BCGS 2017 Seminar – information soon


Our 2016 Seminar was DIGGING DEEPER IN IRELAND and SCOTLAND with Chris Paton


About Chris Paton

He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies and work as a professional genealogist, running the Scotland’s Greatest Story research service (

Teaches Scottish based courses for Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd (, also tutored for the University of Strathclyde’s Genealogical Studies Postgraduate Programme (

He is a published author of several book titles and a regular contributor to several genealogy magazines, such as Your Family Tree, Family History Monthly, Family Tree magazine, Your Family History, Discover My Past ScotlandHistory Scotland and Irish Roots.

Topics were: – See full descriptions of each talk further below.

    Discover Irish Land Records & Discover Scottish Land Records – a combination of two talks
    The Godly Commonwealth: Discover Scottish Church Records
    Are you the rightful heir? Understanding Scottish inheritance
    Genealogy Without Borders

Full Descriptions for each talk –

    Discover Irish Land Records & Discover Scottish Land Records – a combination of two talks

    Where the pre-1901 Irish censuses largely no longer exist, land records can often help to fill the gap in the ancestral record. From Griffiths Valuation to 19th century tithes records, from the Ordnance Survey to the Registers of Deeds, and from leases for lives to estate records, this talk will look at some of the key land records that can help with Irish family history research, both online and available on the island of Ireland itself.

    Although part of the United Kingdom since 1707, Scotland has always enjoyed its own separate legal, religious and education systems. The most noticeable differences from a genealogical point of view concern the records involved in land and house history research. Where England abandoned feudalism in the Middle Ages, in Scotland it remained the principle method of land tenure until 2004, with major implications for land conveyance and even inheritance. This talk will explain the Scottish systems of land transfers, and discuss how to find the relevant records.

    The Godly Commonwealth: Discover Scottish Church Records

    “The free kirk, the wee kirk, the kirk without the steeple; the auld kirk, the cauld kirk, the kirk without the people”

    The Scottish Reformation of 1560 dramatically changed Scotland from a Roman Catholic to a Protestant nation. In its dream to achieve a ‘Godly Commonwealth’ the new presbyterian Kirk became responsible for discipline, education and the moral wellbeing of its flock; at the same time it endured constant splits and battled frequently with the monarchy and the state.

    Understanding the Kirk’s role and history in Scottish society is crucial to understanding how to research your family history prior to the advent of civil registration in 1855, and in particular, where to look for the relevant records.

    Warning: contains blood and thunder!

    Are you the rightful heir? Understanding Scottish inheritance

    With feudalism existing in Scotland until 2004, the methods for inheriting Scottish assets were completely different to those found elsewhere in the British Isles.

    Prior to 1868 there were two very separate processes for inheritance in Scotland – one concerning heritage, i.e. property, land and arms, and the other concerning movable estate, namely the assets that could not be pinned down. From the records of ‘confirmation’ (the Scottish term for ‘probate’) to the conveyance of ‘conquest’, and from the ‘Services of Heirs’ to ‘precepts of clare constat’, this talk will explain the unique inheritance system in Scotland, and its many records.

    Genealogy Without Borders

    In this talk family historian Chris Paton examines how a person’s family history may not be confined to the country within which they themselves were raised, and why the consideration of the extended family around the world can be particularly fruitful for your family history research.

    During the talk he discusses his own immediate family situation, as a child born in Ireland and raised in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and then how his sense of family changed with ancestral discoveries from India to Bermuda, and Australia to Canada. With each discovery his sense of identity changed, and along the way new overseas based cousins helped to reshape his understanding of the family back in the British Isles.

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