The day kicked off with a presentation by broadcaster and historian Nick Barratt, who described the significance of the event for those researching their family trees, with a little help from a surprisingly well looking J. M. Barrie, who died in 1937! This was followed by Deceased Online's Richard Gray giving a demonstration on the Angus records collection, using J. M. Barrie's burial records as an example.
Commenting on the event, Nick said “Burial records are often seen as the end of one trail but in fact they can be the start of another as they frequently reveal so much about generations of a family, opening up new and previously unknown avenues in an ancestral search. So having the records online provides a wonderful new research tool for people trying to unravel their family history.”
Also in attendance was the Provost of Angus, Ruth Leslie Melville, who stated “By placing our burial records online we have now opened a worldwide portal to the county’s past, making it easy for everyone to find out more about their Angus ancestors. As a result we look forward to welcoming even more people in the future when their armchair research reveals a new Angus chapter in their family story, one best explored in person.”
With the launch over, I met Wendy Glass for the first time, who writes for Discover my Past Scotland also, and who is helping to co-ordinate the Roots Festival, and who was definitely in the spirit of things in her 1920s blue dress! I then managed to get a few snaps of the great and good (reproduced here for your genealogical pleasure!)
With the formal presentations over, I was invited to go on a private guided tour of the castle by one of the castle guides, Jane, accompanied by Raymond Evans from the ScotlandsPeople Centre. We were shown the Queen Mother's personal rooms and the castle chapel, still in use today by the family, and even heard the odd ghost story or two! We actually missed the lunch, so engrossed were we on the tour. Free sarnies or free guided tour around the Queen Mum's old haunt? A no brainer!!!
With the event over, Nick and I were then fortunate to be given a guided tour of Angus Archives, situated beside Restenneth Priory. We had a chance to look at original witch trial confessions in the archive's store, guided by senior archivist Fiona Scharlau, as well as some seriously old documents (in astonishingly good condition!) and then had a tour of Restkenneth Priory, allegedly the oldest stone built structure in Scotland.
A great day, lots of laughs, and a chance to view some very rare documents. Do visit the festival site - lots to see and do! - and if your ancestors were from Angus, a major resource is begging for your presence at Deceased Online!
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