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Proformat News
No: 88
June 2013
June seminars
6: Dating old photographs, Mt Lofty History Group Stirling Library 9:30–11:30am
11: Bound for South Australia, WEA Centre Adelaide 7:00–9:00pm
14: Researching your Scottish ancestors, WEA Centre Adelaide 6:30–9:30pm
16: North Adelaide heritage walk, WEA Centre Adelaide 2:00–4:00pm
17: Finding families in newspapers, WEA Centre Adelaide 8:00-9:00pm

July seminars
13: Researching early immigration into SA, Fleurieu Peninsula FHG 10:15–11:15am
21: Coming to grips with FamilySearch, WEA Centre Adelaide 10:00 to 1:00pm

See the seminar program for more details and bookings.

Northern Ireland Will Calendar Index
Ancestry has added the Northern Ireland Will Calendar Index from 1839-1943, however, this is already available free at the PRONI website. If you have ancestors from Northern Ireland it is appropriate to use the PRONI site because they have images of Wills from 1858–1900.

Photocopies from FamilySearch Library
You will find information about the new system in a blog posting and in the >FamilySearch wiki. The great news is that the new email service is free!

Undertaking Scottish research

For the most part it is difficult to undertake in-depth Scottish research without visiting the country or having an agent. There are a few, mainly government sponsored sites that will enable the researcher to make a start.

Civil registration did not start until 1855 and the indexes can be viewed online at ScotlandsPeople. The site also holds earlier parish records but these are restricted to Church of Scotland and Catholic registers. To use the site successfully the user needs to register. The site offers a less than useful surname search on their gateway page but often Scottish names are quite common and the researcher usually needs additional information to isolate their targeted person as the information released in such a search just reveals the number of records held in the collection. A better search facility is available within each series listed on the left side of the gateway page but this will only reveal the number of records found that match your criteria.

In this issue:
June seminars
July seminars
Northern Ireland Will Calendar Index
Photocopies from FamilySearch Library

Feature article
Undertaking Scottish research


Graham Jaunay

Glandore SA 5037

Breaking news: fb

Drafting charts
Locating documents
Seminar presentations
SA lookup service

Graham Jaunay uses
The Genealogist - for UK census, BMD indexes and more online simply because it contains quality data checked by experts.

Proformat News acknowledges the support by awe AWE

Scottish parish registers differ in several ways from those found in England and Wales and the system of access to them is quite different. This was outlined in the previous newsletter. Scottish parish registers are known as the Old Parish Registers [OPRs] and have been deposited at New Register House in Edinburgh.

ScotlandsPeople also holds several other useful collections. The censuses 1841 to 1911 are available. Despite a rigorous process to ensure accuracy, the Scottish censuses suffer from the same issues experienced in England. Many were missed and others avoided being recorded in the 1841 census. The reaction to this census was sharp and largely unfavourable due to:

• theological grounds as some believed numbering the people was blasphemous (Samuel 24:15—God punished King David for taking a census),
• a suspicion that the object of the exercise was to extract more taxes,
• being part of the Poor Law Act implementation to force a resettlement of poor people, or their emigration back to their original parishes,
• an invasion of an individual’s privacy,
• a threat to liberty.
The Scots were not only more vocal about these issues than their English counterparts but persisted with their objections into later censuses. There are also gaps in the returns particularly affecting Fifeshire. The 1861 census (the first to be managed within Scotland as its GRO was established in 1855) suffers from particular problems in finding appropriate enumerators in rural districts. Enumerators had to be aged between 18 and 65, respectable, healthy, able to read and write, have some knowledge of arithmetic and be well acquainted with their district. Many enumerators of the 1851 census refused the work due to a cut in the salary to £1/10/-.

Wills and testaments can also be found at ScotlandsPeople. In Scotland a Will called a testament testamentar referred to a person's instructions on how to dispose of their moveable property and named their executor. If the person died intestate (without a Will) the resultant document prepared by the appropriate court was called a testament dative. It includes an inventory of possessions and/or a list of debts. Up until the early 19th century the balance of property, land, buildings, minerals and mining rights were outside the control of the owner and had to be passed on to their lawful heir, for example, their eldest son or in the absence of sons, their eldest daughter.

The Wills & testaments index contains over 610,000 index entries covering 1513–1925. Each entry lists the surname, forename, title, occupation and place of residence (where these are given) of the deceased person and the court in which the testament was recorded, with the date.

The final set of useful records held by ScotlandsPeople are the Valuation Rolls for 1905 and 1915. Being relatively recent, they are of limited use to most researchers in Australia. Moreover many Australians have Scottish ancestors who were unlikely to be recorded.

The Lands Valuation Act 1854 established a uniform valuation of landed property throughout the country. Annual valuation rolls were compiled listing every house or piece of ground, along with the names of the owner, the tenant and the occupier plus the annual rateable value. Occupations of occupiers are frequently but not always included. Valuation rolls rarely list any other residents in a property. For the early years after 1854, there is little detail about properties whose annual rental value was less than £4 unless they were on long leases. There was a significant lag between compilation and publishing meaning that the contents of the roll give a picture of the state of affairs for the year or two prior to publication.

ScotlandsPeople also holds the public register of Scottish Coats of Arms 1672–1907.

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