Thursday, November 20, 2014

Scottish Extant OPRs

Anyone who has ever heard me speak knows that I'm always 'baggin' on people to READ, READ, READ. One of the reasons I encourage (badger!) folks is to see what is available in that database before just plunking in a surname, hitting search, getting no matches and never returning to that website again. There are buckets of reasons why you may not be getting matches - perhaps the years you're looking for were never included, or were lost; perhaps the area you're looking for was never included, or was lost; perhaps it includes surnames that only begin with a certain letter and the rest were lost or are yet to be included; and on and on it goes. Soooo always read the Help or FAQs section so you are searching like an expert, and not a beginner!

Thanks to Chris Paton for the following article that he wrote on his British Genes blog.

NRS relocates Extant OPRs guide to new website
Posted: 16 Nov 2014 09:37 AM PST

One of the most useful research guides that the National Records of Scotland provides is a guide to the coverage for its Church of Scotland register collections, which it provides on a dedicated page called Extant OPRs. It tells you when looking for records from a parish what still survives by way of baptismal, marriage and burial records for the Kirk, the records for which were called in upon the creation of the General Register Office for Scotland (in two stages, in 1855 and 1885), they being noted as state records. A series of appendices also notes the following:

Appendix 1: kirk session records (our reference CH2) containing pre-1855 birth, death and marriage entries

Appendix 2: kirk session and other material found in the Old Parish Registers

Appendix 3: miscellaneous records containing entries from non-conformist churches relevant to the Old Parish Registers

For a few years this guide has been accessible via the ScotlandsPeople website under the Help & Resources tab. However, for a long time, there was a major issue with this guide in that unless it was viewed using Internet Explorer as the web browser, the numbers allocated to the parishes did not line up on the site to the list of the holdings available alongside. If using Firefox or Chrome, for example, everything displayed on the page was offset by a line, making it quite confusing for folk who weren't too familiar with Scottish geography to know that something may have been wrong when consulting the resource.

Thankfully, as part of its drive to make the key web platform for its NAS and GROS services, the Extant OPRs guide has now been relocated to a new address at , and now works fine with any browser. As before, it is still also accessible from the ScotlandsPeople page, again, from the Help & Resources tab. In addition, the guide, previously compiled in 1975, has been revised, though at present I am not sure how extensive the revisions may be. The various files remain accessible in PDF format, which can be downloaded to your computer.

From what I can see, all other resources remain available as they were on the ScotlandsPeople site, but this definitely gets a big thumbs up as one of the most useful resources available on the site, and now presented in a much clearer and user friendly way.

Well worth bookmarking the page!

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