National Records of Scotland

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Sir John Ross (1777-1851)

Sir John Ross (1777-1851)

Naval officer and Arctic explorer

John Ross served at sea from an early age before joining the Merchant Navy at Greenock in 1790 and the Royal Navy in 1799. He was promoted through the ranks up to Commander in 1812. In 1815 he determined the longitude of Archangel in Russia and three years later commanded an expedition to find the North-West Passage. He rediscovered Baffin Bay but a mirage led him to believe that a range of mountains barred the way to the open polar sea. His next expedition to the Arctic was beset by ice but his nephew discovered the magnetic pole and they carried out survey work on King William Land and in the Gulf of Boothia. He was knighted in 1834. In 1850 he sailed from Stranraer on a mission, partly-funded by public subscription, to search for members of the Franklin Expedition. Sir John Ross published accounts of this and his earlier explorations. He died in London on 30 August 1851.

Birth in 1777

John Ross, son to the Reverend Mr Andrew Ross, was baptised on 24 June 1777. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Inch in the county of Wigtownshire, gives the location of the family home as Soulseate (Soulseat). No mother's name is given. The other entries on this register page are equally deficient!

Baptism entry for John Ross

Baptism entry for John Ross (29 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 886/1, page 15

Marriage in 1816

Captain John Ross, Royal Navy (RN), St Andrews Parish, married Miss Christian Adair on 22 July 1816. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Edinburgh records that she was from the same parish and was the daughter of Thomas (Thos) Adair Esquire (Esqr) of Genoch, Writer to the Signet.

Marriage entry for John Ross

Marriage entry for John Ross (26 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/54, page 196