Author Topic: Finding places in Scotland  (Read 823 times)

Offline Forfarian

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Finding places in Scotland
« on: Monday 07 November 16 12:16 GMT (UK) »
If you are looking to find the place where your ancestors lived in Scotland, there are a few pitfalls to beware of.

The main problem is that many (even most) place names are not unique. There are, for instance, a croft named Edinburgh near Elgin, a farm named Dundee near Huntly, and at least two Irelands in Scotland. When you start getting into really common place names or elements of place names, like Burnside or Boghead or Kirkto(w)n, you are heading for a minefield.

Names can also apply to a single house or farm, and these are not marked on the sort of map you might use for driving around, either on paper or as a satnav.

For example, I was once asked about a family who lived at Hillockhead. The person asking had looked on a road map and found a place called Hillockhead on the Black Isle http://www.geograph.org.uk/gridref/NH7460 and since this was the only one they had found, assumed it was the one where their family had lived.

The trouble was that the records of the family were from the parish register of Rothes, which (in 19th century terms, when the only way to get about on land was by muscle power) is nowhere near the Black Isle.

On checking the first edition of the six-inch Ordnance Survey map http://maps.nls.uk/os/6inch/index.html on the National Library of Scotland web site, there it was, a couple of miles south of the town of Rothes http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=57.5069&lon=-3.2024&layers=5&b=1

These days, there is nothing left of this Hillockhead except some unevenness of the ground in the middle of a field http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3558550

There are other Hillockheads too
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3026353
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1108338
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4626407
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2081933
and that's only a selection of the ones within a few tens of miles of Rothes.

The second problem is that place names are not constant; they can change over time.

For example, the fam called Muiryhillock on the first edition six-inch map http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=56.7151&lon=-2.7869&layers=5&b=1 is now named Easter Marcus on the modern maps http://www.geograph.org.uk/gridref/NO5158.

Generally, if a farm has a name like Overton, Upperton, Middleton, Netherton, Easterton, Westerton, Mains of x and a whole range of other elements, its original full name is likely to incorporate another name, which you will need to know to be sure of getting the right place.

Here's an example from Memsie http://www.geograph.org.uk/gridref/NJ9661 - you can see that on the modern map there are Muirton of Memsie and Westerton of Memsie, plus Overtown, Memsie House and Manor Farm. Then look at the old map http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=57.6465&lon=-2.0546&layers=5&b=1 and it's Overtown of Memsie, and Manor farm is marked as Home Farm. If you move the old map to the right you'll find there's also a Woodside of Memsie that isn't named on the modern maps at all, though it's definitely still there.

There are hundreds of example of such changes.

The critical point is that if you have found a reference to your ancestors in a census or in a parish register or registration district, knowing the parish or district name is absolutely essential for finding the place. If you are asking for help to find it, you really must say where you found the reference to the place you are looking for.




Researching

AITKENHEAD, Lanarkshire; BINNY, Forfar; BLACK, New Monkland; BRYSON, Cumbernauld; BURGESS, North-East Scotland; CRUICKSHANK, Rothes; DALLAS, Botriphnie; DAVIDSON, Oyne; GUTHRIE, Angus; HOGG, Larbert; LESLIE, Rothes/Mortlach; MENDUM, England; MOLLISON, Lethnot; PATERSON, Larbert; RHIND, Forfar; SANG, Scotland; SCOTT, East Kilbride; STOR(R)I/E/Y, Shotts; THORNTON, Shotts; WADDELL, New Monkland; WILKIE, New Monkland; WILKIE, Tannadice; WYLLIE, Angus; YOUNG, Keith

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Offline Rosinish

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Re: Finding places in Scotland
« Reply #1 on: Friday 18 May 18 05:06 BST (UK) »
Good words & direction Forfarian on place names!

By the time I read this post, I'd forgot what I was searching in the 1st place (no pun intended) to arrive at your post  ;D

County & Parish are as you say 'essential' as there are so many (same) place names in different Counties.

I would also like to add the fact there are many place names (taken from gaelic spelling) which may have many variants i.e. it's 'essential' to give Parish & County as the same applies with gaelic place names in many scottish areas/islands.

Glad I found this thread!

Annie
South Uist, Inverness-shire, Scotland:- Bowie, Campbell, Cumming, Currie, MacDonald, MacInnes, MacIntyre, MacKinnon, Steele, Walker

Ireland:- Cullen, Flannigan (Derry), Donahoe/Donaghue (variants) (Cork), McCrate (Tipperary), Mellon, Tol(l)and (Donegal & Tyrone)

Newcastle-on-Tyne/Durham (Northumberland):- Harrison, Jude, Kemp, Lunn, Mellon, Robson, Stirling

Kettering, Northampton:- MacKinnon

Canada:- Callaghan, MacKinnon, MacPhee

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Offline brigidmac

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Re: Finding places in Scotland
« Reply #2 on: Friday 18 May 18 05:40 BST (UK) »
Thanks for this interesting post forfar .
I had to get a map ...places I thought were far away turned out to be walking distance from Glasgow ..in 1800.s my ancestorSamsung  didn't stray far from Cambuslang. ..the family house was on the border of 3 parishes so sometimes it just depended which records were used .
Roberts,Fellman.Macdermid MCDERMID McDiarmid Gardner Jones ,Bloch,Irvine,Hallis Stevenson ,McKay

Offline Forfarian

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Re: Finding places in Scotland
« Reply #3 on: Monday 28 May 18 13:39 BST (UK) »
An unbeatable source for place names, which was not readily available when I wrote that original post, but now is available, is https://scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/places
Researching

AITKENHEAD, Lanarkshire; BINNY, Forfar; BLACK, New Monkland; BRYSON, Cumbernauld; BURGESS, North-East Scotland; CRUICKSHANK, Rothes; DALLAS, Botriphnie; DAVIDSON, Oyne; GUTHRIE, Angus; HOGG, Larbert; LESLIE, Rothes/Mortlach; MENDUM, England; MOLLISON, Lethnot; PATERSON, Larbert; RHIND, Forfar; SANG, Scotland; SCOTT, East Kilbride; STOR(R)I/E/Y, Shotts; THORNTON, Shotts; WADDELL, New Monkland; WILKIE, New Monkland; WILKIE, Tannadice; WYLLIE, Angus; YOUNG, Keith