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  1. #1
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    Default The Biggar Question

    I have hit a brick wall with church records in Biggar, Lanarkshire. Is it possible that some records were lost or that some are not available on Scotlandís People? All my other evidence indicates that my great and great great grand parents were born in Biggar, even died in Biggar but I can find no birth or marriage records in the Parish Register.

  2. #2

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    Church records were in the control of the Parish Minister of the Church Scotland and if they were another denomination (eg Episcopal, Free Church), it was entirely up to him whether he included them. Non-conformist registers have not always survived. Also, spelling variation was a national sport in the 19th century - you spoke your name and the Minster/Clerk wrote what he heard.

    Have you checked Scotlands People? They now allow users to select for the non-Conformists.

    When do you think that these people were living? Birth, Marriage & Death certificates started in Scotland in 1855 - was it before or after that? It would be easier to help with a bit more information such as their names...

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your reply Lesley. Yes, I’ve tried all denominations on Scotland’s People. These are pre 1855 so would be church registers. The surname is Smith which only adds to my frustration. Scotland’s People allows for fuzzy searches regarding name spelling. Still nothing. I have census records showing place of birth and even a death certificate (civil record period) but not birth record (pre 1855). Even searching for the other name on a marriage record, Cleghorn, throws up nothing. I’m becoming obsessed ��

  4. #4

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    It is possible that a volume of the register has gone missing. Fr example, I know that a whole volume of Kirrimuir marriages is missing - my own ancestors should be in there!
    I'll have a look around.

    Did any of them have unusual forenames?

  5. #5

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    I think that there must be a volume or 2 missing. I've just run a search on Smith, both genders, no forenames, no dates on SP and had 7 hits, all between 1841-1848. Searching on Robertson (also common) gave only 9 hits between 1838-1848.

    I had a brain wave and went off to have a look at the New Statistical Account for Biggar (HERE), as the 19th century Ministers usually boasted about how long the runs of their records were. I can't copy/paste, but he says that there's a register of births from 1730 to the time of writing, but no register of marriages or deaths. He also compains that parents are remiss in registering births.

    Sorry. The only other thing that I can think of right now is possible memorial stones. Sadly, I don't have them for Lanarkshire, but you could try the Lanark FHS or the Scottish Genealogy Society (who usually have collections in booklets).

  6. #6
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    My original thinking was that a Robert Smith marrying a Marion Cleghorn wonít be too hard to find. Boy was I wrong. Probably between 1820 and 1840. I can find no record of their marriage, either of their births or their son Jamesís birth (about 1845). All events probably in Lanarkshire. Finding these things will probably not get me any farther on but at least it would confirm Iíve not just made them up

  7. #7
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    Default

    As you probably have found there are a couple of baptisms to this couple -Marion in 1824 and Mary Ann in 1827 so they did exist!

  8. #8
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    Thank you so much for taking the time to do that. I’ll keep searching.

  9. #9
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    Yes, grisel. I have one I think but not the one I am looking for. Lol. Thanks

  10. #10

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    That passage I found was written in the mid 19th century #5, and the Minister said that he had a birth register, not always used, but no marriage or deaths. Go and look for yourself, I gave the link.

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