Friday, 28 March 2008

Scottish Records Advisory Council holds final meeting

After 70 years of providing advice to Scottish Ministers on a range of archival issues, the Scottish Records Advisory Council held its final meeting on Wednesday 27 February 2008, after its abolition was announced by the Scottish Government in January.

For more information, visit


Practice run for the 2011 Scottish census in March 2008

To prepare for the next decennial census in Scotland, to take place in 2011, a practice run has been announced for next year involving well over 40,000 homes in Edinburgh, on a purely voluntary basis. The story has been reported in the Edinburgh news, and can be read online at


Thursday, 27 March 2008

BBC Radio 4 - "Tracing Your Roots" recommissioned

BBC Radio Scotland has just been commissioned to produce a new series of the Radio 4 genealogy series "Tracing Your Roots", which is scheduled for transmission in the autumn.

More news on the new series as we get it!


Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Free digitised British newspapers access 1600-1900

The recent access to the 19th C British Library Newspapers Collection announced on this site has now ended, but there is access to an even bigger free trial to 17th, 18th and 19th Century British and Irish newspapers (including the 19th C collection), as well as many other resources in America, at the Gale Digital Collections website.

Once you have access the website at you will need the following details to log in:

Login: virtual
Password: books

The site gives free access to digitised copies of British and Irish newspapers from 1600 to 1900, such as the Glasgow Herald, the Belfast Newsletter, the Caledonian Mercury, and many, many more papers. The Times is also online from 1785 to 1985.

No idea how long the free trial lasts for, so the advice is to get in whilst you can!


Thursday, 20 March 2008

ScotlandonTV post Mitchell Library user guides online for family historians

ScotlandonTV is currently publishing a series of videos about the resources available for family historians at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. This is a very comprehensive guide to the main documents and archives, and is presented by Elizabeth Carmichael and Dr. Irene O'Brien, who work at the library and give very useful tips and examples. Visit

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Family history services at the FRC - R.I.P.

Well, after much controversy, the services at the Family Records Centre in London have finally ceased to be, becoming the proverbial ex-parrot...

From the National Archives (Kew) website:

"The staff and services provided by The National Archives at the Family Records Centre (FRC) move to Kew when the doors close on 15 March 2008. The transfer of these services and expertise into one building will make research easier.

The National Archives in Kew is being extensively refurbished and improved. This is part of an ongoing improvement programme and allows us to incorporate the services provided by The National Archives at the FRC. When complete, additional seating, microfiche readers and computer terminals will be available to visitors, improving access to original records, research resources and the ever-growing range of online material.

Following consultations with visitors to The National Archives and FRC the talks programme has been extended. There will be two new talks rooms providing an educational programme of talks on a variety of topics from family history to military history. In addition, three smaller surgery rooms will be available for more in-depth consultations.

Commenting on the new services Jeff James, Head of Advice and Records Knowledge at The National Archives said: "The exciting developments underway at Kew will genuinely improve our visitors´ experience, from the improved restaurant and new museum, to the redeveloped reading rooms. The reading rooms have been designed to create a more open and accessible environment for our visitors."

People who used to visit the first floor of the FRC will find all of the information they enjoyed available at Kew. In addition, they will be able to consult documents and records spanning 1,000 years of history and have access to a wider range staff expertise.

To provide security for visitors and staff whilst also ensuring documents are protected, The National Archives has installed a new security system.

If you would like any more information about the improvements at Kew please visit The National Archives website at"

FRC - R.I.P...


Thursday, 13 March 2008 wants your GI Brides or Australian emigrants stories

A chance to share your emigration stories...!

" would love to hear from you if you have made successful family history finds using the outbound UK passenger lists on and if you would be happy for your story to appear in the national and regional press.

If you would like to share your discovery of an ancestor who emigrated by passenger ship to the USA or Canada after marrying an American or Canadian serviceman, or if you have discovered family who emigrated to Australia by ship between 1890 and 1960, please email your story to with the word "Appeal" in the subject line by Monday 24 March.

We are looking for people who would be happy for the stories they send to be used in national or local newspapers or who would be happy to be contacted by a journalist for an interview about their family history experiences.

Please only send in stories that you are happy to be used in the public domain and if you are happy for your name to be used in the media. If you are also willing to be contacted by the media direct, please provide a daytime contact phone number."


No one to fight for the government side at Culloden

Attempts to trace descendants of those who fought at Culloden, in time for the big opening of the new visitor centre, have been only partly successful. Whilst many descendants of the Jacobites have been traced, no one with a claim to an ancestor on the government side has yet been found.

For more info, visit


Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Griffith's Valuation and Tithe Applotment Books now online at Ancestry

Ancestry has just made the Griffith's Valuation and Tithe Applotment Books available online at

Griffith's Valuation was taken between 1848 and 1864 across the whole island and names about a million individuals, providing a substitute for the censuses for the island during this period which largely no longer exist.

The Tithe Applotment records date from 1824 - 1837 and record the results of a survey taken to determine the amount of tax payable by landholders to the Church of Ireland, the established church until 1869. The Tithe Applotment records are for the six counties of Northern Ireland only - Antrim, Down, Armagh, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Londonderry.


Free access to British Library 19th Century Newspaper Collection

The British Library 19th Century Newspapers Collection holds digitised copies of all 19th C editions of the Glasgow Herald, the Caledonian Mercury, the Aberdeen Journal, the Belfast Newsletter, and dozens of English and Welsh titles.

For a free trial to the site, visit

Further information on what is contained in the database can be located at

Well worth a look!


UPDATE: I have been informed that the above link is for a free trial for an institution only. However, the following link is the correct one to gain access:

Happy hunting!

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Update on recent Ancestry WW1 medal index cards collection release

Hi all,

There has been some confusion regarding Ancestry's recent medal index cards release, in that whilst it was announced as a complete release, it seemed to be anything but. The Western Front Association press release indicated that this was in fact a phased release, and not complete. I contacted Ancestry to get clarification on all of this, and have just received the following response, which hopefully sorts the issue!

Dear Chris,

Thank you for your email. The database “British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920” is only the first release of the collection. It contains about half of the total collection. The records in this release cover a wide range of surnames from all alphabetical ranges. It’s possible that the name you are searching for will not be found in this release. The second release will be coming soon but we do not have an exact date. You can read more about this database by:

*From the HOME page of (make sure you are logged in)
*Click on British Army WW1 medal rolls
*Below the search box read about the British Army
*Make sure to click on ‘For more information about this database click here’ There is a lot of information about the British Army medal rolls, the index cards and the types of medals awarded.

Kind regards,

Member Solutions


Tuesday, 4 March 2008

New Opening Hours at TNA Kew

The National Archives in Kew will be operating with new opening hours from March 31st 2008.

For more information visit


Saturday, 1 March 2008

Your Family Tree issue 62

Next week sees issue 62 of Your Family Tree going on sale. Included are in depth articles on researching British and Irish wills, Jewish family history in Britain, theatrical ancestors, the Titanic, researching with online newspapers and deciphering old handwriting. Yours truly has also made a couple of contributions, with an in depth beginners guide to British and Irish birth certificates, and a case study on my great uncle, John Paton, interned within a WW1 German civilian POW camp for two years.

On the Scottish front, Edinburgh based Chris Duncan argues the case for the release of the 1911 Scottish census early, and there is both news on the Scotland Online acquisition of and the new Culloden visitor centre competition.


Forthcoming Scottish Lectures and Events - March

Visit to NAS plus Regular Meeting
March 4th 2008 – West Lothian FHS – Visit to NAS between 4.30pm and 6.00pm, followed by regular meeting at Connolly House.

Threading the World - Coat's and Family Research by Lesley Richmond
March 11th 2008, 7.30pm – Largs and North Ayrshire FHS – Community Room, Largs Library, Allanpark Street, Largs.

Visit to New Register House
March 11th 2008 – Troon@Ayrshire FHS

The Duries by Bruce Durie
March 11th 2008, 7.00 pm – Fife FHS – Buckhaven Theatre, Lawrence Street, Buckhaven
E-mail: webadmin@fifefhs.orgWeb:

Speaker and talk TBC
March 12th 2008 – Caithness FHS – Miller Academy, Thurso
E-Mail: sandy.gunn@btinternet.comWeb:

Speaker and talk TBC
Wednesday, March 12th 2008 7.00pm – The Lothians FHS
Email: Web:

The Gene Genie - What DNA Can and Cannot do for Your Family Research by Bruce Durie
Wednesday, March 12th 2008, 7.30pm – Central Scotland FHS – Smith Museum and Art Gallery, Dumbarton Road, Stirling.

Troon, Loans and Dundonald Smugglers of The 18th Century by Tom Barclay
Thursday, March 13th 2008, 7.30pm – East Ayrshire FHS – Gateway Centre, Foregate Square.

Who Do You Think You Are? by Helen Beat
March 13th 2008, 6.00pm – Tay Valley FHS – Waterstones Bookshop, 35 Commercial Street, Dundee

St Mary’s in Holm by Sheena Wenham.
Thursday, March 13th 2008 7:30pm – Orkney Family History Society – Supper Room, Town Hall, Kirkwall.

Effect on Aberdeen of the Jacobite Rebellion by Kieran German
Saturday, March 15th, 2008 – Aberdeen and N.E. Scotland FHS – AGM followed by talk:
Tel: 01224 646323 Fax: 01224 639096 E-mail: E-mail:

The Archives and Family History Centre at Heritage Hub in Hawick by Rachel Hosker
Sunday, March 16th 2008 - Border FHS Society Meeting and talk

David MacBrayne by Ian McCrorie
Monday, March 17th 2008, 7.30pm – Glasgow and West of Scotland FHS – Lecture Theatre No. 1 of the Boyd Orr Building, Glasgow University, University Avenue, Hillhead, Glasgow.

A.G.M. followed by a "Reddin Kin" Session
Tuesday 18th March 2008, 7.00pm – Shetland FHS – Hillhead in Lerwick.

The Smugglers of Kyle by Frances Wilkins
Tuesday, March 18th 2008, 7.30pm – joint Ayrshire F.H.S. Meeting – Portland Church Hall, South Beach, Troon

Poor Houses by Alastair Ramage

Thursday, March 20th 2008, 7.30pm – Renfrewshire FHS - Paisley Museum

Telling Tales - Researching your Family’s Past through Oral History by Helen Avenell
Tuesday, March 25th 2008 – Highland FHS – Society Meeting at 7pm AGM, and talk at 7.30pm – Netley Centre, Highland Hospice, Bishop’s Road, Inverness, IV3 5SB.

Visit to the Weaver’s Cottage, Kilbarchan
March 25th 2008 – Largs and North Ayrshire FHS

Visit to GROS
Wednesday, March 26th 2008 7.00pm – The Lothians FHS
Email: lothiansfhs@hotmail.comWeb:

Glencoe & the Indians – 30 Generations of a Montana Family by Jim Hunter.
March 27th 2008, 7.30 pm – North Perthshire FHS – The Tryst Hall, situated behind the Church, off West Moulin Road, Pitlochry

Mitchell Library visit
Tuesday, 27th March 2008 – Renfrewshire FHS

Speaker and talk TBC
Saturday 29th March 2008 – The Heraldry Society of Scotland