Who Do You Think You Are?
Findmypast creates new collection of 1.1 million Scottish gravestone records
Family history website Findmypast ( findmypast. co.uk) has launched a collection of 1.1 million transcribed Scottish cemetery records spanning 1,000 years of history.
The records were created in a grassroots project, which saw thousands of volunteers transcribing headstones at their local cemetery and graveyard during the first coronavirus lockdown. They date from 1093 to the present day, and record the final resting place of 600,000 Scots.
Myko Clelland, regional licensing and outreach manager at Findmypast, said: “Scotland is a nation of stories, but so many lie forgotten in cemeteries across the country. Through the tireless efforts of local expert volunteers, combined with new technology, these stories can be told for the first time online.”
The records cover more than 800 burial sites in 688 parishes (80 per cent of the nation) across all 34 historical Scottish counties. They include such famous burial sites as Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh and Dunfermline Abbey graveyard.
Headstone records can reveal your ancestor’s age, date and place of death, the names of other relatives and often touching memorial messages.
Included are burial records for some famous figures from Scottish history, such as John Brown (1826–1883), a manservant and personal favourite of Queen Victoria. His gravestone at Crathie Kirkyard in Aberdeenshire reads: “John Brown, personal attendant of Queen Victoria and in her service 34 y, born Crathienaird 8.12.1826 died Windsor Castle 27.3.1883.” After his death, the Queen wrote to his sister-inlaw Jessie McHardy Brown: “He was the best, truest heart that ever beat.”
There is another royal connection with Flora MacDonald (1722–1790), known for helping ‘Bonnie’ Prince Charles Stuart escape British troops after the Battle of Culloden in 1746. She is buried in her family mausoleum in Osmigarry Burial Ground, Kilmuir, Inverness-shire. Her memorial had to be replaced after it was chipped away by tourists in search of souvenirs.
The records were transcribed by volunteers from the Moray Burial Ground Research Group and the Scottish Genealogy Society, plus members of a number of family history societies: Aberdeen & North-East Scotland; Caithness; Dumfries & Galloway; East Ayrshire; Highland; Lanarkshire; Tay Valley; and Troon@Ayrshire.