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Scottish Post Office Directories – Have you used them yet?
Posted 23 August 2011
By Ruth Blair PLCGS, Blair Archival Research
The National Library for any country is a wonderful resource for a family history researcher. Part of their mandate is to preserve their countries history through books and now quite a few are putting their digital collections online. The really wonderful thing is that these collections are usually free to access.
The National Library of Scotland has put their Post Office Directories online. The time period covered is 1773-1911 and 28 towns and counties in Scotland are represented. There are 694 directories in the digital collection.
Right now you can search the collection on the National Library of Scotland’s website but there are plans to have a website dedicated to the collection up and running some time this summer.
The main parts of the directory are the street and trade section and a section that alphabetically lists residents by their name. In the alphabetical listing you sometimes find their address and occupation.
The directory can create a picture in time of the town it is covering. You can find information on what can be found in the city including lists of banks, churches and clergy, conveyances, education, insurance, law, medicine, post offices and lists of the people involved in the parliamentary process.
The towns and counties covered in the collection are: Aberdeen (88), Airdrie (1), Angus and Mearns (2), Ayrshire (32), Bute (19), Clackmannan (1), Dalkeith (8), Dumfries (1), Dundee (52), Edinburgh (128), Forfar (26), Glasgow (115), Greenock (65), Hamilton (2), Helensburgh (2), Inverness (15), Kilmarnock (3), Morayshire (5), Motherwell (1), Musselburgh (1), North-East Scotland (1), Perth (29), Peterhead (1), Portobello (3), Renfrewshire (61), Scotland (18), Stirling (12), West coast Scotland (2).
The numbers in the brackets are the number of directories for each place. Edinburgh and Glasgow have the most. The one for Airdrie is for 1896 and Peterhead is for 1853.
You can download a PDF or you can view the book online. The online link takes you to the Internet Archive website where the images are held.
The earliest one for Glasgow is John Tait’s directory for the City of Glasgow 15 May 1783 to 15 May 1784. The alphabetical name index is by first letter only. The list for each letter is not alphabetical.
I went in and checked the Glasgow directory for 1801. This is an alphabetical list for last name but the first names are not alphabetical. Sometimes you can not read the last entry on a page so try making the image smaller. At the end of the names index there is a list of “Names omitted in their proper place” and while not all directories might have this it is a good idea to check if they do. I did not find the ancestors I was looking for in this directory.
They were found in the 1825 directory. Walter Campbell is a smith and farrier at 322 Gallowgate in Glasgow. In this directory I did a search for my Waddell family and the search said there were no results. When I checked under the letter W there were 12 Waddell’s listed. Do not rely on the search function.
I just spent a wonderful afternoon going through the post office directories and found many interesting items relating to my Waddell family. The directories along with statistical accounts of Scotland can help you find more information about your family and how and where they lived.
Visit Scottish Post Office Directories online now.
About Ruth Blair, PLCGS, Blair Archival Research:
©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved [article]
Scotland/Scottish Genealogy & History Resources from Global Genealogy:
BOOK - Discover Scottish Church Records - Second Edition
By Chris Paton
Published by Unlock the Past, Australia, 2016
This edition printed and bound in Canada by GlobalGenealogy.com Inc.
In this greatly expanded second edition of Chris Paton's popular title, he explores the history and records of the various churches in Scotland prior to 1855, the year in which civil registration commenced within the country. He describes the theological changes imposed by the Reformation of 1560, the nature of the state's battles with the Kirk, and the Kirk's subsequent battles within itself. Most importantly, he also discusses the nature of the records generated by the various Scottish churches, how to interpret them, and above all else, how to find them. Whether you are looking for tales of ministers carried into the air by Scotland's fairy folk, the fire and thunder of John Knox, a detailed explanation of the online offerings of the ScotlandsPeople website, or the treasures waiting in the National Records of Scotland, this is the definitive research guide to help anyone with Caledonian connections.
ISBN 9781925323351 More Information
BOOK - ScotlandsPeople: The Place to Launch Your Scottish Research - Second Edition
By Rosemary Kopittke
Originally published by Unlock the Past, Australia, 2015
ScotlandsPeople provides an exceptional source of genealogical records for those with Scottish ancestry - Statutory registers of birth, death and marriage, old parish registers, Catholic parish registers, census records, valuation rolls, wills and testaments, and Coats of Arms. Access to such a wide range of basic records for a relatively cheap fee means we can all research from our home without the expense of hiring a search agent, ordering in many microfilms, or a trip to Scotland - as pleasant as that last option may be. With some knowledge and practice you will become adept at locating records of relevance to your family and you will be well on your way with your research. Of course, not all records are available online. You will still need to track down your non-conformists, investigate land records, maps, cemeteries, electoral rolls, directories, poor law, military and other records, BUT ScotlandsPeople is a great place to launch the study of your families. ISBN 9781925323023 More Information
BOOK - Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis
By Chris Paton
Published by Unlock the Past, St Agnes, Australia, 2015
In this latest Unlock the Past guide, genealogist Chris Paton goes in search of the records of ancestral hardship in Scotland, to allow us to truly understand the situations that our ancestors had to endure and overcome across the generations, to help us become the people who we are today. There were many battles that our forebears fought for and against in Scotland, both on a personal level and as a part of the society within which they lived. There were the laws of the local parish church and the punishments awaiting those who breached kirk discipline; the struggles to avoid poverty and the stigma of being a debtor; the darkest moments of the soul, from mental health issues and illness, to murder and suicide; and the dramatic moments of rebellion, when our forebears drew a line in the sand against a perceived tyranny or democratic deficit. Illness, death, bigamy, abandonment, accidents, eviction, ethnic cleansing – a dramatic range of challenges across a lifetime, and at times, outright tragedy. ISBN 978-1-921956-98-0 More Information
BOOK - Discover Scottish Civil Registration Records
By Chris Paton
Published by Unlock the Past, St Agnes, Australia, 2013
This edition published by Global Genealogy, Milton, 2014
This guide from family historian Chris Paton takes a look at the vast world of Scottish civil registration records. Scotland commenced the statutory registration of births, marriages and deaths within the country in 1855, some seventeen and half years after a similar process had already got underway in England and Wales. The information lost to the family historian by such a late start is, however, more than made up for by the fact that Scottish registration records are the most detailed of all those found within the British Isles. But what was the law behind Scottish registration, and how did it differ to England, Wales and Ireland? Who was legally obliged to do what and when, what were the penalties for default, and how might such knowledge help with our ancestral research? Why were all the forms of Scottish irregular marriage not abolished in 1939, and what angered the country's doctors? Where are the records not found online via ScotlandsPeople, such as those for adoption, vaccination, civil partnerships and divorce - and what vital records does the General Register Office in England hold for Scots as far back at the 1760s, and far beyond Britain's shores? ISBN 978-1-926797-99-1 More Information
BOOK - Discover Scottish Land Records
By Chris Paton
Originally published by Unlock the Past, St Agnes, Australia, 2012
This edition published by Global Genealogy, Milton, 2014
This guide from family historian Chris Paton takes a look at the complicated records concerning land and property based research in Scotland. For centuries property transactions within the county were governed by feudal tenure, a system which was abandoned in England and Wales in the Middle Ages, but which continued in Scotland until 2004. But feudalism was not the only method by which land was held, with udalism, duthcas, leasehold and more competing as forms of tenure across the country at different times. Connected with the rules surrounding property transactions were those associated with the inheritance of land and heritable estate, all of which is explained in great detail. From sassines to skat, from retours to precepts of clare constant, and from apparent heirs to heirs apparent, this concise guide will help you get to grips with one of the most exciting and useful topics within Scottish family history. ISBN 978-1-926797-97-7 More Information
GAZETTEER & MAPS - Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical, and Historical. New Edition (1893)
By Francis H. Groome
Originally published by William MacKenzie, Edinburgh, 1893
This edition published by Global Heritage Press, Milton 2014
Maps and gazetteers are a treasure trove for family historians and researchers. This multi-volume resource contains full colour maps (county, region & townplans), full page photos of Scottish scenes, and a 1755 page gazetteer that provides details on the history and development of Scotland in general and individual counties, cities, towns, villages and points of interest in particular. More Information
BOOK - Gazetteer Of Scotland 1882
By Rev. John Wilson.
Originally published by W. & A. K. Johnston, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1882
This edition published by Global Heritage Press, Milton 1999 (CD 2009)
When this work was compiled in 1882, the Rev. John Wilson and his publishers sought to create a definitive work that "would supply a long-felt want; namley a Gazetteer of Scotland, extensive enough to embrace every Town and Village in the Country, of any importance...and yet portable in form...". To add value to the work, the compiler extracted population and other information from the 1881 Census Returns. A windfall for anyone researching 19th century Scotland for geographic, genealogical or historical interest.
ISBN 1-894378-29-6 (Hardcover edition) More Information
ATLAS - Philip's Handy Atlas of the Counties of Scotland, 1888
By John Bartholomew
Originally published by George Philip & Son, London, 1888
This edition published by Global Heritage Press, Milton 2012 (CD)
Maps are a treasure trove for family historians and researchers. This CD contains 32 full colour maps and a 34 page index to point you to the county map and coordinates to easily locate the place that you are looking for. Every county map includes a legend of all Parishes with a corresponding colour outline showing the borders of each Parish. Ideal for pointing the researcher to the Parish records (baptisms, marriages, burials etc) for the area where your family lived. More Information
ATLAS on CD - Cary's New Map of England, Wales and part of Scotland, 1794
By John Cary
Originally published by John Cary, London, 1794
This edition published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2009 (CD)
The original pages of the 1794 Cary's atlas have been carefully digitized and archived as electonic images. View images on-screen or print for personal use. Maps can be enlarged for detailed viewing. The atlas includes a comprehensive index of English, Welsh and Scottish places as they were known in 1794 (The Scottish section includes only the most southern border area). The index provides the page number where the full-colour map appears. Easy to use.
ISBN 978-1-897446-38-6 More Information
BOOK - British Home Children: Their Stories
Compiled by the British Isles Family History Society of Ottawa (BIFHSGO)
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2010
British Home Children were those who were admitted into a Philanthropic Home, Union Workhouse or Industrial School between 1869 and 1948, from families that had suffered a great tragedy or were dysfunctional. A great many of these children were then brought to Canada where they were received into a Distributing Home for settlement as farm labourers and domestics. To commemorate The Year of the British Home Child, BIFHSGO has assembled a collection of stories prepared by the researchers about the lives of some of these these children — their ancestors — that demonstrate the strength of character, sense of purpose and good humour that enabled them to overcome adversity and contribute a positive and lasting legacy to their new country.
ISBN 978-1-926797-47-2 (Softcover) More Information
By James Taylor
Originally published by J. S. Virtue & Co., London, 1899
This edition published by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2006 (CD 2010)
One of the great genealogical works of Scottish families, Taylor's The Great Historic Families of Scotland has been considered a cornerstone reference work since its original publication in 1889. Welcomed by those who valued high standards of genealogical research and delight in the romance of history. The narrative traces many distinguished Scottish families from their earliest recorded origins all the way up to the final decade of the 19th century. More information
BOOK - The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames With A Vocabulary of Christian Names
By Clifford Stanley Sims.
Originally published, Albany, New York, 1862
This edition by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2003
The author's surname derivations are based on localities, baptismal names, trades, offices, professions, etc. Some descriptions of surname origin are as much as a page in length...others, only a line or two. Also included is a long list of Christian names and their meanings. The Christian name descriptions are typically one word.
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BOOK - The History of Celtic Place-Names of Scotland
By William J. Watson.
Originally published by William Blackwood and Sons, Scotland, 1926
This facsimile reprint by Global Heritage Press, Milton, 2008 (CD 2010)
This book remains the best and most comprehensive reference guide to the Celtic place-names of Scotland. This is the only hardcover edition of this classic work in print, an essential reference work for everyone interested in Scottish history and the derivations of place names throughout Scotland. A classic and durable edition that will serve as a valuable reference tool for generations. Indexed.
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BOOK - The Scotch-Irish. Two Volumes in One
By Charles A. Hanna. This is the basic sourcebook on the Scotch-Irish in North America, a massive compilation of source records pertaining to the Scots who settled in the north of Ireland and their descendants in North America. The Scotch-Irish left Ulster as a result of neo-mercantilist British economic policy in the region, requirements that they pay 10% of their income to the Anglican Church, ongoing friction with their Catholic Irish neighbors, and greater economic opportunity in the New World.
BOOKS on CD - Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to Canada Before Confederation (1867) Vols. 1, 2, 3 and 4
By Don Whyte
Published by Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto
Now available on CD ROM! A unique compilation of thousands of Scottish Imigrants to Canada, taken from a wide range of primary and secondary sources. These volumes document thousands of fur traders, explorers, bankers, railway builders, politicians, farmers, teachers and journalists who came to Canada before 1867. Donald Whyte consulted numerous sources, printed and manuscript, and by extensive correspondence, gathered much information that would not otherwise have been saved for posterity. All four volumes can be purchased on a single CD ROM. A must for anyone searching for Scottish ancestors who migrated to Canada prior to 1867.
ISBN 978-0-7779-3427-2 More information
BOOK - Tracing Your Edinburgh Ancestors, A Guide for Family and Local Historians (Scotland)
By Alan Stewart
Published by Pen and Sword, Barnsley UK, 3rd November 2015
Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland for the last 500 years and more, and Alan Stewart's handbook is the perfect guide to it. The many genealogical records of Edinburgh are described in detail, while appendices cover genealogy websites and Edinburgh’s many archives, museums, art galleries, castles, palace and family history society. He takes readers through the story of Edinburgh from the earliest times up to the present day, showing how its colourful history has affected the lives of their ancestors. The many genealogical records of Edinburgh are described in detail, and appendices cover genealogy websites, family history societies, and Edinburgh's many archives, museums, art galleries, castles and palaces.
ISBN 9781473828575 More Information
BOOK - Researching Scottish Family History
By Chris Paton
Published by The Family History Partnership, Lancashire, UK, 2010
Researching Scottish Family History is a detailed introductory guide to those wishing to explore their Caledonian roots. Filled with handy tips throughout, the book also provides many useful contextual asides on various aspects of Scottish history relevant to your ancestral pursuit – why are there no bishops’ transcripts for Scotland, for example, and how do you prove whether your ancestor really was a Jacobite soldier? Completing the book are handy appendices listing the contact details of all Scottish based county archives, family history societies and comainn eachdraidh, making this an absolute essential for your personal genealogical library. 120 pages.
ISBN 978-1-906280-22-2 (Softcover) More Information
BOOK - Scottish Family History On The Web - Third Edition
By Stuart A. Raymond
Published by The Family History Partnership, Lancashire, UK, 2010
Despite the fact that there are thousands of genealogical web-sites worth visiting, the means for finding particular relevant sites are very poor; search engines frequently list dozens of irelevant sites, but not the ones you require. This thoroughly revised edition lists the most important genealogical sites on the web for researching your Scottish ancestors. Lists more than 1700 websites covering 200 subjects regarding researching Scottish family history using worthwhile resources found on the internet. 96 pages.
ISBN 978-1-906280-21-5 (Softcover) More Information
BOOK - Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors, A Guide for Family Historians
By Ian Maxwell
Published by Pen and Sword Books, S. Yorkshire, UK, 2009
This pioneering book breaks new ground in that it offers a detailed social history showing how the lives of our ancestors changed over the centuries and how this is reflected in the documentation that has survived. It will help family historians put their research in historical perspective, giving them a better insight into the part their ancestors played in the past.
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BOOK - Lowlands of Scotland, Sourcebook for Family Researchers
By Sherrell Branton Leetooze
Published by Lynn Michael-John Associates, Bowmanville, 2012
Whoever your ancestors were, where ever they lived in the Scottish Lowlands or Borders, their life was a hard one, but documentation for much of it can be located in the old records. One archive listed in this book boasts of 800 years of history on their shelves. This book will save you much time and effort insofar as it identifies the most useful and reliable sources to guide you on your quest to find and document your Scottish Lowlands ancestors.
ISBN n/a More information
BOOK - The Workhouse Encyclopedia [England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales]
By Peter Higginbotham
Published by The History Press, Gloucestershire, UK (2012)
Compiled by Peter Higginbotham, one of Britain’s foremost experts on the subject, it covers everything from the 1725 publication An Account of Several Workhouses to the South African Zulu admitted to Fulham Road Workhouse in 1880. With hundreds of fascinating anecdotes, plus priceless information for researchers including workhouse addresses, useful websites and archive repository details, maps, plans, original workhouse publications and an extensive bibliography, it will delight family historians and general readers alike. This fascinating, fully illustrated volume is the definitive guide to every aspect of workhouse life.
ISBN 9780752470122 (Hardcover) More Information
BOOK - Life in the Victorian & Edwardian Workhouse [United Kingdom]
By Michelle Higgs
Published by The History Press, Gloucestershire, UK (2007)
This book establishes a true picture of what life was like in a workhouse, of why inmates entered them and of what they had to endure in their day-to-day routine. A comprehensive overview of the workshouse system gives a real and compelling insight into social and moral reasons behind their growth in the Victorian era, while the kind of distinctions that were drawn between inmates are looked into, which, along with the social stigma of having been a workhouse inmate, tell us much about class attitudes of the time. The book also looks at living conditions and duties of the staff who, in many ways, were prisoners of the workhouse. Michelle Higgs combines thorough research with a fresh outlook on a crucial period in British history, and in doing so paints a vivid portrait of an era and its social standards that continues to fascinate, and tells us much about the society we live in today. .
ISBN 9780752442143 (Softcover) More Information
BOOK - Highlander: The History of The Legendary Highland Soldier
By Tim Newark
Published by Constable, London, UK, 2009
‘Highlander’ (Constable) is the first book to tell the complete story of how the Highlander rose from humble roots in the mountains of Scotland to become a dynamic figure of universal appeal. It tells the story through the words of the soldiers themselves, from their diaries, letters and journals—uncovered from the archives of Highland regiments in Scotland and around the world. Sometimes the stories reveal shocking truths long buried. Above all, this is not just a Scots story—but a world story. English, Irish, Welsh, Canadians, Australians, South Africans, and Americans have all served as Highlanders.
ISBN 9781602399518 (Hardcover) More Information
BOOK - The Quarriers Story, One Man's Vision Which Gave Over 40,000 Children a New Life
By Anna Magnusson
This book, by Anna Magnusson, chronicles the history of Quarriers from its earliest days as a refuge for thousands of destitute children in Victorian Scotland through to becoming one of the 21 st century’s leading social care charities. It tells the inspiring story of how the vision and determination of one man – William Quarrier – created a legacy which continues to serve the people of Scotland to this day.
BOOK - Lothian, A Historical Guide [Scotland]
By Mark Collard.
The Lothian region of Scotland is situated in the south-east of the country, its boundaries marked by the Lammermuir hills, the North Sea and the Firth of Forth. The wealth of fertile soil and mineral deposits in this area ensured its national importance from very early times. With entries covering the Mesolithic Period, through the impact of the Celts, the Romans, and the Picts, the the medieval and industrial ages, this book details the abundance of superb archaeological remains and places of great historical interest to be found in this ever popular area.
ISBN: 9781874744450 More Information
BOOK - Lochaber, A Historical Guide [Scotland]
By Paula Martin.
A unique combination of illustrated guidebook and engrossing narrative, this is a chronological history of Lochaber from prehistoric times to the present day, including maps of the region, site plans, and illustrations of the major buildings and ruins. Only a few intrepid travellers came here before the nineteenth century, when roads, steam-boats and then the railway rapidly opened up the area to tourism. It remains to this day a popular destination for all those who are inspired by rugged beauty and romantic scenery.
ISBN: 9781841582412 More Information
BOOK - Atholl and Gowrie North Perthshire, A Historical Guide. By Lindsay MacGregor, Richard Oram. Both areas are extremely rich in archaeology and this guide takes in the full range from neolithic cairns to medieval palaces, from industrial workers' cottages to Roman fortresses. A full gazetteer combines with the narrative to produce a definitive history of this beautiful part of Scotland, on the boundary of Highland and Lowland, that has played such a full part in Scotland's history. More Information
BOOK - Ayrshire, A Historical Guide. By Thorbjorn Campbell. Ayrshire has a rich and varied history and this book will enable the reader to discover the physical traces of all periods of that history. In medieval times Ayrshire played a key role in the emergence and consolidation of a unified Scotland, and it was from one of Ayrshire's many powerful families that the Stewart line of kings emerged. Learn about this and more in the definitive guide to Ayrshire. More Information
BOOK - The Little General and The Rousay Crofters, Crisis and Conflict on an Orkney Estate. By William P. L. Thomson. Burroughs had the reputation of one of the most brutal of all Orkney landlords and, in a time of great economic change, the harshness of his actions made that change particularly traumatic. The Little General and The Rousay Crofters tells the story of the remarkable events that occurred on the Orcadian island of Rousay between 1840 and 1890. More Information
BOOK - Scottish Royal Palaces. By: John G. Dunbar. This is the first exclusive survey of an outstanding group of buildings. More Information
BOOK - Colkitto! A celebration of clan Donald of Colonsay 1570-1647. By: Kevin Byrne. Colla Ciotach - or Colkitto - and his sons, MacDonalds of Colonsay, were great heroes of their age, and their exploits are recounted in the folklore and literature of the Highlands of Scotland. This book explores the legends associated with their Clan through recourse to contemporary sources. More Information
BOOK - "Fast Sailing and Copper Bottomed", Aberdeen Sailing Ships and the Emigrant Scots They Carried To Canada 1744-1855 By Lucille H. Campey. The days when Aberdeen's fast sailing and copper bottomed ships carried emigrants Scots to Canada are brought to life in this fascinating account of the northern Scotland exodus during the sailing ship era. More Information