Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Only 9 years until the 1931 Scottish census is released!

Yup, you read that right! 

The 1931 census for England and Wales has not survived, but that for Scotland has. With the 1921 Scottish census a year late in its release, we are now just 9 years away from the release of the 1931 census by the National Records of Scotland (www.nrscotland.gov.uk). 

In the meatime, you can read more about the 1931 census at http://www4.histpop.org/ohpr/servlet/PageBrowser2?ResourceType=Census&ResourceType=Legislation&ResourceType=Essays&ResourceType=Registrar%20General&ResourceType=TNA&SearchTerms=1931%20scotland&simple=yes&path=Results/Census&active=yes&treestate=expandnew&titlepos=0&mno=243&tocstate=expandnew&tocseq=100&display=sections&display=tables&display=pagetitles&pageseq=first-nonblank

Happy St. Andrew's Day!

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.

ScotlandsPeople releases 1921 census - initial thoughts

After months of little information and ongoing delay, ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) has finally released the 1921 census, almost a year after the equivalent for England and Wales was released. 

I have spent the last couple of hours searching for relatives and taking in feedback from other folk on social media. The concensus so far seems to be that it is working (for some, gloriously so!), better so than many were expecting, and it hasn't crashed! However, there are certainly issues that are still impacting on the site for some folk from last week's disastrous site revamp that has caused so much grief - not just online, but also at the family history centres across the country offering access (many of which have had to cancel appointments). 

The first thing to report is that I have managed to find all the people I have been looking for so far, but there certainly have been issues. The biggest problem that I have found so far has been with the use of wildcards - they simply don't work just now. I have a great uncle called John Brownlie Paton, who I searched for using 'John B* Paton', with the * wildcard in play. This returned no results. I tried 'John B Paton' (without a wildcard) and seven entries were returned, but none were for him. A simple search of 'John Paton' returned dozens of entries, which when arranged in order of age flagged him up - indexed as 'John Brownlie Paton'! A colleague advised me to reset the search term each time - to manually select the wildcard option beside the name field with each search - but when I did this for John I got 543 results for 'John B* Paton', retuning the names of anyone called John, whether they had a middle name beginning with B or not! And in some cases, completely different middle names. 

The * wildcard issue is a big one, and should absolutely have been picked up, and I have read several accounts of folk having the exact same issue, not just with the 1921 census, but with searches across the whole ScotlandsPeople site. A colleague has informed me that she is also having horrendous problems performing searches for names such as McLeod, using M*Leod to help look for McLeods and MacLeods. Along with other folk, I have contacted ScotlandsPeople customer team to ask them to look into this.

Other issues I have been informed about, but not yet encountered myself yet, are problems selecting more than one district to carry out a search within, and folk receiving 404 error messages (likely due to the volume of enquiries on the site). One person commenting has stated that there appear to be no records for North Harris at all. I also had one image that I thought the resolution seemed quite low on, with some compression distortion visible - I queried with ScotlandsPeople if the 1921 images are at the same resolution as the 1911 census, and I have been assured that they are.

But there are of course some positives! The first is - I have found a shed load of new records to process! Lots of massively useful information, particularly on the story of my family in the immediate aftermath of their ordeal in Brussels, Belgium, where they were trapped as civilians for 4 years. Another minor delight is to see that the payment regime now adds credits to your account instantly upon payment, instead of the tortuous ordeal of having to wait a few minutes for that to happen in the past - probably not good for my bank balance, but certainly good for the soul!

I'll be writing a more in depth look at the census itself for a Family Tree article shortly, so won't go into too much of that here just now. Suffice to say, if you are not experiencing issues, that is wonderful, and I hope that you are finding all you can! If you are having issues, please persevere by trying to manipulate searches and data by other means, you should hopefully get there eventually. If you do have problems, please let the customer team at ScotlandsPeople know via https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/contact-us, they are working hard to get the site back up to strength again.

Finally, some acknowledgment to those who have placed the 1921 census online - thank you. That's the staff at ScotlandsPeople who have been working hard on this, and to the team at Queen's University in Belfast which indexed it, job done. To the management at the National Records of Scotland, however, I hope some serious lessons will be learned about customer engagement and practice from the whole sorry experience of finally getting to this point. 

On the plus side - just nine years to go until the 1931 census!

* An email yesterday from ScotlandsPeople advised me to look at the census guide on on the site to learn how to get the best from the census, with the guide not actually mentioning 1921 at all. This has now been updated at https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/guides/record-guides/census-returns

* The NRS announcement of the census release is at https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/news/2022/1921-scottish-census-released

* STV has a report at https://news.stv.tv/scotland/scottish-ancestors-from-100-years-ago-can-be-traced-as-1921-census-released-by-national-records-of-scotland 

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, 29 November 2022

ScotlandsPeople to launch 1921 census tomorrow on St Andrew's Day

From ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk):

Get your clicking fingers ready: the 1921 Census is coming to ScotlandsPeople!
 
The 1921 census will be opened at 9 am tomorrow morning, available to search and view. Find your parents, grandparents or even earlier generations among 4.8 million individual records.
 
For the first time, open up 150,000 searchable scanned images of the original handwritten census books detailing each address, from the very finest hotels to the most cramped tenements and from ships at sea to people living in tents.
 
Get a glimpse of what life was like for people in 1921: where they lived, who they lived with, their occupations and more. This census also recorded where people worked, if children had been orphaned and who was eligible for benefit under the National Insurance Act of 1911.
 
Investigate for yourself from tomorrow morning...
 
Please note that the ScotlandsPeople website will be offline from 06:00 to 09:00 on Wednesday 30 November, ahead of publication. Thank you for your patience.

COMMENT: It's been a long time coming, but with the many current problems with the site as a result of last week's update, fingers crossed that at least this bit of the site will work.
 
 
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, 28 November 2022

Problems with records access at ScotlandsPeople centres since update

I have been reading many reports of ongoing problems at the various ScotlandsPeople centres - Glasgow, Hawick, Inverness, etc - since the National Records of Scotland updated its website last Wednesday. The purpose of the update was to move all the data for the site to a cloud-based server, which seems to have caused a growing list of issues with many users. 

I have asked the ScotlandsPeople team via Twitter if they can confirm these problems at the satellite centres, and have had no response. However, I am aware that today some friends have received words of cancellations tomorrow in Glasgow, Inverness and Hawick, for example. It would also seem from reports that I have seen that the NRS is not communicating with the centres about these issues.

The bottom line for now is that if you are planning on visiting one of the centres in the next few days, you may wish to check in advance that it will be open and offering the service, which may save you a trip if there are still ongoing problems. You can access contact details at https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/local-family-history-centres and https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/visit-us/scotlandspeople-centre.

Another full on clusterbùrach from the NRS by the sounds of it...

You can read about some of the issues at Fergus Smith's blog at https://www.oldscottish.com/blog/its-deja-vu-all-over-again

UPDATE: ScotlandsPeople has commented on this blog post about local family history centres (LFHCs) via Twitter: "Thanks for your feedback. We've been keeping LFHCs up to date with our plans over recent months and we are continuing to work with them to provide support to deal with any local issues. If you have any queries about LFHC services, please contact them directly." 

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, 25 November 2022

ScotlandsPeople Centre holiday service closure

From ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk):

The ScotlandsPeople extract ordering service will close for the festive period, starting from 1 pm on 23 December and reopening on 4 January. Visitors to the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh should note that the Centre will also be closed for the duration of this period.

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.

Users report problems with ScotlandsPeople update

The ScotlandsPeople website at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk has had some sort of update, and as a consequence, users have been reporting all sorts of problems with it, with the following tweets just a representative sample:



A particularly useful thread from Fergus Smith highlights various problems, starting at https://twitter.com/oldscotbooks/status/1595862603401773062.

I queried one of the problems, the removal of the source information from the search returns on census records - with the ScotlandsPeople team, and was told it was now fixed - but it has not been. Whilst some information has been restored, showing the number of the registration district and enumeration district, the all important page number is still missing, which can be used when doing a search to make sure you have all the right people in a household before paying to see. (UPDATE: This has now been addressed, as of Friday evening)

It should also be noted that the promised return of the fuzzy search facility, useful in certain circumstances when peforming searches, has not been included (see http://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/2022/02/scotlandspeople-to-reinstate-fuzzy.html).

It beggars belief that the site no longer has a user group, as it once had, to flag up such issues, but this is where we are with the NRS these days. If you see a problem when using the site, ScotlandsPeople advises folk to contact its customer service team at https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/contact-us.

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, 22 November 2022

Friends of Glasgow Necropolis tours in 2023

From The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/glasgownecropolis): 

The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis are delighted to announce that our 2023 tours programme is now available on our website. Throughout 2023, we will be undertaking friendly, informative tours of the magnificent Glasgow Necropolis. 

The first tour kicks off on January 7th - further details at https://www.glasgownecropolis.org/tours-events/#tour2023 


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.

Sunday, 20 November 2022

No access to ScotlandsPeople on Wednesday 23rd November

From ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk):

Upcoming Essential Maintenance - Wednesday 23rd November 2022

ScotlandsPeople will be offline for maintenance on 23 November. The ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh will be closed and the site will be unavailable in local history centres. We are upgrading our system and migrating storage, and we apologise for the inconvenience this will cause.

If you have a booking in our ScotlandsPeople Search Rooms on 23rd November, we will be in contact with you directly to re-arrange or to provide a refund.

Certificate ordering will not be available from 12 noon GMT Monday 21st November. If you have any urgent enquiries please contact us here.

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, 19 November 2022

MyHeritage releases AI Time Machine image feature

From MyHeritage (www.myheritage.com):

Once in a while, MyHeritage breaks the Internet by releasing an amazingly cool feature that everyone wants to try. Well, that moment has arrived again! We are delighted to introduce AI Time Machine™, an exciting new feature that is so much fun!

Ever wondered what you might have looked like if you were born during your ancestors’ lifetimes centuries ago? Using advanced technology, AI Time Machine™ creates stunning images of a person in different time periods throughout history. With the AI Time Machine™, you can see yourself as an Egyptian pharaoh, a medieval knight or a Viking, a 19th-century lord or lady, and much more, in just a few clicks!  

Upload photos of yourself from different angles, and AI Time Machine™ will learn what you look like and cast you as a hero in original, never-before-seen images. Create your images in a click from dozens of historical themes that we have curated. You can download the incredible results, share them easily with family and friends, or use some of them as original profile photos on your social media accounts. 

For the full story, visit https://blog.myheritage.com/2022/11/introducing-ai-time-machine-transform-yourself-into-a-historical-figure-using-everyday-photos/

Update - me as a shortsighted Greek god!

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.

Speakers announced for Scottish Indexes conference on Nov 26th

The next Scottish Indexes (www.scottishindexes.com) conference is just a week away on November 26th 2022 - here's what to expect:

Do you want to learn how to trace your family history? Have you made a start but need some tips on how to proceed? Or perhaps you are an experienced researcher who is keen to discover new skills and new records. Whatever your experience level, you are welcome at the Scottish Indexes Conference.

This is a free and time-zone friendly event. We show all presentations between 7 am UK time and 3 pm UK time, then we start again and show all presentations again between 3 pm and 11 pm. This means that if you are in New Zealand or Australia you can join us on your evening of Saturday 26 November. If you are on the east coast of America the 3 pm session begins at 10 am your time. A full schedule will be posted in a variety of time zones so that you can plan your day.

'Criminal Portraits' - Phil Astley
'Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Through Land Records' - Chris Paton
'Homes fit for Heroes: 1919 Act houses in the 1921 census' - Kay Williams
'From the Hebrides to Mississippi - The Crofter's Son' - Alison Spring
'Stones and numbers tell their stories' - Jane Harris
'The Disruption of 1843' - Jennifer Jolly

To register visit https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/7316625603607/WN_ERdVuCQnR42Ovzr-mx2XsQ

See 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.