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Thread: Scottish Social History Q

  1. #1

    Scottish Social History Q

    I am ashamed to say that my knowledge of Scottish social history is virtually nil!

    Can anyone tell me - what is the likelihood of someone born in the late 1700s NOT being baptised? I do know that in England and Wales, is was virtually impossible NOT to be baptised - the Church chased you, and baptism was something which gave you certain rights within a parish - without a baptism, you were on your own if you got into any financial trouble.

    I know that Scotland did not have Rights of Settlement, the same way that England did - but what was the norm?

    I have a death cert for 1867 of a man born 1805, which names his mother in full, but his father only as "surname Urquhart". Using the PRs, I have found the marriage of the mother to a Donald Urquhart in 1794.

    But there are no baptisms of any children to this couple, either together, or separately. I do know they remained in the same parish all their lives.


  2. #2
    I am not totally sure how things were back then but I do have a direct ancestor born in 1833 who wasn't baptised. Thankfully she was married in 1855 (The first year of Statutory Registration in Scotland) and her date of birth is given, along with the fact that she was never baptised.

    I do know that the Scotlands People website only holds parish records for those baptised church of scotland too...... so any other denomination can't be found on there.
    With Experience comes Realisation

  3. #3
    OC.... sorry meant to add that it was common amongst poorer families as the church of Scotland charged a fee and if a family couldn't afford it then it didn't happen.

    Mind you I wouldn't give up hope entirely because the spelling errors in the parish records at times can be even worse than anywhere else
    With Experience comes Realisation

  4. #4

    Thankyou - at least I know it was possible for a whole family of kids NOT to be baptised!

    I am also starting to man is Daniel, which is frequently mistranscribed as David. Is it possible that Daniel and DONALD are interchangeable?

    Daniel has a son Daniel - but not a son Donald, and there are no Donalds forward in this family at any point. The family was from the Black Isles, if that makes any difference in the accent!


  5. #5
    Are these Urquhart's from Ross & Cromarty??

    Names were always interchangeable they just seemed to call themselves whatever they felt like at the time.
    With Experience comes Realisation

  6. #6
    Member Uncle John's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    OC: I fell into a site by accident some time ago that gave all the various fallings-out, schisms and amalgamations of the Scottish churches over the centuries. As BigShaz says, SP only holds OPR records for the (established) Church of Scotland, not for any of the many dissenting churches.

    My great-grandmother and her siblings are one notable chunk of my tree for which I have no baps, though their parents were married in the CofS.
    Uncle John

  7. #7

    Yes, they were from Ross and Cromarty - took me some time to work out that was where Rossshire had moved to, lol!

    I am further unnerved to find a place called Nigg - another Scottish branch were from Nigg, which I had identified as being Aberdeen (again, it moved about over the centuries) and now have to go through all this lot again and find out if they lived at Nigg in the Highlands, or Nigg in Aberdeen....

    I do remember reading somewhere ages ago, that Scottish Highland research is made very difficult because they changed their names according to the occasion, and where they were at the time - Donald MacDonald on one hillside became Malcolm McKay, for a visit to another hillside!

    I feel very much the newbie with this Scottish research, and the feeling reminds me of when I first started family history donkeys years ago - didn't know anything, not even where to look, and didn't know what there was to look at, anyway!


  8. #8
    One of my 3xGreat Grandmothers was born in Resolis, Ross and Cromarty
    She seemed to flit about too and married a Guy in Nairn, Nairnshire who was born in Ardersier, Inverness

    I am often amazed at how much people moved around way back then and wonder how they did it.

    One direct line managed to go from St Andrews in Fife to Clackmannan then to Dunfermline before flitting down to England for a short time with wife and 6 kids where they stayed long enough to have a 7th before going all the way back to Fife sometime before 1855 (child 7 died here) they had more children before finally ending their days in lanarkshire

    I did find a David Urquhart on IGI born to a David and Margaret Hunter in Resolis Ross and Cromarty in July 1805. But then I doubt its that easy..... must be a different one
    With Experience comes Realisation

  9. #9
    OC - I am one quarter Scottish through my grandmother, and I would never have got a fraction of the information I have on her family had it not been for about 3 contacts from GR (which made it worth my while in the early days). They had done most of the research for my Wisharts, and a lot for my Johnstons.

    And then a few kind souls took pity on me and helped me find my elusive Richardsons - the surprise being that my great-grandmother was illegitimate and her mum was rather free and loose with her favours!

    I found SP very difficult to search at first. People kept telling me what great value it was, but it didn't feel like it when my credits disappeared in minutes because I was researching a common name like "Robert Johnston" and didn't have a clue where he came from!

    I have rather neglected them over the past year, and will have to return to them again. The saving grace was when Ancestry put the Scottish censuses on line, because at least it is easier to search that way!

    Good luck!
    Last edited by Elizabeth Herts; 07-01-08 at 17:48.
    Research Interests:
    England:Purkis, Stilwell, Quintrell, White (Surrey - Guildford), Jeffcoat, Bond, Alexander, Lamb, Newton (Lincolnshire, Stalybridge, London)
    Scotland:Richardson (Banffshire), Wishart (Kincardineshire), Johnston (Kincardineshire)

  10. #10
    Elizabeth I know the feeling.... I also have Richardson's & Johnston's but lets not even go there with my Grant's, Paterson's, Hamilton's Robertson's etc. etc. For good measure I even have Smith's which is actually the most popular name in Scotland

    It is hard watching the credits fly down but over the years I have managed to find my own way of researching to get the best out of my cash. Sadly when I go to home to visit I never get time to go and search in person by the time I have seen to all the living relatives and of course my friends
    With Experience comes Realisation

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