Friday, January 28, 2011

Use Oral History to Improve Your Family's Health

Back in December, I wrote about collecting oral history -
New Game for Christmas Day ? and Exchange Family Recipes as Part of Your Oral History.

Some weeks ago, the Family Search blog suggested that people might not have considered asking about their family’s health history.

In Scotland, death certificates give the cause of death and this can be an important clue, but 19th century certificates can also be misleading, or state the obvious.

The Utah Department of Health has developed a free toolkit to help people talk about their family health history, write it down, and share it with their doctor and family members. Although it's aimed at residents in the American state of Utah, many of its suggestions are applicable here.

Their website has a fascinating quote from the Washington Post newspaper in 2002: "The family tree has become the most important genetic test of all. The more you know, the more tools you have to practice preventive medicine."

The toolkit lists the diseases that might be inherited, suggests 10 questions to ask, and provides a template to record information. When you’ve collected the information, it recommends you talk to your doctor about what you’ve discovered. Access the toolkit at

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Updated Visualising Urban Geography Workshop

You may remember that I went to an interesting Visualising Urban Geography workshop on 6th December 2010 to explore their new web-based resources. They're running an updated free workshop at 2.00 to 4.30 pm on Thursday 24 February at the National Library of Scotland on George IV Bridge,
Edinburgh, EH1 1EW (see map), so expect to see a variety of maps and photos of Edinburgh; information on using and creating geo-referenced maps, the Visualising Urban Geography project bringing together sets of historical geo-referenced maps, social and demographic information to analyse and present data, and to get experience of using one of their tools, ExtMap (now Map Builder), to plot a set of trades-people on a map of Edinburgh. I've successfully used this tool to plot recipients of poor law relief on a historical map of Jedburgh. I recommend the workshop, though I hope the weather will be better this time, and you can phone 0131 623 3918 to book your place or book online.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Joys Of Volunteering

This is the title of the next event on Berwick Record Office's 2011 programme celebrating its 30th anniversary, and comprises talks by their volunteers.

Everyone is welcome to attend this free event.

It's on Friday, 11 February 2011 at 7.30pm at The Library, Walkergate, Berwick-upon-Tweed, England, TD15 1DB. Map. The suggested car parking is near the Barracks and Wallace Green.

If you want to volunteer to help on their projects, please do go and talk to them, however if you would like to volunteer your help in recording gravestones, please contact Ronald Morrison, through our Contacts page selecting Gravestone Recording; or if you would like to help run Borders Family History Society, help on a stall, do research, or transcribe hand-written records, please contact us through our Contacts page selecting Offers of Help.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A 19th Century Scam

Whilst googling for something totally unrelated, I came across this article in the The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (New South Wales, Australia) for Thursday 16 September 1869; and I thought it was interesting so I thought I would share it.

"A German journal, Die Tribune, relates that M. Mende, a banker of Leipzick (Leipzig, Germany), received a few days back a registered letter from the house of Hachette and Masson, of Paris, for whom he had for some time past acted as agent in Saxony, announcing that their cashier had absconded with securities valued at 200,000 francs. The writers added that the delinquent was known to have taken refuge at the Hotel de Prusse, in Leipzick, and enjoining M. Mende to endeavour to recover the papers without too much scandal and that in case of a voluntary restitution they had compassion on the wife and children whom the culprit had left behind, and were therefore willing to advance him a sum of 20,000 francs on condition he would take himself off to America. M. Mende, thus instructed,went to breakfast at the table d'hôte of the Hotel de Prusse, and observing a gentleman whose appearance corresponded with the description sent, lost no time in making his acquaintance. A sort of intimacy being soon established, the stranger asked M. Mende for the address of any banker that would discount some bills for him. "l am a banker, sir, and will do it myself," said the other. The parties then proceeded to the office of the latter, when M. Mende locked the door, and said to the stranger :" You are a rogue. You have stolen these securities from the house of Hachette and Masson. Your chiefs are, however, generous men. Restore all the papers, and they have commissioned me to hand you 20,000 francs to enable you to fly to America. Here they are go and get yourself hanged elsewhere." The conditions were, of course, accepted, and the other left the room apparently in great emotion. On M. Mende informing the Paris firm of what had transpired, he learnt to his great annoyance that he had been played on by some artful swindlers, as Hachette and Masson had not lost any money, and had never sent him any telegram on the subject."

I got the text at TroveAustralia; a really useful resource set up by the National Library of Australia.

I've been looking especially at their huge collection of digitised newspapers; however, they offer other resources too.

If you click on a newspaper article, you can view the text in a copyable form, and even add corrections; as the text is produced automatically by optical character recognition (OCR) there are likely to be errors.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bednelfysh & Gode Red Herring (Beadnell Fish and Good Red Herring)

Berwick Record Office  begins its 2011 programme of events celebrating its 30th anniversary with a talk by Katrina Porteous on fishing and fishing folk in North Northumberland, in particular, the village of Beadnell.

Everyone is welcome to attend this free talk by Katrina who has carried out extensive historical research on her subject. 

It's on Friday, 14 January 2011 at 7.30pm at Berwick Parish Centre, Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 1DF, England. Map. It's next to Holy Trinity Church. Entrance is through the churchyard. The suggested car parking is near the Barracks and Wallace Green.

Katrina’s talks and guided walks in the area always prove very popular. Don’t miss this one!