I have one “known” Scottish branch in my family tree. Unfortunately, with the common surname of Nelson/Neilson and the common forename of John – it is a branch that has challenged me. The husband/father was never with the family on census night. I guess when you are a journeyman lace maker it’s not unsurprising and definitely darn inconvenient!
Being busy with client research, speaking engagements, this blog, editing a journal, and my living family, it’s rare that I ever get a chance to research my own family.
Well, when I learned that the 1855 Valuation Rolls for
are now available and can
be searched for FREE, I figured this was a chance to revisit my John Neilson
and see if I could “finally” find this guy in some record. You can access the records by going to ScotlandsPeople. I believe that you will need to register (for FREE)
to be able to search (if you find differently, please let me know). In the left
hand navigation panel you will see Valuation Rolls and under that 1855. Click and you are ready to get started. Scotland
You can learn about the rolls via the National Records of Scotland page. You can access the press release about their availability here.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Though you can access the index for FREE, there is a charge to access any found records.
From my research I knew that his wife Mary and several children were living in Gorbals and then Newton-Stewart, Penninghame Parish (
in 1851 and in 1861. So, with fingers
crossed I looked for a John Nelson/Neilson living in that community in 1855. Wigtown County
You will see in the image above that entry #14 is for a John Neilson, Owner/Occupier, House in Newton Stewart, Pennighame (parish), Wigtown (county) which seemed like a good fit. Unfortunately, I’ve been down this path before and given he is one of my longest standing brick walls, spending 2 credits to access this record was definitely a worthwhile investment.
When you purchase an item, it is then downloaded to your computer so that you may save and view.
As my lack of luck would have it, the entry literally said nothing more than what the index had (as you can see)
Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained!
That said, I know that Mary was still alive until 1870. So, I decided to take a look at the 1865 (and yes, spend 1 credit to look at the index entries since only 1855 is part of the FREE access). Well, no John Nelson nor Neilson in Penninghame was listed. Yet, Mary died in 1870 in Newton Stewart (Parish of Penningham) as reported by her son George?!?! So, I spent 1 more credit to look at a list for Neilson in all of Wigtown county in case she moved between the census years and there is just no entry that seems to work.
Oh well, I should have known that “my” John would not reveal himself. After all he’s done a good job of playing hide and seek in the records so far!
Maybe you will have more success with your ancestors!
Editor’s Note: Related posts ...
Editor’s Note: A couple of links to research done by the author on the Nelson/Neilson family ...
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