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ABERDEENSHIRE - Glossary

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A glossary of terms used on these pages.


Kirk Session   The Kirk Session of a parish consisted of the minister and elders from the congregation and a clerk . It looked after the general well being of the congregation and parochial discipline. Kirk Session records mention illegitmate children, irregular marriages, and poor people that received money from the Kirk. The detailed accounts will mention many people in the parish. Kirk Session records are held in the National Archives of Scotland.
Mortcloth   A mortcloth was a large, black velvet cloth usually ornamented with white. Its purpose was to cover the coffin from the time the body was placed inside until the interment. This custom dates mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries. In some parishes a small mortcloth was available for children.. The dues were the hire charges which supplemented the kirk session funds; e.g. 12½d for an adult cloth and 5d for a child's mortcloth. A fine example is preserved at Peterculter Parish Church, near Aberdeen. In many instances the only death records surviving are the account books for the hire of the mortcloths.
OPR   Old Parish Register. For information on records for a particular parish, please see that parish's page. Copies of many parish registers may be consulted around the world in LDS Family History Centres. Copies of parish registers for Aberdeenshire may also be consulted at the Aberdeen & NE Scotland FHS or at local history departments of the library services.