Thursday, 31 December 2020

2020 - it's over and done with. Happy new year!

As I write this, we are just a few hours away from the end of the worst year of our lives, at least for a great many of us, with viruses and politicians having taken away a great many of our long cherished freedoms. But we have got this far, and all we can do is to keep on going the best that we can! 

Many of us will sadly know someone who has passed away, not just from the virus but from other circumstances, adding to the pain of the year. As family historians, we try to work out how people lived their lives as much as how they died, and to commemorate those who came before us. I hope that if you have lost someone that those memories of a life well lived will always surface first.

With a vaccine against coronavirus now being deployed, it is hoped that by the middle of next year we can get back to some form of normality. Coronavirus will never go away, it is now part of the biological establishment, but it will hopefully soon become 'just another bug', and just another jag every year. I'm looking forward to speaking to family history societies again in person, visiting archives and libraries, and so much more - those days are finally drawing near again as we head towards the light of a new year.

When I raise a glass tonight it will not only be to see in the New Year, but also to absent friends - and to good times returning again soon.  

Slàinte - agus Bliadhna Mhath Ùr!

Chris 

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

FamilySearch catalogue webinar

FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org) is hosting a free webinar on Monday, January 4th 2021 at 10am Mountain Standard Time (5pm UK time) entitled Using the FamilySearch Catalog.

To register for the event visit https://churchofjesuschrist.zoom.us/webinar/register/5016028542867/WN_lE65Zgw1QYCaiSraNKdCaA.

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Monday, 28 December 2020

Latest additions to British Newspaper Archive

There has not been a lot of Scottish or Irish content added to the British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) in the last 30 days, although I see there has been a small addition of content for the Ayrshire town of Irvine where I now live. There has been quite a bit of Welsh and English content added, however, and some overseas materials, including from India, which may be of interest:

Bromsgrove & Droitwich Messenger
1860-1913

Madras Weekly Mail
1876, 1882, 1885, 1888, 1891-1892, 1894-1895, 1898, 1901-1906, 1908

Lancaster Standard and County Advertiser
1894-1896, 1899, 1904-1906

Brighouse & Rastrick Gazette
1881-1882, 1889, 1898-1899

Kenilworth Advertiser
1881-1885, 1890-1895, 1897-1900

Northern Weekly Gazette
1881-1895

Irvine Express
1882-1886

Colne Valley Guardian
1896-1897

Indian Daily News
1881-1885, 1894-1897, 1899

St. Helens Examiner
1883-1885, 1887-1888, 1890, 1892, 1894-1896, 1899-1908, 1910, 1912-1920

Swansea and Glamorgan Herald
1889

Herald of Wales
1883-1886

North Wales Weekly News
1896-1898, 1902, 1911, 1923, 1940, 1943-1952, 1954

Runcorn Examiner
1881, 1883-1888, 1893-1895, 1898, 1900-1909, 1911-1920

Liverpool Daily Post
1904

Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette
1871, 1874-1892, 1894-1895, 1900-1902, 1904-1906, 1908-1909, 1912, 1914, 1916, 1919, 1921-1929

American Register
1873-1883, 1888, 1890-1893, 1897-1899, 1901, 1904-1907, 1909-1911, 1913-1914

East Kent Times and Mail
1866-1871, 1873, 1875-1891, 1893-1900, 1902, 1904-1932, 1935, 1937-1940, 1942-1943, 1946-1948, 1951-1952, 1956-1961, 1964-1977, 1979-1980

Western Evening Herald
1899

Newcastle Daily Chronicle
1910

North British Daily Mail
1853-1854, 1865, 1885

Liverpool Weekly Courier
1881, 1883-1890, 1892-1893, 1895, 1897

Penistone, Stocksbridge and Hoyland Express
1908-1911, 1913-1917

Birkenhead News

1881-1890, 1892-1896, 1900-1907, 1909-1910, 1913, 1915-1920

Nantwich Chronicle
1980

Daily Review (Edinburgh)
1862, 1869

Marylebone Mercury
1980-1981

Leicester Chronicle
1916, 1919, 1921

Burton Observer and Chronicle
1898-1899, 1950

Chester Courant
1766, 1771-1775, 1777-1785

Stratford Times and South Essex Gazette
1862

Retford and Worksop Herald and North Notts Advertiser
1890

Stratford Express
1872

Reynolds's Newspaper
1912-1929, 1934-1938

Gloucester Mercury
1861

Leicester Evening Mail
1938-1943, 1946-1960, 1962-1963

Bridgend Chronicle, Cowbridge, Llantrisant, and Maesteg Advertiser
1888-1889

Bridlington and Quay Gazette
1881-1892, 1894-1895, 1897-1899, 1913-1914

Widnes Examiner
1881-1884, 1887, 1891, 1899, 1903, 1905, 1907, 1912-1916

Blackpool Gazette & Herald
1881-1886, 1888-1893

Atherstone, Nuneaton, and Warwickshire Times
1882

Warrington Examiner
1881, 1899-1902, 1904, 1909

Civil & Military Gazette (Lahore)
1889-1890

Kinematograph Weekly
1945, 1950, 1952

Cotton Factory Times
1885-1888, 1891-1895, 1897-1899, 1902-1911, 1913-1920

Dorset County Express and Agricultural Gazette
1881-1886

Fulham Chronicle
1888-1904, 1907-1912, 1923-1933

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Sunday, 27 December 2020

Deceased Online Buy One Get One Free offer

From Deceased Online (www.deceasedonline.com):

We're delighted to wish our customers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with Buy One Get One Free on pay-per-view voucher purchases at www.deceasedonline.com. The offer runs from now until midday on Monday 4th January 2021.

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Here we go again

So just as we dared to hope that things were finally on the up in Scotland after the most disastrous 2020 imaginable, we are about to be hit with another whammy - a new three week (at least) lockdown in Tier 4 on the mainland from Boxing Day (Dec 26th) to try to prevent the new coronavirus strain from taking hold as it has done in London and the south-east of England, and the utterly insane prospect of a no-deal trade scenario with the EU from January 1st. There is still time for something to be scraped together by Hogmanay on the latter, but the new strain of coronavirus is already leading to the UK being cut off for the time being by countries overseas, with Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands already banning travel from the UK, and with other countries currently considering their position. My youngest son's return to school in Ayrshire in January has already been pushed back, with virtual learning to be imposed at the start of the next term for a period, and we are still unsure of the implications for my eldest son and his return to university. I only picked him up from Dundee yesterday - how astonishing it is that the world can change so much in one day.

The biggest impact on the new rules in the short term is going to be the rules for Christmas, where folk are being urged not to visit friends and family now, but if they absolutely have to, to do so on Christmas Day only. A quick reminder that Zoom is offering unlimited talk time over Christmas Day for anyone with a free account, temporarily replacing the 40 minute only limit, and will do so again over New Year - for details see http://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/2020/12/zoom-to-lift-40-minute-call-limit-over.html.

If you are experiencing difficulties this Christmas, another reminder that many groups and agencies are out there to offer free advice and support, which you will find on the Crisis Lines page of this blog at http://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/p/crisis-lines.html. For those working as genealogists professionally, don't forget that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is still running - details are available at www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.

Despite the current gloom, there is much to be optimistic about. We have a vaccine, with more on the way, and so long as our governments can implement vaccination quickly, we will hopefully get through this soon in 2021. 

On the genealogy front, despite the restrictions currently in place because of Covid, there have also been some handy mitigations, such as the National Archives in England offering free access to many of its digital records - this is still ongoing, with details at https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/digital-downloads/. And whilst Ancestry seems to have forgotten about Scotland in terms of new resources, FindmyPast has had an astonishing year in catering for us with new materials, so if you have not had a chance to play yet, you can avail yourself of a free two week trial at the site via www.findmypast.co.uk/free-trial to see what new toys are in town there. (Ancestry does also have a free trial option at www.ancestry.co.uk).

The next free to access Scottish Indexes conference takes place January 30th, and you can register for this at www.scottishindexes.com.  

I'll obviously update on any important developments as and when I hear them, but I am otherwise going to take a short break this week from blogging, and come back again after Boxing Day. In the meantime, have a great Christmas as best you can in the circumstances, and we will hopefully catch up again soon! 

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Friday, 18 December 2020

FindmyPast adds Belfast and Ulster street directories

As mentioned on this blog a couple of weeks back (http://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/2020/12/pronis-decembers-stakeholder-forum.html), FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has digitised street directories held by the North of Ireland Family History Society (www.nifhs.org), which have now gone online:

Ireland, Belfast & Ulster Directories
https://search.findmypast.co.uk/search-world-Records/ireland-belfast-and-ulster-directories

Only available online at Findmypast, explore a pivotal era in Northern Ireland’s history with these brand new directories. Year-by-year, they can help you discover names, addresses and occupations from Belfast and beyond.

Covering 1890-1947, these directories chart the transformation of Northern Ireland and the province of Ulster as the Irish Free State was formed. They were published by the Belfast Newsletter to showcase the city's industrial excellence. 

For further releases on FMP this week visit https://www.findmypast.co.uk/blog/new/eastbourne-nottinghamshire-belfast

COMMENT: Two other sources offer an extensive range of additonal directories - PRONI at www.nidirect.gov.uk/information-and-services/search-archives-online/street-directories and the Lennon Wylie site at www.lennonwylie.co.uk. Between them all that should be enough to kep you going a while longer!  

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Zoom to lift 40 minute call limit over holiday period

Zoom (https://zoom.us) has announced that it is lifting its 40 minute call limit on free accounts this holiday period. The following is when the free periods start and finish:

  • 10 am ET/3pm GMT Thursday, Dec. 17, to 6 am ET/11am GMT Saturday, Dec. 19
  • 10 am ET/3pm GMT Wednesday, Dec. 23, to 6 am ET/11am GMT Saturday, Dec. 26
  • 10 am ET/3pm GMT on Wednesday, Dec. 30, to 6 am ET/11am GMT on Saturday, Jan. 2

I've previously written about Zoom at http://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/2020/11/how-zoom-can-help-family-history.html - if you have never used it, this holiday season may be the time to give it a go!

For Zoom's original annuncement visit https://blog.zoom.us/zoom-together/

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Thursday, 17 December 2020

New 6 week lockdown announced for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is not having a good time of it. A new lockdown has just been announced to last for 6 weeks from Boxing Day/St. Stephen's Day (December 26th). 

This will undoubtedly have a major impact on many services in the north for genealogists, and I will update when I hear more on this. In the meantime, here is the lockdown announcement from the BB - see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-55349545.

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

June Perrin retires as CEO of the Society of Genealogists

From the Society of Genelaogists (www.sog.org.uk) in London:

Our Chief Executive Officer, June Perrin, has retired as of 16 December. Having been with the Society of Genealogists for twenty years, June first joined the Society to work with former Director Robert Gordon. They directed and refreshed the Society’s finance and HR operations. After Robert Gordon stood down as Director, June continued to guide the Society and became CEO in her own right.

The Society’s finances in the early years of the 21st century have remained precarious, as the hoped-for rewards of digitisation and growth weren’t as anticipated. June worked with several Chairmen and Trustees to guide the Society. It has always fallen upon June to implement and managing the difficult but necessary systems and personnel changes needed to keep the Society’s nose above water.

During her time as CEO significant partnerships and contracts were achieved within the Genealogical Community. These include digital publishing companies for SoG Data on our platform and in partnerships with Findmypast, FamilySearch and others. The Society’s web presence and digital offerings have grown apace and have been improved for members. The Society has become host to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain, the Irish Genealogical Research Society and is now an Affiliate Search Library for FamilySearch.

Having joined the SoG in the middle of our major refurbishment of the buildings, June oversaw the recent refresh of the building, the transfer of SoG storage facilities from London to Essex and latterly successfully negotiated the sale of the current building thus enabling the Society to lay the foundations for our transformation.

Highlights during her tenure include our centenary celebration in 2011 and the Society’s huge active presence at the major genealogical shows. These included our own event at the RHS Hall, eventually partnering with Who Do You Think You Are? and RootsTech both in the USA and in the UK.

As CEO and Company Secretary to the SoG and its trading arm SoG Enterprises and Secretary to the Fellows, June’s calm direction of the Society and her contribution to the Society and its members is much appreciated. June leaves many friends amongst the board, membership and staff.

Now she has decided to retire we all wish her the best in the future and hope she enjoys her life with her children and grandchildren.

June has been a great CEO for the Society and a terrific colleague. She has guided the Society through significant transformation and changes, and I am very grateful for her excellent stewardship.

Laura Doyle (right) has agreed to step down from the Board of Trustees and act as Interim CEO, effective immediately, until we find a permanent successor to June. Laura has been a member of the Trustee Board for five years including a term as Treasurer. A Chartered Accountant by training, she has spent 20 years in the City working as Investor Relations for FTSE listed companies. She has been involved in genealogy for some 25 years, custodian of the One-Name Study for the surname Blissenden, is a Trustee/Treasurer for the Halsted Trust and is currently working towards an MSc in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies at the University of Strathclyde.

I’m sure you will join me in thanking June for her service and to welcome Laura to the helm.

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and looking forward to 2021.

Edward Percival, Chairman , Society of Genealogists

(With thanks to Else Churchill)

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Further South Tipperary records added to RootsIreland

From RootsIreland (www.rootsireland.ie):

We are pleased to announce that South Tipperary Genealogy, located in the Bru Boru Centre, has added over 20,000 Roman Catholic baptisms for the parish of Killenaule to its database at www.rootsireland.ie/tipperarysouth. These baptismal records span two periods: 1742-1802 and 1814-1900, with a twelve-year gap between both sets of records.  

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

GRO Ireland raises cost of research copies

The General Register Office in Ireland (www.gov.ie/en/organisation-information/55ccbe-general-register-office-gro-research-facility/) has raised the cost of some services, including research copies for birth, marriage and death records from €4 to €5 each. These research copies, available via email, are particularly useful for more recent records for the Republic of Ireland not available on the free to access Irish Genealogy platform at www.irishgenealogy.ie.

For further details on the changes, visit Claire Santry's blog at https://www.irishgenealogynews.com/2020/12/general-register-office-of-ireland.html.

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

FamilySearch adds Ontario immigration records

FamilySearch has added a new indexed records collection which may be of interest if your Scottish relatives emigrated to Canada.

Ontario, Immigration Records, 1862-1897
https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/3741251

Immigration records from Ontario between 1862-1897. The originals are held at the Ontario Department of Immigration.

In addition some 12,307 indexed records have been added to its Nova Scotia Church Records, 1720-2001 collection, and 20,024 indexed records to its Canada, New Brunswick, County Register of Births, 1801-1920 collection.

For further details on these and other releases from FamilySearch this week, please visit https://media.familysearch.org/new-free-historical-records-on-familysearch-week-of-14-december-2020/.

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Friday, 11 December 2020

Crisis Lines for help in tough times this winter

Just a quick reminder of the Crisis Lines page on my blog, if you're currently struggling on any front this Christmas and winter season with coronavirus issues, debt, depression, mental health, alcohol, age issues, sexual and domestic assault, etc. 

Various groups can help, and elected representatives can also point you in the right direction on many fronts. For further help, see https://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/p/crisis-lines.html

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Update on supply of my genealogy books from Pen and Sword

I have been advised by Pen and Sword that they have run out of stock of my book Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd edition), but that a reprint has been ordered, officially for end of play January 2021, but possibly much sooner. However, if you are looking to urgently get a copy of the book as a Christmas present for someone, please visit Amazon at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tracing-Irish-Family-History-Internet/dp/1526757818/ where stock is currently available. And thanks to those of you have purchased a copy, I hope it helps!

My other books, Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records, and Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, can still be obtained from Pen and Sword at https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Chris-Paton/a/1799.


Apologies for any inconvenience!

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre to re-open Monday 14th December

North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre at Motherwell, which includes North Lanarkshire Archives & Local Studies reading room, is to re-open next week from Monday 14th:

We are pleased to announce that North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre in Motherwell will reopen to the public again on Mon, 14/12/20 at 10am. Our archives & local studies resources and the “Prints of Darkness” & "Climb Thru Time" exhibitions are all waiting to be explored again.  

Keeping everybody safe is our priority. You can find details of what to expect when you visit on our website https://culturenl.co.uk/covid-19/covid-19-nlhc/covid-19-nlhc-faqs/

To book a place in our Archives & Local Studies reading room please email HeritageCentre@culturenl.co.uk or use our form at https://culturenl.co.uk/covid-19-nlhc-booking/
There are slots available between 10am and 12noon and 2pm and 4pm.

Great news, and well done to all involved!

(With thanks to @NL_Heritage via Twitter)

Chris   

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

PRONI to re-open this Friday for digital access appointments

The second of the UK's national archives to have closed on two occasions during the coronavirus pandemic, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (www.nidirect.gov.uk/proni), is to re-open once again tomorrow, Friday 11th December 2020. This follows the re-opening again of the National Archives (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk) in England this week on Tuesday 8th.

As noted from the stakeholder meeting last Friday (see http://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/2020/12/pronis-decembers-stakeholder-forum.html), PRONI will re-open for digital access appointments only before Christmas:

Visitor research appointments previously cancelled due to Covid restrictions implemented in October will be rescheduled for dates in December 2020 and January 2021.  A number of digital access only appointments at PRONI will also be available from 11 December until the New Year. Registered visitors will be able to request a new research appointment at PRONI (to view original records/microfilms) when dates are released in early January 2021.

The PRONI enquiry service will continue to provide advice and quidance and offer a fee-paying search and copying service for open records.

For further details visit https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/getting-proni-and-opening-hours.


The National Records of Scotland has remained closed since March 16th 2020. Guidance on its future plans and current service provision is available at www.nrscotland.gov.uk/about-us/service-status.

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

APG announces new Board of Directors and Nomination Committee members

The APG (www.apgen.org) has announced its new Board of Directors and Nomination Committee members - and yours truly makes an appearance! Here's the announcement:

 

Association of Professional Genealogists Announces New Board and Nominations Committee Members

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo., 9 December 2020—The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) has announced the results of its election for board members and nominations committee members. The APG membership elected six at-large board members for two-year terms, and one at-large board member for one year. Two nominations committee members were elected for one-year terms. Those elected:

At-Large Board of Directors (two-year term):

Alec Ferretti (US, New York)
Alec Ferretti holds masters degrees in archival sciences and library sciences. He serves on the Board of Directors of Reclaim the Records, works with the Wells Fargo Family & Business History Center, and is the President of the NY Genealogy and Technology Group.  He was the APG 2018 Young Professional Scholarship recipient, and has spoken at the 2019 APG Professional Management Conference, the 2020 SLIG Colloquium, and a number of others.

Margaret Rose Fortier, CG® (US, Massachusetts)
Margaret Rose Fortier is a Certified Genealogist® focusing on New England immigrants. She serves as membership director for the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, facilitator for the Certification Discussion Group, mentor for the upcoming GenProof Study Group, and a member of the BCG WebinarCommittee. Margaret volunteerswith the Archdiocese of Boston Catholic Records project at NEHGS and with the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford, MA. She holds a business degree from Boston College and an MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University.

LaDonna Garner, M.A. (US, Missouri)

LaDonna Garner, M.A., is a historical and genealogical consultant in Southeast Missouri. She earned a M.A. in Historic Preservation with a focus on forgotten communities and cemeteries. She enjoys speaking and teaching hands-on genealogy and she has held various positions promoting local and state genealogical societies. These positions include director, vice-president, editor, fundraiser, conference organizer, syllabus chair, mentor, and active volunteer, as well as a curator and researcher for historic properties.

Dana Leeds (US, Texas)
A genealogist since 1998, Dana started seriously pursuing genealogy education in 2014. She has attended many institutes and is a certificate holder of Boston University’s Genealogical Research
Program. Dana is a current memberof ProGen 46andis pursuing certification through BCG.In 2018, Dana gave her first presentation to a local genealogy group. Soon after, she developed the Leeds Method of sorting DNA matches. This innovation quickly led to invitations to speak nationally. She has presented at APG’s PMC, RootsTech, i4GG’s International Genetic Genealogy Conference, and GRIP. Dana does DNA consulting and she conducts genealogy research, with a focus on DNA.

Cynthia Maharrey(US, Florida)
Cynthia Maharrey was born and raised in a small town in West Virginia.She specializes in late 18th through early 20th century research with emphases on the state of Kentucky and African American research.Cynthia has worked with individuals in a variety of capacities including creating Kentucky-specific historical content, serving as a coach in Trace’s Coaches’Corner at RootsTech and appearing on the Travel Channel’s The Dead Files. Cynthia is a member of the National Genealogical Society, the African American Genealogy Group of Kentucky, the Florida State Genealogical Society, and two county historical societies.

Chris Paton (Scotland)
Originally from Northern Ireland, but resident in Scotland since 1997, Chris has worked as a professional genealogist since 2006. A holder of a Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies from the University of Strathclyde, Chris researches through his Scotland's Greatest Story service (www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk), offering services and experience in both Scottish and Irish family history. Chris is the author of several bestselling genealogy books and he writes the daily Scottish GENES blog (http://scottishgenes.blogspot.com).

Rose Lerer Cohen (Israel)  
Rose Lerer Cohen, Ph.D, is a current member of the APG board and active member of the Continuing Education Monitoring Committee and the International Committee. Rose is a professional genealogist and family researcher, writing, lecturing, and conducting workshops in Israel, North America, and South Africa. She has written and lectured on topics relating to genealogy research both in Israel and abroad and isinvolved in genealogy organizations, both locally and internationally. 

* Rose Lerer Cohen will fill the one-year vacancy on the board, term ending 31 December 2021.

Nominations Committee (one-year term)

Michelle Roos Goodrum (US, Arizona)
Michelle Roos Goodrum is a certificate holder (OL 16) and an instructor for Boston University’s Genealogical Research Program. Michelle completed the ProGen Study Group (ProGen 14)and regularly attends genealogical institutes and conferences.Michelle’s interest in genealogy began in junior high school. In 1994 she attended a local family history society meeting and became hooked. Areas of interest include land records, genetic genealogy, and research in the western United States.

Kimberly Powell (US, Pennsylvania)
Kimberly is a professional genealogist, author, and educator specializing in genealogical writing, pre-1850 family history, land records, DNA, and solving complex problems. She served seven years APG’s board,including two years as past president and several years as chair of APG’s Professional Development Committee. She served as the Genealogy Expert for About.com for sixteen years and teaches at genealogy institutes as well as in the online genealogy coursesoffered through Boston University. Her research focus is families with roots in the southeastern US and southwestern PA.

Statement from President David McDonald:

“We thank our retiring board members and welcome those elected. The next two years will provide us the opportunity to strengthen the field of professional genealogy as we puruse developing connections between the public and our vast network of genealogists.  We will continue advocating for improved record access while partnering with organizations and entities that value the voices of genealogists. We will work together in making decisions that will lift the standards of genealogy and increase the relevanceof our work.”   

About the Association of Professional Genealogists

The Association of Professional Genealogists (www.apgen.org), established in 1979,represents more than 2,700 genealogists in various genealogy-related businesses. APG encourages genealogical excellence, ethical practice, mentoring, and education. The organization also supports the preservation and accessibility of records useful to thefields of genealogy and history. Its 2 members represent all fifty U.S. states, Canada, and forty other countries. APG is active on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

COMMENT: I'm very much looking forward to getting involved over the next two years, and would like to thank those who took the trouble to give me their vote at the recent Board elections. The APG is predominatly a US organsiation with 82% of its members there, but it also has 18% of its members across 40 countries, with a significant contribution from the UK and Ireland. I hope to add my voice for our local members but to also help the association at large in its endeavours to help all genealogists further professionalise their skills. 

And if the Annual Meeting this evening was anything to go by, it should also be fun!

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Next Scottish Indexes conference on January 30th 2021

The next Scottish Indexes (www.scottishindexes.com) online conference - the eighth - takes place on January 30th 2021, with pre-registration now available at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/2816072972886/WN_Jaj1UwWkTkGRuJJo0y5V0g 

Yours truly will be giving another talk for this event, which coincidentally takes place on the same date as the publication of my next book. It is entirely possible my topic may be linked...

Hopefully see you there!

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Monday, 7 December 2020

National Records of Scotland catalogue issue

The National Records of Scotland website at http://catalogue.nrscotland.gov.uk/nrsonlinecatalogue/welcome.aspx notes that its catalogue is currently unavailable, due to maintenance work at the archive:


I have found that the direct link to the catalogue is working temperamentally at http://catalogue.nrscotland.gov.uk/nrsonlinecatalogue/welcome.aspx, but this may come or go. 

The associated Scottish Archive Network catalogue (SCAN) seems to be working fine at http://catalogue.nrscotland.gov.uk/scancatalogue/welcome.aspx, and the National Register of Archives for Scotland at http://catalogue.nrscotland.gov.uk/nrasregister/welcome.aspx, but again, if problems emerge, it will likely be associated with the same maintenance work.

(With thanks to the NRS)

Update 8 DEC: Catalogues seem to be accessible again.

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Scottish Fencible regiments

We had a great Scottish Indexes conference yesterday, hosted by Emma and Graham Maxwell at www.scottishindexes.com, with news that the next conference date has already been established for January 30th 2021! 

Amongst the topics discussed yesterday in the Q&A session was that of the Scottish Fencible regiments from the Napoleonic period. The following article is from Discover my Past Scotland magazine in 2009, with a case study appended from my own ancestry - enjoy!
 
The Fencibles
 
Chris Paton takes a look at a forgotten Scottish army
 
There have been many famous regiments raised for military service in Scotland over the centuries, but a particular chapter in the country’s history is often overlooked. In 1759 and 1778, units known as ‘fencible’ regiments were raised in parts of Scotland as a form of home guard to allow the regular army to march off and fight overseas. After a short and uneventful existence, they were disbanded in 1783, following the American Revolutionary War.
 
In the ensuing peace, Britain had reduced its military compliment, and so had found itself unprepared when the French declared war in February 1793. The order was given for the recreation of the Fencible units to defend against the threat of invasion, particularly important in Scotland as there were few militia forces to speak of compared to her southern neighbours. Less than a month later, regiments had been established by some of the country’s wealthiest and most influential clan chiefs and landowners, including the Sinclairs and MacKays in Caithness, the Campbells in Breadalbane and Argyll and the Grants of Strathspey. Initially they comprised of eight companies each, led by a colonel, a lieutenant colonel, a major, and five captains, but by 1794 had grown to ten companies, with some regiments forming separate battalions. There were two types of regiment, the infantry and the cavalry. As infantry they were given regimental numbers, as with the regular army, but were later renamed in favour of the landowners who had raised them, whilst the cavalry brigades were renamed as Light Dragoons.
 
Sergeants sent out to raise men for their units were under strict instructions not to take on apprentices, deserters from other regiments, or weavers with unfinished webs, unless they agreed to pay a fine for non-completion of the work out of their bounty. Upon passing a medical examination from a local surgeon, enlisted recruits were then paid a bounty of three guineas, out of which they had to buy their own uniforms. This would typically include a scarlet jacket with white cuffs, collar and buttons, a twilled white Flannel waistcoat, a pair of flannelled drawers, a bonnet and feather, three shirts with frills, two pair of hose, two pair of shoes, a comb, a black leather stock and buckle, a leather rose, and a haversack. Some, such as the Rothesay and Caithness Fencibles, wore tartan pantaloons, whilst others, such as the Gordon Fencibles and the Invernessshire Fencibles, wore full Highland garb instead.

As a home defence force, a great deal of the soldiers’ time was spent in barracks, on various manoeuvres across the country and in performing escort duties, with some sent to perform similar duties in Ireland. In 1798, the United Irishmen rebellion led to many Scottish regiments engaged in fierce fighting in the country, including the Reay Fencibles, the Caithness Legion of Fencible Men, the Fraser Regiment of Fencible Men, the Inverness Fencibles, and others. The Reay Fencibles fought in a major battle against the rebels near Tara Hill, with twenty six of their number killed or wounded in the fighting, though the rebels lost well over four hundred. The Fife and Argyll Fencibles fought at the Battle of Ballynahinch, the turning point of the uprising, whilst the Inverness men also saw serious combat operations, and were renamed as Duke of York’s Royal Inverness Highland Men in gratitude.

An interesting point concerning the regiments which travelled to Ireland is that upon their return they established the Orange Order within Scotland, having served alongside the recently formed Orange Yeomanry within the country. The first warrants granted to establish Scottish lodges went to the Breadalbane’s and Argyll Fencibles between March and May 1798, followed soon after by the Ayr, Tay, Dumfries, North Lowland and Caithness Fencibles. It was not until the early 1800s that civilian lodges were established within the country.
 
Many soldiers were, however, unhappy about the posting to Ireland. When Breadalbane’s Fencibles were asked to send over volunteers, about half of the compliment refused to go, infuriating those who had sponsored the regiment. George Penny, in his 1832 book ‘Traditions of Perth’, recorded that “Lady Breadalbane, who had taken great interest in these proceedings, was so incensed at their obstinancy, that she is reported to have declared, that she would raise a regiment that would march to the devil if she desired it”. A third regiment was duly drawn up, which did travel to Ireland, with the Earl of Breadalbane granting a medal to each volunteer in gratitude. When these soldiers were subsequently asked to go to Europe to continue their service, they also drew the line at that point and refused. They returned to Scotland, and along with those who had stayed behind were recorded in a final muster on April 18th 1799, after which they were duly disbanded.
 
A major problem at the time was that many soldiers within the Fencible regiments were beginning to embrace ideas from political pamphleteers such as Thomas Paine, whose “Rights of Man” publication in 1791 sewed the idea in their minds that they were no longer chattels, and had some degree of free will. This led in many cases to disciplinary problems, such as that which occurred in Glasgow in December 1794, again with the Breadalbane Fencibles. Following the arrest and detention in Glasgow of a soldier from the 1st Battalion for an offence for which he had been found guilty, a party of his colleagues armed themselves with muskets and fixed bayonets, and marched to the guard house, where they successfully secured his release. So outraged was Lord Adam Gordon, the commander in chief for Scotland, that an order was given to round up every spare soldier in the city to confront the soldiers to demand the return of the prisoner and the leaders of the mutiny. Before the issue was forced however, the ringleaders voluntarily gave themselves up to Lord Breadalbane without condition. They were escorted to Edinburgh Castle, where the ringleaders were tried and sentenced to death. Three had their sentences commuted, but the fourth, Alexander Morton, was shot on Musselburgh Sands.
 
In an almost identical situation, a similar mutiny broke out amongst the Strathspey Fencibles later in 1795, when several men were imprisoned following a joke made at an officer’s expense, and then similarly liberated by their comrades. Following a trial of the ringleaders, four privates were sentenced to death. Escorted to Gullane Links at East Lothian, they were informed that they could draw lots to spare two of their number. Charles Mackintosh and Alexander Fraser, who lost the ballot, were then executed in front of their regiments.
 
Following the rebellion in 1798 the majority of the service performed by the Fencibles continued in Ireland, which in 1801 became a part of the United Kingdom. Other units did see service elsewhere in the UK, with the MacDonald Fencibles sent to the English port of Whitehaven, for example, to prevent the ships of seamen trying to force an increase in their wages from leaving the port. So terrified were the sailors of the Highlanders that they backed own.
 
When the Treaty of Amiens was signed in 1802, the Fencibles were disbanded, and new regiments then raised to specifically serve overseas. This followed an order given in 1799 which decreed that all units which had been designed to purely serve within the British Isles were to be discontinued.
 
If your ancestor was in the Scottish Fencibles, you may have to search far and wide to locate their records. Some are held at the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh, some are held in local archives across the country, whilst others have not survived. A useful guide to help locate those that do exist is “Militia Lists and Musters 1756-1787” (4th edition) by Jeremy Gibson and Mervyn Medlycott, available from www.ffhs.org.uk.
 

Case Study: William Paton, Breadalbane's Fencibles

William Paton was born during the reign of the British king George III at Sconieburn, Perth, on Thursday, March 11th 1779 (OPR:387/7):

Sconieburn March Seventh One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Nine was born William Paton, Lawfully procreated betwixt John Paton weaver and Ann Watson his spouse and baptized March Eleventh by the Revd Mr Ian Moody Minr at Perth.

As a young child, William grew up in Sconieburn watching his father John working as a weaver on a handloom, and ended up taking up the profession himself, which he worked at until the age of 19.

But in 1797, everything changed. William joined up to become a soldier in Breadalbane's Fencibles, a Perthshire regiment raised in 1793 by the Earl of Breadalbane, to replace the troops in Britain who had gone off to fight the French.

William was recruited by Sergeant Robert Mckay of the Second Battalion on Saturday, March 25th 1797, a fortnight after his nineteenth birthday. From the battalion's recruitment book (NRS: GD112/52/544), we get a detailed physical description of William. It tells us that he was aged 19 and born in the city of Perth in the County of Perth. He was five feet, eight and a half inches tall, had black hair, brown eyes, a fair complexion, and was a weaver by trade.

The fact that William was a weaver caused Sergeant McKay some real problems. William signed up with four other gentlemen on the same day - George McKay, John Garvie, John Herres and James McLagon - and it appears that most of these gentlemen were weavers too. They were recruited on the 25th, but they told Sergeant McKay that they were not going anywhere until they had finished the webs they were currently working on. The rules of recruitment which McKay was working to included the following note (NRS: GD112/52/538/10):

III: You must take care not to inlist any indented Apprentices, without previously getting up their Indentures discharged. Nor are you to inlist Deserters from other Corps, nor any Weavers engaged with an unfinished web, unless he agrees to purchase it out of his bounty, previous to his being attested.
 

The lads were obviously not going to buy their own webs! Sergeant McKay was under some pressure to get them to the battalion's headquarters in Edinburgh. He received two letters from Captain J. Roy in Edinburgh Castle, instructing him to hurry up in getting the problem sorted. McKay wrote the following letter to Roy explaining the problem:

Perth, 24th March 1797

Sir,

I had the honour to receive your two letters and in answer to the first letter, I wrote the commanding officer mentioning that the most of my party were weavers by trade and some of them were committed to stay until they should find security to finish and work the webs they had in the looms at the time they were inlisted; and indeed the greatest part of them had webs incurring fines at that period, which they were obliged to finish therefore I could not get them away until all these points were settled; but now I think it will be in my power to march 8 recruits from here on the 28th March to head quarters, and I expect they will arrive there in due time.

I have the honour to be

Sir, your humble servant

Robert McKay,
Sergeant 2nd Battalion, 4th Fencibles


The problem was obviously sorted quickly, and on the following day, the 25th, William became a private. Before he could join, he had to have a physical examination by a local qualified surgeon, and was then given a bounty of money by Sergeant McKay as part of his enlistment.

On Monday, March 27th, 1797, Sergeant McKay was able to report in his weekly recruiting return that he had sent William and the other four weavers to Edinburgh, in the charge of a Corporal Stewart (NRS: GD112/52/499). Curiously, all five of the weavers were listed in the return, but only William has his age, height and birthplace listed again, the details for the other four remained blank.

On arriving in Edinburgh at the battalion headquarters, the new recruits had to be kitted out in uniform, which they had to pay for themselves out of their recruitment bounty. Again, the recruiting orders describe the uniform necessary:

XIII: Each Recruit must purchase out of his Bounty, Necessaries according to the List annexed; the Recruiting Officer reserving the sum of 3 Guineas out of the Bounty Money, for which the recruit will be supplied with Slop Cloathing, immediately on his joining at head quarters.

List of Slop Cloathing and Necessaries to be furnished for each recruit out of his bounty:

Slop clothing: scarlet jacket with white cuffs, collar and buttons; a twilled white Flannel waistcoat; a pair of flannelled drawers; a bonnet and feather

Necessaries: three shirts with frills; two pair of hose; two pair of shoes; a comb; a pair of brushes and black-ball; a black leather stock and buckle; a leather rose; a haversack

William was stationed in Edinburgh Castle for several weeks, where he was taken as a private into Captain William Maine's Company, a company within which he was to serve until his eventual discharge. He is recorded as being present in the castle in the monthly return on May 27th 1797 (NRS: GD112/52/338). On June 17th, he is again found listed there, in the "Return of the Country age, size and time of service of Captain Maine's in Edinburgh Castle" (NRS: GD112/52/339). In this, he is described as aged 18 (not 19), 5ft 8inches tall, and born in Scotland, with the column for duration of service left blank. On the monthly return dated June 28th 1797, William is again listed in the castle at Edinburgh (NRS: GD112/52/340).

At some point in the next three months, William and his comrades were ordered on a march to Fife. In the regulations on marches, we get an idea of how this would have occurred (NRS: GD/112/52/538).

The evening previous to a March, the men are to parade in marching order, with every article of necessaries in their Knapsacks, which must be packed with uniformity according to the order fixed for the battalion.


After this initial review, and a night's sleep, the men would be ready to march off on the following morning, with the baggage train ahead of them and the officer in charge at the front. The way the men marched was equally disciplined:

The March in open column is invariably to be adhered to, the division to contain as many files as the breadth of the road will conveniently admit.


William is next recorded in the monthly company returns to headquarters for October 1797, in which we learn that he has now been billetted in St. Andrews, Fife, as part of Captain Maine's Company. Then, in the battalion muster at Kirkcaldy in April 6th 1798, we learn that William had been sent to St Andrew's, where he was detached as a private, from between June 24th until December 25th 1797. William's battallion had some 149 privates in it, and was under the command of a Captain David Williamson. From the adjutant's rolls at the National Archives in Kew, near London (TNA: WO13/3811), we learn that from 25th December 1797 to 24th May 1798 William was again quartered at St Andrew's, receiving an average monthly pay of one pound and eleven shillings.

During this period, William must have had a brief leave to return to Perth, although no such leave is listed in the battallion furlough book (NRS: GD112/52/560). But on Wednesday, 7th February 1798, he married Christian Hay in the Gaelic Chapel (St.Stephen's) in Perth. From their OPR record:

FEBRUARY 1798

Perth the Third of February One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety eight contracted William Paton, Soldier in the second battalion of Breadalbanes Fencibles and Christian Hay, Daughter to the Deceased Lauchlan Hay, Resident in Perth, Parties both in this Parish Elder Thomas Robertson

The Persons before named were regularly proclaimed and married the seventh day of February said year by Mr Duncan MacFarlan Minister of the Gaelic Chapel in Perth.


The Kirk Session records for Perth also give a note of how much they had to pay to the church for the privilege, by way of pledge money, which would have been returned to the couple upon the marriage being completed, minus a small donation for the poor (NRS: CH2/521/26/485):

7 March 1798 Contract Money

From William Paton and Christian Hay Three shillings and fourpence


The wedding took place in St.Stephen's Gaelic Chapel in Perth. This particular church was built in 1788, after a fund raising drive by the town's other parishioners. The population of the town at that time was mushrooming due to economic prosperity, and one of the results of this was an increase in the number of Gaelic speaking Highlanders being attracted to the town from the surrounding countryside.

Two and a half weeks after his wedding, the Times newspaper of February 21st records that the Second Battalion of the Breadalbane Fencibles had given a voluntary donation of 500L to the fund for national defence, in response to an appeal that had recently been made by the Prime Minister William Pitt. The General Order Book of the battalion in February outlines how each soldier, including William, had donated one day's pay each month towards the fund, and that the money raised from his battalion had been the highest within the various Perthshire corps.

Although quartered in St Andrew's in Fife, on 6th April 1798, the battalions of the regiment were mustered at Kirkcaldy in Fife, and from the muster roll we learn that there were 149 privates in total in the Second Battalion; 35 were absent on leave, or sick, leaving 114 present for the inspection. William is listed as "William Paton, private, detached".

From Friday, 25th May 1798 to Sunday, 24th June 1798, we learn that William was not on duty, and presumably returned to Perth for a brief period of R&R. But in June, upon his return to duty, his regiment left Fife and marched to Glasgow, marching through Queensferry, Bathgate and Airdrie, and by Sunday, August 19th had reached Ayr, where his company was reviewed by General Drummond. The reason for the move was in case British troops in Ireland needed back up in countering the United Irishmen rebellion. But by June the rebellion had been crushed.

On Wednesday, 22nd August, the regiment heard news that a French force had landed at Killala, Ireland. Volunteers from the regiment were asked to go on an expedition to Ireland to help counter this, but only half of them took up the cause, receiving a commemorative medal from Lord Breadalbane himself, who had been inspired by their zeal. They set sail for Ireland on Wednesday, September 12th 1798, arriving at Carrickfergus, and from there, marching on to Donegal. But it has now become clear from the surviving battalion muster rolls at the Public Records Office in London and the Scottish Records Office in Edinburgh that William did not volunteer to go, and instead stayed behind in Scotland.

What had happened was a major political realisation on the part of William and the others who refused to go that they were not simply chattels, and that they did have the right to do as they believed was correct. These were the days when France and the United States had already rebelled against their rulers and had created republics for themselves after violent revolutions, and the same political thought was running riot throughout Britain. The rebellion in Ireland was a part of this political awakening. But William and his colleagues knew that their regiment had not been drawn up to put down the Irish - it had been created as a form of home guard to defend Scotland in the advent of invasion. They weren't going anywhere.

The following description in George Penny's "Traditions of Perth", recorded in 1836, outlines the reaction to both William's and his colleagues' refusal to go to Ireland (p.76):

These troops having been only raised as Scotch Fencibles, when disturbances broke out in Ireland, no argument could induce them to serve in that country. Lady Breadalbane, who had taken great interest in these proceedings, was so incensed at their obstinancy, that she is reported to have declared, that she would raise a regiment that would march to the devil if she desired it. A third regiment was accordingly embodied to serve in Ireland. By this time the new doctrines of the Rights of Man had been extensively spread through the country, and produced an important change in the public mind. The officers who had formerly been in the service, now found it a different business to deal with the men. They had acquired a knowledge of what was their due, and courage to demand it. One of the battalions of Breadalbane Fencibles, had not received their arrears of pay and bounty: on the morning on which they were to march, the regiment was drawn up in front of the George Inn; when ordered to shoulder arms, each man stood immovable! The order was repeated, but still not a man stirred. Upon enquiring into the cause of this extraordinary conduct, the officer in command was informed, that not having received their arrears, the men were determined not to leave the place till these were settled. This was a dilemma as great as it was unexpected. The paymaster had no funds at his disposal, and the Earl of Breadalbane was not at hand. After much argument and entreaty, they were prevailed upon to march to Kinross; the officer pledging himself that every thing would be settled there on the return of an express from the Earl. A mutiny broke out some time afterwards in the first battalion; in consequence of which two of the men were shot, by order of a general court martial.


In the muster roll for Saturday, August 25th to Monday, September 24th 1798, William is listed as quartered for eleven days only - possibly he was either redeployed to another location or perhaps sent on leave again? The next five adjutant's book's entries list him as "in Scotland" only, until Sunday, February 24th 1799. From Monday, February 25th to Saturday, March 24th, William was "detached in Beith".

From the book A Military History of Perthshire, we learn that the volunteers to Ireland from the regiment returned to Scotland at the beginning of March 1799, and rejoined "the detachment from Ayr" towards the end of the month (p.162). They had returned somewhat disillusioned that they were about to be asked to journey to the continent to campaign. This went against their ethos, they were created to be a sort of "Dad's Army", whose duty was to protect Scotland in the advent of invasion. Their trip to Ireland went above and beyond this call, and having basically worked as policemen, which was not what they had expected to do, they had decided that enough was enough, and the order was given to return to Scotland for disbandment.

On their return to Scotland, on April 2nd 1799, the battalion marched to Paisley from Ayr, and on the following day, the battalion's final muster in the town recorded that there were 552 soldiers of all ranks in the regiment, some 34 below establishment. Two weeks later, on April 18th 1799, the two battalions of Breadalbane's Fencibles were disbanded. The disbandment order obviously came as a sudden surprise to the regiment, as noted in the General Order Book, and Lord Breadalbane himself seems to have had not much prior warning of such an event happening. The medals he had promised to the volunteers to Ireland were not ready by the time the disbandment order was given, and details of the volunteers forwarding addresses had to be taken so that the medals could be sent on when they were ready. The final adjutant's book, dated 24th April 1799, records that Private William Paton was "discharged, the battalion being disbanded".

Chris Paton

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Sunday, 6 December 2020

Kirk session records to be added to ScotlandsPeople in 2021

The seventh Scottish Indexes (www.scottishindexes.com) conference has proved to be just as much fun and as of much interest as the previous six events - but the BIG piece of news revealed by Emma and Graham Maxwell during the event is that ScotlandsPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk) intends to release the first tranche of Scottish kirk session records online in 'early 2021'. 

The kirk session records are the records that detail the disciplinary proceedings of the session as the court of first instance within the Church of Scotland, and which also note the session's everyday dealings with parishioners. Brace yourselves for antenuptial fornication, paternity claims, promiscuous dancing and considerably more! 

Here's the juicy bit - access to the reading of the records is to be made available for free on ScotlandsPeople for Church of Scotland parishes prior to 1855, and within a new feature on the website called Virtual Volumes. (Regular visitors to the National Records of Scotland, ScotlandsPeople's parent body, will know Virtual Volumes as the name of the computer system offering access to digitised records within the Historic Search Room). If you wish to save an image from the kirk session records on ScotlandsPeople, that's the point when you will be asked to pay. 

The records will almost certainly not be keyword searchable, but 'waypointed' by year, meaning we will likely have to browse our way through them a page at a time. That in itself has its own challenges, particularly with earlier records where the handwriting can be a challenge, so there may be a learning curve for some aspects of this (the Scottish Handwriting site at https://scottishhandwriting.com might be worth investing some time in just now!). Nevertheless, the promise of these records coming online has been around for many years, and the fact that we are almost there is superb news. Note that the Church of Scotland is the main presbyterian church in Scotland, but there were many other presbyterian denominations in the country, and the kirk session records for all continue long after 1855, but this is certainly a very useful start.

For more on the history of the Kirk and its various splits, you can read my brief history at http://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/p/kirk-history.html, whilst the usefulness of kirk session records themselves is covered in my book Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Tracing-Your-Scottish-Ancestry-through-Church-and-State-Records-Paperback/p/16848).


During the conference, Emma also gave an excellent talk on kirk session records at the event, and you will find this for a short period on the Scottish Indexes Group Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/scottishindexes.

(With thanks to Emma and Graham)

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Mapping the Scottish Reformation database launches December 11th

The Mapping the Scottish Reformation project (http://mappingthescottishreformation.org) has announced that its database of Scottish clergy from 1560-1689 will be launching at 2pm in Scotland on Friday December 11th:

@MappingScotsRef
The wait is almost over. Mapping the Scottish Reformation launches on Friday, 11 December 2020. #reformazing #earlymodern #ScotHist data at your fingertips!

It was a fairly manic period of the Kirk's history, so this will be of massive interest to many.

While you are waiting, for a brief overview of the Kirk's history at this point, you can read my article at http://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/p/kirk-history.html...!

 

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

PRONI's December's stakeholder forum meeting

Yesterday (Friday) I attended the latest stakeholder forum meeting for PRONI (www.nidirect.gov.uk/proni), again held via Zoom  due to the current coronavirus restrictions. The following is a brief update on developments.


The plans to reopen PRONI to the public again are currently fluid, with the situation changing almost daily in Northern Ireland. It is hoped that the archive will be able to re-open in some format very soon, but if so, it will almost certainly be with access for digital resources only, at least this side of Christmas. One change that was due to happen prior to the current closure was an update to the booking request form. Previously you had to book a slot, and then request documents on a separate form – this will change so that everything is done on one form only. When productions become accessible again, you can order up to ten items, and three items in reserve (i.e. in case there has been any problems with retrieving any of the ten you've asked for). Up to five of these ten items can be microfilms, and each desk available to researchers now has a microfilm reader. New guidance will be going online shortly.

If you are new to PRONI you will be allocated a temporary visitor number upon making a request to visit, but you will need to complete your registration upon arrival, something that was not possible until now. If you need to renew your card, you will need to request your replacement before visiting, but can still provisionally book items with a temporary visitor number. I asked about the previous system where if you turned up without your card, you could obtain a temporary visitors pass. For now, that isn't happening – so don't forget your pass! (I've previously done this getting off the ferry – you only end up feeling stupid!).

One other major change – face coverings are to become mandatory within the building when it re-opens.

On the cataloguing front, the following is being worked on:

D4779
Papers of P. A. McLaughlin, former president of the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association and founder of Belfast Pride, dating from 1991 onwards.

D4787
Family and political papers of the Laird family.

D4777
Cards and letters from Fred Irwin of Dublin to his sister in Belfast. Irwin was serving in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers during the First World War.

D4783
Papers of William Delap, a Navy cadet who was captured as a POW and imprisoned in Brandenburg. Includes photographs of daily POW camp life.

D4780
A massive collection of materials relating to The Troubles used to produce the book 'Lost Lives'.

D4768
Papers concerning the Enniskillen bombing of 1987, including its impact on pupils at Enniskillen High School.


There was a brief update from Tim Murtagh of the Beyond 2022 project (see my previous post at http://scottishgenes.blogspot.com/2020/09/getting-closer-to-beyond-2022.html). He's been busy over the summer ploughing through PRONI's extensive catalogue for materials that can be used to replenish sources lost during the PRO explosion in Dublin in 1922. He mentioned that of equal note was the fact that the Custom House in Dublin was lost on 25 MAY 1921, with a great deal of resources destroyed also, it was not just the Four Courts Fire the following year that was such a disaster in terms of the loss of Ireland's historic record. A Beyond 2022 virtual exhibition will be set up in 2021, and an event is planned to be hosted in London concerning the project.

Several recordings of Zoom based lectures will be going online in the near future on PRONI's YouTube channel. Attendance figures have superseded the normal attendance at on site events, and so it is likely PRONI will adopt a blended approach to hosting events post-Covid, both online and at the archive.

I asked about the centenary of Northern Ireland's creation next year. There are a few things that PRONI is involved in, but it looks like the media will be focussing on the opening of the Northern Ireland parliament by the then king in June 1921, although there are other centenaries along the way – the Government of Ireland Act (100 years ago this month) that led to Partition, and the Partition of Ireland itself on 2 MAY 1921.

Ann Robinson from the North of Ireland FHS (www.nifhs.org) has advised us that the society's street directories for Northern Ireland are due imminently on FindmyPast, covering the period from 1900-1947. This could well be in next week's FindmyPast update. Ann also flagged up that she has found evidence of some Northern Irish wills, pre-1858, included in FMP's "Diocesan and Prerogative wills and administration indexes 1595-1858" collection, with 904 records indexed for Connor, and 962 for Down. 

A huge thanks to all at PRONI. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, and the challenges that have been presented by that, they've had a good year. Sadly this is the first year in a long time that I haven't been able to hop over and to visit the Christmas markets at City Hall, so here's a pic from a previous visit, and a Merry Christmas to all in Belfast!

Chris

Pre-order my next book, Sharing Your Family History Online, at https://bit.ly/SharingFamHist. My book Tracing Your Scottish Family History on the Internet, at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scottish2 is also out, as are Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Irish1 and Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry Through Church and State Records at http://bit.ly/ChrisPaton-Scotland1. Further news published daily on The Scottish GENES Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.