Gravestones and monumental inscriptions contain a wealth of information for the family historian. This primary source of data is of particular importance to Scottish genealogists as the Old Parish Registers of the Church of Scotland concentrate on baptism and marriage and contain little information on burials. Gravestone inscriptions thus provide an almost unique source for deaths prior to 1855 in Scotland and for Scots dying overseas before that date. After 1855 there are statutory records of births, marriages, and deaths in Scotland. The only other major sources of such information lie in the obituary pages of the press or in the various Registers of Testaments.
Recently various family history societies, especially the Scottish Genealogy Society, the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society, and the Tay Valley Family History Society have been actively recording such inscriptions. The urgency of their work results from the fact that many stones are crumbling away, while others have been subject to vandalism or to destruction by local authorities clearing graveyards prior to “development.” Many of the inscriptions have now been published by the societies concerned.
This book, the second in its series and the first such collection since 1998, is based on both published and unpublished material. The book also differs from Volume One in that it includes gravestone inscriptions located in cemeteries on both sides of the Atlantic. While the inscriptions are unique unto themselves, virtually every one identifies the decedent by name, years of birth as well as death, and place of demise in North America In many instances the entries also convey an individual’s parents’ names, the decedent’s occupation, year of emigration, and the source. In all Volume II contains about 1,600 inscriptions with references to at least three times as many Scots or Scottish-Americans.