Author Topic: "Never Mind How to Pronounce It, Sasines Are Useful"  (Read 43386 times)

Offline Berlin-Bob

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"Never Mind How to Pronounce It, Sasines Are Useful"
« on: Friday 24 December 04 09:57 GMT (UK) »
Found this article in the Ancestry Daily News (http// ) Article no longer available

Ancestry Daily News, 21 December 2004

Never Mind How to Pronounce It, Sasines Are Useful
 – Sherry Irvine, CGRS, FSA (Scot)

Sasines are found in Scotland. They are records of land changing hands (whether by sale or inheritance), of mortgages, and of anything that involved the transfer of rights or assets associated with land. Rights can include such things as coal and the fish in streams and rivers.

Sasines go back a long way (to the 1500s). An effective system of registration started in 1617. The proper name is an instrument of sasine. It recorded the act of transfer, which at one time was more than just signing papers--giving a handful of earth, for example.
By the way, I have heard many pronunciations for “sasines,” but the one that seems to be used most consistently is to make the word rhyme with "raisins."


The full article (very informative !) exceeds the 5500 characters limit on messages, but you can read it here, at: http// (Article no longer available)

She also gives tips on where to find them, and for further reading.

Non subscription source acknowledged - Copyright Editor
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see:

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:

Offline Falkyrn

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Re: "Never Mind How to Pronounce It, Sasines Are Useful"
« Reply #1 on: Monday 03 January 05 19:00 GMT (UK) »
An instrument of sasine (pronounced ‘say-zin’) is a legal document that records the transfer of ownership (usually a sale or an inheritance) of a piece of land or of a building.
It will normally detail the names of the new and previous owners and will give a basic description of the property transferred.
There will usually be an indication of the price paid for the property.
Sasines can also give you information about family history, particularly where an individual is passing land to another family member, or where the family designation is revealed (e.g. ‘John Campbell of X’).
Sometimes information given in one sasine will give you clues as to earlier titles in the chain and so lead you back to the earlier history of the ownership of a building or piece of land.

Information supplied by the National Archive of Scotland.

The first attempt at a Register of Sasine was made in 1599 and ended in 1609 This register although incomplete is held by the NAS.
The first true register was started in 1617 and continued until the present day ... many of the records are held by the NAS..

Offline longshanks

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Re: "Never Mind How to Pronounce It, Sasines Are Useful"
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 13 January 05 23:37 GMT (UK) »
Sasines can be accessed in two forms. There are abridged registers from 1780 onwards up to 20th century for most Scottish Counties with some gaps, like no 'person' indexes or no 'place' indexes for some spans. You can look up the documents but the abstracts are very informative.  They are quite handy if you are looking for a geographical location such as an estate or a farmhouse or a commercial unit because they give both owners and tenants or borrower and lender in the case of mortgages. They also give the superior of an estate as well as the undertenant.

They are in New Register House in Edinburgh. For earlier Sasines it is more touch and go as there are few indexes. You just have to wade through the abridgements around the time you are looking for then order sight of or copies of the documents. I have used them quite extensively for land history, particularly for a book I wrote on Eastern Renfrewshire called 'Eastwood District History and Heritage' 1989, and a work I co-authored with Stuart Nisbet 'Robert Allason and Greenbank'. We have both used them to study the histories of estates, cotton mills etc. They are useful for histories of land-owning families. Their main value to genealogists is for ancestors who were long term tenants or owners of property, and sometimes for lenders as they give kinship and inheritance information.

Unfortunately most of my ancestors don't figure in the Sasines.  If you are lucky enough to have ancestors who did, they will make a difference.

Other sources: some major towns and cities have published topographic deeds. One of the most important examples are for Glasgow and surrounding areas where deeds were tested in Glasgow, such as Renwick's Glasgow Protocols. These are available in the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and I expect in the National Library of Scotland where other such collections are housed. Renwick's volumes are very well indexed and a very good source.

For both England and Scotland you can use the national public record office volumes (PRO England, SRO Scotland), for periods up to 17th century. In Scotland 15th to 16th century records occur in the Register of the Great Seal (Reg Mag Sig) and the Register of the Secret Seal (Reg Sig Sig - to some extent duplicates) which are Crown copies of land deeds with person and place indexes. Up to 17th century Register of the Privy Council contains court cases, pursuits, securities and victims of crime.  In England there are Calendars of Inquisitions, Charter Rolls, Close Rolls etc for the medieval period, and Calendar of State Papers up to 17th century does more or less the same as its Scottish counterpart.  These can be found in large town libraries.

Happy searching
Beattie,Edwards,Hope,Jarman,McLuckie, Meason, Murray, Summers, Welsh, Wilde, Wemyss, Wright

Offline MKG

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Re: "Never Mind How to Pronounce It, Sasines Are Useful"
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 14 October 08 20:08 BST (UK) »
Just a matter of interest ... I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that the word is closely related (if not actually the same word) as SEIZIN or SEISIN, a medieval term meaning estate or property.
Griffiths, Howard, Johnson, McLeod, Rizz(a)(i)(o)
Berwick (Tweedmouth and Spittal), Blyth(N'land) between the wars, Wrexham, Tattersett

Offline daval57

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Re: "Never Mind How to Pronounce It, Sasines Are Useful"
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 01 November 08 03:52 GMT (UK) »
Why is this a sticky?
FORREST (Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Stirlingshire and Dunbartonshire)
ROONEY (Co Down, Co Antrim) 
ANDERSON (Moray, Caithness)

Offline Ann Baker

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Re: "Never Mind How to Pronounce It, Sasines Are Useful"
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 19 November 08 18:54 GMT (UK) »

Dunno but glad it is cos it's something that a lot of people wouldn't know about. Especially folks new to Scottish research.

Torrens, Thompson - Tyrone & Fermanagh,Connolly, Campbell - Monaghan & Cavan, McGovern, Carroll, Orr - Ireland <br />Connolly, Fulton, Stirling, Cameron, McKellar, Robertson, McGovern, Torrance, Bisland, Fraser, Hamilton, O'Hara, McAusland, McTaggart , Lambie, Twedale, Hart, Clark(Paisley/Barrhead/Glasgow)<br />McGovern, Liddell - Falkirk<br />Mair, Muir, Carroll, Stewart, Law, Orr - Lanarkshire <br />Torrance - Brisbane<br />Connolly , Robertson- NSW<br />McGovan(?), Robertson , Agnew-

Offline longshanks

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Re: "Never Mind How to Pronounce It, Sasines Are Useful"
« Reply #6 on: Monday 15 December 08 22:15 GMT (UK) »
Since my original reply in 2005 the Abridged Seisins from 1780 onwards have been digitised, but you still have to go to New Register House in Edinburgh to look them up. But search is easier as a result.
Beattie,Edwards,Hope,Jarman,McLuckie, Meason, Murray, Summers, Welsh, Wilde, Wemyss, Wright

Offline valr

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Re: "Never Mind How to Pronounce It, Sasines Are Useful"
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 23 August 09 21:46 BST (UK) »
Can I ask what info you need to search? An address or is a general area enough? Or do you need to search by name AND address? Just wondering what scope there is for browsing..
Scotland -McCall, King, Morrison, Thomson, Mcfarlane, Stewart, Dow, Jolly, Roberston, Christie, Mclaren, Campbell, McGregor
England - Roberts, Steel, Underhill, Brookes, Pope, Stump

Offline n4mv3t

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Re: "Never Mind How to Pronounce It, Sasines Are Useful"
« Reply #8 on: Monday 14 June 10 18:24 BST (UK) »
G'day all ... the  Ancestry Daily News (http/ ) and the full article link of http// ... (listed above) are dead links, giving me an error message  :(  ... so, I had a look around and found this ...  :)

... ... it is the website of the National Archives of Scotland ... hope this helps someone  :)

... and thanks to Berlin-Bob for original post as I'm now at G,G,G, Grandfather, 1800 and my search path is drying up ... hopefully sasines might help
CHADWICK - Amersham/Bethnal Green, UK
ESTALL - Bethnal Green, UK
LOCKHART - Airdrie/Springburn/Baillieston Scotland
McGREGOR/McGRIGOR - Gartly, Scotland
RUSSELL/RUSSEL/RUSSAL - Mortlach, Scotland