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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Looking up the family

I’ve talked before about going to the Scotland’s People Centre at Register House in Edinburgh. Register House, Edinburgh It was purpose built to house the  all the vital records from all the counties and parishes throughout  Scotland, and was opened in 1788. 

Picture above from the computer screen at SPC so apologies for the quality.

In 1855, the keeping of records of births, marriages and deaths (BMDs) was made compulsory, whereas before that, although it had been suggested to parish ministers that they should keep records, not all did.

If you actually find an ancestor’s BMD in 1855 you find a lot more information than in subsequent years when the amount of detail required dwindled.  The other day I decided, after a telephone conversation with a cousin in Cornwall, to go up to Edinburgh, and do some more research on the family.   I only have the name as a middle name, from my paternal grandmother’s family, but he’s descended from one of granny’s brothers and still has the family surname.

SPC and Sasines

Normally when I go to Register House I try to get a seat in the Matheson Dome – the building on the right of the photo, the other being the Sasines office - but if all seats are taken it’s the Reid room - not so attractive - but when I got there the other day, I found the  Matheson Dome closed and the Reid Room full.  

However, the Adam dome decorationDome was made available and I spent my day under its beautifully decorated ceiling, and surrounded by its gallery of archives and bookshelves.

KG3The statue of George III, king at the time Register House was built, stands in an alcove off the Adam room. It is made from Carrera marble  with crown and sceptre in gilt metal.

  adam domeThough the surname is unusual, it is still very hard to find exact information, thanks to the many variations of spelling of the same name.  Our family settled on the KINMONT spelling, probably in the 19th century, but when names were written down by a recorder, they wrote them as they heard them or as they thought the name should be spelled.  So brothers and sisters could each be recorded with a different spelling, Kinmond, Kinment, Kinmonth, Kinmouth, Kynman, Kinninmonth, to name just a few.

Anyway I looked up a few of my Kinmonts on the census records – mine came from a village in Perthshre and gradually they came to Edinburgh - and from there looked for their births, marriages and deaths, and even some wills, which were interesting.   A day at Register House always passes far too quickly, and there’s always someone whose details you still haven’t searched for.  For me that was the aunt of my great grandfather, whose name was given to her great niece and then to me!  Next visit, if I haven’t already looked up the ScotlandsPeople website.

I do enjoy a day at the Scotland’s People Centre, and one of these days will start delving into the Scottish archives to find out more about my families.

Talk again soon.


Katrina said...

I've never actually been inside Register House, it looks lovely. It's a fine old Scottish name - whatever the spelling.

Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

It's beautiful, Katrina. When I first started this journey back through the centuries the records I looked at were all stored in the smaller building next door - New Register House - and the dome room walls were lined with the original record books. Not that we got to look at them then. By that time they had all been put on microfiche and there was a lot of walking to and fro for your relevant fiches stored in drawers in a wide passage encircling the dome room. All on computer now, and you can see pictures of the old parish records sometimes quite illegible till you get into the swing of the 16th/17th century handwriting. More recent records are on certificates where you can actually see in various cases the signature of an ancestor. I find that in itself quite exciting!
Glad to see you back on Pining!