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Scottish Genealogy: History, Legends, Myth and Truth
by Joseph J. Carr

magazine cover

At times, I wish one or more of my ancestors had been a notorious criminal because, at the very least, records of a trial and hanging might exist! If your ancestor did not get into trouble with the law, or own property, then it's likely that only tax and tithe rolls will exist ... and even they are scant and scarce.

Prior to the mid-nineteenth century, when states began keeping vital statistics records in a central location, about the only way to find a birth, death or marriage record was the local newspaper or church records. In some cases, there is an effort to keep church records intact. The Presbyterians, fortunately for Scots, were quite good at it. The Presbyterian Historical Society Library (425 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147) is one of the best. They are not a genealogy library, but do have a significant number of church records from colonial and early nineteenth century America. If your ancestors might have been Presbyterians, then this might be a good source.

Scottish Genealogy - Documentation
by Joseph J. Carr

In the past I've talked a little about documentation of genealogical claims. This month we will tell you a little about what that means. We will take a look at the types of things that constitute "documentation" in the genealogy world. Included will be wills, court records and a host of other materials that either document or tend to document your family.

Family Bibles
The family Bible is a key item of genealogical documentation. The reason is that it was the spot where most families recorded births, marriages and deaths -- the very stuff of genealogy! In fact, a family bible might be the only record of such events in those years before the states started keeping vital statistics (mid-1800s). Even after the states started keeping vital statistics, families recorded their comings and goings in the family Bible. If you are fortunate enough to have a family Bible available to you, then cherish it!

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