David Williamson Runciman1

(26 June 1837 - 24 July 1910)
FatherDavid Runciman D.D.2 (1804 - Sep 1872)
MotherJanet Aitchison2 (cir. 1816 - Feb 1890)
Relationship2nd cousin 4 times removed of Lorna Henderson


     This family is another New Zealand connection. I was rather surprised to find that I had NZ Runciman relations . David and Isabella apparently had 14 children, so up until recently (May 2007) I had a few more to find, but now I've only to confirm whether there were 13 as family say, or the 14 the Presbyterian archives reported. Several died young. I have found 4 of the 7 Scottish born children in assorted places subsequent to their emigration to NZ in 1877 - in Argentina, London, Edinburgh and NZ, so they are a well-spread family. Wife Isabella appears to have returned to Edinburgh after her husband David's death, as she was there when dtr Eliabeth married there in 1917. At least two of the daughters married Ministers in Scotland.3,4

BMDB data

     David Williamson Runciman was born on 26 Jun 1837 Edinburgh St Cuthberts, MLN, SCT.1,2,5
     D W Runciman married Isabella Agatha Leishman, daughter of Matthew Leishman and Jane Elizabeth Boog, on 24 Apr 1866 in the Manse, Govan, Glasgow, LKS, SCT, cert reads: D W Runciman, 28, Minister of the Par. of Leslie, Fife, s/o David, D.D. Minister of St Andrews Glasgow and Janet m.s. Aitchison; married Isabella Agatha Leishman, 18 of The Manse, Govan, d/o Matthew Leishman D.D. Minister of the Par. of Govan and Jane Elizabeth m.s. Boog (initially interprested as Boag), Min. Thomas Leishman, Minister of Linton. Wit: R I Runciman and Grace H McFarlane;
Notice in the Glasgow Herald of Apr 25th reads: At Govan Manse, on the 24th inst., by the Rev. Thomas Leishman, M.A., minister of Linton, Roxburghshire, the Rev David Williamson Runciman, M.A., minister of Leslie, Fifeshire, to Isabella Agatha, youngest daughter of the Rev. Matthew Leishman, D.D., minister of Govan - No cards.2,6
     David died on 24 Jul 1910 Parliament St, Auckland, AKD, NZ, at age 73; Dth cert. shows David Williamson as 73, Presbyterian Minister, s/o David RUNCIMAN, Presbyterian Minister, & Janet m.s. AITCHISON; cod cardiac myasthenia (probable fatty infiltration) - 10 yrs; Aggravation of condition and syncope - 3 mths; certified by William McDOWELL, last seen alive 24 Jul 1910; Born Glasgow, in NZ 34 yrs; Marr. at Govan, SCT at age 29 to Isabella Agatha LEUSHMAN (sic, should be LEISHMAN); age of widow blank (should be 62); Buried 26 Jul Tamaki West; Surviving issue: M 41, 39, 37, 35, 26 (ie Matthew, William, Robert, John, Alexander); F 42, 34, 31, 27 (ie Jane, Janet, Isabella, Elizabeth)
See below for obituary and funeral reports.7,8,9,10 He was buried in the Point England Churchyard, Glen Innes, AKD, NZ, H/stone #75 reads: Rev D W Runciman M A died 24 July 1910, aged 73; & his children - James Bruce aged 5 months died 27 Jan 1879; & Alexander, aged 6 months died 28 Sep 1882; & David aged 18 years died 10 Jan 1887; & Mary Russell Ker died 25 Jul 1889 aged 17 months.8
     His obit reads: "REV. D. W. RUNCIMAN. At St. Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Jervois-road, yesterday, the Rev. Isaac Jolly announced the death of the first minister of that church, the Rev. David William Runciman. Mr. Jolly spoke in appreciative and sympathetic terms of Mr. Runciman, and said he had seen that gentleman during his illness and found him awaiting withtranquillity for the end, which he recognised was not far off. The organist played the "Dead March" in "Saul" at the conclusion of the service, the congregation remaining standing as a mark of respect to their late pastor.
The Rev. D. W. Runciman was born in Glasgow in 1837, and was the son of the Rev. David Runciman, D.D., minister of St. Andrew's Ohurch of that city.
After leaving Glasgow School, Mr. Runciman went through the University at that town, and then entered the office of Messrs. Michaels and Connels, India tea merchants.
A little later, however, he decided to enter the ministry of the Presbyterian Church, and was first licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Dunoon. He was ordained a minister of the parish church, Leslie, in Fifeshire, by the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy in 1864. Mr. Runciman laboured with much success in this charge until 1876, when bronchial affection necessitated his removal to a more genial climate. So highly were his services appreciated, that Mr. Runciman was allowed two years of absence from his charge, and came out to Auckland in 1866.
The change so benefited his health that in 1877 he took temporary charge of the newly-formed congregation at St. Stephen's Church, which at that time met in the old Ponsonby Hall. On February 14th. he was inducted as the first minister of St. Stephen's, and during his charge the church building in Jervois road was put up at a cost of £1700 (including the purchase of the site), and was duly opened in 1880.
Failing health again compelled Mr. Runciman to resign his charge on June 4th, 1889, and he then purchased a small farm at Papatoetoe.
Shortly afterwards, Mr. Runciman was appointed registrar of the Auckland University College, which position he resigned 13 years afterwards, in 1907.
Deceased was married to the youngest daughter of the late Matthew Leishman, D.D., minister of Govan.
His only surviving brother is Mr. Robert Inglis Runciman, of Buenos Ayres, who is one of the leading merchants of the Argentine.
The deceased's son, Mr. Matthew Runciman, went to the Argentine some years ago and joined his uncle in the business. The other four sons subsequently also went to Buenos Ayres.
Owing to the state of their fathers health, two of the sons are at the present time on the way across to Auckland, being expected to arrive by the incoming Vancouver mail steamer. Mrs. Runciman and her two daughters are resident in Auckland."

"The funeral of the late Rev. David W. Runciman, M.A., left his residence, Parliament-street, yesterday afternoon, for the Presbyterian Cemetery, Tamaki.
A portion of the service was conducted in St. Andrew's Church by the Revs R. Somerville, A. A. Murray, and W. Trotter, at which all the professors of Auckland University College were present, while a large congregation, including many old colonists and prominent citizens, attended, to pay their last respects to the deceased clergyman.
Students, in their academicals, acted as the pallbearers, and the "Dead March" in "Saul" was played by the organist, Mr. Sharpe. The Rev. Somerville, in the course of a eulogy of the late Mr. Runciman, gave an eloquent appreciation of his life and character and of his services to the church. The final obsequies took place at East Tamaki."10,11


     David W Runciman and Isabella A Runciman left London 15 Sep 1876 on the "Jessie Osborne" arriving Auckland on 19 Dec 1876 accompanied by their 7 scottish born children (the Presbyterian archives web site says Rev David arrived Jan 1877.)12,3

Census/Where lived/Occupations

     The census of 1841 showed David and William and their sister Mary in the household of their parents David and Janet Runciman 8 Salisbury Pl, Edinburgh St Cuthberts, Canongate, MLN, SCT, enumerated as RUNCIMAN: David 36 Min. of Newington Parish, Janet, 25, both b outside county. David W 4, Mary 2, William 1 all b MLN; Also Elizabeth Smith, 20 Independent, b outside cty; and three female servants: Euphemia McCaw, 22, b MLN; Janet Baxter, 24; Jane McKenzie 24, both b outside county.13
     The census of 1851 showed David, William, John, Robert and Alexander and their sisters Mary and Janet in the household of their parents David and Janet Runciman Annfield Pl (13), Glasgow, Dist of High Church, LKS, SCT, enumerated as RUNCIMAN: David D.D. 47, Minister of St Andrew b nr Lauder, Berwick; wife Janet 35 b Edin; Children: David W 13, Mary K (ancestry indexed as R) 12, William A 10, John A 8 all scholars all b Edin; Janet L (ancestry indexed as B) scholar, Robert Peel 2, Alexander E 3mths all b Glasgow; Servants: LANDES, HENNESY; BOWNER.14
     The census of 1861 showed David, William, John, Robert and Alexander and their sisters Mary, Janet and Elizabeth in the household of their parents David and Janet Runciman Duke St (317), Srpingburn, Glasgow, LKS, SCT, enumerated as RUNCIMAN: David D.D. 57, Minister of St Andrew Parish, Glasgow, b Lauder, BEW; wife Janet 45 b Peebles; Children: David W 23 (ancestry has 28) Mat student, Mary K 21, William 20 calico printer clerk, John A 18 merchants clerk, all b Edin; Janet L 15, Robert 12, Alexander 10, all scholars b Glasgow; Elizabeth N 5 b Glasgow; Servants: McNEILLAGE, McCULLICK.15
     Bef. 1864 David Williamson Runciman was Licensed by the Presbytery of Glasgow by Countess of Rothes, Asssitant to Rev Dr Caird, Park Church, Glasgow, Assistant to Rev Dr Leishman, Govan (presumably his later father-in-law.)3 By 1 Sep 1864 he was ordained Leslie, FIF, SCT, reported in The Caledonian Mercury of Jun 7th Religious Intelleigence Patronage: The Countess of Rothes has appointed the Rev. David Runciman, now assistant to the Rev Dr Leishman of Glasgow, to the parish of Leslie, Fife, vacant by the translation fo the Rev. Alexander McLaren to Mertoun.3,16
     The census of 1871 showed David with his wife Isabella, their sons David and Matthew, their dtr Jane in the Manse, Leslie, FIF, SCT, household enumerated as RUNCIMAN (19 (sic) rooms with 1 or more windows): David W 33 Minister of Leslie Parish, b Edinburgh; wife Isabella A 23 b Govan, LKS; Children (all b Leslie FIF): Jane E B 4; David 2; Matthew L 1. 3 servants (Wright, Nichol, Wilson.17) Fr Feb 1877 - 4 Jun 1889 David Williamson Runciman was supply AP St Stephen's, Ponsonby, AKD, NZ, inducted AP 14.2.1878 - resigned 4.6.1889, resigned from the Presb. Council of NZ 1891.3 He was Registrar of Auckland University for 13 yrs (dates approx) fr 1889 - 1904 Auckland, AKD, NZ.3
     By 1893 David Williamson Runciman and Isabella Agatha Runciman were living Otahuhu, AKD, NZ, RUNCIMAN: David Williamson, a Minister; Isabella Agatha household duties; Jane Elizabeth Boag, domestic; William Atchison farmer.18


     David, Mary, John, Alexander, Robert, Elizabeth and Janet were beneficiaries in the 12 Aug 1872 will of their father David Runciman Elie, FIF, SCT.19 His estate was probated on 9 Sep 1910 Auckland, AKD, NZ; indexed as David Williamson Runciman, died 21 Jul 1910, Regstr Uni Coll, will held Auck archives (ref. BBAE 1569 7715/10.)7

All the other info

     David Williamson Runciman graduated from the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, LKS, SCT, in 1860 M.A.
Addison 1727-1897 reads: Minister of (1) Leslie, Fife, 1864-77, (2) St Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand, 1878-89; Registrar of University College, Auckland, since 1894; son od David Runciman, DD.20
A report in the Sunday Tribune newspaper back in 1962 records the diary of John and William RUNCIMAN, who emigrated to Sth Africa as being donated to the Natal Archives.
Extracts include:
     April 13th was William's birthday; April 18th was Mamma's birthday and April 23rd Janet's. Young Lizzie is mentioned and David is wished success in his future career on his birthday 26 May. David and the boys came to see the brothers off at Gourock (Greenock?) on April 10 1862 - the last farewell to members of their family - and there is an entry, 'Now a month since left Annfield Place.21'
     In May 1874 the Rev David Williamson Runciman gave notice that he has "raised a Process of Augmentation, Modification, and Locality of his Stepend, before the Teind Court, against the Patron, Titulars, and Tacksmen of the Teinds, Heritors and Liferenters, and all others having, or pretending to have, interest in the Teinds of the said Parish, which will be called in Court on Monday the 6th day of July next."22 He officiated at the marriage of his brother Robert Inglis (Peel) Runciman to Mary Spring on 24 Apr 1876 San Andrés del Centro, Buenos Aires, ARG.23,24,25,26 David Williamson Runciman was educated in Mar 1879 Auckland, AKD, NZ; the Timaru Herald of 13 March reports that David Wm RUNCIMAN, M.A. Glasgow, received an ad eundem degree. Wikipedia explains that it is a courtesy degree from one college to another, usually where the recipient was a faculty member.27,28

External links

     Click here to see David's page on WikiTree, a (free) collaborative on-line tree.29
     David Williamson Runciman belongs to a DNA tested line. There may be more information available on DNASurnames under the DNA project for his/her surname/line.


Isabella Agatha Leishman (cir. 1848 - Aug 1917)
  • Jane Elizabeth Boog Runciman30 (Feb 1867 - Mar 1948)
  • David Runciman30 (Apr 1868 - Jan 1887)
  • Matthew Leishman Runciman30 (Aug 1869 - Sep 1920)
  • William Aitchision Runciman30 (Aug 1871 - Oct 1917)
  • Robert Leishman Runciman30 (Jun 1873 - 1951)
  • John Leslie Runciman31 (1875 - 1924)
  • Janet Aitchison Runciman32,31 (Jul 1876 - 1950)
  • James Bruce Runciman8 (Aug 1878 - Jan 1879)
  • Isabella Ruth Runciman33,34 (Dec 1879 - 1966)
  • Alexander Runciman8 (cir. Mar 1882 - Sep 1882)
  • Elizabeth Anderson Runciman35 (bet. Mar 1883 - Jun 1883 - 1968)
  • Hugh Inglis Runciman36,37 (1885 - 1950)
  • Mary Russell Kerr Runciman38 (Dec 1887 - Jul 1889)
ChartsRUNCIMAN of Earlston/Wanton Walls
Last Edited18 Apr 2021


  1. Online search: assorted surnames, International Genealogical Index (IGI), RUNCIMAN/AITCHISON births/baptisms, batch C119905, extracted Sep 2005.
  2. Scottish BMDB entries (from 1855), http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/index.php, Mar. cert 1866 D W RUNCIMAN and Isabella LEISHMAN, copy d/loaded Sep 2005.
  3. Borders web searches & correspondence online at various web sites & correspondents, NZ Presbyterian Archives (http://archives.presbyterian.org.nz/Page196.htm) David Williamson RUNCIMAN, extracted Sep 2005.
  4. Lorna Henderson, "RUNCIMAN Analysis", Dec 2005 & May 2007.
  5. Assorted indexes, NZ Soc. Gen. Index, Birth 1837 D W RUNCIMAN, from Strays & more collection reference, detail from 1902 NZ Cyclopaedia rcvd Sep 2005, (D.W. RUNCIMAN born 26 Jun 1837 Edinburgh, Scotland - Vol 2 Auckland Provincial District p198).
  6. Newspaper clippings, Marr. 24 Apr 1866 Isabella Agatha, dtr of Rev, Matthew LEISHMAN & Rev David Williamson RUNCIMAN, M.A., minister of Leslie, at Govan Manse, from Glasgow Herald, (Glasgow, Scotland), Wed Apr 25, 1866; Issue 8206, extracted May 2008.
  7. Assorted indexes, NZ Soc. Gen. Index, Probate index, RUNCIMAN, extracted Sep 2005.
  8. NZSG, NZ Cemetery/burial transcriptions, H/stone Rev D W RUNCIMAN, M.A. & family, B03.16, fiche 35, extracted May 2007.
  9. BDM: NZ Certificates, Dth 24 Jul 1910 David Williamson s/o David RUNCIMAN & Janet AITCHISON, h/o Isabella Agatha LEUSHMAN (sic, should be LEISHMAN), Auckland, NZ, cert. copy dated Aug 1975, rcvd from Ros R, Apr 2013.
  10. Papers Past (NZ National Library) online at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/, Obit 25 Jul 1910 Rev. D W RUNCIMAN, Auckland Star, Volume XLI, Issue 174, 25 July 1910, Page 2, copy d/loaded Apr 2013.
  11. Papers Past (NZ National Library) online at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/, Funeral 26 Jul 1910 Rev David W RUNCIMAN, M.A., Auckland Star, Volume XLI, Issue 176, 27 July 1910, Page 5, computer generated text d/loaded Apr 2013.
  12. Auckland City Libraries online at http://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz, Auckland Area Passenger Arrivals 1838-1886, RUNCIMAN family on the Jessie Osborne. dep. London 15 Sep 1876 arr Akd Dec 19 1876, saloon, extracted Sep 2007.
  13. FreeCensus, UK online at http://www.freecen.org.uk/, 1841 Canongate, Par. of St Cuthberts, Edin, MLN SCT1841/685 ED 4 Folio 223 Page 5, hsehold of David & Janet RUNCIMAN, extracted Sep 2005.
  14. 1851 Census transcripts, Scotland, via Ancestry.com, Barony, LKS, Par. 622 ED 2C Pg 16 Sched 73, hsehold of David & Janet RUNCIMAN, extracted May 2007.
  15. 1861 Census transcripts, Scotland, via Ancestry.com, Springburn, High Church, Glasgow, LKS, Par. 644/2 ED 121 Pg 7 Sched 36, hsehold of David & Janet RUNCIMAN, extracted May 2007.
  16. Newspaper clippings, "Religious Intelligence" Patronage Rev David RUNCIMAN, to the parish of Leslie, Fife, from The Caledonian Mercury, (Edinburgh, Scotland), Tuesday Jun 7, 1864; Issue 23375, extracted May 2008.
  17. Census image, SCT, 1871 Census Fife Dist 444 (ED2?) Pg1 Sched 1, hsehold of David W & Isabella RUNCIMAN, copy d/loaded Dec 2005.
  18. 1853+ Electoral Roll, New Zealand, 1893 (from NZSG cd) RUNCIMAN, Otahuhu, Franklin Elect., AKD, searched Dec 2005,.
  19. Scottish BMDB entries (from 1855), http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/index.php, Trust Dispostion and Settlement, 1872 Rev David RUNCIMAN DD, copy d/loaded Sep 2005, (SC36/51/62, Glasgow Sheriff Court, Wills).
  20. The University of Glasgow Story online at http://www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk/, 1860 David Williamson RUNCIMAN, M.A., online at http://www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk/biography/, extracted Jan 2012.
  21. Rootsweb Msge Board online at http://boards.rootsweb.com, RUNCIMAN mailing list resources, (http://www.guernsey.net/~sgibbs/runciman/) diary of brothers John and William RUNCIMAN, posted in Aug 2002 by Mrs Mary RUNCIMAN, extracted Sep 2005, (the diary had just been donated to the Natal Archives, and the donation reported in the Sunday Tribune in 1962).
  22. The Scotsman (Current and Archive s), Teinds Courts, Rev David Williamson RUNCIMAN, from page 1 Sat 23rd May 1874, extracted Dec 2005.
  23. Rootsweb Msge Board online at http://boards.rootsweb.com, RUNCIMAN mailing list, (http://www.guernsey.net/~sgibbs/runciman/) posting re Argentinian RUNCIMAN families, Nov 2003 by Robert Frederick RUNCIMAN, extracted Sep 2005.
  24. RUNCIMAN Misc. web searches & correspondence Memorial inscription, and window dedication 1911 Robert Inglis RUNCIMAN, St Andrews Presbyterian (the Scotch Church), Buenos Aires, extracted Sep 2005.
  25. RUNCIMAN Misc. web searches & correspondence Mar. 1876 Robert Inglis RUNCIMAN and Mary SPRING, extracted Sep 2005, From http://www.argbrit.org/SanAmatr/matrimonios_1864_1878.htm, posted by Jeremy HOWAT, home page last updated 16 Sep 2005.
  26. David RUNCIMAN, "RUNCIMAN Corres.," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, From "A Brief History of our Branch of the Runciman Family", rcvd & extracted May 2007.
  27. Papers Past (NZ National Library) online at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/, David Wm RUNCIMAN, ad eundem degree, from Interprovincial Auckland March 12, in the Timaru Herald, Volume XXX, Issue 1397, 13 March 1879, Page 2, extracted Aug 2010.
  28. Wikipedia online at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page, "ad eundem degree", from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_eundem_degree, extracted Aug 2010.
  29. WikiTree online at http://WikiTree.com/, Oct-11.
  30. Online search: assorted surnames, International Genealogical Index (IGI), RUNCIMAN/LEISHMAN births, batch C114441, extracted Sep 2005.
  31. Scottish BMDB entries (from 1855), http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/index.php, RUNCIMAN births, Leslie, FIF, extracted from index Dec 2005.
  32. David RUNCIMAN, "RUNCIMAN Corres.," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Birth 1876 Janet Aitchison RUNCIMAN, from "A Brief History of our Branch of the Runciman Family", rcvd May & extracted Jun 2007.
  33. Ellis Island Immigrations online at http://www.ellisislandrecords.com/, 1910 Matthew RUNCIMAN & Ruth HAYDON, "Mauretania" from Liverpool to NY, extracted Dec 2005.
  34. BDM: NZ historical indexes online at http://bdmhistoricalrecords.identityservices.govt.nz/Search, Birth 27 Dec 1879 Isabella Ruth RUNCIMAN, dtr of David Williamson & Isabella Agatha RUNCIMAN, ref. 1880/353, extracted Apr 2018.
  35. The Scotsman (Current and Archive s), Marr. 1917 Elsie Anderson RUNCIMAN and the Rev W George ANDREWS, pg 12 Sat 14th Apr 1917, extracted Dec 2005.
  36. H D W, "RUNCIMAN Correspondence," e-mail to L Henderson (1), Fam. tree of David Ernest Inglis RUNCIMAN of Spain, from David to Harry early 1990s, extract rcvd May 2007.
  37. Ros Runciman, "RUNCIMAN Corres.," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Dth 1950 Hugh Inglis RUNCIMAN, Via 1974 letter from Miss Mary R (his niece) in Argentina, info rcvd May 2007.
  38. Ros Runciman, "RUNCIMAN Corres.," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Rcvd May 2007.

E. & O. E. Some/most parish records are rather hard to read and names, places hard to interpret, particularly if you are unfamiliar with an area.