Sunday, 30 November 2008

St Andrew's Day - Latha Naoimh Anndra

For a man who never set foot in Scotland, St. Andrew (Naomh Anndra) has been the main man in these parts since the 10th Century AD. But he's not just the patron saint of Scotland - Greece, Russia, and Romania have also staked their claim on him. So who was he, and why has he become an honorary Scot? All is revealed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Andrew#Scotland .

Have a great St. Andrew's Day, and let's get that saltire flying loud and proud...!

Chris

Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Time to come home - Homecoming Scotland advert launched

2009 is the year of Homecoming Scotland, an opportunity for the Scottish diaspora to return to the country of its ancestors, and to a very warm welcome. There's events galore across the nation throughout the year, and to kick it all off, a new television advert has been launched to encourage Scots to promote the year long party to their kith and kin across the world.

To see the advert, set to a rousing rendition of Dougie McLean's song 'Caledonia', visit the Homecoming page at http://www.homecomingscotland2009.com/news/caledonia.html .

Chì sinn gu luath sibh – we’ll see ye soon!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Scottish Lectures and Events for December

Exhibition – Zig Zag: the Paths of Robert Burns
7 NOV 2008 – 1 FEB 2009 at George IV Bridge Building.
Opening times:Monday to Friday: 10.00-20.00Saturday: 10.00-17.00Sunday: 14.00-17.00Early closing on 1, 24 and 31 December: 17.00Early closing on 4 December: 18.00Admission free. No need to book.
[w] www.nls.uk/events/burns-exhibition/index.html


Marine Section Members' Nite
Largs and District Historical Society
Mon 1 DEC 2008, at 7.30pm, Largs Museum, Kirkgate House, Manse Court, Largs
[w] http://freespace.virgin.net/mike.mackenzie2/LDHSprog.htm


Christmas Get-together
Lochaber and North Argyll FHS
Tues 2 DEC 2008, at 7.30pm, Fort William Library, Fortwilliam
Doing what we do best - Eating and Talking and, maybe, a little QuizPlease bring something to eat and drink to share
[w] www.lochaberandnorthargyllfamilyhistorygroup.org.uk


8th Anniversary Get-together
West Lothian FHS
2 DEC 2008, at 7.00 – 9.00pm, Connolly House, Blackburn
[w] www.wlfhs.org.uk


Social Evening
Central Scotland FHS
3 DEC 2008 7:30pm, at the Smith Museum and Art Gallery, Dumbarton Road, Stirling
[w] www.csfhs.org.uk


Members Evening with guest Tony Clarke, AV Show - QE2
Renfrewshire FHS
Thur 4 DEC 2008, at 7.30pm, Paisley Museum
[w] www.renfrewshirefhs.co.uk


Roadshow
West Lothian FHS
6 DEC 2008, Linlithgow Library
[w] www.wlfhs.org.uk


Christmas Social
Aberdeen and North East Scotland FHS
Sat 6 DEC 2008, at 2.30pm, Aberdeen Unitarian Church, 43a Skene Street, Aberdeen
Tel: 01224 646323 Fax: 01224 639096
[w] http://anesfhs.org.uk


Recording Scotland’s Places, Past, Present and Future: a lecture to celebrate the Centenary of RCAHMS, by Diana Murray
Marischal Museum
8 DEC 2008, Marischal College, University of Aberdeen. Free entry.
[t] 01224 274301
[w] www.abdn.ac.uk/marischal_museum/lectures.shtml


Members’ Evening, and short presentations by Gordon Barr, John Dye & Sandra Evans
Moidart Local History Group / Comann Eachdraidh MùideartMon 8 DEC 2008, at 8.00pm, Glenuig Hall
[w] www.moidart.org.uk


Social and Heirlooms Evening
Glasgow & West of Scotland FHS
Mon 8 DEC 2008, at 7.30pmm St. Peter’s Hall, Chancellor Street, Partick
[w] www.gwsfhs.org.uk


Social Evening
Largs and North Ayrshire FHS
9 DEC 2008 at 7.30pm, Community Room, Largs Library, Allanpark Street, Largs
[w] www.largsnafhs.org.uk


Committee Meeting
West Lothian Family History Society
9 DEC 2008, at 7.00 – 9.00pm, Community Centre, Blackburn
[w] www.wlfhs.org.uk


Members Evening with guest Tony Clarke, AV Show - QE2
Renfrewshire FHS
Tues 9 DEC 2008, at 7.30pm, Waterfront Leisure Complex, Conference Suite in Greenock
[w] www.renfrewshirefhs.co.uk


Party Night
Caithness FHS
10 DEC 2008, at Thurso Town Hall
[w] www.caithnessfhs.org.uk


Christmas Party
The Lothians FHS
10 NOV 2008 at 7.00 – 9.00 pm, Lasswade High School Centre, Eskdale Drive, Bonnyrigg
[w] www.lothiansfhs.org.uk


Graveyards, by John Young
Lanarkshire FHS
Thur 11 DEC 2008, at 7.00 – 9.00pm, at GLO Centre, Muir Street, Motherwell
[w] www.lanarkshirefhs.org.uk


Christmas Party Night
East Ayrshire FHS
11 DEC 2008 7.30pm Gateway Centre, Foregate Square, Kilmarnock at
[w] www.eastayrshirefhs.org.uk


Quiz and Christmas Party
Troon @ Ayrshire FHS
16 DEC 2008, venue unknown
[w] www.troonayrshirefhs.org.uk


Evening visit to New Register House
West Lothian FHS
16 DEC 2008, New Register House, West Register Street, Edinburgh
[w] www.wlfhs.org.uk


Social Evening
Alloway & Southern Ayrshire FHS
Thurs 18 DEC 2008
[w] www.asafhs.co.uk


Christmas Lunch
North Perthshire FHS
18 DEC 2008, at Westlands
[w] www.npfhg.org


Christmas Evening with refreshments
Appin Historical Society
20 DEC 2008, at 7.30pm, Port Appin Hall, Appin
Members' contributions on Christmases Past
[w] www.appinhistoricalsociety.co.uk


St. Columba's Church, Aignish, by John Cunningham
Stornoway Historical Society
29 DEC 2008, at 8.00pm (doors open from 7.30pm), Stornoway Town Hall. Entry is free but donations are welcome.
[w]
www.stornowayhistoricalsociety.org.uk


Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

ScotFamTree forum St Andrews Day get together...

The ScotFamTree genealogical forum is planning a virtual hooley tomorrow, hoping to set a site record for those online at one time as part of the St. Andrews Day celebrations. It is hoped that as many members are signed in as possible at 1.00pm GMT tomorrow, so if you are a member, do try to join in the fun - and if not, there's no better time to get started!

ScotFamTree is a discussion forum, online shop, and much more, with expertise from across the country and beyond its shores on all things Scottish. It can be accessed at http://scotfamtree.11.forumer.com/ via various tiers, starting with a basic free membership, and then more advaned tiers available by subscription.

Slàinte mhath!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

January opening for ScotlandsPeople Centre

How's this for a great announcement just in time for St. Andrews Day?!!

It's been a long and worthwhile wait, but the ScotlandsPeople Centre officially opens its doors to the public on the 12th of January 2009. As well as the Adam Dome, the Reid Room and Matheson Dome will also be opening, and visitors will be able to pre-book seats in these areas from 15th of December 2008. Full details of how this can be done will be forthcoming in the near future on the main ScotlandsPeople Centre website at http://www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk/ .

The ScotlandsPeople Café will also be open for business on the 13th of January 2009 serving a range of hot and cold snacks and drinks.

Please note that the free taster sessions and shop area will be closed from 12:00 on the 24th of December 2008 and re-open at 09:30 on 5th of January 2009.

A huge congratulations to Dee Williams and her team! An article describing what to expect from the new centre by a very impressed yours truly is available in this month's Family History Monthly magazine, including a description of what to expect from the new computer system which will be replacing the current DIGROS computer set up.



Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Scotsman online archive offer for December

The archive for the Scotsman newspaper is being made available online until December 30th 2008 for half the normal price. As an example, a 24 hour pass, normally £7.95, is currently available for just £3.98. For regular users, a year long pass, normally £159.95, is now available for just £79.98.

For more information, visit http://archive.scotsman.com/pricing.cfm .

(Thanks to Currie at TS)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Ancestry launches partial Medical Registers collection online

Ancestry has launched a new UK Medical Registers Collection on its website at www.ancestry.co.uk .

The General Medical Council was set up in 1858 to ensure health and safety practices, regulate the medical industry and maintain an official record of all approved physicians. Its Medical Registers from 1858-1950 contain details of every doctor approved during this period – more than 1.5 million names in all – including their name, address of practice, university of qualification and date of registration, providing a vital historical reference point for those researching British medical history or their own family history. It should be noted that Ancestry's collection is not complete, with registers appearing at four year intervals.

Prior to regulation, the reputation of British medicine had been blighted by ‘quackery’ - the malpractice of unqualified doctors and fraudsters. Medical ‘charlatans’ administered unproven, usually ineffective and sometimes dangerous medicines and treatments for personal financial gain, leaving the reputation of legitimate doctors in tatters. By vetting and making registration a professional requirement for all practising British doctors, these issues were resolved, and by legitimising it public confidence in the medical profession was restored. Consequently, the number of qualified doctors increased from 15,000 in 1859 to 35,000 in 1900. By 1950 there were over 150,000 registered GPs, physicians and surgeons.

* If you are interested in researching the medical history of your family or the history of those who worked within the medical professions, check out my 5 page cover feature article in this month's Family History Monthly (issue 164, December), where you will find out how to research physicians, apothecaries, nurses, St John Ambulance and St Andrew's Ambulance, how to find hospital records for patients, and much more!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Friday, 28 November 2008

Family tree chart service

You have all your research and would now like to put it onto a large chart to display in your house, or to have one compiled as a present for a friend this Christmas. The problem is that a lot of charts that can be bought look absolutely horrendous and completely impersonal. So why not get one designed to suit your needs?

Christine Anne Welch is a professional graphic designer based in Birmingham who now specialises in custom designed trees through her service, Golden Memories. You can have your tree designed any way that you like, you can include any photos that might be relevant, and as the customer you will be consulted all the way in the design process. Christine did my tree about a year ago, and copies of it now hang on the wall in my own house and in my father's house in Crete (see pic, prior to it being hung up on the wall there!), providing a focal point for many conversations when visitors arrive!

To find out more, visit Christine's website at http://goldenmemoriescharts.co.uk .


Chris

Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Thursday, 27 November 2008

New Irish research projects from Trinity College Dublin

Two new projects of interest from Trinity College Dublin...

1641 Depositions Project

This project aims to transcribe and digitise the 1641 Depositions, a unique manuscript collection, held in the Library of Trinity College Dublin. The collection comprises 3,400 depositions, examinations and associated materials (approximately 19,000 pages) in which Protestant men and women of all classes tell of their experiences following the outbreak of the rebellion by the Catholic Irish in October 1641. The project will be done in collaboration with IBM.

For more info see http://www.tcd.ie/longroomhub/projects/ireland/


Irish Military database

A useful source for those with Irish ancestors who served in the French armies in the 17th and 18th centuries is now online at http://www.irishineurope.ie/RIA-launch.html

(With thanks to Bruce Durie at the University of Strathclyde)


Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Winter programme for PHAROS family history courses

Military historian Simon Fowler joins Pharos’ roster of family history experts to lead a Pharos online course on researching military ancestors. Starting on 20 January 2009, the five-week course will look at the major resources available online and in record offices, such as The National Archives and the Imperial War Museum. Simon has published many guides to researching military history, particularly on Army genealogy and the First World War, for The National Archives, Pen & Sword and Countryside Books, and is also the editor of Ancestors magazine from TNA.

Other Courses from PHAROS this coming Winter and Spring 2009:


19 January – Become a Better Genealogist
20 January – Military Men and Women: Records of Britain’s Armed Forces 1750 – 1920
2 February – The National Archives Catalogue – Finding People
10 March – Scottish Research Online
20 March - Writing Your Family History
16 March – Searching for Wills and Administrations in England & Wales
23 April – Caribbean Family History
5 May – Scotland 1750 – 1850: Beyond the OPRs


More information is available at www.pharostutors.com .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Scottish Pantomimes exhibition begins tour

A new University of Glasgow exhibition on the history of Scottish Pantomime has begun a tour in Edinburgh. Oh not it hasn't... Oh yes it has! (sorry!) The exhibition uses images and other memorabilia from the Glasgow University library Scottish Theatre Archive.

For more information, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/scotland_politics/7750809.stm .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Happy Thanksgiving to all American family history buffs!

Living here on an island where it sometimes seems as if people have forgotten how to say thank you, it's nice to know that you guys over the pond still have a day just to say that! Have a good one!

Today has also been declared by acting Surgeon General Steve Galston to be National Family History Day in the US - he suggests you take the opportunity when with your family to discover the history of your family's health problems down the years. A good idea, but don't forget to ask them about other aspects of their lives, or else it could all get a bit grim!!!


Chris

Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

BBC News items on Ruhleben POW camp

I was on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme this morning with journalist David Miller discussing my project on the First World War prisoner of war camp at Ruhleben, on the outskirts of Berlin, within which some 5500 British civilians were interned for the duration of hostilities. The item was transmitted live in the last five minutes of the programme, and can be heard again for the next seven days on the BBC's online iPlayer at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00fn9k1 .

We also recorded a separate television piece on the story, which will include Scottish Screen footage of some of the prisoners returning to Leith, the 90th anniversary of their return being tomorrow. This is due to be shown on BBC1 Scotland's Reporting Scotland this evening between 6.30 and 7.00pm - do try to catch it if you can!

And if you had relatives at Ruhleben, I would love to hear from you in order to include their story on my commemorative website, The Ruhleben Story, at http://ruhleben.tripod.com . So far the site contains free to access information and images concerning over 1800 of the POWs, so still a fair few to identify! Amongst the internees was my own great uncle John Brownlie Paton - his story at Ruhleben is explored in further detail at http://chrispatonscotland.tripod.com/id63.html .

UPDATE: The Rep Scot story is now online at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7752999.stm , and a written BBC news article can be found at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7753237.stm .


Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

SAFHS website revamped

The website for the Scottish Association of Family History Societies has just undergone a very welcome facelift. Apart from the fact that the previously dreadful synthesised bagpipe music no longer hits you when you visit the page, it is now looks considerably brighter and has new added features, such as a surname search facilty which allows you to look for surnames across the websites of the organisations constituent members. Well worth a look at www.safhs.org.uk .

And as it's my blog, I'm also going to throw in a quick plug for my local FHS...! Largs and North Ayrshire FHS is a small but enthusiastic society that meets once a month at Largs Library on Allanpark Street, and is only too happy to welcome new members and to offer advice. Its website is located at www.largsnafhs.org.uk .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

FamilySearch Indexing update - Norway 1875 census

This might be one for all you Shetland and Orkney folk! From Family Search:

1875 Norway Census

In the first week of December, we will start indexing the 1875 Norway Census. This will be a large segment of the census for rural areas of Norway, but not the entire census. FamilySearch’s Historical Family Reconstitution unit has joined forces with the University of Tromsø in Norway to complete this project. The university is indexing the census records for the urban areas of Norway.

Pass the word along that anyone interested in Norwegian genealogical research is encouraged to help by volunteering as a
FamilySearch indexer.


Completed Projects

The following projects have been completed in the past two weeks. Patrons should be able to search them shortly online at
FamilySearch Record Search:
Missouri – 1870 US Census
Tennessee – 1870 US Census
Morelos – 1930 Mexico Census
Alabama – 1920 US Federal Census
Arkansas Marriages II
Alabama – 1850 US Federal Census – General



Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

ScotFamTree forum

Another quick plug for the ScotFamTree discussion forum!

New subscribers can now view video content on the home page to help inform you how to join, by way of a guided walk through the site. There are several subscription levels available, including the basic free subscription, and various resources able to help, such as the thriving discussion forum, the site's shop, and much more.

Definitely a useful resource for those with Scots ancestors, and lots of volunteers willing to help crack your brick wall problems!

To join in the fun, visit http://scotfamtree.11.forumer.com/ .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

710 centenarians living in Scotland in 2007

The General Register Office for Scotland has published a report on the number of centenarians living in Scotland between 2002 and 2007. The number is on the rise, with 710 recorded in the country last year. With over 7000 years worth of social history waiting to be recorded, I hope somebody has had a chance to visit them with a tape recorder!

For more info, see Centenarians in Scotland 2002 - 2007 .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Mapping our Anzacs website

Simon Fowler's Ancestors magazine blog has details of an interesting new website for those researching Anzac ancestry from the First World War.

The site is called Mapping Our Anzacs, located at www.mappingouranzacs.naa.gov.au, and uses Google Maps as a source to identify the birthplaces of those who fought in the war.

There's further info on Simon's blog.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Statue to James Clerk Maxwell unveiled

A statue to 19th Century Scots physicist James Clerk Maxwell, a pioneer in the field of electromagnetism, has been unveiled on Edinburgh's George Street, the first statue to be raised there in over a century.

For more on the story, visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/south_of_scotland/7746365.stm .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Monday, 24 November 2008

Discover my Past Scotland - new online genealogy magazine launched

A new Scottish genealogy magazine has just been launched online by brightsolid, the parent company behind Findmypast.com and ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk. Entitled Discover My Past Scotland, each 40 page online issue costs £2.50, and can be purchased by subscription from www.discovermypast.co.uk.

The first issue is packed with special features and how-to guides to connect you with your Scottish Heritage:

Focus on St Andrew
Celebrate with Homecoming Scotland 2009
Find your lost-long relatives in Australia and New Zealand
Trace your Ancestors who worked in the Scottish textile trade
Learn more about heraldry
Track down your Aberdeen forebears
See how Edinburgh Edwardians enjoyed their leisure time
Plus Expert Family History Q&A, Dates for your Diary, as well as plenty of direct web links to facilitate your online research.



With Homecoming Scotland just around the corner, this is definitely one to check out!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Practical Family History magazine (Dec 08) now on sale

Woah! What happened to Practical Family History magazine?! A sexy new revamp, guv, that's what...! The December 2008 issue (133), is now on sale, with the whole magazine having had a major facelift. Brighter, funkier and now permanently longer at 100 pages, it still remains the same magazine however, with the usual mix of fascinating articles and stories.

In this month's packed issue, there are articles on World War II service records, adoption research, canal and river people, costume history, the latest chronicles from 1650-1700 by the FFHS's very own Maggie Loughran, Christmas traditions from the past, Irish ancestors, and much more. Yours truly also contributes an article on why social history should matter for your research, and the very latest genealogical news in the UK.

Ridiculously brilliant and available at all festive news vendors for the extraordinarily gorgeous price of just £3.75...!

Chris

Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

PRONI's eCATNI goes live in Belfast

Major news from Northern Ireland - the Public Register Office of Northern Ireland's electronic catalogue (eCATNI) has finally gone operational in Belfast, and is due to be launched online in January 2009. The following is the announcement from PRONI:

The Electronic Catalogue for Northern Ireland (eCATNI) went live in the PRONI Search Room on 10 November, 2008. This has been PRONI’s flagship project since 2002 and will enable users to perform searches and obtain instant results.

Over a million PRONI catalogue entries are now available electronically via eCATNI. This represents approximately sixty percent of PRONI’s catalogue entries. The remainder will be published in due course.

In January 2009, eCATNI will go live on the PRONI website. This will allow off-site visitors to consult our catalogues, bringing PRONI in line with other National and International archival institutions.

How this will affect you:

* Search the catalogues electronically by inputting a name, place or other keyword

* Search the catalogues electronically by date

* Order an item directly from the results screen (on-site only)

* On-screen messages reporting items that are off-site, closed or already ordered by another user (on-site only)

* Visitors will be issued with new passes and reader numbers


Three massive cheers for PRONI...!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Lead Balloon - Where Are You From?!!!

For readers in the UK, if you have not watched tonight's episode of Lead Balloon on BBC2, with Jack Dee, you might want to catch up with it on the BBC iPlayer!

Tonight's episode, the second in the current series, is entitled "Panda", and Jack Dee's character believes he is about to take part on the mythical celebrity family history series Where Are You From? It's a great parody, and very funny!

To watch the show, visit www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Having big brothers reduces your chances of having children

There was an interesting article in yesterday's Daily Mail. Sheffield University researchers have shown that having an elder brother can affect the fertility of a younger brother or sister, which may reduce their ability to have a family of their own.

The theory centres around the belief that a first child takes away so much out of a woman during pregnancy that it may affect subsequent children in the womb. The study showed that having an older sister reduces the chances of a sibling having kids to 67%, whilst an older brother reduces it to 62%.

As reported in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour, younger siblings also tend to have children later in life and with large gaps between them, which it claims has a biological basis. Cultural aspects, such as an older child standing to inherit a family business, are apparently not contibuting factors.

If anyone needs a genealogical project, trying to corroborate the above could be fun!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Sloane Printed Books Collection online at British Library website

Press release from the British Library:

The Sloane Printed Books Catalogue

New web resource from the British Library and the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL www.bl.uk/catalogues/sloane

The Sloane Printed Books Catalogue, a joint initiative by the British Library and the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL, is now available on the British Library website. The catalogue aims to ‘virtually' reunite the printed book collections formerly owned by the renowned physician, scientist and collector Sir Hans Sloane (1660 – 1753). His collection, comprising around 40,000 printed books, was one of the largest libraries in Europe of its time and is particularly significant for its holdings of medical and scientific material.

In addition to his work as a physician and scientist, Sir Hans Sloane was President of the Royal Society and one of the great collectors of his age. His extensive, varied and important collection was one of the founding collections of the British Museum, and his manuscripts and most of his printed books now form part of the British Library. The manuscripts remain together as a collection, but his collection of around 40,000 printed books was not originally kept together, with significant numbers of volumes from the collection being sold as ‘duplicate' copies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many of which can now be found in university and research collections across the world.

The Sloane Printed Books Catalogue aims to provide a 'virtual' re-creation of Sloane's printed collections. It will offer the opportunity to see Sloane's library as a whole for the first time in over 250 years, and illustrate Sloane's place in the scientific and intellectual networks at a critical time in the development of modern science.

Around 15,000 books are already listed on the new catalogue. A two-year project (April 2008-2010) funded by a Wellcome Trust grant under its Research Resources in Medical History scheme will build on this work to identify Sloane's books both in the British Library and elsewhere, continually expanding the catalogue over the lifetime of the project.

Manuscript notes and annotations can tell us much about the way these books were used, and from whom Sloane acquired them. Although the library's strengths were in science and medicine, Sloane collected very widely, and the project team has discovered that he owned items as disparate as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales printed by Caxton in 1485, and a Jamaica Almanack from 1673. In this new catalogue, bibliographical records are enhanced with the inclusion of Sloane's own numbers or other identifying marks, and information about previous owners. A number of records include information on the physical state and condition of the items.

The new catalogue opens up Sloane's library for research into what he owned, how he used it, from whom he acquired items, and how the collection was managed. Sloane's library offers information which will enable researchers to understand how knowledge was transmitted, which books were particularly prized, and what uses physicians and scientists made of them.

Lists of medicines and remedies, lists of books owned, even pressed plants and a laundry list have been found in the collection: all these help to bring to life the way these books were used. As the Sloane Printed Books Project continues, researchers will be able to see more clearly how a great physician and scientist at a time of significant discoveries and progress built up and used his library, and how knowledge was made available within his community.

Alison Walker, Lead Researcher of The Sloane Printed Books Project, commented:
“The Sloane Printed Books Catalogue is an important new resource which opens up the library of a great collector. We can learn much about Sir Hans Sloane, his career, and the intellectual and scientific circles in which he lived by looking at what material he acquired and how it was used. This new catalogue aims to reconstruct Sloane's library to shed new light on scientific and intellectual networks in at a critical time in the development of modern science.”


Professor Hal Cook, Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College London, said: "Sir Hans Sloane was an avid collector of books throughout his lifetime, as we might expect from one of the foremost intellectual figures in eighteenth century London. The prospect of reuniting his entire library as a virtual collection is tremendously exciting, and offers researchers around the world the chance to make much more use of this unique historical resource."

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Monday, 17 November 2008

Mars Training Ship of Dundee

Scots author Gordon Douglas is trying to trace what happened to over 6500 homeless and destitute boys from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee sent to the Mars training ship moored on the River Tay, at Dundee, during the sixty years following 1869, where they were to learn new skills and keep out of trouble.

As well as his book "We'll Send Ye Tae the Mars" Gordon has also set up a new website at www.sonsofthemars.com on which you can search for relatives who may have lived on board.

The BBC have a story on the project at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/7716431.stm .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Mary Queen of Scots' death warrant on display

The only surviving copy of the death warrant of Mary Queen of Scots has been presented by the first minister Alex Salmond to Blairs Museum, near Aberdeen.

The document was acquired by the library of the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace for £72,485, with the help of heritage bodies' donations. It was presented to Scotland following discussions between the Archbishop of Canterbury, the first minister and Cardinal O'Brien.

For more on the story, visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/north_east/7733430.stm .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

New military and Irish records from FamilyRelatives

Records provider FamilyRelatives.com has just added some major military records additions to its site, including Rolls of Honour for the Artists Rifles, the Anzacs and soldiers from New Zealand. The new databases are as follows:

The Anzac Roll of Honour 1914 – 1918
New Zealand Roll of Honour 1914 - 1918
Waterloo Roll Call
Commissioned Sea Officers of the Royal Navy 1660-1815
The British Naval Biographical Dictionary, 1849

The site has also provided many new Irish records collections in the last month, with several sets of wills abstracts from 1445 to 1846, an Irish topographical dictionary, a return of landowners holding more than one acre from 1876, an Irish names dictionary, a medical register for Ireland, and passenger lists for the famine Irish who arrived in New York between 1846 and 1851.

The collections can be viewed at www.familyrelatives.com.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Family History Monthly 164 on sale

Ding, dong, merrily on high....!

The Christmas issue of Family History Monthly (issue 164) is now on sale for your festive cheer. There are features on Christmas in the workhouse, window and hearth tax, bell makers, and the surname Reid, whilst yours truly has contributed the cover feature on medical records, looking at both how to find patients' records and those working within the medical profession. I've also written a special feature on the new ScotlandsPeople Centre, including details on how it will work and an exclusive review of the new computer system that is replacing the old DIGROS set up.

Deck the halls with bells of holly, folks - then pop to the newsagent and exhange £3.75 of Her Majesty's finest for a Christmas treat!

Oh - did I mention the free 2009 Diary?!

Chris

Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Did the Armistice cause World War Two - or did America?

An argument on the BBC website today by Professor Gerard De Groot of the University of St Andrews asks whether it was purely the harsh Armistice conditions of the Great War in 1918 that caused the subseqent world war, or whether America's isolationist police between the wars allowed a power vacuum to develop in Europe that remained unchecked, allowing Hitler to thrive.

It's controversial, and it's at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7720410.stm

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

First World War Scottish Military Appeals Tribunals digitisation project

The National Archives of Scotland is currently digitising and cataloguing the Military Appeals Tribunals papers of young men wishing to seek exemption from conscription. The papers, held under HH30, only survive for the areas of Edinburgh, the Lothians and the Borders, the rest having been destroyed by order of government in 1921.

The applications cover the period from March 1916 to October 1918, and so far some 500 papers have been recorded, with the full project expected to be completed in two years time. Most of those applying for exemption failed to do so, and were forced to sign up. An example of how applicants were treated with is found with a conscientious objector called Archibald Brown Naysmith - the military statement claimed 'This man would make a splendid soldier. He has a fine physique and just wants the nonsense knocked out of him'.

For more on the story, with examples of the papers, visit www.nas.gov.uk/about/081103.asp

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Mearns Kirkyard Project

A few months back I announced the creation of the Mearns Kirkyard Project, a lottery backed website project to record the monumental inscriptions of this ancient kirk in East Renfrewshire.

I have been contacted by one of the team to say that the web domain that I listed has subsequently been changed after my post to the following - www.mearnskirkyardproject.co.uk .

If you have ancestors in the area, this is well worth a look.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

The end of the Great War

The BBC has an interesting online AV display lasting just under three minutes describing the end of the war, including the voices of those who were there. It can be accessed at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7713115.stm

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Ancestry issue 76 now on sale

The latest issue of Ancestry (76, December 2008) is now on sale, and features many interesting articles, including a comparison on the transcriptions of the 1841 census provided from different service providers; the Camden Town Murder of 1907; the origins of Parish registers in England and Wales; railway ancestors; surveyors in the family; boat rowers; the National Archives' Voices of the Armistice podcasts; Stuart houses; and much more, including the regular internet news slot from yours truly.

Oh, and it comes with a very nice calendar for 2009...!

Chris
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Trench warfare in Ross-shire?

The remains of a series of First World War practice trenches, including 400 yards of 'no man's land' were recently discovered in Ross-shire, through aerial photography carried out by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

For more on the story visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/7719513.stm

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Monday, 10 November 2008

Coatbridge Irish Genealogy Project

The Coatbridge Irish Genealogy Project is a new web based project at www.coatbridgeirishgenealogyproject.co.uk , which is seeking to record the Irish contribution to the town's history. During the famine and its aftermath, hundreds of Irish families migrated to Lanarkshire, with many settling in Coatbridge (as well as Airdrie and New Monklands) to work at the mines and on the railways.

From the website, the project's goals are as follows:

To capture as many Coatbridge Irish family descendants as possible, with a view to uncovering their county of origin approximate year of migration and any stories relating to that Irishness that may have passed through generations.

Use the information as a tool for those researching their Coatbridge Irish ancestors.

Paint a historical picture of how individual Irish families made their way to Coatbridge.

If you would like to share your Irish ancestry from this area, please contact the project organiser, Michael Reilly, at coatbridgeirish@tiscali.co.uk .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Strike at NAS - Monday 10th November

Folowing a ballot from the Public and Commercial Srvices Union, there will be another strike tomorrow at the National Archives of Scotland.

Whilst the building will be open, a limited service only will be offered, meaning that document productions and copy orders will not be able to be processed.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Remembrance Sunday - please remember the civilians too

Today is Remembrance Sunday, commemorating the 90th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Great War, but also the soldiers of all conflicts.

However, please spare a thought too for the many civilians who lost their lives.

My grandfather was a young boy trapped in Brussels with his Scottish civilian family throughout World War One. The family had not got out prior to the outbreak of hostilities in 1914, and when the Germans invaded Belgium and commenced the internment of British civilians, my great grandfather, David Hepburn Paton (pictured), was forced into hiding. After a year and a half of concealment, he died from the stress of his fugitive lifestyle.

My eldest great uncle, William Paton, returned to Scotland just before the invasion and was duly sent off to Gallipoli with the Royal Army Medical Corps. His brother, John Paton, who was still trapped in Brussels, was arrested shortly after his father's death and interned at Ruhleben near Berlin from 1916 to 1918, as a civilian POW. My great granny Jessie, with my grandfather and my great aunt, remained in Brussels until the war ended. Jessie was supported only by charitable contributions from the firm which her husband had worked for, and letters from the National Archives show that my grandfather was starving towards the end of the war, with the ravages of inflation making any money sent almost worthless, and with food fast running out.

The following is the letter that my great uncle William received in Gallipoli, concerning his father's death:

Dear William,

By the time you get this letter, I suspect you will have learned the sorrowful news, that your poor Father, has been unable to stand the strain any longer of what he has been passing through since war began, and we have indirectly got word of his passing away. I would rather keep such news from you but perhaps you would rather that I should tell you. I went to your Colonels wife (Mrs Thomson) and she very willingly offered to write to her husband, asking him to break the news to you, and I would follow with a letter giving you what details we have which are very few.

Mr Van D'Endon (Leige) was in Brussels on Business some few weeks ago, and on returning send word to Mr Traill that Mr Paton had died of shock due to nervous breakdown. Mr Traill of course wrote Greenhead, and Mr Hay told me the contents of the letter. What a pity they did not all clear out of Belgium when they could have. Of course, you must understand I was almost going to write false news, but one hardly can discredit the report of a man connected with the Firm, who was in Brussels so lately, and I think we must accept it as being too true. As to your Mother and the rest we have no news. I thought on writing your Mother, and paid a visit to the Belgian Consul to get his advice. At first he said Yes I could risk writing, but he had in his office a Belgian lady whom he called in he said the only way was via Holland. If I knew any one in Holland, I was first to write a letter to your Mother, send it on to Mr Traill (for I told the lady of him) he was to re-write the letter and send it on to Brussels. This, of course, could be done Willie if Traill was willing, but how do we know that they are living at Rue de Mont Blanc now. The chances are very much the other way, so I hardly know what to do. We will get the full and correct account of everything by and by, but the suspense is very trying, worse than if we knew the very worst.

I am very sorry indeed to have to give you such sad news, but sorrowful things are happening daily just now. First we thought of withholding the news from you for a time but then we thought of this plan being the best. I have not told Inverness yet. Do you think I should. I will do so, if you wish it. As to date of your Fathers death we gather it is on or about March 15th nothing definite. You will feel the loss very keenly as we all do and we hope that God will spare you to come home and look after those (being the eldest Son) whom he has left. No more at present will write to you again.

Hope you will bear up and stick to your duty. God bless you.

Your loving Uncle Joe


Chris

Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Ulster Scots migration to America website

Just going through the Family History Website Directory provided with this month's Your Family Tree magazine, and have come across a website which might be of interest to those researching the migration of the Ulster Scots to America, or as they are known in the US, as the 'Scotch Irish'.

The website is www.1718migration.org.uk and concerns the mass migration from 1718 of Ulster Presbyterians, whose ancestors originated in Scotland. With some useful contributions from James McConnell, Linde Lunney, William Roulston and Colin Brooks, the site gives the backgound to the migration, some basic research sources to examine in Ulster, and information on what became of Ulster's lost sons to the new world.

For a general history on the constant migrations from Scotland to Ireland, I also have an article online called The Scots in Ireland which might be of interest, covering the history of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada, the galloglaigh (gallowglass) warriors from the Hebrides, the Ulster Plantations, migration to America and more.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Your Family Tree issue 71 now on sale

Issue 71 of Your Family Tree magazine is now on sale, with the usual goodies inside.

As well as articles on records of marriage, Christmas traders, heraldry, the Society of Genealogists (London), planning a family reunion, and Oliver Cromwell's cancellation of Christmas, yours truly has also contributed a couple of articles, the first an opinion piece on the rapidly changing world of Irish genealogy, the other an in depth and up-to-date guide on internet resources to research Irish ancestry online. In addition for those researching Irish ancestors, there is a region guide on the province of Leinster from Irish genealogist John Grenham, and the cover mounted CD has a sample from the 1846 Slater's directory for Dublin and Kilkenny, as well as the Army List for Boer War fighting ancestors from 1900. The magazine also comes with a free book, YFT's Family History Website Directory.

Your Family Tree is on sale from all festive newsagents everywhere for a credit crunch defying £4.99 - oh yes!

Chris

Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Friday, 7 November 2008

Federation of Family History Societies forum

The Federation of Family History Societies, the umbrella body for English and Welsh societies, has a new discussion forum online at www.ffhs.org.uk/forum/index.php . The site has just been created, but will no doubt soon take off, so well worth a visit if you have connections down south.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

New Ayrshire database online

A new website for those with Ayrshire ancestry has been up and running or the last few months at www.ayrshirepast.com. Whilst still embryonic, it promises to shape up into a useful database covering a wide range of records.

Well worth a look.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Scots graveyard in India to be restored

The Scotsman newwspaper has a fascinating story today concerning the attempts of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) to restore a decaying cemetery in Kolkata (Calcutta), the last resting place for hundreds of Scots in British colonial era India.

The full story is at A grave undertaking: Scots experts fly to India to restore famous cemetery .

Those who believe they may have relatives buried at Kolkata Scottish Cemetery can send inquiries to ajuler@simpsonandbrown.co.uk , and for further information see the RCAHMS website at www.rcahms.gov.uk , and the regular blog from the Kolkata team at scottishcemeterykolkata.wordpress.com .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

WW1 Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve records now online

The National Archives at Kew has released 40,000 service records online for sailors who served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, through its Documents Online service.

From the press release:

The Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) was formed from civilian volunteers enlisted to assist the navy from 1903. Formerly relying solely upon professional seamen from the merchant service and fishing fleets, the rapid expansion of the navy at the turn of the century forced it to look else elsewhere for recruits. The navy therefore opened its doors to men in civilian shore jobs for the first time.

Volunteers joining the RNVR agreed to serve ´either ashore or afloat´ when required, and consequently performed a wide range of duties. With the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, these volunteers were called upon and either drafted into ships of the fleet, or ordered - with reservists from the Royal Naval Reserve and the Royal Fleet Reserve - to join the Royal Naval Division who fought alongside the army.

Records are held for ratings (seamen who did not hold a commission) who joined between 1903 and 1919, and officers who signed up between 1914 and 1922.

The digitised documents (found in ADM 337) provide a range of information on each individual, including name, division, date of birth, former occupation, ships and units served in, and period of service. Other fascinating details for family historians are given, such as height, hair colour and eye colour, along with remarks about character and ability. In some cases a record may also reveal the person´s place of birth. The officers´ records include details of promotions, honours and awards from World War One.

The records can be found at Documents Online .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Heraldry talk at Keith this Saturday

A talk entitled "Simple Heraldry" is to be held at Keith Community Centre on Saturday 8th November 2008 at 2.15pm. The talk, organised by Banffshire Field Club, is illustrated and will be given by Gordon Casel. Visitors welcome.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Historical Scottish medical books to go on display

Books and other items from the library of the Royal College of Physicians, which dates back to 1682, are to go on public display in Edinburgh.

For more info, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7710455.stm .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

National Archives of Scotland loans items for British Library exhibition

The British Library in London has a new free exhibition running from 31 OCT 2008 to 1 MAR 2009 entitled Taking Liberties: the struggle for Britain’s freedoms and rights , which looks at the history of British democracy. Amongst the exhibits on display are four items loaned from the National Archives of Scotland.

These are (as stated on the NAS website):

1) Papal Bull of Honorius III, 'Filia Specialis', affirming the independence of the church in Scotland from any jurisdiction except that of Rome, dated 21 NOV 1218 (NAS reference RH5/3). It confirms a privilege granted to the Scottish church in 1192 by Pope Celestine III, effectively stating that neither the archbishoprics of York nor Canterbury could claim jurisdiction over its bishoprics as they were directly subject to the apostolic see.

2) ’The Ayr Manuscript’ (a volume containing transcripts of early Scottish laws etc), 14th century (ref PA5/2). The Ayr Manuscript features an act of parliament of 1318 which underlines the concern of king and parliament that law and justice be readily accessible to all.

3) A volume of statutes of Kings Robert III, James I and James III, 15th century (ref PA5/6). It includes a 1425 statute which enacted that if anyone could not afford an advocate to pursue his or her cause then the king shall provide one: an early expression of the principle of legal aid.

4) Articles of union between Scotland and England signed by Scottish and English Commissioners, 22 Jul 1706 (ref SP13/209). The Articles of Union are displayed as part of the theme of transition to modern times and the development of the centralised British state.

For more on the exhibition, visit www.bl.uk/takingliberties

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Interview with The Generations Network VP of legal

The Lawyer magazine has an online interview with Ruth Daniels, the vice president of legal for The Generations Network, the genealogical giant which owns Ancestry.co.uk. The article includes some interesting observations about the cultural differences across the world which TGN has to negotiate - for example, whilst in the UK and USA Ancestry has a ready market for DNA genealogy tests, they do not promote the product in France due to cultural sensitivities there about the procedure.

The interview is at www.thelawyer.com:80/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=135489

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Ancient clan seat gets half a million pound grant from Scottish Government

Dunvegan Castle, the ancient seat of Clan MacLeod on the Isle of Skye, has been awarded a grant of £594,188 from the Scottish Government for repairs - a far cry from the £19 million it is seeking to fund the castle's refurbishment. The clan's late chief, John MacLeod of MacLeod, caused a huge controversy when he placed the island's Cuillin mountain range up for sale to pay for the costs of renovation, though was unsuccessful in his bid.

For more on the story, visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/7706480.stm

Chris
www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Loch Leven Heritage Trail opens

A new heritage trail has opened around Kinrossshire's Loch Leven. Amongst the sites that can be visited are Loch Leven Caste, which once held Mary Queen of Scots as a prisoner.

For more information, visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/7706322.stm

Chris
www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Forgotten Voices of the Somme

Many years ago, the Imperial War Museum recorded on audio tape the memories of many veterans from the First World War. I remember in 1995 that one of my first jobs as a researcher for BBC Bristol was to listen to some of these for a development for a possible TV series based on a book by Richard Holmes (Riding the Retreat), and was both horrified and enthralled by what I heard. One account in particular stood out, concerning a German soldier talking about how he wished the Kaiser would be deposed, as the whole of Berlin was starving and on its knees. Powerful stuff.

For the last few years, a series of books placing transcriptions from these recordings together into a single narrative has been released, and I have just read the latest venture - Forgotten Voices of the Somme, compiled by Joshua Levine, with a foreword from Richard Holmes (Ebury Press 2008, ISBN978-0-09-192627-4). If you wish to hear about the absolute futility of war, then you can do so from those who were there at the greatest British tragedy of them all.

Also, just to flag up that the WW1 records of Ancestry.co.uk are now available for free, and will continue to be so for the whole of this month, and if you have not seen it, keep an eye out for the Timewatch programme on the last day of the war, with Michael Palin, which was on last night but which can still be viewed on the BBC iPlayer - see www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving