Saturday, August 28, 2010

Moy & Dalarossie Parish

Before I begin today's post, I'd like to send a big "shout out" to Geneabloggers for mentioning the Scottish Emigration Blog in today's roundup of new blogs. I'd also like to welcome all new followers and readers. I do hope you come back to visit, ask questions, and  make comments and suggestions.

River Findhorn, Strathdearn, Moy & Dalarossie Parish, Invernesshire
Moy and Dalarossie parish, or Strathdearn, is south of Inverness, along the A9. It is a beautiful area, now popular with hikers and hunters. However, it has a harsh microclimate and spring comes later and winter earlier than in many of the surrounding parishes.

My interest in Moy and Dalarossie stems from my dissertation research as many of the emigrants who ended up in Scotch Settlement came from here, or one of the surrounding parishes. People left in droves as the population of this parish declined by about 50% between 1755 and 1851. This statistic is even more impressive when one bears in mind that infant mortality was decreasing and life expectancy was increasing. In the 18th and 19th century there were many heritors (landowners) in the parish; but the main one was the MackIntosh, Chief of Clan Chattan.

Tracing emigrants in this parish was tricky as the parish register was destroyed by a fire about 1787, which is intriguing because the Kirk Session records survive. They must have been kept in different places.  Unfortunately, many of the emigrants were born before 1787. Additionally, while the Mackintosh Estate rentals exist for a good portion of the late 18th century, few of the emigrants were his tenants. These factors, and others, make connections to the parish almost impossible to prove for many emigrants.

But despite these setbacks, the Moy and Dalarossie OPR has one wee surprise in store for the family historian. The minister, or whoever had access to the register, made a copy of the 1821 and 1831 census and lists all inhabitants of each farm. The ages and relationships are not included, but many, many names are. So, if your family didn't leave the parish until after these censuses, then you might just be in luck. While the parish records are pretty good for the late period, the census will enable you to see which families were tenants on the same farm. This is important as co-tenants were often related to each other.

The Moy & Dalarossie OPR is available on microfilm from the Family History Library (FHL) for viewing at your local Family History Center. The official details are: Microfilm of O.P.R. ms. no. 105 in the New Register House, Edinburgh. I would imagine they would also be available from Scotland's People. As I've never used the site, I don't know for sure; also I'm not certain in they would index the census. The microfilm might be your best bet.


Jo said...

The Old Parish Registers are definitely online at :-) Look forward to reading more of your posts

Amanda E. Epperson said...

Thanks Jo! I was thought sure that the OPRs were at Scotland's people, now I know for sure.


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