Thursday, 12 August 2010

Wills and valuation rolls at NAS

I was at the National Archives of Scotland yesterday (Thurs), for the first time in a couple of months (it's been a busy summer!), doing some work for a client, and have a few things to report. The first is that I finally had to update my reader's ticket, my previous non-photographic one having expired. It didn't help when I arrived at Glasgow Central this morning to find all four passport photo machines were broken - thankfully standards were just a little higher at Queen Street Station! You'll need two passport photos and a form of photo ID with an address if you need to renew. You'll get a temporary pass at the old Sasine Office entrance to the rear, and then will need to obtain the actual reader's ticket upstair in the NAS, it only takes a few minutes.

The next thing to mention is that, as Kirsty Wilkinson kindly stated on a comment on another post yesterday, the NAS held wills have now been digitised up to 1925 and can be accessed on the Virtual Volumes computers. That's the good news, the bad is that they have not been indexed yet, so you need to use the Calendars of Confirmations and Inventories to get the date of confirmation (i.e. the Scottish equivalent of 'probate'), and then browse the relevant volume. I did not get a chance to test it properly, but one of the staff explained it to me, and will do to you also if you ask nicely! lol :)

Secondly, there is a glitch on Virtual Volumes which I thought had been there before, but which I was told only kicked in about a week ago. I was doing a bit of research on the post-1855 Valuation Rolls - once I did a name search and found a result, I clicked on the accession number returned, which took me through to the record on Virtual Volumes. However, when I clicked next or previous page, the site crashed. The same also happened on the digitised wills.

The solution is to get your search result, then to copy the accession number, open up Virtual Volumes from the main menu, and paste the number in. Here's an example.

Search for William Henderson on Valuation Rolls:

Type in his name, his place of abode (Forgandenny) and year (in this case 1865-66)

Details returned - William Henderson, Farm of Mount Stewart and clickable link to record at VR113/11/51

Don't click on the link. Instead copy the number VR113/11 (without the last part) and open Virtual Volumes from the main menu - paste it into the first search field as it opens, and then open up the programme properly when prompted. Once in, type the last part of the number, in this case 51, into the page number box. Click to return it and the page will reload. You will now be able to go up or down a page at a time without it crashing.

This probably sounds like Double Dutch, but trust me, if you want to use Virtual Volumes to look at kirk session material, wills or valuation rolls, print this off and take it with you!

Also, another tip. The Valuation Rolls are indexed for every tenth year from 1855-56, 1865-66 etc. So how do you check the in between years? Simple, change the accession number when you go to input it. If the number for a roll from 1885-86 is VR113/30/84, change the middle number if you want the previous year to 29, i.e. VR113/29/84. This will take you to the same page number the year before i.e. 1884-85- though you may find that your property is on the page before or after. But it will get you in the right ball park.

Obviously once it is on ScotlandsPeople everyone will have a chance to play with it! Until then, the NAS is the only place to get digitised copies, so you'll need to know how to work your way around Virtual Volumes.

If I haven't confused the pants off you, I hope that helps! :)

PS: Discovered on Tuesday that my book's sold out again in the ScotlandsPeople Centre - awfully flattering! lol :)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)


Geniaus said...

Thanks, Chris.
This info will make my next trip to Scotland a bit more painless.

Chris Paton said...

Hope it helps, though hopefully the glitch will be sorted soon!