Scotland

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Recently in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, through a Freedom of Information request, the 1939 National Register has become available to researchers. You can only get it for people who are deceased and you need a name and address to request the information.

The information gathered was to provide everyone with their National Identity Card and with the evacuations and mobilization it needed to be done quickly. The date was 29 September 1939.

The questions asked were name, address, gender, birth date, marital status, occupation and whether you had any membership in any kind of military forces which included Civil Defense Services and a like.

In England the fee to get this information is 43 GBP. In Scotland you would pay 13 GBP.

Since the register entries became available in England and Scotland, Northern Ireland has also started to release their information. It is not as easy to get the information yet, mainly because of the large amount of files and the fact that the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland is getting ready for a big move and will be closed from September 2010 to May 2011. You can read a description of how to order the registration from Northern Ireland at the Scottish Genealogy News and Events blog. I would recommend reading this blog regularly if you have Scottish ancestors.

Remember one thing – this is only for Northern Ireland. The war was after Home Rule and the South of Ireland was not officially involved in the Second World War.

What I find very interesting is that this information is only coming to light now in the United Kingdom. In Canada we had a similar national registration but ours is called the 1940 National Registration. The public have been able to order copies of this registration for a long time. You need to prove the person is deceased twenty years and a newspaper death notice is accepted. You also need to provide as much identifying information as possible. The fee is $47.25, which includes the GST, and will not be refunded if the search is negative. You can find details for ordering a copy at the Canadian Genealogy Centre.

I have ordered this information several times and it provides much more information than the 1939 National Registration. The information includes: name, address, age, date of birth, marital status, number of dependents, place and country of birth of individual and his or her parents, nationality, year of entry into Canada (if an immigrant), racial origin, languages, education, general health, occupation, employment status, farming or mechanical skills and previous military service.

There are two forms one for men and one for women. Copies of these can be found on the website. Every man and women 16 years of age and over had to complete these forms except for members of the armed forces, religious orders or those confined to an institution. If they died between 1940 and 1946 then it is possible that the form was destroyed. Try anyway because I know of some instances when this was not the case. It can also take upwards of three months to get the registration.

The information I received when I got the 1940 National Registration form was an abstract of basic information like name, place, age, etc, then a copy of the form that had been transcribed and a copy of the original form. I was very glad they sent the original because where the transcriber was not able to decipher the writing I could decipher it. The copy of the original is not very good but careful study can provide more accurate information.

If you are researching someone who was alive during this time period in Canada I would recommend getting a copy of their 1940 National Registration. It could prove to be very enlightening.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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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