The Statistical Accounts of Scotland are a series of documentary publications, related in subject matter though published at different times, covering life in Scotland in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The Old (or First) Statistical Account of Scotland was published between 1791 and 1799 by Sir John Sinclair of Ulster.
The General Assembly proposed a “Geographical Description of Scotland” and took some action on this between 1720 and 1744, again during troubled times for the country, latterly involving the Jacobite Rebellion under Bonnie Prince Charlie. Nonetheless, during 1743, the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rev Robert Wallace organised the distribution of questionnaires, aimed at finding out how to devise a scheme for the support of the widows and orphans of clergy. This work helped to develop actuarial methods, and explains the involvement of a society for ministers’ widows and orphans in later work.