Convicts from Scotland

 Some ancestors are easy to find, some are almost invisable, then others just keep tugging and popping up until you decide to investigate.  George Murray is one of the later.  He is the father of Catherine Murray, the wife of my GGG Uncle Robert McKinlay.

I have blogged about George before, but he keeps popping up, two cousins have contacted me and a little more information has come to hand.  I decided I had to find the exact details of George's crime and try to find his baptism or birth.

From convict documents I know a little about the crime, namely:

  • The Court was the Inverness Court of Justice
  • the date of trial 23rd April 1835
  • and sentence was 7 year transportation.
All this came from the Australian Convict Registers of 1835, and I know this is my George Murray from his application for marriage.

So I began my search at the National Records of Scotland (Scotland National Archives).  I must say I found this a very difficult site to navigate, but eventually found "Search for National Records of Scotland online catalogue

    This was what I had been looking for!  A broad search for "George Murray" yielded way too many hits to find anything of use.  So I did an advanced search by narrowing the dates to 1830-1835.  That gave me 167 hits.  A lot easier to go through.  But by narrowing it down to search for the PHRASE George Murray, I then only had 34 results to look through.  

    When searching, think about either broadening or narrowing your search to see what you find.  In this case narrowing was the right way to go. 

    The first entry was:

    Precognition against George Murray for the crime of theft by housebreaking and opening lockfast
    places at Lairg, Sutherland.  Date: 1835.  

    Given he was in Australia in 1836 and he I knew he was from the Sutherland area 
    this seemed a good fit.  Clicking on the record I found the following information:

    So, looking at this information the age of George Murray fits as,he is noted as age 14 or 15.  His victim was one Donald McDonald of Laing, Sutherland, so the general area is also a match

    There was one piece of information I overlooked initially, it was:
    Related Record: 

    So, continuing to scroll through the initial records found, it was on the last page

    This was what I needed - the trial papers - but I nearly missed it!  Both records are held by the Natioanal Recods of Scotland and have open access, so that means I can go to Edinburgh and view the records.  Edinburgh is on our list for 2023/4, so I will probably wait, but there is a list of transcription agents on the Archives site that will do the work for you. 

    Now to find his birth!


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