A rchivist ’s top tips


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Ruaraidh Wishart, Aberdeen ar­chiv­ist says: “Re­mem­ber that not all lo­cal records may be kept at your lo­cal ar­chive, while some col­lec­tions may be split be­tween two or more repos­i­to­ries. Cat­a­logues are avail­able at nrscot­land.gov.uk/re­search/ cat­a­logues-and-in­dexes to help lo­cate ad­di­tional hold­ings at the Na­tional Records of Scot­land, other lo­cal ar­chives, and even many still held in pri­vate hands." pro­vid­ing tran­scrip­tions and trans­la­tions, with a data­base for later en­tries from 3 Oc­to­ber 1530 to 3 March 1531 al­ready avail­able at abdn.ac.uk/aberdeen-burghrecords-data­base.

Grow­ing in­dus­tries

A char­ter granted by Wil­liam the Lion in 1179 con­firms that Aberdeen was first given royal burgh sta­tus by his grand­fa­ther David I, with the city soon grow­ing dra­mat­i­cally in re­gional im­por­tance as a con­se­quence. In ad­di­tion to a long his­tory of fish­ing and ship­build­ing, pa­per mak­ing was es­tab­lished as a ma­jor in­dus­try in the re­gion from 1694, and while much di­min­ished to­day, it still sur­vives in the re­gion at the Stoney­wood Pa­per Mill. The tex­tiles in­dus­try was a fur­ther big player in the lo­cal The civil reg­is­tra­tion records of births, mar­riages and deaths from Aberdeen­shire are avail­able on Scot­land­sPeo­ple ( scot­land­speo­ple.gov.uk), along with pre-1855 Church of Scot­land reg­is­ters, cen­suses, val­u­a­tion records and wills from 1657-1925. Aberdeen­shire‘s Epis­co­pal Church records are not digi­tised, but some tran­scribed col­lec­tions are avail­able on Ances­try at search. ances­try.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid= 5835, along with some Ro­man Catholic reg­is­ters and other hold­ings.

Scot­land­sPlaces ( scot­land­splaces.gov.uk) also hosts many re­gional hold­ings, in­clud­ing the burgh reg­is­ters from 1398-1511, Ord­nance Sur­vey Name Books from 1865-1871, tax rolls from the 17th to 19th cen­turies, re­ports from the Land Own­er­ship Com­mis­sion from 1872-1873, and Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer of Health Re­ports for the county from 1891.

For an overview of each parish in Aberdeen­shire in the 1790s and again in the 1830s, the first two Sta­tis­ti­cal Ac­counts of Scot­land col­lec­tions have been pub­lished and made freely ac­ces­si­ble on­line at ed­ina.ac.uk/ stat-acc-scot, while his­toric maps for the county from 1583 to 1961 can also be found via the Na­tional Li­brary of Scot­land at nls.uk. The NLS has digi­tised Post Of­fice Di­rec­to­ries from 1824-1941 in part­ner­ship with the In­ter­net Ar­chive, which can be found at ar­chive.org/ de­tails/scot­tishdi­rec­to­ries. Two of the di­rec­to­ries for Aberdeen City from 1881 and 1891 have been linked to con­tem­po­rary maps on the search­able Ad­dress­ing His­tory web­site at ad­dress­inghis­tory.ed­ina.ac.uk.

The De­ceased On­line web­site ( de­cease­donline.com) hosts a sub­stan­tial col­lec­tion of burial and cre­ma­tion records for both Aberdeen and much of Aberdeen­shire, while the Bri­tish News­pa­per Ar­chive ( www.british­news­pa­per­ar­chive.com) has a grow­ing col­lec­tion of news­pa­per records for the county, in­clud­ing the Aberdeen Jour­nal. Ebenezer Bain’s 1887 book A His­tory of the Aberdeen In­cor­po­rated Trades is avail­able at electric­scot­land.com/his­tory/guilds, while the Aberdeen Built Ships Pro­ject at ab­erdeen­ships. com in­cludes a data­base and his­tory of some lo­cal ship­builders. Fi­nally, the Scot­tish Em­i­gra­tion Data­base ( abdn.ac.uk/em­i­gra­tion) lists some 21,000 pas­sen­gers who sailed from Glas­gow and Greenock, list­ing voy­ages mainly be­tween 1 Jan­uary and 30 April 1923.

The Sta­tis­ti­cal Ac­counts of Scot­land web­site

A col­lec­tion of old di­rec­to­ries at ar­chive.org

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