The big leather-bound registers, which are held within the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park, are a treasure trove, detailing names, addresses and appearances of every player since 1888 who has taken part in a cup competition: the Scottish Cup, the Scottish Qualifying Cup and the short-lived Scottish Consolation Cup. The inclusion of addresses allows further research by cross-checking against census records, so that dates of birth can often be established. This effectively means everyone who has played senior football can be traced - a great resource not just for sports researchers but also for family historians who have a footballer amongst their ancestors.
As far as Dunblane (my home town) is concerned, the work had a natural limit as the club ceased to exist in 1914. But even in those 26 seasons, I now have a massive spreadsheet with 184 players listed. They range from the famous, such as the Christie brothers (internationalists Bob and Alex, plus their younger brother Sydney), to the obscure. Some became professionals, such as Archie McGeoch who was with Arsenal and Dundee, William Robertson at Hearts and Dundee, or Jamie Kinnaird and William Weir who both went to Sunderland Albion. Most have local addresses, some even in my own street, but in later seasons, when the club had no league and only took part in cup-ties, it is clear they had to cast their net wide with players coming from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Fife.
Ultimately I will work on building up a complete record of all matches and players at the club. The registers will also allow me to research those players who lost their lives in the First World War, who I first wrote about in my last Dunblane blog.