Saturday, 31 March 2012

England, Scotland, and the Scottish Valuation Rolls for 1915

Because my last name is Reid some folks think I must be of Scots origin and also knowledgeable about Scottish genealogy. They're probably right on the first count, but so far I haven't been able to prove it. My earliest known Reid ancestor is found north of Hadrian's Wall in the mid 18th century, but not quite in Scotland, in the area known as the debatable lands where Armstrongs, Bells, Dacres, Grahams, Littles, Nixons, Reids and Rutherfords had seen centuries of conflict.

On the second knowledgeable part, ignorance is bliss.

My mother was born on Aberdeen, the daughter of a London-born musician only too happy to get employment wherever it could be found, so I could claim to be half Scot. Perhaps if Scotland votes for independence and issues its own passport that will be one more to add to my collection.

But having only set foot in Scotland twice, on one occasion only for a few hours, it's not a place for which I feel any affinity. Perhaps I've been rather turned off by the verse in Flanders and Swann's Song of Patriotic Prejudice:

"The Scotsman is mean, as we're all well aware
And bony and blotchy and covered with hair
He eats salty porridge, he works all the day
And he hasn't got bishops to show him the way!"
That's part of the back and forth, the latest of which is a BBC TV program How God Made the English. You only have to look at the presenter's name, Diarmaid MacCulloch, to recognize the objectivity likely applied to the analysis of what it means to be English. He argues that the English fallaciously think themselves to be: 1) better than others and duty-bound to play a leading role in world affairs, 2) among the most tolerant peoples in the world, and 3) quintessentially white, Anglo-Saxon and Church of England Christian. I detect a whiff of that other line from Michael Flanders, it's either "another triumph for Britain" or "England loses again."

But that's all by way of preamble to mentioning the Scottish Valuation Rolls for 1915 newly available on the ScotlandsPeople website. It so happens that was a year my mother's family were in Scotland. They were only temporary residents, would they be recorded?

The information on the rolls is name of occupant (head of household), address, occupation, rateable value, owner and owner's address. For three credits (for a limited time) you get to follow the search through to viewing an image of the original document.

For those not familiar with ScotlandsPeople, it's a pay per view site. You purchase credits, 30 for £7. They expire after 12 months unless more are purchased.

Subjugating my "The Scotsman is mean, as we're all well aware" tendencies, only after using the limited free search to establish there was a good chance of finding them, I registered and purchased credits.

It turned out successfully. My grandfather, easily found, was in Glasgow in a hotel or boarding house rather than in Aberdeen where I'd expected to find him. The image is of a printed page so the transcription should be quite reliable.

1 comment:

Yolanda Presant said...

Interesting to find out a little more about you! My great grandmother had Reids in her family. I think they were from Ayrshire originally. But they all moved down to Coatbridge to work in the iron industry.