Angus People And How To Find (Some) Of Them

Louis Black Angus People Angus People Angus People Angus People Sir Charles Lyell

There are many sources of information about people, from simple pieces of data to researched biographies, plus everything in between.

The following are a few sources available for you to use in the Angus Archives to discover more about a particular person.

Research files

These are a great place to start. They are organised alphabetically by surname, regardless of where they lived or in which town they were born. The files include articles, newspaper cuttings, ephemera, snippets of genealogical information and other items. The files are particularly good in coverage of local worthies, famous Angus people, artists, authors, burgh officials, people who have been involved in extraordinary events etc.

Research files can be used in conjunction with the Image Index, the Local History book catalogue, the archival lists, specialist indexes, standard genealogical sources such as the IGI and the census and the Photographic Collections.

Local history catalogue

Please ask the archive team for assistance if you have never searched the library catalogue before. They can direct you to use the subject search or the keyword search, as appropriate. Angus libraries have an extensive local history collection, collected over the course of over 100 years. There are many items that will be of you to use in your research. The most useful way to discover appropriate sources is to type in the relevant surname into the subject search facility on the catalogue. The item you find may not be held by the Angus Archives but by another Angus library. The archive team will advise you on access options in this situation.

Archival lists

The archival collection is extensive, covering 800 years of Angus history. The bulk of the collections refer to the 18th century and later, and record the administrative history of the towns. Details of burgh records are held separately.

Rural areas are very poorly covered in our collections. If you are researching a Glen settlement, for example, you may wish to investigate who holds the estate papers covering that area. The exception is the period after the late 19th century, covered by Angus County Council records. These include education and poor relief records, both subject to closure periods.

The miscellaneous collections are those items donated by the public and it includes a little bit of everything: personal papers, letters, legal documents, diaries, minutes of societies, photographs, prints, cash books, accounts and so on.

It is worth noting what we do not hold. Classes of records such as kirk session minutes, customs and excise, the military, large estates, taxation records, emigration, Justice of the Peace, Sheriff Court cases, wills and others. These are held in national archives, other regional archives or are in private hands.

Accessing archival collections can be difficult. Until the implementation of the CALM electronic catalogue, access is by archive list, with the help of a rudimentary name and subject index to approximately half of the miscellaneous collection.

If you intend to use original material, we advise you to set aside sufficient time to both prepare for your visit and for research while you are in the Angus Archives. We strongly recommend that you contact us in advance to check that we have the class of records you wish to use, that it is available immediately (some of our records need to be pre-booked as they are held in an out store) and that it is not held by another archive. If you do this, it may save you considerable time, effort, money and frustration.

An archive holds many records, but it does not hold everything.

Specialist indexes

Some archival items have been indexed by surname. These include records associated with various trades incorporations, the Image Index or early Town Council minute books. Where these have been complied, you will be able to access specific information very quickly. These projects are ongoing. Please see separate details.

Genealogical sources

Some people can be very elusive and leave little record behind them. You may need to start from scratch and use a variety of genealogical sources to find out a little about them. These include the International Genealogical Index (IGI) available on fiche and online, the census plus various census indexes, monumental inscriptions for Angus and the Arbroath Cemeteries database, Valuation Rolls, trade directories, Calenders of Confirmations, published sasine indexes, newspapers (held in individual libraries - see separate details on newspapers). Please ask the Archive Team or advice on other sources.

Photographic Collection

The photographic collection is dispersed around the various Angus museums and in the Angus Archives. There is as yet no central catalogue or index. Angus Archives has the most geographically comprehensive collection (MS 747). The Arbroath Collection within MS 747 has been subject indexed. Individual portrait photographs have been included for most towns in the Image Index, which primarily indexes images of people from within local history books. The image index is currently only available in the Angus Archives search room.

And finally.....

No library, archive or museum can ever provide you with a ready made dossier on every individual. You must come with realistic expectations, have done some homework to get the best from your visit and be prepared to roll up your sleeves to do some detective work. After all, isn’t that what it is all about?

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