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Thread: No Ancestry Past 1600s?

  1. #1
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    No Ancestry Past 1600s?

    I was told that when doing your family tree, if you come across ancestors from Scotland after the 1600s, that it's not possible because records don't go back that far? Is this true? If so, why? If not, where would someone get that idea?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Presumably you mean before the 1600s.
    It's time to check the background on the databases you are consulting.
    When did church/kirk records start in the area you are researching?
    Are there other records that might provide some information?

    I get this question a lot.
    My usual response is: "you have reached 1600! On all your Scottish lines!!
    Would you like to show us how, because there are usually a few obstacles in the way of doing that, and we would dearly like to learn from your experience?"

    There certainly are other resources, but they don't include everybody.

  3. #3
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    How far back can I go with my English ancestors?
    Well, although there were supposed to be parish registers from about 1538, many do not go back that far.
    And although Bishops Transcripts (as a backup) started 1598, this was not universal either.
    And then there is the time of the Civil War and the Commonwealth.
    In some cases there is a gap around the time of the Commonwealth.
    In others, it was only the insistence of Cromwell that obliged vicars to keep proper records, and some parishes only really date from the 1650s.

    So, Scotland is expected to be better than that?
    Hmmmm.
    I think it is remarkable that the 1715 and 1745 uprisings are not generally mentioned as causing damage to these records.

    General information including for your parish of interest can usually be found at genuki, scotlandspeople, scotlands-places, National Records of Scotland, National Library of Scotland.

    Also please consider the reason for moving to civil registration, wherever that was.
    One reason was that some church records were not kept as well as they ought to be.
    So there are some gaps later, too.
    One marriage register in a period critical to my family was said to be dropped in a burn as the minister crossed it by horse.

    Good luck with your research.

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