Have you ever tried the Scotland’s People website?

Have you ever tried the Scotland’s People website? This website is run by the Government of Scotland and overseen by Brightsolid who also own “Find My Past” and may soon own “Genes Reunited”.

This is a genealogist’s dream website as it has the complete civil registration and census records online. They are indexed and there are digital images available. You can also find copies of probate records as well as Old Parish Registers for baptisms, marriage banns and burials. The burial records are not complete so please check the reference to OPR burials on the website that tells you what years and places are available.

There is a fee involved and it is 6 GBP which at the current rate of exchange is approximately 9.30 CDN. You get 30 credits for this price. Theoretically to view the index page and one image would cost you 1.86 CDN.

To view an index page of 25 entries will cost 1 credit. A search may come up with more than twenty five entries but they tell you how many search results there are. You then have the option of narrowing down the search before opening the index page.

Once in the index page if you find the correct entry you click on view image. This will cost you 5 credits per image viewed. If you decide to search to either side of the original image remember that will also cost you 5 credits per image. They clearly make note of this on the website.

The search process is the same for all the documents available except for the Wills and Testaments. You can search the index and see the results of the search for free. If you find a document it will cost you 5 GBP (7.75 CDN) to view the entire file. The file could be one, two or eleven pages the price would be the same.

Scotland’s People also have several places that can help you with your research. If you are having difficulty reading the handwriting there is a section to help you with this problem. Check under Help & Resources to see what other reference materials they have that can help you with your research.

In my experience if I have ever had a problem with the images it has been rectified very quickly. Once I clicked on an index entry that was supposed to be for my ancestor in the census. When the page came up they were not there and no one with the same surname was on the page. I emailed Scotland’s People to let them know and a couple of days later I got a response and the credits were put back into my account. Once I even got a few extra credits as an apology which was very nice indeed.

One thing you must do with Scotland’s People is read the directions and descriptions on the website very carefully.

The Registers of Corrected Entries for example. These show up if the page you have downloaded has one attached to it. There is a little red box at the top and it costs you 2 credits to view this entry. The only problem is that it can be for any of the people listed on the birth, marriage or death entry. Read the entry carefully as you should find a reference to the RCE in the right hand margin of the entry page. This will tell you if the RCE relates to your ancestor.

Educate yourself on the counties and parishes of Scotland to help you better identify your ancestors in the indexes.

Remember that the Old Parish Registers deal only with the established church in Scotland. Scotland’s church history is too complicated to cover here but you can find a good reference to it in “Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry” by Kathleen B. Cory, Third Edition, Revised and Updated by Leslie Hodgson, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 2004. In the Illustrations section, figure 7, is a copy of “Burleigh’s Chart of Scottish Churches” which outlines the complicated history. If you do a Google search for “Burleigh’s Chart of Scottish Churches” you can find it in Google Books.

You can let the purchasing of credits and searching get away from you if you are not careful. Too save a little money you can always search the Scottish Civil Registration Indexes on microfilm at some Mormon Family History Centres. I know my local one has a complete set but yours might not so check it out.

Ancestry also has indexes to the Scottish census records but no images. Check these census indexes to help narrow down your search on Scotland’s People.

You will still have to view the index page to get to the image at Scotland’s People but you will know what you are looking for and may not have to view as many index pages.

My Scottish blood insists that I find the best way to save a penny no matter what I am purchasing!

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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