Friday, 14 July 2017

For the Love of Genealogy - One Client’s Story

A client came to us recently with a birth certificate form 1855. On the document there is a correction to say that the Sheriff Court had reached a decree and named the father. Our client would like to find more information on this case: who wouldn't?

The problem is that the case was heard in Aberdeen. Unfortunately, the volumes of extracted decrees for Aberdeen Sheriff Court are largely missing (we have indexed the few remaining volumes which are held by the National Records of Scotland). The processes, a type of court document, do survive and they can contain very interesting information, we have even found love letters. The problem is that it can take hours of work to find the entry you need.

The NRS catalogue states about the Aberdeen Processes, “Some processes have been filed under dates other than year of Interlocutor (sometimes through misreading of the figures), but most will be found in the two years before or after that date.”

Our client decided she wanted to search for the 1857 processes. We began our search some months ago. As you can imagine, even in the 1850s, Aberdeen Sheriff Court was busy so there are a lot of boxes (you can see a photo of a box of processes on our website).

There are 10 boxes for 1857, to search 2 years either side (as is suggested in the NRS catalogue) would mean searching 55 boxes!

We have now searched 15 boxes, all the 1857 boxes and some either side. We have found 167 cases… but none of them are the case we are looking for.

The good news is that by making this search we have noted all these other cases so that you can now search these entries on We want to say a huge thank you to the client who has helped us add these cases, and let you know that if you had an illegitimate ancestor in Aberdeen it may be worth searching our website to see what you can find. If you do find a case which helps with your research, take a moment to think about our lovely client who can’t find her case.