For many years Bill Lawson has been compiling records and oral history accounts concerning the stories of some 225,000 folk from the Western Isles, including emigrants, and has been operating from the Seallam! Visitor Centre on Harris (www.seallam.com). A grant of £54,000 awarded to Northton Heritage Trust will now see his work updated and made accessible on the site, a real boon for those with connections to the Outer Hebrides. The site will also offer books for sale from the Islands Books Trust and Bill Lawson Publications.
For more on the story see the Stornoway Gazette article at www.stornowaygazette.co.uk/community/new_geneology_project_at_northton_announced_1_1712807
COMMENT: I'm really delighted to see this happening. A few years ago I had a conversation with an academic who told me he did not believe in the value of oral history as a source in the Gaelic world, which I thought completely misunderstood the nature of Gaelic culture. The argument went along the lines of if it was in print it could be proved, but if not, it could not. But not everything in print is necessarily true either! Oral history is as valid as any source when taken at face value for what it is - the folk memory of the community - and in many ways can offer more than any text book ever could. The fact that this is going online could well be one of the most significant Scottish developments this year for family history. Very much looking forward to it!
I have just come off the phone from Bill's wife Chris, and although the site is yet to go live, developments will be happening very quickly, so do check the site regularly over the next few weeks.
(Thanks to @ScottishHistory and @HebConnections on Twitter, and Chris Lawson)