Author Topic: 1841 census help please?  (Read 6892 times)

Offline ScottishAncestry

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Re: 1841 census help please?
« Reply #9 on: Tuesday 08 July 14 14:05 BST (UK) »
Hi Dawn,

The first thing to do is search the National Records of Scotland catalogue to find out what exists and where they are (they hold the vast majority of historical Kirk Session records for the Church of Scotland and other Presbyterian churches in Scotland). I’m not sure how familiar you are with it so I have written out how to do it, not only for this search but for any future Kirk Session search.

Go to which is the NRS online catalouge.

In the search fields you will see one labeled ‘Search for’, enter in the parish name: Selkirk
Then, in the Reference field enter: CH2

(All Church of Scotland Kirk Session records begin CH2, by adding this you will narrow down the results considerably.)

Now scroll through until you see something like “Records of Selkirk, St Mary's Kirk Session”. I say something like because if you do this again for another parish it may be worded slightly differently. For the moment ignore the presbytery records. In this search a lot of other parish records show up because they were in the Presbytery of Selkirk for a time (the Presbytery was a higher level in the hierarchy of church courts and would cover a number of parishes).

In this search the result you are looking for will likely be on the third page; reference number: CH2/1380. Click on the reference number to go into the record.

CH2/1380 are the Records of Selkirk, St. Mary’s Kirk Session 1700-1986, it tells you the repository is Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Centre.

What it also tells us is that the Level is ‘Fonds’. This is the upper level reference. Take the reference, CH2/1380 and go back to the search page of the catalogue, leave everything blank apart from the reference field, and type in CH2/1380. You will now see a breakdown of items within this reference, each with their own reference.

What to do now is scroll down the dates and the titles. You are looking for Minutes around the time of Robert’s birth.

CH2/1380/5 is entitled ‘Minutes 1823-1880; Minutes certificates received 1823-1835’ and dated 1823-1880. Click on the reference to see more information.

Again we are told that the repository for this item is the Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Centre.

Under access conditions it says, “This record has been digitally imaged and will not be produced for readers. The digital images may be seen in the NRS Search Rooms on the 'Virtual Volumes' system.”

What this tells us is that you can either go to the NRS in Edinburgh and view it on their ‘Virtual Volumes’ system or go to Hawick where again you will likely be shown the same digital images, although as they also hold the original you may also be shown them if you need to see them.

If you cannot visit in person I believe Hawick has a research service and therefore may be able to search them for you, I’m not sure though however if they provide copies. You would be best to email them and ask:

The NRS do provide some copy services but not research, I’m not sure if this falls into research, it probably does. You can email them, and they have some good tips for you to consider before you make an enquiry:

There are also a number of independent researchers who could do the job. The Scottish Genealogy Network would be a good place to contact one:

If you can’t go yourself and you are asking somebody to do it, an archivist or a professional, I wouldn’t expect to pay around £25-£50.

This is a relatively quick search because you now know the reference number and the books are digitally imaged. You have a specific question too and that speeds up research considerably. Quite a number of Rootschat members go to the NRS regularly, why not ask on one of the boards if anybody can look for you the next time they are in.


P.S. There is more information on the Virtual Volumes system here: