Saturday, 1 October 2011

Were Your Ancestors Accused of Witchcraft?

The University of Edinburgh has a database which "contains all people known to have been accused of witchcraft in early modern Scotland—nearly 4,000 of them. There is information on where and when they were accused, how they were tried, what their fate was, and on a wide range of themes relating to social and cultural history"

On the search page, you can search by name, you can search for cases of witchcraft by characterisation and date, you can search by trial date or you can search by the people involved.

I searched by name. A list of 6 possible ancestors came up (none were mine, sadly). For each person listed, the year they were accused is listed. On the personal details page, the following is given:
  • last name
  • first name
  • alias
  • sex
  • place of residence by parish, presbytery and county
  • marital status
  • any notes on the accused
On the bottom of each personal details page, you can click on the name of the individual. A new page opens with the details of case, the names of other people involved and their relationship to the accused, trials associated with the case, "qualifications" (what was used to determine the validity of the accusation, including such things as witches meetings, folk culture and diseases/illnesses) and references - where the original information is recorded.

Even without witches and warlocks in your tree, the site is worth a look, even if just for the social history of the times.

Happy Searching!

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