Welcome to Scottish Genealogy Tips And Tidbits

A wee bit of info to help you in your journey to discover your Scottish Ancestors and maybe even crack a brick wall or two!



Friday, 20 October 2017

Scottish Post Office Directories

Post office directories are the equivalent of City Directories. These are a terrific resource for following your ancestors between census periods. Not everyone was recorded. Since there was a fee to be included, many of those included had some degree of stature - clergy, educators, doctors, professionals, merchants, etc.


A recent addition to the website are the Post Office Directory Maps. Four hundred new street maps of Scottish towns held within Post Office Directories have been digitized and uploaded to the maps website. These are excellent resources for family and local history. These are quite detailed, providing street names, location of public buildings such as churches, shops and schools, as well as railways, cemeteries and open green space. 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Researching Jacobite Ancestors

The Jacobites believed that being King was a God given right and passed on through heredity and were opposed to parliamentary interference with the line of succession to the throne. They saw this interference as being illegal. People were expected to swear allegiance to their King and his authority. Jacobites wouldn't swear allegiance since William was not a direct descendant of James, while Charles Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) was. Hoping to reinstate the Stuart regime, the Jacobites rose in rebellion on a number of occasions, notably in 1715 and in 1745.


Beginning in 1716, Jacobites were rounded up, imprisoned and subsequently transported to the Americas. Approximately 1,500 Jacobite prisoners were exiled to the American Plantations. Since Jacobites were charged with Treason they were tried before the High Court. Documents pertaining to the Jacobites, for genealogical purposes, are Royal Warrants, Letters, and a variety of letters.

While there are some records contained within the High Court records at the National Archives in Scotland, the primary repository is the National Archives in London.
There are also registers of ships that were used for transportation. PDF listings of Jacobite prisoners for various regions of Scotland can be found here: http://www.jacobites.net/lists.html

Hugh Tornabene, a volunteer for the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild has uncovered the
passenger lists for the ships that were used to transport the Jacobites. He has transcribed the lists for the 10 ships that arrived in the Americas. 

There are another 8 ships that went to the Caribbean (Barbados and the Leeward Islands). Here is the website to view the transcriptions of the 10 ships (there are 13 lists, with two of the ships having made the voyage more than once) that Hugh has transcribed: 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

From the Western Isles to Canada

Following the Reformation, most Scots had converted to Presbyterian while the Highlands and Islands remained predominantly Catholic. The landowners who had converted expected their tenants to do the same and those that didn’t weren’t allowed to practice their religion. Some were even removed for not converting. 

This led to a group of Scots from the Outer Hebrides (Uist) to be sent to Cape Breton in what is now Boisedale, a group from Glenfinnan near Fort William to be sent to what is now Prince Edward Island and who are now known as the Glenaladale Settlers and a group from Loch Broom near Oban being sent to Pictou. These were the settlers from the Hector. Interestingly, the clues of their homeland are given in the names of their new countries.

In their new lands, they were not only allowed to practice their faith, but also speak their language (Gaelic).

·        In 1774, the Lord Justice Clerk tried to gain an understanding of the extent of emigration from the Highlands and instructed Sheriffs from the area to provide him with lists of those from their jurisdiction that had emigrated. These lists should be within the collections of the National Records of Scotland.

·      Archives Ontario have several letters relating to the Glengarry Settlement including letters sent to family back home encouraging them to come to Canada.

·       The PEI Historical Society has just released a very genealogically comprehensive book on the Glenalladale Settlers. 

     Archives for Glenfinnan are with the Highland Archives https://www.highlifehighland.com/archives-service/

·       For records pertaining to Lochboisdale, contact the Seallam! Centre on Lewis http://www.tasglann.org.uk/en



In July 1803, three ships, the Dykes, the Polly, and the Oughton sailed to Canada with eight hundred former crofters from the Western Isles and headed to Prince Edward Island where Lord Selkirk had managed to receive a land grant. The Polly carried passengers from Skye. The Dykes brought passengers from Mull. The Oughton carried passengers from Uist. Further Selkirk Settlers from Colonsay, Oronsay and Tiree arrived in 1806.

·         Lord Selkirk’s papers are available online at: http://www.canadiana.ca/
·         The Archives of Ontario also have a number of letters pertaining to Lord Selkirk and his   settlers. 

Passenger List reconstruction for ship Polly:

Passenger List reconstruction for ship Dykes:

Passenger List reconstruction for ship Oughton:

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Did Your Scottish Ancestor Spend Time in Nova Scotia?

One of the best resources for learning the social history of your ancestors, the things that add details to their life stories, are newspapers. 


The Nova Scotia archives has a number of old newspapers available on their website, including Gaelic newspapers! The Gaelic newspapers date back to the early 1920s while other newspapers on their website date back to 1769. 

Here's the link to have a look and see if you can learn more about your Scottish ancestor who might have spent time in Nova Scotia:

https://novascotia.ca/archives/newspapers/

Monday, 16 October 2017

If Your Scottish Ancestor Worked for the Hudson's Bay Company

Scots first started coming to Canada in large numbers starting in 1788 when the Hudson’s Bay Company ships brought Orkney men back to Canada to work in their settlement at York Factory, some 250 miles south of Churchill. In 1791, the HBC appointed local merchant, David Geddes to be their recruiting officer in Stromness where their ships stopped for supplies and water. 




By 1799, clearly three quarters of the men employed by the HBC were from Orkney. This connection between Orkney and the HBC carried on into the early 1900s. 



By the early 1800s, HBC was also recruiting in Lewis and Harris. Many Scotsmen married Cree women. Most from Orkney left their wives and families behind when they returned to Scotland, where the Hebrideans took their wives back and Cree descendants are still evident in the Lewis and Harris even today.


·        The HBC archives are on deposit at the Manitoba archives. In addition, the Orkney Archives in Kirkwall have records pertaining to the Orcadians who worked for HBC, including the contract between the HBC and the recruiters.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

If Your Scottish Ancestor Was a Covenanter


If your ancestor arrived in Massachusetts in the 1650s, it is possible that they were Covenanters. Many thousands of covenanters were executed. In your In the event that your covenanter ancestor made it to trial, rather than being executed on the spot, the records of their trial will also be in the records of the High Court, available from the National Records of Scotland.  

Following conviction, the covenanter would be imprisoned and then sent to the colonies of North America. The court papers will provide the detail of the crime (preaching in public), the names of any witnesses and then the details of their sentence.

Both Ancestry and FindMyPast have searchable databases for Covenanters.

A great resource for reading detailed information about the individual covenanters is the website Reformation History. This website is run by the Reformed Presbyterian Church and is a wonderful resource for honouring the Scottish Covenanters. 
http://reformationhistory.org//covenantersscotland.html

Saturday, 14 October 2017

If Your Scottish Ancestor Was Accused of Witchcraft

Witchcraft trials in Scotland were tried in the High Court . The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft, under a grant, has taken the trials maintained by the University of Edinburgh Archives, and has created an online, searchable database of Scottish. In this database, you will find:

·         The accused's name
·         Start  and end dates of the trial
·         "Characterisation" (eg: "Demonic")
·         Who the accused was implicated by

·         Any notes pertaining to the circumstances - whether tried as an individual, a group such as the North Berwick witch hunt (1590-92) or the Paisley accusations of 1699

·        The accusation - including details of time, place, other present and what the witch was purported to have done that was supernatural.  This may include healing illnesses, transferring illness from an animal to a human, causing natural disasters etc.

·         Appearance of Non-natural beings - whether the person claimed to have seen spirits who encouraged their witch craft. The type of spirit - person, animal etc

·         Whether they were known to have attended a "witches meeting" and whether said meeting included food and drink, dancing or the presence of the devil.

·         Whether the accused was then imprisoned and if so where.

Here is the link to the searchable database: http://www.shca.ed.ac.uk/Research/witches/

You can search by name, trial date, location or others involved in the trial. Your results will be returned and then you click on the hyperlink. From there you will get a box with the basic information (similar to an index card). Be sure to click on the hyperlinks within the index-card style box to get to the actual information regarding the trial(s).

Witch's Stone marks the spot where the last woman
 in Scotland was hanged for witchcraft