Thursday, 21 November 2013

Death notices from the Forres Gazette

From Moray & Nairn Family History Society:

Death Notices, Articles Concerning Deaths and Obituaries from the Forres Gazette, 1837-1855

Unlike today, in 1837 there was no newspaper published in Forres and the people of the town had to content themselves with newspapers from other parts of Scotland, and further afield.

Scottish newspapers that might just contain small snippets of news local to Forres were being printed in Edinburgh, Glasgow and elsewhere. Local articles might also appear in newspapers published in Inverness and Aberdeen. Between Inverness and Aberdeen, though, the only local newspaper being published at that time seems to have been the Elgin Courant which started in 1836.

John Miller, a son of Elgin clothier and draper Lachlan Miller, left the town in
1837 when he chose to move to Forres to open there a printing establishment, and in June that year, posters were displayed announcing the publication of a new newspaper, the Forres, Elgin & Nairn Gazette, still going strong in the town today as the Forres Gazette. Starting as a monthly publication of only four pages, it was not until 1851 that it was published fortnightly and only from April 1855, weekly.

The notices cover deaths in Forres, the near neighbourhood, the rest of the county, throughout the country and even overseas. Examples can be found of notices from Australia, Canada, India and other parts of what was to become the British Empire and also from the United States and more unexpected places such as Paris, Buenos Ayres, Gambia etc.

There are announcements of the death of the illustrious, the well-known and the humble. The shortest announcement may be one from December 1838 which simply states, “Died, at Elgin, last month, James Hay, Porter.” The longest announcement and obituary is probably that for the Rev Thomas Stark whose death is announced in the issue of February 1849 and whose obituary occupies many columns of the next issue on March 1849.

The series, in three parts, around 100pp each, is available from Moray & Nairn FHS - the cost of each part only £6, p&p extra.

Email publications @, or write to the Society at c/o 39a Park Street, Nairn IV12 4PP.

(With thanks to Doug Stewart)


My latest book, Discover Scottish Civil Registration Records, is now available from (print) and (ebook), whilst Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet is available at My next Pharos Scottish course, Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the OPRs, starts Nov 13th - see

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