Cupar Presbytery minutes
The Presbytery was the local level of government in the Church of Scotland system. Beyond church affairs Presbyteries often also acted as moral guardians and helpfully minutes of their meetings were sometimes recorded. The Cupar minutes are part of the Special Collections at St Andrew’s University but are presently being held at the National Records of Scotland ( nrscotland.gov.uk/research). They are a great source of local detail; in this instance they listed the complaints made against John Reid by his neighbours and, crucially, highlighted his more serious crime of fraud.
This collection was found at the National Records of Scotland and comprises all of the papers relating to John’s trial including numerous witness statements; his own testimony and most excitingly the actual forged Bill of Exchange.
Diaries and biographies
A biography was written by the Surgeon Superintendent on the convict ship on which John Reid was transported. It provides an invaluable insight into how the ship was organised and run and the heavy emphasis placed on religious instruction under the new Probation System. Incredibly this account also had a record of some of John Reid’s own words. The diaries can be found at The National Archives, though we originally sourced our copy through Amazon.
Convict conduct records
John Reid’s conduct record was sourced from LINC, the Tasmanian Archives’ online database. It was a crucial source for tracing what happened to him following his arrival in Tasmania for it timelines his experience of the Probation System including which labour gang he was assigned to and who his first master was after he’d got his ticket of leave.