Lease this WebApp and get rid of the ads.
Andy Morrison
Research Ideas
Sat Mar 10, 2012 13:22

I have been doing some research on my website, 'Andy Morrisons West Highland Genealogy' and I thought some of the ideas I have used may be of interest to this forum.

In common with a lot of Old Parish Registers those for the Isle of Lewis start at a relatively late date that of Barvas for instance 1810.

I had the idea that if you look at the 1841 Census for Barvas you can tell that anyone aged over 31 was born before the start of the Parish Register, and some one 90 years of age for instance was born about the year 1751.

The Census(1841) gives the information that the person was either born or not born in the same county, usually it is yes, and usually probably in the same immeadiate area in the case of Lewis anyway, and probably most in the Moidart and surrounding areas.
So a list can be made of those born previous to the Parish Register, in the case of Barvas from 1754 to 1810.

Checking through the Statutory Deaths from as late as 1855 onwards may not seem a good source at first, but in fact is a method of finding much of great interest possibly not found elsewhere.

I searched Barvas Statutory Deaths of those (Morrisons in this case) who died aged beween the ages of 80-100 from 1855-1865, 1865-1875, etc which came up with a great deal of information.

The record gives the place, time, and cause of death for these individuals again reasonably probably to have been born in that place, in fact some of the records state how long they had lived there.

Most interestingly the record gives almost without exception the names of the parents of the desceased, occupation, and mothers maiden name, themselves obviously long gone, and perhaps not mentioned elsewhere in published record, as for instance in Lewis where no estate rentals for the mid 18th centuary are available.

Some early records also give the spouse of deceased and their offspring, living and dead in date order, also an informant usually a son or daughter or grandchild.

Using this method I can give two examples.

The Acharacle parish Register starts in 1819, the census records can be checked to see who was born before this date.

I searched Stat Deaths for MacEachan 1855-65, 80-100 and the following was the earliest date.

Janet McEachan, widow, died 27th February 1862 aged 97 years( born c 1765) at Kinlochmoidart, Acharacle.

John McEachan, farmer.
Margaret McEachan, Maiden name MacDonald.

The Morvern Parish Register starts in 1803.

I searched Cameron 80-100 1855-65 the oldest date was.

Mary Cameron widow died 21 Dec 1856, Achabeg, Morvern, aged 82 years (born c 1774)

Allan McInnis Tenant, deceased.
Christy McInnis, Maiden name McInnis.

She was buried at Kilcolmkill, and the informant was Donald Cameron, son.

So as you can imagine using this method it is possible to not only compile a list of Pre-Parish Register births but a lot of invaluable information about the generation before.

It is possible to be able to verify the information, and add to it using all the Census records, and if they exist against any earlier records, Estate rentals for instance.

For the Camerons for instance The Commissariot Records of Argyll are a very useful source.

The draw back is that to do all this requires using a lot of credits on Scotlands People, its is 5 to view one death record and you only get to view three records on one page, which information you could record for your or others interest.

This may be a method members of this forum may wish to take up for their particular name, as its too large a task for one person to undertake.

Best wishes

    • Re: Research IdeasJoseph Mac Isaac, Sun Mar 11 10:40
      Thanks Andy that is very helpful/
  • Click here to receive daily updates