Celebrating Burns night and Scottish Ancestry

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Its Burn’s night  tonight and so I began thinking about how my Scottish ancestors may have celebrated this important anniversary.

Burns Night falls on 25 January every year, the date having been chosen to coincide with the poet’s birthday, who was born on 25 January 1759.  According to Wikipedia Robert Burns, also known familiarly as Rabbie Burns, the National Bard, Bard of Ayrshire and the Ploughman Poet and various other names and epithets, was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. See: Wikipedia

To celebrate this anniversary I have sat down with a copy of Chris Paton’s new book: Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church & State Records. Pen & Sword November 2019

My Scotts ancestors are a fascinating bunch and so in the hope of being able to trace a bit more about them I have turned to the latest book written by the respected genealogist and writer who runs Scotland’s Greatest Story research service.

 

BOOK REVIEW

Book: Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church & State Records

It always bodes well when just a few pages into a genealogy book that the author manages to capture my attention by expanding my knowledge with a number of facts that I had not known and which allow me to experience that ‘light-bulb’ moment when I think: Ah that explains why…so and so. That was exactly what happened to me when reading this new Scottish ancestry book from Chris Paton, the well respected author and professional genealogist.

I have sometimes wondered why I had found an ancestor born on the continent in an European country, but who also appears within the Scottish records in Edinburgh. This publication has finally cleared it up for me. As the book points out, as well as the normal  civil records, that you would expect to find recorded at the General Record Office for Scotland (GROS), there are also a number of Minor Records that relate to Scots residing or working overseas in certain capacities, as well as those born at Sea (until a UK based authority took over births at sea in 1874).

Another point that I had not been fully aware of was that adoption in Scotland was not placed on a legal footing until the Adoptions of Children (Scotland) Act 1930 came into force. The book taught me that the NRS Register of Adoptions can only be consulted in person at the ScotlandsPeople Centre and it gave me other helpful details about researching adopted people in Scotland.

I was very interested to learn about the differences between Regular and Irregular Marriages and to understand the differences between a marriage by declaration, a betrothal followed by intercourse and a marriage by habit and repute. Again, to understand that there are a number of minor records of marriage that covered Scots people abroad I thought could be important when researching some of our ancestors living in foreign countries.

A fact  that I had not know until I read this book was that uniquely, in the British Isles, Scotland has a Register of Corrected Entries for its civil records. This would allow a name to be put right if it had been given incorrectly to the registrar at the time of registration. This seems so sensible as I am aware of a member of my family whose registered name was misspelt by her father when he registered it in the English system, with the records remaining incorrect to this day!

I was fascinated to read the brief history of the Church in Scotland, especially as I have a Scots ancestor who was an Episcopalian Bishop in Perthshire and now I see why his family were supporters of the Jacobite cause in 1745-46. Other ancestors of mine from Scotland were Covenantors and so I have been given a better understanding of their religious leaning. Previously I had only noted them in the records where I had found them, be it in Church of Scotland parishes, the Scottish Episcopal Church or others. I had not fully understood the various factions that had broken away from the State Kirk and how, even in the branch of my family tree that was Scots, that my ancestors may have had different views on religion from each other.

When looking at the Old Parish Records, which I have done for a number of my ancestors who were married before civil registration took place in January 1855, Chris Paton suggests in this book that we researchers should always consult both the marriage register and the Kirk session minutes “even if there appears to be nothing out of the ordinary with the marriage record”. His example of a couple who tried to get away with banns being read twice on one Sunday, because of their hurry to be married before the baby was born, made me smile.

The advice that Church of Scotland registers may also contain the names of dissenting couples whose banns are being read is yet another example of how educating this volume was for me. The author suggests that we pay careful attention to the name of the minister that performed their marriage as this can reveal the denomination of the church that the wedding actually took place within. Should the minister’s name differ from the incumbent of the Parish Church, in whose register the banns had been published, then the minister’s name can lead us to find the nonconformist church or chapel where the marriage took place.

There is so much more that I could have brought up in this short review that I found interesting in this book, from understanding Land Tenure and the chapters on Inheritance and Law and Order.

I thoroughly recommend that anyone with Scots heritage get hold of Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church & State Records as I am sure you wont be disappointed by it!

https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Tracing-Your-Scottish-Ancestry-through-Church-and-State-Records-Paperback/p/16848?aid=1101

 

 

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New Norfolk Records released online

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LATEST NEWS

TheGenealogist has just added over 500,000 individuals in a new release of Norfolk Parish Records with images of the original records in association with the Norfolk Record Office. TheGenealogist has transcribed them so that they are fully searchable by name and place.

Caister Church Norfolk

Caister Church, Norfolk

These East Anglian records feature the registers of baptisms, marriages and burials covering various parishes in Norfolk, allowing family history researchers from all over the world to search for their Norfolk ancestors online.

 

This release of new records accessible with TheGenealogist’s Diamond subscription includes 330,000 individuals from baptisms, 100,000 from marriages and 95,000 from burial records.

 

  • Search by name the transcripts linked to the original images
  • Uncover the dates for baptisms, marriages and burial events
  • Discover names of family members and in some cases occupations
  • Some of the surviving records stretch back into the 1500s

 

TheGenealogist’s release has added new records for Norfolk parishes which include baptisms, marriages, and burial records adding to hundreds of thousands of existing parish records for this area and millions of parish records for other counties.

 

Read the article I wrote for TheGenealogist’s on their site:

Norfolk Parish Registers finds the records of the millers at Docking Windmill

 

 

 

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The National Archives makes changes for ordering documents

NEWS:

 

The National Archives
The National Archives, Kew, U.K.

In the UK The National Archives (TNA) in Kew have announced changes to the ordering of documents and some people are not happy from a look at comments being made on Twitter!

Researchers that need to travel long distances to get to TNA seem to be worried by this trial as it will see the restrictions placed on the number of documents they can order. This, they say, will hinder their useful time spent dong research. The argument is that if a researcher is ordering documents on spec, not knowing if they are going to be useful until they have been delivered to the reading room and the researcher has been able to glance through them, then the restriction reduces the number of alternative documents that they can then order in that day. The reduction to twelve documents a day, plus twelve in advance, is not something that they welcome.

 

Collect your document from the locker assigned to your seat in the reading room
Collect your document from the locker assigned to your seat in the reading room

 

Here is the first part of the news item as posted on The National Archives website:

 

From Tuesday 31 March 2020, as part of a six-month trial, readers will be able to order a maximum of 12 documents for the same day, plus up to 12 documents ordered in advance (a maximum of 24 documents per reader per day).

There will be five document ordering slots available each day and you can order as many of your 12 same-day documents as you require in any of the slots. This means that if you have prepared your references you will be able to order 12 documents at the same time. Documents will be delivered at set times each day.

You will not need to finish your advance orders before ordering documents for the same day. The new document ordering and delivery times are listed below:

Document ordering slots Earliest availability in reading rooms
09:45–10:30 11:00–11:15
11:00–11:45 12:15–12:30
12:15–13:00 13:30–13:45
13:30–14:15 14:45–15:00
14:45–15:30 16:00–16:15

In order to facilitate these changes, same-day document ordering will start at 09:45 and finish at 15:30 each day. Advance ordering for the next day will also close at 15:30. Reading room opening times will be unaffected.

To prepare for these changes, we have looked closely at the average number of documents viewed by each reader per day (currently around eight documents each), and have identified new parameters to ensure that readers who plan their visit can conduct their research efficiently in the reading rooms. The proposed changes will give us the opportunity to supply documents to readers within dedicated delivery time slots throughout the day. This will allow us to maintain the collection appropriately so that we can ensure its preservation for future generations of researchers. We will be trialling these changes for six months from the end of March, during which time we will closely monitor reader usage and seek feedback from readers.

The majority of our readers already request records in advance of a visit in order to make the most of their day. If you are not already a user of the advance and bulk order services you can find details on our website on the how to order documents page. We have included a comparison breakdown of the changes overleaf.

 

They do, however, point out that their Bulk Ordering is not affected.

 

Read the full announcement on The National Archives’ website:

https://nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/changes-to-document-ordering/?fbclid=IwAR1Qm956NVxtyWmR_4ENJGcrNRjMjVRD5XAH_rMhjUlF4f3kf2Q52z7VwIQ

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