Skip to main content

Scottish Memorial Inscriptions

This week I'm highlighting one of our lesser known datasets - the Scottish Memorial Inscriptions (SMI) Collection.  

2014 is the year of Homecoming in Scotland. Those of us with Scottish ancestors can visit the region and attend a range of events focusing on its rich history. Scotland's Tartan Day, for example, will be held in the Easter school holidays (5-13 April), and marks the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.

Deceased Online's SMI collection can help you find Scottish ancestors, even if they are not buried in Scotland. Some may have died and been buried abroad or at sea, but are commemorated at their birthplace or family home.

Compiled by our partners at Scottish Memorial Inscriptions, the SMI collection includes a huge range of varying data from roughly 200 cemeteries and burial grounds across the following counties:

Angus
Argyll
Ayrshire
Banffshire
Borders
Clackmannanshire
Dundee City
Edinburgh
Fife
Highlands
Inverness-shire
Lanarkshire (North and South)
Morayshire
Perthshire 
Stirling
West Lothian 
The records date back as far as 1526 and include around 300,000 names. High quality images are available (in many instances) of the headstones. These records are particularly good value as they include the image along with a separate  transcription. In fact, you can view the whole collection of a given kirkyard or cemetery for less than £8 (prices vary depending on size of individual collection).

To search the collection, simply go to the Advanced Search page and tick the "headstone collections only" option (as shown below). Complete the name of the individual (or surname of family) you are looking for, and select "United Kingdom" in the country box. Then choose on "Scotland" as the region, whichever county you wish to search, and the dates from and to. In the example below, I am looking for anyone named David Henderson between the years 1700 and 1925.


After clicking 'search' you will reach the 'search results' page:


From here you can identify the likely burial place. In this example, I have chosen Abernethy Church Cemetery. The results for this are:


As some of my Hendersons may have relatives in this cemetery with other names (including women buried in their maiden name), I chose the £5.50 option of 595 headstones. As there are so many inscriptions, I narrow the search by using the keyword 'farmer'. I have also opted for 100 results per page in the box on the top right:



For family historians, these inscriptions provide not just death and burial details, but a wealth of other social details and an insight into ancestors' personalities. Being able to search this collection by keyword, such as 'farmer', 'war', or 'drowned' can help you identify relatives with common names, but for whom you know occupation or other social details.

This image [below] of the memorial plaque for eight year old Marjorie Fleming who was buried in 1811 reveals that she was an "Author, poet and diarist". This is a beautiful memory of a young child and provides details that cannot be found in official burial records.


Thousands of Scots ended their days in British India. In some cases, no known records survive of their deaths. Some of these Scots were commemorated on their families' headstones in kirkyards around Scotland. The image below shows a headstone wit the details of James M. Russell of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, who died in India. The inscription reads:

IN LOVING MEMORY
OF
GEORGE RUSSELL
DIED 19TH APRIL 1944 
AGED 61 
AND HIS SON
JAMES M. RUSSELL R.S.F.
INTERRED AT POONA INDIA
25TH DEC 1943 AGED 28. 
ALSO
JEMIMA CAMERON
WIFE OF ABOVE
GEORGE RUSSELL

DIED 15TH FEB 1961 
IN HER 87TH YEAR.



Following on from the SMIs, we are really excited about our next release of another major Scottish dataset. The new collection includes records from 200 burial sites across one historic county. We'll be launching this at WDYTYA? Live in London next month. We've had a few guesses as to which area this is on our Facebook and Twitter pages. If you think you know, just write on our wall or send us a tweet. We love to hear from you!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

London's Spa Fields

Deceased Online has just uploaded around 114,000 burial records from Spa Fields in the modern London borough of Islington Spa Fields today, with the Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer in the background Spa Fields Burial Ground became notorious in the 19th century for its overcrowded and insanitary conditions. Located in the parish of St James, Clerkenwell, the grave yard was not far from the ever-increasing City of London. Spa Fields was known also as Clerkenwell Fields and Ducking-pond Fields in the late 18th century, hinting at a dark side to what was then a summer evening resort for north Londoners. What would become a cemetery was a ducking pond in the rural grounds of a Spa Fields public house. It was here in 1683 that six children were drowned while playing on the ice. In his History of Clerkenwell (1865) William J. Pinks wrote that visitors, "came hither to witness the rude sports that were in vogue a century ago, such as duck-hunting, prize-fighting, bull-baiting

Nottingham Collection

This week, Deceased Online expands its Nottingham Collection with the addition of records from the early Victorian cemetery, Nottingham General. Enter Nottingham's General Cemetery from Canning Terrace and be prepared to step back in time to the late 19th century. Like many of the Victorian cemeteries in the Deceased Online collections, Nottingham General was designed to take the burden from parish churches whose graveyards had become overcrowded. Also, like many other Victorian cemeteries, this was administered by a newly-formed body, the Nottingham General Cemetery Company (1836) . The Grade II listed gatehouse , the chapel and the adjacent almshouses were built between 1836 and 1838 by S. S. Rawlinson . Burial registers were kept from the opening date of cemetery in 1838. Concerns were raised in the 1920s that this municipal cemetery was now overcrowded and from 1929 the cemetery was closed to new burials other than those who owned burial rights. Headstones in

Churck (Rock) Cemetery, Nottingham

Coming soon to the Deceased Online database: two historic cemeteries from Nottingham City Council to add to the Nottingham Collection . This week, I explore the history of the renowned Church Cemetery (also known as the Rock Cemetery) . At first glance, the modern visitor to Nottingham's Church Cemetery may think they have wandered into Kensal Green , or another of London's Magnificent Seven cemeteries. The 13 acre site abounds with the kind of gothic stone monuments and large sarcophogi with which the mid-Victorians liked to remember their dead. Yet look harder and you will find something unique to Nottingham - sandstone caves. Since the middle ages, the area around Nottingham was quarried for its sandstone, now known by the name of a nearby village as "Bulwell sandstone". From 1851, after the cemetery was laid out on the former sandpits, local people grew to know it simply as "The Rock".  Church Cemetery Otherwise known as the Rock Cemetery on a