Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Changes to Commonwealth War Graves Commission site

This one slightly passed me by, so a huge thanks to military historian and writer Paul Reed, and to David McNay at the Scottish Military Research Group.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission ( is revamping its search interface, but this is not going down well at all in many quarters. The URL for results will change, meaning that if you had a result before, and placed that link onto a site in order to take you to the CWGC site, the link will no longer work. It has also been commented that no additional functionality will result from the change, leaving many to ask quite what the point is.

David has two blog posts on this at and . It seems that the CWGC imposed the new search system without anyone realising, then had to withdraw it for 'technical reasons', so the previous system is currently back in use. They are still however intending to continue with the new search system once the bugs have been ironed out. With regard to external sites such as Geoff's Search Engine (, which offered better search functions for the CWGC database, once the new system is operating, it will no longer work, nor will many other websites with previously established links to the site.

The response from CWGC is that they can basically do what they like, it's their database. So whereas Churchill used to stick two fingers up to signal victory, it appears that the CWGC are just sticking two fingers up at a group of historians who have relied heavily on the site for years and constructed entire projects around it.

Do read David's posts, and if you wish to make your feelings on the matter known, he has provided contact details for those in the frame.

Is it possble that progress can sometimes take the form of one step forward and two steps back?

UPDATE 2 OCT: Learned today from CWGC that new database is not going online again until at least after November 11th, as this is their busiest period.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

500 years of the Cumnock Charter

Last Saturday Cumnock celebrated the granting of a charter under James IV some 500 years ago, which raised it to the status of a burgh of barony.

For more, see

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Largs and North Ayrshire FHS summer journal out now

Following the last post, time to fly a flag a bit closer to home!

The latest journal from Largs and North Ayrshire FHS is now out. Amongst the articles are items on Ardrossan Castle Curling Club, the reflections of a Dominie from Dalry, a member's connection to Airntully in Kinclaven, Perthshire (the same village where many of my lot hailed from!), Kilwinning and the Holy Grail, and a particularly useful article on the main genealogy resources held by East Ayrshire Library and Information Service.

Details on society membership are available at - a copy of the latest journal is usually located in the Mitchell Library's genealogy area also.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

It's only a flag!

I am really sorry in advance to anyone who may take offense. But this did make me laugh...! :)

It's the "Oh no!" bit that gets me! :)

It's only a flag! Next thing you know, the Shetlanders will be denying they're displaying St Andrews saltire at the wrong angle...! lol :) (See !)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Discover my Past Scotland 12 now on sale

The October issue of Discover my Past Scotland has just gone online - now sit up at the back there, class has just begun!

In this issue, Michelle Higgs takes a look at what school records can reveal about your ancestors, whilst at the other end of the educational spectrum, yours truly has an article on the current postgraduate courses in Genealogical Studies offered by the University of Strathclyde.

John Hannavy examines village life in Scotland, Anthony Adolph looks at getting the kids involved in family history, Wendy Glass meets some genealogical experts, Kate Howard takes a tour of East Renfrewshire's many useful archival repositories and associations, and there's all the usual regular features - news, Your Family Library, Bygone Days, Q&As and more.

Och, there's even a nice wee cover to top it all off! £2.50 - definitely cheap, and very cheerful!

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Pharos - Scottish Research Online course April 2010

Well I've just finished teaching the Scottish Research Online course through Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Limited, with a great response from the students! Thanks to them, and good luck to all as you proceed with your family history research!

The next Scottish Research Online course will commence on April 14th 2010 and last for five weeks, priced at £42.99. The course works by lessons being sent out once a week in PDF format, with instruction and exercises, with a dedicated discussion forum enlisted throughout and a weekly live online chat to discuss issues raised.

The online world is fast developing, particularly with resources for Scottish genealogy, and this course, initially designed by Sherry Irvine and now regularly updated by myself, shows you not only where to find the most useful resources online, but also how to effectively research with those resources. In other words, this is as much about a methodical strategy as it is about digitised or indexed documents - the tools of the trade, and how to use them.

If you can't find the births of your great great grannies before 1855, this course just might smash a few brick walls!

Sherry's course Scotland 1750 - 1850: Beyond the OPRs is also set to run again in 2010 - more details on that when the date is confirmed - and I'm also looking into developing another Scottish based course later in the year - again, stay tuned! Additional affordable courses from Pharos can also be studied throughout the year - see

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Strathclyde's University Archives have moved

News from the University of Strathclyde:

The University Archives has moved from its cramped quarters in the McCance Building to join forces with the University Library’s Special Collections Department in a light and spacious area on level 5 of the University Library. The new combined department, called Archives and Special Collections, comprises the archives of the University and its antecedent institutions from 1796, other important archive collections and the Library’s collections of rare books. The new facility, which was formally opened by the Principal, Professor Jim McDonald, on 29th May, now offers users the chance to consult the archives and rare books together in a bright and comfortable reading room. New facilities include plenty of laptop places and tables for group or individual research.

Our new address is:

Archives and Special Collections
Andersonian Library
University of Strathclyde
101 St James' Road
Glasgow G4 0NS
Tel: 0141 548 2497

All visitors are welcome!

Victoria Peters
Strathclyde University Archivist

(With thanks to the A Scottish Accent blog)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Glasgow University's Archives Services to close for refurbishment

The following comes from the University of Glasgow Library blog:

Archive Services Refurbishment
September 29, 2009

Archive Services will be closed to the public from Monday 19th October until early February 2010, while our visitor facilities are extensively refurbished. This means that on-site visits to view archival material will not be possible during this period. We will still be running our enquiry service so please do get in touch.

Pictures of the work in progress will appear here as we have them.

We look forward to welcoming you to our new facilities in the new year.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Clyde built database

Looking for a ship built on the Clyde? Visit

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Scottish business archives for family historians

Chances are that your ancestor had a job - it was certainly not unheard of in antiquity! But have you actually tried to source business records relevant to the professions that your forebears were engaged with? You haven't?! Read on...!

Last night I attended a session at the Mitchell Library run by David Powell and Kiara King from the Business Archives Council of Scotland. From what I could gather, their job is to run around the attics of businesses, trying to save records before the binman comes, and avoiding things with more legs than themselves in the process! The session described the basic types of records that can be found for some trades in archives across the country.

It can often be hit and miss in trying to find such records, but where they do exist they can be invaluable. The first confirmation of my great grandfather's death in Belgium, where he was said to have died in hiding whilst trapped during the German occupation in World War 1, was found through the surviving corporate records for the Glasgow based shoemaking firm R & J Dicks, held at the Mitchell. Upon first glance, I was not at all optimistic when a box of papers arrived, containing no personnel files, just the rather dull minutes of annual AGMs, until this line appeared in the AGM minutes for 1916:

In addition to material, we have given many men to the war. Our Roll of Honour consists of 135 names. Of these, all were volunteers. Out of the eligible men of military age, 94 per cent offered themselves voluntarily. Out of these ten have been killed, ten wounded, one "gassed", and one is reported as missing. Besides these we have lost the manager of our shops in Brussels; after the German occupation he remained for many months in concealment, doing his best for the Company's interests. I regret that the strain and anxiety cost him his life...

Whilst much has been lost, a great deal of corporate material has survived, some of it in private hands, and David and Kiera have produced a handout listing some of the key research sources and types of information which may be found. The list can be read at Business Archives Resources for Family History, whilst Business Archives Scotland itself has a blog at One to bookmark!

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Footnote: Interactive Holocaust collection goes online


The American based National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and ( today announced the release of the internet's largest Interactive Holocaust Collection. For the first time ever, over one million Holocaust-related records - including millions of names and 26,000 photos from the National Archives- will be available online. The collection can be viewed at:

Included among the National Archives records available online at are:

•Concentration camp registers and documents from Dachau, Mauthausen, Auschwitz, and Flossenburg.

•The "Ardelia Hall Collection" of records relating to the Nazi looting of Jewish possessions, including looted art.

•Captured German records including deportation and death lists from concentration camps.

•Nuremberg War Crimes Trial proceedings.

Access to the collection will be available for free on through the month of October.

The collection also includes nearly 600 interactive personal accounts of those who survived or perished in the Holocaust provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The project incorporates social networking tools that enable visitors to search for names and add photos, comments and stories, share their insights, and create pages to highlight their discoveries. There will be no charge to access and contribute to these personal pages.

So that visitors may more easily access and engage the content, has created a special Holocaust site featuring:

•Stories of Holocaust victims and survivors.

•Place where visitors can create their own pages to memorialize their Holocaust ancestors.

•Pages on the concentration camps - includes descriptions, photos, maps, timelines and accounts from those who survived the camps.

•Descriptions and samples of the original records from the National Archives.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

People's Palace interview - ScotFamTree Channel

The ScotFamTree TV channel has uploaded an 18 minute interview with curator Fiona Hayes recorded at the People's Palace, located on Glasgow Green.

To view the interview visit

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Correction to FFHS comments on TNA changes

From the Federation of Family History Societies:

Correction to earlier comment on TNA changes

Following my recent comments about the user group meeting at which TNA announced its plans for change, I have learnt that Nick Barratt and others behind Action 4 Archives were dismayed at the statement “...some of the critics seemed to be guilty of the sort of misrepresentation they claimed had been used by TNA. Either that or they are unable to interpret documents as well as might be expected.”

They are concerned that “it suggests that the research and interpretation exercise that a wide variety of experienced historians, both present at the meeting and absent for various reasons, was not thorough and was intentionally misleading.” I therefore wish to clarify that I did not intend this to apply to all of the arguments put forward against the proposals, and indeed thought that the points made by Nick Barratt on behalf of Action 4 Archives were well made. I am sorry for any offence caused.

In their presentation at the meeting, TNA had a section entitled ‘Myths and the facts’. Nick has produced a rebuttal of this and no doubt he will be adding this to the Action 4 Archives website which is located at I will announce when this is available.

Roger Lewry
FFHS Archives Liaison

UPDATE: Nick Barratt's Action 4 Archives has now posted a response to the TNA changes at, which criticises the family history community as much as TNA itself, stating that there is no 'clear protesting voice from a family history representative body'.

Action 4 Archives has also posted the following mission statement: "We are looking to reposition our campaign and move Action 4 Archives onto a more formal footing. We are actively looking for professional archivists, academic historians, and family historians to help shape strategy, not just for TNA but across the entire sector – as well as an accountant and lawyer to provide professional assistance. At this stage contributions would be voluntary and conducted via email, with no minimum time commitment. Please email us if you would like to become involved." Contact details at the site.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

ScotlandsPeople - Hall of Fame

The ScotlandsPeople Centre has created an online Hall of Fame allowing you to see details for records of many of the great and the good, as held by the General Register Office for Scotland and the National Archives of Scotland.

Amongst the digitised records made available online is the marriage record of Mary Queen of Scots in 1565 to Henry Lord Darnley. Many individuals from the worlds of art, politics, science and medicine are included, with a list of records held for each.

To view the Hall of Fame visit

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

John Swinney MSP traces Orkney ancestry

John Swinney MSP, the Scottish Finance Minister, has recently been to Orkney to trace his family history, and a short video on his visit has been released by the Scottish Government, played here for your genealogical pleasure!

(With thanks to the ScotlandsPeople Centre)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Monday, 28 September 2009

More on TNA changes

More from Roger Lewry of the English based Federation of Family History Societies:

Changes to services at The National Archives

Further to my recent email, we have today received from Jenny Cottle, Senior Brand Manager, The National Archives the following details of the changes being made at Kew.

1)From 4 January 2010 our reading rooms will be open five days a week (Tuesday to Saturday), with longer opening on the days we are open. From 5 January 2010, our opening and document ordering times will be as shown in the table below.

Day / Opening times / Document ordering times

Monday / Closed / n/a
Tuesday / 09:00 – 19:00 / 09:00 – 17:00
Wednesday / 09:00 – 17:00 / 09:00 – 16:15
Thursday / 09:00 – 19:00 / 09:00 – 17:00
Friday / 09:00 – 17:00 / 09:00 – 16:15
Saturday / 09:00 – 17:00 / 09:00 – 16:15
Sunday / Closed / n/a

We recognise that this change may inconvenience some of our visitors, but our research shows less than 0.5% of our readers use our facilities for six consecutive days a week. We are committed to and will continue to support high quality scholarly research at our facilities in Kew, including services for the academic community.

2) A charge will be introduced for use of our public car park. From April 2010, there will be a charge of £5 per day and discounted annual tickets will be available (savings will be dependent on the emissions level of the car).. In addition we will be allocating a limited number of free tickets to regular unpaid volunteers, who are making a significant contribution on key projects.

3) We will move some more of our microfilm and microfiche records to storage at the end of this year, providing primary access in our reading rooms through digital means. This is part of a ongoing programme that has been running for several years to replace film and fiche with digital images. We will continue to work with our commercial partners to ensure even higher levels of accuracy of the indexing information provided. For those who need to see the microform it will still be available, on request.

4) We will also ensure our records experts are available to our visitors when they are most needed. Following consultation we will continue to provide expert advice in the Map and Large Document reading room for all the hours we are open. Elsewhere records expertise will be focused on busier periods of the day, when it is most needed.

5) We will be introducing the new streamlined online record copying service in late 2009/early 2010. This will help simplify the current online and telephone ordering processes.

Further information can be found at

(With thanks again to Roger)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

A Good Suit of Clothes - An elegant evening of Gaelic Song

Fiona Mackenzie will be staging a unique recital of emigrant Scottish Gaelic songs at Brodie Castle on Sunday October 25th, in an event called A Good Suit of Clothes: An elegant evening of Gaelic Song. From Fiona's website at :

As part of the Highland Homecoming celebrations in October 2009, Fiona will be using the beautifully sumptuous setting of Brodie Castle drawing room to stage a unique recital of Gaelic emigrant songs, telling the story of the many 1000s of Emigrants who have left Highland shores over the centuries, to sail to the ‘New World.

The songs will include traditional and contemporary songs, arranged for voice and piano and all the songs have recently been featured on Fiona’s new album “A Good Suit of Clothes”, arranged by Irvin Duguid. Fiona will also tell the stories which inspired the songs

Mod Gold Medallist Fiona will be accompanied on the Castle’s fine grand piano by well known Scottish Musical Director, producer, composer and pianist, Kennedy Aitchison.

There will also be a display of photographs and of artwork by local school pupils, of scenes illustrating the stories.

Bubbly and canapés will be served after the recital.

Tickets are extremely limited for this unique event so please book early - £20 (under 16s £10) from Fiona or Brodie Castle (0844) 4932156

NB: Brodie castle is near Forres in Moray - see

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Little Cumbrae becomes yoga camp

I am lucky living in Largs to have a stunning view out to several islands, namely Bute, Arran, Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae. The two Cumbraes derive their name from the same root word that the Welsh word 'Cymry' comes from, referring to the Britons who once inhabited this part of Scotland.

Little Cumbrae (Cumaradh Beag) has just hit the
headlines as it has been purchased by two Glaswegians who are turning it into an international yoga camp, and renaming it as 'Peace Island'. I've been around the island on a rib, but never actually set foot on it, but have always wanted to, in order to see Little Cumbrae Castle, which is a sister castle to that at Portencross here on the mainland, with both guiding the Clyde approach to the Ayrshire coast.

The new owner's son is quoted on the BBC as saying "My daughter is turning around and saying to everyone, 'my grandfather's bought me Cinderella's castle and I'm the Cinderella who's going to live in it'. I think that sums it up. It's a dream that's come true and every time we come here we fall more in love with the place."

Look after it folks - I have every intention in about 30 years of buying it to make it into my retirement home!!! :) And best of luck with the venture!

For more on Little Cumbrae and the castle, see

(Both pics - the 4 islands: in the foreground is Great Cumbrae, left is Little Cumbrae, middle right is Bute, and in the horizon is Arran)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

SAFHS Conference 2010 - Paupers, Physicians and Paraffinalia

The 2010 Scottish Association of Family History Societies conference, its 21st annual event, is being hosted by West Lothian FHS, and is entitled Paupers, Physicians and Paraffinalia - 150 Years of Social History in West Lothian. It is being held on Saturday 17th April 2010 at Howden Park Centre, Livingston, EH54 6AE.

The provisional list of speakers is:

Dr Irene O'Brien, Senior Archivist, Glasgow City Council - Scottish Poor Law: Painting the local picture in West Lothian.

Dr Morrice Macrae, Royal College of Physicians - James Young Simpson and his world.

Professor Michael L Hitchman, Strathclyde University - Social aspects of the Paraffin industry in Scotland.

Elizabeth Henderson, Museums Development Officer, West Lothian Council - Banners and Benefits: Friendly Societies in West Lothian.

For more information, visit

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Solicitors and Attorneys database - Society of Genealogists

For those who worked in the Scottish legal professions, the following database, available exclusively in the members only areas of the English based Society of Genealogists website, may be of interest. From the Society's blog:

The Solicitors and Attorneys Index for Genealogists

This lists Solicitors and Attorneys who were practicing between roughly 1780 and 1861. It was compiled on record cards and donated to the Society of Genealogists by Brian Brooks in 2002 and converted for the Society by Les Murial. It includes information on lawyers around the United Kingdom. However the database does NOT include lawyers in London, Middlesex, Sussex and Wales as Mr Brooks is still working on these. There is also a little data on lawyers in Scotland and India, The index was compiled from various sources including Law Lists from 1780-1861, the 1851 census, and biographical works such as Sir Edgar Stephens’ Clerks of the Counties 1360-1960. This is a really useful index for anyone with solicitors in their family history.

The Solicitors and Attorneys index is divided into two databases on the website. The first shows career details and the entry number will indicate the geographical location. For example, entries 0001-0133 relate to lawyers in Bedfordshire and these numbers are explained on the site. The second includes genealogical information (shown here), where found, for each lawyer. Again entry numbers indicate the county location of the lawyer using the same codes as for the first index.

For more information, visit
Society of Genelaogists.

(With thanks to the SoG)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Lanarkshire FHS - new Resource Centre officially opened

The new Resource Centre for Lanarkshire Family History Society was officially opened on Tuesday 22nd September 2009 by Provost Tom Curley of North Lanarkshire Council and Provost Russell Clearie MBE of South Lanarkshire Council. The Centre opened earlier in the year on 21st February 2009 in a building originally known as the 'Old School House' and the 'Janitor's House', which is located at 47 Crosshill Street, Motherwell.

An image from the opening can be seen at the society's website at .

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Family History at the National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is having a session on Tuesday October 6th entitled 'Discovering Family History at NLS':

Find out how we can help you with your family history research. Includes a short tour of the Library and some practical information about how to get a reader's ticket.

The session runs from 10.30am - 12.00pm. To book a free place, call 0131 623 3918 or email . For more information on the workshop, email .

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Follow SGNE blog with Google Friend Connect

In addition to following this blog with an RSS feed, you can now also follow SGNE with Google Friend Connect. This will allow you to view updates on your Blogger Dashboard in a handy form of digest, and you can also follow publicly or privately. Links for both are on the right side of this page.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

National Trust for Scotland AGM - heated debate

The National Trust for Scotland AGM in Edinburgh has heard a passionate debate over recent funding cuts which has seen three historic properties mothballed and 88 jobs lost.

For more on the story visit

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

SGNE revamped look

I'm one of those people who has to rearrange the furniture from time to time to keep me sane. I've just realised the same applies to my blogging, so I've give the site a bit of a makeover to brighten things up a bit. Hope ye like it!

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Ancestors issue 87 now on sale

The October issue of Ancestors magazine is out now, and full of all sorts of fascinating articles.

Sarah Minney gives a guide on how to research at TNA, Michael Gandy offers some brickwall problem solutions, Fiona Fitzsimons looks at court rentals from Irish landed estates, Lindsay Calder goes in search of her Islay born great grandmother, Karen Wicks looks at the barnardos archive, Kathy Chater examines the fortunes of John Cranbrook, an early black settler in Britian, Phil Wood goes in search of the convicts who died at Tyburn Tree, Jo Mears delves into a governess ancestor at the Russian Revolution, and Lynn Cobinne examines the best resources for New Zealand ancestors. Plus all the usual regular features, including internet news from yours truly,. a look at wills online by Stuart Raymond, and editor Simon Fowler takes a look at an inept 18th century spy, Dr Florence Hensey.

It's so packed with goodies that I'm off to build an extension to the house to hold it all!

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Your Family Tree 82 on sale now

The latest issue of Your Family Tree is on sale, with goodies galore.

Chris Pomery looks at the future of family history, Ian Waller and Doireen Hopwood look at some of the more common brickwall problems that can be easily resolved, Paul Reed looks at army lists and muster rolls, and Stephen Thomas examines the records of freemasons and clubs. There are articles on how to use the website, how to draw a family tree with Serif DrawPlus 7, and Colin Waters takes a look at agricultural labourers. Flying the flag for Scotland is Chris Duncan, who looks at the Scottish Highlands, Caroline Makein's Boer War ancestor, and yours truly looks at nonconformist and dissenting church records. There's even a story of an English Orangeman in the mix there somewhere, and we're not talking about the man from Del Monte!

All for £4.99, and with that you also get a photo of editor Russell James slowly turning into a mad scientist on page 59, all in the name of preserving old newspapers apparently, but I have my doubts!

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

The Genealogist website - records update

From our friends at The Genealogist website ( ):

English and Welsh censuses:

We have now finished the 1881 census, this completes our census from 1841 to 1901 as transcripts including images. We are the only service that offers transcripts with images for the whole of this period. We have also added parish records for several new counties.

This Friday we are exclusively launching RG36 GRO Registers and Returns of Births, Marriages and Deaths in the Protectorates of Africa and Asia, covering dates 1895-1965 in association with The National Archives. This is just one of the major additions to our overseas GRO records. We have also added more WWI records with biographies and photos.

Non-Conformist Records - RG36 Registers and Returns of Births, Marriages and Deaths in the Protectorates etc. of Africa and Asia. Covering dates 1895-1965. Notifications of birth, marriage and death forwarded by officials responsible for civil registration under administrative ordinances in Nyasaland, Kenya, Somaliland, Uganda, Sudan, Palestine, Sarawak, Malaya, including Johore and Selangor, and British North Borneo. They have been added to the freely searchable online service at BMDRegisters and viewable as part of subscriptions to These newly added records were previously only viewable on microfilm at The National Archives.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Friday, 25 September 2009

TNA changes - Federation of Family History Societies response

The following is a comment from the English based Federation of Family History Societies on the confirmed changes by the National Archives at Kew, as announced yesterday (see Changes at The National Archives formally confirmed)

It will come as no surprise that the changes were not well received by those who have been in the forefront of the criticism aimed at the proposals. However, it was noticeable that some of the critics seemed to be guilty of the sort of misrepresentation they claimed had been used by TNA. Either that or they are unable to interpret documents as well as might be expected.

It is to be hoped that lessons will be learnt from this exercise so that future consultation is much more effective. In the present situation it was much more like paying lip service to consultation after the decisions had been reached. Natalie Ceeney, chief executive, said that employment law made it difficult to have open discussion in the light of the impact on staff caused by the loss of jobs. Ideally, stakeholders should be given the opportunity to provide input at the earliest stages of thinking, when there is a realistic possibility of influencing the decision-making process. Also, the reasoning behind some of the decisions was not well communicated at first. This caused conflict which could have been avoided if more thought had been given to this.

We understand that there will be an opportunity to demonstrate how well these lessons have been understood in the not-too-distant future.

Roger Lewry
FFHS Archives Liaison

This last comment is interesting - there's nothing like a cliffhanger to end on...! :)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Documents Online offline on Saturday

From the National Archives at Kew:

Please note that due to essential upgrade work, DocumentsOnline will not be available on Saturday 26 September. This means that users of the website and visitors to The National Archives at Kew will be unable to access resources held in DocumentsOnline, including wills and medal index cards. Access to Electronic Records Online will also be affected.

The disruption should only last one day. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Changes at The National Archives formally confirmed

The following comes from the National Archives at Kew:

Changes to public services at The National Archives

Following an extensive consultation over the summer, The National Archives announced today a number of changes to its operations and public services.

Having considered the feedback received during the consultation, the changes will now see:

Moving to a five-day week (Tuesday to Saturday), from 4 January 2010, with an extension of opening hours and document ordering times

Charging for use of the public car park, with an annual season ticket available for frequent users (based on vehicle emissions, in keeping with government guidelines)
Changes to copying and microform services, with the aim of simplifying the process for users

Chief executive Natalie Ceeney said: “I would like to thank all those who have taken the time to respond to our consultation, following the announcement we made in June. The feedback we received has informed our final decision, helping us work together to ensure that The National Archives continues to be one of the best in the world despite a challenging financial climate.

“An archive is as much about the present and the future as it is about the past, and these changes will ensure that this organisation is stronger and prepared for the coming years.”

The changes are in response to the pressures of increased demand on The National Archives’ services, and a fixed budget. As part of the changes, The National Archives is conducting a voluntary redundancy exercise, but has managed to do this without losing any specialist posts in the structure, ensuring that the levels of historical records expertise available now to support the public will be maintained. These changes will also enable The National Archives to maintain investment in future services, which include research and cataloguing work to make records more accessible, as well as vital work to ensure that today’s digital records survive to become tomorrow’s history.

In a challenging environment, The National Archives is intent on maintaining high levels of public service, increasing online access to its collection and capturing current government information for future researchers, guaranteeing the continuity of the official government record.

Changes will be implemented over the coming months. To find out more, please go to:

The presentation document states that TNA is seeking 35 voluntary redundancies, but no change to the status or number of expert advisers, contrary to what it says has been circulated misinformation. The number of senior records experts posts is increasing. TNA says it received 27,500 submissions to the consultation, and possibly a red rag to a bull for some, it also states "The e-petition on the Number 10 website had 1,040 signatories by 12 September 2009. This is a similar number to the petition to review policing at the bulldog bash motorcycle rally"!!!

In a veiled response to counter proposals from Action4Archives, it states: "We received a set of counter-proposals on 21 September, which unfortunately would not have enabled us to make the savings we need to make. A detailed response has been sent to the proposer."

In a sign that public concerns over opening hours have been taken on board, TNA has proposed to still close on Mondays, but will extend opening hours on Tuesdays to Saturdays and will not close for stocktaking each December. Limited openings on Monday and Wednesday evenings were considered, but were ruled out on the cost basis.

On car parking, plans have been amended to include free car parking tickets to regular volunteers on key projects. The daily fee for parking will be £5, but there will be annual tickets available.

On BMD indexes - no fiche/films will be removed until the digital surrogates are vetted and approved by TNA experts. Once removed, they will still be available on demand (eg. as in the ScotlandsPeople centre).

A new record copying service is to made available soon - the proposals on this were not challenged by anyone.

On expert staff deployment, a request to keep mapping experts on hand has been agreed to, but other expert services will be ceased Tues and Thurs evenings and made available at busier periods. The Research Enquiries desk will close at 5.00pm.

Monday closures will start 4 JAN 2010.
New opening hours and document production hours from 5 JAN 2010.
Car park charges from April 2010.
Film and fiche removal from early 2010.
Record copying system from end of 2009.

The full list of decisions is available at

Finally, you learn a little every day - TNA's storage overflow facility is based in a salt mine in Cheshire! :)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Largest ever Anglo-Saxon treasure horde found

The largest ever find of Anglo-Saxon treasure has been found in Staffordshire, comprising of some 1500 items, easily outsizing the Sutton Hoo collection.

For more info, see

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Forthcoming Scottish lectures and events - October 09

It's back! After several requests to do so, I've decided to reinstate the monthly news and events listings on the SGNE blog, now that I have a bit more time to breathe again! So with a new family history society lectures and events season upon us, here goes with some listngs for October:

Natural Gifts and Tenacious Memories, by Alasdair MacEachen (Gaelic and English)
The Islands Books Trust
Saturday 3 OCT 09, 8.30pm, St Mary’s Hall, Griminish, Benbecula

Open day
Alloway & Southern Ayrshire FHS
Saturday 3 OCT 09, 12.00pm-4.00pm, McKechnie Institute, Girvan

Fife Family History Fair

Saturday 3 OCT 09, 9.00am-5.00pm, Rothes Halls, Glenrothes

Regular Meeting
West Lothian FHS
6 OCT 2009, Connolly House, Blackburn

Visit to Burns Monument Centre (talk and tour)
Alloway & Southern Ayrshire Family History Society
Wednesday 7 OCT 09, Meet at 2pm, Burns Monument Centre, Kilmarnock

ScotlandsPeople, by Paul Parr
Lanarkshire FHS
Thursday 8 OCT 09, 7.00pm, GLO Centre, Muir Street, Motherwell (check out the swanky new website by the way!)

The life of George Inkster D.C.M., by Norman Logie
Orkney FHS
Thursday 8 OCT 09, 7.30pm, Supper Room, Kirkwall Town Hall

Robert Burns, by J. Gibson
East Ayrshire FHS
Thursday 8 OCT 09, 7.30pm, Gateway Centre, Foregate Square, Kilmarnock at

The Registrars Office at Peterhead by Shirley Dickie, and Poor Law Registers, by Rita Gordon
The Family History Society of Buchan
Friday 9 OCT 09 – 7.00pm, Arbuthnot House, Peterhead

Family and Local History Fair
Moray and Nairn FHS
Saturday 10 OCT 2009, 10.00am - 4.30pm, Elgin Town Hall

Impact of Empire on Scots Heraldry: Quest and Conquest, by Mark D. Dennis
The Scottish Genealogy Society
Monday 12 OCT 09, 7.30pm, Augustine Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh

Post Graduate in Genealogical Studies - A Student View, by Audrey Brown
Fife FHS
Tuesday 13 OCT 09, 7.30pm, Methil Institute, Fisher Street, Methil

Council Meeting
West Lothian FHS
Tuesday 13 Oct 2009, Blackburn CC

The Hidden High Street (pt 1), by George Fox
Lochaber and North Argyll Family History Group
Tuesday 13 OCT 09, 7.30pm, Fort William Library, Fort William

Largs & North Ayrshire FHS
Tuesday 13 OCT 09, 7.30pm, Community Room, Largs Library, Allanpark Street, Largs

Railways of Midlothian, by Jeff Hurst
Lothians FHS
Wednesday 14 OCT 09, 7.00pm, Lasswade High School Centre, Eskdale Drive, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, EH19 2LA

Unlocking the Medicine Chest: Records at University of Dundee, by Caroline Brown
Central Scotland FHS
Wednesday 14 OCT 09, 7:30pm, Smith Museum and Art Gallery, Dumbarton Road, Stirling

Glasgow University Archives – family history sources
Alloway & Southern Ayrshire FHS
Thursday 15 OCT 09, 7.45pm, Alloway Church Hall

Scottish Military Research Group, by Adam Brown
Renfrewshire FHS
Thursday, 15 OCT 09, 7.30pm, Paisley Museum, High Street, Paisley

Ancestral Breakthroughs (Members)
Anglo-Scottish FHS
Saturday 17 OCT 09, 2.00pm, Society library, Clayton House, Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2AQ

The History of Cove Bay, by Douglas Gray
Aberdeen and NE Scotland FHS
Saturday 17 OCT 09 2.30pm Aberdeen Unitarian Church, 43a Skene Terrace, Aberdeen AB10 1RN

The Scottish Diaspora, by Billy Kay
Largs & North Ayrshire FHS (Joint Meeting with Largs Historical Society)
Monday 19 OCT 09, 7.30pm, Session House, St. Columba’s Church, Largs

The Surnames of Scotland, by Ian Fraser
Glasgow & West of Scotland FHS
Monday 19 OCT 09, 7.30pm Lecture Theatre No. 1 of the Boyd Orr Building, Glasgow University, University Avenue, Hillhead, Glasgow

Evening Visit to New Register House
West Lothian FHS
Tuesday 20 Oct 2009, New Register House, Edinburgh

Who do you think you are (Members)
Troon @ Ayrshire Family History Society
Tuesday 20 OCT 09, Troon Public Library, South Beach, Troon, Ayrshire, KA10 6EF (believed to be 7.30pm)

Crofting and a European Future, by Charles Kennedy MP (Angus MacLeod Memorial Lecture)
The Islands Books Trust
Thursday 22 OCT 09, Pairc School, Gravir

Family Connections: The Killing of the Red Fox, by Ian Nimmo
North Perthshire Family History Group
Thursday 22 OCT 09, 7.30 pm, The Tryst Hall, behind the Church, off West Moulin Road, Pitlochry

Drop in session
Troon @ Ayrshire Family History Society
Saturday 24 Oct 09, 1.00pm-3.00pm, Troon Library

Border Abbeys, by Rollo Duncan,
Borders FHS
Sunday, 25 OCT 09, 2.30 pm, Corn Exchange & Ormiston Institute, Market Square, Melrose, TD6 9PN

St Kilda to Australia - the story of the migration to Port Philip in 1852-53, by Professor Eric Richards
The Islands Books Trust
Monday 26 OCT 09, 8.00pm, Taigh Chearsabhagh, Lochmaddy

Inverclyde Waulking Songs Group, by Frances Dunlop
Renfrewshire FHS
Tuesday, 27 OCT 09, R.A.F.A. HQ., 11a Ardgowan Square, Greenock (no time given)

2010 Conference Meeting
West Lothian FHS
Tuesday 27 Oct 2009, Blackburn CC

Caithness FHS
Wednesday 28 OCT 09, Caithness Horizons, Thurso Town Hall (no time listed)

If you would like to have a free event listing, please contact me at

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Highland Council - Genealogy Service temporary closure

Following my previous post of August 17th, just a quick reminder that Highland Council's Genealogy Service will be temporarily closing from this Friday (25th), following the closure of the archive's public search room on August 28th, in order to facilitate the service's move to new premises. As the Highland Archive and Registration Centre, it will be re-opening for business as usual on Monday, October 26th 2009.

The public services in the council's archive centres in Caithness, Lochaber, and Skye & Lochalsh continue to function normally, although the service in Skye is also due to relocate to new premises later this year.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Scottish family history - Edinburgh Evening News articles

I posted last week about an article in an Edinburgh newspaper concerning the ScotlandsPeople Centre (see Article on ScotlandsPeople in Edinburgh Evening News). There were a couple of interesting celebrity follow ups over the following two days:

In the first, you can read how the National Archives of Scotland was able to reveal a terrible tragedy to TV presenter Gail Porter, concerning her great grandfather's tragic death in a lighthouse, at

And you can also read how the General Register Office for Scotland's Audrey Wyper established a 220 year ancestral history for Scottish boxer Alex Arthur, at

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

FIBIS adds records for Bombay Army 1793-1860

The Families in British India Society (FIBIS) has added service records of soldiers who served in the Bombay Army from 1793 to 1860 on its website, with the original records having been sourced from India Office Records L/MIL/12/109. the site has a note stating that there are no microfilm copies of these records available in the cabinets in the Asia & African Studies Reading Room at the British Library.

A typical example is as follows:

Entered the Service 1820
Surname Atkiss
Forename(s) James
Rank or Situation Gunner 2nd Company 1st Battalion Artillery
Town and County Middlesex
Date of Attestation 3 August 1819
Term of enlisted service Unlimited
In what ship arrived from Europe, or Service Entertained Thomas Coutts
Year of Arrival or When that service entertained 13 May 1820
Date & nature of Casualty Died 17 January 1832
Amount of estate in money and effects 7r 0a 69p
How disposed of Intestate
IOR Reference L/MIL/12/109

To consult the full database, visit

A fantastic effort, congratulations to all involved!

UPDATE: Further detail from FIBIS

The records have been transcribed from registers of enlisted men, including casualties, who served between 1795 and 1862 in the Bombay Army of the Honourable East India Company. The records were established in 1831 and include those soldiers still serving in that year with subsequent additions constantly made until the demise of the army in 1862. These books are held by the British Library in the India Office Records as part of its Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections but are not available on micro-film there. The registers, pieces 109-116 in the L/MIL/12 series, were compiled by clerks in the East India House in London, largely from regimental Muster Rolls sent back from India and comprised personal details aggregated during an individual’s career. The registers have never been indexed before.

In addition to a name, initial rank and unit, the records of service can include (where known) place of origin, date of entry to service, date of Attestation, term of enlisted service, date of arrival (in India) and ship arrived on, date of death (if in service), when and where re-enlisted, promotions, transfers and when pensioned.

The successful uploading of data into FIBIS Search last Friday (18 September 2009) was the culmination of two years of transcription and checking by a team of hard working FIBIS volunteers, led by Robert Charnock and co-ordinated by Penny Tipper (both FIBIS Trustees). The project would not have been possible without the encouragement and support of the British Library

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Angus and Dundee Roots Festival

From our friends at Angus and Dundee Roots Festival:


As part of this year’s Homecoming Scotland celebrations, families with links to Angus or Dundee will be able to find out more about their ancestors at the Angus and Dundee Roots Festival, which starts on September 26.

Dr Nick Barratt, the historian who helped bring family history research into the limelight with the BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, will be opening the Roots Genealogy Workshop which is being held on Monday, September 28, at The Wighton Centre, Dundee Central Library. This free, all-day workshop, which starts at 10am, will give anyone interested in researching their family’s history the chance speak to experts from local archives and national organisations, including Scotland’s People, as well as highly-experienced family history researchers.

“People often think of researching family history as being an online activity but, although the internet is a great starting point for a family tree, a website can’t give you the essence of your ancestors and the communities where they lived,” said Nick Barratt. “So many people don’t realise the wealth of resources on their doorstep which will provide access to original material and expertise that will help uncover important and vital information about their family.”

During the Roots Genealogy Workshop, there will also be opportunities to learn how to access the burial records of all the graveyards in Angus through Deceased Online. If you prefer to carry out graveyard research in person rather than online, guided tours of The Howff and Kirriemuir Cemetery will take place on Tuesday, September 29, at 10am.

The Festival will also include an all-day tour of the Angus Archives at Restenneth, near Forfar, where 800 years of written, printed and photographic records can be accessed. “The Angus Archives are a treasure trove for anyone researching their family tree,” said Fiona Scharlau, Senior Archivist at the Angus Archives, who will be one of the archivists providing help and advice during the tour.

During the Angus & Dundee Roots Festival, there will be a series of expert lectures about local and family history, including talks on the Dundee whaling industry, Dundee’s little-known World War II submarine flotilla, how to use the Dundee archives, the families of Angus and the McLarens, a local family of architects. In addition, on Tuesday, September 29, in association with Literary Dundee and the University of Dundee, the work of Robert Burns will be celebrated at Dundee Rep and will include readings, song and the launch of a new book.

The Angus & Dundee Roots Festival Local History and Genealogy Fair on Friday, October 2 will provide a host of opportunities to delve into the history of local families and the communities where they lived. Local and national organisations and experts will be attending this event, including Tay Valley Family History Society and Scotland’s People, who will be providing advice and limited free access to, one of the largest online sources of Scottish genealogical information.

The Angus & Dundee Roots Festival will also be celebrating the music bygone residents of Angus and Dundee played, danced to and sang along with. The Festival features traditional music sessions, and a Ballads & Bothy Ballads concert. As the Roots Festival closes, the Homecoming Hootenanny at the Bonar Hall, Dundee on Friday, October 2 launches the Fest’n’Furious weekend of workshops and concerts.

“Finding out about your ancestor’s day-to-day lives and placing them in their historical context is a crucial stage in bringing your family back to life,” said Nick Barratt. “That’s why events such as the Angus and Dundee Roots Festival are so useful as they provide opportunities to access historical records and obtain information and advice from the experts in this field.”

For more information about the Angus & Dundee Roots Festival –including the full programme and how to reserve places on tours and book tickets for events - visit .

(NB: The Deceased Online records refer only to Angus at present, though hopefully Dundee's records will also see the light of day on the site - I was at the launch for the Angus records last week, and the site is a real boon for those with ancestors from the county! See Deceased Online and Angus and Dundee Roots festival bash at Glamis - I suspect a lot of Dundonians will be envious...!)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Family Tree Maker 2010 released in UK

From Ancestry - the UK release of Family Tree Maker 2010., the UK’s No. 1 family history website, today announced the release of Family Tree Maker™ 2010, a new and improved version of the world's best-selling family history software.

Family Tree Maker 2010 provides users with the tools to build their family tree, record memories and organize family photos, stories, videos and audio clips, enabling them to both preserve and share the story of their ancestors.

The collection of family history records and powerful search features available on can also be fully utilized - without leaving Family Tree Maker. When connected to the Internet, Family Tree Maker 2010 automatically searches for historical records related to family members included the user's family tree. With a few clicks of the mouse, users with an subscription can view and import these historical records into their family tree.

This new software also provides unique ways for users to view their family history. For example, users can now track the migration paths of both an individual and their family through time by mapping event locations with Microsoft® Bing™ Maps. They can also view relationships between any two people in their family tree by using the improved relationship calculator, creating family books made from information and photos saved into their tree. International Commerce & Business Development Director Angela Wiseman comments: “In the last 20 years, Family Tree Maker has enabled people to explore and discover their family history online and then organise and preserve it using industry-leading software.

“Family Tree Maker 2010’s even richer storytelling and organizational tools can breathe new life into the family history research process.”

New Family Tree Maker 2010 Features

* The following new and improved features expand Family Tree Maker's capabilities:

* Improved integration with – easily down and uploadable family tree, including photos and stories, directly into Family Tree Maker 2010

* New and improved charts and reports – enables for a richer family story to be told, with improvements to charts and reports including a new timeline report, improved family group sheet and genealogy reports

* Better ways to organize photos and other media – easier and faster ways to add, link and categorize photos and files in bulk

* Photo Slideshows – slideshows can be created, exported and shared based on images included within the family tree

* Family books made from your tree – extracting the information within the family tree, a family book illustrating the user’s family history can now be created

* Standard source templates – the right record information can be cited with access to powerful sourcing tools which enables documentation and citation rating

* Robust relationship calculator – quickly calculates the relationships between any two people within the family tree

* Scanner support – photos can be added to the family tree directly from the scanner and organized into categories

* Extended family birthday calendars – easily creates and shares a calendar showing family birthdays and anniversaries

* Extensive geographical migrations – a person or family timeline with event locations can be viewed, with births, marriages, residences and death mapped geographically to show migration and paths tracked through time

* Improved performance – faster load times and quicker performance across the application

Avanquest is the official publisher of Family Tree Maker in the UK and has been representing in the retail channel since 2004.

Avanquest Sales Director Steve Powell comments: “Ancestry and Family Tree Maker are two world-leading brands in the genealogy arena and we’re delighted to be representing them for the new 2010 version.

“We’re confident that with this product, both Avanquest and our retail partners will enjoy great success and continue to deliver our customers the very best family tree software available.”

Family Tree Maker 2010 will be available to purchase online at starting at £39.14. The program is also set to be released in select retail stores.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

New Lanark millworkers reunion and parliamentary exhibition events

New Lanark World Heritage Site is hosting a Millworkers Reunited event to celebrate the contribution of millworkers throughout the years.

The event will be held from October 17th to 18th, 11am to 5pm. Visitors will be able to discover ancestral links to the mills, research family history, visit a photographic exhibition on New Lanark's millworkers, and also tour around the UNESCO listed site.

Also at New Lanark's Robert Owen's School, visitors will be able to visit the Moving Stories - 10 people. 10 experiences. 10 years of the Scottish Parliament exhibition from Saturday 10th to Tuesday 27th October, from 11am - 5pm.

For more on the events, visit

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

More on PRONI's Ulster street directories

I announced the release of PRONI's Ulster street directories on Thurs 10th September (Ulster Street Directories 1819-1900 go online).

PRONI has now formally released a press statement on the new collection, so here it is - in their own words...!

Street directories from 1819 now online

Do you know where your ancestors lived and what they worked as? You can now find out using the Belfast and Ulster Street Directories.

Street directories from 1819 to 1900 have been launched online today at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) by Minister Nelson McCausland.

Speaking during the event the Minister said: “Tracing your family tree has become increasingly popular with programmes such as ‘Who do you think you are?’, sparking the public interest. Everyone wants to know who their ancestors were, where they came from and what they did for a living and these online street directories will make finding out a whole lot easier.

“An increasing number of PRONI visitors come from outside the UK and one of my Department’s key goals is to digitise key cultural resources and make them easily available to the worldwide audience. This service will prove valuable for those visitors who prefer to start their research in the comfort of their own home.”

The online service contains over 29 directories, approximately 20,000 pages, and covers Belfast and provincial towns in Northern Ireland and in counties Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan from 1819 to 1900. Street directories contain a wide range of information about people, places and organisations and are an extremely useful source for all kinds of research such as tracing the location of a particular person or checking when a firm was in business. You can also search your own address to find out who lived there many years ago.

The Minister concluded: “The Street Directories on-line complement the existing databases and records which are available electronically, such as the Ulster Covenant, the Freeholders Records and the Wills Indexes. This is the next chapter in the continuing work of PRONI to make more of its resources available online.”

Street directories can be accessed on and is part of the continuing work of PRONI to make more of its resources available electronically.

Don't forget to also read the
major announcement from PRONI carried on this blog yesterday.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

PRONI to close for move to Titanic Quarter

A MAJOR announcement from the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, which will be closing to public access between September 2010 and May 2011 for the move from Balmoral Avenue to its new purpose built premises at Titanic Quarter:

Customers of the Public Record Office NI (PRONI) are advised of a temporary change to service delivery between September 2010 and May 2011.

The construction of the new PRONI headquarters at Titanic Quarter is progressing well, with the building scheduled to open to the public in May/June 2011. To ensure that services in the new building will be operational and that records will be available and will be preserved during this move, the Public Record Office will have to change how it carries out its business next year. The Public Record Office is providing 12 months' notice of changes to ensure that overseas visitors in particular have good time to make alternative plans.

Keeper of the Records, Minister Nelson McCausland said: “Records stored within PRONI are priceless, some of which contain vital historical information which, if lost or damaged, would be a massive blow to the general public, both in Northern Ireland and also worldwide.

“Staff at PRONI are currently working hard to produce appropriate and secure storage containers which will enable records to be moved to the new building safely and securely. A complete stock-take of all the records will then be carried out before they are securely packed, bar-coded and transported to the new building. This mammoth task does not end there, as staff then have to carry out a further stock-take to ensure that all records arrived safely."

The Minister continued: “Access to public records is a core function of the Department and to minimise disruption to customers, PRONI is increasing the amount and range of material which will be available online. In the coming weeks I will be marking the launch of the 1819 to 1900 street directories going on-line, which will make the contents of 27 street directories for Belfast and provincial towns available to a worldwide audience.

"Discussions are also taking place with partner organisations to make arrangements to allow customers to have alternative sources to draw upon during this time.

"Whilst the public will not be able to physically access the Balmoral Avenue site during the move, PRONI will continue to provide a limited correspondence and telephone enquiry service and will address FOI and urgent legal enquiries.”

The Minister concluded by saying that interest in personal and local history is on the increase and the new state of the art offices will encourage wider community involvement in accessing the unique assets that it holds.

PRONI has also advised the following:

To help alleviate the inconvenience to customers during a period of on-site closure the amount and range of material available on-line will be extended. This will include the Belfast Street Directories (pre 1901) going on-line in September 2009 and additional databases scheduled for completion in 2009/10 financial year including 1766 Religious Census Returns, 1775 Dissenters Petitions and the pre-1910 Coroners’ Inquests.


Discussions are taking place with partner bodies about the possibility of providing an off-site self-service facility for limited microfilmed records.

There is no indication yet as to which records may be made available for public access by microfilm, or where this may be, but obviously once I hear anything you'll be the first to know!

Clearly this is going to be a major disruption to those wishing to do research at the institution, though perhaps somewhat understandable considering the size of the move. The closure for eight or nine months will be frustrating for many I am sure, but from my POV here in Scotland, the fact that at the end of it I will be able to step off from a ferry and literally walk into the new PRONI office is going to be of huge benefit.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Privacy hits British Library's online India Office collection

From the British Library's India Office collection website at, which has an index to 300,000 BMD records for British citizens in India:

Updated 3rd September 2009. The British Library recognises the importance of protecting and respecting individuals' rights to privacy and has taken additional measures to ensure that information relating to living individuals is not published online. As a result, you may find that some details found here previously are no longer available on this database. The full records can still be consulted in the Asian and African Studies reading room at the British Library.

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Monday, 21 September 2009

Scottish Catholic records preview

Kirsty Wilkinson from My Ain Folk has a bit of background to the new forthcoming Roman Catholic records release at her Professional Descendant blog -see Scottish Catholic Registers - a preview.

There is to be a formal launch for the records on my birthday in early October - but I'll leave it to the ScotlandsPeople folk to announce exactly when that is...! :)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Brilliant genealogy browser toolbar from Manchester

Manchester and Lancashire FHS has launched a genealogy browser toolbar that provides direct links to the most useful British genealogical sites for family historians. It is by far the best freebie I have come across all year.

Amongst the records directly linked for Scotland are the ScotlandsPeople site, the National Library of Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland, the ScotFamTree discussion forum, SCAN, SCRAN, the Statistical Accounts for Scotland, Discover my Past Scotland magazine and more. There are also sections for Ireland, England, Wales, Archives, BMD and more. They've even kindly linked to this blog, so a handy way to instant access all the latest Scottish news and events!

I would strongly urge people to download it - it can be easily uninstalled if you are not happy, but believe me, you will be! The download is freely available from and takes just seconds to install.

Also, don't forget to check out MLFHS's Scottish Strays marriage index section for Scots who married in England - a very handy database located in the Anglo-Scottish section of the site (half way down the right side of the home page).

Thanks to Ken and the team for a brilliant innovation!

Professional genealogical problem solving and research

Is ScotlandsPeople talking to Ancestry?

An interesting post from the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog yesterday describes the visit of Scottish Registrar General Duncan MacNiven to the BIFHSGO conference at the weekend. The post briefly mentions the forthcoming Roman Catholic records release, and other well known up and coming releases such as the Valuation Rolls and Kirk Session records. However, the bit that caught my eye was the following:

"He also mentioned that there is some potential for extra Scottish information to be made available by suppliers other than Scotland's People, including Ancestry, although negotiations are at an early stage."

There was a bit of a stir last year when the the Sunday Herald in July 2008 reported on the possibility of the GROS partnering with other institutions - see License sale may mean that money doesn't grow on family trees -
but it has all been very quiet since then. So is ScotlandsPeople now in discussion with Ancestry?

One to keep an eye out for!

(With thanks to JDR at the Anglo-Connections blog)

Professional genealogical problem solving and research