Friday, 5 August 2022

FindmyPast adds records from Dungarvan and Kilmacthomas

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has added the following collections from Co. Waterford, Ireland:

Dungarvan Town Commissioners Records

The Town Commission was established in 1854, and was responsible for government activity such as the maintenance of roads and waterworks, sanitation, providing housing, and regulating the markets. These records cover the years 1851-1922, and document everything from staff and suppliers, assistance requests, fee payments, or deserted and orphaned children. 


Waterford Poor Law Union Board Of Guardians Minute Books

Unearth your ancestor's connection to 19th and 20th century workhouses with 38,500 new records. These records are from the Kilmacthomas Union.

If you find your ancestor in this collection, it's possible that they owed money, asked for emigration assistance, or got married within the workhouse. These records also detail the staff and suppliers of the workhouses across the area, as well as noting fee payments, maintenance work, and general minutes on the day-to-day running of the institutions. 

For further details and links visit https://www.findmypast.co.uk/blog/new/waterford-queensland.

Chris

My new book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Through Land Records is now available to buy at https://bit.ly/IrishLandRecords. Also available - Sharing Your Family History Online, Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed), and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records - to purchase, please visit https://bit.ly/ChrisPatonPSbooks. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

British Newspaper Archive passes 55 million pages

The British Newspaper Archives (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) has just passed 55 million pages, with some 55,034,763 pages available at the time of writing:

Beyond the additions for England and Wales (listed at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/titles/recently-added/30days) there has been very little additional content for Scotland and Ireland added over the last 30 days:

Scotland

Edinburgh Evening News
1951, 1954, 1956

Irvine Herald
1994

Strathearn Herald
1993

Galloway News and Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser
1993


Ireland

Munster Tribune
1958, 1960

East Galway Democrat
1920, 1937


It is interesting, however, to see the increase in overseas content becoming available:


Overseas

Civil & Military Gazette (Lahore)
1939-1940

Barbados Herald
1879-1896

St. Kitts Daily Express
1906, 1909-1915

Australian Spiritualist
1881

Antigua Standard
1883-1890

Colonial Standard and Jamaica Despatch
1865, 1867, 1870, 1872, 1874, 1879

Mirror (Trinidad & Tobago)
1899-1900, 1912-1913, 1916

Voice of St. Lucia
1889

Barbados Agricultural Reporter
1896, 1911-1922

Full details at the website!

Chris

My new book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Through Land Records is now available to buy at https://bit.ly/IrishLandRecords. Also available - Sharing Your Family History Online, Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed), and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records - to purchase, please visit https://bit.ly/ChrisPatonPSbooks. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Ancestry adds Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Service Records 1903-1922

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) has added the following Royal Navy collection, containing 59,221 records:

UK, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Service Records, 1903-1922
https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/collections/62403/
Source: ADM 337: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve: Records of Service, First World War. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives.

You can use these records to find details about your ancestor including:

  • First and last names
  • Rank
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Enlistment date
  • Discharge date
  • Occupation


The records for ratings are arranged by division and then division service number. Those who joined the volunteer reserves after the start of the First World War will have a "Z" in their service number.

Further details via the link.

Chris

My new book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Through Land Records is now available to buy at https://bit.ly/IrishLandRecords. Also available - Sharing Your Family History Online, Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed), and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records - to purchase, please visit https://bit.ly/ChrisPatonPSbooks. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

More Kerry records added to RootsIreland

From RootsIreland (www.rootsireland.ie):

We are delighted to announce the addition of 9,003 new Kerry Roman Catholic baptismal and marriage records to our database at Roots Ireland. They are as follows:

  • Firies RC baptisms, 1827-1894 (7963 records);
  • Firies RC marriages, 1830-1893 (1310 records).

For an up to date list of sources for Kerry and to search these records, go to kerry.rootsireland.ie and login or subscribe as required.

Yours Sincerelyrootsireland.ie

Chris

My new book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Through Land Records is now available to buy at https://bit.ly/IrishLandRecords. Also available - Sharing Your Family History Online, Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed), and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records - to purchase, please visit https://bit.ly/ChrisPatonPSbooks. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

MyHeritage introduces Photo Tagger

From MyHeritage (www.myheritage.com):

We’re delighted to introduce Photo Tagger, a free new feature on the MyHeritage mobile app that lets you easily tag multiple photos of the same individual in one go. Previously, tagging photos meant reviewing and tagging them one by one, which was time consuming. Photo Tagger makes organizing your family photos easier and accelerates your productivity, enabling you to tag hundreds of photos in minutes. You can still tag your photos individually as before, but Photo Tagger adds convenient and accurate bulk tagging.

For more on the release visit https://blog.myheritage.com/2022/08/introducing-photo-tagger-tag-multiple-photos-instantly

Chris

My new book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Through Land Records is now available to buy at https://bit.ly/IrishLandRecords. Also available - Sharing Your Family History Online, Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed), and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records - to purchase, please visit https://bit.ly/ChrisPatonPSbooks. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Monday, 1 August 2022

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland - a useful resource

The following is an article previously published in the new defunct Your Family History magazine in 2013. I have slightly updated it in parts (links, etc!):

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland

Knowing when our forebears were born, married and died helps us to understand the parameters of their former existence, but knowing about their communities, occupations, religious beliefs and politics is what really helps us to bring their stories to life. For those with Caledonian-based ancestry an extraordinary collection of contemporary parish reports, known as the Statistical Accounts of Scotland, can help us to do just that. Between the 18th and 20th centuries there were three such accounts drawn up on a national basis, the first in the 1790s, the second in the 1830s, and the third over a considerably longer period in the late 20th century. A fourth account for East Lothian has also been published across seven volumes for the period from 1945–2000 (see https://el4.org.uk/).

The first of these accounts, known as the ‘First’ or ‘Old’ Statistical Account, was drawn up between 1791 and 1799 under the authority of Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster, a Member of Parliament for Caithness who was also known as ‘Agricultural Sir John’. Sinclair asked each of the 938 Church of Scotland parish ministers across the country to provide detailed descriptions of their patches based on a supplied list of 166 questions, with such varied information as the names of the principle landowners in a parish, the presbytery and synod to which each parish belonged, local antiquities of note, geological observations and more. In addition the ministers were asked to include a short history of the parish and a contemporary description of the population, noting everything from their religious habits to their principal occupations and manufactures. 

‘Statistical missionaries’ were sent around the country to cajole those who fell behind schedule. The entries were published as they were received, in no particular geographical order, meaning that the first volume, for example, starts with an account for Jedburgh in Roxburghshire, then Holywood in Dumfriesshire, Portpatrick in Wigtonshire, and so on.

Whilst very few of the accounts name individuals (other than key landowners, ministers and entrepreneurs) they nevertheless provide a great deal of detail on the ordinary lives and customs of the working folk of the parish, as well as information on recent parish changes. In the Midlothian parish of Lasswade, for example, the minister noted how it was ‘about 50 years since the first paper mill was built in this parish; and within these 30 years, the number of people employed in this manufacture has increased from about 30 or 40 to about 260’.

The habits of the parishioners’ day-to-day life are also recorded, and being observed from the minister’s perspective, can often be critical! When discussing marriage customs for the parish of Monquhitter in Aberdeenshire, for example, the writer noted his disgust at the festivities surrounding the ceremony:

When a pair were contracted they, for a stipulated consideration, bespoke the wedding dinner at a certain tavern, and then ranged the country in every direction to solicit guests. One, two, and even three hundred would convene on these occasions to make merry at their own expense for two or more days. This scene of feasting, drinking, dancing, wooing, fighting, was always enjoyed with the highest relish, and until obliterated by a similar scene, furnished ample materials for rural mirth and rural scandal.

The level of enthusiasm for the project experienced by each minister varied. In the Ayrshire parish of Largs, for example, the submitted account was so short that a second account was submitted by an anonymous ‘Friend to Statistical Enquiries’ to make up for the shortfall in detail.

Nevertheless, the initial exercise was deemed so successful that it was felt prudent in 1832 by the ‘Committee of the Society for the Sons and Daughters of the Clergy’ to create a follow on exercise, in the form of a second or ‘New’ Statistical Account, which was drawn up between 1834 and 1845. In structure this was very similar in basis to the first account, though in the rapidly expanding cities many additional observations were added to the reports. Publication in this instance was made on a county-by-county basis, with the first volume dealing with Edinburghshire (Midlothian), the second with Linlithgowshire (West Lothian), Haddingtonshire (East Lothian) and Berwickshire, and so on, for 15 volumes.

One of the great advantages of the two accounts is the ability to compare the progress of a parish between the two reports, with much of the country being radically transformed between them thanks to both the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions. It is possible in some cases to see what attracted a family to a particular area, and in others to see what may have driven them away. A good example lies with Perth, with the two accounts recording a dramatic ‘boom-and-bust’ cycle across half a century. The original account from the 1790s describes the thriving handloom weaving industry, noting that: ‘the staple manufacture of Perth is linen, and of late, a considerable quantity of cotton cloth. There are above 1,500 looms employed in the town and suburbs; which manufacture of linen and cottons, annually, about L.100,000 sterling value.’

By 1837, a very different picture was painted, with the minister noting a dramatic change in fortunes for the town’s weavers: ‘Owing to adverse circumstances and events, some capitalists failed, and others were necessitated to restrict their operations. The numbers of operatives thereupon diminished. Wages fell very low, and no small distress ensued.’ Again the minister pulled no punches, stating that there was no doubt that ‘the temporary prosperity of this branch of trade was chiefly owing to the too adventurous spirit of speculating individuals’.

As well as providing contextual information about our parishioners’ daily lives, the accounts can also alert us to the existence of particular record sets that might further our research. If, for example, a baptism record cannot be found for a person in a parish on ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) prior to 1855, the year when Scottish civil registration commenced, the relevant statistical account may alert us to the existence of additional religious denominations within the parish, the records for which are not included on the website.

The names of the relevant landowners can also be useful, in that by identifying who the laird was for a particular area, the relevant estate papers can then be targeted for further research. The accounts may even explain why in some cases if records do exist they may still be of little use. In the second account for the parish of Kinclaven, for example, the Reverend Henry Henderson noted that: ‘It is to be regretted that parents are not sufficiently sensible of the importance of registering the births and baptism of their children. Among the Dissenters, especially, great negligence in this respect still prevails.’

Occasionally the accounts can provide some rather unusual quirky tales that may need to be taken with a pinch of salt! In the first account for the Dumfriesshire parish of Kirkmichael, the minister recalled a story concerning one of his predecessors from some 50 years earlier: ‘One night as he was returning home, at a late hour, from a presbytery, he was seized by the fairies, and carried aloft into the air. Through fields of aether and fleecy clouds he journeyed many a mile.’

Fortunately for the minister there was a happy ending: ‘Being thus sufficiently convinced of the reality of their existence, they let him down at the door of his own house, where he afterward often recited to the wondering circle the marvellous tale of his adventure.’

The first two Statistical Accounts collections have been made available at https://stataccscot.edina.ac.uk/static/statacc/dist/home. Through this you can search for the relevant account by parish name, county and account (i.e. first or second), which in most cases will be more than adequate for your needs. You can also do a keyword search across all accounts at one go and compare various anecdotes from parish to parish. The accounts are also linked to the later Ordnance Gazetteer of 1882–1885, and as well as the scanned page returns you get a transcript alongside that can be cut and pasted into any document you may be writing, which can be very useful. There are also several related resources, such as background documents to the records’ collation and more. 

The records can also be found online at Google Books (https://books.google.co.uk) and via the Electric Scotland website, with the first account available at www.electricscotland.com/HISTORY/statistical/oldndx.htm and the new account at www.electricscotland.com/HISTORY/statistical/index.htm. The records from these later sites can be downloaded and saved in PDF format. The third accounts from the 20th century are not digitised, but can be consulted at local libraries.

Chris

My new book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Through Land Records is now available to buy at https://bit.ly/IrishLandRecords. Also available - Sharing Your Family History Online, Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed), and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records - to purchase, please visit https://bit.ly/ChrisPatonPSbooks. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Friday, 29 July 2022

Glasgow and West of Scotland Family History Society

I was asked recently why I wasn't a member of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Family History Society, a society to which I have given talks on several occasions in the past. As questions go, that one was definitely right up there with 'what is the meaning of life?', and I didn't have an answer.

So I've just joined! 

Annual membership is £15 if based in the UK, £18 is in the rest of the world. There are some useful databases available to members online, but perhaps the greatest online offering is free access to members of the society's journal in PDF format, from the earliest editions in 1978 to the current editions of 2022. The society also has a research centre in Partick, although this has been closed due to the pandemic over the last couple of years. 

Most of my Glasgow connections are limited to the late 19th century onwards, with many ancestral lines from Ireland establishing themselves primarily in and around Bridgeton, the most recent being my granny, born there in 1904 to two migrants from Londonderry and Fermanagh. However, perhaps my most irritating ancestral brick wall is that of my two times great grandfather, John Brownlie MacFarlance, whose parents were stated to be a blacksmith called John MacFarlane and his wife Ann Brownlee, and for whom I can find zip, zilch, nothing. Obviously if that one is ever cracked, happy days, but there is more value to being a member of the society than that, with Glasgow being Scotland's largest populated city. We all have connections with Glasgow somewhere in Scotland!

To find out more about the society visit www.gwsfhs.org.uk.

(For details of other Scottish societies visit www.safhs.org.uk, and for the comainn eachdraidh/historical societies of the Western Isles, visit www.hebrideanconnections.com)

Chris

My new book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Through Land Records is now available to buy at https://bit.ly/IrishLandRecords. Also available - Sharing Your Family History Online, Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed), and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records - to purchase, please visit https://bit.ly/ChrisPatonPSbooks. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Scottish Indexes conference 17 on September 3rd

After a well-earned break of a few months, the Scottish Indexes (www.scottishindexes.com) team (Graham and Emma Maxwell) is back with a new conference on September 3rd:

Scottish Indexes Conference XVII - Sunday 3 September 2022 (update 28 July 2022)

Would you like to learn how to trace your family history? Please join us at our September 2022 conference. You can discover more about your Scottish heritage and pick up tips from some of Scotland’s leading genealogists. For example, genealogist Chris Paton will present ‘Scottish Research Resources Before 1800’. More speakers will be announced soon.

Book here on Zoom.

I'm delighted to be giving talk at the session, with another speaker confirmed being Margaret Fox, who will be talking on 'Traquair’s Tenants, Cottars and Workers'. The conference is free to attend, but will happily accept donations to help with the running costs - full details at www.scottishindexes.com, and via the Zoom link.

I look forward to hopefully seeing you there!

Chris

My new book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Through Land Records is now available to buy at https://bit.ly/IrishLandRecords. Also available - Sharing Your Family History Online, Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed), and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records - to purchase, please visit https://bit.ly/ChrisPatonPSbooks. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

National Records of Scotland retains accredited archive status

The National Records of Scotland (www.nrscotland.gov.uk) has regained its archive accreditation status on the basis of several factors, including "organisational health, archival collections and stakeholder engagement" (https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/news/2022/nrs%E2%80%99-archive-service-accreditation-success).

I recently wrote to the Archive Service Accreditation standard folk in London to ask if the NRS was in breach of its standard, which is explained at https://cdn.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/archives/archive-service-accreditation-standard-june-2018.pdf - my enquiry asked whether provisions 1.4, 3,2 and 3.3 had been breached after an extraordinary two years of what many have perceived to be an incredibly poor service provision in comparison to the UK's other national archives, even with Covid taken into consideration. I received a response on July 13th, which you can read at http://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/2022/07/response-from-archive-service.html, in which I was advised that the ASA Committee had released a statement which "recognises that archive services may have to offer a reduced service based on public health guidance and risk assessments, and that this will not affect Accreditation status.". In other words, how the NRS responded to the challenges of Covid would not have impacted its assessment for accreditation.

At the end of June an open letter of protest was sent by genealogist Fergus Smith to the NRS (see http://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/2022/06/open-letter-protesting-ongoing.html), which made several national newspapers across the country. It was signed by 90 genealogists, academics, historians, university course tutors, and others, who clearly had had enough with what is perceived to be a deteriorated service provision. The NRS is not a privately run clique, it is a taxpayer funded institution tasked with the care of our national archive, and has obligations to its user base, as well as its staff. If the Archive Service Accreditation Standard is to mean anything, stakeholder engagement has to be an equal priority to its other concerns.

A lot of work does go into the seeking of accreditation for an archive, and so congratulations are due to the NRS on receiving it, with the status held for the next six years. But after a period where the relationship between the NRS and many within its user base has fallen substantially, its biggest task now is to perhaps convince many within that user base that it deserves it.

Chris

My new book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Through Land Records is now available to buy at https://bit.ly/IrishLandRecords. Also available - Sharing Your Family History Online, Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed), and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records - to purchase, please visit https://bit.ly/ChrisPatonPSbooks. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Saturday, 23 July 2022

42nd International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) Conference

From JewishGen (www.jewishgen.org), concerning the forthcoming 42nd International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) Conference (https://s4.goeshow.com/iajgs/annual/2022/index.cfm), from August 21st-25th 2022:

JewishGen is a major sponsor of next month's Annual International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) Conference. The conference offers unique opportunities to investigate and learn from experts in dozens of subjects, and we are proud to support so many of our speakers and presentations.

What excites your research? Networking? Poland? DNA? Civil War Jewish soldiers? Writing your family’s saga? Beginner sessions? Whichever topic propels your genealogy journey – this year’s IAJGS Virtual Conference has a presentation for you! Speakers are from over 14 countries and will give over 150 presentations on a broad gamut of subjects.

Here’s a sampling of some of the sessions which are sponsored by JewishGen and our leaders

    JewishGen.org 2022 Annual Meeting: Exciting Changes, Features, and Movement - Avraham Groll
    JewishGen.org - Opportunities to Volunteer - Avraham Groll           
    JewishGen.org: All the Details - Avraham Groll
    JewishGen.org: Leave No Stone Unturned  - Debbie Kroopkin
    Deep Dive into Romanian Records – Michael Moritz
    Exploring Jewish Families Found in DAR.org Genealogy Resources - Ellen Kowitt
    Slovakiana - An Online Resource for Jewish Researchers - Vivian Kahn
    What’s in a Name? Finding Your Ancestors' "Original" Names - Michael Moritz
    What’s New in Austrian and Czech Jewish Genealogy - E Randol Schoenberg

And of course there are all of the JewishGen Location Special Interest Group (SIG) Meetings including

    Austria-Czech
    Belarus
    BialyGen
    Danzig-Gdansk
    Germany
    Hungary
    Latvia
    Romania
    South Africa
    Sub-Carpathia
    Ukraine
    United Kingdom
    and the USA.

Registration starts at $99 and also includes access to a robust Exhibitor Hall, a Resource Database Library, and opportunities for translation and mentorship help. Be a part of this unparalleled educational and genealogical experience.

Learn more and register at iajgs2022.org.
 
Wishing you a wonderful weekend and Shabbat Shalom.

Avraham Groll
Executive Director
JewishGen

(With thanks to Avraham Groll) 

 

Chris

My new book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Through Land Records is now available to buy at https://bit.ly/IrishLandRecords. Also available - Sharing Your Family History Online, Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed), and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records - to purchase, please visit https://bit.ly/ChrisPatonPSbooks. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.