Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Make good use of the NAS catalogue

The National Archives of Scotland, which has recently merged with the General Register Office for Scotland to form the National Records of Scotland (NRS), holds some wonderful material; most of which is not accessible online. What is accessible online is their catalogue. It is vital to serious genealogy that we make use of this catalogue and the interesting records it relates to.

Graham and I are publishing some of the most useful and interesting records that we have found. We are starting with parish records of births, marriages and deaths that are not in the OPR’s for various reasons, but this is the tip of the iceberg.

We are in Edinburgh regularly and are familiar with all sorts of different types of records found in the NRS. Deeds, wills, court records, sasines (land records), valuation rolls, prison registers, church records and company records to name but a few.

If you search the catalogue and find an interesting document that you would like searched for your ancestors (or a client’s ancestors) email me for a free no obligation quote. The NRS can supply copies but do not conduct lengthy research, we can and we have the expertise to carry it out.

If you want a job done quickly you may have to pay a little more but if you’re happy to wait until I have a full days work a typical search based on a reference found in the online catalogue costs just twenty five pounds including copies.

Email me at for more information.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Census database updated - Kirkcowan 1851

We are continuing to transcribe the Wigtownshire census, and make it available both online and in book form. We have now added the parish of Kirkcowan for 1851 to our database - Search for free here!

Here's a list of the surnames found in the parish:

Adair; Agnew; Aillison; Aitken; Alexander; Alison; Allison; Anderson; Ball; Barr; Black; Blacky; Blain; Boyd; Bradley; Brodie; Brown; Burnie; Burns; Byron; Cameron; Campbell; Carson; Cavan; Charles; Christie; Clanachan; Clement; Clenachan; Clumphy; Colm; Colter; Connell; Cosbie; Cosby; Coskrie; Court; Cowper; Craford; Crawford; Croack; Croley; Cruthers; Cubbin; Cubison; Culloch; Culter; Cumby; Cummerford; Cumming; Dally; Dalrymple; Davelin; Davidson; Davison; Dickson; Digney; Dimon; Dixon; Doak; Doarns; Donnelly; Dougall; Dougan; Douglas; Dowall; Doyle; Duff; Dunlavey; Dunlavie; Dunlop; Dunlope; Eide; Elliot; Ewing; Faggot; Fegan; Feggans; Ferguson; Findlay; Finlay; Fleming; Flynn; Forsyth; Fularton; Fulton; Galloway; Gellispie; Gellyland; George; Gibson; Gifford; Gillespie; Givan; Glen; Gollacher; Gordon; Gown; Gray; Green; Grier; Hamilton; Hammond; Hanlon; Hannah; Hannay; Harries; Hart; Hartley; Harvie; Hathorn; Haugh; Hedger; Hemphill; Henry; Herron; Hill; Hinds; Horner; Houston; Hunter; Hutcheson; Hutchison; Irvine; Jamieson; Jervis; Johnson; Johnston; Johnstone; Jones; Karr; Keachnie; Kealry; Kelly; Kennedy; Kevan; Kid; Lagan; Leeas; Leitch; Lindsay; Linwood; Lockhart; Logan; Love; Mackie; Macpherson; Mark; Marr; Marshall; Martin; Matthews; Matthieson; Maxwell; McAvery; McAwen; McBratney; McBratnie; McBryde; McCaa; McCadden; McCafferty; McCaig; McCamlie; McCauley; McCaull; McCaw; McClellan; McClelland; McCloud; McClure; McClymont; McColm; McConchie; McCormick; McCornack; McCornick; McCornock; McCrackan; McCracken; McCrae; McCraith; McCready; McCredie; McCubbin; McCulloch; McCutcheon; McDill; McDonald; McDonnald; McDowall; McEwen; McFadden; McFadyean; McGaul; McGaw; McGee; McGeoch; McGill; McHallam; McHarg; McIlwraith; McIlwrick; McIntyre; McIvers; McJorrow; McKeachie; McKeand; McKechnie; McKee; McKenna; McKie; McKinna; McKinnon; McLachlan; McLauchlan; McLean; McMaster; McMeekan; McMeiking; McMillan; McNaight; McNalie; McNally; McNarin; McNaughton; McNeal; McNeil; McNiel; McNillie; McQuaker; McQueen; McReady; McTaggart; McTier; McWhirter; McWilliam; Mean; Michael; Millar; Milligan; Milroy; Milvie; Mitchell; Moan; Monaghan; Morrison; Morrow; Morton; Muir; Murphy; Murray; Murry; Neilson; Nichol; Nicholson; Nicolson; Nimmo; Nish; Niven; Nivison; O'Hair; O'Neil; Orr; Packer; Parker; Paterson; Pebbles; Peddley; Perry; Pickar; Pollan; Rae; Read; Redeltie; Reid; Riens; Ritchie; Robb; Robison; Ross; Ruddel; Saunders; Saunderson; Scott; Shaw; Sheradon; Shirer; Simpson; Skimming; Sloane; Smail; Smith; Southar; Spence; Stewart; Stitt; Stott; Strachan; Stroyan; Sweeten; Sword; Swords; Telfer; Telford; Tempelton; Templeton; Thompson; Thomson; Tilly; Toanner; Tonner; Tully; Turner; Tweedie; Walker; Wallace; Weir; Williamson; Wilson; Young

Saturday, 20 August 2011

New book - Lauder Parish Burial Register

This book contains a transcription of burials that are to be found in the Kirk Session records of Lauder 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 register is in the form of a little notebook, possibly kept by the gravedigger. The spelling is eccentric to say the least, but we have endeavoured to transcribe the entries exactly as they appear in the register. A detailed note has been kept of the Cavers family, of Lauder, recording deaths from 1785 to 1849, but apart from these entries, the main record runs from June 1827 to November 1838, running to 520 entries in total.

The surnames contained in the book are as follows:

Ainslie; Aitchison; Alison; Allan; Allardise; Allen; Anderson; Armestrong; Baillie; Bain; Baird; Ballengton; Ballengtyon; Ballington; Bathgate; Beatie; Bell; Bolton; Brodie; Broomfield; Brotherston; Brown; Bryson; Burnlee; Burrel; Burrrel; Cavers; Claperton; Clapperton; Clark; Clugh; Cockburn; Coldwells; Couper; Cousens; Cow; Craig; Cranston; Craw; Crease; Crightone; Cuningham; Currie; Cuthbertson; Dalglish; Darling; Davedison; Dawson; Deans; Dickson; Donald; Dorbie; Downie; Dudgeon; Eckfoord; Edemonston; Elliot; Fair; Fairbairn; Fairebayrn; Fletcher; Flitcher; Foord; Fortuen; Frame; Frier; Gergueson; Gill; Gillies; Given; Glass; Gordon; Gourlie; Graham; Gray; Greenlaw; Halladay; Hardie; Haswell; Hay; Henderson; Hileburton; Hislope; Hogg; Holand; Home; Hopp; Hughs; Hunter; Ingles; Irvain; Jamieson; Johnston; Karr; Laidlaw; Lauder; Laugh; Laurance; Laurense; Law; Leathhead; Liddel; Lidster; Lindsay; Little; Livingston; Lockie; Logan; Lothian; Lowrie; Man; Mann; McLeoad; McQueen; Mean; Mercel; Merton; Milen; Miller; Mills; Mollagan; Molloy; Moloy; Money; Moneylaws; More; Morrison; Murchieson; Murray; Ness; Nisbet; Ormston; Orr; Patterson; Pecoack; Pendrigh; Penman; Pringle; Purves; Ramage; Rammage; Ramsay; Ranken; Rattrie; Rea; Reed; Renton; Renwick; Richardson; Riddell; Ride; Ridpath; Robertson; Robson; Romaines; Runcieman; Russel; Scott; Shaw; Shiell; Shiels; Shillinglaw; Simpson; Simson; Sligh; Slight; Smeal; Smith; Sommervail; Spears; Spence; Stevingston; Stewart; Stirling; Stivengston; Stobie; Stodart; Stoddart; Swanston; Symington; Tait; Thomson; Torrie; Torries; Trotter; Turnbull; Turner; Tweedhope; Tyson; Unknown; Vallance; Vallence; Waddel; Waddle; Wait; Walker; Waters; Watherston; Watson; Wealsh; White; Whitelaw; Whiteson; Wight; Wilson; Wood; Wright; Yallowlies; Yellowlies; Young

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Edinburgh Genealogy Fair

We have arrived and set up, it was an early start but the customers are flooding in now so I thought I would take the opportunity to post a photo before things get too busy. We're at the 22nd Scottish Association of Family History Societies (SAFHS) Conference in Edinburgh.

Our neighbors are "Recording Angels" who are working very hard in Midlothian and we're in the same room as FIBIS.

If you an make it along to Adam house in Edinburgh we're on the second floor, back left. We're giving away free genealogy research help all day so come along and say hello.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Sir John Pringle

One of the reasons I have been so slow to produce the first volume of the Kelso Dispensary records is that I keep getting distracted. The diseases are so interesting, not to mention the people in the registers and my constant amazement that so many ordinary people were given treatment.

Today I have been looking at Sir John Pringle who is one of the “Recommenders”, a quick Google search revealed that there is actually a monument to Sir John Pringle in Westminster Abbey!

By the time the dispensary opened its doors Sir John was about 70, but that doesn’t seem to have held him back.

So you never know perhaps you are alive today because the dispensary saved your GGGGgrandfather!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Roxburghshire is mapped

We have great news! We have now uploaded all the map links for the Roxburghshire census! This brings the total number of individuals linked to maps to 219,112. We have now completed three counties: Peeblesshire, Selkirkshire and Roxburghshire. We have also mapped parts of Lanarkshire, Midlothian, Berwickshire and Dumfriesshire.

If you haven't used it yet it’s very simple:

Search the census for free at

Find the household: and click ‘Display Map.’

It’s that easy!

If you’re looking for a house we haven't mapped yet please just email me and we can map it for you:

Monday, 30 May 2011

Google has updated it's satellite imaging!

We have noticed there are now more detailed images from Google for a swathe of the southern Scottish Borders and northern Dumfriesshire, so we can make more accurate links to your ancestors’ homes. So far we have updated the mapping for previous parishes covered to take account of the more accurate imaging, and have also added new data for Cavers (including Denholm village). We will continue adding new mapped areas over the next few months.

This latest update to the database has also added various household links and notes. This is generally information we come across whilst searching, for example if we’ve untangled a complicated family we add notes and links to make it easier for anybody who follows in the future.

Search for free -

Monday, 25 April 2011

Wigtown Sheriff court books

I have now started work on my newest project; indexing the Wigtown Sheriff court books. The cases obviously vary in gory detail however here’s one to whet your appetite!

At Wigtown and within the Court House thereof the thirtieth day of June Eighteen hundred and forty seven years

Sederunt Adam Urquhart Esquire Sheriff of the County of Wigtown.

Intran Patrick Hannay labourer Indicted and accused into the instance of Alexander McNeil Caird
Writer in Stranraer PF of Court for the Crime of Assault to effusion of blood and danger of life, in manner particularly mentioned in the Criminal Libel raised against him thereanent.

For the public prosecutor } For the Pannel
Alex McNeil Caird PF } Thomas F Smith Writer Wigtown

The libel being read over to the pannel in open Court, he pleads not Guilty.

The sheriff finds the libel relevant to infer the pains of law, but allows the pannel a proof in qualification and alteration, and remits him with the libel as found relevant to the knowledge of an Assize. Adam Urquhart

The following Gentlemen were there ballotted to pass upon the assize of the pannel Patrick Hannay vizt.

Special Jurors
John McGill farmer Barsalloch
Thomas Murray banker Wigtown
Colin Christison factor Barglass
William Brown tanner Whithorn
William McQween farmer Newmilns
Common Jurors
William Hunter farmer Causewayend
John Fraser farmer Isle farm
John McConnell farmer Grennan
Peter Kevan farmer Airies Knows
William Broadshaw farmer Backbraes
John McCandlish farmer Clauchrie
John McGuffie grieve Barnbarroch
Matthew Martin shoemaker Kirkcowan
John McCulloch farmer Skaith
Robert Kelly farmer Glenruther
At this stage of the proceedings the pannel pleaded Guilty as libelled. In witness whereof his Agent has subscribed this Plea in respect he declares he cannot write. Thomas S Smith p pannel.
The Pannel adduced the following Witness in alleviation vizt.

Samuel Shearman or Shearn labourer in Portlogan being No. 8 of the List of Witnesses appended to the Libel.

The Jury without retiring returned a Verdict unanimously finding the pannel Guilty as libelled in terms of his own confession, but by a majority recommending him to the leniency of the court.

The sheriff in respect of the foregoing Verdict Decerns and adjudges the pannel Patrick Hannay to be taken from the bar and imprisoned in the prison of Stranraer, subject to the rules of that Establishment, for the period of two calender months from this date; and warrant is hereby granted to the Keeper of said prison to receive, detain and liberate the pannel accordingly.

Adam Urquhart

© National Archives of Scotland - reference SC/19/51/1
Transcription © Graham Maxwell, April 2011

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

22nd SAFHS Conference

We have just received confirmation for our stall at the 22nd Scottish Association of Family History Societies (SAFHS) Conference in Edinburgh on Saturday 25th June 2011, 09.30-16.30. The  the Conference will be Adam House, 3 Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HR so if your able to attend pop in and see us. We’ll be giving free help and advice all day and we’ll have some of our books for you to look through.

Many other people will be there too: various family history societies, Families in British India Society,  Scotsman Archives, Tay Roots and many others.

For more information visit  the Scottish Genealogy Society’s website:

Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

William Richardson, Kirkcudbright 1787

As promised I have uploaded the Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal today, issue No. 6. The first article is very interesting - it is entitled “Discovery and Punishment of Murder by Circumstantial Evidence.”

It tells us about the case of William Richardson who murdered a woman in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright in the autumn of 1786. William Richardson was found guilty on evidence and circumstance not on the testimony of witnesses. It’s a fascinating account although all very sad for the poor girl that was murdered.

I have ordered the appropriate high court minute book and will look at it when I’m in Edinburgh next week. I’ll let you know if it gives any further information.

I find these cases fascinating. If your family tree is anything like mine there will be a lots of “Ag. Labs” and very few people recorded in sasines or wills, so it’s nice to find documents outside of the OPR’s and census. As one customer said this week prison records add some “spice” to a family tree. Court papers can be a wonderful addition if your ancestor was tried, in fact we hope to have some exciting news about that later in the year!

If you’ve not already looked have a search in our prison registers and see if there are any black sheep in your family!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Church Denominations

As regular readers will know we have been publishing birth, marriage and death records which have been kept by non Church of Scotland churches. These are a very important source of information. Although the established church, the Church of Scotland, were supposed to keep a record of all births, marriages and deaths which took place in the parish in reality this did not always happen.

To understand more fully what was going on, how many denominations where in existence and therefore have a chance of finding your ancestors have a read at Chris Paton’s blog: Walking in Eternity. Chris also tells us he is writing a book entitled "Discover Scottish Church Records" which may help you in your quest to dig deeper into the past.

If you still need help though to find a specific elusive character in your family tree please email me and I’ll see what we can do for you. We give a free consultation to everybody!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Scottish Genealogy Society Sale

When we were in Edinburgh yesterday we had a wee trip into the Scottish Genealogy Society. They have a sale on so we bought a few new books and fiche for our library. Here’s the link to the online sale, you may find something interesting.

Here’s a few interesting items with good discounts, they have many more but these caught my eye:

How to find Shipping & Immigration Records in Australia. - Price: £3.00 - Was £9.00

Ecclesiastical - Lady Glenorchy Transcripts Communion Rolls 1785-1835. -  Price: £2.75 -  Was £5.25

Alumni & Grads. in Art, Aberdeen Colleges, 1850-1860. Price: £2.00 - Was £4.00

Hope you find something useful!!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

1832 was a leap year!

If you have been on your toes this week you may have noticed that Friday's Chambers' Edinburgh Journal was dated the 3rd of March not the 4th as 1832 was a leap year.

I still like the idea of reading it each week on the correct date so from now on it will be uploaded on a Thursday.

If you have not already read this week's visit our website to either read online or save the images to your computer to keep forever.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Aye Can, can you?

In the excitement surrounding the release of the 1911 census we must not forget the 2011 census which is about to be taken here in Scotland. One of the questions is: “Which of the following can you do? Understand, speak, read or write: English, Scottish Gaelic, or Scots?”

English and Gaelic are fairly easy to answer. However, can you speak Scots? In fact, what is Scots? Well to help those of us in Scotland to answer this question more effectively a website has been set up by the Scottish government: This website has snippets of the spoken Scots as well as a written description of the various dialects.

If you’re not living in Scotland though it’s definitely worth a look and a listen. See how much of the Scots you can understand! Listen to what your ancestors may have sounded like and see if any of the words are still spoken in your family today.

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

Monday, 31 January 2011

Report and State of the Kelso Dispensary

When I was in the National archives the other day I came across some leaflets entitled Report and State of The Kelso Dispensary. I found it useful to help me understand the daily running of the dispensary. Here is a transcription of the front page of the leaflet:

Report and State
The Kelso Dispensary

77th Year of the Institution

The Physicians and Surgeons connected with the Institution attend the Dispensary every Sunday before Divine Service, and every Friday form nine to eleven o’clock, to give their advice, and to direct the Apothecary of the Dispensary (who also attends on these days), to dispense such Medicines as are proper for the Patients recommended. In cases of acute, and occasionally in chronic disease, when Patients cannot be brought to the Dispensary, the Surgeons of the Institution are allowed, at the recommendation of a Subscriber, to visit them in the country at the expense of the Charity, in terms of the following rule of the Institution, viz., “That no one be visited in the country who can be brought by any conveyance to the Dispensary without personal hazard; that when in cases of sickness or accident it becomes necessary for the Surgeons to visit a Patient in the country, the visit shall not be repeated at the Surgeon’s discretion for a longer period than till the first ordinary Meeting of Physicians, Surgeons, and other Office-bearers; at which Meeting it shall be incumbent on the Visiting Surgeon to report the case, and after consultation it will be in the power of he Meeting either to order a continuation of visits for a limited time, or a notification to be made to the Patient that he must be brought to the Dispensary in Kelso–it being always kept in view that the expense of these visits, to be borne by the Institution shall not exceed triple the sum subscribed by the recommender.” Patients in the town of Kelso may be visited in their own homes by the Apothecary to the Institution, upon an order from the Physicians or Surgeons to do so. All recommendatory letters to be addressed, “To the Apothecary of the Kelso Dispensary,” who is appointed to deliver the same to the Surgeons in rotation.

No Patient will be visited in the country at the expense of the Institution, unless a visit is solicited by a Subscriber, or ordered by the Physicians. The other regulations under which the dispensary is managed, and the rules by which proper objects of charity are recommended are entitled to the benefit of the Institution, will be furnished by the secretary. 

There is a record kept of the Patients, their ages, diseases, the event of their case, the names id the Subscribers, and the parishes to which they belong. There have been 715 admitted for the year from the 1st October 1853, to the 1st October, 1854.


There is one Bath kept exclusively for the Patients of the Dispensary; another, handsomely fitted up with marble for the accommodation of the Public. Baths may be had at one hour’s notice, on application to the Housekeeper, for payment of 1s. Hot Bath, and 6d. Cold and Shower Bath, which sums go toward the support of the Charity.

© Kelso dispensary data - Crown copyright. National Archives of Scotland reference HH71/5.
© Transcription — Copyright Graham Maxwell Ancestry 2011.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Free Castleton Poor Roll Index

We have just uploaded another PDF to our website, the Index to Castleton Poor Roll 1846-1864. Although quite interesting itself the index is a key to further information.

The full record has lists of children of the recipient as well as details relating to emigration, employment and education. The columns in the original book are as follows:

  1. Name of Pauper
  2. Present residence
  3. Married or single, widow, or widower. If child, orphan, deserted or bastard.
  4. Name of each dependant living with Pauper
  5. Age – Years
  6. Place of birth
  7. Trade or occupation
  8. If wholly or partially disabled
  9. Description of disablement
  10. Means and resources of Pauper besides Parochial relief
  11. Names and weekly earnings of Parents
  12. Names, ages, and earnings of children not living with Pauper, and whether marries, and number of children.
  13. Date when admitted on Roll.
  14. Amount of relief in money.
  15. Amount of relief in food, clothing, fuel, lodging, or of any other kind.
  16. Date and cause of removal from Roll.
  17. Remarks

So as you can see the form was quite detailed, sadly not all entries have every column filled in but all the entries are of interest if they are related to you!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Street view now enabled

For some time, as you may know, Google’s Street View has been available in the Scottish Borders and Dumfriesshire, however it was not available on the mapping through our website. We have now updated the format and it’s now available on

Search our census for free, like you always have, either by address or name: click “Display Map” next to Current Map/Satellite and you can view as a map, satellite, hybrid, terrain or street view.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Kelso Dispensary Year One PDF

Well I have another treat for everybody today: a full transcription of year one of the Kelso Dispensary patient records is online and FREE. These records are fantastic! They can link families back to the early 1700’s and beyond in some cases, as well as giving some colour to your family tree. What was your ancestor really like? See, for example Agnes Fairbairn of Smailholm, born about 1747 recorded in the register with a case of Hystericks. Alternatively you could be related to Christian Burn who had Flatulent Pains!

From a more genealogical point of view, there are also some dates of death recorded which may well not be recorded elsewhere. A bit of Google searching may be necessary for identify some of the archaic names for diseases.

I hope you find this register as fascinating as we have, once we finish the first volume we’ll make it available in our bookshop. We’re not sure on the cost yet but we’ll keep you all informed.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

What’s New at Maxwell Ancestry?

We have added to our website today an index to our prison database. This will hopefully make it easier for you to find which book you need or purchase or enable you to order a full transcription of the prison record directly.

Why buy the book?

The prison books that have been available in our bookshop for some time have all the information that is online and in addition they also list the crime (the thing we all want to know) that the prisoner committed. If you see more than one record relating to your family this is a cheaper way of finding out what crimes were being committed.

Why buy the full record?

The original entries are very informative and cost just five pounds. Typically in any record after 1840 you would expect to find at least the following:
Date of admission; By whom committed; Name; Sex; Age; Birthplace; Residence; Where spent greater part of their life; Height; Hair colour; Eye colour;
Distinguishing marks etc.; Precise offence (often including article stolen etc.); Clean/dirty; Drunk/sober; Direct from arrest or from another prison,
if so which one; Occupation; Previous imprisonments with entry numbers for such; Liberated without trial – when and by whose authority; Tried – when
and by whom; Convicted or acquitted; Sentence; Liberated or removed after conviction – when, by whose authority, to what place; Number of days in
prison; Conduct during confinement; Whether able to read and write.

So whichever way you buy further information we hope that this new database will prove useful to all. Search it at: