Researching Scottish Place Names contains links to resources that can help you decipher even the murkiest written Scottish place names.
Recently, I wrote about Transcribing Scottish Baptism Records, where I discovered not all baptisms took place in churches. Let’s see what else this 1785 record baptismal record for George Ross can tell us.
The Baptism Record
The Scottish place name of George Ross’s birth was unclear to me when I was transcribing his baptism record. Henderson (middle box, above) at first glance? As genealogists are taught, I looked at the rest of the record for similar capital letters. I then decided the word probably begins with F because it is like the F in Fisher (top box) and in McFinlay (bottom box).
Scottish Place Name Resources
Because I know the county (Ross-shire, now Ross and Cromarty) and the parish (Tain) from finding this record at ScotlandsPeople, I can now visit ScotlandsPlaces for help deciphering the Scottish place name of his birth. There are only a few place names beginning with F in that parish and Fendom was clearly the answer I needed.
There are 23,231 place names documented in this county in ScotlandsPlaces, so knowing the parish saved me a lot of searching. When you’re using ScotlandsPeople, be sure to click through to see the original record that’s available for each place name for free.
In volume 29, page 51 of the Ordnance Survey book, I found Fendom: “This name applies to an extensive agricultural district extending from the River Tain due east to the village of Inver, a distance of about 6 miles. It lies immediately south of and parallel to Morrichmore. On the south it is bounded by a ridge or terrace which is supposed to have been at some remote period the south coast of the Dornoch Firth.”
When you’re citing records like this, write down the Ordnance Survey number – in this case, OS1/28/29/51.
For more information and resources for your Scottish research, try my ebook Finding Scottish Ancestors Online.