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Saturday, 14 April 2012

M is for Mortcloths, Militia Lists, Middle Names & Much More - A to Z Genealogical Challenge

Ros at http://genwestuk.blogspot.com/ has come  up with the idea of an A to Z genealogical challenge for the month of April.  It soon got me thinking, so here are my contributions.

M is for:

Mortcloth Records - A mortcloth or pall was draped over the coffin or the body itself for the funeral, and the  payment of a fee to hire one from the church is sometimes  recorded in old parish or kirk session records.  Prior to compulsory registration, It can often be the only evidence that a death has occurrred. I must admit I am unsure whether this is just a Scottish custom or more widespread.

Medical Terms - are you stuck to understand a cause of death on a certifcate?   Then take a look at http://rmhh.co.uk/medical.html  which explains medical terms.

Militia Lists - Was your  male ancestor aged around 20-30 in the period of the Napoleonic Wars (1790's-1815)?  Then he might well appear on the Militia Lists, whereby each parish was charged with setting up a volunteer force in the  event of a French invasion.  The lists may give little more than a name, address and occupation but, as with all archives,  there is a fascination in seeing actual handwriting relating to an ancestor, written during his  lifetime.  They are also particularly noteworthy in pre-dating  the first published census of 1841, so may be  the only record of an ordinary man.
Militia List, Castleon Parish, Roxburghshire, 1797.
Other lists can be more informative with details of age and occupation

Middle Names - I like middle names as they can often be a big clue, not only  in  confirming that you've  found the right person, but also in alighting on the possible   maiden name of a mother or grandmother.  For instance I was once looking on the internet  for a George Hogarth from Scotland who emigrated to Canada.  I found him amongst many George Hogarths, because of his mother's distinctive surname used as his middle name.   In my own family,  my uncle Harry Danson had his grandmother's maiden name Rawcliffe. as his middle name.

Maps - Are you wanting to find a map of where your ancetor lived in Scotland?  Then take a look at the website of the National Library of Scotland at http://www.nls.uk/collections/maps.  Its map collection is the  largest in Scotland with over 2 million items, many of which you can download.      

Money Values -I like to use to find out respective money values over the centuries   and use  http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency/.  Prior to the Act of Union in 1707, Scotland had its own currency, so for more information see  http://www.scan.org.uk/researchrtools/scots_currency.htm 

Plus Much More such as:  Marriage Bonds and Marriage Certifcates,  Message Boards, Monumental Inscriptions, Military Records, Mariners, Mormons and Miners.

Master MarinerJohn Robert Moffat (c1814-1881)  my husband's great great grandfather
in a Napole0nic pose.

Archive images courtesy of the Heritage Hub, Hawick heartofhawick.co.uk/heritagehub 

Mortcloth Book of Smailholm Parish, near Kelso, Roxburghshire 1822-1847.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really enjoying all your entries highlighting just how much is available beyond just BDMs. I only wish my McCorquodale ancestor hadn't done such a good job of hiding from the militia and mortcloth entries.


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