Down and Out in Scotland
It is perhaps one of greatest truisms of family history research that we will often find that the lives of our ancestors were best documented when the chips were truly down.
There were many battles that our forebears fought for and against in Scotland, both on a personal level and a part of the society within which they lived. There were the laws of the local parish church and the punishments awaiting those who breached kirk discipline; the struggles to avoid poverty and the stigma of being a debtor; the darkest moments of the soul, from mental health issues and illness, to murder and suicide; and the dramatic moments of rebellion, when our forebears drew a line in the sand against a perceived tyranny or democratic deficit. Illness, death, bigamy, abandonment, accidents, eviction, ethnic cleansing – a dramatic range of challenges across a lifetime, and at times, outright tragedy. And close to each of them, a quill and ink.
But through all of these episodes, there is an even greater story that emerges, of how our ancestors overcame such struggles. In this Unlock the Past guide, genealogist Chris Paton goes in search of the records of ancestral hardship in Scotland, to allow us to truly understand the situations that our ancestors had to endure and overcome across the generations, to hep us become the very people who we are today.
Discover Scottish Church Records
In this greatly expanded second edition of Chris Paton’s popular title, he explores the history and records of the various churches in Scotland prior to 1855, the year in which civil registration commenced within the country. He describes the theological changes imposed by the Reformation of 1560, the nature of the state’s battles with the Kirk, and the Kirk’s subsequent battles within itself. Most importantly, he also discusses the nature of the records generated by the various Scottish churches, how to interpret them, and above all else, how to find them.
Whether you are looking for tales of ministers carried into the air by Scotland’s fairy folk, the fire and thunder of John Knox, a detailed explanation of the online offerings of the ScotlandsPeople website, or the treasures waiting in the National Records of Scotland, this is the definitive research guide to help anyone with Caledonian connections.
Discover Scottish Civil Registration Records
This guide from family historian Chris Paton takes a look at the vast world of Scottish civil registration records. Scotland commenced the statutory registration of births, marriages and deaths within the country in 1855, some seventeen and half years after a similar process had already got underway in England and Wales.
The information lost to the family historian by such a late start is, however, more than made up for by the fact that Scottish registration records are the most detailed of all those found within the British Isles.
But what was the law behind Scottish registration, and how did it differ to England, Wales and Ireland? Who was legally obliged to do what and when, what were the penalties for default, and how might such knowledge help with our ancestral research? Why were all the forms of Scottish irregular marriage not abolished in 1939, and what angered the country’s doctors? Where are the records not found online via ScotlandsPeople, such as those for adoption, vaccination, civil partnerships and divorce – and what vital records does the General Register Office in England hold for Scots as far back at the 1760s, and far beyond Britain’s shores?
ScotlandsPeople: The Place to Launch Your Scottish Research
ScotlandsPeople provides an exceptional source of genealogical records for those with Scottish ancestry – Statutory registers of birth, death, marriage, divorce, civil partnerships and dissolutions; church registers for the Church of Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church and other Presbyterian churches; census records; valuation rolls; and legal records covering wills and testaments, soldiers’ and airmen’s wills, military service tribunal appeals, and Coats of Arms. Access to such a wide range of basic records for a relatively cheap fee means we can all research from our home without the expense of hiring a search agent, ordering in many microfilms, or a trip to Scotland – as pleasant as that last option may be.
With some knowledge and practice you will become adept at locating records of relevance to your family and you will be well on your way with your research. Of course, not all records are available online. You will still need to track down your non-conformists, investigate land records, maps, cemeteries, electoral rolls, directories, poor law, military and other records, but ScotlandsPeople is a great place to launch the study of your families.
Locating Your German Ancestor's Place of Origin
Emigration from Germany to the Australian and New Zealand colonies went through a number of cycles. There were times when there was a strong demand for workers in the colonies when any willing worker could find employment, but these were all too soon followed by times of oversupply when the newly arrived immigrants struggled to find a position. In Germany too, there were factors that affected immigration.
Due to the large number of people emigrating from Germany, many of the current generation are now seeking to find out more about their German heritage.
A primary goal when researching people from Germany is to locate the places from which they originated. This is important because specific locations are needed in order to proceed further: to obtain civil or church records of births or baptisms, marriages, and deaths or burials, for example.
Unlike the Australian, New Zealand or British situation where births, deaths and marriages were recorded centrally, in Germany they were recorded and stored locally at the local Standesamt (civil registry office).
This book guides you through finding various records which will help in locating your ancestor’s place of origin.
Researching in German Civil and Church Records
‘Researching in German civil and church records’ answers the question ‘How can I obtain a birth or marriage certificate from Germany for an immigrant ancestor?’ What the new researcher may not realise is that in Germany the system of births, marriage and deaths by civil authorities, and the issue of associated certificates, has some significant differences to the system that the researcher may be used to.
Prior to the introduction of civil registration, churches kept registers of baptisms, marriages and burials, and such church records may allow the researcher to follow the family back for several hundred years.
This book is a practical guide that, with the aid of many illustrations, will allow the reader to become familiar with the types of information available on German civil certificates of birth, marriage and death and church records of baptism, marriage and burial. The book then explains how to access these records and build on the information given in the companion volume ‘Locating your German ancestor’s place of origin’.
Family History Research in South Australia
It has been said by many that South Australian records are harder to access than those of their Eastern states counterparts, not to mention those overseas. Now here is a a guide to help you find, and access those South Australian records.
Divided into two parts, the first part looks at the records generated in South Australia since 1837. Each groups of records is outlined to reveal the process of generation, the coverage and the potential content the researcher can expect to find. A step-by-step flow-chart on how to access significant records is included with each major group of records. The material covers not only the scope of the records available, but also the problems you may encounter, the reasons for the possible problem and where possible the way around the problem.
The second part of the book looks at the major repositories holding records of interest and how the family historian can access them, either in person, or via the internet. A list of addresses and useful websites wraps up the second section.
My Ancestor was in an Asylum: Brief Guide to Asylum Records in Australia and New Zealand
The author’s interest in asylum records was sparked when she found some of her own ancestors had spent time in asylums, or had died in an asylum. Asylums were not only used to house the poor, the aged, the frail and those who had no one to care for them.
Surviving archival records provide a wealth of genealogical information not usually found in government records including information on patients’ physical description, personal family details, health information and sometimes even a photograph. As well as archival records, information can also be found in newspapers, published histories, government publications and enquiries. Libraries often have photographs of asylum buildings, grounds, wards, patients and staff.
If you have lost an ancestor, or simply misplaced them for a few years, then asylum records may be worth investigating. This brief guide in an excellent introduction to resources available and how to use these resources effectively. Do asylums hold the key to bringing down your brick wall? Why not find out now!