Saturday, 26 September 2009

An Irregular Catholic Marriage

As a continuation of my last post I thought I would include another entry from one of the Catholic Registers.

This entry is recorded in the register for Kirkconnel in the Diocese of Galloway and is interesting not only because of the parties involved but also because it refers to a marriage that had already taken place:

At Gateside 7 Jan[ua]ry 1813

Louis Marie Narcisse Dubois de Gennes, & Catharine Allan of Gateside having, by a written document which is littorally as follows -

(“We, Louis Marie Narcisse Dubois de Gennes, Agent for the Military Stores in the French service, present prisoner of War on parole at Dumfries in Scotland, & Catherine Allan McCartney, daughter of John Allan McCartney Esq[ui]re of Halketleaths, Physician in Liverpool, having, for some time past, been privately married, think it proper to acknowledge our said Marriage before witnesses, in order to render it valid by the law of Scotland: We do therefore hereby in presence of the witnesses subscribing acknowledge that we are Man & Wife, & promise to adhere to each other as such, till death shall part us: in Testimony whereof, we have subscribed this acknowledgment, written by me the said Dubois de Gennes, along with a duplicate thereof, at Dumfries, the eighteenth day of November Eighteen hundred & twelve years, before these Witnesses Pierre de Grege, Knight of the French Empire, officer of Light Artillery, & Jean Pierre Huet, paymaster in the French Service.”

Signed - Dubois de Gennes

Catherine Allan)

Pierre de Grege

J.P. Huet

satisfied me that they were legally married, according to the laws of this Country, in compliance with their earnest request, as they profess the Roman Catholic Religion, I, Thomas Bagnall, Cath[olic] Clergyman at Kirkconnell, did confirm their marriage according to the Rites of the Holy Cath[olic] Church, at Gateside in presence of Mrs Allan, Mrs & John Carmont on the 7th January. 1813

According to the online catalogue of SCAN (the Scottish Archive Network) the McCartney of Halketleaths Papers are held by Dumfries Archive Centre. The following information is recorded on the family:

The McCartney of Halketleaths family (the estate being near Castle Douglas in Buittle parish, Kirkcudbrightshire) can be found first in the 16th century. They remained in possession of the lands until 1833, the last owner apparently being Dr John Allan McCartney, who died in Liverpool on 28 July 1829. He left a widow, Alice Worswick or McCartney, but apparently had no children by her. He had, however, apparently had three daughters by Catherine Beveridge. Dr McCartney also went by the name John Allan or John McCartney Allan. The lands of Halketleaths (and others) were bought in 1833 by William Parke, of Anfield Lodge, Lancashire from Dr McCartney's trustees.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Scottish Catholic Registers – A Preview

As some of you may know, images from Scottish Catholic Sacramental Registers are due to be added to the ScotlandsPeople website in the near future. These registers, which include births and baptisms, marriages, burials and cemetery registers, confirmations and communion records, are held by the Scottish Catholic Archives and the Glasgow Roman Catholic Archdiocesan Archive. They have been digitised by a team at the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) and indexed in India.

The latest information I have is that births and baptisms are due online at the start of October with marriages, deaths, confirmations and communion records to be added later in the year, although this may change.

NAS has long had copies of the registers from pre-1855 parishes (held in RH21) but these were mostly quite poor quality photocopies and not indexed, so you either had to know fairly precisely what you were looking for or have a lot of patience. The new colour digital images will be a great improvement and the indexing and online availability will make the registers accessible to many more researchers.

There are plans to make the images and index available at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, however I wonder if, like the OPR burial registers, there will be a delay in this happening due to technical issues.

Researchers in Edinburgh will, however, be able to view the images for free on ‘Virtual Volumes’ at NAS, without the name index but with year linking (that is an index added to the images to indicate where each new year in the register begins).

I’ve been looking at some of these Catholic registers recently. The most valuable for genealogists are probably those containing pre-1855 entries (Statutory Registration began in Scotland in 1855) as they may well be the only surviving record of a particular birth, marriage or death (the earliest register starts in 1703 although many do not begin until the mid-1800s). However, the post-1855 registers are certainly also worth a look even if you already have a copy of the relevant civil record as you may find additional details.

Like other Scottish church registers the amount of detail recorded varies considerably, even within the same register. What struck me particularly though were those entries, particularly marriages, which mentioned a place of origin, something I’ve rarely seen in the OPRs of the Church of Scotland.

This is particularly valuable as many Catholics in Scotland (particularly in the south-west) were of Irish origin and making the link back to a particular place in Ireland can be difficult for researchers, especially as census returns often only record a place of birth as ‘Ireland’.

The following marriage entry comes from the register for Dalbeattie, Diocese of Galloway:

June 25th 1815 at St Peter’s Dalbeattie Arthur Murphy Native of Parish of Minan, County Down, Ireland to Jane Macnight, Native of Parish of Buitle, and both presently residing in said parish. Witnesses Robert and Euphemia Macnight, James Copland & others.

Note: Minan is possibly Meenan, a townland in County Down.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Duties of a Church Officer

Like my last post, the following entry comes from the minutes of Cambuslang Old Kirk Session (NAS Ref.: CH2/415/7).

It details what was expected of the church officer at Cambuslang in return for his salary of £12 10s a year (about £603 in today’s money according to the currency converter on the TNA website).

Session House, Parish Church

Cambuslang, 1st May 1876.

The clerk laid upon the table a note from Mr George Muir specifying his income as church officer. It was agreed to augment his salary to £12 10/- a year on the following conditions; - that he have the church washed out from time to time, and especially immediately preceding the sacrament; that he sweep out every pew every week, and carefully dust it every Saturday afternoon, minister’s pulpit and precentor’s desk included; that the sheep droppings be removed from the walks every Sabbath morning; that the remains of old coffins be in future kept out of sight; that no ashes or dross be laid down on the northern corner between the vestry and the church; that said corner be levelled down and improved; that brushes and all other articles be removed from the front lobby; that he take the collection to the treasurer every Monday; that he wear a white tie when on duty as becomes his office; and that the church and its surroundings generally be kept tidy and in good order; also, that he undertake the cleaning of the Industrial School, which is to be swept out every school day and dusted the following morning; that the floor be washed every Saturday during school time; and that he kindle the fire during the winter. Salary to date from 15th May next.

The clerk was instructed to provide a brush for the school, and permission was accorded him to get a japanned tin box for the session books and records, two crimson cloths for the collection plates, and printed boards for the special collections.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

From the Kirk Session Minutes

One of my favourite sources for researching Scottish family history are the minutes of the Kirk Sessions of the Church of Scotland. Many deal with discipline of the congregation. Although I do not always find what I am looking for I nearly always find something interesting.

My search this week of the minutes of Cambuslang Old Kirk Session were no exception. Although ‘guilt’, i.e. sex outside of marriage, is a staple of the Kirk Session records I think this is the first time I have come across mention of an abortion.

The original record is held by Glasgow City Archives however a digital copy can be viewed at the National Archives of Scotland under reference CH2/415/7:

Page 240

Session House, Parish Church, Cambuslang, 2nd Dec[embe]r 1878.

The Mod[erato]r reported that he had privately dealt with Marg[are]t McLachlan, now Mrs John Cunningham, residing at 80 Crownpoint Road, London Road, Glasgow, as to her alleged guilt, and, as to her having given birth to an illegitimate child. He stated that he had elicited from her a confession of her having been guilty about five years ago, which guilt had terminated in an abortion. She expressed her penitence and a desire to be taken under discipline, but by the Kirk Session of Calton where she now resides. Considering the circumstances of the case, this Kirk Session agree to transfer her to said Kirk Session for discipline, and to enable them to proceed therewith at same time to issue an extract of this minute.

Note: I was unable to find any mention of the case among the minutes of Old Calton, Glasgow Kirk Session and was not able to examine those for New Calton, Glasgow.