Mary Queen of Scots signature on an invitation to the baptism of her son James (the future King James VI) in 1566

The latest newsletter from ScotlandsPeople discusses further information to be found in the 1895 Valuation Rolls. It also features the top 5 Tee-Names and information about the Mary Queen of Scots exhibition of NRS documents at the National Museum of Scotland.

Tee-names (nothing to do with a golf) are community nicknames for people in north-east Scotland and sometimes Fife, Argyll and Gairloch. If you have difficulty in locating an ancestor you might want to consider a tee-name. It’s a quirky (not uncommon in Scotland) feature of the 1895 Valuation Rolls. If your ancestor had a tee-name, you might learn something about a character trait or physical characteristic.

The newsletter is below:

In the launch newsletter for the 1895 Valuation Rolls, we featured several examples from the Rolls – i.e. Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace and some famous Scots. As these proved to be popular, we thought we’d highlight some more examples from the 1895 Rolls.

This first example makes us think of the scene from the Alfred Hitchcock film, ‘Rear Window’, where it’s possible to see everybody who lives in a block of flats going about their business. The tenement address for this VR entry is 21 Carnegie Street in Edinburgh, and it’s fascinating to see all the different people who lived in this tenement block in 1895, and their occupations, some of which no longer exist or have a different name. We hasten to add that we do not believe there was a murder there in 1895.
Still in Lothian, we were also very interested in the houses built for the oil shale miners (and other mining workers) in the Oakbank Mining Village in Kirknewton. One of the old-fashioned job titles that caught our eye was ‘retortman’ – we believe this job was to do with the heating of the oil shale. It’s also interesting to see that the manager of the mine lived among the workers, and that the mining widows were allowed to stay on in their houses after their husbands had died.

Moving over to the west coast, we’ve also included the VR entry for Glasgow Crematorium. Owned by the Scottish Burial Reform and Cremation Society, the crematorium at the Western Cemetery was the first of its kind to be built in Scotland, and only the third in the United Kingdom. The slow move towards cremation highlights the shift in social attitudes towards burial and cremation that were gradually taking place in Scotland during the late 19th Century. In this example, you can also see the names of the people who lived nearby to the crematorium.

N.B. when viewing these example images of the 1895 Valuation Rolls on the website, just click on the image to enlarge it even further.

‘Top 5’ Tee-Names 
In our last newsletter, we highlighted the phenomenon of tee-names, and asked if any of your ancestors had these nicknames. Some of you kindly emailed us to tell us about some of the wonderful tee-names that your forebears had – so included below is a ‘Top 5’ of tee-names.

  1. ‘Bonny Singing Sandy’ – the tee-name of Alexander William Gatt (1858-1902), a cousin of Elma Dostine’s grandmother who lived in Pennan (we believe he was handsome and sang like a nightingale);
  2. ‘Pooder Monkey’ – Joy Mckenzie’s gg-grandfather (this name might have something to do with him fighting at the River Plate in South America or with the explosives once made in Irvine);
  3. ‘Pigger Hogg’ – Allison Naismith’s gg-grandfather (Allison thinks ‘Pigger’ came from the china bottles which were known as pigs – this was in Laurencekirk);
  4. ‘Murdo Cutie’ – Annabelle MacKenzie’s grandfather (apparently due to his skill as a carpenter and ability in business in Gairloch Parish);
  5. ‘Cowie Carrot’ / ‘Jessie Carrot’ and ‘Gerrie’ – the gg-grandmother and grandfather of Diane Coull in Buckie.

We do love the knowledge that can be gained from finding out the origins and meaning of these tee-names – they offer a unique insight into the lives of family ancestors. Thank you to everybody who has sent us tee-names!

Mary Queen of Scots – exhibition of NRS documents at the National Museum of Scotland
Rarely-seen documents relating to Mary, Queen of Scots are being loaned by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) for the major new exhibition, ‘Mary, Queen of Scots’, at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, from 28 June until 17 November 2013.

The eleven documents helping tell her remarkable story include her earliest surviving letter written to her mother, Mary of Guise, when she was eight, as well as inventories of her jewels and clothes, and insights into the turbulent politics of her reign.

The image above left “shows Mary’s signature on an invitation to the baptism of her son James (the future King James VI) in 1566. Reference: NRS GD112/40/1.

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