Monday, 13 August 2018

Edinburgh City Archives consultation

Edinburgh City Archives (http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20249/edinburgh_city_archives) is having a consultation on its future service provision. Here's the blurb from its website:


Overview

Edinburgh has a rich 900-year history captured in its City Archives – from old charters to last month’s Council webcasts. But we don’t just preserve the past; we also collect records about life in the city today.

To help the city’s archives reflect Edinburgh as it is now, rather than simply as it was, Edinburgh City Archives is asking residents, visitors, community groups, archives institutions, businesses and other organisations based in Edinburgh their views on:

* How they would like to access and support the city’s archives
* What we should be collecting about Edinburgh now for access in the future.

Why We Are Consulting

As the city evolves, so must its archives. Changes in the city’s people, buildings, businesses, and organisations need to be captured and reflected in its archives.

How we expect to find and access cultural content like archives is also changing due to technology. The same technology is even changing how we create records today and how we will preserve them as tomorrow's archives.

Edinburgh City Archives needs to understand how and where it needs to adapt its services and priorities to meet these challenges. Each response to this consultation will help us plan how we make sure that the city’s archives are accessible and reflect Edinburgh properly in the years to come.


Responses are welcome from Individuals, Groups, Organisations and Archives Services (based within or near Edinburgh).

Top subvmit to the consultation, please visit https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/bi/archives/.

The consultation runs until October 26th 2018.

(With thanks to the National Records of Scotland)

Chris


For my genealogy guide books, visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html, whilst details of my research service are at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BritishGENES.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Scottish Services of Heirs indexes on FamilySearch

I occasionally take a look to see what might pop up on the catalogue of the FamilySearch website (https://familysearch.org), and have just found a very useful collection for those seeking ancestors who may have inherited Scottish land and property (heritage) - i.e. the stuff not found on the ScotlandPeople's wills collection, which mainly deals with the inheritance of moveable property prior to 1868. The records in question are the indexes to the Services of Heirs from 1700-1859:

Decennial indexes to the services of heirs in Scotland, commencing January 1, 1700--ending December 31, 1859
https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1004156?availability=Family%20History%20Library



From my book, Researching Scottish Family History, a brief introduction to the records:

The other form of personal estate to be dealt with after death was heritable property. Until 1964, the law of primogeniture meant that the eldest son usually inherited his parents’ land and any properties thereon, though from 1868 this could be bequeathed in a will to other members of the family. In order for an heir to inherit, however, he or she had to have that right legally confirmed through the Services of Heirs process. This basically meant that a prospective heir went before a jury of local landowners to have his or her right confirmed. The jury would deliberate on the matter and then return or ‘retour’ its findings to the Royal Chancery in Edinburgh.

The recorded retours were in Latin until 1847, with the exception of the period 1652 to 1657 (Cromwell’s Commonwealth period). Records for 1530 to 1699 were summarised in the Inquisitionum ad Capellam Regis Retornatarum Abbreviatio, an index for which can be consulted at the NRS (within the General Register House search room). From 1700-1859 you need to consult the Indexes to the Services of Heirs. The retours process in fact continued until 1964, but by then most land was being conveyed through wills, making the process virtually irrelevant.

Once an heir had been confirmed legally, they then had the right to inherit. In truth however, many people put off going through the process for years and took possession of the property in question straight away. It was only when they then wanted to sell the property at a later stage that they would suddenly have a panic about getting the paper work sorted. In other cases, the process took years because of legal challenges to the heir’s right to inherit. As such, the record can often be found years or even decades after you might expect to find it.

That's a simplistic overview of the Services of Heirs records, and considerable more detail can be found on how to use them in my book Discover Scottish Land Records (2nd edition) - here's a brief section about how to search them:

Additional indexes for retours from 1700-1859 are available at the National Records of Scotland and can also be purchased on a CD. These abridgements are written in English, but both Special and General Services are now listed together. There are again two separate lists, however, the main index and the accompanying supplement.

The records are indexed alphabetically in periods of ten years, starting with 1700-1709, 1710-1719 and so on. All heirs are found in the main index, with the following an example:

(1750-1759 decennial index list)

Names of the Person Served  Hunter – Helen – (or Colston)
Distinguishing Particulars  Wife of William Colston in Gifford, to her Uncle Andrew Hunter, Feuar there – Heir General – dated 22d January 1754
Date of Recording  1754 April 16
Monthly No.  16

If you wish to find the name of the heir to a particular ancestor, and that heir has a different surname to the deceased, you will need to consult the Supplement that accompanies each decennial listing, which acts as a finding aid. A typical example would be:

Names of the Persons served to, by Heirs not bearing the same Names
Stevenson – John – Wright, Kilsyth
Names of the Heirs – which see in the Principal Index
Renny – Jean – (or Gillies) – (Heir of Provision General)

Having found the name of the ancestor John Stevenson, I would now need to go back to the original index and look up Jean Renny’s entry for the full index details recorded for her relevant retour.

And that's just the start of it! Discover Scottish Land Records is available from outlets in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Cananda and the USA - see https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html for details.


UPDATE: Just for good measure, the earlier records from 1530-1700 (Inquisitionum ad capellam regis retornatarum ... abbreviatio), are available at https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/248869?availability=Family%20History%20Library - but best to dust off your Latin skills if you want to use them! (Again, there's further info in my book on how to do so)

Also, just to add - there's currently a sale on for my book in Australia through Gould Genealogy - see https://www.gould.com.au/discover-scottish-land-records/utp0283/

Chris

For my genealogy guide books, visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html, whilst details of my research service are at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BritishGENES.

Forthcoming webinar - My Italian One-Name Study

From the Guild of One-Name Studies (https://one-name.org), news of a forthcoming webinar on August 21st 2018:

My Italian One-Name Study - with Michael Cassara and Julie Goucher

Is the surname that you want to research and make your one-name study a “foreign” one? Perhaps you don’t speak the language or you wonder how you will handle translations, foreign record offices and websites, or putting your study together for a world-wide audience.

If you have not yet registered for our next webinar – My Italian One-Name Study – you can still do so!

Join us on Tuesday August 21st at 7:00 pm (BST) as we travel to Italy (armchair travel) with Guild Members Michael Cassara and Julie Goucher as they present on Italian surname research and their Italian one-name studies. Come learn how you can apply their tips and suggestions to your own one-name study.

To learn more about our presenters and register please visit our webinar no 9 page at https://one-name.org/2018-webinar-series-no-9/. And to sign up for any of the remaining webinars in the series, please visit our 2018 webinar series page, via https://one-name.org/guild-webinar-series-2018/.

A reminder that these webinars are free and open to the public so please share with your genealogy and family history friends. And we will see you on August 21st!

(With thanks to Wendy Archer)

Chris

For my genealogy guide books, visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html, whilst details of my research service are at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BritishGENES.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Scottish Fencible regiments

Another of my articles from the now defunct Discover my Past Scotland magazine, this time from 2009 (with any links duly updated!:

The Fencibles

Chris Paton takes a look at a forgotten Scottish army

There have been many famous regiments raised for military service in Scotland over the centuries, but a particular chapter in the country’s history is often overlooked. In 1759 and 1778, units known as ‘fencible’ regiments were raised in parts of Scotland as a form of home guard to allow the regular army to off and fight overseas. After a short and uneventful existence, they were disbanded in 1783, following the American Revolutionary War.

In the ensuing peace, Britain had reduced its military compliment, and so had found itself unprepared when the French declared war in February 1793. The order was given for the recreation of the Fencible units to defend against the threat of invasion, particularly important in Scotland as there were few militia forces to speak of compared to her southern neighbours. Less than a month later, regiments had been established by some of the country’s wealthiest and most influential clan chiefs and landowners, including the Sinclairs and MacKays in Caithness, the Campbells in Breadalbane and Argyll and the Grants of Strathspey. Initially they comprised of eight companies each, led by a colonel, a lieutenant colonel, a major, and five captains, but by 1794 had grown to ten companies, with some regiments forming separate battalions. There were two types of regiment, the infantry and the cavalry. Initially the infantry were given regimental numbers, as with the regular army, but were later renamed in favour of the landowners who had raised them, whilst the cavalry brigades were renamed as Light Dragoons.

Sergeants sent out to raise men for their units were under strict instructions not to take on apprentices, deserters from other regiments, or weavers with unfinished webs, unless they agreed to pay a fine for non-completion of the work out of their bounty. Upon passing a medical examination from a local surgeon, enlisted recruits were then paid a bounty of three guineas, out of which they had to buy their own uniforms. This would typically include a scarlet jacket with white cuffs, collar and buttons, a twilled white Flannel waistcoat, a pair of flannelled drawers, a bonnet and feather, three shirts with frills, two pair of hose, two pair of shoes, a comb, a black leather stock and buckle, a leather rose, and a haversack. Some, such as the Rothesay and Caithness Fencibles, wore tartan pantaloons, whilst others, such as the Gordon Fencibles and the Invernessshire Fencibles, wore full Highland garb instead.

As a home defence force, a great deal of the soldiers’ time was spent in barracks, on various manoeuvres across the country and in performing escort duties, with some sent to perform similar duties in Ireland. In 1798, the United Irishmen rebellion led to many Scottish regiments engaged in fierce fighting in the country, including the Reay Fencibles, the Caithness Legion of Fencible Men, the Fraser Regiment of Fencible Men, the Inverness Fencibles, and others. The Reay Fencibles fought in a major battle against the rebels near Tara Hill, with twenty six of their number killed or wounded in the fighting, though the rebels lost well over four hundred. The Fife and Argyll Fencibles fought at the Battle of Ballynahinch, the turning point of the uprising, whilst the Inverness men also saw serious combat operations, and were renamed as Duke of York’s Royal Inverness Highland Men in gratitude.

An interesting point concerning the regiments which travelled to Ireland is that upon their return they established the Orange Order within Scotland, having served alongside the recently formed Orange Yeomanry within the country. The first warrants granted to establish Scottish lodges went to the Breadalbane’s and Argyll Fencibles between March and May 1798, followed soon after by the Ayr, Tay, Dumfries, North Lowland and Caithness Fencibles. It was not until the early 1800s that civilian lodges were established within the country.

Many soldiers were, however, unhappy about the posting to Ireland. When Breadalbane’s Fencibles were asked to send over volunteers, about half of the compliment refused to go, infuriating those who had sponsored the regiment. George Penny, in his 1832 book ‘Traditions of Perth’, recorded that “Lady Breadalbane, who had taken great interest in these proceedings, was so incensed at their obstinancy, that she is reported to have declared, that she would raise a regiment that would march to the devil if she desired it”. A third regiment was duly drawn up, which did travel to Ireland, with the Earl of Breadalbane granting a medal to each volunteer in gratitude (see right). When these soldiers were subsequently asked to go to Europe to continue their service, they also drew the line at that point and refused. They returned to Scotland, and along with those who had stayed behind were recorded in a final muster on April 18th 1799, after which they were duly disbanded.

A major problem at the time was that many soldiers within the Fencible regiments were beginning to embrace ideas from political pamphleteers such as Thomas Paine, whose 'Rights of Man' publication in 1791 sewed the idea in their minds that they were no longer chattels, and had some degree of free will. This led in many cases to disciplinary problems, such as that which occurred in Glasgow in December 1794, again with the Breadalbane Fencibles. Following the arrest and detention in Glasgow of a soldier from the 1st Battalion for an offence for which he had been found guilty, a party of his colleagues armed themselves with muskets and fixed bayonets, and marched to the guard house, where they successfully secured his release. So outraged was Lord Adam Gordon, the commander in chief for Scotland, that an order was given to round up every spare soldier in the city to confront the soldiers to demand the return of the prisoner and the leaders of the mutiny. Before the issue was forced however, the ringleaders voluntarily gave themselves up to Lord Breadalbane without condition. They were escorted to Edinburgh Castle, where the ringleaders were tried and sentenced to death. Three had their sentences commuted, but the fourth, Alexander Morton, was shot on Musselburgh Sands.

In an almost identical situation, a similar mutiny broke out amongst the Strathspey Fencibles later in 1795, when several men were imprisoned following a joke made at an officer’s expense, and then similarly liberated by their comrades. Following a trial of the ringleaders, four privates were sentenced to death. Escorted to Gullane Links at East Lothian, they were informed that they could draw lots to spare two of their number. Charles Mackintosh and Alexander Fraser, who lost the ballot, were then executed in front of their regiments.

Following the rebellion in 1798 the majority of the service performed by the Fencibles continued in Ireland, which in 1801 became a part of the United Kingdom. Other units did see service elsewhere in the UK, with the MacDonald Fencibles sent to the English port of Whitehaven, for example, to prevent the ships of seamen trying to force an increase in their wages from leaving the port. So terrified were the sailors of the Highlanders that they backed own.

When the Treaty of Amiens was signed in 1802, the Fencibles were disbanded, and new regiments then raised to specifically serve overseas. This followed an order given in 1799 which decreed that all units which had been designed to purely serve within the British Isles were to be discontinued.

If your ancestor was in the Scottish Fencibles, you may have to search far and wide to locate their records. Some are held at the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh (www.nrscotland.gov.uk), some are held in local archives across the country, whilst others have not survived. A useful guide to help locate those that do exist is Militia Lists and Musters 1756-1787 (4th edition) by Jeremy Gibson and Mervyn Medlycott, available from www.ffhs.org.uk.

Chris

For my genealogy guide books, visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html, whilst details of my research service are at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BritishGENES.

More First World War military records added to FindmyPast

The latest records added to FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk):



Irish Officers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Search over 1,000 records to learn more about the Irish officers who died in the First World War. Discover where and when an officer died, as well as the cause of death. You may also uncover details of an officer's family and pre-war life.

Honourable Women of the Great War, 1914-1918
Discover your female ancestor who served during the First World War. Learn about the wartime activities your ancestor was involved in as well as her pre-war life. You may also find a photograph of your ancestor.

British Subjects Who Died In The Service Of The Indian Empire
Uncover the stories of British subjects who died in the service of the Indian Empire.

Airmen Died in The Great War, 1914-1919
Discover your relative in this index of airmen who died during the First World War. Discover your relative's name, birth and death years, cause of death, rank, and more.

Britain, Campaign, Gallantry & Long Service Medals & Awards
Over 58,000 additional records have been added to the collection. The new additions cover recipients of the Military Cross, Distinguished Flying Medal, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Distinguished Service Order and Commando Gallantry awards.

British Newspapers
This week we've added 144,026 pages to our archive of British newspapers, tipping the total to over twenty-seven million pages. Additional years have been added to five of our existing titles, including:

Liverpool Echo - 1989-1990
The Newcastle Journal - 1992
The Music Hall and Theatre Review - 1908-1909, 1912
The Scottish Referee - 1893, 1895-1896, 1899
The Wicklow People - 1914, 1917-1929, 1931-1976, 1986-2001

Further details at https://blog.findmypast.co.uk/findmypast-friday-august-10th-2593975282.html

Chris

For my genealogy guide books, visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html, whilst details of my research service are at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BritishGENES.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Oxford burials join Deceased Online

From Deceased Online (www.deceasedonline.com):

Records from the historic city of Oxford now available on Deceased Online

There are now almost 50,000 records from Botley, Rose Hill, and Wolvercote cemeteries, from 1894 to 2016, available on www.deceasedonline.com. Records for Headington cemetery have been digitised and will be released at a future date.

Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire in the South East of England and is known throughout the world as the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English speaking world. In the city there are examples of buildings from every major period of English architectural history. Oxford’s industries include motor manufacture, education, publishing, IT, and science.

The records comprise digital scans of all burial registers up to 2007 and computerised data from 2007 to 2016, maps showing the section in which the grave is located, and grave details for each of the graves and their occupants.



Cemeteries in Oxford provide the final resting place of many notable people throughout history. JRR Tolkien, world famous author of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings rests in Wolvercote cemetery. He spent almost his entire adult life in Oxford and at 76 Sandfield Road, Headington, his residence for a number of years, there is a plaque displayed commemorating him.

John Richard Charters Symonds (aka Richard Symonds) is also buried at Wolvercote. He worked hard in humanitarian service in India after the partition from Pakistan and, after contracting typhoid fever, was cared for by his friend Gandhi. He worked for the UN for nearly 30 years. Symonds wrote about his relief work in the ex-colonies and was a champion of gender equality.

Edward Brooks, awarded the Victoria Cross in 1917, is buried in Rose Hill. Sergeant-Major Brooks single handedly charged an enemy machine gun, killed one gunner with his revolver and bayonetted another, causing the remaining gun crew to flee. Brooks recovered the gun and brought it back behind Allied lines, preventing many casualties.

Further information:
For other local records in the region available on Deceased Online courtesy of the National Archives for Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and Buckinghamshire, click here.

Chris

For my genealogy guide books, visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html, whilst details of my research service are at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BritishGENES.

My next Scottish Research Online course starts September 24th

If you are inspired by the current series of Who Do You Think You Are? to find out more about your family history, and you have Scottish ancestry, then my next 5 week long Scottish Research Online course might help in September!

Here's the description:

Scottish Research Online (102)
Tutor: Chris Paton

Scotland was first to have major records digitized and offer indexes and images online. It has also been a leader in placing resource information on the World Wide Web. This course describes the major sites, the types of information and data that they offer, the forms in which databases are presented and how to analyze results. You will learn to lay the foundations for searching a family, how to select best resources and what to do next either online or in libraries and archives.
Lesson Headings:
  • Scotlands People, Family Search, Ancestry, FreeCen: content, comparison, assessment
  • Essential Maps and Gazetteers
  • Civil Registration and Census Research Online
  • Searching in Church of Scotland Registers Online
  • Scottish Wills and Inventories Online
  • Take It From Here


Note: it is recommended but not required that students in this course sign up for the basic search option, 30 units/seven days, at ScotlandsPeople (cost is seven pounds)

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat s See How the Courses Work.

STUDENTS SAID: "I particularly liked the fact that the course didn't just focus on the well-known BMD resources available, but on a much wider range of websites, including many which give extremely useful background information on the geography and history of the localities where our ancestors lived."

"a very knowledgeable Instructor"

Relevant Countries: Scotland

This course is offered twice annually.

Course Length: 5 Weeks
Start Date: 24 Sep 2018
Cost: £49.99


To sign up, please visit https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102 - and I will hopefully see you there!

Chris

For my genealogy guide books, visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html, whilst details of my research service are at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BritishGENES.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Ulster Historical Foundation to participate in USA's British Institute

From the Ulster Historical Foundation (www.ancestryireland.com):

British Institute - 15-19 October 2018



Don’t miss the opportunity to attend a week-long course in researching Irish and Scots-Irish ancestors in Salt Lake City UT, in October 2018. This course which will be delivered by Foundation staff Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt is part of the prestigious 2018 British Institute which is organised annually by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History.

During the week we will be covering 19 different topics suitable for both the beginner and those with more experience in Irish and Scots-Irish research. The course includes sessions in the nearby Family History Library as well as a one-to-one 20 minute consultation with either Fintan or Gillian. More information on the course is available here.

We are really looking forward to spending the week in Salt Lake City helping people find out more about their ancestors and the sources available for Irish research – we would love to have you join us!

COMMENT: Also speaking at this event will be Paul Milner, Beryl Evans, Else Churchill and Alec Tritton.

(With thanks to the UHF)

Chris

For my genealogy guide books, visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html, whilst details of my research service are at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BritishGENES.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Sons of the Soil - Scottish agricultural labourers

The following is a version of an article first written by me for the now defunct Discover My Past Scotland magazine in August 2011:

Sons of the Soil

One of the hardest occupations to research within a family tree is that of the humble agricultural labourer, who causes so much depression for many upon his discovery within the censuses. The arrangements by which labourers took up work were either never formally documented, or such documentation has rarely survived. This is unfortunate in that prior to the Industrial Revolution most of our ancestors will have eked out a living from the soil on the estates of nobles and lairds for whom they worked in the capacity of serfs. Some worked collectively in ‘touns’, sharing land cultivated through the ‘runrig’ system, with each member of the settlement allocated strips of raised soil (known as ‘rigs’) for the growth of a particular crop. Others existed as pendiclers or cottars, inhabiting a small hut or building surrounded by an acre or two of cultivated soil from which they eked a living. They worked for the benefit of the landowner, and if they made any kind of profit from their year’s labour after the payments of taxes and rents, they were indeed fortunate in the extreme.

Prior to the 18th century tenants and labourers on estates were usually paid in kind, such as with grain, butter and milk, though a small amount of money could also be paid, and increasingly was done so throughout the course of the century. In return, rent was paid in kind also, with tenants and their families having to work for the landowner for several days in a year (known as ‘bondage days’), as well as through other means, such as the practice of ‘thirlage’ in feudal baronies. This much hated law required all tenants to grind their corn at the landowner’s mill, and to give a proportion of the grain known as a ‘multure’ to the mill operator, often as much as a twelfth of the total amount. The law was abolished in 1779, leading to the decline of many mills not long after. Tenants were also required to pay local taxes such as cess, scat, and wattle, and to perform other duties such as the carrying of coals to a proprietor’s house from a great distance.

The Agricultural Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries began to change the countryside and the agrarian lifestyle dramatically. Many Lowland estate holders enclosed vast numbers of smallholdings on their land into larger farms in an attempt to better manage and improve the soil through new agricultural techniques, many of them introduced from England. At the same time rents were increased dramatically. On other estates in both the Highlands and the Lowlands tenants were forcibly cleared to make way for more profitable sheep farming. As a result of all of these changes many families lost tenancies on the land on which they had previously worked. Some were repatriated to coastal settlements created by the landowners, others increasingly flocked to the cities to work in the factories, whilst many more were forced to emigrate.

Those who remained to work within the rural economy, and who were unable to secure or continue working a tack as a farmer, became part of a more mobile agricultural workforce, often moving regularly within a parish or from one parish to another to seek employment, whilst others became specialists in particular trades essential to the farming environment. At the bottom of the rung were the day labourers, who literally were hired by the day as and when required by farmers. Some lived within cottages which they built on waste ground, with the landowners’ permission, from which they would then hire themselves out. With the day’s chores complete, in their spare time they would plant potatoes and grain in the soil around them, feeding themselves and at the same time improve the quality of the land for the landlord. Others were more mobile, and were housed temporarily in bothies, small buildings which were often nothing more than basic rat infested huts with little furnishings but the simplest of amenities.

Particularly skilled agricultural workers such as ploughmen would be hired at fairs across the country for six months or a year at a time, usually reckoned from one of the term days of Martinmas (in November) or Whitsun (in May), a practice which all but died out towards the end of the 19th century. Once hired the ploughman and his family would take up their new position from the appropriate term day and be given accommodation close to the farm, where they would reside until the end of the contract, at which point they would seek employment at the next fair, and so on, though some remained with the same masters for several years on recurring contracts.

Trying to trace the movements of agricultural labourers can be difficult, but not always impossible. The censuses from 1841 to 1911 can of course help to locate them every ten years, but it is possible to build up a much more detailed picture of their lives as labourers. If you explore the records of baptism for their children, for example, you may well find that each child appears to have been born in a different parish or locality within the parish, which will give an idea of the geographic area around which they may have moved between contracts, as well as the frequency of their moves. Census and OPR records can be accessed via ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) or in many local libraries and family history centres.

Contemporary newspapers can provide details of the likely hiring fairs at which they were employed, which were often boisterous and fun filled occasions, and can at times even directly identify your ancestor, perhaps if he fell foul of the law or was the victor at a local ploughing competition. Check out the British Newspaper Archive at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk as a starting point for these. Church records can also help, detailing poor relief payments in the kirk session minutes for when times were hard, or perhaps instances when a labouring ancestor was hired for a specific task, which may be noted in the heritors’ records. Surviving Church of Scotland kirk session records have now all been digitised and can be accessed at the National Records of Scotland (www.nrscotland.gov.uk), as well as in local family history centres in Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Hawick, Inverness and Orkney - see https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/local-family-history-centres for details.

The two Statistical Accounts of Scotland at http://stataccscot.edina.ac.uk/static/statacc/dist/home can be extremely helpful to build up a sense of the labourer’s lot in life. Not only do they provide considerably detailed descriptions of the country’s parishes in the 1790s and 1830s-40s, they can also describe local farming and fair customs, as well as identify the key landowners within a parish, which can help you to try to trace any relevant estate records. Whilst rental records within estate papers will not often name most labourers (as they were not tenants), other sources such as estate wages books may record payments for work carried out, and name those so paid.


There are many published parish histories which can also help to build up the picture further, with many books and reports also written which specifically concern the conditions endured by labourers. A useful book from 1861, for example, as hosted on Google Books at http://tinyurl.com/5r3wdhd, is ‘The Cottage, the Bothy and the Kitchen, Being an Inquiry into the Condition of Agricultural Labourers in Scotland’ by James Robb, which explores the typical conditions for day labourers, ploughmen, kitchen servants and more within East Lothian, Fifeshire, Forfarshire, Aberdeenshire and Ross-shire, noting the wages paid for each form of employment and more. Other useful titles include several published transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland and the Farmer’s Magazine, again with many examples found on Google Books.

Chris

For my genealogy guide books, visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html, whilst details of my research service are at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BritishGENES.

Monday, 6 August 2018

The Family History Show - London

From Discover Your Ancestors magazine (https://discoveryourancestors.co.uk):

The Family History Show - London Saturday 22nd September
Don’t miss The Family History Show London, the major event of the genealogical calendar.


With many new features to help with your research, free lectures, and free parking. This year it’s taking place at the larger Surrey Hall at Sandown Park Racecourse in Esher, with more exhibitors and an additional lecture area.

It will be a packed day with the Keynote speech being given by the International Genealogy Blogger Dick Eastman on ‘The Future of Genealogy’.

Other speakers include Jane Shrimpton (Dating Photographs), Graham Walter, Chris Baker (Military), Keith Gregson (Social History), Mark Bayley (Research Techniques). Sponsored by TheGenealogist and organised by Discover Your Ancestors Magazine the show in York this June was a packed event pleasing both attendees and stallholders alike.

These events are attracting family history societies and companies from all over the UK and further afield. Including The Federation of Family History Societies, MOD, Local Record Offices, Archives, Guild of One Name Studies, Family History Book Publishers, Research Organisations, Genealogy Retailers, Online Services and more.

Our ‘Ask the Experts’ panel and the ‘Census Detectives’ will be there to help with your research, date photographs and identify medals.

There is plenty of free parking and refreshments are available all day.

Last year our advanced ticket allocation sold out and the visitor numbers were exceptional, we advise early booking to avoid disappointment.

Exhibitor numbers have increased with the keenly priced tables. If you wish to attend, space and the reasonably priced tables are rapidly running out. If you would like to book exhibitor’s space at the Family History Show London you can get the booking form here.

https://thefamilyhistoryshow.com/london/exhibit/#promo

Tickets - Buy One Get One Half Price!

Early Bird offer: Buy your tickets in advance for £5 a person or buy two for £7.50 door price will be £7 each, and don’t forget everyone gets a Goody Bag worth £8 on entrance!

To take advantage of this offer:
Go to www.TheFamilyHistoryShow.com/london

For more information contact: Paul at bookings@thefamilyhistoryshow.com


‘Discover Your Ancestors is both a critically acclaimed annual high quality print magazine and a monthly digital periodical. Launched in 2011 and well received by readers it is aimed at both those starting out in family history research as well as those more experienced family historians. Featuring case studies, social history articles and research advice, it is an informative and educational guide to help break down brick walls.

In 2017 it created the ‘Discover Your Ancestors’ Family History Show at York and London, these events have grown rapidly in size and a third show for the South West is planned for 2019.’

(With thanks to DYA)

Chris

For my genealogy guide books, visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html, whilst details of my research service are at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BritishGENES.