Friday, 23 September 2016

Historic Edinburgh Tours

The past two nights have been spent in the wonderful company of Robert from Historic Edinburgh Tours. 

Wednesday night started with a slight drizzle which quickly turned to a downpour. Although it let up after about an hour, it was still a damp night. The tour was an historic tour of Greyfriar's Cemetery and the rainy, gloomy night added atmosphere to the tour. 




Thursday night was the Old Town Tour. Thanks to the onset of fall and the drawing in of the nights, we were able to experience the projector during the tour. The tour provided an up-close and personal tour of Edinburgh's (and indeed, Scotland's) history. Standing in the very place where the events occurred brought the entire drama to life.







 







As always, Robert was engaging, entertaining and exceptionally knowledgeable. 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Maps Marvelous Maps

Maps anchor us in time and place. Maps show us where we are going. Maps teach us about the world in which we live. 

From a genealogy perspective, maps help us to pinpoint where our ancestors lived. We can get a sense of the terrain as well as how rural or urban the area might have been. We can use maps to track how far our ancestors moved throughout their lives. Often we find that even thought they might have moved several times to get employment, they rarely left a small radius of 5 or 10 miles. 


The National Library of Scotland has over 2.5 million maps in their collections. And they have the best online collection of digital maps bar none. Their collections include estate maps, town plans and maps, military maps, county and country maps. 

Estate maps can show the farms your ancestors lived and worked on. We can see quarries, coal mines, forests, lochs, farm fields and location of the buildings belonging to the estate.

Town plans and maps show us how densely populated the town or village was and often will have labels on the buildings. These labels may determine the type of building, or they may be the name of the building's owner or proprietor. Military maps can show us the early roads leading to the area where your ancestor lived. 

Currently, the National Library of Scotland has an exhibit about Maps. It is a wonderful exhibit. 

Here is a preview:  


1580 map of Scotland (Scotiae tabula) by Abraham Ortelius



 1780 map of the City of Edinburgh by John Ainslie





Wednesday, 21 September 2016

East Lothian Poor Records Project

Monday night we had the opportunity to attend the meeting of the Scottish Genealogy Society. The speaker was Fran Woodrow, archivist at the John Gray Centre in East Lothian. Fran spoke about East Lothian's Poor.

Jim McQueen, president Abbotsford Genealogical Society, 
Fran Woodrow, Archivist, John Gray Centre,
Gregory Lauder-Frost, Chairman SGS

The purpose of poor relief was to suppress the nuisance of idle beggars in the parishes. Pre-1845 poor relief was the responsibility of the Kirk and the Heritors. There were different types of relief. These could include:
  • Coal
  • Food
  • Money
  • Clothing
  • Medicine
  • Poor House
The monies used for poor relief were raised through the Heritors, Endowments, Legacies, Fines and Fees, Mort Cloth Rentals

Post 1845, the responsibility for the poor was transferred to the Burghs and Councils through the passing of the Poor Law Act. The Act established parochial boards in the parishes and towns, and ensured a central Board o Supervision (based in Edinburgh) which had the ability to raise taxes in order to cover the poor relief payments.

From a genealogical perspective, information can be found in a variety of sources, such as:
  • Parochial Board Minutes
  • Poor Relief Rolls 
  • Reports of Inspectors of the Poor -- list of paupers, soup kitchen rolls
  • Burgh Accounts
  • Friendly Societies
  • Newspapers
  • Kirk Session Records
East Lothian is in the process of digitizing their Poor Law Records. They have a bank of 20 very dedicated volunteers. The rolls are being digitized for viewing onsite in the John Gray Centre. They are also being transcribed for offsite research inquiries and there is an in-house team that are indexing the minute books.

If you have ancestors from East Lothian and are wondering if they might have been involved with a poor law application, you can contact Fran.

The staff at the John Gray Centre, can do a free 15 minute search to let you know whether there are records relating to your ancestor which might be worth accessing. Any further research will be at a rate of £25.25 per hour.

Best of luck with your East Lothian genealogy research!




Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Driving Through My Family History

On Monday morning, I left Peebles to head to Edinburgh. I had a couple of stops in Glasgow before making my way to the hotel in Edinburgh where I was to meet up with this Tour's participants. 

After leaving Glasgow, I ended up taking the 'Scenic' route, or the route through the countryside, rather than driving the M8. This was such a fascinating drive as it took me through the places where my ancestors had lived. 




I drove past the exit for Coatbridge where my aunty lived (and my cousin still does!), past the exit for Shotts, where my mum's family lived for three generations and where several are buried, through Carluke where my dad's ancestor was a land overseer. I passed through Carnwath (a much larger place than I had imagined) where my maternal line had lived and where children had been born. 

As I drove past each exit to an ancestral town or village, or as I drove through an ancestral town or village, I was able to conjure up the names of the people who had lived there, wondering what their lives had been like at the time. It was a lovely drive between Scotland's two largest cities, and a terrific way to connect with the people whose lives I have been researching the past 15 years. 

Durham Soldiers DNA Project

On Sunday I had the opportunity to attend a talk about the Scottish soldiers who were captured at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. These soldiers were force marched down to Durham Cathedral. Several hundred died in captivity. Those that survived were shipped to the Colonies - the first lot were shipped to Boston. Later groups were sent to Boston, the Virginia plantations or to Barbados. 

The group Scottish Prisoners of War are working to re-unite the descendants of these soldiers in the US with their Scottish families in Scotland. There are large numbers of people in the US database, but the DNA project is looking for more Scottish people to join by having a yDNA test done and then, hopefully, being matched up with their American family members. 


There are 75 surnames of the prisoners: 

Abernethy
Adams
Anderson
Andrews
Bean
Blacke
Bow
Brown
Bruce
Calhoun/Colquhoun
Clark
Cleghorn
Coehon/Cowan/Cahoon
Cone
Cooper
Cragon
Cragon/Craggen
Daniels
Darling
Doughty/Dowty
Dunbar
Eager
Edminsteire
Fassett (M'Pherson)
Ferguson
Findley
Forbes
Fresell/Frizzell/Fressell
Furbish
Gibbs
Gowen
Grant (from Inverness area)
Gray
Hamilton
Hanoman
Henderson
Hume/Holmes
Jackson
Mackane/McKenney
Mackholme
Magoon/MacGowan/MacGown/MacGoun
Maxcy
Maxwell
McAlister
McCall
McCone/McCoon/Maccount/McEntire/McIntyre
McIntosh
McLachlan
McPherson
McRorie
Monroe/Monrow
Moody
Moore
Neale
Pattison/Pattinson/Paterson
Rankin
Ranney
Robinson/Robins
Ross
Sinclair/Sinkler
Sterling
Stewart
Taylor
Thomson/Thompson
Toish/Tosh
Upton
Valentine
Warren
Watler
Webster
Woodell/Wattles
Wyer

If you are Scottish and have one of the surnames listed above, the Scottish Prisoner of War DNA Project wants to hear from you! You can contact them at: SPOWS@scottishprisonersofwar.com







Tuesday, 6 September 2016

ONLY THREE (3) SPACES LEFT ON SEPT 2017 TOUR

There are only 3 research spaces left for the September 2017 Genealogy Research Tour in Edinburgh. The dates are Sept 18 - 27, 2017.



Tour fees include:

  • pre-tour preparation webinars
  • pre-tour preparation package
  • assistance to plan a visit to your ancestral part of Scotland
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 9 full breakfasts
  • Overview of records in each facility
  • 5 full days of research
  • daily research fees
  • daily transportation to research facilities
  • time to travel to your ancestral home area
  • additional day to research locally
  • optional evening tours
  • evening at the Taste of Scotland dinner and show

Come to Scotland. Come to Research. Come to Learn. Come to Connect. Come home.



Don't miss out! Book NOW!

Monday, 29 August 2016

ONLY 4 SPACES LEFT FOR SEPT 2017 RESEARCH TOUR

There are only 4 research spaces left for the September 2017 Genealogy Research Tour in Edinburgh. The dates are Sept 18 - 27, 2017.



Tour fees include:

  • pre-tour preparation webinars
  • pre-tour preparation package
  • assistance to plan a visit to your ancestral part of Scotland
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 9 full breakfasts
  • Overview of records in each facility
  • 5 full days of research
  • daily research fees
  • daily transportation to research facilities
  • time to travel to your ancestral home area
  • additional day to research locally
  • optional evening tours
  • evening at the Taste of Scotland dinner and show
Don't miss out! Book NOW!