Saturday, October 1, 2011

Where in the world is @#%& Scotland?

Have you found a place in Scotland, a home of an ancestor perhaps or maybe a hotbed of emigration, but you have no idea *where* in Scotland it is? Well the solution is at hand: ScotlandsPlaces.

This amazing site combines the resources of  The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), The National Archives of Scotland (NAS), and The National Library of Scotland (NLS). There is no charge to access the site. Read more about ScotlandsPeople and the project's partners here.

Specific directions for searching the site are here. Basically, you can just enter the place name, whether a farm, village, or parish, into the search box at the upper right hand corner and hit enter. You can also browse the collection by maps, county (pre-1975) and place name. Not all indexed items are available to view over the internet. Among the items ready to view are the Farm Horse Tax (1797-8), the Clock and Watch Tax (1797-8), images from RCAHMS, the Report of the Land Ownership Commission (1872-3), Medical Officer of Health Reports (1891), the 6-inch to the mile Ordinance Survey (OS) Maps (1843-1882) and 25-inch to the mile OS Maps (1855-1882).

If you've never looked at them before the OS maps are great resources, showing natural and built landscape features. I can't recommend them enough. The historic ones on ScotlandsPeople are neat because you can search by place, and then enlarge them and move them around and see what is nearby.

The tax rolls are not indexed by name, so looking for an individual may take some time; especially for counties like Inverness-shire, which are not even grouped by parish.

As far as I can tell, the search engine only returns exact matches - so if you spell something wrong (or your source did), you will not find a match. For example, Merryshire is how one family in America interpreted Moray in the late 19th century. I typed Merryshire into the database and got nothing, not even suggestions of what it might me. On the other hand, there are many results for Moray. I mention this not to complain about ScotlandsPlaces, but to make sure you realize that the place name must be correct for your search to be successful.

Happy Searching!

with thanks to Scottish Life


Christine said...

I have used this site recently and it is a good one! I heard about it in a podcast of a lecture given by Dr. Bruce Drurie. Thanks!

Amanda E. Epperson said...

You're welcome Christine. I haven't heard that podcast, it's probably waiting for me on my iPod.

Direcleit said...

Your readers might also find something of interest in my list of links which, although compiled with a 'Hebridean' focus, contains sites relevant to those researching people and places in the Highlands and elsewhere in Scotland:

All the best,



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