Emigrants: Europe


Like many European families, economic hardship, religious intolerance, or just the excitement of new horizons and opportunities offered by the outposts of the British Empire, or the open door policy of the USA, persuaded many Mastertons to seek their fortunes in the New Worlds. I have come across emigrants to the Americas, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand from the 19th century onwards.

But it wasn't just the lure of the Empire. Scots have long been willing to travel to do business and there are also some emigrants from Scotland to other European countries in earlier centuries.



An early emigrant to Europe was Adam Masterton whose son James, born in Dendermont in Flanders in 1610, became professor of law at Leiden University in 1630.


The Mesterton family of Sweden and Finland originates from James Masterton (1625-89), shipper in Leith, who became Jakob Mesterton and married Kerstin Scrymgeour and later Petronella Schaeij and settled in Sweden. Ossian Mesterton's website has much more information on these Swedish and Finnish Mestertons, including a speculative addition to Victor A Noel Paton's genealogy.

Ossian Mesterton's Website

In the sources below, that of Etzel has Jacob Mesterton as the son of Archibald Mesterton "governor of Edinburgh". I think this is suspect. I am not aware of such a post, and have found no reference to any Archibald Masterton in a similar official position in contemporary records. The governor of Edinburgh castle between 1615 and 1638 was John Erskine, 19th Earl of Mar.

If "Archibald" is correct, the most likely is Archibald Masterton, skipper in Leith who appears in the records between 1611 and 1637. He married Lux Cobroun (Cockburn) - a name with Swedish military connections - and possibly later married Christiane Mein. Unfortunately, I have not found a birth record of a son James to either couple, so this remains speculation. There is an entry in the Register of the Great Seal of Scotland in 1600 that links John Erskine, Earl of Mar, with an Arch. Maistertoun, one of his servitors. Could this have formed the basis of family lore that Archibald was once "governor of Edinburgh"?

I favour Archibald, skipper in Leith, being a son of John Masterton of Easter Grange near Culross, and Marjorie Alexander, although, again, this is speculation and would require better quality evidence than synchronicity of dates and interpretation of Scottish Naming Pattern to be able to attribute a higher level of confidence.

British and Irish Emigrants and Exiles in Europe 1603-1688
Community, Commodity and Commerce: The Stockholm-Scots in the Seventeenth Century

Nor was the burial of Scots in the family grave of other Scots unusual. Scrutiny of the various church registers of Stockholm show that the Lyalls, Andersons, Hamiltons, Maistertouns, Hallidays and Fifes all did it, providing an unexpected way of demonstrating social networks between families. Scots resident outwith the city were often buried in Stockholm's churches, some of them being laid to rest among the elite of the nation in the Riddarholms Kyrka, resting place of many of the kings of Sweden - men such as Major-General David Drummond who died in Germany and whose body was returned to Sweden for this honour.


Name Occupation Year Arrived Admitted Burgess
James Maistertoun Merchant -1658


Name Occupation Year Mentioned Year Departed
James Maistertoun 1661-1694
Adam Maistertoun 17..

Community, Commodity and Commerce: The Stockholm-Scots in the Seventeenth Century
Steve Murdoch
in British and Irish Emigrants and Exiles in Europe 1603-1688
David Worthington (ed)
pp 39, 62, 65, 66
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, Netherlands, 2010

Network North

...In 1658 James Porteous appeared in a legal case with his fellow Stockholm burgess James Maistertoun (Mesterton) over a sum of money which Porteous claimed he had already paid Maistertoun172.....

...Other Scots also set up industries around the Arboga iron works, including Colonel Alexander Hamilton (Dear Sandy) who established one of his cannon foundries there in 1629. Perhaps because of the opportunities the Scottish 'iron' community offered, Stockholm-based Scottish merchants, such as James Maistertoun, chose to take on farms in the Arboga area, as did some retiring Scottish soldiers like Thomas Thompson.120....

...Once delivered to Sweden, the various commodities were moved on to other merchants, with the largest amount going to Kommersrad Daniel Young Leijonancker. With the capital raised, the Thomsons then bought iron from numerous vendors including James Maistertoun and Alexander Pattilo who very often sourced it from mines belonging to Scottish families - the Petries, Mackays and, of course, the Lyalls....

172 For James Porteous see Stockholm Stadsarkiv, 'Borgare i Stockholm'; register, 1601-1650, 65. Burgess of Stockholm, 6 March 1637. Mestertoun does not appear on this list.
120 James Maistertoun was born in Scotland in 1625. He moved to Sweden, became a merchant in Stockholm and by 1660 owned a farm in Arboga, perhaps enticed there by his countrymen. See E.E. Etzel, 'Notes on Swedo-Scottish Families', Scottish Historical Review, vol. IX (1912), 271.

Network North
Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe 1603-1746
Steve Murdoch
pp 161, 193, 245
Netherlands, 2006

University of St Andrews Institute of Scottish Historical Research

Record ID: 6696
Nationality SCOT

Country Location Arrived Rank A Departed Rank B Capacity Purpose
Sweden Stockholm, Arboga 1650-01-01 1689-12-31 Iron Merchant, Farm Owner, Burgess? Trade, Commerce

Text Source

James Mesterton (1625-1689), was the son of Archibald Mesterton former governor of Edinburgh castle. In the mid 1600s he travelled to Sweden and became a merchant of Stockholm. He appears in the records of St Nicholas Church in 1658 and by 1660 had a farm in Arboga and later owned property in other parts of Sweden. Indeed he may be the same man who owned a house in the Nygrand of Stockholm in 1662. It is presumably this Mesterton who was involved in a case with James Porteous [SSNE 791] regarding a sum of money Porteous owed him. Mesterton had other Scottish connections. On 24 June 1687 he shipped a quantity of iron (worth £6958:32) to the Scottish merchant in Rotterdam, Andrew Russell [SSNE 143], which was consigned by the merchant Patrick Thomson [SSNE 6475] in Stockholm on the ship 'The Mary' owned by John Gib of Bo'ness. Another Scot shipping on the same ship was Alexander Pattillo [SSNE 7241]. Another shipment was made via from Stockholm, but via James Thomson in Norrkoping worth £1697:41 in September the same year. James married twice. Firstly to Kerstin Scrymgeour and secondly to Petronella Scheaij. With these women he had seven children; Sara(1660-), Kristina (1664-), Peter (1671-1774), Jakob (1673-1720), Eva Maria (1677-), Petronella (1678-1752), Lucia (1680-). Several of these were baptised in Stockholm's Nikolai Kyrka between 1671 and 1681. The records of Maria Kyrka in Stockholm reveal that James buried several people in the church including a child of Alexander Pattillo [SSNE 7241] on 22 August 1684, and William Smith's child on 23 March 1694.


Stockholms Stadsarkivet, Maria Församling, Register över döda, 1681-1700, p.489; Stockholm Stadsarkiv, (Storkyrkan) Nikolai församling dopböker, 1623-1717, I, p.339; National Archives of Scotland, Russell Papers, RH15/106/636, f2. James Thomson to Andrew Russell, 12 September 1687. Also f5. Patrick Thomson to Andrew Russell, Invoice of iron shipped aboard 'The Mary', 24 June 1687; Svenska Riksradets Protokoll, vol. XVIII, pp.104-106; T. Fischer, The Scots in Sweden, (Edinburgh, 1907), p.32; Eric E. Etzel, 'Notes on Swedo-Scottish Families' in Scottish Historical Review, vol. IX (1912), p.271; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), pp.161, 193, 245. With thanks to Ossian Mesterton for information from his website on the children of James Mesterton.

The Scotland, Scandinavia and Northern European Biographical Database (SSNE)
University of St Andrews
Institute of Scottish Historical Research
accessed 27 April 2013

Glasgow Exhibition 1911 - Palace of History

The 1911 Exhibition of National History, Art & Industry held in Glasgow in 1911, and visited by 9.4 million people, included a Palace of History with exhibits catalogued and recorded. The following is extracted from the Swedo-Scottish Section of the official catalogue.

No Exhibition that pretends to demonstrate the national character and evolution of Scotland can be regarded as complete which ignores its close and vital connection with almost every other European nation. Perhaps, however, it is with reference to Sweden that that connection finds most eloquent expression.

The Thirty Years' War provided an appropriate theatre for the chivalry and gallantry of many Scottish soldiers of fortune who, under the banner of "the invincible Gustavus Adolphus, the Lion of the North and Bulwark of the Protestant Religion," found fame and fortune, while at the same time sustaining their national traditions for courage, persevering spirit, and inflexible integrity.

The brilliant display of heraldic shields in the Swedo-Scottish Section, bearing the names of many of the proudest families of Scotland, as well as patents of nobility, genealogical trees, portraits, and other memorials, give testimony to the place which Scotsmen hold in the affections of Sweden and the important influence they have exercised in the military and commercial annals of that country.

The Section, however, contains evidence of the fact that the connection between Scotland and Sweden existed at a period long anterior to the date of the protracted and sanguinary struggle for the liberties of Germany. The distinguished Royal Antiquarian of Sweden - Professor Oscar Montelius - states that "More than a thousand years before Christ, and consequently before the days when King David was fighting the enemies of Israel, a direct intercourse existed between the Scandinavian Peninsula and the British Islands." This is proved by the discovery in various parts of Sweden of bronze and gold ornaments from the Bronze age of the same character and construction as similar articles found in Great Britain. Photographs of such articles from the National Museum in Stockholm will be found exhibited in the Swedish Section, as well as numerous other memorials of priceless historic value and significance.

Convener: JOHN S. SAMUEL, J.P., F.R.S.E., Knight of the Royal Order of Vasa (First Class).

Palace of History, Catalogue of Exhibits
Scottish Exhibition of National History, Art, & Industry
Glasgow (1911)
pp. 199-212
Dalross Ltd
Glasgow etc. 1911

Notes on Swedo-Scottish Families
Eric E Etzel

reproduced from Notes on Swedo-Scottish Families, Eric E. Etzel, Scottish Historical Review, vol. IX (1912), pp 268, 271

The Scots in Sweden
Thomas Alfred Fischer

Another alderman of Scottish parentage was Daniel Young, who established a large weaving and cloth factory during the reign of Charles X. (Gustavus). He was made a "Kommerzieråd" in 1682, after having been ennobled in 1666, under the new name of Leijonancker. He was buried in the Maria Church of Stockholm. By his three wives he left no less than thirty-two children — twenty-three sons and nine daughters.

Quite a number of these Scotsmen in Stockholm, in the XVIIth century, besides Feif, were ship-brokers and wealthy men, e.g., Robert Rynd; W. Lindsay, who, when his name was entered upon the roll of citizens in 1648, paid a sum of thirty Thaler; John Primrose, who was enrolled in 1650; and Alexander Waddel or Waddal, who persuaded the Magistrates, in 1673, to pen a petition to the king with regard to several ships of his — one of which, called Diamanten, had been bought in Edinburgh — that had been taken off the coast of Holland by Scottish privateers. It was indeed no easy matter in those days of political and commercial insecurity to freight a ship, and numerous are the complaints in consequence. Another Scotsman in Stockholm, Thomas Tottie, hailing from Jedburgh, and born in 1664, was a tobacco-manufacturer. He became the ancestor of a number of well-to-do merchants in Stockholm and Gefle. His grandson, Carl, became Swedish Consul-General in London, and was known for his philanthropic efforts on behalf of the Swedish Church, the Bible Society, and the Society of Friends of Foreigners in Distress. In honour of his jubilee a gold medal was struck at the expense of Swedes and Norwegians in London. He died in 1870, at the ripe old age of eighty-nine years.1 Thomas Cunnigam was a silk-merchant; W. Strang dealt in cloth. Quite a number of these settlers were small "Krämers." Among the handicraftsmen were several Scottish goldsmiths: two Clercks, A. Lockhart, H. Feif, and his sons. David Chalmers was a tailor, one of the many Macliers a wine-merchant (Källarmästare), Robert Turner a ship-builder (1674), and James Halliday a brewer, who received permission in 1676 to brew a certain quantity of malt. Of the Jordan family a number were bakers and brewers, whilst two of the Mastertons were rope-makers in Nyköping.....

Most of these Scotch inhabitants and citizens of Stockholm owned house-property. In quite a number of cases so-called "Fastebref" (charters of seizin) were given them; for instance, in 1655, Alexander Buchan is granted a fastebref on a "steenhus" (stone-house) in Skepper Olafs-gränd (lane); Robert Smith, one of a feu in Ryssegränden, for 282 Thaler. Jacob Feif, in 1658, acquires a house at the back of the Castle, then the fashionable part of the town; Adam Leyel buys a "tompt" (a site) for 2900 Thaler in 1681; Jacob Mesterton, another Scotch merchant, owned a house in the Nygränd in 1662, whilst Thos. Gipson sold a wooden house in 1623; Hinrich Feif spends the large sum of 13,500 Thaler Koppermynt on the purchase of a "steenhus." It was in a cheaper way that Jacob Anderson became the owner of a house: it was presented to his wife for "long continued, faithful services" in the family of the famous Chancellor Oxenstierna (1657).

1 See Svenska, Attartal, 1890, and for Jordan and Masterton, Af Klercker's Geneal. Saml., in the Royal Library, Stockholm.

Gradually, however, trade matters improved. In 1636 no fewer than sixteen Scottish ships import salt and pay a considerable duty to the State. The names of the skippers are Jöran (George) Alexander, Robert Law, Thomas Bossveld (Bothwell), William Roberts, Will. Steinson, Thomas Wadson, Jas. Zidon (Seton), W. Greig, Andrew Bayndt, Jacob Brun, Robt. Bonnert (?), Andrew Derseing (?), W. Halliburtt, W. Gray, and G. Dunker (Duncan).1 In 1660 several Scottish ship-captains have made Stockholm their home ; two of them, Joren Adam and John Masterton, from Dundee. Comparing their number — twelve — with that of Lübeck (twenty) or of Holland (twenty-eight), this is not a bad account for Scotland.2

1Rakenskajss Bok (1636-37). Stads Arkiver.
2See Schering-Rosenhane, Relation öfver Stockholm, in the R. A.


We also find the following settled in Stockholm: Jacob Näf (1576), Jacob Feiff, Crichton, Ramsay, Adam Finlayson (1613), Thos. Rind, John Lamb, James Masterton, Maclier, D. Walker, Alb. Lockhart, Rob. Ainslie, James Gardiner, David Carnegie, Thos. Glen, Findlay (Findeloo), Alex. Murray (Murri), Brothers Andr. and James Dempster, Thos. Dempster (1615), Hans Näf (1671), James Ross, P. Ugleby, Andr. Gerner W. Barclay, Simon Halliburton, Seton, J. Gregor (1643), J. Lesslie, Reid.

The Scots in Sweden
Th. A Fischer
John Kirkpatrick (ed)
pp. 30-32, 40, 216,
Otto Schulze & Co.
Edinburgh, 1907

Name Age Date From Ship Port of Arrival Final Destination