Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Where have all the records gone?

Genealogy can be very rewarding and enjoyable, not to mention interesting and yes, at times a little frustrating! One major reason for frustration is missing records. There is an endless list of reasons some records have never made it into the appropriate archive. Some have been burnt, others lost at sea, some just deteriorated to such an extent they can no longer be read. Some however are just missing, with no real explanation, it is as if they never existed.

Whilst researching in the National Archives yesterday however I came across a wee note in baptism register. It was a post 1855 register and the note is dated January 1918. It read:

“Mr. Pollock is using the old Church Records for reference at the present these will follow.

Any extracts can be got from the same at any time.

But for Mr. Pollock’s illness he would have had finished with said books.”

From what I can tell the earlier registers from this parish have been returned, Mr. Pollock was obviously a reliable man. The question it raises however is this: Just how many books were borrowed and never returned?

Various books continue to turn up even now so if your ancestors are in a missing register don’t despair, they may still be returned.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Can you help me find old photos of Coatsgate Quarry near Moffat?

We would really like to see some old photos of Coatsgate Quarry near Moffat, in particular we are looking for photos of the café that used to be there. A relative used to work there and we can’t find any photos of the café or work buildings. Can anybody help us?

If you can please email me: info@maxwellancestry.com

Thank you in advance.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Very interesting Edinburgh Documents

On the edinburgh.gov.uk website there are some very useful documents I came across a few months ago and have just remembered about today.

The one that caught my eye was the Registers of Aliens. The specific origins of the registers lie in the declaration of war by the French Republic against Great Britain in 1793 and the unease felt by the authorities about the impact on radical elements within the country. They cover the period 1798-1825.

The other interesting document is the St Cuthbert’s Parochial Board, Paupers’ Claims volume, 1850-1852.

More information is online if you follow the edinburgh.gov.uk website.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Census update – Whithorn 1851 now online

Graham has just now uploaded the Wigtownshire parish of Whithorn to our free online census database. This brings the total number of entries in our 1851 database to 219683! I think we may have to have a celebration when we get to the quarter million mark.

Search the census now!

Touching up old photos

One of the services we provide is to touch up old photos. I personally tend not to go overboard when I’m doing it as I don’t like them to look too manufactured. It is nice however to get rid of the scratches and as in the example below we can remove the sticky tape that my Granny used to keep it in the album.

If you have a report done with us we do not charge for this service but will touch up a few old photos for you. This is just another thing that makes our genealogy research a little bit more special.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Reopening of the Annandale Distillery

I have been following the Annandale Distillery project with great interest over the last few years. We were asked to research the history of the distillery in 2007. It was a very interesting project, one reason being that although I grew up in Annan and still live nearby I had no idea there had ever been a distillery in Annan. To be fair on me it has been a long time since whisky has been produced around these parts. It is now about 90 years since Johnny Walker’s closed the Annandale distillery.

Since 2007 plans have been underway to restore the historic buildings and start producing the wonderful golden liquid once more. Planning permission has taken time and an archaeological dig has also taken place. Building work should be underway by the autumn and they hope to be producing whisky by 2011, although of course it will take a few years before it will be for sale.

The Annandale Distillery website is very interesting and even includes an interactive archaeological site map with video clips explaining what they have found and what they are planning for the future.

Visit the Annandale Distillery site

Do you live in an old Scottish house and would like to find out more about its past? We can help you with your research, just email me the details and I will have a look into it for you.

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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Did people travel much 200 years ago?

Well perhaps surprisingly the answer is yes! I know this is a shock to many people but the travel factor may also be the answer to your missing ancestors.

There were various motivations for people to travel in years gone by, just as there are today. Stop and think for a moment, do you just move house because you can? Is it simply because you can hire a lorry to move your belongings that makes you move? Of course not. Yes, modern transportation makes moving easier to a degree however the motivation is to be closer to family, to find employment, to live in a nicer house or area and things like these.

Why was it any different in years gone by? It wasn’t really, the motivations were much the same as they are today. There certainly was an issue with transport though and of course transport costs, but here are a few reasons and means of people getting from A to B.

How could they afford to emigrate to America? Could they really save for the passage?

Recently I was researching in a Register of the Poor persons admitted on the roll of the Parish of Castleton 1846-56 (NAS reference number HR/75/11/2) and came across an interesting entry for Bella Kyle. Bella had been in receipt of poor relief from September 1847 (she was a window) then in May 1852 she received money from the poor board to travel to America with her children. It states she has family willing to “keep the children”. I’m sure Bella’s descendants are now numerous in America and some may wonder how this poor widow was able to travel such a distance to be with family but the Register of the Poor answers that question for us.

My ancestors seem to move house all the time, why is this?

Obviously there could be various reasons but one was the way hiring for labourers was conducted. Many homes came with the work on the land as part of the wages. It was traditional (and still occurs in Scotland) that hiring took place on May 25th (Whitsunday) and November 11th (Martinmas). A lease would run from one date to the other, obviously some would be renewed each time but it was not unusual for families to move home and employment every 6 months. This is quite common right through until the twentieth century. A relatives identity card from the second world war shows the address change several times through the period and always in May and November. Due to the need to find the best work possible families may move quite considerable distances although it would be perhaps more common for people to stay within the county.

Why did my ancestors travel so far to have a child baptized?

One reason it can be difficult to find a baptism record is that during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries various churches broke away from the Church of Scotland, and then these denominations again spit and combined in vaious ways. Religious issues mattered greatly to many ordinary people at the time, and they felt very strongly about which church they belonged to. If you lived in a rural area though it may be the closest “Free Church”, for example, was some distance away but those who felt strongly would travel to the nearest location to have their child baptized by the minister of the church of their choice. The Church of Scotland remained as having the responsibility of recording all marriages and births in the parish. However, as we have noted in earlier posts to this blog, not all clerks did this properly, and this one important reason why many baptisms do not appear in the Church of Scotland’s records or OPR’s as we call most of these records prior to 1855.

So if your family was a member of the Free Church, the Relief Church, Reformed Presbyterian Church, United Presbyterian Church, Burger Old light, Burger New Light, Anti-Burger New Light or even the Anti-Burger Old Light denominations you may find your relatives travelled further than you may expect. And that’s just some of the Presbyterian denominations, we haven’t even started on Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Quakers, Roman Catholics, or others!

If you can’t find a church record check the National Archives of Scotland for the area and see what other churches existed.

We’ll track down all those relatives eventually.

Are you planning a visit to Scotland?

If you are planning a visit to Scotland to trace your family tree do you know what you will do when you get here? Do you have a clear plan? Do you know where your ancestors lived? Do you know where the records you will need to trace your family tree are held?

All too often I meet people in Edinburgh who have made a special trip from the US, Canada, Australia etc. to trace their Ancestry but find that by the time they get over here, work out how to see the records and trace a little of their family tree it’s time to go home. It’s such a shame, they run out of time to explore their ancestor’s community and locate their ancestral home and all too often don’t actually trace much of their family tree.

Our Genealogy books can be designed as a guide to your Scottish Ancestry as you travel around Scotland. It will be like a “who do you think you are?” of your very own!

We start by researching your family, as we would for anybody, but if you wish we can ensure it’s full of maps so you can find the home of your ancestors, visit their place of work and see where they went to school.

This ensures you have a wonderful vacation in Scotland, see the beautiful countryside and learn all about your ancestors. We can also make arrangements for you to visit various archives and se original documents if you wish or even meet you and show you the documents so it takes away the stress of finding them yourself but you will still have the experience of seeing the ancient records.

Visit www.familytreegift.co.uk to see our wonderful books

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Yetholm Burgher (New Light) Parish Register 1824-1855

The Yetholm Burgher (New Light) Parish Register 1824-1855 is another publication now available from Maxwell Ancestry and is on sale for just £6.99. It contains both baptisms and marriages. If you live outside the UK there is still no postage and Paypal take care of the currency exchange. £6.99 works out to be only about 10 or 11 U.S. dollars.

If you are not sure if you really need this or any of our other publications please email me as we are here to help and know what it’s like to waste money on records that don’t help you with your research.

One other thing to remember is that as this is a register is from a non-conformist church people travelled from all around to be have their children baptised in this church so it may be of use to you if your ancestors were from outside Yetholm parish itself. A substantial amount of the entries are actually for children born in Northumberland as Yetholm was so close to the Scotland/England border, there are also entries from the surrounding area on the Scottish side of the border.

Visit our bookshop or contact me for more information

Parish Register update – Dumfries Buccleuch Street U.P. Church Baptisms 1846-1856

We have again published baptisms not found in the OPR’s and therefore when you search Scotland’s People and the IGI you are not searching these records.

Do you have Dumfriesshire relatives but can’t find their birth record? This is the book for you. Here a couple of examples from 1848:

Name of Child - Margaret Corrie

Sex – F

Father - William Corrie, Farm Servant

Mother - Mary Anne Jardine

Date and Place of Birth - Feb. 13, Glenhowan, Caerlaverock

Date of baptism and by whom - March 2nd, Marshall N. Goold

Name of Child - William Mills (illegitimate)

Sex – M

Father - Robert McBurnie, Servant

Mother - Margaret Marchbank

Date and Place of Birth - Jan. 22, Annan, Queensberry Arms Inn

Date of baptism and by whom - Nov. 6, Marshall N. Goold

© Kirk Session records — National Archives of Scotland references CH3/83/10 © Transcription and indexes — Copyright Graham Maxwell Ancestry 2010.

Published by Graham Maxwell Ancestry - Cleughside, Kirkpatrick Fleming, Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, DG11 3NG

Because this is a record of the United Presbyterian Church, people from outside Dumfries would have brought their children to be baptised. Here are some questions and answers about the register.

Where have these records been found?

The transcription below is of baptisms found amongst the Kirk Session records of the Buccleuch Street United Presbyterian Church, Dumfries, Scotland, for the period 1846-1856. These Kirk Session records are held by the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh.

These entries are separate from and supplement the Church of Scotland Old Parish Registers kept by the General Register Office (Scotland) at New Register House in Edinburgh, and it is believed they have not been transcribed or indexed before.

What entries have been included?

We have included all the baptism entries from the beginning of the register until 1856, just following the introduction of civil registration in Scotland in the year 1855.

How can I see the original entry for a person I have found in this publication?

The original records are to be found at the National Archives of Scotland, HM General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YY, and can be consulted there under the reference CH3/83/10. At this time these records are not available on-line, but if you wish to contact us we would be pleased to help you obtain copies.

Visit our bookshop and buy your copy now

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Forgot to say: we have updated the site again

It has been so busy this week I forgot to mention the Census database was on Monday (31st May 2010). This update has added 1851 Glasserton, Wigtownshire.

Glasserton had a population of 1487 people in 1851 bringing the total number of entries in our 1851 census database to 215,630!

Family tree charts

In an ongoing survey on our website we have found that when asked the question: How would you like your family tree presented? 50% of people said in a family tree chart.

We noticed this trend when we first launched the survey, it seems a family tree chart is a great visual way to display your family tree.

Full packages are available on our website but if you have already done some of your own research but would just like a bit of help to present what you have found then contact me and I will see if we can help.

Of course for a really luxurious feel I don’t think it possible to beat our luxury books. Lovingly reassessed and traditionally hand bound they are really a piece of art. Again if you have worked for years on your ancestry and would like some help to present it in a beautiful book I’m sure we will be able to give you some assistance.