Museums and Heritage Centres
Scotland is a country with a remarkable history. So it should come as no surprise that Scotland is home to a remarkable collection of museums and heritage centres. These range from the major, internationally renowned collections in Edinburgh's Royal Museum of Scotland www.nms.ac.uk to hundreds of small centres that specialise in the history of local communities. The following museums are all in your chosen area. A visit to any one of them may well shed new light on the lives led by your ancestors.
Borders Family History Society
Membership Secretary, Catherine Fish, 21 Barony Park, Kelso, Borders
It may seem a little odd, but a visit to the burial ground of an ancestor can make you feel more closely connected to them. However, tracking down the specific plot, or lair as they were referred to in Scotland, depends on the period of time when the deaths occurred.
Up to the mid-19th century it was the normal practice for people to be interred in the Parish Kirk burial ground - although this was only rarely marked with anything as grand as a headstone. The Scottish Association of Family History Societies (SAFHS) is currently co-ordinating a major project to develop a National Burial Index, relating to pre-1855 records. This will eventually be available on CD ROM. Although this will help to confirm that burials took place in parish burial grounds, it will not, unfortunately, indicate the location of the lair.
If your ancestor was wealthy enough, their grave may have been marked by an inscribed headstone. Over the years, family history societies and other volunteer groups have painstakingly transcribed and indexed such inscriptions - and these are nearly always held in the relevant local history libraries or family history research centres.
By the mid-19th Century, many parish burial grounds had become seriously overcrowded, especially those in urban areas, and this led to the creation of both private and municipal cemeteries. If you know the place and date of death, you should be able to discover the location of a lair, although not all cemeteries and records have survived.
The concept of cremation started to gain popularity in the late 1940s and has increased ever since. Ashes may be taken away by the family, scattered in the garden of remembrance or buried either in the crematorium or in a family plot.
Environmental Health - Burials
Scottish Borders Council
Tel: +44 1721 726 306
Fax: +44 1721 726 304
Searching for burial records is undertaken for a fee of £25 per hour.