The BRUCE Name

The origin of the Scottish name Bruce is generally agreed to be derived from the locality Bruy or Bruys in Normandy, where the family De Bruys originated, but also includes Celtic ancestry. De Bruys was one of the followers of William the Conqueror, and fought at the battle of Hastings. From this ancestor, King Robert Bruce was descended.

Historic details of the Bruce family may be found on a number of websites including the House of Bruce and The Ancestry of Robert the Bruce. 

Robert I, the Bruce (1274-1329)

Robert Bruce is surely the greatest of all the great Scottish heroes.

Earl of Carrick, Robert Bruce was born at Turnberry Castle, Ayrshire, in 1274. The greatness of Bruce is demonstrated in the astonishing victory at Bannockburn on Mid-Summer's Day, the 24th of June 1314 over the much larger and better-equipped forces of Edward II ensured Scottish freedom from control by the hated English.

In May 1328 a peace treaty was signed at Northampton by the English king that recognised Scotland as an independent kingdom and Robert Bruce as king. The Declaration of Independence signed at Arbroath was the culmination of Bruce's career. Scotland had become the first nation state in Europe, the first to have territorial unity under a single king.(from

Perth, Scotland

Bruces have a long association with Perth including king Robert the Bruce who recaptured Perth from the English in 1313. The Royal Burgh of Perth (Peairt in Scottish Gaelic) is a large burgh in central Scotland on the banks of the River Tay.

There has been a settlement at Perth since prehistoric times, with evidence dating to around 7000 BC. The name "Perth" derives from a Pictish word for wood or copse. It was known to the Romans as Bertha from the Celtic 'Aber The' meaning mouth of the Tay. Perth is often referred to as the Ancient Capital of Scotland.

Our Bruce ancestors also lived in Perth and to date, our earliest Bruce family member discovered is John Bruce a weaver from Perth. Born in about 1770, he married Mary Watson and later passed on that trade to his son Alexander.

Perth: Bridge over the River Tay

Historic Perth

Just outside the City of Perth is Scone Palace and its Abbey.

Scone Abbey, which formerly housed the Stone of Scone (also known as the Stone of Destiny), on which the King of Scots were traditionally crowned. This enhanced the early importance of the city, and Perth became known as a 'capital' of Scotland due to the frequent residence there of the royal court.(Wikipedia)

Scone Palace near Perth
Replica of the Stone of Scone
Beautiful grounds

Our Bruce Family

Alexander Bruce (1797-1883)

John and Mary's son, Alexander Bruce, continued his father's trade as a weaver first in Perth where he married Helen Adie and had two sons; William and Thomas. Following Helen's early death Alexander married again to Jessie Goulay and moved to Galashiels about 50 kms south of Edinburgh in Roxburghshire. There Alexander continued as a woolen weaver and the couple had two additional sons in Alexander and Duncan while his older sons were also involved in the woolen trade.

It was his second son, Thomas born in about 1830, who later emigrated to Australia and our search for the date he arrived continues. 

1861 Town Plan of Galashiels showing Roxburgh Street where Alexander Bruce and his family lived.
(Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland)


David Bruce, Master Mariner, (1816-1903)

Other researchers have suggested that David Bruce, a renowned Master mariner, was the younger brother of our Alexander. The 1841 Scotland census for Perth showed that David's father was also a John Bruce born about 1770, but no records have yet been discovered to verify David's birth details as part of our Bruce family.

However, details of David Bruce are included here because of his connection with Australia if not necessarily with our Bruce family.

David Bruce was a lifetime seafarer going to sea at the age of 10 years. He had qualified as a ship's master and captained the Acasta which arrived in Sydney on 6 September 1854. On board was a boatswain, Thomas Bruce aged 20 years. David was also master of the barque Irene on voyages to Australia. He was a respected captain and highly regarded as a gentleman with good taste and judgement.

His main Australian connection started when he captained the clipper ship City of Adelaide, of which he was part owner, to its namesake city from 1864. The ship was specifically built for the South Australian trade and approximately 250,000 Australians can trace their ancestry to passengers and crew of the City of Adelaide during twenty-three years making annual runs between London and Adelaide (see was also master of the clipper Southern Australian on its voyage out in 1868. Two of his sons, John and Alexander, became ship masters and succeeded David as masters of the City of Adelaide and Southern Australian respectively (see and who both came to live in Australia. Many of David's descendants now live in South Australia.

Australian Bruces

More Connected Families


Care has been taken to include only accurate information on this site however it cannot be guaranteed. Data from many sources and contributions from fellow researchers make up this site and errors may be present. Any corrections and additional information would be most welcome.