Dear ScotlandsPeople Customer,
The Scottish Valuation Rolls for 1885
We're delighted to announce that the Valuation Rolls (VRs) for 1885 have just been added to the ScotlandsPeople website.
The new records comprise 1,441,484 indexed names/addresses and 77,238 digital images (taken from 144 volumes), and cover every kind of property that was assessed in 1885 as having a rateable value. With the addition of these latest records, ScotlandsPeople now has Valuation Rolls for 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915 and 1920.
What do the 1885 Valuation Rolls contain?
Published yearly on Whitsunday from 1855 to 1955, the VRs include the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property. The named person in the VR is usually the head of the household and, in many cases, occupations are also listed. Since the Rolls list every type of rateable property in Scotland, the records include people from all social classes.
Rather than being a sudden snapshot of the population taken on one nominated day (as in a census record), the details for the VRs were gathered by the assessors over several months prior to publication.
What can I find out from the 1885 Valuation Rolls?
You can learn who was living at a specific address, and whether they rented or owned the property. You can also see the rent that was paid for the house or flat, as well as the yearly rateable value of the property. The Rolls are fully searchable by name and address.
Valuation Rolls - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you have any questions about Valuation Rolls, visit the dedicated FAQs page that we've created to help explain what the VRs are all about.
Some examples from the 1885 Valuation Rolls
To get you excited about researching these new records, we've picked several records which capture interesting moments in Scotland's history.
Sir William Arrol (1839-1913), civil engineer
One of the great things about Valuation Rolls is that you can sometimes trace the movements of ancestors who moved addresses and/or jobs between censuses. In 1885, Sir William Arrol, the civil engineer and owner of the Dalmarnock Iron Works, did a very interesting flit to start a new job. In short, he moved from Glasgow to Dundee in order to and plan and supervise the building of the replacement Tay Bridge.
To find out more about Arrol's sojourn in Dundee during the project to build the new Tay Bridge and to view the two Dundee Valuation Rolls for him, follow this link.
Dr Sophia Jex-Blake (1840-1912) and Women's University Education
- 'Miss Sophia Jex-Blake Dr'
Though it might appear at first glance to be a standard enough entry in the 1885 Valuation Rolls, the 'Dr' part of description was an extremely hard-won title. For Sophia-Jex Blake was a pioneering medical practitioner, obtaining her medical qualification at a time before women were permitted to graduate from any Scottish Universities in any subject.
We've been using the 1885 and 1895 Valuation Rolls to trace Dr Jex-Blake's work and whereabouts in Edinburgh, and it really is a fascinating story of great achievements in the area of campaigning for higher education for women. To find out more about Dr Jex-Blake and to view the six Valuation Rolls that highlight her pioneering medical and educational work in late Victorian Edinburgh, follow this link.
N.B. when viewing these large example images of Valuation Roll entries on the website, just click on an image to enlarge it further.
Further examples in future newsletters
We'll be highlighting more 1885 Valuation Rolls in the next few newsletters – including William McGonagall, several football clubs, John Ritchie Findlay and some of the crofters who were arrested following the 'Battle of the Braes' on Skye in 1882.
Our favourite surname of the month: 'Valentine'
With St Valentine's Day almost upon us and blind Cupid again taking aim with his Love-in-idleness-tipped arrows, we thought we'd take a peek at the history of the surname, 'Valentine'.
We referred to George F. Black's classic book, The Surnames of Scotland, which states that "the Valentines of Fettercairn are said to be descended from Valentine of Thornton, who in the reign of Robert I had a charter of the lands of Thorntoun "in lie Kincardine-Mernes"'. Quoting from Archibald Cameron's book, The History of Fettercairn, Black then writes that the Valentines were 'till of late numerous and influential in parish, but so few are now left that ere long the name will become extinct'.
Black completes his entry for Valentine by highlighting some prominent Valentines and listing the spelling variations of the surname ( i.e. Valentine, Vallantyne, Wallentyne, Vallentein and Wallentine). Black also states that Weland, Wiland and Wyland were forename versions of the name 'among the northern Chisholms'.
Oh, and we've also heard a rumour that the black swan is a bird traditionally associated with the Valentine surname.
Reference: The Surnames of Scotland, George F. Black
ScotlandsPeople at 'Who Do You Think You Are? Live – Thursday 20 to Saturday 22 February, Olympia, London
The ScotlandsPeople Team is attending WDYTYA? Live in London next week and we're fair looking forward to it. So if you're dandering - or even stravaiging! - round the show on one of the three days, please drop in on the ScotlandsPeople stand and say 'hello'. Our stand number is 642, which is located in the usual 'Celtic Fringe' area of the show. We look forward to seeing you there!
The Fairfax Genealogical Society Conference – Friday 28 and Saturday 29 March 2014
For anyone in the Fairfax area of Virginia in late March, you might like to attend the Spring Conference of the Fairfax Genealogical Society.
At the conference, Christine Woodcock will be talking about Scottish genealogy, and Audrey Collins of the UK National Archives will be offering advice about tracing ancestors from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. To find out more about the conference, visit the Fairfax Genealogical Society website.
Meanwhile, if anyone in Virginia (or who is researching ancestors from Virginia) has any definite information about the possible Scottish origins of the Thomas Norvell (born around 1591) listed on this Wiki page, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We think this Thomas Norvell might be the Scottish ancestor of Oliver Hardy - a story we mentioned back in our September 2013 newsletter.
Other genealogy and history events in February & March 2014
- '1314 and all that: a look at aspects of Clan Donald history' - Wednesday 26 February at 19:30, The Highland Archive Centre, Inverness;
- 'Record of Corrected Entries': a talk by Ken Nisbet - St. Ninian's Church Hall, Castle Douglas, Saturday 1 March at 14:15;
- 'How DNA can help your genealogy research' - Ali MacDonald of the Scottish DNA Project, Cupar, Fife, 11 March at 19:30;
- 'New Inverness, Clan Chattan ['Clan of the Cats'] and the Creek Nation' - Highland Archive Centre, Inverness, Wednesday 26 March, 19:30.
We post many more news snippets about genealogy and Scottish history on our Facebook and Twitter pages - so please give us like and a follow if you'd like to know about these wee news items.
Clan Gatherings in Scotland in 2014 – a listing of events
If you're a member of a clan or a sept, then you might like to attend one of the many clan gatherings that are taking place in Scotland in 2014 as part of Homecoming Scotland. As you can imagine, clan gatherings are the perfect place for family history researchers to make useful contacts and learn more about their ancestors. Find out more at the Homecoming Scotland website.
News stories we liked this month
- The Dundee doctor who inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to create the character of Dr Watson;
- The BBC's 'One Show' looks to trace descendants of WW1 soldier, Private James McKinnon, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, possibly of Tollcross Road, Glasgow;
- 'The Killing' actress, Sofie Grabol, is to star as Queen Margaret of Denmark in National Theatre of Scotland play about James III;
- The National Archives aims to mobilise 'citizen historians' to study First World War diaries';
- The art collection that was started by the Scottish ancestor of James Bond author, Ian Fleming.
All the Best,
The ScotlandsPeople Team