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Findmypast creates new family history collection of over one million Scottish gravestone records

The records were transcribed by Scottish family history volunteers during the coronavirus lockdown

John Brown, manservant of Queen Victoria, is among the famous Scots found in Findmypast's new gravestone records collection

Family history website Findmypast has launched a new collection of 1.1 million transcribed Scottish burial records spanning 1000 years of history.

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The records were transcribed in a grassroots project, which saw thousands of volunteers transcribing headstones at their local cemetery and graveyard during the coronavirus lockdown.

Do you fancy getting involved in volunteer records transcription online? Join hundreds of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine readers for Transcription Tuesday on 2 February 2021

They date from 1093 to the present day and record the final resting place of 600,000 deceased Scots.

Myko Clelland, regional licensing and outreach manager at Findmypast, said: “Scotland is a nation of stories, but so many lie forgotten in cemeteries across the country.

“Through the tireless efforts of local expert volunteers, combined with new technology, these stories can be told for the first time online.”

The records cover over 800 burial sites in 688 parishes (80% of the nation) across all 34 historical Scottish counties.

They include such famous burial sites as Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh and Dunfermline Abbey Churchyard.

Headstone records reveal your ancestor’s date and place of death, the names of their surviving relatives and the often touching memorial messages on the headstone.

The records include burial records for some famous figures from Scottish history.

One of them is John Brown (1826-1883), a manservant and personal favourite of Queen Victoria.

His gravestone at Crathie Churchyard in Aberdeenshire reads: “John Brown, personal attendant of Queen Victoria and in her service 34 y, born Crathienaird 8.12.1826 died Windsor Castle 27.3.1883.”

After his death, the Queen wrote to his sister-in-law Jessie McHardy Brown: “He was the best, truest heart that ever beat.”

There is another royal connection with Flora MacDonald (1722-1790), known for helping ‘Bonnie’ Prince Charles Stuart escape British troops after the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

She is buried in her family mausoleum in Osmigarry Burial Ground, Kilmuir, Invernessshire.

Her memorial had to be replaced after it was chipped away by tourists in search of souvenirs.

The records were transcribed by volunteers at Aberdeen & North East Scotland, Caithness, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, Highland, Lanarkshire, Tay Valley and Troon@Ayrshire Family History Societies, as well as Moray Burial Ground Research Group and the Scottish Genealogy Society.

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Rosemary Collins is the staff writer of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine