Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Zooming on! (And thanks Belfast!)

A big thanks to the Belfast branch of the North of Ireland Family History Society (www.nifhs.org/branches/belfast/) for a great session last night, when I gave a talk from my home in Ayrshire on how to trace Irish folk in Scotland - I'll be doing the talk again on November 16th for the Larne branch, if you missed it (and again early next year for the Causeway Coast and Glens!)! There were some great questions, and it was wonderful to see people attending not only from back home, but also from Canada and England - a real benefit of doing such sessions on Zoom!

In the last few months I have given many talks on Zoom to family history societies in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Australia and the US, and I have a fair few lined up for the rest of this year and next year also for groups in the US, Canada, England and NI. The use of platforms such as Zoom (https://zoom.us) and GoToWebinar (www.gotomeeting.com/en-gb/webinar) are really transforming the reach of such talks, and it is great to see how adaptive societies are becoming with their use - I've had a lot of fun recently talking to folk in Scotland, Devon, Belfast, Sydney, Queensland, and more (and some strange hours at which to give them!). There has also been a bit of a learning curve at my end, and new microphones and cameras purchased for the PC, but it's been wonderful to be able to catch up with so many folk worldwide.

I am currently proofreading my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, which will be out in January 2021 (see https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Sharing-Your-Family-History-Online-Paperback/p/18718), and within this I discuss the use of platforms such as Zoom and GoToWebinar. They are fast becoming a staple of the family history scene, offering a superb means to go beyond the normal reach at a traditional talk session for local FHSs, and to offer a continued sense of community during the current pandemic. Something I was particularly impressed with last night was the fact that once my talk had finished, the Belfast group, only on their second Zoom session as a society, had also scheduled a time for a good blether afterwards, proving that they aren't just handy for a lecture, there was a full blown family history society meeting going on last night!

If you are a society still thinking about taking the plunge, do consider giving it a go - God loves a trier, and I don't think I have come across a society yet that has regretted doing so! (Heck, I even have my family at it - see below!)

Chris

My next 5 week Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers course starts November 2nd - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=302. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Scottish witches names on Ancestry

An updated post from a previous year, which may be of interest for Hallowe'en...

In 2016 Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) released a special Scottish collection just in time for Hallowe'en.

Scotland, Names of Witches, 1658
http://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=61099
Source: Names of Witches in Scotland. Wellcome Library, London, England.

About Scotland, Names of Witches, 1658

The passing of the Scottish Witchcraft Act in 1563 made witchcraft, or consulting with witches, capital crimes in Scotland. It is estimated that between three and five thousand women were publicly accused of being witches in 16th and 17th century Scotland, a much higher number than neighbouring England. Some men were also accused of witchcraft during this period, however, the number of women persecuted was far larger.

The outbreak of witch-hunting in the years 1658-1662, the period in which this list of names was created, is generally agreed to represent the high water mark of Scottish persecution.

Within this collection, you will be able to find details of the accused's name and resident town.

(Image: Wellcome Library)


There is a bit more on the book's release on Scottish Legal news at http://www.scottishlegal.com/2016/10/27/book-listing-those-accused-of-witchcraft-in-17th-century-scotland-digitised/

Incidentally, I've noticed that the University of Edinburgh's Survey of Scottish Witchcraft website appears to be down - here's hoping it issn't permanent. There is more about the project at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survey_of_Scottish_Witchcraft

Chris

My next 5 week Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers course starts November 2nd - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=302. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Monday, 26 October 2020

Widening Horizons seminars from the Guild of One-Name Studies

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

The first three of the Guild Widening Horizons webinars are now online at the Seminar Events
page https://one-name.org/seminar-events/

The titles and presenters were:

Mortality and Morbidity: a study of National Registration death certificates for two families 1837 to 2009 – Elizabeth E. Green

One-Place Studies – thinking laterally:  how a one-place study can support surname and population studies  – Paul Carter and Pam Smith (Co-founders of ‘Name and Place’)

Creating a publicly-available common format database of parish register data on baptisms, marriages and burials – Dr Andy Hinde (University of Southampton)

Forthcoming talks:

October 28th     
The Ruby One-Name Collaborative Study: how it worked and what I learned – Dr Nikki Brown

November 4th     
Looking at single trees and whole orchards: how genealogists and demographers can work together – Dr Eilidh Garrett (University of Cambridge)

November 11th     
Identifying business proprietors from the census; and using the online Atlas on entrepreneurship – Professor Bob Bennett (University of Cambridge)


(With thanks to Wendy Archer)

Chris

My next 5 week Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers course starts November 2nd - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=302. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

New publications from Dumfries and Galloway FHS

From Dumfries and Galloway FHS (https://dgfhs.org.uk):

During October we have released 30 updated Memorial Inscription and OPR booklets. These are all available in the Online Shop and listed on our Publications page.**

An updated Publication List and Order Form are now available on the Downloads page of the RESOURCES menu.

In view of the restrictions we have had to impose as a result of Coronavirus, we are still unable to open our Research Centre and to complete any Mail Orders. However, our Online Shop is available where you will be able to purchase PDFs of all of our own publications and Newsletters, and pay for them using PayPal.
 
GRAVEYARD TRANSCRIPTION PROJECT

We have launched a Graveyard Transcription Project to begin to transcribe the 65,000 photos we have collected from our Graveyard Photographic Project. We are trying to create a snapshot of our Local History and we hope you will want to be part of it. We are seeking people willing to spend a few hours to create a Word, or similar, file of transcriptions from the photos we have. This is a massive task, but with help from many of the individuals interested in Family History throughout the world we can create a wonderful archive.

If you are interested in helping with this project, please contact miproject@dgfhs.org.uk for further details. You can also view this on our website at https://dgfhs.org.uk/graveyard-transcription-project/

(**From their website:  Last week we added updated Memorial Inscriptions for Applegarth and Sibbaldbie, Canonbie Volumes 1 & 2, Closeburn Dalgarnock, Dalton, Dornock Volumes 1 & 2, Dryfesdale and Dryfebridge, Dunscore Village, Durisdeer and Kirkbride, Gretna, Half Morton and Tower of Sark, Johnstone, Kirkmichael, Kirkmichael Garrel, Kirkpatrick Fleming Kirkconnel. This week we have added updated Memorial Inscriptions for Langholm Old Graveyard, Langholm Staplegordon, Langholm Wauchope Vols 1 & 2, Mouswald, St Mungo, Torthorwald, Tundergarth, Wamphray, Westerkirk and Old Parish Registers for Applegarth and Sibbaldbie, Canonbie, Dunscore.) 


(With thanks to the society via email)

Chris

My next 5 week Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers course starts November 2nd - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=302. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Forthcoming Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites lecture

A forthcoming online lecture from Gresham College, on November 2nd at 1pm:

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites
Professor Murray Pittock 

Charles Edward Stuart (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) is one of the most recognisable and romanticised figures of British history. Born in Rome as a Catholic prince on 31 December 1720, he led the Jacobite Rising of 1745, which came closer than anyone expected to changing Great Britain irrevocably. 

Professor Pittock will ask what kind of man was Charles, what were his ideas and day to day life like, what might have happened if he had won in 1745, and what even in defeat his legacy changed for Britain and its Empire.

For further details and to register, visit https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/bonnie-prince-charlie

Chris

My next 5 week Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers course starts November 2nd - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=302. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

FindmyPast adds Ayrshire 1801-1831 census records & Dundee deaths

The following Scottish collections have been added to FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk):

Scotland, Forfarshire (Angus), Dundee Death Index 1990-1993
Listing those who died in the Dundee area in the early ‘90s. Areas covered include the City of Dundee, Invergowrie, Longforgan, Lundie, Liff & Benvie, Birkhill, Muirhead, Auchterhouse, Mains and Strathmartine, Tealing, Kellas, Murroes, Monifieth North, and the Burgh of Monifieth.

Scotland, Ayrshire Census & Population Lists 1801-1831
This appears to contain lists for Galston (1801, 1811, 1821, 1831), Irvine (1821 only) and St. Quivox (1821 only). 

For more on these, and news of Warwickshire burials in England, and newspaper additions, visit www.findmypast.co.uk/blog/new/english-scottish-records

Chris

My next 5 week Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers course starts November 2nd - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=302. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Scottish Indexes seeks volunteers this weekend for indexing project

From Scottish Indexes (www.scottishindexes.com), news of a crowdsourcing indexing project this weekend if you fancy getting stuck in!

24/25 October 2020 Volunteer Project

Stuck at home this weekend and love family history?

If you are looking for something rewarding and interesting to do this weekend you may be interested in our weekend volunteer project.

We want to index more prison registers and right now we are working on Barlinnie, a large prison in Glasgow. The index that is created will then be put online for everyone to access for free.

This is a perfect project if you’ve not done indexing before or have limited time. It’s a collaborative project and there will be support all weekend from experienced volunteers.

Simply message us for more information.

You can contact the organisers through their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/scottish.indexes/


Chris

My next 5 week Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers course starts November 2nd - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=302. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Connecting emotionally with past events

I was updating a talk last night for the forthcoming Family History Foundation's Really Useful Virtual Family History Show (www.fhf-reallyuseful.com) on November 14th, in which I will be speaking on the topic of British Civilian POWs in the First World War. This will essentially focus on the story of the Ruhleben camp (pictured below), near Berlin, at which 5500 British civilians, and civilians from the British Empire, were interned for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time when war was declared.


I have a personal connection to the story, in that my Scottish great grandfather, David Hepburn Paton, a Scottish shop manager in Brussels, Belgium, at the outbreak of the war, was forced into hiding to avoid being arrested following the internment order issued by the German government in November 1914. David died in 1916 during his concealment, leaving his wife, Jessie MacFarlane, and three children to live in Brussels with little to no financial support during the remainder of the occupation. In the aftermath of his death, his son John (pictured below) was subsequently arrested and sent to Ruhleben, where he remained for the rest of the war.

I knew about John's time at Ruhleben, and that he had been arrested because he had turned 'of age'. John had been born on 29 October 1898 in Brussels, and a document from the National Archives at Kew had shown that he was taken to Ruhleben on December 1st 1916. No matter how many times I have gone through the documents, however, I discovered something last night that had been staring me in the face for a couple of years that had not initially clicked into place, but which unusually provoked a brief emotional response from me last night of sheer bloody anger.

A couple of years back I obtained a copy of another record concerning John on the Prisoners of the First World War website at https://grandeguerre.icrc.org, an online platform of the International Committee of the Red Cross. There was not a lot of detail on the form, but one I had either weirdly overlooked, or simply hadn't added to another 2 to make 4, was that it listed his date of arrest in Brussels, given as October 31st 1916. Whilst inserting this into the chronology of other records detailing his story last night, I have only just twigged, or perhaps only just remembered, that he was in fact arrested just two days after he had turned 18 years of age.

As family historians, we try to avoid judging events in the past, because we only work in the past and do not live within it, and no matter how hard we try we can never truly understand the contemporary context of happened with any event - we can only pick up the documented pieces afterwards and try to at least gain a glimpse of proceedings. Sometimes phrases may have more meaning in those documents than we at first may determine. In a letter from 1917, an uncle of John's noted that "when of age he was taken away", which I initially just assumed meant that John was at Ruhleben because he was aged 18, but in hindsight, I am now thinking he literally meant that he was recalling the exact experience of how he was taken away when he turned 18, which must have been a traumatic moment in time for the whole family.

But it wasn't as a family historian that I became angry last night, it was as a parent. Right now I have two sons, about to turn 16 and 20, so John was halfway between their two ages at the time he was lifted. Having just become what the authorities recognised as a man in a legal sense, he was taken, perhaps dragged, from his mother and siblings, for the crime of simply turning 18, and transported from his home in Brussels to another country, where another language was spoken by the authorities, to spend a month at the Berlin based Stadtvogtei prison, before being taken to Ruhleben. 

What must have been going through his mind? What must his recently widowed mother been going through in Belgium, and my grandfather (aged just 12 at the time), and their sister? 

And what if this had happened to one of my boys? 

I have no photograph of my great grandmother Jessie, I have just one letter written by her from Brussels during the occupation in which she noted that my grandfather, as a young boy, was "ill from privation", she barely having the means to survive financially. I have a few facts about her life afterwards back in Scotland following the war, in Glasgow and Inverness, but beyond that, she remains mainly a technical construct, the product of a few documents, giving me a glimpse into who she might have been in a factual sense. But last night, I got another glimpse of her, a brief emotional insight into what she must have experienced. In perhaps just a minor way, and for a short moment, it elevated my understanding of her beyond anything a single document could reveal. 

Last night, Jessie Paton nee MacFarlane (1866-1948) wasn't just my great grandmother, she was my grandad's mum, a parent who like many of us will have had to overcome adversity to enable a future for her kids. Thanks Jessie.

For more on my talk, British Civilian POWs in World War One, and for details of other talks and speakers at the FHF event on November 14th, visit www.fhf-reallyuseful.com/speakers/. We'll hopefully see you there!

Chris

My next 5 week Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers course starts November 2nd - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=302. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

National Library of Scotland adds Sutherland estate maps

From the National Library of Scotland (www.nls.uk):

We have added a further 580 maps online, relating to Sutherland Estates. These include 524 estate maps, 40 county maps, and 22 coastal charts. These maps were made to support all aspects of estate management, including agricultural improvement, the clearance of inland farms and the expansion of sheep runs, the creation of new villages, harbours, mines and industries on the eastern coast, as well as new roads, railways, lighthouses, and fisheries. Later maps show the creation of crofting lands, the expansion of shooting forests, and the sale of land. These maps contain uniquely useful and detailed information about the rural landscape in northern Scotland, many annotated as working documents relating to estate business. We are very grateful to Sutherland Estates for allowing us to put these maps online.

Home page - Sutherland Estate Maps, 1770s-1920s (in shelfmark order)
Estate Maps of Scotland, 1730s-1950s - Sutherland (in parish and date order)

For further details visit https://maps.nls.uk/estates/sutherland/

Chris

My next 5 week Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers course starts November 2nd - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=302. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Friday, 23 October 2020

MyHeritage adds indexes to Welsh parish records

My Heritage (www.myheritage.com) has published indexes to Welsh parish registers:

We are pleased to announce the publication of three important Welsh historical record collections on MyHeritage: Wales, Parish Births and Baptisms; Wales, Parish Marriages and Banns; and Wales, Parish Deaths and Burials. The collections consist of 14.8 million indexed historical records and cover over 450 years of Welsh history. High quality scans of the original documents will be added very soon. These collections are the only source of genealogical information in Wales before the 19th century, making them an invaluable resource for anyone researching their Welsh heritage.

Here are more details about the new Welsh collections:

Wales, Parish Births and Baptisms

This collection consists of 8 million birth & baptism records from parishes throughout Wales. The records contain the name, date of birth, date of baptism, parish, father’s name, father’s occupation, mother’s name, parent’s residence, and place of birth.

Wales, Parish Marriages and Banns

This collection consists of 3 million marriage or bann (an announcement of intent to marry) records from parishes throughout Wales. Records contain the bride and groom’s first and last name, their ages, the marriage date or bann date, the bride and groom’s father’s names, the names of the bride and groom’s parishes, and the names of their respective counties.

Wales, Parish Deaths and Burials

This collection consists of 3 million death records from parishes throughout Wales. Records contain the given name and surname of the deceased, age upon death, birth date, burial date, death date, mother’s name, father’s name, next of kin’s name (usually spouse), parish, and location.


For further details visit https://blog.myheritage.com/2020/10/myheritage-releases-three-historical-record-collections-from-wales/. Note that "High quality scans of the original documents will be added very soon."

(With thanks to Daniel Horowitz)

Chris

My next 5 week Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the Old Parish Registers course starts November 2nd - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=302. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is now out, also available are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.