Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Scotland's comainn eachdraidh

The family history society movement in Scotland has an umbrella body in the form of SAFHS (, which has its next annual conference on Saturday April 17th in West Lothian (see website for details).

I'm conscious that the islands only get a look in occasionally, and I'm keen to try to share their news as much as that over here! What many may not realise is that family history is as much a thriving concern in the Western Isles as it is elsewhere, but that whereas family history societies tend to be in ascendancy on the mainland, on the islands, and in some western communities, historical associations, or 'comainn eachdraidh' as they are mainly known in Gaelic, fulfil the same role.

If you have ancestors from the isles or the west coast, the following are details of many of their websites:

Comann Eachdraidh Barabhais agus Bhrù
(Baravas and Bru, Lewis)

Comann Eachdraidh Nis
(Ness, Lewis)

Comann Eachdraidh na Pairc
(Pairc, Lewis)

Comann Eachdraidh an Taobh Siar
(West Side, Lewis)

Comann Eachdraidh Uig
(Uig, Isle of Lewis)

North Tolsta Historical Association
(North Tolsta, Lewis)

Comann Eachdraidh Muideart

Comann Eachdraidh Lios Mor

Comann Eachdraidh Bharraidh agus Bhatarsaidh
(Barra and Vatersay)

Comann Eachdraidh Bhearnaraigh

Comann Eachdraidh Bheinn na Foghla

Comann Eachdraidh Eige
(Isle of Eigg)

Comann Eachdraidh Ghleann Lìomhann

Comann Eachdraidh Loch Ròg an Ear
(East Loch Roag)

Comann Eachdraidh Shlèite
(Sleat, Skye)

Elgol and Torrin Historical Society

(Elgol and Torrin, Skye)

Comann Eachdraidh Lios Mòr

If I've missed any out, please let me know and I'll update accordingly!

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Peter Munro said...

These are useful links, however the SAFHS AGM was held on 20th March in Edinburgh.

The annual SAFHS conference is on Saturday, 17th April 2010 and will take place at Howden Park Centre, Livingston, EH54 6AE. This year, it’s been organised by West Lothian Family History Society, and the theme is Paupers, Physicians and Paraffinalia - 150 years of social history in West Lothian.

Their exciting programme comprises:
Dr Irene O'Brien, Senior Archivist, Glasgow City Council - Scottish Poor Law: Painting the local picture in West Lothian.
Dr Morrice Macrae, Royal College of Physicians - James Young Simpson and his world.
Professor Michael L Hitchman, Strathclyde University - Social aspects of the Paraffin industry in Scotland.
Elizabeth Henderson, Museums Development Officer, West Lothian Council - Banners and Benefits: Friendly Societies in West Lothian.

There’s also a family and local history fair with stands from most of the Scottish family history societies, as well as other organisations. The fair is free to attend, and the conference costs just £10 to attend (excluding lunch), and from my experience of past conferences, that’s well worth it. More details on their website,

Chris Paton said...

Thanks Peter, sorry, that was a slip - I'll amend it to conference!


Alison said...

There's a list of the Comainn Eachdraidh at

Chris Paton said...

A huge apology to Alison, who has just got in touch - I inadvertently pressed 'reject' rather than 'publish' - sorry!

Alison has been in touch to say that a list of the comainn eachdraidh is available on the Sabhal Mor Ostaig hosted site at

There are several more groups than in my list, though only a handful with weblinks accessible from the site, and other links for groups such as Comann Dualchais Srath Narunn.

The site is written in Gaelic, but basically groups the links into Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles), Eile (Others), and Taighean tasgaidh agus tasglannan (museums and archives).

Thanks Alison, a very useful link!


Chris Paton said...

Oh wow - it did publish after all! This has been a strange day...! lol :)