JSTOR @ NLA: finding the historical context for family history

It’s likely that most Australian family historians are familiar with the National Library of Australia’s Trove site as a source for family research.  It’s also been well promoted that anyone in Australia can apply for a library card with NLA which then lets you access their eResources remotely. The Times Digital Archives and 19th Century British newspapers have been popular with family historians.

But did you know there’s another invaluable resource you can use for your research? JSTOR is typically used by academics and tertiary students to locate relevant journal articles published in their area of interest. The promo states: With more than a thousand academic journals and over 1 million images, letters, and other primary sources, JSTOR is one of the world’s most trusted sources for academic content.

Sounds a bit heavy-duty? Well some articles may be but there are plenty that will provide you with that valuable framework for your family’s local history, living and social conditions. Silly me, I knew JSTOR was available but somehow it had dropped off my mental radar in recent months.

This morning I had a fun couple of hours looking for information about Irish family life and inheritance patterns. Some of my readings included:

 Marriage and fertility in post-Famine Ireland

The Changing Irish Family

The Potato Famine and the transformation of Irish peasant society.

Whatever the family-history topic you want to know more about, I suggest you’ll find it here with careful searching.

HOW TO FIND IT:

Go to the NLA site

Assuming you’ve already got your library card

Click on the eResources tab at the top right hand side of the web page

Key in your card number and surname

Select “J” from the menu and pick JSTOR

Read and accept their terms and conditions

Start searching using a few keywords eg Scottish illegitimacy, Irish migration etc

Remember you can download the articles

Remember you must cite the article if you use it

Happy hunting!

Why order an LDS film of parish registers?

Over the years I’ve encountered many instances of people being happy to settle for what they find out about their family via the IGI. Ignoring the variability of patron submissions which are now excluded from the new Family Search, there are still plenty of reasons why you should order in a microfilm for the princely sum of $7.50.

Kilchrenan Kirk in 2010. Where do the stairs go -its a mystery.

I’ve recently been reviewing the Kilchrenan parish registers on LDS microfilm 1041069. These registers include baptisms (1751-1824) and marriages (1755-1858). To my disappointment there are no burial records of any sort, not uncommon in Scotland. It must be said that I have only a peripheral interest in this parish – my main focus is the parish of Inishail (later Glenorchy & Inishail) which is adjacent to Kilchrenan and also across Loch Awe from it. I’m really just trying to untangle the various McCorquodale families in the area.

So what interesting snippets can be found?

Example: the baptism of Mary MacCorquodale in 1824 appears to show that she is the lawful (legitimate) child of Lachlan MacCorquodale and Mary Rowan as shown in the IGI entry below (apologies for the severely spaced formatting).

MARY MACCORQUODALE (Female)
Birth:
22 OCT 1823
Christening:
30 JUL 1824 Kilchrenan And Dalavich, Argyll, Scotland

Parents:

Father: LACHLAN MACCORQUODALE
Mother: MARY ROWAN

In contrast the microfilm tells us that Mary was the “illegitimate daughter of Lachlan MacCorquodale and Mary Rowan servants at Lowr Achachenny born 22 October 1823” and baptised by W F (Revd William Fraser) and “ afterwards legitimated by the marriage of her parents on 28 December 1826”.

So the film tells us additional details: she is illegitimate, her parents subsequently married, at the time of her baptism they were both servants at Lower Achachenny. (There should be further information on this child and the parents’ relationship in the Kirk Sessions which are not available on film or online).

Subsequently Lachlan MacCorquodale had three children baptised in a batch on 29 December 1850: Isabella (born 1836), Margaret (born 1846) and John (born 1848). The latter two children were born to Lachlan and his second wife, Janet Livingston.

Another example relates to the baptism of a child conceived in adultery, which I won’t detail here.  Fortunately I found none indexed with the Minister’s “I” for incestuous.

Other more mundane instances detail the occupation of the father and where the family lived, sometimes varying from baptism to baptism.

Kilchrenan kirk yard -the graves of John McDonald and his wife Elizabeth (Betsey) McCorquodale and their son Charles Blois McDonald and the churchyard chook.

There are two baptisms of children (Charles Blois and Euphemia) to John McDonald and his wife, Betsey McCorquodale who was sister to my ancestor James McCorquodale (later McCorkindale). From this I learned that John was then innkeeper at Kilchrenan although he was later a fisher (1841) and gamekeeper (1851+). One other child was baptised in Muckairn parish and another in Glenorchy & Inishail, proving that our ancestors didn’t just stay in one place: they also responded to economic circumstances and opportunities.

There are also instances of baptisms of children whose parents lived in the parish of Inishail. Quite probably this was because it was easier to cross the Loch by the ferry than take the longer route to the Inishail church, especially in some weathers.

There was also a rather more complex entry which I’ll post separately. I hope I’ve convinced you of the merits of actually looking at the microfilm whenever possible, even in adjacent parishes just in case your relations turn up there.

In part 2 of this post I’ll illustrate more details of a specific, and unexpected, event recorded in the Kilchrenan parish baptismal registers.

Kilchrenan Inn