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Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Dec 24, 2006

New Records for Tracking Your Scottish Ancestors
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

It was an enthusiastic group of genealogists who met in September of 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts, for the annual Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference. Not only was the convention center beautiful, roomy, and close to the hotel, but the food was excellent, the people were friendly, and we were there to hear from the official spokes people from government agencies in Scotland, Ireland, and Great Britain. With all the accents floating through the lecture halls, it felt like we were already abroad.

One "hot" item was the introduction to the Scotland's People Center (or ScotlandsPeople Centre) as it was spelled by presenter, Joanna O'Rourke. She enthusiastically explained that all the records are being digitized at the key official genealogical records providers such as the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), and they are being made available to the public in Scotland. Fee charge per day is 17 pounds for a half day search if you are in the country. Three million visitors went through their facility in 2001. There are currently 20 million pages. Only 100 people a day can search currently, so reservations are needed. For those of us in the U.S., the exciting news was that these original records will be made available online to those who wish to pay. Today it is about $10 (L 6) for 30 images. It is MUCH cheaper than traveling to Scotland. You will be able to click from index to original documents such as from a birth search to a birth entry.

But a bit of background information is necessary. You see in the past, in two separate but neighboring buildings located at the east end of Princes Street in Edinburgh, each of the organizations offers different services via different systems. The costs of searching and printing differed: for example the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) doesn't charge for access to its records but the GROS and Court of the Lord Lyon (CLL) do. This situation is often confusing for the casual visitor and, for those with limited time to spare. It often involved making a choice between organizations to visit as it can take quite a bit of time to move between them. For example, if you find a death certificate in New Register House and you want to see if that person left a will, then you would have to leave the building and go next door to the General Register House to see if they have any relevant documents for that person - very time-consuming!

Between the GROS, the NAS, and the CLL, the three organizations have approximately 50 miles of records between them. All three are based in central Edinburgh. These 3 organizations in the past have also had 3 different processes, procedures, facilities, opening hours, and websites. However, all 3 had interest for genealogists. For example:

1. The GROS holds the Church of Scotland's old Parish Registers for baptism, marriage and burial to 1854, together with the statutory registers of birth, marriage and death from 1855, and the decennial census records from 1841 to 1901. Access to records is purely electronic.

2. Working at NAS was a different experience. It holds records since the 12th century, charged no fees, and holds a great variety of collections which are useful to family historians - some dating back many hundreds of years. These include wills and testaments, tax records, maps and plans and collections of estate papers. The principal form of access to records is not electronic though several major collections are either in the process of, or have already been digitized. For example, wills have been digitized to 1901, and kirk sessions records are in the process of being digitized. Nonconformist church records, family estate papers (over 500 collections), as well as instruction online regarding handwriting is available (see scottishhandwriting.com).

3. Meanwhile the CLL is the heraldic authority for Scotland and they are responsible for granting coat of arms in Scotland heraldry. Its office dates from the 14th century, and maintains the Scottish Public Registers of Arms and Genealogies. The records of the Court have been digitized although these are not yet available to the general public. It has records on 12,000 proven genealogies.

In 2002, the 3 organizations decided to work together to create a family history centre offering one point of access to the electronic databases of resources both internally and on the Internet. An image of the projected culmination of several years work, and more in the process, is shown below. From a reception area, people could be led to the research facility made for their needs.

It was also decided that the buildings could be physically joined to improve visitor flows and maximize the tremendous space provided by these historical buildings. Once complete, the Centre will deliver the following key benefits:

  • 4 search rooms across 2 buildings providing a total of around 170 search places (70 % more room)
  • A unified electronic searching system for searching the partners' records
  • A 2 hour free-access to the centre resources (spaces limited) and a reduced charge for a booked place
  • a exhibition and seminar space
  • staff-assisted searches
  • a shop and cafè
Work commenced on the project in 2004. In June 2005, the website with interpretation screens at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk was launched with wills and testaments from 1513 to 1901 from the NAS, and GROS indexes and images. CLL material will be added in late 2006. The site now has over half a million registered users. More material will be added as it is completed. Phased work on the buildings began in July 2005 and all works were scheduled to be complete in April 2007. However, in April 2006, the building contractors went into receivership and work stopped after the first 2 phases (out of 4) were almost complete.

Some emergency work followed but the new contract for the remaining work is currently being re-tendered and it is probable that the new center will not now open until Autumn 2007. There is a project information website at www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk that carries news updates and users can register for the email newsletter to keep in touch with project developments.

Find out more at these Internet sites. Be aware that it can be expensive to do online searching without specific information for specific people. Do your United States research ahead of time so you are aware of relatives, associates, dates, and location clues for your ancestors in Scotland, and have your information beside you when you begin searching online.

ScotlandsPeople website is found at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. Search system is free but pay per view if you want to read and view original images.

The National Archives of Scotland located at www.nas.gov.uk is currently working on new material such as Roman Catholic registers, kirk session records (including local Presbyterian church court minutes), Sasines (legal descriptions of land registers that contain rich sources of information). While many of these have been digitized they are still being indexed. To search the NAS catalogue, be aware that some are item level description and others are collection level.

General Register Office for Scotland is found at www.gro-scotland.gov.uk Check online catalogue now for 1841 to 1901 censuses, wills and testaments 1513-1901. They are all now up.

Court of the Lord Lyon is currently at www.lyon-court.com

Project email address SFHRS@gro-scotland.gsi.gov.uk if you are planning to make a trip to Scotland in the near future. You might want to put off your visit until fall, or use this year to find those ancestors online and then visit the country later. If you put your pedigree online at MyTrees.com you will be able to access the pedigree through the internet from anyplace in the world. Putting your data online at Mytrees.com is free and provides the greatest security for a backup of your valuable family history data. Not only can you store and display your pedigree but also your scanned photos and documents. You can write your personal history or a biography of an ancestor and upload it to MyTrees.com and attach it to your pedigree for others to read. Registration is free, as is the storage of your genealogy online. Searching MyTrees' index for your ancestors is also free. Only after you have found the pedigree you want to view will it be necessary to pay to see the full pedigree, the notes, the submitter's data, and to download the information. What a wonderful time to be alive!

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Dec 24, 2006

New Records for Tracking Your Scottish Ancestors
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

It was an enthusiastic group of genealogists who met in September of 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts, for the annual Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference. Not only was the convention center beautiful, roomy, and close to the hotel, but the food was excellent, the people were friendly, and we were there to hear from the official spokes people from government agencies in Scotland, Ireland, and Great Britain. With all the accents floating through the lecture halls, it felt like we were already abroad.

One "hot" item was the introduction to the Scotland's People Center (or ScotlandsPeople Centre) as it was spelled by presenter, Joanna O'Rourke. She enthusiastically explained that all the records are being digitized at the key official genealogical records providers such as the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), and they are being made available to the public in Scotland. Fee charge per day is 17 pounds for a half day search if you are in the country. Three million visitors went through their facility in 2001. There are currently 20 million pages. Only 100 people a day can search currently, so reservations are needed. For those of us in the U.S., the exciting news was that these original records will be made available online to those who wish to pay. Today it is about $10 (L 6) for 30 images. It is MUCH cheaper than traveling to Scotland. You will be able to click from index to original documents such as from a birth search to a birth entry.

But a bit of background information is necessary. You see in the past, in two separate but neighboring buildings located at the east end of Princes Street in Edinburgh, each of the organizations offers different services via different systems. The costs of searching and printing differed: for example the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) doesn't charge for access to its records but the GROS and Court of the Lord Lyon (CLL) do. This situation is often confusing for the casual visitor and, for those with limited time to spare. It often involved making a choice between organizations to visit as it can take quite a bit of time to move between them. For example, if you find a death certificate in New Register House and you want to see if that person left a will, then you would have to leave the building and go next door to the General Register House to see if they have any relevant documents for that person - very time-consuming!

Between the GROS, the NAS, and the CLL, the three organizations have approximately 50 miles of records between them. All three are based in central Edinburgh. These 3 organizations in the past have also had 3 different processes, procedures, facilities, opening hours, and websites. However, all 3 had interest for genealogists. For example:

1. The GROS holds the Church of Scotland's old Parish Registers for baptism, marriage and burial to 1854, together with the statutory registers of birth, marriage and death from 1855, and the decennial census records from 1841 to 1901. Access to records is purely electronic.

2. Working at NAS was a different experience. It holds records since the 12th century, charged no fees, and holds a great variety of collections which are useful to family historians - some dating back many hundreds of years. These include wills and testaments, tax records, maps and plans and collections of estate papers. The principal form of access to records is not electronic though several major collections are either in the process of, or have already been digitized. For example, wills have been digitized to 1901, and kirk sessions records are in the process of being digitized. Nonconformist church records, family estate papers (over 500 collections), as well as instruction online regarding handwriting is available (see scottishhandwriting.com).

3. Meanwhile the CLL is the heraldic authority for Scotland and they are responsible for granting coat of arms in Scotland heraldry. Its office dates from the 14th century, and maintains the Scottish Public Registers of Arms and Genealogies. The records of the Court have been digitized although these are not yet available to the general public. It has records on 12,000 proven genealogies.

In 2002, the 3 organizations decided to work together to create a family history centre offering one point of access to the electronic databases of resources both internally and on the Internet. An image of the projected culmination of several years work, and more in the process, is shown below. From a reception area, people could be led to the research facility made for their needs.

It was also decided that the buildings could be physically joined to improve visitor flows and maximize the tremendous space provided by these historical buildings. Once complete, the Centre will deliver the following key benefits:

  • 4 search rooms across 2 buildings providing a total of around 170 search places (70 % more room)
  • A unified electronic searching system for searching the partners' records
  • A 2 hour free-access to the centre resources (spaces limited) and a reduced charge for a booked place
  • a exhibition and seminar space
  • staff-assisted searches
  • a shop and cafè
Work commenced on the project in 2004. In June 2005, the website with interpretation screens at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk was launched with wills and testaments from 1513 to 1901 from the NAS, and GROS indexes and images. CLL material will be added in late 2006. The site now has over half a million registered users. More material will be added as it is completed. Phased work on the buildings began in July 2005 and all works were scheduled to be complete in April 2007. However, in April 2006, the building contractors went into receivership and work stopped after the first 2 phases (out of 4) were almost complete.

Some emergency work followed but the new contract for the remaining work is currently being re-tendered and it is probable that the new center will not now open until Autumn 2007. There is a project information website at www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk that carries news updates and users can register for the email newsletter to keep in touch with project developments.

Find out more at these Internet sites. Be aware that it can be expensive to do online searching without specific information for specific people. Do your United States research ahead of time so you are aware of relatives, associates, dates, and location clues for your ancestors in Scotland, and have your information beside you when you begin searching online.

ScotlandsPeople website is found at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. Search system is free but pay per view if you want to read and view original images.

The National Archives of Scotland located at www.nas.gov.uk is currently working on new material such as Roman Catholic registers, kirk session records (including local Presbyterian church court minutes), Sasines (legal descriptions of land registers that contain rich sources of information). While many of these have been digitized they are still being indexed. To search the NAS catalogue, be aware that some are item level description and others are collection level.

General Register Office for Scotland is found at www.gro-scotland.gov.uk Check online catalogue now for 1841 to 1901 censuses, wills and testaments 1513-1901. They are all now up.

Court of the Lord Lyon is currently at www.lyon-court.com

Project email address SFHRS@gro-scotland.gsi.gov.uk if you are planning to make a trip to Scotland in the near future. You might want to put off your visit until fall, or use this year to find those ancestors online and then visit the country later. If you put your pedigree online at MyTrees.com you will be able to access the pedigree through the internet from anyplace in the world. Putting your data online at Mytrees.com is free and provides the greatest security for a backup of your valuable family history data. Not only can you store and display your pedigree but also your scanned photos and documents. You can write your personal history or a biography of an ancestor and upload it to MyTrees.com and attach it to your pedigree for others to read. Registration is free, as is the storage of your genealogy online. Searching MyTrees' index for your ancestors is also free. Only after you have found the pedigree you want to view will it be necessary to pay to see the full pedigree, the notes, the submitter's data, and to download the information. What a wonderful time to be alive!

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Dec 24, 2006

New Records for Tracking Your Scottish Ancestors
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

It was an enthusiastic group of genealogists who met in September of 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts, for the annual Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference. Not only was the convention center beautiful, roomy, and close to the hotel, but the food was excellent, the people were friendly, and we were there to hear from the official spokes people from government agencies in Scotland, Ireland, and Great Britain. With all the accents floating through the lecture halls, it felt like we were already abroad.

One "hot" item was the introduction to the Scotland's People Center (or ScotlandsPeople Centre) as it was spelled by presenter, Joanna O'Rourke. She enthusiastically explained that all the records are being digitized at the key official genealogical records providers such as the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), and they are being made available to the public in Scotland. Fee charge per day is 17 pounds for a half day search if you are in the country. Three million visitors went through their facility in 2001. There are currently 20 million pages. Only 100 people a day can search currently, so reservations are needed. For those of us in the U.S., the exciting news was that these original records will be made available online to those who wish to pay. Today it is about $10 (L 6) for 30 images. It is MUCH cheaper than traveling to Scotland. You will be able to click from index to original documents such as from a birth search to a birth entry.

But a bit of background information is necessary. You see in the past, in two separate but neighboring buildings located at the east end of Princes Street in Edinburgh, each of the organizations offers different services via different systems. The costs of searching and printing differed: for example the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) doesn't charge for access to its records but the GROS and Court of the Lord Lyon (CLL) do. This situation is often confusing for the casual visitor and, for those with limited time to spare. It often involved making a choice between organizations to visit as it can take quite a bit of time to move between them. For example, if you find a death certificate in New Register House and you want to see if that person left a will, then you would have to leave the building and go next door to the General Register House to see if they have any relevant documents for that person - very time-consuming!

Between the GROS, the NAS, and the CLL, the three organizations have approximately 50 miles of records between them. All three are based in central Edinburgh. These 3 organizations in the past have also had 3 different processes, procedures, facilities, opening hours, and websites. However, all 3 had interest for genealogists. For example:

1. The GROS holds the Church of Scotland's old Parish Registers for baptism, marriage and burial to 1854, together with the statutory registers of birth, marriage and death from 1855, and the decennial census records from 1841 to 1901. Access to records is purely electronic.

2. Working at NAS was a different experience. It holds records since the 12th century, charged no fees, and holds a great variety of collections which are useful to family historians - some dating back many hundreds of years. These include wills and testaments, tax records, maps and plans and collections of estate papers. The principal form of access to records is not electronic though several major collections are either in the process of, or have already been digitized. For example, wills have been digitized to 1901, and kirk sessions records are in the process of being digitized. Nonconformist church records, family estate papers (over 500 collections), as well as instruction online regarding handwriting is available (see scottishhandwriting.com).

3. Meanwhile the CLL is the heraldic authority for Scotland and they are responsible for granting coat of arms in Scotland heraldry. Its office dates from the 14th century, and maintains the Scottish Public Registers of Arms and Genealogies. The records of the Court have been digitized although these are not yet available to the general public. It has records on 12,000 proven genealogies.

In 2002, the 3 organizations decided to work together to create a family history centre offering one point of access to the electronic databases of resources both internally and on the Internet. An image of the projected culmination of several years work, and more in the process, is shown below. From a reception area, people could be led to the research facility made for their needs.

It was also decided that the buildings could be physically joined to improve visitor flows and maximize the tremendous space provided by these historical buildings. Once complete, the Centre will deliver the following key benefits:

  • 4 search rooms across 2 buildings providing a total of around 170 search places (70 % more room)
  • A unified electronic searching system for searching the partners' records
  • A 2 hour free-access to the centre resources (spaces limited) and a reduced charge for a booked place
  • a exhibition and seminar space
  • staff-assisted searches
  • a shop and cafè
Work commenced on the project in 2004. In June 2005, the website with interpretation screens at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk was launched with wills and testaments from 1513 to 1901 from the NAS, and GROS indexes and images. CLL material will be added in late 2006. The site now has over half a million registered users. More material will be added as it is completed. Phased work on the buildings began in July 2005 and all works were scheduled to be complete in April 2007. However, in April 2006, the building contractors went into receivership and work stopped after the first 2 phases (out of 4) were almost complete.

Some emergency work followed but the new contract for the remaining work is currently being re-tendered and it is probable that the new center will not now open until Autumn 2007. There is a project information website at www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk that carries news updates and users can register for the email newsletter to keep in touch with project developments.

Find out more at these Internet sites. Be aware that it can be expensive to do online searching without specific information for specific people. Do your United States research ahead of time so you are aware of relatives, associates, dates, and location clues for your ancestors in Scotland, and have your information beside you when you begin searching online.

ScotlandsPeople website is found at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. Search system is free but pay per view if you want to read and view original images.

The National Archives of Scotland located at www.nas.gov.uk is currently working on new material such as Roman Catholic registers, kirk session records (including local Presbyterian church court minutes), Sasines (legal descriptions of land registers that contain rich sources of information). While many of these have been digitized they are still being indexed. To search the NAS catalogue, be aware that some are item level description and others are collection level.

General Register Office for Scotland is found at www.gro-scotland.gov.uk Check online catalogue now for 1841 to 1901 censuses, wills and testaments 1513-1901. They are all now up.

Court of the Lord Lyon is currently at www.lyon-court.com

Project email address SFHRS@gro-scotland.gsi.gov.uk if you are planning to make a trip to Scotland in the near future. You might want to put off your visit until fall, or use this year to find those ancestors online and then visit the country later. If you put your pedigree online at MyTrees.com you will be able to access the pedigree through the internet from anyplace in the world. Putting your data online at Mytrees.com is free and provides the greatest security for a backup of your valuable family history data. Not only can you store and display your pedigree but also your scanned photos and documents. You can write your personal history or a biography of an ancestor and upload it to MyTrees.com and attach it to your pedigree for others to read. Registration is free, as is the storage of your genealogy online. Searching MyTrees' index for your ancestors is also free. Only after you have found the pedigree you want to view will it be necessary to pay to see the full pedigree, the notes, the submitter's data, and to download the information. What a wonderful time to be alive!

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.

Copyright ©: 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

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