Thursday, May 29, 2008

CVGS "Scottish Research" Program by Jackie Webster

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society program meeting speaker on Wednesday, 28 May, was Jackie Webster, who spoke on "Scottish Research." Jackie's CV and talk summary was posted here.

Jackie focused on the research that can be performed either using online resources or the LDS resources available at the San Diego Family History Center. She explained where records were located at the FHC, especially the Research Guides, the microfilms, the CDROMs, the computers, and the British Isles (BIGRA) collection. Jackie described the major books found at the reference desk, the general book shelves and the British Isles (BIGRA) shelves.

She summarized the availability of the Civil Registration of births, marriages and deaths (after 1855) and the Old Parochial Registers (OPR) of Scotland for the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian), which has baptisms, marriages and burials before 1855. Scotland has 33 counties and over 900 parishes. All of these records can be found on microfilms, and many are held permanently at the San Diego FHC. She also mentioned non-conformist church records.

Jackie covered the census records, which are available for 1841 to 1891 at present. They are all available on microfilm, and several are in online databases. The FHC has all of the 1861 and 1871 census microfilms, and a microfiche series with the transcribed 1881 census.

The BIGRA shelves at the FHC have many genealogy gems, including Family History society newsletters for many counties, books for monumental inscriptions, occupations and trades, gazetteers, clans and tartans, and surnames.

Jackie showed examples of many records for her ancestors, and described the processes used to find them. She particularly mentioned the army, medical, ministry and biographical records connected with the Honorable East India Company (HEIC) for military persons (many from Scotland) who served in India during the 19th century.

This presentation was full of interesting and useful information, especially for those with Scottish ancestry. In response to a question, Jackie explained that Scotland was initially settled by people from Ireland in the medieval time, then some Scots migrated to northern Ireland in the early 1700's, and many emigrated to Canada (especially Nova Scotia) and the USA in the mid to late 1700's.

Jackie ran out of time to cover the Internet resources in detail. Her handout listed the following web sites:


* -- IGI, Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File have many Scottish families.
* -- a commercial site with Civil Registration BMD from 1855, Old Parish Records to 1854, the 1841 to 1901 census, and wills and testaments to 1901 (free). You can subscribe for a set number of credits (30 for 6 pounds).
* -- free site for historical records and documents.


* -- National Archives of Scotland official web site
* -- digital archive for the Scottish Archive Network which has digitized all testaments from 1500 to 1901.
* -- National Library of Scotland catalog


* -- Statistical Accounts of Scotland - sources for Scottish life in the 18th and 19th century.


* -- GENUKI is a "virtual reference library" of genealogical information that is of particular relevance to the UK & Ireland. It is a noncommercial service, provided by an ever-growing group of volunteers in cooperation with the Federation of Family History Societies and a number of its member societies.

We had a reporter and a photographer from the San Diego Union-Tribune present at the meeting. The reporter interviewed several members after the meeting, and the photographer took shots of the Board members, the speaker, and the attendees. We hope to see an article in the newspaper next week.

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