Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [Stonehaven] Baptism Witnesses in Old Parish Records

Expand Messages
  • Ray Hennessy
    Hi Stephanie, Definitely NO RULE! There were, however, local idiosyncrasies. One parish for a while always had Witnesses with the same forename as the child,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 5, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      Hi Stephanie,

      Definitely NO RULE! There were, however, local
      idiosyncrasies. One parish for a while always
      had Witnesses with the same forename as the
      child, male or female, often with people who had
      travelled a long distance to stand witness.

      Another Minister seems to have insisted on family
      members, sometimes one family sometimes one of
      each.

      Another occasionally had two women as witnesses,
      most frequently, but not only, for a girl child.

      There are numerous other reasons for the choice
      of a Witness. We saw one case where there were
      three witnesses, another where the Minister's
      son was so honoured - with a long eulogy in the
      OPR. We've found local landowners or other worthy,
      employers, best friends, older and younger brothers,
      sisters, fathers, mothers, also aunts or uncles or
      even distant cousins, of one of the parents. Some
      look like they may have been dragged off the street
      as we can find no connection with the family. There
      are bound to be more examples. The Minister himself
      was sometimes a Witness.

      And then there are the frustrating ones which simply
      add "in the presence of the Congregation"!

      Having said all that, there can be gold in the Witness
      names. One said:

      "..., grandfather of the child". Others can surely
      show family connections such as a brother of one of
      the parents - although with the Scottish Naming Pattern
      at work, there may be a problem of sorting out just
      which "John Smith" is meant.

      The message is: use the names of Witnesses to help but,
      without firm evidence, don't be too quick to assume a
      definite relationship.

      Hope this helps. It might sound like a warning off, but
      there really can be a great help in the Names & especially
      the Address of witnesses.

      Enjoy your trip to Scotland. Others will probably tell
      you about the National Archive. I only know the Kirk
      Session section.

      Best wishes,
      Ray Hennessy


      ---Original Message---

      Hello All,

      I have located quite a few birth/baptism records
      for some family members and now that I have
      received the certified copies I notice that there
      are generally two witnesses to the baptism, both
      male. Usually the have the same surname as the
      father or mother of the child. This would seem a
      terrific way to dig deeper into the parents'
      lineage. Before I go too far, though, I thought
      I would ask a question:

      Did any particular family member stand in as witness?
      i.e. brothers or fathers? If there is a "rule" that
      will help me at least get started. If no rule, then
      I'll just begin at the beginning.

      Thanks!

      Stephanie
      Chicago, IL, USA
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.