This section helps to tell the stories of the Neilson family. We believe there is only so far that facts and dates can take you when exploring your family history. The articles presented here attempt to explore the lives of family members in narrative form. They are drawn from oral traditions, family and government records, and historical events.


The Neilson Family in Scotland

The story of the Scottish Neilson family can reliably trace its roots to the Corsock Neilsons of the 16th century, and possibly back further to Irish knights from the time of Robert the Bruce in the 13th century. The family has a long recorded history in the lands of Galloway, with many notable characters, including John 'the Martyr', who was tortured and executed for his participation with the Covenanters.

Much of the excellent research on our branch of the Neilsons (and beyond!) has been done by Fergus Neilson, whose work can be found in The Corsock Neilsons : a Galloway family, by Fergus Neilson, 2008. It is available to view through the Society of Australian Genealogists Library, and a printed copy of the work can be purchased through, now updated with more information in 2012.

The Neilson Doctors Christopher Bretz & Fergus Neilson 2011 Three generations of our direct ancestors were medical doctors in the British army of India and Africa.
Neilson Bible Fergus Neilson 2011 The family register from the old Neilson family bible of William Henry Neilson.
Springfield House Christopher Bretz 2009 Nathaniel Neilson bought Springfield in the early 19th century and raised his family here.
Corsock House Fergus Neilson 2011 Seat of the old Neilson family in Galloway.
Family Names Christopher Bretz - Some of the more common names passed down our Neilson group of families.
Galloway Neighbors Christopher Bretz 2012 The Neilson and the Halliday families lived practically next to one another during the 19th century.
My Life Story Diana Neilson 1985 Diana Neilson recounts her early life in Africa and England.
My Nightly Prayers (.pdf) Diana Neilson 1977 Diana's prayers for her family.
Nathaniel and Barbara Neilson's Wills   1836 Their last Wills and Testaments.

The Fyfe Family

The Fyfes of Aberdeen Christopher Bretz 2011 Three generations of house painters from Aberdeen.
Kitty Fyfe on Stage Christopher Bretz 2011 Kitty Fyfe was an amateur singer and actress in Aberdeen.

One thing the Neilson families seemed to enjoy is giving each other nicknames. During the late 19th and early 20th century it would seem no one in this family used their actual given name. Quite often they even had multiple ones. For example, Diana Neilson's mother, while known Catherine Fyfe Neilson, was known as Kitty, and when in Africa was called Mu. Keep this in mind when reading some of the documents.