Thursday, 12 March 2009

Burns Monument Centre media launch

I had an interesting time this morning at a media launch for the new Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, which has been built in the aftermath of a serious fire that seriously damaged the town's memorial to Robert Burns in 2004.

Now beautifully restored, to the tune of £5 million, it has been enhanced as a purpose built facility to house the local registrar's office, a conference room, a venue for civil weddings and ceremonies, and of course the local archive and family history centre. Within the centre there will be free access to OPR records for Ayrshire, newspapers, poor relief records, documents and photographs, burial records and more.

A feature advertised on the website is however, apparently not going to be available after all - access to DIGROS, the records system formerly used at the GROS in Edinburgh, through which access can be gained to pre-1855 OPR records and civil registration records to the present day. Instead, users can purchase 100 credits for £10 for the ScotlandsPeople website (roughly about half the cost you would pay at home), and top ups thereafter as required. This will I am sure be adequate for those starting off on their family history research, and all is not lost, as this is intended to be a temporary measure. The site is hoping to be the first in Scotland to gain access to the new private network version of the new computer system that has just been installed at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh. My understanding is that when this happens, hopefully by June, users will then be able to pay out a flat fee of £15 for a day's access, which definitely beats a two hour trip to Edinburgh each way!

The centre will be open as of next Monday, 16th March, from 9.15am to 4.45pm each day except Friday, when it will close an hour earlier at 3.45pm. A new website outlining the centre's facilities is available at

A very welcome development for anybody researching their family history in Ayrshire!

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

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