I’m a visual thinker.
Every record I find provides information that helps to inform of the living conditions, financial circumstances, physical health and social times of the people concerned. The more informative the record is, the more vivid is the picture it paints in my mind.
The best example of this I’ve ever seen are the Valuation Rolls of Scotland. I discovered them on ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk.
The one for Balmoral Estate was particularly interesting. I always thought of the estate as just a castle and its grounds but there was much more to it.
According to the 1915 Valuation Rolls, not only was the estate home to the royal family, but to the families of servants, merchants, farmers, gardeners, tradesmen, police officers and a doctor with responsibilities at the estate. To house all of these people and their families, the estate consisted of at least 38 houses and cottages. There were also other amenities present including stables, woodlands, gardens, a deer forest and grazing, a dairy farm, golf course, curling club, sanatorium (if you can call this an ‘amenity’), and there must have been telephone service, or at least plans to install it, as ‘telephone wire’ is listed.
It appears to have operated as its own little ‘town’. The only thing missing on the Rolls is the ‘mayor’ and council, and what town would need them with the royal family present?