Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Scottish Quaker Marriages - Index Coming Soon

Quaker Meeting House 
We’ve been looking at the Digest of Scottish Quaker births, marriages and deaths again, with a view to creating an index. Interestingly before the digest of marriages starts properly there are two pages of marriages which “have been either considered irregular or to have been but imperfectly recorded”. Here are a couple of examples:

Book: 17
Page: 3
Names: Ormston Jane, Waldie John
Date of Minute: 1749, Novr. 26
Description: [Jane Ormston] daur of Charles (merchant) of Kelso: Fewar and Commissary Clerk
Information given: At Kelso Monthly Meeting a letter was read from Jane Ormston acknowledging her having married contrary to the Rules of the Society. {The first child of this Marriage is recorded in the Parish Register as born 5th September 1750.}
Monthly Meeting or other records: Kelso Mo Mg

Book: 14
Page: 17
Names: Cook James, Liddell Mary
Date of Minute:1703, 4, 25
Description: [James Cook] of Linlithgow: [Mary Liddell] daur of James [Liddell]
Information given: These Friends applied to Hamilton Monthly Meeting the second time for leave to marry and were directed to wait till Mary Liddell could produce a certificate from Ireland - The Marriage appears to have taken place as Mary Liddell, as James Cook’s widow, afterwards married George Cunningham, as below. - 
Monthly Meeting or other records Hamilton & Glasgow Mo Mg.

© Copyright National Records of Scotland reference CH10/1/64 and Emma Maxwell of www.maxwellancestry.com

We will index these two pages with the rest of the volume of marriages so that they can be easily found. I’m not sure what the total number of entries will be but it will certainly help to fill in some of the ‘missing’ entries that cannot be found in the OPRs

If you have arrived here from Google and wonder what we’re all about take a look at the ‘Online Indexes’ tab to see what we have available already to help you trace your Scottish family tree.



Friday, 22 November 2013

The End of an Era

The National Health Service (NHS) was implemented across the UK in 1948. The new NHS brought to an end the charitable Kelso Dispensary which had been established as far back as 1777.

The Kelso Dispensary


In the records of this charitable institution there is a final report by the directors which I found interesting (NRS reference HH71/6). Here are some excerpts:

The
Kelso Dispensary and Cottage Hospital

“REPORT by the Directors to the Forty-first Annual Meeting of the Members to be held on Wednesday, 25th August, 1948, in the Town Hall, Kelso, at 3 p.m.

WITH the coming into operation of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act on the appointed day, 5th July, 1948, the Duties of the Directors as regards the administration of the actual Hospital ceased. The provisions of the Act as affecting the Hospital are, very briefly, that the Hospital Buildings and Equipment are transferred to the Secretary of State for Scotland, and the other assets comprising Invested Funds, Cash, etc., as ascertained at 4th July, are to be transferred to the newly-formed Border Hospital Group Board of Management, which body is responsible for the management of the Hospital from and after the appointed day…”

“The directors feel that as their last Act of Administration it is their duty to place before the subscribers and the general public this Report, including audited Accounts for the period from 15th May, 1947, to 5th July, 1948.

It is fitting to record that the Hospital and the Kelso Dispensary, whose functions were taken over by the Hospital in 1908, have given an uninterrupted record of service to the public since 3rd October, 1777. The Dispensary was the first of its type in Scotland, and served as a prototype for many similar Institutions in both Scotland and England.

One of the purposes of the Dispensary, a continuance of which was one of the conditions upon the Dispensary Funds we made over to the Hospital, was the provision of an Outdoor Nursing Service. The provision of this service is, since the passing of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act, wholly the responsibility of the Local Government, which in the case of Kelso, is Roxburgh County Council.”

I am working on an index to the patient registers, beginning in 1777 and working forward in time. Year One is available as a free PDF and the first complete volume will be published shortly from www.maxwellancestry.com. To register an interest please email me and I’ll notify you when Volume One is ready for sale: info@maxwellancestry.com

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Whithorn Free Church Baptisms

One of the great things that happen about looking at old documents in the National Records of Scotland is that you find wee pieces of paper, a little note, a letter, a receipt or other things of the kind. They give an insight into the real people who created and used the records.

Looking today at the baptismal register of the Whithorn Free Church, 1843-1921 (which we will be indexing soon) I found a wee note that I thought I would share with you:



Bishop Sutton
Nr. Clutton
Bristol
Somerset

3 Dec 1923

Revd. Sir
Will you please get the Birth Certificate and send to me of John Montgomery son of William Montgomery Born in the year 1853 25 Dec and was baptised in the Free Kirk by the Revd. Mr Anderson.

PS What charges then are I will remit to you enclosed stamped directed envelope for reply


and oblige
Yours Truly
John Montgomery

© Copyright National Records of Scotland reference CH3/801/6 and Emma Maxwell of www.maxwellancestry.com

The first entry on the page where the letter was found is that of John, a male child, father William Montgomery, mother Mary McRobert. The father’s profession was given as a Farm Servant, and the child was born on December 26 1853 at Appleby - Glasserton and Baptised on 3 February 1854 by F.F. Anderson.

I love the fact that John, aged nearly 80, did not know his date of birth but did know who had baptised him! Or perhaps John was correct and the clerk wrote it down wrong in the register. We’ll never know now.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Family History Fair - Free Consultations

The Scottish Association of Family History Societies' (SAFHS) 25th Annual Conference and Family History Fair will be held on Saturday the 26th of April 2014 at the Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline.

As usual we will have a table and will be offering free consultations throughout the day. We can help with research all over the world but we specialise in researching families from southern Scotland and particularly enjoy the challenge of overcoming 'brick walls'.

We will have a multitude of resources on hand to help you with your family and our time will be free! You can either turn up on the day or book a slot in advance. You can even email me ahead of time to explain your 'brick wall' to us.

Here are the slots that remain:

09:30 - email to book
10:00 - email to book
10:30 - email to book
11:00 - email to book
11:30 - email to book
13:00 - email to book
13:30 - email to book
14:00 - email to book
14:30 - email to book
15:00 - email to book
15:30 - email to book

There will be something for every family at the fair, visit the SAFHS website for up-to-date information and to book!

Friday, 15 November 2013

"Please don't send me to the Poorhouse!"

The amount of information about everyday people held by the National Records of Scotland is truly astounding. If you are descended from the ‘Great and the Good’ you will expect to find sasines, wills, deeds etc. you may even find your ancestor’s name on a royal charter! If however your great-grandfather was an ‘Ag Lab’ finding information about him and his family’s life can take a little more patience.


Outside the standard research tools of BMDs, census and OPRs many of the records of everyday people are unindexed. Records of the people in receipt of poor relief can help us trace our genealogy and help add to picture of our family.


Some records are held in local archives, some by the National Records of Scotland. You will find Kirsty Wilkinson’s list ‘Records of the Scottish Poor’ invaluable in your search for the documents you need.


If you would like me to search one of these records for you, perhaps because you cannot visit the relevant archive yourself, use the form on the right hand side of this page to contact me.


I wanted to show you today a type of document that sadly does not survive throughout the whole country but when it does it gives you such a rich insight into your ancestors lives.


The record is held by the National Records of Scotland, their reference is SC19/70/10 and it is entitled ‘Wigtown Applications to the Sheriff for Poor Relief’.


Here is a transcription of the case:


Item one part a:


Poor Law application by Ann McGinn or Fleming 1864


Stranraer 1st Aug[us]t 1864
Unto the Honourable the Sheriff of Wigton (sic) and Kirkcudbright
The
Petition of Ann McGinn or Fleming a Widow, residing in Fisher Street, Stranraer, who


Humbly Sheweth
That she is 67 years of age, and was left a widow about 39 years ago, and after that time she wrought at all kinds of work - sometimes in House service, - sometime at Agricultural service - sometimes acting as sick-nurse for the support of herself and three helpless children left with her at her husband’s death - the youngest of whom was then only Six months old.
That she, through great anxiety and laborious attention to whatever employment she got from various kind friends she managed to bring up her children. (The Balgreggan (The late Major Maitland’s) family were kind and good to her.). And it is only since the month of April that she has been rendered unable to earn a support by work as usual, owing to having a very sore leg, and having pains through her frame, and a general weakness, that she complains, -
She has applied on more than one occasion to Mr Henry Watt, Inspector for the Poor’s Board of the Parish of Stranraer for assistance and Relief but he refuses to grant any, although she sent in two petitions to the Board.
That all the petitioner wanted from the Board was as much as would pay the rent of her house being £2..10/- and half of Poor Rates to her Landlord & some little charges for Water, and lighting the Gas on the street; But although all this would amount to little more than one shilling per week, it was refused to her, and a threat made that she would be sent to the Poor-House if persisted in craving that justifiable and honest necessity out door Relief to which she considers herself entitled according to all Rules of Humanity, Justice and Equity, even if “Brotherly Love” was not to be included.
Your Petitioner Humbly prays that your Lordships will take her case into consideration, and afford her such relief as to you may seem proper, and for whatever you do she will be most grateful.
[signed] Ann Fleming



Item one part b:


Wigtown 9th. August 1864, The Sheriff substitute having considered the foregoing Petition of Ann McGinn or Fleming, a Widow, residing in Fisher Street Stranraer, Directs the Inspector of Poor of the parish of Stranraer to afford to the applicant interim relief and orders him to lodge with the Sheriff Clerk within six days from this date a statement in writing shewing the reason why the application for relief was refused.
[signed] M Rhind



Item 2


[A letter sent to M. Rhind Esq, Sheriff Depute, Wigtown]
Stranraer 11th August 1864
Case of Ann McGinn or Fleming
Sir
The Inspector not having been served a Copy of the Applicants Petition to the Sheriff, he cannot of course answer any statements which she has made, but he apprehends that she has not stated the fact of her being offered relief by admission to the Rhins Poor House, which she refused on 19th Feb[ruar]y 1863. & she has not recently asked relief -
The Inspector has this day again offered her interim relief by a ticket of admission to said Poor House, to fulfil your Lordships deliverance, which the Inspector apprehends takes this case out of Court, to be thereafter dealt with by the Board of Supervision, should she complain of inadequate relief, which your Lordship knows is her only complaint generally - Absolvitor humbly craved. -
H. Watt Inspe[cto]r



Item one part c:


Wigtown 19th August 1864 having resumed consideration of the complaint with the statement by the Inspector of the Poor of the Parish of Stranraer In respect the Petitioner has been offered a Ticket to the Poor House, dismisses the complaint.


[signed] M Rhind


Note. If the Petitioner thinks proper she can apply to the Board of Supervision.


© Copyright National Records of Scotland and Emma Maxwell of www.maxwellancestry.com

Thursday, 14 November 2013

DNA Genealogy - Just starting out

Well I’m going to do it, and it doesn’t cost as much as you think!

My mum went round to my uncle's the other day and he dutifully rubbed a wee scraper thing on his cheek, it’s all packaged up now and ready to post.

My lovely granddad, Thomas Sharkey, my good self and my granny, Doreen Pickering.
This was taken about 1993 in their back garden.





DNA is becoming increasingly popular and with more and more people getting involved the chances of finding a match are increasing.

There are lots of reasons you might use DNA along with more traditional research tools when you are tracing your family tree but our family has a very specific reason.

My great-grandmother was Elizabeth Wilson Smith, born 17 April 1881 in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, one of at least 9 children. Her parents and quite a number of her siblings emigrated to America in 1912. The plan was that Elizabeth and her husband, William Paterson, would follow.

Tragedy struck however when, on 28 November 1917, William Paterson was involved in an accident at Fauldhead Colliery. He died in Dumfries Infirmary the following morning. A full report can be read on the Scottish Mining website.

Poor Elizabeth was now left alone with 6 children, the eldest was about 16 and the youngest (known to me as Aunt Mattie) was 6. I don’t know why she did not, at this stage, follow her family to America.

Elizabeth stayed in Kirkconnel, living at 2 Marne Street, and on 10 April 1920 my great aunt Janet was born. No father is given on the birth certificate. Interestingly Aunt Janet was named ‘Janet Donnelly Blair Smith or Paterson’. 17 Months later on 5 September 1921 my grandfather, Thomas, was born.

We do not know who the father of these two children was, or even if it was the same man, however, we do have some ideas.

First, however I will continue with the story; before we begin to speculate.

Mr great grandmother Elizabeth continued to live in Kirkconnel. Then on 27 April 1923 she married Simon Sharkey of Annan. The marriage certificate is interesting. We know that Simon was born in 1902 but on the certificate he says he is 29! Probably he did this because my great grandmother was 42 years old; although the certificate says she was 38.

Thomas Sharkey at the Solway, July 1946
So far, apart from some artistic licence in the age rounding department all is normal. Soon after the marriage the couple move to Annan, where Simon was born, and set up home together. It seems Simon claimed the two youngest children as his own. In fact, he went the extra mile in 1940 when my grandfather needed a birth certificate to prove his age to join the army. Simon Sharkey re-registered my grandfather’s birth stating he was the father. He went a step further however as he took the document, which clearly states “Any person who falsifies any of the particulars on this Extract or makes use of such falsified Extract as true, knowing it to be false, is liable to prosecution”, and changed the date of his marriage to Elizabeth to 27 April 1919 and changed the date of registration to 9 September 1921!

Whilst the audacity is astounding and the workmanship so very poor on the certificate meaning all one can do is laugh, I do also wonder if it was for genuine love of Elizabeth that he did this. Or was he the actual father?

We will never know what was going on in Simon’s head on 6 June 1940 but with DNA we can answer a long asked family question, was Simon really Thomas’ father? Simon had a number of brothers so as well as testing my uncle's DNA we are also going to test a great nephew of Simon Sharkey to see if we are related or not.

I now have my uncle’s DNA ready to post so I will let you know when we know! 

To be continued...


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Their object in coming might be prompted by mere inquisitiveness…

I am again reading files from the National Records of Scotland regarding the administration of the Old Age Pension. It seems by this time there was a bit of a backlog of cases to be searched in both the OPRs and the census. Mr William Beale, an MP in Ayrshire, was asking questions in parliament. In the minutes I am reading there is a ‘Notice of Question for Tuesday 21st February 1911’. It reads: “To ask the Lord Advocate, whether his attention has been called to applications for old age pensions at Cumnock, Ayrshire, and elsewhere, in which the applicants are unable to prove their age by reason of the absence of proper records of baptism during the disturbed period preceding the disruption of the Church of Scotland, and in which applicants desiring to supplement their available evidence by the help of Census Returns, were informed by the Local Government Board for Scotland that the Census Returns were not available for consultation by the applicants; and whether the Local Government can, and will themselves, consult the Census Returns in such cases, or procure access thereto for the applicants, or can and will otherwise facilitate proof of age where neglect in the keeping of the public records puts applicants to disadvantage.” In the somewhat lengthy reply made by the Registrar-General (James Patten McDougall) there is this paragraph that I found rather entertaining: “I should stipulate that the enquiries are to be made at the instance of the Pension Officers only, and not by the public. If the public were to be allowed access to the Census documents, I am afraid it would open a very wide door and might lead to abuses, e.g. the public would come here without having recourse to the ordinary registers, and their object in coming might be prompted by mere inquisitiveness. Further I am afraid that these old books would not last long if handled by all and sundry.”

Friday, 8 November 2013

OAP searches in the 1861 census

By 1913 searches were being made in the 1861 census (as well as the 1841 and 1851 census as discussed in a previous blog) to establish the age of claimants of the Old Age Pension. To begin with it was only used for the the most urgent cases. The reason for this is that time was needed to rebind the enumeration books, as the covers were thin. Conducting too many searches would be damaging to the books.

 Here is a letter from the Local Government Board dated 20th June 1913 to The Registrar General, New Register House.

 "Sir,

 I am directed to thank you for your Memorandum of the 27th ultimo giving the results of references made in the Census Returns of 1861.

 With reference to your letter of 10th instant on the general question of the availability of the Census Returns of 1861, the Board note that systematic reference cannot be undertaken for some time. I am, however, to append a further selected list of cases where an early search in the Returns of 1861 would prove most useful, and to say that if you can see your way to cause such a search to be made, the Board will be greatly obliged.

I am,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant
[signed] David Brown
Assistant Secretary"


A few pages on in NRS item number GRO5/779 we find the cases mentioned in the letter. I have transcribed four for you to see, there are a number more.


Click to view larger image

Interspersed with these more urgent cases are references to the need to update ‘Pensions form 16’ to include a section where the claimant can say where they were when the 1861 census was taken. An example of both the form in use until this point and the ‘new’ up-to-date form are included in these papers.

The search continues...



Thursday, 7 November 2013

In search of the Old Age Pension records - Part Two

Following on from my post “In search of the Old Age Pension records - Part One” I am going to write today about some of the surviving Old Age Pension (OAP) records I have found.

In various local Scottish Archives, such as the Dumfries and Galloway Archives at the Ewart Library in Dumfries, there are Old Age Pension Committee Registers. The example (which I have viewed) held in Dumfries is that of Moffat Town Council (reference CB842/1/2/9). It is entitled “Town Council Old Age Pension Committee : Register” and runs from 1908-1948. 

The headings in this register are as follows:

Consecutive number 
Full Name of Claimant, or of Pensioner in regard to whom a question is raised 
Address of Claimant, or Pensioner 
Date on which claim received when made direct to Committee 
Date on which claim referred to Pension Officer 
Date on which claim or question and report received from Pension Officer 
District and Station of Pension Officer 
Number in Pension Officer’s Register 
Date or dates on which claim or question considered by Committee 
Date (of any) on which Claimant or Pensioner (or person appearing on his behalf) heard by Committee 
Decision of Committee and Date (If claim disallowed, give reason) 
Date of notification of decision to (a) Claimant or Pensioner 
Date of notification of decision to (b) Pension Officer 
Date of receipt of notification of appeal 
Name and Address of Appellant (If the Claimant, pr Pension, or the Pension Officer s the Appellant, insert “Claimant,” “Pensioner,” or “Pension Officer,” without address 
Date on which documents relating to claim or question sent to Local Government Board [in correspondence this is often referred to as the LGB] 
Date of notification to Claimant or Pensioner of appeal having been made 
Decision of Local Government Board and date of receipt 
Date of notification of decision of Local Government Board to (a) Claimant, or Pension or other Appellant 
Date of notification of decision of Local Government Board to (b) Pension Officer 
Amount of Pension and date on which Pension becomes payable 
Date on which documents relating to claim or question sent to Pension Officer 
Remarks, e.g. : Note of disqualification or death of Pensioner, or reference to any later entry relating to the same person. 

There are two things I would like to note here. Firstly, relatively few of these registers survive: the only examples held in Dumfries and Galloway Archives seems to those for Moffat and Langholm. Up and down Scotland and in even at The National Archives in Kew there appear to be a few similar examples, but covering only a small fraction of Scotland.

The second thing is that they do not tell us a lot from a genealogical standpoint. There are no dates of birth, for example. They do give addresses, which could occasionally be useful, but it is likely that this information could more readily be gleaned from other sources, such as valuation rolls.

In summary, if you are reading this blog whilst studying the history of the welfare state in the UK these volumes might well be of interest to you. If you are researching your family tree, however, you may find their usefulness is minimal.



Kenneth Allan at the Finlay Grant gallery in Melrose

Kenneth Allan, Scottish Borders artist, has a solo exhibition at the Finlay Grant gallery in Melrose until the end of November.


Hawick Town Hall in Winter
Hawick Town Hall in Winter 

The artist himself will be available on the following dates:

Wed Nov 6th                        10am - noon
Fri Nov 8th                           10am - 5pm
Sat Nov 9th                          11:30am - 5pm
Sun Nov 10th                       2pm - 4pm
Wed Nov 13th                      10am - 5pm
Fri Nov 15th                         10am - 5pm
Sat Nov 16th                        11:30am - 5pm
Sun Nov 17th                       2pm - 4pm

Kenneth was born in Peebles, brought up in Innerleithen and now live in Hawick in the Scottish Borders. He says: "I have a passion for the scenery of Scotland, especially the Borders. I like walking in the hills, exploring old ruined tower houses and abandoned shepherd s cottages. In my paintings I try to capture the atmosphere, memories, and romance of this area which is rich in history and beautiful scenery."

Go and see his paintings for yourself at the Finlay Grant Gallery or see his website for more gallery dates.

www.kennethallan.co.uk





Friday, 1 November 2013

Excerpt from the National Records of Scotland

I am reading minutes relating to the administration the the Old Age Pension. National Records of Scotland reference GRO5/779.

Under the subject of the Census being returned to Scotland The Registrar General said (as recorded in the minutes) in November 1909:

"Transmits files as to this matter is strongly of the opinion that a case has been established for access being given to the Census Returns and further thinks that Scottish Census Returns for 1841 & 1851 now crumbling to pieces in London, should be transferred to Scotland & housed in the Register House as soon as possible."

To read more about the Old Age Pension read my blog: In search of the Old Age Pension records - Part One