Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Are Scottish censuses coming to FamilySearch?

Thanks to genealogist Emma Jolly for providing a link to a collection of records scheduled to be made available on the new FamilySearch website for free in the future. The collection is dominated by English and Welsh collections, but there is one Scottish collection noted - Scotland 1841-1891 Censuses (FamilySearch Collection).

Clicking on the link provides a descriptor page, much of which has clearly been cut and pasted from the equivalent description records for England and Wales, as the Scottish census records are not held at Kew as stated, but in Edinburgh. Is FamilySearch doing what Ancestry did and indexing the records, or is this a mistake? The top of the page states 'This article describes a collection of historical records that is scheduled to become available for free online at FamilySearch'.

Time will tell...!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Monday, 30 August 2010

Updated databases from Perth and Kinross Archives

Perth and Kinross Archives have announced that its online databases for Perth burials 1794-1855 and for Threipland's People have both been updated today.

For more on the databases, and the archive's other online resources, see www.pkc.gov.uk/Education+and+learning/Libraries+archives+and+learning+centres/Archives/Archive+collections/Topics+online/

(With thanks to the archive's announcement on Twitter)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Call for speakers at Toronto Scottish family history workshop

So after a few months of discussions it is all now well and truly official - I will be travelling to Toronto in June 2011 to give three talks at a Scottish Family History workshop, having been very kindly invited to attend by the Toronto branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and the Canadian Department of the North York Central Library. Very much looking forward to it!

If the idea of my droning on in a weird mixed up Northern Irish and Scottish dialect for three hours is too much, there is a healthy option - can you also give a talk?! If so, the society wants to hear from you!! The day is intended to be packed with other talks also, and as such, the society is now issuing a call for local speakers who may also be interested to attend:

Scottish Family History Workshop
June 18, 2011
North York Central Library Auditorium
5120 Yonge Street, Toronto

The Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto Branch and the Canadiana Department of the North York Central Library will be co-hosting a one-day workshop on Scottish Family History. The principal speaker will be Chris Paton from Scotland who will give presentations on the Scottish church, Scottish land records/house history and the use of guild records (specifically the handloom weaving industry in Perth). We are looking for other speakers who would like to be part of the workshop.

Workshop attendees will be most interested in presentations emphasizing sources and research techniques that might be useful in their own research. We are looking for both very focused, and more general presentations at the intermediate and advanced levels. Topics and case studies should relate to Scotland, not the Scottish diaspora.

Full-length Presentations

We are seeking presentations on topics related to Scottish genealogy. Some suggestions are:

online resources, poor law records, education records, migration to and within Scotland, Scottish repositories– or a topic of your choice with relevance to Scottish family history.

Each session will be one hour long, including five or ten minutes for questions. Presentations should be illustrated—we can provide a computer and computer projector. Speakers will also be expected to provide a handout of supporting material (up to four pages).

Short Presentations - Case Studies

We are also seeking presentations of case studies. Each case study session will be 20 to 30 minutes long. Speakers will be expected to provide a page or two of supporting material. Speakers giving full-length presentations will be paid an honorarium of $100 per session, plus modest expenses. Those presenting case studies will receive $35. All speakers will be granted free attendance at the workshop.

Please submit your lecture and case study proposals by e-mail. Please keep them brief and informal, at this point. (We may ask for more details later.) Be sure to include your mailing address, phone number, and a brief bio.

DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS: Monday, November 1, 2010

For more information about the Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto Branch, please see: www.torontofamilyhistory.org.

To submit proposals or to ask a question about the event, please contact Linda Reid at reidlinda@rogers.com


The last time I was in Canada was in 1999, where I attended the Halifax 250 celebrations in Nova Scotia for an STV documentary I was working on (I was on board the star attraction of the event, the British man o' war HMR Rose, filming and at one point helping to haul up the anchor!). I managed to get out to Quebec also, but only managed to fly in and out of Toronto on a connection flight from the States, so I'm very much looking forward to the real deal this time, and to see the city properly - and to hopefully help provide some insight into a few of our records here in Scotland!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Friends of Perth and Kinross Archives newsletter

Jan Merchant from Perth and Kinross Archives tweeted earlier that she was preparing the next edition of the archive's Friends periodical, but also mentioned that the last edition from April is online at www.pkc.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/BA8D276E-C028-4B08-B596-690DA11B38D6/0/Newsletter282PROOF7.pdf

The magazine includes two articles on King James VI Hospital in Perth, one on its origins by David Wilson, the other on the hospital's role as a feudal superior in the 19th century by yours truly (based on a university study I did in 2008), as well as a piece by Jan on the William of Lion Charter of 1210 (it's Perth's 800th annversary as a burgh), and a hunt for a weather vane in Dunning by Jim Gale!

The new issue will be out soon...


(With thanks to Jan Merchant)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

National Library of Scotland news

From the National Library of Scotland:

Battlefield plan of Culloden at Inverness Library
13-15 September


The battlefield plan of Culloden, dating from 1748, will be on display at the NLS roadshow in Inverness. Unique collection items will be on display and NLS staff will be on hand to answer questions at Inverness Library from 9 am each day. A programme of events, including talks on family history resources, Highland maps and information on remote access to NLS collections will be rounded off with an evening film screening of rare footage from the Scottish Screen Archive.


Treasures display: 450 years of the Scottish Reformation
1 September - 31 October, George IV Bridge building, Edinburgh

To commemorate one of the most important events in Scottish history, the Scottish Reformation, NLS will be displaying related material in the Treasures Display area throughout September and October. In August 1560, the Scottish Parliament approved the Scots Confession of Faith and passed three Acts: the jurisdiction of the Pope was thereby abolished and the church was re-established along Reformed lines. John Knox was the key figure in this development.

Unique and rare items on display include Lutheran tracts, prayer books, works by Knox and his Catholic critics, and much more.


New home for the Maps Reading Room
Causewayside building, Edinburgh


The Maps Reading Room is moving to street level and will be closed from Saturday 18 to Monday 20 September. It will re-open on Tuesday 21 September in the same building but with the new entrance around the corner at 159 Causewayside. There will be some disruption from mid-August as we prepare for the move and we apologise for any inconvenience this will cause but we hope that you will come and visit us in our new home.


Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

PRONI closed on August 30th

PRONI in Belfast (www.proni.gov.uk) is advising that it will not be opened on 30th August due to a Bank Holiday. You have been warned! :)

(With thanks to Gavin McMahon)

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Glasgow Post Office directories online

The Internet Archive at www.archive.org now hosts digitsied copies of the Post Office Glasgow Directories from 1809-10, 1815, and 1818-28. To find them use the following search terms:

1809: glasgowdirectory1809glas
1810: glasgowdirectory1810glas
1815: glasgowdirectory1815glas
1818: glasgowdirectory1818glas
etc

(With thanks to Ronnie Scott of the Strathclyde Genealogy Survivors Group)

The 1863-64 directory is also online through Google Books at http://tinyurl.com/2g48v72 and 1866-67 at http://tinyurl.com/2cqc693 . The first directory, Nathaniel Jones edition from 1787 can be viewed at www.glasgowstories.com, whilst a later directory from 1927 can be browsed at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~glasgow/index-glas.htm

And if anyone wants a look up from the 1966 edition give me a shout - it's taking up half a bleedin' shelf here! :)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Angus Archives turns 21

From TayRoots:

This year’s Angus and Dundee Roots Festival will include a very special occasion – the 21st anniversary of the establishment of the Angus Archives, home to 800 years of documentation relating to the people and places of Angus.

The Angus Archives came into existence at the start of October, 1989, with the appointment of Fiona Scharlau to the newly-created post of Angus Council archivist. “Up until then, collections of irreplaceable historical documentation were kept in libraries, museums and council offices across Angus,” said Fiona. “My job was - and still is - to collect, catalogue, preserve and make available the written and photographic heritage of the county, which covers everything on paper about Angus or anyone from Angus.”

Fiona - who is now Angus Council’s senior archivist and works with the archive team at the Angus Archives - explained that, having initially been based in an office at Montrose Library, so many documents and photographs had soon been gathered together, the Angus Archives required their own premises. “Several years earlier, the Graham Hunter Foundation had built a private library in the grounds of Restenneth Priory to house the collections of Graham Hunter, a wealthy New York historian and genealogist whose ancestors had owned land in Restenneth in the 1690s.

“Angus Council was offered the chance to use this building for the Angus Archives so we moved our collections into this self-contained, purpose-built library, making them available to anyone interested.”

Fiona mentioned that another significant development over the last 21 years has been the introduction of a first class IT system which, after the laborious task of cataloguing every item was completed, has made it considerably easier to access the documents held by the Angus Archives. “For example, with the 100th anniversary of the Forfar Baths fast approaching, I’ve had a few requests for information about the swimming pool’s early days. Not so long ago, this would have involved spending days going through our collections but now the information is available at the touch of a button.”

To celebrate 21 years of the Angus Archives, a party is being held at the Angus Archives at Restenneth, just outside Forfar, on Monday, September 27. “We have great plans for our birthday bash,” said Fiona. “As well as free Deceased Online taster sessions - and birthday cake, fizz, tea and coffee – members of the archive team will be digging out 21 of their favourite treasures from the Angus Archives collections.

“At the moment, we’re mulling over which items should be featured but three possibles are the £5 note a Brechin schoolboy never spent, the ‘Hairy’ Books and the medieval Arbroath Abbey books, which were written by the monks before the reformation.”

One item which will definitely be on display at the Angus Archives Birthday Bash is a photo album and typed account of a horse-drawn caravan holiday from Forfar to Deeside in the 1930s. “This wonderful memento of a family holiday was donated to us by the actress Thora Hird, whose husband, James Scott, was from Forfar,” explained Fiona. “His father wrote the account of the holiday and also took the charming pictures, which provide a wonderful glimpse of days gone by.”

The Angus Archives 21st Birthday Bash is on Monday, September 27, from 10am until 4pm, and entry is free. To find out about other ancestral and local history events taking place during the Angus & Dundee Roots Festival, which runs from September 23 until September 27, the programme is now available in libraries, Access offices, museums, tourist information centres and visitor attractions across Angus and Dundee, and also online at
www.tayroots.com.

Comment - I spent a great afternoon at the archive last year where Nick Barratt and I were given a tour following a Deceased Online launch at Glamis Castle (see this blog post). It's a beautiful archive, a real gem - and make sure you pop down to the old medieval priory behind it if you're going along!

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Moray Heritage Connections survey

I've just picked up from Aberdeen and North East Scotland FHS's Facebook page that Moray Heritage Connections is carrying out a survey and needs help from those doing genealogical research in the region.

From its site:

Moray Heritage Connections is a network of local heritage groups and museums that aims to promote the culture and heritage of Moray. We are currently looking at how we might improve the services we provide for people researching family history and local history in Moray. As part of this process, we need to build as clear a picture as possible of the needs and views of family history and local history researchers.

If you are undertaking/have recently undertaken family history or local history research in Moray, please take a few minutes to complete this survey - as a thank-you, we have three prizes of a local archival print to give away. (Choice of print from Moray Council’s Local Heritage Collections to be made by winner.) Just fill in your name and contact details at the end of the form, and you will be entered into a free draw. The draw will be made on Monday 13th September 2010, and winners will be notified by Friday 17th September 2010.


To fill in the survey visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/73GTT5D

(With thanks to ANESFHS)

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Heraldry - more from the silly season

Following yesterday's story of the attempts by Willi Sturzenegger to be recognised as territorial Earl of Arran, comes news of another story where the money/sense ratio may well be called into question for those interested. For a quarter of a million pounds you can now buy the earldom of Wigtown. Except as things stand you'll be treated as a baron, because it's not really a peerage earldom, and you won't get the frilly bits on your coat of arms that you want and ... (oh, check out yesterday's post, I'm not going through all that again! lol).

The full story is in the Herald (seriously, still not a pun!) at www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/last-feudal-earldom-on-sale-for-250-000-1.1050386

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

New website for Your Family Tree magazine

I'm been a regular contributor to Future Publications' Your Family Tree magazine (styled as Your Family History overseas) for a few years now, so more than delighted to share news that the magazine has substantially revamped its online website which has now gone live today.




Here's the news from the head yin himself, Tom Dennis:

Whether you’re a seasoned genealogist or coming to family history for the first time, you’ll find a wealth of research tools, tips and resources to help make your search as productive and rewarding as possible at the all-new www.yourfamilytreemag.co.uk.

As well as news, events and opinion the new Getting Started section is packed with a range of explanations, tips and techniques for taking the first steps in tracing your family tree.

Within the Research Tips page we’ll bring you advice and ideas for taking your research further – whether it’s how to unearth a story about an ancestor, or how to overcome common brick walls.

We’ve been working incredibly hard to bring you this exciting new online facility, which is intended to act as a central hub for all of your family history needs – but please do keep in contact with us, either through the new comments facility at the foot of each post, or through our Meet the Team page. We’d love to hear your feedback and ideas on how to make this website, and the magazine, even better!

Thanks, and happy researching!

Tom Dennis, Editor

The magazine's forum is one of the most dynamic in the UK (it's up there with Rootschat and ScotFamTree in my book!) and readers and staff regularly interact with each other using it. If you are looking advice on all matters genealogical, pop along - you never know, your story might even be spotted as good article material! The new site also has past case study examples, latest genealogical news, a new blog and more. Register on the site for free and you can join in the fun at the forum and also make comments on posts.

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

More money than sense?

I'm a great fan of the Muppets TV series. Clearly muppets do not exist, but I do become awfully excited when real life episodes of one of telly's greatest shows appear to unfurl before my very eyes.

Swiss millionaire Willi Ernst Sturzenegger has appealed to the Court of Session to be formally recognised with the "territorial dignity" of the Earl of Arran (and indeed currently styles himself as the "Feudal Earl of Arran") having had the request turned down by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. He paid a quarter of a million pounds for it in 1995, so clearly you can see where he is coming from. Amongst those apparently intrigued by the request is the err... Earl of Arran, who is also the Duke of Hamilton, though he has a "peerage earldom" which is different to a feudal or "territorial earldom" - bear with me!

Willi owns a few thousand acres on Arran, including Lochranza Castle, which in feudal terms is what was known as the 'caput'. Territorial dignities were tied to caputs, so if you owned the land, you owned the title. However the current Lord Lyon, David Sellars, in making his judgment is firmly of the opinion that the land in question was nothing more than a glorified barony really, a bit lower down the pecking order, and is not minded to grant the request - "I... do not accept that it follows from the recognition of a feudal baron, or one possessed of the dignity of a former feudal barony, as “Baron of X”, that the person in possession of a “territorial earldom” stemming from the erection by the Crown of lands into a free earldom, should be recognised as an “Earl” or “Countess”, 'feudal' or otherwise." Indeed. However, he has allowed leave for the decision to be challenged as it "raises a question or questions of law". The Court of session appeal will apparently be held later this year, according to a news story on the case in today's Herald (sorry, not a pun, that's a newspaper, and not an arm of the Court of the Lord Lyon!).

The decision is a fascinating read, providing a real insight into the work of the Court of the Lord Lyon, and is available online at www.lyon-court.com/lordlyon/files/WES%20Note.pdf.

Incidentally, there is no truth to the rumour that a new Toblerone bar in the shape of Arran's Goat Fell mountain is soon to be issued in honour of the feudal dual... and I believe there will be no requirement to call Willi "m'lud", if successful or otherwise.

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

British Library shares millions of catalogue entries

From the British Library:

The British Library is to make its extensive collections of bibliographic records available for free to researchers and other libraries: www.bl.uk/bibliographic/datafree.html

The UK national library has around 14 million catalogue records comprising a wealth of bibliographic data. The initiative announced today will help expose this vast dataset to users worldwide, allowing researchers and other libraries to access and retrieve bibliographic records for publications dating back centuries and relating to every conceivable subject area.

The new free service will operate in parallel to the British Library's priced bulk MARC data supply activity which is used extensively by large commercial customers.

“By making the British Library’s bibliographic data available in new ways for wider, non-commercial use we want to encourage users beyond the traditional library world to explore and use this important international resource,” said Neil Wilson, the British Library’s Head of Metadata Services. “For libraries, free access to these records will help reduce the effort involved in cataloguing their holdings. For the wider research community, they are a valuable source of data to help advance knowledge.”

In some instances researchers may use the Library’s records for purposes very different from those for which they were originally created. The Library recently provided the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) with some eight million bibliographic records – allowing the IPO to conduct research into publishing trends dating as far back as 1650, and to plot these patterns against the course of changes in IP legislation.

“We believe this vast dataset of bibliographic records – created and compiled by the British Library over many decades – has a range of applications far beyond its original purpose, its going to be exciting to find out the new uses that organisations and individuals can make of this data” added Neil Wilson. “As developments such as the semantic web create new and more effective opportunities for researchers to find, manipulate and link information, the availability of good quality data from a trusted source such as the British Library will become increasingly important.”

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Hitler's DNA - so what?

Everyone is getting awfully excited that Hitler's DNA may link him to both Jewish and black ancestry, as noted on Dick Eastman's blog here. Note the use of the word 'may'. I've also just read an article linked to by Debbie Kennett on her Twitter post here showing the completely unethical way that the samples used to gather Hitler's DNA was performed, by relatives being trailed for days at a time in order to gather up litter containing DNA fragments etc.

I think a big picture moment is called for here. Hitler may have had Jewish or black ancestry, he may have even been related to the Muppets or the Moomins. So what? The crucial thing is that he was the nasty git responsible for the Holocaust, not his relatives, and if the Christians are right we're all descended from Adam anyway!

The use of DNA can be important genealogically for many reasons. But I have to question whether the creation of salacious bubblegum news stories is really one of them?

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Monday, 23 August 2010

Doors Open Day at Lanarkshire FHS

From Lanarkshire Family History Society, another forthcoming Doors Open Day event:

Lanarkshire Family History Society will be opening the doors of our Motherwell Resource Centre. Members of the public are welcome to visit.

This is an ideal opportunity to find out how to get started and what material we have to assist you. The Resource Centre is at 47 Crosshill Street, Motherwell, ML1 1RU.

Come along on 11th or 12th September and speak to members of our society who will show you around the centre and also give you advice. Tea and Coffee will be available.

Saturday 10:00am - 4:00pm and Sunday 1:00pm - 4:00pm

You will be made most welcome.

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Doors Open Day at ScotlandsPeople Centre

The ScotlandsPeople Centre has made an announcement about its prospective involvement in the forthcoming Doors Open Day in Edinburgh:

Doors Open Day 2010
Edinburgh's next 'doors open day' will fall on Saturday 25 September 2010. Members of the public will be welcomed into the Centre for taster sessions, talks on Scottish family history, and will be given the opportunity to browse the family histories of some Famous Scots.

A full program of the day's events will be published nearer the time.

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Card payment problems continue at ScotlandsPeople Centre

I reported last week that the ScotlandsPeople Centre was temporarily unable to take credit card payments, a situation which it hoped would be resolved by today. The centre has now provided a further update on the situation:

Sadly our tills in the ScotlandsPeople Centre, including the cafe, are still unable to accept credit/debit card payments and this problem is expected to last to Friday 27 August.

As an interim measure, it is possible to go to the NAS counter, which is adjacent to the shop in General Register House and make a payment there. You get a manual receipt which you take to the ScotlandsPeople staff who then process the transaction.

The centre has again apologised for any inconvenience caused, and has reiterated that it can take cash payments.

(With thanks to Dee Williams)

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The pure sound of Scotland...

Now my complete disrespect for the shortbread tin Sir Walter Scottish / Bonnie Prince Charlie on his Shetland pony Lavender image of Scottish culture is possibly approaching the legendary in the lengths and depths to which it stretches and sinks, and I've often commented on all things tartan and bubblegum that go with it on this blog and elsewhere. Fortunately researching Scottish family history allows you to bypass all such nonsense (and for the uninitiated, "what tartan am I entitled to wear?" is not a very useful or wise opening line when asking a Scottish genealogist to look into your family tree! lol)

I'm not against tartan per say, only the nonsense about how each tartan historically represents a clan etc. And once you get away from "Scotland the Brave" and all other such mince, the bagpipe to me is one of the most beautiful sounds around when you get into the real Scottish folk music.

However, once in a while, the perfect synergy of all that is Scottish does manifest itself in the most perfect form. And lo and behold, that can involve tartan, kilts, bagpipes the works and be the most genuine sound you will ever hear, enough to turn Sir Wally Scott and Robert Burns around in their graves...!

There's not a lot happening news wise today, so ladies and gentlemen, I present for your viewing and audible pleasure the very essence of the Caledonian soul...

Yup, its the Hokey Cokey on the piobarachd! :)



Now that's what I call music: Alba!

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Edinburgh born WDYTYA man's Nazi grandfather

Edinburgh born Martin Davidson, the commissioning editor of the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are, will be at the Edinburgh Book Festival on Thursday to discuss his new book "The Perfect Nazi", which uncovers the story of his grandfather Bruno Langbehn. Langbehn was a German immigrant to Scotland who it transpires had a much more sinister past - a career member of the SS who worked for Reinhard Heydrich, one of the principal ideologues for the Nazi Holocaust.

The Herald has the full story a www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/bbc-history-man-uncovers-nazi-past-of-his-grandfather-1.1049723.

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Saturday, 21 August 2010

ScotFamTree AGM - the video

A short video produced by Tommy Crocket at the ScotFamTree AGM yesterday (Friday):



The ScotFamTree video channel at www.livestream.com/scotlandsfamilytreechannel has plenty of other videos of Scottish genealogical interest!

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Friday, 20 August 2010

So much owed to so Few...

Today is the 70th anniversary of the day on which Winston Churchill gave his historic speech to Parliament in praise of the Few.

The Battle of Britain was our defensive line in the sand during the Second World War. Armchair generals will argue that it was perhaps not the most important campaign of the war, but if it had been lost, it may well have been our last campaign of the war. For me personally, that more than makes it the most important.

I've had the privilege to meet and speak with many members of the Few in the past - Iain Hutchinson, Bob Doe, Ludwik Martel, Gordon Batt, and others. To all of them, and to all of their colleagues in Fighter Command, Bomber Command, the British Army, the Home Guard, the Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy, our civil defence forces and all those who stood firm, there is only one thing that people can say and perhaps don't say often enough.


Thank you.

The full text of Churchill's speech, given in the House of Commons on August 20th 1940, can be read at www.fiftiesweb.com/usa/winston-churchill-so-few.htm.

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Enjoyable day at SFT forum annual meeting

I spent an enjoyable day today at Dumbarton's Burgh Halls today at the ScotFamTree forum's annual gathering, well attended with members coming from across Scotland, and as far afield as Canada and California.

Following a brief introduction from Alex Airlie, the first talk given was by forum member Evelyn on some of the ills that befell children in times of old - including cases of infanticide, baby farming and all sorts. A real attention grabbing presentation, and only a brief cameo from a dancing banana! (A feature of last year's meeting!)

After lunch there was another fascinating talk by forum member Bitza, about the role of chid labour in Scottish mines and the ordeals went through, as well as those of their mothers ands fathers - all of them the unspoken heroes of the Industrial Revolution. Bottom line, no coal, no steam!


As well as extraordinary tales of women being forced to give births in the mines and then sent straight back to work, Bitza also mentioned that three generations of her mining ancestors had all died in their fifties. It reminded me of something I've found in the past when tracing descendants of mining ancestors, concerning causes of death. In several cases I have found miners dying from bronchitis, but even when their own children did not follow them down the mines, I've often found that their cause of death was bronchitis also. It could be a coincidence, but I did wonder whether there was an epigenetic factor involved in that?

For those unaware of epigenetics, it is a fairly recent field of science that has identified how an environment can actually impede on your genes, and how this can be passed on to the next generation - the classic nature versus nurture debate. An example often quoted involves the Second World War - there was a famine in Holland under Nazi occupation, and many pregnant women gave birth to malnourished children, who were as a consequence born smaller than they should have been etc. Yet when those children grew up, and they had children of their own, those babies were also born smaller than the average, even when well nourished. Somehow the event had been passed on genetically. It could be nothing to do with that - my "ology" is genealogy, not biology! - but it did make me wonder (comments more than welcome!).

The last talk was given by Tommy Crockett, who discused the new Robert the Bruce Heritage Centre in Renton, where the Bruce spent the last three years of his life at Pillansflatt. Amazingly, there was nothing in Renton to commemorate his last days there, and hence the new centre, housed in the old station building, which was donated by ScotRail, and which opened in March 2010. After the talk we all piled into cars to pop around for a visit. It is a small centre, but has some interesting artefacts and paintings depicting his life story. Luckily for us the Bruce was also there, so we were all on our best behaviour! It is open from Mondays to Fridays 12 noon - 4.00pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon - 5.00pm. Admission is free, and there's plenty of parking (see www.robertthebruceheritagecentre.co.uk).

An enjoyable day, and the fact that I won a bottle of red wine, two books and two bars of tablet in the raffle will see me returning next year! For more on the excellent ScotFamTree forum, visit http://scotfamtree.11.forumer.com. Keep up the good work folks!





The heritage centre in Renton, the Bruce, and newly crowned SFT queen Evelyn!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Electric Scotland catalogues Scottish History Society volumes

New book additions to the Electric Scotland website (www.electricscotland.com) this week include:

Annals of the Scottish Widows Fund Life Assurance Society
The Railways of Scotland
Rosslyn Castle and Chapel

The site is also making available some articles from the Scottish Notes and Queries publication at www.electricscotland.com/history/newspapers/notes, and has also catalogued some 50 PDF volumes of the Scottish History Society, as located on the Internet Archives which includes various commissariot records from across Scotland - see www.electricscotland.com/history/records/index.htm.

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

National Gaelic Gazetteer launched

A new national Gaelic place-names gazetteer has been launched onlined entitled Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba (AÀA) - Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland. From the site:

The National Gazetteer is a database freely available to the public. It will provide a single source of authoritative information on Gaelic forms of place-names, including the research by which names have been determined, links to bibliographical information and a six figure grid reference which links to a map to locate each name. At present there are 1,000 entries covering places throughout . Work will continue to add further research and sound files to assist with pronunciation, and to expand the number of entries.

The gazetteer is funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and will form part of the corpus of reliable Gaelic resources envisioned in the National Plan for Gaelic.


The site provides correct spelling, brief history of usage and pronunciation guides for individual placenames, but advises that the database is still in its early stages. The partners in the AÀA projects are:

• Argyll and Bute Council
• Bòrd na Gàidhlig
• Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
• Comunn na Gàidhlig
• Highlands and Islands Enterprise
• Ordnance Survey
• Scottish Natural Heritage
• Scottish Place-Name Society
• The Highland Council
• The Scottish Government
• The Scottish Parliament
• UHI Millennium Institute

The project employs two full time members of staff one based at the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig college on Skye, the other in Edinburgh.

To access the gazetteer visit www.ainmean-aite.org. For those using the Scottish GENES toolbar (see above), I have placed it under Maps, Gazetteers and Land History menu. For an Irish Gaelic (Gaeilge) equivalent visit www.logainm.ie.

(With thanks to genealogist Sheena Tait via
Twitter)

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Guest post - A Jolly time of it...

I was recently asked to do a guest post for Ancestry, and thought to myself, hey, I can nab that idea for here! So from time to time I am going to invite people to make a guest contribution to this humble blog - you're probably fed up with my blethering as it is! To get things underway, here's a contribution from a fellow genealogist in London, Emma Jolly. Emma knows more about Indian research than the Indian subcontinent does, but here she discusses the hunt for her very own Scottish heritage - and the elusive Jolly surname!


The JOLLY family in Scotland

I have been tracing my JOLLY ancestors for a number of years. As a London-based genealogist it is exciting to research family from afar and use different records and databases. ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) is essential for someone like me, but some research still needs to be done in the local area. Sadly, this can prove expensive in terms of travel. In 2007 I was lucky enough to make an ancestral pilgrimage to the grave of my 4x great-grandfather, William Jolly, and to explore the former county of Kincardineshire that my forebears called home. Since then I have been in touch with several distant cousins via GenesReunited (www.genesreunited.com) and Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) as we try to piece together various gaps in our family’s past and exchange photos from our respective branches. Those based in Scotland have been of particular help to their exiled cousin!

The name JOLLY comes from a nickname meaning ‘jolly’ or ‘cheerful’. There have been other suggestions for its meaning but this is by far the most widely approved interpretation. As a result, the name is not obviously connected with a particular place or area of Britain. It may be, however, that it was only given as a surname by speakers of certain dialects or in specific areas.

Consequently, I have little idea why the name appears in some areas more than in others. It may be that the large concentrations of JOLLYs are produced by shared family origins in the given region.

In England, JOLLYs tend to have been concentrated in central Lancashire, East Anglia, London, the South coast and Cornwall – all areas near the coast. There are JOLLYs in Ireland, but like many with Scottish name, they may have originated in Scotland. In 19th century Scotland almost all Scottish-born JOLLYs were based in the modern Aberdeen Angus region – again, on the coast.

I am able to link my earliest JOLLYs to Glenbervie in the Howe of the Mearns in Aberdeenshire. My last Scottish-born ancestor began life in Montrose, Angus (then Forfarshire) but grew up in Benholm and Fordoun. Many of my relatives were baptised at the amazing St Cyrus Kirk, perched just above the sea. So, could the JOLLYs have been sailors?

There has been a suggestion that due to the ‘Auld Alliance’, the Scottish JOLLYs sailed from France, thus implying I am more ‘jolie’ pretty than ‘jolly’ ha-ha. Or, perhaps they simply sailed up from East Anglia. Either way, they seem to have appeared in Scotland mostly from the 17th and 18th centuries: in the OPRs on Scotlandspeople there are few records of JOLLYs in Scotland between 1538 and 1699. From 1700 to 1725 there were only 41 JOLLY baptisms in Scotland and 6 in Kincardineshire. But this could be the result of poor survival of records from certain areas – a number of my ancestors are unrecorded in the OPR baptisms.

So, the following questions remain:

• Where did the Scottish JOLLYs come from?

• Are all JOLLYs in Scotland connected?

If you have JOLLYs in your Scottish family tree, I would be very interested to hear about their origins!



Pics: William Jolly's grave in Benholm Church

Emma Jolly runs the London based Genealogic research service (www.genealogic.co.uk), with her particular interests in London and Indian based research. In 2008 she was awarded Your Family Tree magazine's Beginner Book of the Year Award for her first book, Family History for Kids, and is a regular writer for several publications, including Discover my Past England, Family Tree Magazine and the Genealogists' Magazine.

Digging for Britain - BBC2

Derry based 360 Production presents a new archaeological series, Digging For Britain, starting tonight, Thursday 19th August 2010, on BBC2. Here's the blurb:

Great Britain might be a small country but it has a huge history. Everywhere you stand, there are worlds beneath your feet – and every year hundreds of excavations bring lost treasures to the surface.

These amazing historical excavations are the subject of Digging For Britain, a landmark four-part history series for BBC Two produced by Derry-based 360 Production.

Presented by Dr Alice Roberts, Digging For Britain reveals some of the newest finds, research and social history: from excavating the new temple near Skara Brae to preparations for the first sailing of a Bronze Age ship; from uncovering new truths about the richest ever find of Anglo-Saxon treasure to uncovering Shakespeare’s first theatre.

Lots of archaeology, and one of telly's few remaining prized assets - Alice Roberts! I directed Alice for a feature on the BBC's Coast a few years back, launching a ship on the Clyde, and a more fun and professional presenter I never met. So I'm expecting this will turn out to be a great series - even if they find nothing! lol


Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)


Free access to English and Welsh poor law records

The National Archives in England has made available online several records of mid 19th century poor law unions and workhouses (poorhouses) correspondence which may help if you have an English or Welsh connection. Some, such as those from Berwick upon Tweed, may be particularly of interest to those in the Borders. The records are being made available for free through Documents Online as a result of a partnership with volunteers across the country.

The full list is:

Axminster Poor Law Union, Devon and Dorset, 1834- 1848
Basford Poor Law Union, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, 1834- 1845
Berwick upon Tweed Poor Law Union, Northumberland, 1834- 1852
Bishop’s Stortford Poor Law, Union Hertfordshire and Essex, 1834- 1852
Blything Poor Law Union, Suffolk, 1834-1840
Bromsgrove Poor Law Union, Worcestershire, 1834-1842
Cardiff Poor Law Union, Glamorganshire, 1834- 1853
Clutton Poor Law Union, Somerset, 1834- 1853
Keighley Poor Law Union, Yorkshire West Riding, 1834- 1855
Kidderminster Poor Law Union, Worcestershire, 1834- 1849
Liverpool Vestry (technically not a Poor Law Union, it retained vestry status throughout the 19th century), 1834- 1856
Llanfyllin Poor Law Union, Montgomeryshire and Denbighshire, 1834-1854
Mansfield Poor Law Union, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, 1834- 1849
Mitford and Launditch Poor Law Union, Norfolk, 1834- 1849
Newcastle under Lyme Poor Law Union, Staffordshire, 1834- 1856
Newport Pagnell Poor Law Union, Buckinghamshire, 1834- 1855
Reeth Poor Law Union, Yorkshire North Riding, 1834- 1871
Rye Poor Law Union, East Sussex and Kent, 1834- 1843
Southampton, Hampshire (technically not a Poor Law Union but an earlier incorporation), 1834- 1858
Southwell, Nottinghamshire, 1834- 1871
Truro Poor Law Union, Cornwall, 1834- 1849
Tynemouth Poor Law Union, Northumberland, 1834- 1855
Wolstanton and Burslem Poor Law Union, Staffordshire, 1834- 1851


For more, see www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/workhouse.asp.

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Ancestry to revamp search screen

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) will be revamping its new search facility over the next few weeks to add additional search criteria, such as fields for places of residence and other family members' names. The main name search field will also be split to provide options for forename and surname.

For a preview of the forthcoming changes visit http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2010/08/18/ancestry-com-search-new-way-to-add-family-members-to-your-search/.

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Pringles of Scotland - Day of Record

Last week, on Thursday 12th August, knitwear company Pringle of Scotland (www.pringlescotland.com) held a 'Day of Record' at its former factory premises in Hawick. The purpose of the day was to invite locals to come and share their anecdotes and to bring memorabilia along as part of the company's efforts to create its own company archive, as noted recently on the Business Archives Scotland blog. Pringle was established in 1815 and rapidly rose to prominence with its famous knitwear patterns across Europe, the United States and Japan.

In attendance on the day were Alistair O'Neill (Central Saint Martins Course Lecturer for Fashion, History & Theory), Clare Waight Keller (current Creative Director at Pringle of Scotland), Zandra Elliot (Provost of Hawick), Shona Sinclair (Curator of the Hawick Museum), Maureen Gibson (great great grand daughter of Robert Pringle), Lesley Rankin (the first ever appointed female designer for Pringle of Scotland) and Allan Godfrey, George Godfrey and Walter Barker (3rd generation Pringle workers).

Amongst the items brought by members of the public for cataloguing in the archive were a collection of 121 garments from the 1960's donated by Mrs Carole Douglas from Hawick, underwear from 1912, a 1960's knitted purple jumpsuit with white zipper, and more. Each item was photographed for the archive which is currently in development.

Amongst the more notabler stories of the day were the company's first ever female designer Lesley Rankin spotting herself in an old black and white photo from the 1960s, and Maureen Gibson discussing her great great grandfather Robert Pringle, who established the firm, with her family tree and various Pringle family heirlooms.

The Day of Record event was held in the old yarn store and it was noted by retirees that there was a romantic and reminiscent scent of wool present in the air that immediately brought back feelings of nostalgia!

If you worked at Pringle of Scotland or have any information or artefacts that can help with the creation of the archive, please contact the team at dayofrecord@pringlescotland.com.

Many thanks to Oliver Cooke from Modus Publicity for providing the following images from the day on behalf of Pringle of Scotland:



Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Kitchener's Keelies - Glasgow's Highland Light Infantry

Author Charles MacDonald has created a new website at http://kitchenerskeelies.webs.com entitled Kitchener's Keelies, to help with research into a forthcoming book on the Highland Light Infantry's 15th, 16th and 17th Battalions. The site's home page states the following:

Welcome to the web-page of Kitchener's Keelies which deals with the history of the 15th (Glasgow Transport) , 16th (Glasgow Boy's Brigade) , & the 17th Glasgow (Commercials) Battalions of the Highland Light Infantry.

This site is currently under construction and will be developed over the next few months you will be notified by e-mail if and when new articles or photos are added. However feel free to peruse the site at your leisure whenever you like.


The site is very embryonic just now but will be added to in due course. If you have any stories or recollections on the three Glasgow batallions, do pop by and leave them on the site's guest book.

(With thanks to David McNay of the Scottish Military Research Blog)

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

ScotlandsPeople Centre - credit card payments

If you are heading to the Scotlands People Centre (or require certificates from the General Register Office for Scotland's Extract Services department) please be advised that until Monday August 23rd you will not be able to use a credit card to make any payments. This stems from changes by the Scottish Government to the centres' banking arrangements, which has affected the centre since Tuesday 17th August.

The centre has apologised for any inconvenience that this may cause.

(With thanks to Dee Williams at the ScotlandsPeople Centre)

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

ScotFamTree AGM

The ScotFamTree AGM is this Friday 20th August 2010 at Dumbarton Burgh Hall, 17 Castle Street, Dumbarton, from 11am-4pm.

ScotFamTree is a discussion forum that I would highly recommend if you have a Scottish connection. It's a bit like a 21st century virtual family history society, crossed with wild enthusiasm and at times a hint of insanity! (No, not at times, it seems to be a running streak!) Lots of people waiting to help with your queries, not to mention its own television channel (last year's AGM was recorded and is currently being shown on it) and loads of other resources, including the new SFT Families facility where you can upload your Gedcom to try to make connections with others researching their family history. There is a free membership called Tier 1, but the real goodies are in Tier 2, which costs £8 a year to subscribe to.

I'll be going on Friday, and will bring a report on proceedings after. But why not think about coming yourself (I think some tickets are still available)? Last year forum member Evelyn gave a talk entitled HerStory which involved the use of dancing bananas. My therapist assures me that in due course all should return to normality!



For more information, visit the SFT forum at http://scotfamtree.11.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=18834 - and may the Lord have mercy upon your wee Scottish soul! lol :)

Chris


www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Memoirs of a Fisherman's Son

Blogs can be used for many things - news logs, holiday memories, and more. Occasionally they get adapted to provide items of pure genius. I've just been drawn to a blog currently being widely applauded at the ScotFamTree forum, which has been around for a while now (started in December 2005), called Memoirs of a Fisherman's Son. It tells the life story of the father of blog writer Iain Cameron from the early 20th century on, including his life in Ardersier, at Inverness Academy, his life as an apprentice lawyer in Inverness in the 1930s and more.

If this blog hasn't won any awards, it should do - and it would make a great book if some society was interested in printing it!

To get well and truly stuck in, visit http://igcdadsmemoirs.blogspot.com/.

(With thanks to Woodys at ScotFamTree)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Portknockie Heritage Map for Family Historians

Jim Illingworth has very kindly sent me through a review copy of a map entitled Portknockie Heritage Map for Family Historians and Visitors.

Portknockie is in Banffshire, and in the 1861-1901 censuses the house numbers given are in fact the plot numbers as used by the Seafield estate. In 1841 and 1851, ni numbers are given at all. here's the crunch though - in 1873, the Seafield estate, which was the feudal superiro for the area, decided to renumber the house plots. For the family historian, this means that the modern house numbers do not correlate to the numbers given in the censuses, particular;ly as modern house numbers have been in operation for the village also from 1919, and those numbers have also changed since then.

Jim's comprehensive map shows the different numbering for properties before 1873 and after 1873 in the censuses, as well as the current house number. Buildings that no longer stand have their position marked also. In addition, details of all individuals in the 1861-1901 censuses are also noted on the reverse, as well as case studies on two of the families.

The map retails at £5 plus p&p (2nd class at 32p, N. America £1.98 and Australia $1.14), and can be purchased from:

The Secretary
Cullen, Deskford & Portknockie Heritage Group
2 Station Court,
Portknockie,
Buckie
AB56 2RR

If your ancestors come from Portknockie, this is an essential adddition to your library - it's also a useful reminder to everyone else that house numbers do change over time! For more information on the map e-mail steve.liley@btinternet.com.

Jim also offers to provide a list of occupants for any Portknockie property - email ghim at jim@annieroup.force9.co.uk.

(With many thanks to Jim Illingworth)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Monday, 16 August 2010

Scottish Slave Trade legacy workshop

A one day workshop event looking at Scotland's role in the Slave Trade is to be held at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on Saturday September 4th, 2010. Speakers will include Catherine Hall, Keith McLelland, Nick Draper, Eric Graham, Stephen Mullen and Iain Whyte (tbc).

For more information see www.scan.org.uk/whatsnew/GlasgowSlaveryWorkshop.pdf.

(With thanks to Sheena Tait via Twitter)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Commercial Bank of Scotland Roll of Honour

David McNay of the Scottish Military Research Group has blogged that the Roll of Honour of the Commercial Bank of Scotland 1914-1918 has now been made available on the Internet Archive. Further items from the SMRG will also be made available through the site in due course.

For more on the item visit David's post at http://scottishmilitary.blogspot.com/2010/08/downloads-update.html.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Berwick-upon-Tweed Archive Study Day

For all you Borders based folk (and beyond!)...

A free Archive Study Day is being organised by Berwick-upon-Tweed Record Office on Sat 9 Oct 10-4 at The Parish Centre, The Parade, Berwick. It will include using photographs, documents and newspapers for research. Deciphering old handwriting will also feature. There are limited places available and although the closing date is not until 30 Sept it’s advisable to book early as places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

There is no charge for this day which includes lunch as the event is being sponsored by The Co-operative Membership. It is one of a series of events for the year-long celebration of the 30th anniversary of Berwick Record Office.

Apply by email to lbankier@woodhorn.org.uk or Tel: 01289 301865

(With thanks to Philippa McCray of the Federation of Family History Societies and to Valerie Glass, Friends of Berwick and District Museum and Archives)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)

Access the internet at the ScotlandsPeople Centre

One of the greatest developments at the ScotlandsPeople Centre is the ability to access the internet from the system's latest computer system. Last week after the Who Do You Think You Are episode featuring Monty Don, I blogged that the way that the centre was represented by the BBC was misleading. The programme apparently showed the celebrity having obtained an English GRO certificate from there, and also looking at the English and Channel Islands censuses. The first part is of course nonsense, English GRO certificates come from the English GRO or from local superintendent registrars' offices in England, but it is possible to access the English census using sites such as FreeCEN, Ancestry and FindmyPast at the centre. In fact there are many websites that the centre will allow access to, but as I mentioned in my post, the caveat is that with pay-to-use sites, you need to have your own personal subscription.

I am grateful to the centre for now for sending out the following screengrabs to show how access to these sites is obtained.

1) Click on "About Our Records" tab at the top of the home page.




2) A completely new screen will pop up - on this, now click on the "Research" tab.






3) Next, click on the left hand menu margin on the option that states "Useful websites"





4) A submenu will appear in that margin with various categories of website that can now be accessed.



Incidentally, if you know the site URL that you wish to access, you can just type it straight into the browser once the new screen pops up.


Many who are used to the old DIGROS system, currently still available for access in the Dundas Room, will still argue that this older system is much better than the new ScotlandsPeople System, making the point about certain functions that could be carried out on DIGROS that the new system did not replicate when it first launched e.g. the ability to step through a year at a time on the return of search results. The difference between DIGROS in the old GROS centre however, and the new system in the ScotlandsPeople Centre, is that the new set up is part of a family history centre, not a vital records centre, and family history is much more than accessing just the BMD records. The criticism that certain functions were not present on the news system is fast becoming obsolete as such functions continue to be introduced to the new set up, and any errors picked up on and addressed.

The ability to access external; websites at the centre can make a heck of a difference in your research. The following is an example from my book Researching Scottish Family History on how this might make a difference if you are doing research into a military ancestor:

"In addition, the centre holds many other useful sources, and its computers can also be used to access a collection of externally based website resources during your research. A useful example would be if you were to discover a soldier in your family who died fighting during the First World War. A death certificate will provide the soldier’s basic details such as name, service number, regiment and date and place of death. However, Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) might provide you with his full service record if it has survived, as well as a medal index card, the NAS catalogue will allow you to look for a will which may have been registered whilst he was on active service, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website (www.cwgc.org.uk) can help to identify where he was buried, and other sites such as FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) may provide access to an entry within the Soldiers Who Died in the Great War collection, which might include additional information such as a birthplace."

The ability to use more than just the centre's own resources online whilst seated at your terminal could make your day's research considerably more fruitful, so if you have yet to look to see what can be accessed, it is well worth exploring on your next trip there.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Professional genealogical problem solving and research
http://twitter.com/ChrisMPaton
Researching Scottish Family History (New book)