Friday, 25 February 2011

The closure of West Register House

As I sit in West Register House today I half expect to see tumbleweed roll along the search room floor. When I was in on Tuesday you could hear, in the background, the sound of staff sealing up boxes, deciding which computers and phones to take and reminding everybody that this is the last week that the West Search Room of the National Archives of Scotland will be open to the public. Today though there is just silence, stillness and a general sadness for what will be lost.

Since the start of the photography trial last spring I’ve spent a lot of time here and it’s been a very pleasant place to work. As this is the less used search room there is a more peaceful atmosphere. Staff are relaxed and on hand to help, the desks are modern and the lamps well placed. There is more space, you generally have about two desks each so plenty of room for books on cushions, laptops and notebooks.

There is also a camera stand available in this search room, which means we have high quality images and I can take them very quickly. We hope the stand will be available from Monday onwards at General Register House, as from that day on we will all be able to take photographs in the Historic Search Room there - which will a momentous day!

The rationale for having just one search room is sensible to a degree, they will save money and we won’t have to go to two venues to see documents. With more and more information on the Virtual Volumes system, the need for as many desks will I suppose have reduced. The Virtual Volumes system is where you can view documents that have been digitally imaged on the computer screen. This makes access easier and reduces the risk of damage to the documents.

I am sad however that this is my last week in the wonderfully tranquil West Register House and would like to thank all the staff that help bring these historical documents to us, whether they are on the front desk, in the search room or behind the scenes, they all do a fantastic job. Without them our Kelso Dispensary project, our prison records project and poor roll projects would not be happening, not to mention the exciting new projects we have planned for later this year. This means that even if you haven’t been here yourself they have helped all of you delve into your family’s past.

Thank you West Register House!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Holywood 1841 census added to the database

We have added the 1841 census for Holywood to our database and of course it’s available in our bookshop too. Here are the surnames which appear in the census:

Adamson; Ademson; Afflick; Anderson; Atchison; Auchterson; Austin; Baird; Ballantine; Ballintine; Beatie; Beattie; Bell; Bickerstaff; Bilby; Black; Blackie; Blackley; Blacklock; Blain; Borthwick; Boyes; Briggs; Broatch; Brodie; Brown; Bryden; Brydon; Burges; Burgess; Callander; Cambell; Campbell; Carid; Carr; Carruthers; Carson; Caven; Charters; Clark; Clemison; Clifford; Clune; Colvin; Conal; Conchie; Connal; Connan; Connell; Corrie; Corson; Costine; Coston; Cowan; Craig; Creighton; Creiry; Crocket; Croket; Crone; Crosbie; Cunninham; Dalrymple; Dickson; Dinwiddie; Douglas; Drummond; Duff; Dunn; Easton; Edgar; Elton; Fair; Farish; Fenton; Ferguson; Fergusson; Ferquher; Flinn; Flynn; Frazer; Gaffeny; Gass; Gedess; Gemmell; Gibbs; Gibson; Gillespie; Glencross; Glendining; Glendinning; Glover; Gordon; Gourley; Gracie; Graham; Greirson; Grerson; Grier; Gunion; Hair; Haliday; Hamilton; Hannah; Hannay; Hastings; Hawthorn; Henderson; Henry; Hepburn; Hiddelston; Hiddleston; Hill; Hodge; Hyslop; Inglis; Irvine; Irving; Jardine; Johnson; Johnston; Johnstone; Kellock; Kenedy; Kennedy; Kilpatrick; Kirk; Kirkpaterick; Kirkpatrick; Kirkwood; Kirpatrick; Landsburgh; Laurie; Lawrie; Lawson; Lennox; Lewis; Lindsay; Little; Livingstone; Lockerby; Loremer; Lorimar; Marshal; Marshall; Mason; Masterman; Mather; Maxwel; Maxwell; McAdam; Mcally; McBurney; McBurnie; McCaig; McCall; McCalley; McCloury; McCornick; McCubbing; McFeggan; McGeorge; McGill; McKaig; McKenery; McKenzie; McKinnel; McKnight; McMichael; McMichan; McMurray; McMurry; McNae; McNaught; McNeil; McQueen; Meighan; Melvin; Middelton; Millar; Miller; Milligan; Monteith; More; Moreland; Morine; Morrow; Muir; Muirhead; Mullholland; Mullins; Murdoch; Nealson; Neilson; Nelson; Newall; Nicholson; Nicol; Norval; Oliver; Pagan; Paterson; Patrick; Pearson; Peary; Piles; Porteous; Pots; Rae; Ramage; Ramge; Renewick; Richardson; Riddell; Ritchie; Robson; Roddan; Roden; Rorrison; Saffely; Sanders; Saunders; Scott; Seaton; Servace; Simson; Smith; Somerville; Souland; Spence; Stitt; Swan; Tait; Taylor; Thompson; Thomson; Thorburn; Threshie; Todd; Turner; Twineholm; Walch; Walker; Ward; Waters; Watson; Waugh; Welch; Welsh; Whitehead; Wightman; Wilson; Wright

Search for free or buy a book for your library!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Continue reading the Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal

I have now uploaded “today’s” issue of the Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal. So you can take a few minutes and transport yourself to earlier days. This weeks issues contains the following articles:

Fallacies of the Young, Formation of the Scottish Society.

Skryme, The Russian court, Major Weir.

Sketches in Topography (Edinburghshire), The Runaway (an English Tale, By Miss Mitford)


Iron Bridges, Biographic Sketches (Dr. Alexander Murray).

Wourall poison.

Bear Hunting, Turkey, The Vatican, Two useful receipts, Hymn of the British peasant, American musquitoes, Effect of light on plants, Wolves, Number of Stars.

Column for the boys, Use of Cat’s whiskers, Vegetables, Cheese-Hoppers, Astronomy and celestial mechanics, Amsterdam.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Tinwald Parish Marriage Register 1832-1854

This book contains a transcription of that are to be found in the Kirk Session records of Tinwald Parish, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. These records are held by the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh, and it is believed they have not been transcribed or indexed before.

The entries in the register record both marriages that took place in Tinwald parish, as well as entries recording when banns were proclaimed in Tinwald parish church where one or both of the parties to the proposed marriage was a resident in Tinwald parish. The right hand column details (in pounds, shillings and pence) the fees paid by the parties for their proclamation of banns. Many entries record the actual place the marriage ceremony was conducted, traditionally the bride's home.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

New book - Glenkens Free Church Baptisms 1841-1857

This book contains a transcription of the baptisms found amongst the Kirk Session records of the Glenkens Free Church, Dalry, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, covering the period 1841-1857. The original records are held by the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh, and it is believed they have not been transcribed or indexed before.

We have included all the entries from the register up to 1857, shortly after the beginning of civil registration in Scotland in 1855. The level of detail is somewhat inconsistent, but the date of birth and occupation of the father, as well as the full names of both parents is given in most entries. This is a very rural area, and therefore we find only sixty baptisms recorded during this period.

Visit our website to buy the Glenkens (Dalry) Free Church Baptism Register (It's only £3.99) -

Monday, 14 February 2011

1841 Hoddom and 1851 Mochrum now online

We updated the census database last week; it now includes the 1841 census of Hoddom, Dumfriesshire and 1851 census Mochrum, Wigtownshire. As usual these new census transcriptions are also available in our bookshop.

As usual there are also various new household links, maps and notes that we hope will help you as you research families in Scotland.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Read the Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal week by week

Starting today you will be able to experience a little of 1832 from your own home. We had started, some time ago now, uploading the Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal to our free resources section of the website. From today though I will upload it once a week, on the date it was originally published, so you can read it as it would have been read in 1832.

Published weekly it’s only 8 pages in length and easy to speed-read the less interesting parts. I hope though it will prove and interesting, informative and lets face it a fun read for those of you who have the time. Most of the questions we are asked arise from a misunderstanding of Scotland in the past and this is another thing which can help us to understand our ancestor’s lives.

The images are very large; they may take longer to download however it will make these historic articles easier to read.

I hope you enjoy this new feature:

Monday, 7 February 2011

Example Prison Register Transcription

It has now been a few weeks since our free prison index went online and I’m glad to say it is proving popular and our customers seem really pleased with the transcriptions. If you haven’t searched for your ancestors yet here’s the link again:

Below is an example of the sort of transcription you’ll receive for just five pounds!

Prison Register Transcription
 Hawick Prison 1844-1862
(National Archives Reference HH21/14/1)

Number: 42
Date of Admission: July 15, 1845
By whom Committed: Bailie Haddon J.P.
Name: John Gibson
Sex: Male
Age: 64
Where Born: Whitehaven
Late Residence: Carlisle
Where he has spent the greater part of his life: Whitehaven
Height: 5 feet 6 inches
Complexion: Dark
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue
Marks, &c.: None
Offence: For Begging Drunk and Disordly in the Town
Clean or Dirty?: Dirty
Sober, partially Intoxicated, or Drunk?: Sober
Clothes in good Repair or Ragged?: Good
Did the Prisoner come in Direct after Arrest?: Direct
Ordinary Occupation: Saddler
Previous Imprisonments: [none]
Trial: July 23; Bailie Haddon; Convicted
Sentence: Nine Days
Number of Days in Prison: 9
Conduct during Confinement: Good

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Dumfriesshire Valuation Roll 1896-97 - Free online

We have finished our project of uploading the Dumfriesshire Valuation Roll 1896-97. If you haven’t used the valuation rolls before it’s definitely worth a look, even if you’re not researching in Dumfriesshire.

Valuation rolls are great for genealogy and researching the history of your house. Valuation rolls were collected annually from 1854 to 1989. For each property in Scotland they record the name and designation of the proprietor, the tenant, the occupier and the annual rateable value. They do not list any other residents in a property.

View for free at