brothers. The census return fo the parish of St Andrew Edinburgh gives his father's occupation as perfumer. Isabella Geikie was the only member of the family who wasn't born in the county (No).

1841 census record for James Geikie

1841 census record for James Geikie (56 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland,  1841/685-1/9, page 5 

In 1851, James Geikie (here spelt Geekie), aged 11, scholar was enumerated with his family. The census return for the parish of St Cuthbert's shows that the household included his two grandfathers - Archibald Geikie, retired perfumer and William Thom, retired shipmaster - and that his mother's place of birth was Dunbar in East Lothian.

1851 census record for James Geikie

1851 census record for James Geikie (63 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1851/685-2/47, page 18

In 1861 James Geikie, 21, general clerk in WS (Writer to the Signet) office, was enumerated at 16 Duncan Street in Edinburgh. The census record for the district of Newington gives his father's occupation as perfumer employing one boy and one girl. His brother Archibald's occupation is geologist.

1861 census record for James Geikie

1861 census record for James Geikie (53 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1861/685-5/69, page 4

In 1871 James Geikie, 31, was enumerated at the same address with his parents, two sisters and one servant. The census record for the district of Newington gives his occupation as District Surveyor of Geological Survey of Scotland and his father's as teacher of music.

1871 census record for James Geikie

1871 census record for James Geikie (35 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1871/685-5/75, page 7

Marriage in 1875

James Geikie, geologist, married Mary Simson Johnston on 8 July 1875 according to the forms of the Free Church of Scotland. The entry in the statutory register of marriages for the registration district of Jedburgh in the county of Roxburgh gives the place of marriage as Crailinghall. He was aged 35 and based in Perth. His father, James Stewart Geekie, was a teacher of music.

Marriage entry for James Geikie

Marriage entry for James Geikie (62 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1875/792/19

1901 and 1911 censuses

In 1901 James Geikie, 61, professor of geology was enumerated with his wife and children at Kilmorie, Colinton Road in Edinburgh. The census return for the district of Newington shows the household included a visitor and three domestic servants - a cook, nurse and handmaid.

1901 census record for James Geikie

1901 census record for James Geikie (35 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1901/685-5/145, page 5

In 1911 James Geikie, 71, professor of geology at the University of Edinburgh, was enumerated at 83 Colinton Road. The census record for the civil parish of Merchiston in Edinburgh shows that one of his sons was a mining engineer and the other a musician. The household also included his brother, Archibald, 75, retired (Civil Service). 

1911 census record for James Geikie, part 1

1911 census record for James Geikie, part 2

1911 census record for James Geikie (25 and 29 KB jpegs)
National Records of Scotland, 1911/685-6/54, page 15

Death in 1915

James Geikie, university emeritus professor of geology, died on 1 March 1915 aged 75 years. The entry in the statutory register of deaths for the district of Morningside gives the place of death as his home at 83 Colinton Road in Edinburgh.

Death entry for James Geikie

Death entry for James Geikie (34 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1915/685-6/227

Testament

The will of James Geikie, professor of geology and minerology in the University of Edinburgh, was registered at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 27 March 1915. In it he made his wife, Mary, his sole heir and executor.

Detail from will of James Geikie

Detail from the will of James Geikie (37 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, SC70/4/472, page 239

The inventory of his estate was registered on 3 October 1915. It includes valuations for the publication of his books in Scotland and England.

Detail from inventory of James Geikie

Detail from the inventory of James Geikie (30 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, SC70/1/566, page 280