Scottish law professions

Posted September 17, 2015 11:38 am by Hazel Stewart | Permalink

74422404_3 The legal profession in Scotland has a long and distinguished history, with individuals employed as advocates, procurators, writers and notaries. The library has a wide range of publications that provide biographical and professional details of many of those who were employed in these professions.

The Faculty of Advocates, created in 1532 and based in Edinburgh, is an independent body of lawyers who have been admitted to practise in the courts in Scotland. Details of members can be found in ‘The Faculty of Advocates in Scotland, 1532-1943, with genealogical notes’, edited by Sir Francis J. Grant (1944); ‘The Faculty of Advocates, 1800-1986: a biographical dictionary of members admitted from 1 January 1800 to 31 December 1986′ by Stephen P. Walker (1987); and ‘The Faculty of Advocates directory’ which we hold for 1992, 1997, 1999 and 2001-2. There is also a Society of Advocates in Aberdeen and John A. Henderson’s ‘History of the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen’ (1912) includes lists of members with biographical information for 1549-1911.

Writers to the Signet originally acted as clerks to the courts but most members today are solicitors in private practice, mainly based in Edinburgh. There are several books providing details of those who were members of this body including ‘A history of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet with a list of the members of the Society from 1594 to 1890 and an abstract of the minutes’ (1890); ‘The Society of Writers to His Majesty’s Signet with a list of the members’ (1936); and ‘Register of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet’ (1983). There are also two publications that provide evidence of members that served during the two world wars: ‘Roll of Honour of Members of the Society of Writers to His Majesty’s Signet, and Apprentices 1914-1919′ (1920) and ‘Active Service Record: Members of the Society of Writers to His Majesty’s Signet, and Apprentices 1939-1945′ (1948). A similar organisation exists in Glasgow, called the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow. In John S. Muirhead’s ‘The Old Minute Book of the Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow 1668-1758′ (1948) there is a lengthy list of members of the Faculty between 1668-1758.

Notaries in Scotland were responsible for conveyancing and drafting and authenticating deeds, marriage contracts and testaments. They could also work in other branches of the legal profession but not always. A recent publication by John Finlay, ‘Admission Register of Notaries Public in Scotland, 1700-1799′ (2012) provides some biographical and professional information on those who followed this profession.

Finally, there are some general directories that published lists of lawyers and other legal professions in Scotland, including the ‘Scottish law list’ for 1848-49 and 1962-63 and ‘Index juridicus’ for 1848-51, 1853-65 and 1867-1961.

Emigration societies

Posted August 25, 2015 9:42 am by Hazel Stewart | Permalink

shipping-posterDuring the nineteenth century many emigration societies were set up to help individuals and groups of people who wished to seek a better life abroad. Two of the most well-known societies were the Highland and Islands Emigration Society and the Glasgow Emigration Societies or Lanark Settlers, as they became known.

There are a number of publications in the library that provide further information on the Highlands and Islands Emigration Society. These include the ‘Report of the Highland Emigration Society, from its formation in April 1852, until April 1853′ (1853). This pamphlet outlines the aims of the Society, as well as including names of the ships and numbers of emigrants sent to Australia during that year. A complete passenger list for the ‘Georgiana’ also appears, listing the names of the main householder in each party, the number of people in the family, their occupation, salary and employer details.

Some further investigations of the Scots who arrived in Australia with the H & I Emigration Society is discussed in ‘The Highland Scots of South Australia’ by Eric Richards, ‘Journal of the Historical Society of South Australia’, Number 4, 1978 and Donna Hellier’s ‘The Humblies: the Emigration of Highland Scots to Victoria in the 1850s via the Highland and Island Emigration Society’ (1983).

For those researching ancestors who left Scotland between 1852-57 with this Society, a database of passenger names can be searched on the website of the Scottish Archive Network.

The ‘Lanark Settlers’ comprised members of more than forty societies that formed to help Scots from the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire areas of Scotland emigrate to Upper Canada in the early nineteenth century. The Agent that helped arrange this was Robert Lamond and he published ‘A narrative of the rise & progress of emigration, from the counties of Lanark & Renfrew, to the new settlements in Upper Canada, on Government Grant; comprising the proceedings of the Glasgow Committee for directing the affairs and embarkation of the Societies. With a map of the townships, designs for cottages, and a plan of the ship Earl of Buckinghamshire. Also, interesting letters from the settlements’ (1821).

There are also several published books on the subject including Carol Bennett’s ‘The Lanark Society Settlers 1820-1821′ (1991); Gerald J. Neville’s ‘The Lanark Society Settlers: Ships’ Lists of the Glasgow Emigration Society 1821′ (1995); and ‘Emigration and Scottish Society: the background of three Government assisted emigrations to Upper Canada 1815-1821′ (1990) by Michael E. Vance.

Dean of Guild Court records

Posted August 3, 2015 9:49 am by Hazel Stewart | Permalink

The Dean of Guild Court was a local government body, active in the burghs of Scotland, that was responsible for regulating building standards until 1975. If you are researching the history of a particular house or building, then these records may assist your research. The most prolific researcher into this area of burgh life is the archivist Iain Gray. He has published a number of books and articles that describe in detail the development and history of the Courts, their importance in the study of urban history and locations of surviving records. His works include:

  • ‘A guide to Dean of Guild Court records’, (1994)
  • ‘Survey of Dean of Guild Court records’, published in ‘Scottish Architects’ Papers a source book’, pages 169-203 (1996)
  • ‘A journey of discovery: surveying Scotland’s Dean of Guild Court records’, published in ‘Architectural Heritage’, volume 7, pages 44-48 (1996)
  • ‘Dean of Guild Court records: a unique resource for Scottish urban history’, published in ‘Scottish Archives’, volume 5, pages 41-48 (1999)

The library also holds a few other titles that provide information on specific Dean of Guild Courts. These include Andrew Jackson’s in depth ‘Glasgow Dean of Guild Court: a history’, (1983) and two publications by Robert Miller, an Edinburgh Lord Dean of Guild: ‘Guide to the procedure of the Dean of Guild Court of Edinburgh with a short history of the Guildry’, (1891) and ‘The Edinburgh Dean of Guild Court: a manual of history and procedure with chapters on the Guildry of Edinburgh and the Dean of Guild’, (1896).

Finally, more information on this subject can be found on the website of the National Records of Scotland, who hold some of the original records in their collections.

NLS at the Lanarkshire Family History Show, 22 Aug 2015

Posted July 20, 2015 4:04 pm by Hazel Stewart | Permalink

The biggest local and family history show comes to Motherwell Concert Hall & Theatre on Saturday 22 August 2015, 9.45am-4.30pm. There will be a variety of exhibitors, school displays and professional genealogists providing an ‘Ask the Experts’ service. There will also be four talks by eminent speakers: Chris Fleet on National Library of Scotland maps; Chris Paton on using newspapers for family research; Tristram Clarke on soldiers’ wills; and Graham Maxwell on tracing illegitimate ancestors in the Sheriff Court records.

Admission for adults is £2, with children free of charge. The talks are £4 each: a delegate ticket is also available for £14 and includes admission and all four talks. Further details on the show, as well as the opportunity to purchase tickets in advance, can be found on the show website.

As well as Chris Fleet’s talk on NLS maps, we will also have an exhibitor’s stall at the show. We hope to see you there.

Prisoners of war in Scotland

Posted July 6, 2015 11:48 am by Hazel Stewart | Permalink

74440689_3From the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteenth century to the First and Second World Wars of the twentieth, there have been prisoners of war held in camps in Scotland. The library collections include a number of books and journal articles on these prisoners and the conditions in which they were held.

The most comprehensive and detailed account of the Napoleonic prisoners is found in Ian MacDougall’s book ‘All men are brethren: French, Scandinavian, Italian, German, Dutch, Belgian, Spanish, Polish, West Indian, American and other prisoners of war in Scotland during the Napoleonic Wars, 1803-1814′ (2008). This work, which took twenty years to research, provides an invaluable insight into the lives of the prisoners. The author has also published ‘The prisoners at Penicuik: French and other prisoners of war, 1803-1814′ (1989), which focusses primarily on the three camps in the town: Greenlaw, Esk Mills and Valleyfield.

There are a number of journal articles in ‘The Scottish Post: the journal of the Scottish Postal History Society’ that provide an overview of camps in Scotland.

  • David Jefferies, ‘Prisoner of war camps in Scotland’, no.56 (1992), pp.490-5
  • David Jefferies, ‘Update on prisoner of war camps in Scotland’, no.58 (1993), pp.524-5
  • David Jefferies, ‘P.O.W. camps in Scotland’, no.70 (1996), pp.726-7
  • James Mackay, ‘Prisoner of war camps in Scotland’, no.112 (2006), pp.7-11

During the First World War there was a camp at Stobs near Hawick in the Scottish Borders. The library holds several articles on this camp which were published in the ‘Transactions of the Hawick Archaeological Society’.

  • E. Judith Murray, ‘Stobs Camp 1903-1959′ (1988), pp.12-25
  • Julie M. Horne, ‘The German connection: the Stobs Camp newspaper 1916-1919′ (1988), pp.26-32
  • Stefan Manz, ‘New evidence on Stobs Internment Camp 1914-1919′ (2002), pp.59-69

Another area of the country that held German prisoners was the Inner Hebrides on the west coast of scotland. The story of their forced employment as iron-ore miners is told in ‘The Raasay Iron Mine 1912-1942: where enemies become friends’ by Lawrence & Pamela Draper (1990).

In World War II Scotland hosted both German and Italian P.O.W.s. James MacDonald’s book ‘Churchill’s Prisoners: the Italians in Orkney 1942-1944′ (1987) provides a historical overview of the subject. Johann Custodis’ article ‘Exploiting the enemy in the Orkneys: the employment of Italian prisoners of war on the Scapa Flow barriers during the second world war’, published in ‘Journal of Scottish Historical Studies’, Vol.31(1) (2011), pp.72-98, considers the moral and ethical issues surrounding this period of history.

Finally, a recent publication sheds light on one of the most hidden camps in Scotland: ‘Camp 165 Watten: Scotland’s most secretive prisoner of war camp’ by Valerie Campbell (2008). The camp was situated at Watten in Caithness and housed some high ranking prisoners. The book is based primarily on oral testimony of those who lived in the area and those who were imprisoned in the camp.

Farm servants in Scotland

Posted June 18, 2015 7:38 pm by Hazel Stewart | Permalink

Farming has an important role in the economic and social history of Scotland, with many of our ancestors working on the land. The library has a wealth of information on this subject including various academic studies such as ‘Farm servants and labour in lowland Scotland 1770-1914′, edited by T.M. Devine (1984), ‘Farm life in northeast Scotland 1840-1914: the poor man’s country’ by Ian Carter (1997) and ‘Farming and the land’, edited by Alexander Fenton & Kenneth Veitch (2011).

There are also books of personal recollections from those who were involved in the industry. Some examples include:

  • ‘Stells, stools, strupag: a personal reminiscence of sheep, shepherding, farming and the social activities of a Highland parish’ by Campbell Slimon (2007) – the parish being Laggan in Badenoch
  • ‘A life on the land: farming in Angus 1934-1994: Harry Brown’, edited by D.G. Orr (2003)
  • ‘Two hundred years of farming in Sutherland: the story of my family’ by Reay D.G. Clarke (2014) – the story of the Clarke family of Eriboll
  • ‘A shepherd remembers: reminiscences of a Border shepherd’ by Andrew Purves (2001)
  • ‘Bondagers: eight Scots women farm workers’ by Ian MacDougall (2000)
  • ‘Hard work ye ken: Midlothian women farm workers’, edited by Ian MacDougall (1993)

Finally, there is the trilogy of works by David K. Cameron, which tell the tale of farming life in the northeast Scottish lowlands: ‘The Ballad and the plough: a portrait of the life of the old Scottish farmtouns’ (2008); ‘Willie Gavin, crofter man: a portrait of a vanished lifestyle’ (2008); and ‘The cornkister days: a portrait of a land and its rituals’ (2008).

Papermaking in Scotland

Posted June 9, 2015 2:15 pm by Hazel Stewart | Permalink

85569253_3 Papermaking was introduced into Scotland in 1590 and during the Industrial Revolution became a major industry in Scotland, especially around the Aberdeenshire and Lowlands areas. Details of paper mills throughout Scotland, England and Wales were published annually in the ‘Paper Mills Directory’: the library holds various editions of this title produced between 1860 and 1940.

The library also holds a wide range of published histories of paper mills throughout Scotland, often including personal recollections of those that were employed in the industry. Many of these works also reproduce photographs of the mill buildings, equipment and employees. Examples include:

  • ‘A Passion for Papermaking: a history of Davidson Mill Aberdeen’ by J. Neville Bartlett (1998)
  • ‘One Hundred Years of Papermaking: an illustrated history of the Guard Bridge Paper Company Ltd. 1873-1973′ by Lorna Weatherill (1974)
  • ‘Papermaking on the Water of Leith’ edited by A. McCleery, D. Finkelstein & S. Bromage (2006)
  • ‘The Last Mill on the Esk: 150 years of papermaking’ by Nigel Watson (1987)
  • ‘History of Culter Paper Mills: two hundred years of progress’ (1951)
  • ‘Carrongrove: 200 years of papermaking’ (2000)
  • ‘Through the Mill: personal recollections by veteran men and women Penicuik paper mill workers’ by Ian MacDougall (2009)

As well as these histories, the library also holds copies of catalogues of papermaking machinery, such as the ‘Illustrated catalogue of paper-making machinery’ produced by Bertrams Limited of Edinburgh in 1921.

Finally, there are a number of websites that provide further information on the paper-making industry in Scotland including Penicuik Papermaking, British Association of Paper Historians, The Scottish Printing Archival Trust and from Pulp to Print: Records of the Papermaking Industry.

Quintinshill Rail Disaster

Posted May 22, 2015 9:11 am by Hazel Stewart | Permalink

On 22 May 1915 one of the worst railway accidents in Scotland happened at Quintinshill near Gretna Green in Dumfriesshire. Five trains were involved: a troop train carrying soldiers from the Leith Battalion of the Royal Scots, a local passenger train, a Glasgow express and two goods vehicles. Over 200 people were killed, with a similar number injured.

There have been a number of books published on this dreadful accident which can be viewed in the library. They include ‘The Quintinshill Conspiracy: the shocking true story behind Britain’s worst rail disaster’ by Jack Richards and Adrian Searle (2013), ‘Gretna: Britain’s worst railway disaster (1915)’ by John Thomas (1969), ‘The Sorrows of Quintinshill’ by G.L. Routledge (2002) and ‘Britain’s greatest rail disaster: the Quintinshill blaze of 1915′ by J.A.B. Hamilton (1969). These books contain detailed accounts of the events as well as photographs, maps, diagrams, newspaper reports and lists of those killed.

The official report by Lieutenant-Colonel Druitt to the Board of Trade can also be found in the library [Ref: Cd 8114 PP LX 1914-1916 Railway Accidents 1915]. This comprises the full text of the report, witness statements and the report’s conclusion. An electronic version can be accessed by library members with a Scottish address via the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers digital resource.

Finally, the library also holds a small collection catalogued as the ‘Quintinshill Rail Disaster’. It comprises five items about the memorial which was commissioned by the Scottish Area of the Western Front Association and includes the order of service, dedication and photographs of the memorial.

Further information on the accident can be found on the Railways Archive website, while details of the soldiers that were buried at Rosebank Cemetery, Edinburgh can be seen on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

Prison Register Indexes

Posted May 6, 2015 1:33 pm by Hazel Stewart | Permalink

The National Records of Scotland hold the original prison registers for Scotland (Reference: HH21) for the period 1798-1996. Graham and Emma Maxwell of Maxwell Ancestry have helpfully published indexes to a number of these registers from the Borders area of Scotland. The indexes, which are held by this library, contain the full name of the prisoner, their residence and occupation, their approximate year of birth and birthplace and their crime and year of imprisonment. The library holds the following volumes:

  • Greenlaw Prison, Berwickshire, 1840-1862
  • Hawick Prison, Roxburghshire, 1844-1862
  • Jedburgh Prison, Roxburghshire, 1843-1869
  • Kelso Prison, Roxburghshire, 1844-1862
  • Peebles Prison, Peebleshire, 1848-1862
  • Selkirk Prison, Selkirkshire, 1828-1840 & 1853-1878

The original registers contain further details on each prisoner, including their physical appearance and distinguishing marks, their state of health and their behaviour while in prison.

Convicts in Australia

Posted April 22, 2015 10:51 am by Hazel Stewart | Permalink

The first convict ships for Australia set sail in 1787. They arrived in January 1788 and established the colony of New South Wales. Over the next eighty years approximately 165,000 criminals were transported from Britain to the Australian penal colonies. The library holds a number of books that tell the story of transportation to Australia, with ‘The Fatal Shore: a history of the transportation of convicts to Australia 1787-1868′ by Robert Hughes (1998) being the most well known.

There are also a number of publications available which describe the surviving records and where they can be found. Examples include ‘Bound for Australia: a guide to the records of transported convicts and early settlers’ by David T Hawkings (2012) and Cora Num’s ‘Convict Records in Australia’ (2007). The State Records Authority of New South Wales has produced an official work titled ‘Guide to New South Wales State Archives relating to convicts and convict administration’ (2006). This book provides in-depth coverage of the available records and what they contain.

Some of the books held by the library focus on convicts in specific areas of Australia, including ‘Convicts of the Port Phillip District’ by Keith M Clarke (1999)  and ‘Convicts in Western Australia 1850-1887′ by Rica Erickson & Gillian O’Mara (1994). Photographs and histories of individual convicts who were transported to Tasmania can be seen in Edwin Barnard’s book ‘Exiled: the Port Arthur Convict Photographs’ (2000).

Scots were also transported to Australia and the library holds some publications that provide details of individuals who were sent to the penal colonies. David Dobson’s three volume ‘Directory of Scots in Australasia, 1788-1900′ (1994-7) differentiates between those who were transported and those who emigrated by their own choice. ‘Tay Valley People in Australia’ (1988) also splits its list of individuals into those that went voluntarily and those that were sent by order of the courts.