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Some help for Scottish searches
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To: Mark James Bradshaw: M.J.B@bigpond.com
CC: Sinclair list: firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Robert Sinclair Rodger, Halifax, Nova Scotia:
Date: 29 June 1998
Subj: Some help on a Fife family
First, let me say what a pleasure it was to hear from someone
Down Under. It brought back happy memories of driving in my
Holden up Pacific Highway, past all the banana plantations, to
Brisbane in 1970.
Also your enquiry about Sinclairs from Fife were directed to a
Fifer: I was raised in Fife, though neither in Dunfermline where
King Robert the Bruce is buried, nor Dysart; but I know both
I am not a genealogist, but I can certainly give you some tips
on hunting down your ancestors in Scotland. Unfortunately, in
spite of being a Fifer, I know nothing about your Fife ancestors.
FAMILY FACTS: As you probably know, you should obtain as much
information as you can from your family - including written
records, such as birth, marriage, death certificates, family
bible entries, letters and annotated photographs. It is a
devil of a job to hunt down someone born in Fife if they were
actually born in Kinross - and being born in England makes
bedevilment worse! And one must be always open to the idea
that family memories, even written records, including official
records, can be wrong. My great grandmother Frances Charlotte
Mercer Swan (Lockhart) was born in 1828, or 1825, or 1835 if
you believe the census records of 7 June 1841, 8 April 1861 or
death certificate of 8 September 1893: I have been unable to find
any record of her actual birth!
NEW REGISTER HOUSE: The Scots have a wonderful centre for
genealogical research. It is The General Register Office for
Scotland, New Register House, Edinburgh EH1 3YT Scotland
(Telephone +44 131 314 4441 Fax +44 131 314 4400). The building
is behind General Register House at The Wellington Monument, on
the other side of Princes Street from the G.P.O. and Waverley
When I visit I usually write off some weeks in advance, to book
a seat and buy a pass. That cost me more than 16 pounds sterling
a day in 1994, or over 60 pounds sterling for a 5-day week. The
staff will search out records requested by mail and send one
copies, but each such copy will cost 10 pounds sterling or more
- not a good deal for a canny Scot who can copy down the
essential facts of maybe 20 records in a day's search. However,
requesting a copy of a few, well-specified, official records
by mail would be a lot cheaper than travel from Queensland to
Edinburgh: unless one was visiting the Old Country in any case.
New Register House (NRH) keeps the official records of births,
marriages, and deaths in Scotland from 1 January 1855, and of
divorces from May 1984. These are indexed on computers within
NRH (what a pity they're not on the Internet) by type of record
(birth B, marriage M, death D, divorce V), sex (male M, female
F), year, family name, first initial. Each entry has a District
and an Entry Number which allow one to find the record from the
millions of microfiches stored in filing cabinets.
I prepare for myself a number of blank forms before I visit and
fill them in during my searches. For births: name; date; time;
place; father; occupation; mother; occupation; date and place
married; name of informant and relationship. For marriages:
bride's name; address; occupation; age; date of birth; same for
the groom; place and date of marriage; who carried out the
marriage; father of bride name; occupation; mother of bride name;
maiden name; same for groom's parents; names and addresses of
witnesses. For deaths: name; marital status; address; date;
time; place of death; date of birth or age; cause of death;
occupation; spouse's name; occupation; father's name; occupation;
mother's name; maiden name; name of informant and relationship.
I do not have enough recent divorces to warrant a blank form for
OLD PARISH REGISTERS OPR: NRH also has microfilm copy of church
registers of births/baptisms, banns/marriages, deaths/burials
from 1553 through 1854. These are only for Church of Scotland
records, and they are sometimes missing or difficult to read.
We all benefit from the fact that The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints (LDS) has made an index of the OPR, excluding
deaths, and that index can be consulted in NRH.
CENSUSES: Among the other records kept in NRH are microfilms of
the censuses in Scotland; every 10 years from 1841 through 1891.
GENEALOGISTS: Assuming one cannot visit Edinburgh and one does
not want to use the staff in NRH to seek out records, there are
genealogists who will do this work for a fee. A few names are:
Association of Scottish Genealogists and Record Agents, 51/3
Mortonhall Road, Edinburgh EH9 2HN. Scots Ancestry Research
Society, 29B Albany Street, Edinburgh EH1 3QN. Maggie C.
Sinclair MA ASGRA, 83 Newington Road, Edinburgh EH9 1QW. I give
this last name (from many) because of the family connection!
LDS: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has Family
History Centres over much of the world. There they keep copies
of their OPR index and a computer International Genealogical
Index. They do not keep copies of the OPR or Census Records in
their various Centres, but (certainly from Canada) one can order
a copy of the appropriate microfilm from Salt Lake City, Utah.
I looked on the Internet and found in:
Genealogical Society of Queensland, 1st Floor Woolloongabba Post
Office, Stanley Street, Woolloongabba, QLD 4102 and PO Box 8423,
Woolloongabba, QLD 4102.
Queensland Family History Society, PO Box 171, Indooroopilly,
QLD 4068. e-mail email@example.com Then in
at links "World Family History Centes", then from link "Australia
and New Zealand" I found the Family History Centre address:
Kangaroo Point, 200 River Terrace, Brisbane; and there are more.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welcomes people
to its Family History Centres
Since your clearest query seems to be about the marriage of Henry
Alexander Bradshaw to Margaret Logan Sinclair in Dysart in 1918,
you might request a copy of that record from NRH (or a genealogist)
Having confirmed their ages and who their parents were, the
parent's marriage record might be sought next. The search for
the birth of Margaret Logan Sinclair's siblings might go next.
Since all of your queries, at present, are for 1870 and later,
they should be in official records and not in the OPR (nor the
LDS International Genealogical Index I believe).
I hope the above information helps you, and I wish you good luck
on the trail: it's fun.
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