Edinburgh Academy Register (1824-1914)

While researching the history of my house in Edinburgh I came across this fantastic resource which lists all pupils who attended Edinburgh Academy from its foundation in 1824 to 1914. It is out of copyright and can be found in various formats at the Internet Archive.

Entry for physicist and mathematician, James Clerk Maxwell

It lists information about the pupils' achievements both in school and also after leaving school in addition in gives information about parents and wives. The PDF version is fully searchable.

Entry for author, Robert Louis Stevenson

Farm Horse Tax 1797-98

A document I recently came across while doing some researching for a friend was the Farm Horse Tax returns. They are a valuable resource for anyone in search of their rural ancestors to find a hidden gem, because they name tenant farmers, who can be difficult to find otherwise. The tax was introduced in 1797 raised to help the war effort against the French and was abandoned soon after. The returns for the whole of Scotland can now be searched free online at the Scotlands Places website



There were several other taxes introduced into Scotland in the late 17th and 18th centuries including:

  • Hearth Tax
  • Poll Tax
  • Window Tax
  • Cart Tax
  • Shop tax
  • Carriage Tax
  • Dog Tax
  • Clock and Watch tax
  • Male and Female Servant Tax

Pencils of Light – the albums of the Edinburgh Calotype Club

The National Library of Scotland has a fantastic collection of early photographs taken in Scotland Belgium, Italy and Malta.

St. John's Chapel, West End Princes Street, Edinburgh.
Photographed by Hugh Lyon Tennent (1817-1874) and Robert Tennent (1813-1890)

These two albums of the Edinburgh Calotype Club, the first photographic club in the world, are among the earliest photograph albums in the world ever assembled. They contain over 300 images by a group of pioneering Scottish photographers working in Edinburgh and St. Andrews.

South Street, St. Andrews.
Photographed by Hugh Lyon Tennent (1817-1874) and Robert Tennent (1813-1890)

The calotype process was discovered by William Henry Fox Talbot; Talbot’s friends coined the term Talbotype. The calotype process was novel in a number of ways. It can be regarded as a direct forerunner of modern photography with its use of both a negative and a positive; the paper negative was the earliest process to allow the manufacture of several prints and it was also the first paper process- its predecessor, the daguerreotype, primarily used for portraiture, was printed onto a silvered copper surface.


William Henry Fox Talbot (1800 - 1877)

The albums can be browsed or searched and contain a number of images taken around Edinburgh, Fife and Ayrshire.

Census Abbreviations Updated

While researching using the 1841 Scottish Census I came across the abbreviation "F S" under profession. As I was not sure what this was I did a quick search online and came across this useful list of commonly used abbreviations in a rootschat.com forum here.

These are the official abbreviations used in the censuses:

Ag. Lab. 1841-81 Agricultural labourer
Ap. 1841-61 Apprentice
Army 1841 Members of HM land forces of whatever rank
Cl. 1841-61 Clerk
FS. 1841 Female servant
H.P. 1841 Members of HM armed forces on half-pay
HLW 1841 Hand loom weaver (followed by silk, cotton etc for material they work in)
FWK 1841 Frame work knitter
Ind. 1841 Independent - people living on their own means
J. 1841 Journeyman
M. 1841 Manufacturer
m. 1841 Maker - as in 'Shoe m.'
MS 1841 Male servant
Navy 1841 Members of HM naval forces, including marines,
of whatever rank
P. 1841 Pensioners in HM armed forces
Rail Lab. 1851 Railway labourer
Serv. 1861 Servant
Sh. 1841 Shopman

Are there any others that you know of?

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