Expanding the Indexing

Only those who are particularly perceptive or who use this web-site frequently will have noticed that some of the indexes on this site have been improved recently. This was done in three areas:

(1) The General Index contains a facility for Searching by Presbytery and Searching by Congregation. These provided Indexes of the (Church of Scotland) Presbyteries and Congregations in Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae (FES), Volumes 1-7. These Indexes have now been enlarged to include references to Presbyteries and Congregations in FES Volume 8. This was a particularly necessary development as Volume 8 consists of Corrections and Additions to the information in Volumes 1-7.

(2) In the General Index of Scottish Presbyterian Ministers, the references to information in Ewing’s Annals of the Free Church of Scotland have been developed.

The need for the changes that have been made stems from a difference in presentation of the material in the various reference works indexed. In Small’s A History of the Congregations of the United Presbyterian Church from 1733 to 1900 and in FES the focus is on the congregations and something is said about each minister in each charge in which he served. This means that to get the full picture of a minister, all the charges a minister had occupied need to be noted and a reference given for each charge. But Ewing’s Annals are laid out in a different way and for each minister there is a separate entry which draws together information about all the charges in which he served.

This meant that in the General Index there was formerly no detail given about the various charges that a Free Church minister had occupied. This was not thought necessary because, however many places a Free Church minister had served in, there was only one reference to him in Ewing’s List of Ministers.

But now the commencement date and place of each ministry of every Free Church minister is given in the General Index. Thus formerly the Index entry for Thomas Adamson was:

Adamson, Thomas:
1876, Prestonkirk, Ewing, Annals

Now details of his ministry are given:

Adamson, Thomas:
1876, Prestonkirk; 1884, Falkirk; 1888, Anderston, Glasgow, Ewing, Annals

This minor development may help in the identification of Free Church ministers where there is need for disambiguation.

(3) The List of Congregations in Ewing’s Annals has also been amended. Formerly, congregations were generally listed once, even when they might have been known under two names. The Index has now been expanded to deal with such cases. Thus, for example, the Salton and Bolton congregation is now listed under both “Salton” and “Bolton”; and the “Hawick, St Andrew’s”, congregation is now also listed under “St Andrew’s, Hawick”.

These may seem small changes but we think that, together, they significantly improve the quality of the indexing and so enhance the usefulness of this site. We hope researchers will think so too.


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