Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Guild of One Name Studies offer

From the Guild of One Name Studies (www.one-name.org):

Guild of One-Name Studies offers a special extended membership to new joiners

The Guild of One-Name Studies is to offer a special extended membership to new joiners at the forthcoming Yorkshire Family History Fair being held at the Knavesmire Exhibition Centre, The Racecourse, York, UK on Saturday 25th June.

Normally membership of the Guild of One-Name Studies costs £15.00 and covers a period of up to a year with renewal on 1st November 2011. This special extended membership will cost £16.00 but will include a full year's extra membership, renewal not being due until 1st November 2012. The aim of the scheme is to attract even more new members and to encourage these members to stay with the Guild for longer and to appreciate and utilise the various benefits available to members.

For people who cannot attend the Yorkshire Family History Fair, the special offer of an extended membership will be made globally for just 3 days from Friday 24th June to Sunday 26th June 2011 on the Guild website at:


Details of all the Guild facilities can be found at:


The Guild of One-Name Studies has a freephone / toll-free helpdesk for members of the public in the UK, North America and Australia to call the Guild to find out:

* more about undertaking a One-Name Study
* the benefits of joining the Guild of One-Name Studies, and
* the assistance members of the Guild can provide to anyone researching their family history on any of the 7,800-plus names currently being researched.


More on British Library newspapers

An article in yesterday's Guardian newspaper would seem to suggest that the British Library's new digitised newspaper collection project, aiming to digitise 40 million papers in the next ten years, will be presented in a standalone website, rather than through the FindmyPast website at www.findmypast.co.uk. According to the story the newspaper site "will be freely accessible for Colindale visitors, but charge a modest sum to online users".

A few days ago I blogged about a new British Library microsite at http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/2011/05/new-british-library-newspapers-site.html - looks like this might be the eventual portal.

I'll try to get some clarification!

(With thanks to the EOGN newsletter)

UPDATE: Thanks to Laura Berry from Your Family History magazine for clarifying that the BL website quoted on my previous post will indeed be the main portal of access for the new newspaper project. At a press bash a couple of days ago it was also confirmed that the current British Library 19th Century Newspaper Collection, a project co-ordinated with Gale Learning, will not be integrated. (Thanks Laura!)

UPDATE: OK, so it seems some will be on the FMP site after all, though how much remains unclear. Here's a note from Amy Sell at FMP:

The British Library and brightsolid are working in partnership to digitise up to 40 million pages of newspapers over the course of 10 years. The first tranche of newspaper pages (upwards of 1.5 million pages) will be launched on a dedicated microsite this autumn. You can now register at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk to be the first to know when the newspapers go online. After the launch, records will also be made available through brightsolid’s own family history websites, findmypast.co.uk and Genes Reunited.

I've asked further if any non-English material will be available at launch - the BL site only quotes English towns. Watch this space...! lol


National Library's draft Gaelic plan

The National Library of Scotland has placed online its draft Gaelic Language Plan at www.nls.uk/news/archive/2011/05/draft-gaelic-language-plan

Here's the full press release:

The National Library of Scotland has put its draft Gaelic Language Plan out for consultation prior to its submission to Bòrd na Gàidhlig at the end of July.

The plan, which has been developed in accordance with the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005, outlines NLS commitment to the sustainability of the Gaelic language by demonstrating how it will build on its long history of collecting, preserving and promoting its unique Gaelic collections.

In addition to collecting Gaelic books, journals and other materials, and hosting related public and educational events, NLS, which is believed to hold the pre-eminent collection of Gaelic material in the world, recently invested £100k in the digitisation of hundreds of thousands of pages of rare Gaelic books, making them available to people across the world.

The plan highlights how NLS will continue to add to its Gaelic material, both historic and contemporary, and ensure access for those who would like to use, learn and be inspired by it. This will be achieved by extending curatorial expertise, collecting contemporary Scottish Gaelic material, developing new resources, continuing to digitise Gaelic material, enhancing visibility of Gaelic through corporate identity and building on relationships with partners and stakeholders.

Martyn Wade, National Librarian and Chief Executive of the National Library of Scotland, said: 'Through our mission to collect, preserve and provide access to Scotland's recorded culture we believe we have a unique contribution to make to the vitality of the Gaelic language in Scotland and beyond.

'Gaelic is highly valued by NLS as a key part of that culture and our commitment to continue enhancing our collection of Gaelic material and increasing access to it is central to our Gaelic Language Plan.

'We would very much welcome and look forward to receiving feedback on our draft plan before our formal submission to Bòrd na Gàidhlig.'

Responses should be sent to Paul Hambelton at NLS, by email (p.hambelton@nls.uk) or post to Paul Hambelton, National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EW no later than 8 July 2011.

The plan itself is accessible at www.nls.uk/media/950820/2011-draft-nls-gaelic-plan.pdf

(With thanks to the NLS)


Royal Naval officers service records online

Thanks to Simon Fowler for the following news:

Over 5,000 selected officers' service records, recorded on cards, are now available on the National Archive's Documents Online service (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline) for men and women serving in the Royal Navy, Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and Women's Royal Naval Service. The records are sourced from Admiralty records series ADM 340, and provide details of an officer’s name, date and place of birth, rank, date of seniority, training undertaken, names of ships served on, and period of time served and address. A new page on the collection is available at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/navy-cards-and-files.asp.

From the site:

The Admiralty had traditionally recorded service details in books and registers. The new format of cards and files was introduced early in the twentieth century for all officers then serving, including some with service dating back to c.1880 (and possibly earlier still in a few cases).

Whereas so often an entry in a book or register would relate to only one period of an officer's service, the introduction of the individual record card/file brought in the concept of a single continuous record spanning the length of the officer's service. Some records in this series therefore detail service through both World Wars and into the 1950s.

As with other Documents Online releases, each record costs £3.50 to download. They are searchable through the following fields:

· First name(s)
· Last name
· Year of birth
· Place of birth
· Rank/Service number

At the moment only pieces 1-150 from the collection are available, though the rest will be added in due course.


Monday, 30 May 2011

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors course

FindmyPast Ireland has blogged that it is involved with "the world’s first Irish Ancestry E-Learning Programme", a new eleven module distance learning course established by the Irish Times entitled Tracing Your Irish Ancestors.

The course has been designed by well known Irish genealogist John Grenham, and is currently priced at 395 Euros (normally 495 Euros). The price includes subscriptions to FindmyPast Ireland, the Irish Times digital archive and Irish Times Irish Ancestors sites.

For more information visit www.irishtimestraining.com/courses/online-courses/tracing-your-irish-ancestors.

And for a flavour of one of the lessons themselves, visit http://online.irishtimestraining.com/demo/player.html, where you can hear John talk over several topics relating to wills, including an interactive walk through of post-1858 Ulster wills as available on the PRONI website.


History of Perthshire & Kinross-shire Constabularies

A quick shout now for a superb new publication from Willie MacFarlane entitled The History of the Perthshire and Kinross-shire Constabularies. This book describes the fascinating history of the county constabularies set up in the two counties in the 19th century, which were separate to burgh police forces such as that based in Perth.

Willie is the honorary curator of the Tayside Police Museum, and has very kindly been offering me some help and advice on a book project that I am currently working on. His own book on the history of the forces is not only a labour of love, but a real gem for those wishing to explore the crime fighting capability of the counties from their establishment to the present day. Slightly smaller than A4, this fully illustrated 71 page guide is a real joy to read - from my point of view particularly so as the murder of one of my ancestors is included, and for the first time ever I have been able to view an image of the man who led the investigation.

The book costs £10 +£1.50 p&p - please make a cheque payable to Thomas William MacFarlane and send to Willie MacFarlane, Carey Mill, Dunsinnan Road, Wolfhill, Perthshire, PH2 6DA. Alternatively it can be purchased at the bookshop in the A. K. Bell Library, where I was told last week it has been the fastest selling book they have ever had!

A fuller review will appear soon in Discover my Past Scotland magazine (www.discovermypast.co.uk).


PRONI records on CAIN

I've just noticed a new prospective link on the Public Records of Northern Ireland website (www.proni.gov.uk) entitled PRONI Records on CAIN, though the link itself is not yet active (see Online Records menu on the top right hand side of the page).

CAIN (http://cain.ulst.ac.uk) is the Conflict Archive on the Internet, essentially a vast repository of material concerning the Troubles and politics from 1968 to the present day. Whilst the PRONI link is not yet running, the CAIN website's PRONI section can be found at http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/proni/index.html - although first launched in October 2010, I see that it was updated again last month.


A Complete Guide to Heraldry

A belated thank you to genie Sheena Tait (@sheenatait) for tweeting a couple of days ago that the Internet Archive now hosts a copy of A. C. Fox-Davies' work A Complete Guide to Heraldry. This is a scan of the original edition from 1909, and provides a comprehensive overview of heraldry across England and Scotland.

The book is part of the required reading list for students on the University of Strathclyde postgraduate diploma genealogy course, and I seem to remember it being quite pricey when I purchased a copy, so this may save you a bob or two. I think it may also be on the Dundee course booklist also, so likewise!

The book can be read online or can be downloaded in PDF format (114.8MB) or for Kindle and other formats. To access the work visit www.archive.org/details/completeguidetoh00foxduoft.

Thanks again Sheena,


Jeremy Palmer to give Scottish talk at Ryde

For all of you Australian readers, genealogist Jeremy Palmer, a fellow tutor with Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd, will be giving a talk on Saturday June 11th to Ryde District Historical Society, in Ryde, New South Wales, entitled Tracing Your Scottish Family History.

The talk will be at “Willandra”, 770 Victoria Road (cnr Willandra Street), Ryde, and will start at 10.00 am. For further information visit the society website at www.rydehistory.org.

For more on Jeremy and his services down under visit www.anzestry.com.


Sunday, 29 May 2011

FindmyPast Ireland podcast

American blogger Dick Eastman has recorded a podcast with Brian Donovan and Cliona Weldon of FindmyPast Ireland (www.findmypast.ie), at a conference in South Carolina.

In the interview Brian discusses forthcoming plans for the site, including 4 million prison register records which will be fully indexed to name both the guilty and those who were victims of crime, and sometimes naming next of kin. The site will also be releasing records concerning the Easter Rising of 1916, for those who fought both for and against the rebellion, and further court records.


Saturday, 28 May 2011

Irish Landed Estates site expands

NUI Galway's Irish Landed Estates website at www.landedestates.ie has been significantly expanded beyond the province of Connacht to now include the province of Munster, meaning it now covers half of Ireland. The site is of more use to those in the property owning classes than the labouring classes, but nevertheless this is still a significant resource from a social history point of view. Time to see if I can find more of my wife's lot from Kilkenny and Tipperary!

There is more in depth coverage at the Irish Genealogy News blog http://irish-genealogy-news.blogspot.com/2011/05/landed-estates-resource-extended-to.html

(With thanks to the Bi-Gen blog)


Glasgow University newspapers

If your ancestors was at the University of Glasgow, the body's student newspaper archive from 1932-2007 has now gone online at www.gla.ac.uk/services/archives/guardian/.

From the site:

The Glasgow Guardian Digital Archive contains searchable digital editions of the Gilmorehill Globe, Gilmorehill Guardian and Glasgow University Guardian. Together they represent the entirety of student newspaper journalism at the University of Glasgow and we believe the most complete collection of student journalism in the UK.


Please note that there were no editions of student newspapers produced prior to 1932, nor between 1936 and 1954 and the academic year 1957-1958.

(With thanks to the Genealogy in Time newsletter)


Friday, 27 May 2011

New Edinburgh episcopal church page

Eleanor Harris has been carrying out research into St John Episcopal Church in Charlotte Street, Edinburgh, and is placing biographical information on former members of its congregation at http://archive.stjohns-edinburgh.org.uk/index.html.

Worth a visit if you can't find your family in the OPRs!


Alex Graham recognised by SoG

Congratulations to Glasgow born Alex Graham for receiving the London based Society of Genealogists' Prince Michael Award at its recent centenary dinner, for his role as executive producer on the television series Who Do You Think You Are?, produced by independent production house Wall to Wall Television.


Riverside Museum to open June 21st

Some news on the new Riverside Museum opening in Glasgow:

Described as ‘Glasgow’s Guggenheim’ the £74 million museum will be Zaha Hadid’s first major public commission to open in the UK. It will house more than 3,000 exhibits, in over 150 interactive displays telling the stories of the people who built, owned and used them. From massive steam locomotives, to the re-creation of a city street during the 1900s, the cathedral-like structure provides a stunning backdrop to showcase the innovation and ambition of what was the Second City of the Empire. The Tall Ship, Glenlee is now berthed alongside the museum.

The Riverside Museum will open to the public on 21 June. It has been funded by Glasgow City Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Riverside Museum Appeal.

(With thanks to the Riverside Museum)


Latest edition of Broadsheet out

The latest issue of the Scottish Council of Archives monthly publication Broadsheet is now available via www.scoarch.org.uk/notice-board/scanewsletter.

This month's issue includes Irene O'Brien's visit to PRONI in Belfast, news on the Public Records (Scotland) Bill Receiving Royal Assent, a feature on the Scottish Jewish Archives in Glasgow, an interesting piece on the future development of the Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) catalogue, and more.

(With thanks to Pat Whatley via Twitter - and she's profiled in the second issue, available via the same link!)


National Library of Scotland news

Some news from the National Library of Scotland's latest newsletter:

* 120 new films can be now be viewed on the Scottish Screen Archive website, including new titles from the Films of Scotland Collection and the Scottish Educational Film Association.

* A new series of four video guides is now online to give a historical overview of NLS and provide step-by-step information on how to find resources and access them in person or from home, school, work or anywhere with internet access. The resource also has an interactive floor plan which will be useful for people planning to visit the Library for the first time but even existing users may discover something new.

* The new Scots Abroad website features the stories of six Scottish emigrants who left their homeland to settle in Canada, the United States, Argentina and New Zealand, constructed from letters, photographs, maps and official documents from the Library's collections on emigration. The website also provides information and web links to the wealth of resources on Scottish emigration held in the NLS and outside.

* From 1 June the self-service photocopiers in the General Reading Room will be replaced with two Book2Net Kiosks, which will allow customers to produce digital colour images to their own USB stick, and/or bi-tonal A3 and A4 paper copies. I managed to see one of these recently at the new PRONI archive in Belfast, a neat piece of kit - see below for an image.

(With thanks to the NLS)


Aberdeenshire CD update

Kevin Smith has been in touch to say that his The Aberdeenshire CD (see http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/2011/01/aberdeen-cd-version-3.html) has been updated further to version 3.1, and now includes the following additional extras:

* A partial extract of Cornwall's New Aberdeen Directory for 1853-54;
* Aberdeen University Bursary Competition results for 1863-1866, extending the range to cover 25 years;
* Local Events and Obituaries from local newspapers added for 1866 and 1888-1891;
* Additional photographs of Aberdeen in the Gallery;
* Miscellaneous newspaper articles such as the 1888 election of Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners.

The Aberdeenshire CD is available for only £15 plus £1 p&p from www.kevinRsmith.co.uk and contains fully searchable and annotated transcriptions of material including trade directories; Aberdeen University bursary competition results; local events and obituaries; birth, marriage and death notices; gazetteer; and much more.

(With thanks to Kevin)


Thursday, 26 May 2011

New British Library newspapers site

@familytreemaguk (Family Tree magazine) has just placed a note on Twitter about a new microsite from the British Library Newspaper Archive at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk, and has tweeted that the first one million pages of the archive's collaboration with FindmyPast.co.uk will go online in the autumn.

From the site the following is noted about what will be released in the first part of the launch:

The first stage of the British Newspaper Archive focuses on runs published before 1900 and will include titles from cities such as Birmingham, Derby, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Leeds and York, along with local titles from London boroughs.

Newspapers which aimed for county circulation – from Staffordshire to Sussex – will also feature prominently, providing an unrivalled picture of provincial life spanning the whole of the 19th century and supplementing resources already available online such as the UK census.

The technical workings of the database being created will be superb - see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/archive-examples.php for an example of how a record has been catalogued for searching. One hopes though that if this is a British collection, there may also be representation for Scotland, Wales and Ireland in the the first wave also, despite there being no indication of this on the site as yet.

Nevertheless, with 40 million pages on the way over ten years, there will be something for everyone.


205 year old Highland journal published

A journal written 205 years ago by an Inverness school rector is being published for the first time. Written by Alexander Nimmo, a native of Fife, the book includes his time on the Commission for Highland Roads and Bridges, and his travels across the country during the heights of the Clearances. The book will be launched at an event in Inverness on 8 June hosted by the new University of the Highlands and Islands.

For more on the story visit www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-13540668


Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Titanic descendants database

From Roger Lewry, Archives Liaison officer of the Federation of Family History Societies, a message sent on behalf of Titanic Heritage Trust:

As the 100th Anniversary of Titanic approaches, Titanic Heritage Trust are pleased to announce the creation of a database of descendants of survivors and of all those who were lost on 15th April 1912.

If anyone has a connection or knows someone who has a connection with the Titanic please contact us.

Also, as part of the 100th Anniversary events are being planned; we are hoping to get together in one place as many as possible of the descendants of survivors and any descendants of those who were lost when Titanic sank.

If you have any information which would help us please contact:

Howard Nelson, Titanic Heritage Trust, The TechnoCentre, Puma Way, Coventry CV1 2TT.
Telephone: 024 76236556, Email: enquiries@titanicheritagetrust.org.uk

(With thanks to Roger)


Articles this month

I've a few articles out this month, so a quick heads up...!

For the new issue of Your Family Tree (104) I've written the cover feature on using Irish records online, as well as an article on the 1911 Scottish census - what it's all about and how to use it. (www.yourfamilytreemag.co.uk)

In Discover my Past Scotland the current issue also has a background piece on the 1911 Scottish census, as well as the latest Scottish news and book reviews. Next month's issue (out next week) has an article on my trip to Brisbane in Queensland last October, and how I finally got to walk up Paton Street! (www.discovermypast.co.uk)

In Family Tree, there's all the latest UK genealogy news, including news of a Freedom of Information application rejection to a Welsh archive concerning school records and TNA's new leadership role in the archive sector. (www.family-tree.co.uk/this-month-ftm.html)

In Family History Monthly my internet review column looks at the new Connected Histories website, as well as the latest internet news, including additions to the Genealogy in Time and British History Online sites. (www.familyhistorymonthly.com)

The new issue of Your Family History contains an article on Scottish education - its history, the Kirk's and state's involvement, and also how to track records. (www.your-familyhistory.com)

And finally, in the newly released summer issue of Irish Roots I've submitted a piece about using the forms beyond Form A on the 1911 Irish census - if you've only looked at the householder's main return (Form A), you've potentially missed half the story! (www.irishrootsmedia.com)

Hope they help!


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Irish Resources Online talk in Toronto

On June 18th I will be giving a series of talks in Toronto as part of a full day Scottish Family History Workshop, organised by at the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society and the Canadiana Department of North York Central Library, with additional Scottish themed talks also given by Marian Press (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto) and James F. S. Thomson (University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies). If you have yet to purchase a ticket for that event I regret to say that you are too late, with the event now fully booked up!

However, two days before the Scottish workshop I will also be doing a presentation in Toronto on "Irish Resources Online", one of the most popular talks which I regularly give here in Scotland. Normally when I do this talk I try to cram as much in within an hour slot as possible, and it is never long enough - so the good folks at the Toronto branch of the OGS have agreed to allow me an hour and a half this time, spread over two 45 minute sessions!

The following is the description of the event from the society's website:

Irish Resources Online - Thursday, June 16, 7:30 pm

A PRESENTATION FOR IRISH FAMILY HISTORIANS : Chris Paton, author of the new publication Tracing Your Family History on the Internet, will be speaking on the topic of "Irish Resources Online" on the evening of Thursday, June 16, commencing at 7:30 pm in the Gold Room, North York Memorial Hall (Concourse level, opposite the Burgundy Room). This will be a two-part lecture with an opportunity to mix and mingle at half-time.

Please assist us with planning by pre-registering your interest in attending. (E-mail the Education Committee at courses@torontofamilyhistory.org with the subject line "Irish lecture" or sign up at the Education Committee table at an upcoming monthly meeting.) Please note in your email if you are an OGS member for the reduced rate.

Registration fee payments will be accepted at the door from 7pm onwards as follows:

Pre-registered OGS members : $10.
Pre-registered non-members : $15
At the door OGS members : $15.
At the door non-members : $20

After June 13, no pre-registration. Registration at the door, only if space permits, after 7:15. Check the website for updates and details.

There is further information both on the Irish talk on the 16th and the Scottish workshop on the 18th at http://www.torontofamilyhistory.org/Scottish2011.html - I am very much looking forward to seeing you all there!


Robin Gibb visits Paisley for WDYTYA?

Bee Gees member Robin Gibb will apparently be appearing in the next UK series of Who Do You Think You Are, according to an article in today's Paisley Daily Express, which reports that he was filmed yesterday in the city's library, museum and at other locations, as part of a two day filming trip.

According to the paper, the next series will either be shown later this year in the autumn or next year, though no source is attributed for that piece of information.

(With thanks to @RosemaryMorgan via Twitter)


1911 English and Welsh census on Ancestry

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) has uploaded the 1911 census images for England and Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. However the records cannot be searched as yet, merely browsed, though the census summary books can help to locate the relevant families. Until now, the only images available were those from the census summary books - this is the whole thing.

It is also worth mentioning that The Genealogist (www.thegenealogist.co.uk) has uploaded searchable versions of the same census for a handful of London districts, with more to come in due course.

(With thanks to Jim Kimpton on Twitter)

UPDATE: Ancestry has just uploaded an announcement on its blog also - see http://blogs.ancestry.com/uk/2011/05/24/1911-census-images-online-today/


Monday, 23 May 2011

Family Tree Builder 5.1

My Heritage has announced an upgrade to its impressive and free to use Family Tree Builder programme, available from www.myheritage.com/family-tree-builder. Here's some info on the release, as well as news on a discount offer:

What's new in version 5.1

Version 5.1 adds a technology licensed from Wholly Genes , Inc. that makes it possible for Family Tree Builder to directly import existing family tree files from other genealogy programs you may have used before, such as Family Tree Maker (FTM, FTW, FTMB), Personal Ancestral File (PAF), Legacy (FDB), The Master Genealogist (TMG) and Family Tree Legends (FTL). Good old GEDCOM files are supported and can be imported too.

If you've used any of those other programs in the past, you can now download Family Tree Builder 5.1, import your family tree and photo data easily and move up to one of the best programs available today, and build a tree of unlimited size on your computer, for free. After installing Family Tree Builder 5.1, import your existing genealogy files using "Import GEDCOM or genealogy file" in the File menu. You can browse and upload a specific family tree file, or choose to scan your computer for all genealogy files, and then select any file to import it.

The new version also incorporates many bug fixes so it is a recommended update for all users.


For the next few days only, enjoy a massive 25% discount on all our subscriptions!

With a Premium subscription, you'll get:
All Premium features of Family Tree Builder 5.1 (current and future). These include Smart Research results, Smart Match merging, all-in-one charts and interactive maps.

Up to 2500 names and 500MB of storage for photos and documents in your family site.

Enhanced Smart Matches.

Priority support.
Our PremiumPlus subscription offers all the benefits of Premium listed above, plus unlimited family tree size and unlimited storage capacity for photos and documents in your family site.

(With thanks to MyHeritage)


Army Children's Grave Register

Clare Gibson has posted an update on the Army Children Archive website about a new database, the Army Children Graves Register.

From Claire's blog:

There was a time when their wives and children accompanied British soldiers on active service, and it is well documented that many died on the march (for example, during the Peninsular War’s retreat to Corunna, in Spain, from 1808 to 1809). Britain also once had an extensive empire that required defending, which is why the last resting places of numerous army children can be found in such far-flung countries as Malta, Hong Kong, Ireland and India, where they had often died of indigenous diseases. And in recent times, it has been (West) Germany – ‘home’ for many army children over the past century – that has primarily provided the foreign fields where British soldiers’ children who died prematurely now lie.

The full story is at http://tacadrum.blogspot.com/2011/05/launch-of-army-children-graves-register.html with the register itself at www.archhistory.co.uk/taca/gravesregister.html

(With thanks to Clare Gibson via Twitter)


BBC Alba on Freeview

Scottish Gaelic television channel BBC Alba, the only BBC channel to consistently make decent programmes on Scottish subject matter, will be available at long last on Freeview from June 8th, joining both the Virgin and Sky digital platforms.


Sunday, 22 May 2011

FIBIS news

The following is a news update from the Families in British India Society, aka FIBIS (www.new.fibis.org.uk):

FIBIS is pleased to announce that its first ‘Guest Blog’ post is now available for members to read in the FIBIS Social Network. The excellent article is entitled ‘Reaching out via Facebook‘ and is written by FIBIS member, Helen Leggatt. Helen is an experienced blogger, who joined FIBIS a year ago, and whose own blog, Hunting Kiwis, has recently been featured in the New Zealand newspaper ‘The Press’. FIBIS hopes this to be the first of many ‘Guest blog’ posts by FIBIS members. If you are a FIBIS member and would like to write a Guest blog post please contact the FIBIS webmaster. Creating a blog post is so easy and very little technical knowledge is needed. A list of ideas can also be found in the FIBIS Social Network blog.

Recent additions to our Database:

Patents of invention for British India, 1856-90

This contains data on patents of invention registered in the patent system for British India during 1856-90. It is limited to European residents of India, with a few entries for those living elsewhere with stated ties with India. The data is taken from chronological listings held by the Business & IP Centre, British Library. The titles have sometimes been abbreviated, otherwise the data is as given. Further information such as the actual patent documents is not thought to have survived. The British Library holds copies of patents from 1912, and any enquiries should be made to bipc@bl.uk. Patents numbered 1 to 8, in 1856, represent what was later regarded as an invalid attempt at patent protection, and the recognised patent numeration only began in 1859 after new legislation.

More Birth, Marriages and Deaths extracted from the Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce and The Times of India newspapers by our Australian transcription team have been added to the FIBIS database website in the Newspapers and Periodicals category and include:

• Times of India 1894 consisting of 1061 births, 607 marriages and 1053 deaths, a total of 2721 transcriptions.

• Bombay Times 1840 consisting of 826 births, 361 marriages and 703 deaths, a total of 1890 transcriptions.

• Bombay Times 1841 consisting of 1062 births, 378 marriages, and 955 deaths, a total of 2395 transcriptions.

The FIBIS Members’ Interests have been updated. There are now 4555 interests listed. These can only be accessed by FIBIS members when logged in to the FIBIS database website.

FIBIS has a featured Image, Article and Project on the FIBIWIKI home page. Currently the image is a painting of the De Meuron Regiment in action, whilst readers can start to explore the fascinating history of Indian Railways by reading ‘Great Indian Peninsula Railway’. The featured ‘Military Project’ aims to further improve the FIBIWIKI content and coverage of military topics relating to British India. Any one who wishes to contribute is invited to add their name to the list of project members.

Comment: I can't stress enough just how brilliant the new FIBIS site is, so well worth a visit. Bear in mind that if you have Indian connections, the National Library of Scotland (www.nls.uk) has the biggest Indian collection outside of the British Library in London. Also keep an eye out for the forthcoming book on tracing Indian ancestors from Emma Jolly in the next few months, to be published by Pen and Sword.


Medals Reunited Project

The new Medals Reunited Project is aiming to reunite First World War medals available for sale online with descendants of the original recipients.

Details of the project are available at www.uvgenealogy.co.uk/29701.html, with a list of those medals held available at www.uvgenealogy.co.uk/media/3b96e95eb7a71a0ffff87c6d4355564.pdf - although predominantly English recipients, several Scottish and Irish folk are also included.


Saturday, 21 May 2011

BBC launches Ulster Scots website

I'm delighted to see that the BBC has launched a new website entitled Ulster-Scots at www.bbc.co.uk/ulsterscots, with a stated mission to allow users to "Discover the culture, learn the language, unlock the history and enjoy the programmes".

The site was launched at an event in Donaghadee three days ago, and through it you can delve in and learn new words like "lilty", listen to the latest episodes of the radio series "A Kist o Wurds" (now on series 26, having first started in 2002), or even study a fourteen part course entitled "Learn Ulster Scots".

A chance to discover true Ulster Scottish heritage, and not that hijacked by the muppetry of Orangeism over the last 200 years (not a DUP press release in site!). I don't say it much these days, but for this, a big thumbs up to the BBC!

I will have to get my kids onto it - it might help them understand me when I say to them that if they don't get their gutties on and stop acting like wee hallions, they won't get a poke!

(With thanks to @ScotsinAmerica on Twitter)


Friday, 20 May 2011

ScotlandsPeople Centre June events

From the ScotlandsPeople Centre (www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk)

The ScotlandsPeople Centre will open its Dundas search room on Saturday 11 June for day searchers. Due to the fact that it is a weekend, a day search ticket will cost £30. The Centre is now accepting bookings.

On Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 June the ScotlandsPeople Centre will be opening its garden, part of General Register House and its cafe from 14:00 to 17:00 as part of Scotland's Garden Scheme. Entrance will cost £3 and all money raised will be shared between Scotland's Garden Scheme, which is a registered charity and Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres. We hope that this event will be well supported.


Peterhead records join Deceased Online

New Peterhead records now added to Deceased Online (www.deceasedonline.com), with more Scottish material soon! Here's the release...

40,000 more Scottish burial records including Peterhead added to Deceased Online

Two Aberdeenshire coastal town cemeteries and a small Aberdeen City graveyard added to growing Scottish burial database

Nearly 19,000 records commencing 1869 for Constitution Hill Cemetery in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire are immediately available on www.deceasedonline.com. The records include digital scans of mortality registers which are rich in detail and include full names, designations of heads of families, occupations, causes of death, places of death, addresses, ages and grave references.

Over 16,000 records, dating back to 1615, for a second Peterhead cemetery, St Peter's Churchyard, are currently being worked on and will be completed and uploaded onto Deceased Online shortly.

The database for the City of Aberdeen has also been increased with the addition of nearly 4,500 records for the small John Knox graveyard. 4,500 burials, dated 1838 to 1894, are available as grave digger register scans.

The spelling of names in the early registers is phonetic, producing some interesting results, as the local Aberdeen dialect / language is Doric, which can defeat the website's "sound-a-like" facility. As these records are legal documents they have had to be transcribed as they appear in the registers, so additional care and creative thinking needs to be applied when searching for names in this churchyard.

To assist in your searches a wild card facility is available, where "%" will match any number of any characters (including none), and "_" will match any single character. These can be inserted in your search name where variations are most likely to occur in the spelling. Full details on how to use wild cards in searching are available in our Advanced Search Help page, but below are examples of some spelling variants with, in brackets, the wild card search string that will find them all in each case.

Alexander, Alex, Alx, Alexand, Alexr, Alexdr (Al%x%)
Alison, Allethen (Al%n)
Ann, Ane (An_)
Barbara, Barbra, Barbrow, Barbraw (Barb%r)
Dewar, Dewor (Dew_r)
George, Gorg, Gorge (G%org%)
Heather, Headr (Hea%r)
Henry, Hendry (Hen%ry)
Margaret, Margrat, Margrate, Margret, Margt (Marg%t).

Deceased Online will be adding many more records for other Scottish regions soon.

(With thanks to the good folks at Deceased Online; updated Sat am, thanks to Richard Gray for the Constitution Hill register image)


Scottish Brewing Archive open day

The Scottish Brewing Archive Association will be having an open day on Tuesday May 24th from 4.30pm-6.30pm, at the searchroom of the University of Glasgow's Archive Services in Thurso Street.

For more information visit http://universityofglasgowlibrary.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/scottish-brewing-archive-association-open-day/

(Thanks to Archive Services)


Unlock the Past cruise video

In March 2011, Australian company Unlock the Past (www.unlockthepast.com.au) organised its first ever genealogy cruise, which was a resounding success from all accounts!

The company has now posted a video online from the event, which has a real Scottish connection - it was filmed by top Leodhasach genie Mike Murray, who runs Time Trackers in Perth, WA, and who was one of the speakers. Some familiar faces are there to the Ozzie genealogy scene, including Mike, Shauna Hicks and Rosemary Kopittke, and some other familar faces to many UK readers I'm sure, such as Jeremy Palmer, who writes regularly for several UK magazines and also teaches Pharos courses.

As I've blogged about before, the next Unlock the Past Cruise is in November (see http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/2011/02/new-zealand-scottishirish-genealogy.html), and will have a Scottish and Irish theme, though with a broader range of subjects also from Australia, New Zealand and back here in the British Isles. If you're wondering whether it is worth coming along, check out Mike's video. Remember the Irish and Scottish theme - it means not only will it be fun, it will also be good craic!

See you there!


New University of Strathclyde archive catalogue

One of my previous universities, the University of Strathclyde, has launched a new archive catalogue at http://www.ica-atom.org/strathclyde/.

The catalogue can be searched or browsed through topics from names, subjects, places and images. I've just had a bit of fun seeing what they have, and as well as old student records there is all sorts from Glasgow Infant School records to the personal papers of the first producer of Doctor Who, Verity Lambert.

Have fun looking through it!


Google Newspaper projects ends

Thanks to John Reid at Anglo-Celtic Connections for flagging up the following.

Google's newspaper digitisation project is to formally end after 32 months. The project was a collaboration with several partners, including ProQuest and several US newspapers, but the material published already is not going away, and can still be accessed at http://news.google.com/newspapers.

The collections featured are primarily North American, but there are a couple of Scottish gems in there, in the forms of the Glasgow Advertiser from 27 JAN 1783-18 DEC 1801, and perhaps more significantly, the Glasgow Herald from 17 JAN 1806-17 FEB 1990. The 19th century copies of the latter title are of course available on the British Library 19th Century Newspaper Collection site, but you need to pay to access them - Google's collection is free to view and equally as searchable.

It is a real shame to see this project go no further, but nevertheless great to have continued free access to one of Scotland's most long running titles.


Thursday, 19 May 2011

FindmyPast launches new death indexes

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has completed the upgrade of its English and Welsh BMD databases with a new fully searchable death index search facility.

The following can now be searched in one go:

England & Wales deaths 1837-2006
British nationals died overseas 1818-2005
British nationals armed forces deaths 1796-2005
British nationals died at sea 1854-1890

For more see http://blog.findmypast.co.uk/2011/05/try-our-new-and-improved-death-records-search/

(Thanks to FindmyPast and Rosemary Kopittke on Twitter)


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

ScotFamTree discussion forum

For no other reason other than the fact that I have not mentioned it in a while, another quick plug for the ScotFamTree forum at http://scotfamtree.11.forumer.com!

Oodles of enthusiasm and expertise, you'll find lots of help there to help with your brick wall problems, plenty of useful resources, and on occasion, some terrible jokes!


Forthcoming fairs: Kirkintilloch and Troon

The following family and local history fairs are forthcoming:

Saturday 21st May, 10am-4pm, William Patrick Library, West High Street

Saturday 4th June 2011, 10am-4.00 pm, at Walker Hall.

(Thanks to Falkyrn on Rootschat)


SoG Beyond OPR records workshop

The London based Society of Genealogists is running a half day workshop on May 28th at 2pm entitled Scottish Church Records - Beyond OPRs, taught by William Cross.

The event will be at 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road London EC1M 7BA and can be booked in advance at http://www.societyofgenealogists.com/scottish-church-records-beyond-old-parochial-registers-28-may-2011/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter. The price is £14 members, £17.50 non-members.

(For those who can't make it, there's a useful new book available from www.gould.com.au/Discover-Scottish-Church-Records-p/utp0281.htm !)


Filling in the 2011 census - again!

Pop quiz - how many times can you fill in the same census schedule? Try three...!

On census day recently I filled out the paper version of the 2011 Scottish census, from which I then copied out the details to submit the information online. I've now just spent 5 minutes at the door being asked much of the questions again as part of a census survey! Apparently some 50,000 people are still missing from the returns, and so this survey is asking much of the same questions again to check on the accuracy of the original forms, in case households have misunderstood how to fill them in.

In the year 2111 let Scotland learn from many sources that the Paton household once lived in Largs, North Ayrshire! lol :)


Terpersie Castle up for sale

If you have £560,000 you can pick up a bargain - Terpersie Castle in Aberdeenshire is up for sale. The castle belonged to a cadet branch of the Gordon family, and is a Z-plan building by design from the late 16th century (as with Castle Menzies, for example, in Perthshire), which was restored from ruin in the 1980s.


Public Records Bill - Royal Assent

The Public Records (Scotland) Bill, discussed previously across a few posts on this blog in recent months, received Royal Assent on April 20th. The first major legislation in 70 years on public records, it has not yet actually come into effect, as it has to wait for a Commencement Order, likely to take effect from late 2011.

The National Records of Scotland has an update on the bill's proceedings at http://www.nas.gov.uk/recordKeeping/publicRecordsBillNews.asp, but as well as getting the background to the legislation it is also worth spending a bit of time on some of the ceremony surrounding the sealing of the bill by the Great Seal. 800 years of tradition, and beeswax still has a useful function - all very interesting!


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

BBC Alba on Virgin

The BBC's Scottish Gaelic channel, BBC Alba, will be available on the Virgin digital cable platform as of tomorrow (Wed), though there's no word as yet on an appearance on Freeview.

BBC Alba is one of the few areas on TV where you will still find history programmes not obsessed with presenters or cheesy docu-drama formats, just good stories well told. But in Gaelic! The programmes are always subtitled though, and you will find some absolute gems - there was a good one on explorer Martin Martin just a few nights ago, for example.

There's a story on it in Gaelic on BBC Scotland's Naidheachdan page at www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/alba/naidheachdan/story/2011/05/110517_bbcalba.shtml

(Moran taing @ruighean air Twitter)


Ireland Reaching Out

The following is sent courtesy of the Irish Family History Foundation (www.rootsireland.ie):

Ireland Reaching Out

The Ireland Reaching Out (IRO or Ireland XO) Project is an Irish government sponsored initiative established to connect people of Irish heritage abroad with the Irish parish communities from where their ancestors emigrated in Ireland. The national pilot project is being organized within 46 parishes in the South-East Galway region and aims to enable geographical parish communities as they are today to expand to become globally connected online virtual communities.

In June of this year, the parish community of South-East Galway will be part of a Week of Welcomes festival. Activities will include visits to ancestral townlands, talks on local history and tours/leisure activities in the local South East Galway area.

Please visit the website www.irelandxo.com to view the brochure and book online (http://bit.ly/jN7eo5). Throughout this week, participants will be welcomed to the parish, re-introducing them to their communities and place of origin. While it is an opportunity for cultural renewal and discovery, the week also promises to be great fun.

We realize that this may no longer be possible this year but we hope our invitation is of interest for the coming year and that you will want to learn much more. We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Dolores O’Shea

Ireland Reaching Out
00 353 91 842013

(With thanks to the IFHF)


Discover Scottish Church Records now on sale

My next book, Discover Scottish Church Records, is now on sale from Unlock the Past in Australia for AU$19.50.

In this latest book I have provided an overview on the history of the Kirk, its various offshoots and other denominations, the records generated by the various religions, how to locate and access them, how to research church ministers, and more. There's more on what to expect in a previous blog post at http://www.gould.com.au/Discover-Scottish-Church-Records-p/utp0281.htm.

The book can now be ordered from the following link, http://www.gould.com.au/Discover-Scottish-Church-Records-p/utp0281.htm, and usually takes two to three days to ship (in Australia).

I just want to take this opportunity to thank Alan, Alona, Sharon and all the team down under at Unlock the Past, but in particular the eternally patient Rosemary Kopittke for her work in editing and laying out the book, and for coping with what must have seemed to be a series of neverending updates and changes from yours truly!

A top team with a top range of books for all your Ozzie genealogical needs - for more on Unlock the Past visit www.unlockthepast.com.au.

Don't forget there's a Scottish and Irish Genealogical Cruise from 21 NOV-5 DEC 2011 mainly around New Zealand but also taking in Tasmania, Melbourne and Sydney. The full itineray is online at http://www.unlockthepast.com.au/events/history-and-genealogy-cruise-november-2011-scottish-irish-theme.

I'm one of many speakers on the talks team, and the site has now added a note to say that subject to confirmation, a few of us will also be participating at special additional Unlock the Past events in Auckland on Saturday 19th November before the cruise, and in Sydney on Tuesday 6th December, the day after. The site also adds "shorter 2-3 hour meetings will be considered at any of the eight New Zealand or Australian ports the ship visits - where there is interest from local societies or libraries". I'm well up for that - so hopefully see a few of you there at some point! :)


Monday, 16 May 2011

Routes to Your North East Roots

A new website has launched today which may be of help to those with ancestry from the north east of Scotland. Routes to your North East Roots (www.northeastscotlandroots.com) essentially acts as a gateway to resources for the region, describing itself as 'the online presence of the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Ancestral Resources Partnership, an affiliation of regional archives, registrars, family history societies and other organisations that hold and promote genealogical resources to visitors both at home and abroad'.

Some case studies are also presented, an online gallery and some handy links to other useful resources.

(With thanks to ANESFHS on Twitter)


Ancestry Android app on the way

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) has announced on its Twitter feed (@AncestryUK) that an Android based Ancestry application for mobile devices is currently being developed and will be released later in the year.

At present there is only an application available for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch (available from iTunes App Store).


Sunday, 15 May 2011

One name studies discount on TheGenealogist

The following has been sent by Des Gander of the Guild of One Name Studies (www.one-name.org):

TheGenealogist provides discounts to members of the Guild of One-Name Studies

The Guild of One-Name Studies is pleased to announce that TheGenealogist (www.TheGenealogist.co.uk) has agreed to allow Guild members a discount on its Diamond and Gold subscriptions: £40 off its Diamond subscription and £10 off its Gold subscription. Current Guild members who already have a subscription with TheGenealogist can take advantage of this offer when their subscription renewal becomes due.

This offer means that the Guild of One-Name Studies has added yet another reason for anyone to join the Guild whether they are already undertaking, or are about to undertake, a one-name study or simply have an interest in one-name studies. TheGenealogist is the latest on-line website to offer discounts to Guild of One-Name Studies members.

TheGenealogist is run by the data provider S&N Genealogy supplies, and is a top British genealogy research website. They are also offering Guild members a discount of 30% off their normal price on Certificate Binders and Family History Binders, and 20% off their normal prices of S&N Data CDs.

The offer will assist Guild members in their further collection of data about their one-name surnames, which in turn will enable them and the Guild to achieve its charitable objective “to promote the preservation and publication of the resultant data, and to maximise its accessibility to interested members of the public”.

(With thanks to Des)


Coupar Angus memorial appeal

A book/CD project is currently underway by Mark Duffy and Hugh Macrae to commemorate all those who died in the World Wars from Coupar Angus, and the immediate vicinity, including Bendochy and Kettins.

The two gents are keen for anyone from the area with connections to anyone who died in the conflicts to get in touch to help share their stories.

Full details are available on the Scottish Military Research Group blog at http://scottishmilitary.blogspot.com/2011/05/future-coupar-angus-roll-of-honour.html


Saturday, 14 May 2011

Cambuslang Boys Brigade centenary appeal

The following has been received from Richy Black at 229th Glasgow Company of the Boys Brigade:

Did you grow up in Cambuslang? Were you involved in the Boys Brigade? If so, the 229th Glasgow Company, based in Cambuslang Parish Church, would like to hear from you.

The company will be turning 100 later this year, and is looking for former boys and officers to help celebrate this auspicious occasion. Events currently being planned include an open evening, with display of photos and memorabilia from the company's history, a dinner and of course a church parade. Full details of these events are still to be confirmed, but all are scheduled to take place over the weekend of 21-23 October 2011.

Over its 100 years the company has gone under several designations, beginning life as the 3rd Cambuslang based in Rosebank Church. A merger with the 2nd Cambuslang company (West Parish Church) came about in 1916, when most of the companies' officers were away fighting in the First World War. After the war, the boys of the joint company were less than keen to separate from their new friends, and so it was a single company which joined Glasgow Battalion in 1922, renamed the 192nd Glasgow company in the process. Battalion re-organisation in 1926 saw the company re-numbered again, this time as the 229th Glasgow company, the designation still in use today.

The company would be delighted to hear from any former members, however old or young, by any of the means listed below:

Telephone: 0141 634 4359
Email: 229turns100@gmail.com
Web: http://229turns100.wordpress.com
Twitter: @229turns100

229 Glasgow Company, Boys' Brigade, Cambuslang Parish Church, 1 Arnott Way, Cambuslang, G72 7JQ

(Image of 229th from the 60s courtesy of Robert Allison / www.edwardboyle.com)


War of 1812 Privateers update

The latest on the War of 1812: Privateers web project from Michael Dun:

Shipping 1793 to 1816

The marine news contained in Lloyd's List has been indexed by the Guildhall
Library, London I've now scanned in the marine news and both it and the
link to the index is available at www.1812privateers.org/Bibliography

(With thanks to Michael)


Tracing Your Family History on the Internet reviews

Time to abuse my own blog again...!

I was flabbergasted to learn yesterday that in just two months my latest book, Tracing Your Family History on the Internet, has sold more copies than my Researching Scottish Family History book has done in the whole of the last year!

Thanks to those who have already purchased it, I hope it is of great assistance with your research, and thank to those also who have provided some great and supportive reviews. Here are links to a few:

Federation of Family History Societies - www.ffhs.org.uk/news/books.php
"This is an invaluable and up-to-date handbook."

Anglo-Celtic Connections - http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com/2011/03/book-review-tracing-your-family-history.html
"Newcomers to family history, likely attracted by the title, will find good value in this handy reference."

Copies of reviews are also on the Pen and Sword website at www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/?product_id=2974, including:

Who Do You Think You Are magazine
"This book provides links to a staggering number of genealogical websites, and there is sure to be something here for everyone."

Kate (customer from Amazon)
"This useful and informative book is sure to be an excellent guide and addition to your collection."

MB (customer from Amazon)
"The clear layout of the guide helps the reader to excerpt all the useful information making the family history search a thrilling adventure."

The UK's Family Tree magazine has also given some much appreciated comments:
"Chris takes us on a whistle stop tour of the internet, pausing only to advise the the less wary on how to avoid the pitfalls... a perfect introduction for web-going family historians"

And from Your Family History magazine:
"Chris Paton's book - thorough and nicely set out so as what we want can easily be found - will without a doubt fall into the 'best-thing-since-sliced-bread' category... a wonderful book and a first class piece of research by the author"

(Pass the smelling salts someone! lol)

The book itself is cover priced at £12.99, but can be obtained from publishers Pen and Sword through the above link for £10.39, plus p&p.

By the way, Researching Scottish Family History is an equally useful tome, and can be bought for £7.95 from http://familyhistorypartnership.com/prod141.htm. As with Tracing your Family History on the Internet it can also be purchased at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh. If you are in Oz, keep an eye out also for my next book, out soon, Discover Scottish Church Records, from Unlock the Past (www.unlockthepast.com.au), which will be AU$ 19.50.

And finally, do keep your eyes out much later in the year for my latest project. It's 1866 Perthshire, cattle plague is ravaging the land and poachers are hard at work across the estates. And on a farm hidden behind a small hillock in Lower Strathearn - there's been a murrderrr...

(Updated 22 and 23 MAY)


Friday, 13 May 2011

Fettercairn history online

The History of Fettercairn is a newly transcribed book on the Electric Scotland webite. For news of this and more, visit the latest newsletter at www.electricscotland.org/showthread.php/1717-Newsletter-13th-May-2011#post4776.


Boer War talk in Girvan

From Alloway and South Ayrshire Family History Society:

“Boer War Talk - McKechnic Institute Girvan ”

Alloway & Southern Ayrshire Family History Society is holding its next meeting in Girvan on Tuesday evening the 17th May 2011, 7.30 pm for 7.45 pm.

The guest speakers Andrew & Sheila Dinwoodie, will speak on Girvan’s Boer war connection. A memorial cross in Doune Cemetary commemorates 10 young Girvan men who died in the Boer war.

Through visiting Zulu and Boer War battlegrounds, they have found out more about the Girvan soldiers.

The cross bears the crest of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the Royal Scot Fusiliers.

A small charge of £1.50 for visitors includes a light refreshment.

(With thanks to Barbara Finlay)


Thursday, 12 May 2011

East Dunbartonshire Family and Local History Fair

Saturday, May 21st 2011 sees the East Dunbartonshire Family and Local History Fair at William Patrick Library, the Auld Kirk Museum and Barony Chambers, Kirkintilloch.

The main fair is at the library from 10am-4pm, and there will be local history activities, talks and guided walks. Throughout the day a wide range of organisations will provide displays, information and advice including:

· Milngavie & Bearsden Historical Society
· Campsie Local History Group
· Croy Historical Society
· Dunbartonshire Family History Society
· Forth & Clyde Canal Society
· Friends of Thomas Muir
· Glasgow and West of Scotland Family History Society
· Kirkintilloch & District Society of Antiquaries
· Lanarkshire Family History Society
· Lenzie Local History Society
· Milngavie Heritage & History Group
· Mugdock Trust
· North Lanarkshire Council Archives
· Torrance History Group
· West Dunbartonshire Libraries

There are also talks by Glasgow Archives' Irene O'Brien on Irish research (10.30-11.30) and on the use of SCRAN (www.scran.ac.uk) by Helen Foster (2.15pm-3.15pm), both at Barony Chambers by the Auld Kirk Museum - call 0141 578 0144 to book a place, though the talks themselves are free admission.

There's also a Peel Walking Tour at 12 noon, led by Don Martin of Kirkintilloch & District Society of Antiquaries, starting from the Auld Kirk Museum. From 10am-5pm there is also a Toy Stories exhibition, and activity sessions for the kids, again at the Auld Kirk Museum, as well as a dress up corner.

For further information please contact Information & Archives, William Patrick Library, 2-4 West High Street, Kirkintilloch, G66 1AD
Tel: 0141 777 3142
Email: libraries@eastdunbarton.gov.uk

Something for all of the family!

(With thanks to Bob Stewart of Lanarkshire Family History Society)


Uig life in 1810

Sarah Egan of Comann Eachdraidh Uig has placed an account online of spiritual life in the parish of Uig on Lewis in 1810, as taken from "The Story of a Lewis Catechist", the history of Angus Maciver of Reef (1799-1850). The account is at www.ceuig.com/archives/3011 and is well worth reading for the apparent 'ungodliness' of the minister (Hugh Munro 1778-1823) and his flock, at least as perceived by the writer.

Personally I don't think there's enough whisky served at religious events...! lol

(Thanks Sarah!)


The Genealogist - POW records

Now available from The Genealogist website (www.thegenealogist.co.uk):

List of British Officers Taken Prisoner, 1914 to 1918

Over 7,000 British and Commonwealth Officers were captured during the First World War, and with few records available for Prisoners of War during this period, these records are invaluable for researching your military ancestors.

List includes name and rank, date they went missing, where/when they were interned and the date of repatriation. For Officers that died or were killed, it also shows the date and place of death.

Contains Officers of the British Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Naval Division, with regiments of the Indian Army, Canadian, Australian, Newfoundland and South African Forces.

Can be browsed by page using bookmarks or searched by name, and includes a Name Index. Records are divided into West and East theatres of war, with individuals in the West Theatres arranged by regiment.

Some Officer POW's in Germany were allowed to take walks out of the camp and shop in local villages, if they provided their word in writing that they wouldn't escape. POW's in Germany could be sent to neutral Switzerland or Holland if they were suffering from physical or mental illness in the final years of the war. They were also permitted to live in hotels, could bring their wives to join them, and were allowed visits from sweethearts and relatives.

The records include W. E Johns, author of the ‘Biggles’ series, who was taken prisoner in September 1918 after his plane was shot down, and English film director James Whale, a 2nd Lieutenant in the Worcestershire Regiment, captured during the Flanders Campaign of August 1917. Whale spent two years at Holzminden Prison Camp, and whilst imprisoned discovered a talent for the theatrical, putting on shows for the guards and fellow prisoners. He directed numerous films including Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Hell’s Angels, The Invisible Man, Show Boat and The Man in the Iron Mask.

The following records have also been added to the Military collection on The Genealogist:

• War Office List 1414-1921
• History of the Old County Regiment of Lancashire Militia
• Navy Lists 1836-1838
• Army List Jan 1908
• Hart's Army 1873
• Army Lists 1838
• List of Officers of the Royal Regiment of Artillery 1862-1914
• Salisbury Plain Military Directory April, 1914
• Officers of the Army and Royal Marines 1821

(With thanks to Beth at The Genealogist)


Genhound update

The Genhound website (www.genhound.co.uk) has been updated with some further records for England, and an article entitled The British Education System, though it is actually very much about the English system with only some parts relevant to the situation north of the border. (For a more detailed article on Scottish education, check out next month's Your Family History magazine, where an article I've written on the subject will be published.)

However, Genhound is worth another plug, as it has some land records for Scotland, mainly early sasine records, some services of heirs records for Roxburghshire and some registers of deeds, which I think is the only online presentation available for these (though open to correction on that!).

For more on what it holds on that see my earlier post at http://scottishancestry.blogspot.com/2010/07/genhound-scottish-records.html


Scottish archives portals - thoughts

I’ve been reading with interest some comments on a strategic meeting of Scotland’s archive sector yesterday, with comments from the University of Dundee and Strathclyde University amongst others. The meeting seems to have been about the next phase of online archive portals development.

One comment in particular from Strathclyde on Twitter has me somewhat excited that it was even discussed, a comment that the Community Archives Wales (www.ourwales.org.uk) was held up as an exciting model of a site. I couldn’t agree more, and made the exact same point last year at a meeting held in the ScotlandsPeople Centre about possible ways ahead not just for the centre but other government institutions such as the NAS/NRS etc.

As part of that meeting I suggested a few thoughts about possible future online developments that I know I would love to see here in Scotland, and a community archive site was one of them, a concept which seems to have been successfully explored elsewhere in the UK. There are already a few such sites online such as Community Archives Wales, People's Collection Wales (www.peoplescollectionwales.com) the Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network (www.ccan.co.uk) and StoryVault (www.storyvault.com), which host archives of stories and documents submitted by people from all over the world. I have yet to find a permanent Scottish wide national memory bank like this, and think one would be a very useful development.

Last year I was interviewed for a BBC radio series where I was asked to talk about the history of R & J Dicks, a Glasgow based shoe firm in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The reason was that the BBC had created a community site as part of the 100 greatest objects project they had run, and Radio Scotland was doing a tie in series to run with it. On this site, somebody had submitted images of several items for the firm that I had never seen before, from his own private collection. I was asked to participate merely for a lead in to the collection with a relevant story connected to the firm, as my great grandfather died in Belgium in WW1 as a civilian, having stayed there when war broke out to look after two of the firm’s shops shops, which he managed. The material in the collection posted was unique, and that’s the kind of use these archives can have, unearthing real gems that may never be found in an archive. We all have extraordinary and unique documentary material in drawers and cupboards which will be a shame to see disappear in years to come.

Another possibility I would also love to see is a user operated Scottish wiki system, providing information to enhance the already useful online material generated by the National Records of Scotland and local archives. FamilySearch and the National Archives at Kew operate systems like this, for example, in conjunction with their own sites (though I believe the TNA site is under threat financially just now). Providing online information does not just have to be a top down experience, the public is as much of a resource as the archives themselves. The NRS has just allowed photography in its reading room – if it created a wiki site that took transcribed contributions from people concerning collections they have looked at, would that in time take some pressure off some of the resources themselves?

Whether this is on the cards I have no idea, but it will be interesting to see what transpires in the next few months and years online!


BBC Domesday once more

The BBC has finally made its Domesday Project accessible again at http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday, which looked at the lives of one million people in 1986 across the British Isles.

The event was part of 900th anniversary celebrations of 1066, when the English were invaded by the Normans under William the Conqueror, though the opportunity was taken to include all of the United Kingdom. Interesting to note though that the BBC seems to be in ignorance about what that actually is, if you read its 'What is Domesday' page - "The whole of the UK – including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man". Sorry Beeb, your researcher clearly needs to go back to school - both are crown dependencies, and not part of the UK. (And the archive at Kew is the National Archives, not the National Archive!)

The results were originally presented on the BBC's Laserdisc format, which never caught on as a technology, meaning few got to see it. (The first television job I ever worked on was as a student in Belfast in 1990, where I was a gofer on a teacher training package being filmed at Stranmillis College on Laserdisc, and I remember how cumbersome the discs were, the same size as vinyl LPs, though heavier!). The technology became obsolete very quickly, and the chances of this Domesday survey lasting as long as the original seemed to be remote.

The data has been retrieved though, and the new site is interactive, allowing you to provide updates - I've already submitted an update of a view from the hills behind Largs to the town.

A great venture, but bear in mind that in February the BBC had plans to dump 172 of its online web projects permanently (see this post), so whether it remains for another 900 years may still be up for debate!

UPDATE: Somewhat reassuringly, the National Archives at Kew is now involved - it's news announcement on the project is available at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/news/573.htm


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Burns Museum wins award

Congratulations to the new National Trust for Scotland run Robert Burns Museum in Alloway, which has just won the best permanent exhibition category at the Museums and Heritage Awards in London.

For more on the awards see www.museumsandheritage.com/awards

(With thanks to @MandHOnline on Twitter)


US War of 1812 pension records

I mentioned yesterday that FamilySearch had launched a new series of US civil war pension records, which will have lots of Scots descended folk on both sides of the conflict, including a fair few on the Confederate side (with the St Andrews Saltire in the middle of their flag!).

Today the pension application records from an earlier American conflict have been launched online at www.footnote.com - the War of 1812. Less than one per cent of the records are at present online, this is just a launch, but the project will increase slowly across time.

The US's Federation of Genealogy Societies is behind the fundraising to do this (see http://fgs.org/1812/), and the records are being made available for free on the Footnote hosted site at http://go.footnote.com/1812pensions/.

(With thanks to @KyHistSoc on Twitter)


Scotland's 100 Oldest Companies

Thanks to Simon Fowler for letting me know about the following news posted on the Archives NRA Jiscmail list.

The Scotland’s 100 Oldest Companies project has been completed, with the findings of the business archives catalogued posted online through the project wiki at http://oldestscottishcompanies.wikispaces.com/Completed+Companies+Index. (Although a wiki site, alteration is by membership only). A completed PDF version of the company list and an Excel Spreadsheet of the results from the project will also soon be available online at the Business Archives Council of Scotland website www.gla.ac.uk/archives/bacs/.

According to the post by BACS officer David Luck, "The project has uncovered and surveyed previously unknown record holdings, and has updated previous work done by the National Register of Archives for Scotland. It has featured a wide variety of organisations, reflecting the diversity of limited liability companies in Scotland: local community groups such as The Corstorphine Public Hall Company have featured next to large business like Diageo and professional institutions like The Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow. The oldest company still registered at Companies House was actually the Cupar Corn Exchange Company, set-up by local people to build and then manage the titular facility in the centre of Cupar, Fife.

"Part of the aim of the project was to provide a snapshot of the current state of the historic records of important businesses in Scotland. Though there are some exceptions, the general results indicate how well Scotland’s business heritage has been preserved; 77 of the companies examined have some sort of historical records, and 57 of these are held within a recognised archive facility."

After a comparison with similar work in England, he goes on to say that "perhaps it is not surprising that the financial services sector are strongly represented in the oldest companies, but there is also a surprisingly large manufacturing element that survives amongst organisations still registered at Companies House Edinburgh.

"All these resources are free to download and use responsibly. I hope the work can be a building block for other researchers in Scottish business, and a useful resource going forward."

The BACS website is at www.gla.ac.uk/archives/bacs/, with the Business Archives Scotland blog at www.businessarchivesscotland.blogspot.com. If you have a company archive and you haven't a clue what to do with it, please do contact BACS...!


Berneray and Barra comainn eachdraidh event

On Saturday last, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar held a networking event at Sgoil Lionacleit on Benbecula for the comainn eachdraidh (historical associations) of both Berneray and Barra, with a presence also at the event from An Caidreachas Eachdraidh and Tasglann.

Various projects were discussed, including the Guthan Bheàrnaraidh project, and the development of both An Caidreachas Eachdraidh and Hebridean Connections, with discussions of how these could possibly be expanded across the isles, and with an invitation for other societies to participate.

CNE has now placed an in-depth blog report on the day's proceedings at http://blogserver.cne-siar.gov.uk/wp-archivist/?p=987. It's all happening out west!

(With thanks to Peter Kerr @direcleit on Twitter)


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

FamilySearch to release US Civil War records

Audrey Collins has news of a major new release from FamilySearch on US Civil War service and pension records, from both the Confederate and Union sides, at http://thefamilyrecorder.blogspot.com/2011/05/familysearch-announce-release-of-100s.html?spref=tw.

The collection includes:

Arizona, Service Record of Confederate Soldiers of the Civil War, 1861-1863
Arkansas Confederate Pensions, 1901-1929
Civil War Pension Index
Louisiana Confederate Pensions, 1898-1950
Missouri Confederate Pension Applications and Soldiers' Home Admission Applications
South Carolina Compiled Service records of Confederate Soldiers (NARA M267)
South Carolina Probate 1671-1977
South Carolina Probate Records, Files, and Loose Papers, 1732-1964
United States, 1890 Census of Union Veterans and Widows
United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904
United States Union Provost Marshall's Office Files of Papers Relating to Two or More Civilians, 1861-1866
U.S. Soldiers Index, 1855-1865
U.S. Navy Widows' Certificates, 1861-1910 (NARA M1279)
U.S. Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914, Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933
Vermont Enrolled Militia, 1861-1867

Many of the records continue to the mid 20th century, so will likely be as popular in the US as the Chelsea Pension records over here! To view them, visit www.familysearch.org/civilwar.

(With thanks to Audrey!)


More on the Boys Brigade - from 1923!

A couple of days ago I blogged about my boys' achievements at the local Boys Brigade company here in Largs, and included a short history of the organisation. At the end of the piece I asked if anybody else had any memories to share, but was not prepared for the following!

Reader Jean Mackenzie has sent through a rare and fascinating collection of images from a Boys Brigade camp on the Isle of Arran in 1923, held in Brodick (where the ferry sails to from Ardrossan). Eight of the images appear to show members of the company involved, 1st Clydeside, in daily camp life, whilst the ninth shows a BB boy with what appears to be a group of sea scouts. I was actually in Brodick last week for the first time in years, so can well imagine the fun that was had!

Were your ancestors involved in this company, or perhaps even in the images? If so, do drop me a note!

(With thanks to Jean!)