Friday, 19 March 2010

1802 Perth Militia Act Survey records go online

Those loveable loves from Ancestry ( have finally released the Militia Act Survey returns for Perth from 1802, some three years after first being digitised at the A.K. Bell Library in Perth. In total it contains some 973 schedules for houses within the burgh of Perth (not the county).

In 1797 the Scottish Militia Act was passed, requiring a ballot of men aged between 18 and 30 for compulsory service, with another act in 1802 extending the age limit to 45. The following is the wording of the schedule form for the Perth records from 1802:

TAKE Notice that you are hereby required within Fourteen Days from the Date hereof, to prepare or produce a Lift in Writing, to the best of your Belief, of the Christian and Surname of each and every Man resident in your Dwelling House, from and after the age of Eighteen Years complete, and not exceeding the Age of Forty-five years complete, distinguishing every Person in your Dwelling House of such age as aforesaid, claiming to be exempt from serving in the Militia, together with the Ground of every such Claim delivered to my house at South Street Perth.

The records are not complete - many from the Craigie district in the east of Perth in particular are missing - but in effect this forms the basis of a useful census equivalent from 1802.

The collection is accessible at Ancestry spent several weeks at the A. K. Bell in 2007 and digitised vast swathes of records, followed by a similar foray to Cupar in Fife. The 1802 Perth records follows the release two years ago of an index to Perth based newspapers on the Ancestry site, and was indexed through its World Archives Project. Other records soon to follow will include school records for Perthshire.


(With grateful thanks to Tunji Lees for the tip off)

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