Sunday, 31 May 2009

Abernethy and Auchtergaven 1832 electoral rolls online

The electoral roll for the Perthshire parish of Abernethy is the latest to be transcribed for the county and placed online by Colin Mayall of Caledonian Connections at http://caledonianconnections.com .

UPDATE: Auctergaven, including the villages of Banfoot and Stanley is also now online.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional genealogical problem solving and research

1911 Ireland census site updated

A further five counties have been added to the National Archives of Ireland's 1911 census website. Returns for Cork, Donegal, Wexford, King's County and Galway can now be searched at www.census.nationalarchives.ie/search .

For further plans on the next stages of the release schedule, visit my earlier blog entry, 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses - offical update on release.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Walking tours of Belfast's 'Hidden History'

A series of free walking tours is being promoted by Belfast City Council, exploring almost 800 years of the city's history through various archaeological excavations, as part of the city's archaeology month. The tours take place every Wednesday in June.

For more information visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8072395.htm

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Friday, 29 May 2009

Ulster Scots centre opens in Donegal

A new Ulster Scots tourism centre, funded by the Irish Government, has been opened in County Donegal. The Monreagh Manse heritage centre seeks to explain the story of the Ulster plantations and the subsequrnt history of Scottish settlers in Ireland, as well as their descendants in Canada and the United States. The centre was initiated by the Insititute of Ulster Scots Studies at the University of Ulster.

For more information read the university's press release at http://news.ulster.ac.uk/releases/2005/1948.html . The manse also has its own website at http://monreaghheritagecentre.ie/ .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Borders Festivals through the years

The BBC has a selection of pictures, courtesy of SCRAN, on its website depicting various festivals in the Borders down the years, such as the Lauder Common Riding. They can be viewed at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/south_of_scotland/8072129.stm

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Society of Genealogists workshop - My Ancestor was Scottish

A big thanks to the Society of Genealogists in London, and in particular to Mike and Lori, for their hospitality yesterday when I was down giving a couple of talks. Also thanks to everyone who turned up for the talks!

It was my first visit to the SoG, and I was extremely impressed with the set up, and in particular at the amount of Scottish material that is held in its library, which ranges from compiled Scottish pedigrees to copies of vital records, as well as an impressive range of books. The society's holdings can be viewed via its online catalogue, SOGCAT, accessible through www.sog.org.uk.

The Society is running a day long workshop on Saturday 30th May, from 10.30am to 5.00pm entitled "My Ancestor was Scottish", essentially an introduction to how we do things differently up here genealogically. The programme is as follows:

10.30 A look at vital BMD records, census and OPR records found at ScotlandsPeople, both online and at the centre in Edinburgh (Alan Stewart)

12.00 Wills and Inventories, and other records currently being digitised (Alan Stewart)

2.00 Scottish nobility and heraldry (Peter Beauclerk Dewar)

3.30 Scottish sources held at the SoG (Else Churchill)

4.45 Q&A (Else Churchill)

The cost for the day is £24 for members, £30 for non-members, and tickets can be booked through the website. (Bring a packed lunch!)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Heraldry - New Ormond Pursuivant of Arms appointed

An official announcement from the website of the Court of the Lord Lyons, the body responsible for regulating heraldry in Scotland:

Ormond Pursuivant of Arms

The Lord Lyon King of Arms has offered Mr. Mark Dennis the office of Ormond Pursuivant of Arms with effect from 1st June 2009 and he has been pleased to accept.

For more on the Court of the Lord Lyon, visit www.lyon-court.com .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Saturday, 23 May 2009

How to Say That Name

A new website provides a pronunciation guide to certain surnames, which might help with your research. The site at http://howtosaythatname.com at first glance seems to be useless for Scottish names. The first name I typed into the search box was MacGillivray, the surname of my 2 x great granny. It gave a beautiful rendition of the name, so I decided to look up the Scottish surnames section to see how many surnames it had. Bizarrely, it had one - MacGillivray!

In fact, there are other Scottish names on there - Campbell and MacDonald are both apparently Irish surnames, for example, and others appear in the American surnames section - so best bet is just to use the main search box and forget the way they have been categorised. Even so, the list is limited at present, but will hopefully expand over time.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Friday, 22 May 2009

Grazing and Agrestic Customs of the Outer Hebrides

An interesting new book has gone online at Electric Scotland, Grazing and Agrestic Customs of the Outer Hebrides, by Alexander Carmichael, first published in 1884. It contains some interesting info on the old runrig system in the Western isles and alos some old hymns and other miscellany. The book can be viewed at www.electricscotland.com/history/grazing.htm.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Limerick city to be given coat of arms

The city of Limerick in Ireland is finally being granted an official coat of arms. The arms used by the city for hundreds of years were never formally registered, which will now be corrected at a service later this month.

For more on the story, visit the Limerick Post's coverage at the following link: Limerick to have coat of arms confirmed

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Lectures at Society of Genealogists

On Wednesday May 27th 2009, I will be giving a couple of one hour talks at the Society of Genelaogists in London on two very different subjects.

At 11.00 am I will be giving a talk entitled My Ancestor was a Weaver. I will be discussing the role of handloom weavers, using the weavers of Perth as the main conduit, and amongst the sources considered will be guild records, censuses, military records, land records and much more.

At 2.00 pm I will then be giving a talk entitled British Civilian POWs at Ruhleben, which will focus on the 5500 British men interned in Germany during the First World War, many of them merchant seamen caught up in Hamburg upon the outbreak of hostilities.

Both talks cost £5 to attend (£4 for SoG members). To book a ticket, and for more information, please visit www.sog.org.uk/events/calendar.shtml. The venue is Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road London EC1M 7BA.

I'll hopefully see ye there!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Monday, 18 May 2009

Wolfram Alpha goes online

A new search engine called Wolfram Alpha has gone online which is apparently going to rival the status of Google. Rather than returning websites in response to a keyword query, this site actually calculates answers to questions. From a genealogy point of view, one of the things it can do is to act as a relationship calculator. If you type in "father's mother's sister's son", see what pops up, including a handy blood relationship calculation, which I have not seen anywhere else before!

Whether this is the next major phase in search engine technology, or a really cool advertising ploy for the new Terminator film (except this is Wolfram Alpha, not Skynet!), is yet to be be made clear. But a computer that thinks - crikey!

To have a play, visit www65.wolframalpha.com, and for the background to the project, visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8052798.stm.

(As a point of order, Mr. Speaker, couldn't they just have called it something simple, like "Bob"?!)

UPDATE: I thought I would get all philosophical with it, and typed in "Who am I?" The system responded by giving me my IP address! Yes, folks, the machines are taking over...! :D )

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

National Archives of Scotland website updated

A huge thumbs up to the new National Archives of Scotland website look at www.nas.gov.uk! It is now a lot tidier with some new links to commonly used sites. A nice improvement!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

New Commonwealth War Graves Commission education resource

A new announcement from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission today unveiled its innovative online education resource and visitor guide, to help children and adults alike better understand the sacrifice made by millions of servicemen and women during the two world wars.

Following a widespread consultation process with teachers, visitors to
http://www.cwgc.org/learningzone/ will be able to access a wide range of fascinating first-hand accounts, films, guides, downloadable teachers’ notes and practical tips to bring history to life, all linked to keystages in the curriculum.

There’s plenty for the kids themselves too. One fun learning tool at
http://www.cwgc.org/learningzone/ is “Glory Days”, where your guide, football manager Boyce Dungood helps you uncover the stories of footballers who served, and features Arsenal and England striker Theo Walcott as he tours Runnymede cemetery with his grandfather who served in the RAF.

The Commission has also used the expertise of teachers who regularly take children on battlefield tours to help produce a practical guide. At
http://www.cwgc.org/respect/ learn about the places which inspired the war poets, use practical exercises which demonstrate the rate at which soldiers’ lives were lost. This resource teaches history and other subjects in an original and practical way and is pegged to keystages.

The two websites don’t shy away from the harsh realities of the horror of war, but give teachers advice on handling sensitive subjects, such as the stories of men shot for cowardice.

The Commission has also listened to those who feel school visits to cemeteries can sometimes result in behaviour which some find disrespectful. There are suggestions on how teachers can encourage responsible behaviour.


(With thanks to Simon Fowler)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

ScotlandsPeople Centre - interactive tutorial

The ScotlandsPeople Centre website is getting awfully good these days! If you have not had a chance to use the centre yet, but are curious to know more about how to research your Scottish ancestry within the building, you can do a free two hour taster session each day at either 10am or 2pm.

However, you can also now look at an interactive tutorial on the website at www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk/Interactive/interactive-experience.html - you'll need to have Adobe Flash Player installed on your computer to view this. The tutorial guides you through not just the records themselves, but the methodology you will need to follow to trace your family through earlier generations.

Also on the site, the news section now has a slide show presentation of the day in April when Billy Connolly and Sir James Black both paid the centre a visit. This can be viewed at www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk/downloads/examples/gallery.html.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Alex Salmond officially opens Burns Monument Centre

The Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock was officially opened yesterday by First Minister Alex Salmond.

The centre actually opened its doors on March 16th, and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a press briefing on the new facility a few days in advance, which you can read about on this blog at Burns Centre Media Launch.

The following press release has been issued by the centre:
First Minister Alex Salmond officially opened the Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock on Saturday 16th May.

Piper Ian Philp played ‘Scots Wha Hae’ beside the iconic statue of Robert Burns as the First Minister arrived at the Centre. He was then given a tour of the new facility where he met the staff behind the development and the day-to-day operation.

The First Minister was particularly impressed by the 3D digitised version of the Kilmarnock Edition which allows viewers to turn the pages of the book and listen to Billy Kay narrate a selection of poems.

Leader of East Ayrshire Council Douglas Reid accompanied the First Minister on the tour and was delighted to learn that staff had produced his family tree and sourced relevant background materials such as historical newspaper clippings to demonstrate how the facility can build a picture of ancestral history.

After the tour, the First Minister was invited to officially open the Centre and he commented:
“This impressive £5 million centre offers visitors from near and far the opportunity to trace their family tree and learn more about Scotland’s rich culture, history and heritage.

This fantastic new centre will provide a significant boost to local tourism and will help entice some of the 40 million strong Scots Diaspora back to Scotland to explore their heritage and roots further.”

He continued by saying that the idea of housing family, local history, archives and registration services under one roof was “an act of genius" and "one of the most impressive local resources I've ever seen - well worth the investment."

“The creation of the centre involved snatching triumph out of disaster".



Chris

Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Brightsolid shows interest in Genes Reunited site

The Telegraph has reported that Scottish based company Brightsolid (behind the ScotlandsPeople website and Discover My Past Scotland magazine) is amongst several parties interested in purchasing ITV's Friends Reunited portfolio.

As reported in this blog on March 4th, the sale of Genes Reunited is included in the sale as a part of the portfolio, and is being forced by dramatic losses in profit at ITV. Also said to be interested is the Generations Network, parent company of Ancestry.co.uk. The full story is at
www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/media/5335560/Interest-shown-in-ITVs-Friends.html .

(With thanks to Dick Eastman's Genealogy blog)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Family Tree DNA upgrade sale

From May 14th to May 23rd Family Tree DNA is offering a sale on updates to its members on the numbers of Y-DNA markers they have previously had tested. If you have tested for 12, 25 or 37 markers, you can upgrade to 37 or 67 markers.

The following are some examples of costs:

12 to 25 markers $35 (down from $49)
12 to 67 markers $148 (down from $198)
37 to 67 markers $79 (down from $99)

For more on the offer visit www.worldfamilies.net/blog/upgrade-sale. To be tested through Family Tree DNA, visit www.familytreedna.com.

Incidentally, I have just tested for a 37 marker test through FTDNA and submitted my results to the Patton DNA project through World Families. I previously did a Y-DNA test through the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Forum (www.smgf.org) in 2007, which was free. Because it is free, it has taken two years for the results to be processed, and these are still at only 29 markers, out of 37 to be tested (still waiting on the final 8!). It should be noted that the SMGF test examines seven markers unique to that lab which are not tested by FTDNA, but which can also be incorporated into the name project, essentially meaning that I will have 44 markers tested - a useful tip if you are not in a rush and want to increase the range of your DNA profile!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Friday, 15 May 2009

Cromarty dialect sees print

A booklet has been published by Highland Council Am Baile website entitled The Cromarty Fisherfolk Dialect, which is described as 'a lexicon of words and phrases'. The booklet was compiled by Am Baile researcher Janine Donald so that the people of Cromarty might have a written record of some of the local dialect, words and phrases that were used in the past, mainly by the fisher community.

For more on the story visit www.ambaile.org.uk/en/news_item.jsp?ID=44.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Famous Scots exhibition 3: Shirley Manson

From May 25th to July 17th, singer Shirley Manson, the third subject for the Famous Scots exhibition at the ScotlandsPeople Centre, will have her family history displayed at New Register House in Edinburgh.

In addition, on 15th, 16th & 23rd June, and 7th July, the famous Scots exhibition will be open in the evening from 18:30 to 21:00. On these days the exhibition will close at 16:30 and re-open at 18:30. Additional dates may be added, so please check for updates on the Scotlandspeople Centre website at www.scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Ancestry releases German phone books collection

From Ancestry.co.uk:

Ancestry has launched online a new collection - German Phone Directories, 1915-1981 - a unique collection of phone books containing the names and addresses of more than 35 million people who lived in Germany’s major cities during the 20th century. This is the first time that these phone books, which are held in paper-form at the German National Library, have been digitised and made available online.

An estimated 49 million Americans (one in six) and nearly three million Britons (one in 20) claim German heritage – many will be descended from German immigrants whose names can be found in these phone books.

As phone books provide an annual account of an individual’s location, they are a hugely valuable resource for tracing people’s movements around Germany before or after the two World Wars and the Great Depression, during the tyranny of the Third Reich and following Germany’s division by the Berlin Wall.

The information they contain: for the cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig, is especially useful when supplemented with complementary documents such as passenger lists and censuses, which can help trace individuals’ movements around the globe.

In addition to everyday Germans, the phone books contain names of some of the country’s most famous - and infamous - citizens, including:

Albert Einstein – The Nobel Prize winning physicist is listed in the 1930 Berlin directory as Prof. Dr. Univ. His phone number was 2807

Marlene Dietrich – The legendary actress who starred in Shanghai Express is listed in the 1930 Berlin directory living at 54 Kaiserallee. Her telephone number was H1 Pfalzburg 2142

Eva Braun – Mistress and later wife of Adolf Hitler, Ms Braun is listed in the 1937 Munich directory living at Wasserburger Strasse. Her telephone number was 480844

Rudolf Hess – Hitler’s private secretary and later Deputy Fuhrer is listed in the 1938 Hamburg directory, which describes his title as ‘SS-Untersturmfuhrer’


Dr Karl Braun – The physicist, inventor and Nobel Prize winner travelled to the US in 1914 but was forbidden to return when America entered the First World War. He is listed in the 1915 Berlin director, with no further entries after that year. Braun died in Brooklyn, New York in 1918


Otto Lagerfeld – The father of the famous fashion designer Karl appears in the 1933 Hamburg directory living in the wealthy Elbchaussee. His telephone number was 462349. It is believed that Karl Lagerfeld still owns an exclusive villa on that street

Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert von Preu├čen – Germany’s last Kaiser is listed in the 1915 Berlin directory residing in the Royal Castle Berlin. His phone number was 482

The German Phone Directories, 1915-1981 also list names and addresses for many of Germany’s major businesses operating during the 20th century.

Josh Hanna, Senior Vice President of Ancestry International, comments: “Few countries in the 20th century have experienced the scale of social and economic change that Germany has, and as many Germans moved around the country and the world before and after the two world wars, these directories will play a vital role for those with German heritage trying to trace their family to a particular place and time.”

The German Directories, 1915-1981, will be available on all Ancestry websites to members and through a 14-day free trial.


Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Inverness history reprinted on Electric Scotland

The Electric Scotland website has commecned the transcription and publication of an 1897 publication entitled Antiquarian Notes, Historical, Genealogical and Social(Second Series) Inverness-Shire, Parish by Parish by Charles Fraser-Mackintosh. The first parishes of Kilmorach, Kiltarlity and Kirkhill are already online.

To read the book visit www.electricscotland.com/history/inverness/index.htm.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Recommendations for British honours and awards

From the National Archives at Kew:

This month sees VE Day, the annual commemoration of the end of the Second World War in Europe. You can search thousands of recommendations for honours and awards to British army personnel, along with those of the dominions. Why not have a look to see if your father, uncle, grandfather or another relative who served in the war was recommended for a medal?

This collection also contains details of a small number of awards to members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force, and of decorations exchanged between British and allied armies. The records date from 1935 to 1990, so you may be able to find relatives who served in more recent conflicts. Search the collection now.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Scotland's Greatest Story - Facebook page

Hi folks,

I've created a new Facebook page for my Scotland's Greatest Story family history research service, which I'll update from time to time with photos etc. Simply click on the link.

This whole internet lark is something else, isn't it?!!! :)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

National Archives Whisky Month exhibition

The National Archives of Scotland has created a special exhibition to mark Whisky Month as part of Homecoming Scotland 2009. It runs at West Register House, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, from Wednesday 7 May until Friday 26 June, Monday to Friday, 9.00 – 4.30.

For more information, the NAS has the story at www.nas.gov.uk/about/090508.asp.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

DIGROS access at ScotlandsPeople Centre

News of some updates to the service at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh.

Six seats have have been made available in the Dundas room for anyone who wishes to use the old DIGROS (the Digital Imaging of the Genealogical Records of Scotland's people) system . The seat numbers generally to be made available will be seats D1, D2, D13, D18, D27 and D28. Once these are filled, no further seats will be released unless the day search places are full (in other words in an overflow capacity).

Until now, the DIGROS system has largely been maintained in the Dundas Room for the use of professional genealogists. It can only be used to search births, marriuages, deaths, OPR baptisms and marriages, and census records from 1841 to 1901. It has slightly different search field capabilities not found on the newer system, but the computers hosting DIGROS do not have access to all the extra material found on the newer stations available in the other rooms, including wills, heraldic records, library catalogue, access to external websites (including the IGI through FamilySearch, EDINA for the Statistical Accounts and the NAS catalogue) and more. From my experience, DIGROS seriously limits what you can research compared to the newer system, and as a working genealogist myself, I would actually recommend the newer system. But the option is there!

In addition to this, the new ScotlandsPeople computer system has also been enhanced so that a change of colour occurs when a name search is carried out. However, if a new search is started the system will clear itself and only the names for the new search will change colour.

Finally, a new seat booking system is now in place, which can locate a customer in any seat in the Reid Room or Matheson Dome.

(Many thanks to ScotlandsPeople for the update)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Robert Burns 'Muse' Statuette gifted for museum appeal

UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF SCOTLAND GIFTS STATUETTE FOR ROBERT BURNS BIRTHPLACE MUSEUM APPEAL

The University of the West of Scotland has donated a statuette of ‘Coila’, the muse who appears in Robert Burns’s poem ‘The Vision’, to the National Trust for Scotland.


The bronze figurine was made by Alexander Stoddart, the Queen’s sculptor in ordinary in Scotland, who has created sculptures of famous Scots including Burns, Adam Smith and James Clerk Maxwell. The donation is set to help raise some of the final £3.8 million required for the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, Ayrshire – due to open in 2010.

The statuette, which stands at just over a foot high, is one of just ten which Stoddart created to commemorate the merging of four West of Scotland university campuses in Ayr, Dumfries, Hamilton and Paisley. The statuette gifted to the Trust is the only one of the collection which has been specially gilded by the sculptor.

“Burns is a poet for whom compassion rises above everything else,” said Stoddart, who is based at the Paisley Campus at the University of the West of Scotland. “That’s why he is such a great man. I have created ten statuettes of Colia and the University of the West of Scotland has gifted one to the National Trust for Scotland to help with fundraising for the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway which is due to open in 2010.

Stoddart added: “This could be one of the few, if not the only, free standing ‘Coila’ sculptures in the world. I would be delighted to discover if there were others in existence.”
The statuette depicts the goddess Colia who appeared as a vision to Burns as he struggled with the idea of giving up poetry, to improve his life as a farmer. In the representation ‘Colia’ appeared dressed in a Greek ‘chiton’ undergarment which was covered in projected images of the fields of Ayrshire, telling him to continue to pursue his poetic calling no matter what effects this may have on farming.


Nat Edwards, Director of the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum said: “The sculpture is a stunning piece of work and we are very grateful for this generous gift from the University of the West of Scotland.

“Everything about the statuette, from the story of Coila and ‘The Vision’, the intricate detail and the wonderful gilding work makes it truly exquisite. We are currently deciding what to do with the piece, however, it is likely that it will be auctioned off to raise money for the new museum.”

The sculpture is designed in a contrapossto pose and depicts Colia with a holly wreath on her head and one in her right hand, which she intends to place on Burn’s brow. Stoddart gained inspiration for the creation of Colia as the name is a derived from Kyle which is the district of Ayrshire in which Robert Burns grew up. This links in with the location of the merge of the University of West of Scotland campuses which was the reason for the creation of the sculptures.

Stoddart added: “As a muse of rustic poetry, Colia’s sphere of influence extends all over the areas to which the University of the West of Scotland campuses reside.”

Professor Seamus McDaid, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University said: "We are delighted to be able to support the National Trust for Scotland in this way. Making a strong educational and cultural contribution to the areas we serve is very important to us and this collaboration is a great way of supporting this vitally important development in Ayrshire."
Stoddart has created large-scale statues in bronze for civic locations, through medium-scaled items for buildings and commemorative purposes, to smaller works for interior and cabinet display.


The new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway is scheduled to open in summer 2010. It is the most ambitious project to date for the National Trust for Scotland and a final fundraising push for the remaining £3.8 million required for the museum is underway.

-To make a donation to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum visit:
www.nts.org.uk/Burns/

(With thanks to the NTS)



Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

1901 and 1911 Irish censuses - official update on release

Official confirmation from the National Archives of Ireland on this May's update, delayed from March (see this blog, 2 MAY 2009), and at long last, news of the forthcoming release of 1901:

We have had a number of queries as to timescales for placing future counties online. We apologise for the delay in responding to you all. Although we placed Antrim, Kerry and Down online in December, we encountered a number of errors in transcription, as well as some missing material. We have requested our partners to review the material with a view to improving accuracy. These three counties, with improved data quality, along with Cork, Donegal, Wexford, Galway and King’s County (Offaly) will be placed online in the week beginning 25 May. Some material was never microfilmed, and has hence has not been digitised (Valentia in Co. Kerry is a case in point). We will supply information about missing material for each county, as well as arranging to have it digitised as soon as we can.

The National Archives would like to express its appreciation to our users for your very important feedback on transcription errors. This feedback has proved beneficial in our overall assessment of the quality of data being provided by our digitisation partners in this project. It is hoped that corrections submitted by members of the public for Antrim, Kerry and Down will be included in the forthcoming launch, but they may have to wait until the next one due to shortage of resources.

Further tranches of counties will comprise:

1. Limerick, Mayo, Waterford, Armagh, Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Fermanagh, Kildare, Kilkenny and Leitrim;

2. Londonderry (Derry), Longford, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Queen’s County (Laois), Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Tyrone, Westmeath and Wicklow.

At present, we hope to be placing the first listed tranche online by mid July, and the second tranche by end August, but this is subject to our being satisfied that the data meets our required levels of accuracy. In September, we will be rebuilding the site to include full transcription of all of the data on the household forms for 1911, including religion, occupation, relationship to head of family, literacy status, marital status, county or country of origin, Irish language proficiency, specified illnesses, and child survival information.

1901, with all data transcribed, will be launched towards the end of 2009.


Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Monday, 11 May 2009

Welsh 1911 census delayed

FindmyPast has announced on its 1911 census blog that the records for Wales, which it was hoped would be online by the end of May, have now had their completion date pushed back to the end of June, due to difficulties encountered on various Welsh language entries.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

New GEDCOM import facility at Ancestral Atlas

Ancestral Atlas has now started a GEDCOM input facility for those wishing to upload placenames and events from their own family trees. The following is the announcement:

GEDCOM files can be created by your existing genealogy application and are now an excellent way of allowing you to quickly transfer your data on to Ancestral Atlas without you having to re-type the information.

At the moment, you can only have one uploaded GEDCOM file on Ancestral Atlas at a time, but you can replace the data with information in another file if you require - the original data will be removed before the data in the second file is used.

GEDCOM files up to 10MB in size are currently supported. Parsing the data in such huge files can take some time so when your file is uploaded it's placed in a queue, ready for processing. We will notify you by email when your file has been processed and your data is ready to use.

Initially, once your file has been uploaded, you won't see any of your data on the map - that's because you first need to confirm the locations of the events. By selecting an event, you'll be able to see the name of the location (if one was specified) in the Event Form and then be able to create a map pin at the right location.


For more information, visit www.ancestralatlas.com.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Sunday, 10 May 2009

1837 Scottish directory online

Pigot and Co's National Directory of the Whole of Scotland and of the Isle of Man, for the year 1837, is now available online for free at Google Books. Click on the link to view.

(With thanks to Alan at Talking Scot)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Higgins boys cremated a century on

Two years ago, whilst researching the family history of a client in the US, I made the shocking discovery that two of her cousins had been brutally murdered by their father in 1911. The boys, William and John Higgins, aged 7 and 4, were drowned in Hopetoun Quarry and their bodies not discovered until 1913.

The boys' bodies had been so well preserved in the water that the pathologist sent to examine them, Sir Sydney Smith, stole some of their remains for the forensic museum at the University of Edinburgh, using extremely dubious means, even by the ethical standards of the time. In his own autobiography, "Mostly Murder", he himself described the incident as "bodysnatching". Having made enquiries with the museum, it was discovered that the institution still held the purloined remains of the two boys. The full story was carried by the BBC in January last year (Plea for Return of Stolen Remains) and in the Scotsman (Stolen Lives).

I can now announce a happy outcome to this situation. On Wednesday, on behalf of my client, the University of Edinburgh held an extremely dignifed requiem mass service for the two boys in Edinburgh, attended by the members of the current pathology department, students and university staff, after which their remains were finally cremated.

I would like to publically thank the university for their assistance in this matter, and for doing the right thing, finally restoring to the two boys some dignity after their death.

For university comment, and more on the story, the Herald has the story: After a Century Two Tragic Young Brothers are Finally Laid to Rest.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Family History Society of Buchan awarded lottery funding

Congratulations to the Family History Society of Buchan which has secured £9456 of lottery funding from the Awards for All scheme. The money will go towards the purchase of microfilms for its dedicated new family history centre at Peterhead.

The society's latest newsletter, Aa the Claik (number 5), is now available online at www.fhsb.org.uk/NL5Spr09.pdf. Its a slick and well put together online magazine with some fascinating articles from its members.

I am really annoyed with my ancestors for not coming from Peterhead...!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Photos from Scottish Family History Fair 2009

Photos taken at the recent Scottish Family History Fair held in Aberdeen on April 25th 2009 have been made available online by the Aberdeen and North East Scotland FHS in the form of a slideshow at www.scothist.org/index.html#photos.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

British Convicts to Australia database back online

From the Federation of Family History Socities:

The State Library of Queensland has just re-released the British Convict Transportation Registers Database (over 123,000 convicts sent to Australia between 1787 and 1867).

The original underlying software has been changed as it did not cope adequately with the amount of traffic experienced - the new system is much better equipped to cope with demand.

A new feature of the database is the ability for researchers to post comments on a chosen convict’s record. This comment field is a great way for researchers to share their notes on a convict’s life.

http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/info/fh/convicts

To write a comment simply find your convict on the database, click on the link under “Don’t have a login?” and then signup for a “One Search Guest” account.

Example of a comment written:

"Thomas Dowse was born in Hackney, London in 1809. In 1824, at the age of 15 he was convicted at the Old Bailey for theft and sentenced to death, which was later commuted to transportation for life. He spent the next few years onboard English hulks (the Bellerophon and the Euryalus) awaiting transportation. In January 1828 he arrived in New South Wales onboard the convict transport Florentia. After receiving his pardon he made his way to Moreton Bay . Between 1862 and 1869 he became Town of Clerk of Brisbane . Thomas died on 9 November 1885 and is buried in Toowong Cemetery .

Dates of conviction are continuing to be added to each record - this will be an ongoing project.



Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Royal Bank of Scotland Heritage website

If, like me, you are sorely tempted to equate the Royal Bank of Scotland to three simple words - Fred the Shred - then you may wish to have a look at a new website from the bank that offers a different, and considerably more welcome, perspective to one of Scotland's oldest institutions.

The RBS Heritage Online site at http://heritagearchives.rbs.com/ offers a background history to the many different banking organisations that are now part of the RBS, and advice on how to pursue aspects of your family history related to banking.

It is a bit embryonic just now, but could be a potentially very useful gateway to records that you may not have considered before.

Alison Tuton, Head of Group Archives has made the following appeal on how to develop the site further:

"We would also very much welcome your comments on RBS Heritage Online so that we can improve and develop it going forward. Information about any related archive collections which we have not listed, and of which we are therefore unaware, would also be much appreciated. You can contact me at alison.turton@rbs.co.uk."

Well worth a look, and hopefully other banks will follow suit.

(With thanks to Simon Fowler)

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Merchant seamen crewlists from Find my Past

From FindmyPast.com:

MAKING WAVES IN GENEALOGY: ONLINE LAUNCH OF MERCHANT SEAMEN CREW LISTS INDEX

Lists of 270,000 merchant seafarers at sea in 1860-1913 made available online.

The indexes to lists of crew members working on British merchant shipsbetween 1860 and 1913 are now available online from today at leading family history website findmypast.com.

Over 270,000 merchant seafarers are included in the crew list indexes,which were completed by ships every six months, from captains to able seamen to engine room staff and stewardesses. Family historians can now view the indexes online to help track down seafaring ancestors, who have been notoriously more difficult to trace than their land-dwelling counterparts.

The records are from ports around the British Isles so the indexes givegenealogists the opportunity to find ancestors wherever they had signedon - not just ships from their home port.

With the launch of this latest set of records, in association with the Crew List Index Project (CLIP), findmypast.com is further expanding its extensive collection of online records to help family history enthusiasts compile detailed information about their ancestors' lives.

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at findmypast.com, said "The UK has avast array of records documenting our seafaring ancestors, who played such an important part in the nation's history. However due to the complex nature of the documenting system, these records are held in many different archives across the country, creating a massive hurdle for
family historians looking to access their ancestors' records.

"Happily, the Crew Lists Index Project has made huge strides incollating a national index of the records, which we're making easilyaccessible to the general public online today. Today's addition to the findmypast.com suite of genealogy records is a significant step forward for family history enthusiasts who are looking to trace their seafaring ancestors."

Peter Owens of CLIP added "Thanks to all the hard work by many volunteers, this is data which will make researching seafarers far simpler. This publication is another important step in making these records accessible, and we hope it will stimulate a growing interest inour rich maritime past."

How to trace seafaring ancestors

1. Log onto www.findmypast.com and search for your ancestor in theCrew Lists section.

2. Once you have located your ancestor, make a note of the ship's official number and records source. The original records are notcurrently hosted online, but you can contact the repository that holds the original records to arrange access to the documents. The original documents will contain information about each crew member's age, date ofbirth, date of signing on and off the ship, their occupation, the ship'svoyages and the names of any ships in which the crew member previously served.

For more information log on to www.findmypast.com.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Bank holiday Monday 4th May

A reminder that the ScotlandsPeople Centre and the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh, as well as most of Scotland, will be closed tomorrow (Monday 4th) for the bank holiday!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Ancestors magazine India special now online

Issue 57 of Ancestors magazine, from May 2007, was devoted to the story of the British in India. A reproduction of the magazine is now available in its entirety via the Ancestors website at www.ancestorsmagazine.co.uk.

Happy reading! (With thanks to the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog).

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Pharos courses for June and July

Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd will be offering the following online British genealogy courses in June and July:

2 June – The National Archives Catalogue – Finding People – 3 weeks £29.99
10 June – The Poor, the Parish and The Workhouse: Records in the 18th and 19th centuries – 5 weeks £42.99
23 June – Victorian Families: Your Ancestors in the Census – 5 weeks £42.99
2 July – I’m Stuck, How Can the Society of Genealogists Help Me? [NEW, repeated] – 2 weeks £23.99
6 July– Discover Your Devon Ancestors [NEW] – 4 weeks £37.99
9 July – Scotland 1750 – 1850: Beyond the OPRs – 5 weeks £42.99

13 July – The Parish Chest. More to life than baptism, marriage and death [NEW] – 4 weeks £37.99
27 July – Old Handwriting for Family Historians [NEW] – 3 weeks £29.99


For more information, visit www.pharostutors.com.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Online fundraising project for new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

An abridged press release from the National Trust for Scotland:

A new Robert Burns painting by celebrated Scottish artist Peter Howson is being used as a unique online fundraiser for the National Trust for Scotland’s Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

The new painting, which is estimated to be worth £50,000, is today (Sunday 3 May 2009) launched online through a unique pixel fundraising website, to raise money for the completion of the new £21 million museum which is scheduled to open in summer 2010 in Alloway, Ayrshire, where Burns was born.

The content of the painting, which has been photographed and is hosted online at www.howsonburns.com, will be kept secret and blocked out entirely with 12,288 blocks of pixels, which can be purchased for £10.00 per 25 pixel block. As each block is purchased, some of the painting will be revealed with the end goal being for pixels to be purchased to reveal the entire painting.

Anyone buying a block of pixels will be entered into a draw to win the painting, which is 6ft x 4ft in dimension and painted on canvas. This unique concept, which it is hoped will attract interest from around the globe, will provide members of the public with the opportunity to win the Howson original by parting with only £10.00. There is no limit on the number of pixels that can be purchased by individuals.

Howson, 51, who is originally from Ayrshire, has collaborated with the National Trust for Scotland to assist in the final fundraising push for the remaining £3.8 million needed for its Robert Burns Birthplace Museum project.

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum Director Nat Edwards said:

“It is wonderful to have the support of Peter Howson in our fundraising efforts for the museum and for a new piece of artwork of Burns to be created by such a prolific artist.

“This is a new kind of fundraising initiative for us and one which we hope will help us to raise a substantial amount of money for our project.

The site is now live – pixels can be purchased at
www.howsonburns.com .

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

New British Library 19th Century Newspaper Collection service

Crikey - there is a God!

In this month's Your Family Tree magazine (77), I wrote an article imploring the British Library to make its 19th Century Newspaper Collection available online to the general public, and not just to those at subscribing institutions. Well - it has happened!

Don't worry, I'm not claiming the credit for this! It would have taken some time to set up, but it looks like lots of people have been thinking along the same lines here. The upshot is that the collection is now available online at http://newspapers.bl.uk/blcs/, accessible through a daily subscription of £6.99 (allowing up to 100 article views) or for seven days at £9.99, allowing up to 200 article views.
Included in the titles from a very welcome Scottish point of view are the Aberdeen Journal, the Caledonian Mercury and the Glasgow Herald, but the collection also includes the Belfast Newsletter and the Freeman's Journal from Ireland, and literally dozens of English and Welsh titles. I used the collections when a student last year, and it was an absolutely fantastic resource for my own family history research.

So stop wasting time in reading this - and go off and start digging....!!! And a huge thanks to the British Library and Gale.

(With thanks to amanda0901 at the YFT Forum. The story has also been reported at Talking Scot).

Chris

www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Ulster Historical Foundation book sale

Several titles from the Ulster Historical Foundation are currently on sale at a discount, including many of Scottish interest:

Researching Scots Irish Ancestors RRP £11.99 now £7.99
The Plantation of Ulster RRP £14.99 now £10.99
Scottish Migration to Ulster in the Reign of James I RRP £19.99 now £14.99
Essays In Scotch Irish History RRP £9.99 now £7.50

More info at www.booksireland.org.uk.

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

1911 Irish Census update

I've just read an update on the Rootschat forum concerning the 1911 Irish census release online. Apparently there have been serious problems with the level of accuracy in the transcriptions for Donegal, Limerick, Wexford, Cork and Kings County (Offaly), which have resulted in the delay, though these have now been resolved. The new prospective release date for these is May 22nd 2009.

Following this, there will apparently be two further batch releases - one in the summer, one in the winter, just prior to Christmas, completing the full census release.

This is all still subject to confirmation, as there is no word on the NAI site, and equally no word on the 1901 releases which were also promised for this summer.

More news as it comes!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

Friday, 1 May 2009

Lost Cousins 5th year celebration

The genealogy networking website Lost Cousins, at www.lostcousins.com, allows people to make connections to distant cousins by sharing connections found through various censuses around the world. For Scotland this is done through the 1881 census, for England and Wales through the 1841 and 1881 censuses, for Canada the 1881 census, and for the USA the 1880 census. Basic membership is free, but to contact cousins who share a relative in the same census entries that you have uploaded, you need to pay a subscription. So here's a birthday announcement from the company as part of its celebrations of 5 years on the scene...

Until 5.55pm on Tuesday 5th May (5th day of the 5th month), Lost Cousins is offering a joint subscription at the knock down price of £5, for both yourself and another family member. The normal annual rate for a single subscription is £12.50 - so this is a real bargain. All you have to do is to enter the code 5THBIRTHDAY on the subscribe page.

Happy hunting!

Chris

www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk
Scotland's Greatest Story
Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving