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!



Sunday, 19 November 2017

Fifth Talk Added to Scottish ViC (virtual conference)


Great news! A fifth talk has been added to an already robust day of learning. National Library of Scotland Maps Manager, Craig Statham will be sharing his vast knowledge not only about the phenomenal collection of maps and plans within the NLS holdings but also about how to get the most out of the NLS Maps website. This really is a wonderful resource for anyone researching their Scottish ancestry. 

Craig's talk will take place mid way through the day, January 27th, 2018. Craig will be providing handouts of his talk as part of the ViC as well. 

For more information or to register: https://www.genealogyvic.com/home-1.html

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Scottish Genealogy Virtual Conference - Mark the Date!


Genealogy Tours of Scotland announces their new venture, a virtual conference on Scottish Genealogy Research.

JANUARY 27TH, 2018

The ViC (virtual conference) will launch on Saturday, January 27th, 2018 at 8 am Eastern with the opening of the marketplace where you can watch mini presentations by the vendors/exhibitors and learn about the value their product can add to your genealogy research.

The line-up of talks and speakers for the day:

Pre-Civil Registration Research, presented by genealogist Chris Paton

“Seek and Ye Shall Find” Using the Kirk's Archival Legacy to Unveil the Lives of Your Scottish Ancestors presented by archivist Margaret Fox

Researching Your Highland Ancestors, presented by genealogist Chris Halliday

Cleared to Canada: From the Highlands and Islands to Canada, presented by genealogy educator Christine Woodcock

Registration fee is just $79.99 (cdn) and allows unlimited access to the talks, handouts and marketplace for 72 hours. The live chat will only happen on January 27th.


*** Virtual "Seats" are limited! Take advantage of the opportunity to pre-register:







Wednesday, 8 November 2017

FREE Access to Findmypast Military Records until Saturday

For Freedom. For Honor. For You.



Don’t let your family’s military heroes be forgotten. Unearth their remarkable stories in original documents from the US, UK, Ireland and more. Together, we’ll keep their legacies alive.


Monday, 30 October 2017

Researching Pauper Ancestors

During Victorian times, most of the 19th century, poverty was a scourge and there was tremendous stigma attached to being poor. It was felt that if the poor were shamed and treated poorly, they would try harder to eke out a living, however meagre.  

The Poor Law Act was enacted in 1845 and the caring for the poor became the responsibility of the local councils/burghs through the passing of the Poor Law Act. The Act established parochial boards in the parishes and towns, and ensured a central Board of Supervision which was based in Edinburgh. The Board of Supervision was granted the ability to raise taxes in order to cover the poor relief payments.



Unlike England, where the impoverished faced a life in the Workhouses, Scotland preferred a system of  'out relief’. This allowed for the person in need of relief to remaining in their own home and receive regular small payments. This might allow the person to partially support themselves through work and to receive assistance from family members, charities and friendly societies, rather than becoming wholly dependent upon poor relief payments. Clearly the expectation was that if you were in need, then your family had an obligation to provide assistance. This is clearly seen in the questions that are asked during the application process.

The 1845 Poor Law Act also allowed parishes to operate poorhouses. Sometimes two or more parishes would join together to establish ‘combination’ poorhouses. This meant that the funding for the poorhouse was a combined responsibility of the joint parishes. 

Poor relief was not for able bodied persons who were unable to find work. It was for those who were infirm or incapable of being able to work. This might be men who were injured on the job, people who had a chronic illness, the elderly or perhaps  women of young children whose husbands had deserted them or who were incarcerated.   Other eligible persons would be those with intellectual or mental health  impairments.  In addition, the person who was seeking relief would need to prove that for whatever reason, their family were unable to assist them in their time of need.

Because of the restrictions around eligibility, not everyone who applied received relief. However, the poor law applications followed the applicant for several years and as circumstances changed, they may become eligible at a later time. The records give tremendous insight into the lives of those who applied.

In seeking information regarding the applicant, the council tried to determine not only eligibility by also who ultimately was responsible for the applicant. If the person was deemed not to have lived in the council area for a minimum of 7 years, then they were sent back to their place of origin to attempt to get relief there.

The questions on the application were quite thorough and provide a depth of insight not as clearly seen in other record sets. The information includes:

·         Name
·         Age
·         Sex
·         Marital Status
·         Date and place of marriage
·         Name of spouse
·         Names of any children residing in the household
·         Ages of children residing in the house
·         Status of child - whether working or in school
·         If working, wages of child (in this case, the children would be expected to contribute to           the household and offset any financial need)
·         The applicant's address
·         Monthly rent
·         Occupation
·         Employer or former employer
·         Religion
·         Name of the church
·         Names of parents of applicant
·         Name of parents of applicant's spouse
·         Parent and in law status as to whether alive, working etc. 

   Again the applicant would have been expected to reach out to family for assistance before applying for poor relief.

·         Any insurance companies applicant had a policy with

 The poor relief applications are with the local council archives for the area where your ancestor lived.


Sunday, 29 October 2017

Canada Northwest Land Company Settlements

Following the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, the lands in the western part of Canada opened for settlement. The Canada North-West Land Company, incorporated in 1882, provided 11 settlements in the provinces of Assiniboia (Manitoba) and Alberta, 30 miles apart from each other and extending along the CPR lines at the foot of the Rockies.  The settlements each comprised 10,000 acres. 


Unlike the settlement grants in the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario, the grants in the west came fully stocked. While the grants in the east came with uncleared land, the grants in the west were “systematically” settled. The Canadian Agricultural, Coal and Colonization Company’s plans show this quite clearly.

 In the centre of each settlement, 640 acres were to be dedicated to the “village” including shops, a school and a church.  The outlying areas were to be divided into 1000 acre lots which were to be completely fenced, and were to come equipped with: 
  •        A farm house
  •        Furniture
  •        Stables
  •     A barn
  •     Cattle and sheep sheds
  •      50 sheep
  •        5 cattle
  •     1 mare
  •        1 sow

Each settlement area (village) was to share ploughs, wagons and rakes.
Each farmer paid £100 and was loaned £192 by the settlement company.

The primary purpose in setting these settlements up was to prevent isolation of any one family, having people emigrate with family or neighbours from their community and placing them together. On the new settlements, they were surrounded by people they knew and were able to carry on the traditions and customs of their lives in Scotland.

The purpose in having the farms fully equipped was to alleviate the hardships of the earlier settlement schemes and provide the farmer with a fully equipped and revenue bearing farm whereby he could begin to repay his loan that much sooner and be ready to own his own land that much faster.  

Maps and land grants for the Canada Northwest Land Company are on microfilm and held by the Glenbow Archives:

Some of the documents have been scanned and digitized and made available on the Internet Archives:


Saturday, 28 October 2017

Settling the Huron Tract

In 1826, a group of London based business men came together to form the Canada Company. The purpose of this conglomerate was, essentially, to sell parcels of land in what became known as the Huron Tract. The Huron Tract consisted of 2,484,000 acres of land in western Ontario, north of Lake Erie, south of Lake Huron and encompassing lands east of Lake St Clair. The Huron Tract covered parts of what are now Perth, Huron, Middlesex and Wellington Counties.

The Huron Tract  was managed by John Galt. Galt saw the Huron Tract as an agricultural settlement with the land owned by individual farmers. Settlers were attracted by the prospect of land. This land comprised some of the richest and most fertile farming country in Ontario.
  

The largest group of settlers along the Huron Tract were from Scotland. In 1833 there were about 685 people living on the Huron Tract. By 1839 the number of settlers had risen to 4,804. The earliest township records are for Goderich and Tuckersmith and date to 1835. Land in Grey County, also part of the Huron Tract, started being settled in 1852.

Land records for the Huron Tract can be found on the Library and Archives Canada website:






Friday, 27 October 2017

Feeling Stuck? Create a Research Plan

When you come to what you think is a dead end, or a "brick wall" in your Scottish research, step back, and take a better look at the documents. Scottish documents contain a wealth of information and can make researching so much easier when you really take a look at what the documents are telling you.

Use a spreadsheet or create a chart with five columns:

WHAT I ALREADY HAVE
QUESTIONS UNANSWERED
DOCUMENTS
NEEDED
WHERE THOSE DOCUMENTS ARE
NOTES

  • Make a list of all of the documents you already have so that you don't waste time searching for them again.
  • Think about what you already know from the documents you have.
  • What questions are still unanswered?
  • What do you still need to know?
  • Looking at the documents you have and knowing what you still need to find out, what are the best documents for you to get that might give you the answers you need?
  • Next do some online research to determine where you are likely to find the records that will help you fill in the gaps or chip away at your brick walls (newspapers, land records, church records)
  • Move forward by starting to look through documents you may have missed in the past. If you can’t access the records online and can’t plan a trip, reach out to a local genealogist who can work on your behalf to access the records and the information you need to help break through your stagnation and move your research forward.