Visual Introduction to ScotlandsPeople
- 1 Introduction to ScotlandsPeople
- 2 What will I find?
- 3 A Case Study: The Simpsons
- 3.1 1901 Census
- 3.2 1881 Census
- 3.3 Finding Catherine's birth
- 3.4 Finding the marriage of Catherine's parents
- 3.5 1871 Census
- 3.6 Finding Catherine's Grandparents
- 3.7 Finding Catherine's Great Grandparents
- 3.8 Searching for a birth using the OPR
- 3.9 OPR Banns and Marriages
- 3.10 Catherine's Paternal Family Tree
Introduction to ScotlandsPeople
There are detailed FAQs, Help and descriptions of what is available on this site, but the examples below may help you to find your way around the site.
You can see from the front page what searches are possible. You can search and explore the site without having to pay anything until you need to view the images.
It is possible to waste a great deal of money in searching for these records, but if you use the site in conjunction with the IGI on FamilySearchand the census indexes on Ancestry, you can narrow down the possibilities considerably, especially when searching for a common surname in Glasgow.
Although the initial outlay seems expensive, in fact it works out as very reasonable when you consider the information which you can receive immediately without the wait for the postman for English certificates and the distinct possibility of having sent for the wrong one!!
Example of images which have been viewed and those yet to be investigated
Any search you make will be saved and you can refer back to these at any time, viewing images which you have already paid for as many times as you wish, or looking at them when funds permit.
Example of saved searches
What will I find?
N.B. To respect privacy of living people, internet access has been limited to birth records over 100 years old, marriage records over 75 years, and death records over 50 years.
- The index contains entries of birth & baptisms from 1553 until 1854.
- The index contains entries of banns & marriages from 1553 until 1854.
- The statutory births index available on this site, covers 1855 to 1906.
- The statutory marriages index available on this site, covers 1855 to 1931.
- The statutory deaths index available on this site, covers 1855 to 1956.
- Name indexes to the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses for all Scotland are currently available on this site. You may also search the 1881 census by address.
- This section includes information about the Free Surname Search, how Surname Variants, Forename Variants and Illegitimacy can affect the success of your search, employing Soundex and wildcards and Refining Statutory Searches
A Case Study: The Simpsons
I knew that my Great Grandmother, Catherine Gray Simpson, was born in Scotland and that her father had brought the family down to London, but I didn’t know when and I didn’t know where in Scotland they had come from.
I knew the name of her father from her marriage certificate but nothing else about her family.
I was only able to do the initial searching online and because of the detail in Scottish BMD records was able to construct the tree of Catherine's ancestors back to her Great Grandparents with reasonable certainty.
My search using ScotlandsPeople was started in 2005 and took until now as I had to be patient in filling the gaps while I waited for the new records to be added to the site. Now that all the census indexes for Scotland are also available on Ancestry for 1841 through to 1901, the search would be much quicker!!
The case study below gives you an idea of my search ... as the site allows you to save your searches and the images you have viewed, I did not have to purchase any extra units to re-create the search.
As you will see, my search is incomplete but I hope that the case study will give you some ideas of the possibilities.
I knew that the Simpson family had come down to London before 1900 as Catherine was married in London in 1892. Although Catherine was already married, a search of the 1901 census on Ancestry gave me a possible family to look at:
I found the same family in 1891 and Catherine was with them. As none of the other Catherine Simpsons born in Scotland were the right age, and I knew that Catherine’s husband, William Bradley, worked as a glass decorator and later founded a glass decorating factory, I was fairly sure I had found the correct family.
Finding Catherine's birth
Now that I knew where Catherine was born, I was able to search for her birth.
She was born after 1855, so I searched the Statutory Registers for Births 1855-1906
Finding the marriage of Catherine's parents
This gave me the information I needed to find her parents’ marriage so I searched the Statutory Registers Marriages 1855-1931
From this search I was able to send for an extract of the certificate, although I could just have saved the image.
From the certificate, I realised that James was a widower.
Searching the 1871 Census I found that James was at home with his parents, and already widowed.
More out of interest than anything else, a trawl of the Statutory Registers Marriages 1855-1931 gave me his first marriage (the practice of including both parent’s names confirmed that I had found the correct one) and a search of the Statutory Registers Deaths 1855-1956 gave me the death of his first wife. Isabella Chalmers had married James in April 1868 and had died in August 1868.
Finding Catherine's Grandparents
I decided to track James further back as I had now found his parent’s names.
In 1851 and 1861 the family were in Glasgow although in different areas.
From the census returns and his marriage certificates, I now had enough information to find James' birth and his parent's marriage.
He was born in approx. 1846 so I needed to search Old Parish Register Births & Baptisms
..... and I am still looking .......
I had more success with his parent's marriage by searching Old Parish Register Banns & Marriages.
This gobbled up several units because of the variant spellings of her maiden name, and in many ways was disappointing because it was not very detailed.
Finding Catherine's Great Grandparents
By tracking down the deaths of David and Elizabeth, I was able to find the names of their parents.
The next stage was to see if I could find their marriage and David's birth in the Old Parish Registers.
Searching for a birth using the OPR
Searching for births before 1855 is often a matter of luck as the birth may not have been recorded but you can search in a variety of ways.
From the death certificate of David Simpson, we know that he was born in about 1813 and that his parents were given as Alexander Simpson and Janet Rae.
Rae (Ray) appears as the second name of their grandson and later their great grandson.
A search on the IGI to narrow down the possibilities gives a son born to these names, but this is an Alexander who was born in 1796; of course he may be a sibling ...
N.B. The image for this birth on ScotlandsPeople currently gives the wrong page in the register - so watch this space ....
An initial search of the Old Parish Register Births and Baptisms for David using the surnames of his parents gives one result, but it is not the correct person.
A second search, putting the parents' first names in the surname boxes, gives different but still incorrect results.
Using variant spellings of both surnames still gives no results ....
If anyone reading this can can track him down in original records ....
OPR Banns and Marriages
Using the OPR Banns and Marriages search I tracked down the marriage of Alexander Simpson and Janet Rae (Rea). Given the variant spellings of her name, I used the bride's surname to take advantage of the Soundex.
Taking a deep breath because I was low on credits ... I found
From the date of the marriage, it rather looks as though Alexander could possibly be the older brother of David, but there is more searching to do in original records before I can even be 50% sure that this is the same family .....
Catherine's Paternal Family Tree
This research using a combination of FamilySearch, Ancestry and ScotlandsPeople has enabled me to construct a tree for Catherine's paternal ancestors, but there is still a great deal more research to be done from original records to be 100% sure about David's ancestors ......
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