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"Exploring Scottish History (Review)"

Review by: Sherry Irvine

          The 2nd Edition of EXPLORING SCOTTISH HISTORY, edited by Michael Cox and published by the Scottish Library Association has just become available. This is a directory of resource centers, archives and libraries for local and national history, and has been produced through the cooperative effort of the Scottish Library Association, the Scottish Local History Forum and the Scottish Records Association. There is information on the holdings of hundreds of repositories -- for some there are long lists of primary source material. Anyone hunting down sources from a distance, or planning a research trip, will find this is essential.

          It is available from the Scottish Library Association for $9.95 plus postage. For the overseas postage you must e-mail them at or in North America the book can be ordered from Interlink Bookshop and Genealogical Services, {ibgs@pacificcoast.net} and {http://www.pacificcoast.net/~ibgs}.

PERMISSION TO REPRINT articles from MISSING LINKS is granted unless specifically stated otherwise, PROVIDED: (1) the reprint is used for non-commercial, educational purposes; and (2) a copy of this notice appears at the end of the article.

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Protestant Nonconformity In Scotland - An Introduction, Part One

Review by: Sherry Irvine, CGRS, FSA (Scot)

          Failure to find a record of a baptism, marriage, or burial in the records usually results from one of three reasons:

  1. the event was recorded in the register of another denomination
  2. looking in the wrong place and/or time period
  3. missing registers or a gap in the records

          It is the first of these that is discussed here, in particular where the family in question belonged to the congregation of another Presbyterian church, or of another Protestant denomination. What needs to be considered is how likely our ancestors were to stray from the mainstream, what other options were available to them, and what records have survived to record their religious choice. Before addressing these questions, it helps to summarize the main events of religious history in Scotland.

          In 1560 the Roman Catholic Church ceased to be the Established Church; it was replaced by the Church of Scotland. When King James VI of Scotland succeeded Elizabeth I in 1603 and became, as well, James I of England, he began a long and cautious struggle over the matter of church governance in Scotland. James favored the Episcopal structure of the Church of England, but he died leaving the situation unresolved. His son, Charles I, lacked patience and political skill, and his determination to introduce change in Scotland resulted in the Bishop's Wars (1639 and 1640). Charles' need for funds for these wars forced him to recall the English Parliament, which had not sat in 11 years. It was the beginning of an inevitable progress towards the opening battle of the English Civil War in 1642. Scotland entered this conflict on the side of Parliament late in the following year -- a decisive act, and one aspect of the agreement was that the English introduced a Presbyterian church structure into England. This lasted until the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.

          Charles II and his government declared any law passed since his father's time to be invalid, which effectively restored the Episcopalian church to a position of supremacy. This was unacceptable to a large part of the Scottish people, and the next 25 years or so were turbulent, at times violent. William III brought stability by restoring the authority of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1689. As one church or the other went in or out of prominence, it imposed restrictive laws on other religions. There were penalties for being married according to an "opponent's" rites; in fact the church authorities may have been more concerned with this than with "irregular" marriages, those by consent before witnesses (see D.J. Steel, NATIONAL INDEX OF PARISH REGISTERS, Vol. 12, Scotland, 1970).

          In Scotland, other Protestant denominations never attracted the kind of support they had south of the border. It may be that the efforts that went into the struggle of the Presbyterian Church with the central government in England was part of the reason for this. Whatever the cause, it is not as likely in Scotland that our ancestors belonged to the Methodist or Congregational or other dissenting faiths. As for the Episcopalian Church, it was proscribed for nearly a hundred years, and its members were regarded with particular suspicion after the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite uprisings. In his essay on ecclesiastical history, Francis Groome (ORDNANCE GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND, 1883-85) reports the number of adherents of the main nonconformist faiths at that time:

  1. Episcopalians: 294 churches, 84,664 members
  2. Baptists: 89 congregations, 8,643 members
  3. Congregationalists: 86 congregations, numbers not given
  4. Methodists: 99 preachers, 6,000 members and another approximately 500 primitive Methodists

          More significant was the secession of congregations of the Presbyterian Church. The first major split occurred in 1733 and by 1745 the Secession Church numbered some 46 congregations. This group broke into various factions: at first, known as the Burgher and Anti-Burgher, but there were later splits as well. Subsequently they became the major part of the United Presbyterian Church in 1847; in 1884 it had 558 congregations and 178,195 members. The other large breakaway group was the Free Church, dating from 1843 when its followers withdrew from the Church of Scotland. In 1884 they had 1,104 congregations and 300,000 members. In the dozen years before civil registration, there were more people worshipping outside the Church of Scotland than within it.

          What this bit of history means is that from 1733 the possibility grows that an ancestor attended something other than the local Church of Scotland, and that from 1843 until 1855 when civil registration began, there is a better chance that the event was recorded in a different church register. There were also a significant number of irregular marriages which were not entered in parish registers; a reference may be found in kirk sessions or in sheriff's court records.

PERMISSION TO REPRINT articles from MISSING LINKS is granted unless specifically stated otherwise, PROVIDED: (1) the reprint is used for non-commercial, educational purposes; and (2) a copy of this notice appears at the end of the article.

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"U.S. Naturalization"

"Guide to Naturalization Records of the United States (IHA Book Review)"
by: Christina Schaefer

The following book review was taken directly from THE IRISH At Home and Abroad {IHA} OnLine at -> http://www.ihaonline.com/index.html

          Naturalization records are important sources for tracing immigrants to the United States, including the Irish. They may tell the date and port of arrival as well as the specific place of origin in Ireland. The most difficult aspect of using naturalization records is often finding the papers for the relevant court in which the ancestor was naturalized. Many different courts (local, county, state, federal) could naturalize and so the possibilities are numerous; so are the possibilities for where the records may be today--with the court or in a central repository.

          Schaefer's book is a valuable contribution to American genealogical literature--particularly for immigrants--both because her introduction well explains the naturalization process and resulting documents and because her book catalogs state-by-state, county-by-county the location of naturalization records created at the various levels of government.

          Listing all of the naturalization records deposited across the United States was a mammoth task for which the genealogical community will be grateful to Schaefer. However, no comprehensive undertaking of this kind could be exhaustive or perfect.

          Consider, for example, the naturalization records of St. Joseph County, Indiana, where the city of South Bend is located. Schaefer indicates that the original naturalization records are held by the St. Joseph County Courthouse. However, it is only the court order books recording naturalization orders that are retained at the county level. Schaefer does not mention that the Indiana State Archives now holds the declarations of intention and petitions for naturalization for St. Joseph County.

          Schaefer's book may therefore be used as a guide to the location of records with which the researcher can make more specific inquiries either in local reference works or by calling the court or repository of interest.

394 pp.
Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1997.
Available for $25.00 plus $3.50 shipping/handling from GPC, 1001 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA; Tel: 1-800-296-6687; FAX: (410) 752-8492. Also for sale in the IHA Online Bookstore.
ISBN 0-8063-1532-6.

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"American Colonies - Encyclopedia"

"Genealogical Encyclopedia of the Colonial Americas: A Complete Digest of the Records of All the Countries of the Western Hemisphere" (Reference Book)

by: Christina K. Schaefer
Summary of this book review originated from the Genealogy Book Shop -> http://www.genealogybookshop.com/

          Until the publication of this remarkable new work, no single source could be used to identify and locate the records of the various countries of the Western Hemisphere. Given the extent and diversity of the records, this is hardly surprising; and yet the creation of such a source is precisely the task Christina Schaefer set herself. The immense body of records of the colonial period in the Western Hemisphere presents a serious challenge to the researcher--in some cases even a stumbling block--and therefore in this work Mrs. Schaefer has undertaken a systematic examination of the records to show the researcher where to find the most important genealogical records of the period and how to access them, all within the framework of a single encyclopedic volume.

          Equally important, she has defined the various classes of records in each country, identified as many of them as is practicable in a book of this size, provided historical background and brief sketches of the records themselves, added a description of the principal holdings of the major repositories of each country, and has interwoven selected reading lists throughout. The reader will appreciate, of course, that the subject matter is vast, covering the colonial records of all the Americas, from Latin America to the Caribbean, from the original Thirteen Colonies to Canada and New France, so of necessity the author has been at pains to be as comprehensive as possible. In the end, she has put together a magnificent reference work, one that will guide all researchers, beginners and professionals alike, to the most direct and reliable route to the colonial records of the Western Hemisphere.

          The scope of the work covers the period of colonial history from the beginning of European colonization in the Western Hemisphere up to the time of the American Revolution, and the records described are the primary records used in genealogical research. However, the time line has been extended to provide more complete information in the following instances: U.S. states other than the Thirteen Colonies with records that begin prior to the Revolutionary War, until such time as they became part of the U.S. (possession, territory, state); Latin American countries, which did not declare their independence from Spain and Portugal until 1808 and later Canada through about 1841; Carribbean countries and dependencies to about 1810; The subject of slavery up to the abolition of the slave trade.

          While the best sources of information regarding an immigrant ancestor can usually be found in the country to which he immigrated, there are, nevertheless, many important records still to be found in the country of origin--records which had either remained in the mother country or had been returned to the mother country: church records, for example, emigration and trade company records, indenture agreements, military records, missionary society records, probate records and wills, provincial land grants, and tax records. Thus the last section of this book provides information regarding the location of colonial records in such countries as Denmark, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, and Switzerland, and at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

          The range of the book is so remarkable that even the most seasoned researcher will find it breathtaking. What follows is a listing of the contents of the seven distinct parts that make up the whole. From this itemization the reader can draw his own conclusions about the value of the work as an indispensable desk reference: Chronology of colonial history and dates of first colonial governors, Colonies of Latin America arranged according to mother country, Colonies of the Caribbean, The Thirteen Colonies plus Maine and Vermont, Other U.S. States with settlements prior to the Revolution, Canada, and Resources for further research, including the ocation of colonial records in such countries as Denmark, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, and Switzerland, and at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
830 pp., Indexed. Illus. 1998.
Item #GPC-5176
Cloth. $49.95.
ISBN 0806315768.

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