Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Day in Edinburgh

I’ve just got back home from the SAFHS 11 Conference where along with Elma Fleming, Davina Smart & John Murray I was looking after the Borders FHS Stand at the accompanying exhibition. Regrettably I was unable to attend any of the lectures but all the comments I heard were favourable. We had a lot of visitors to our stand amongst whom was Jim Hunter, a member I’d been in touch with a couple of years about the deposition of School Log Books at the Heritage Hub. Unfortunately it depends on the school recognising the value of the records and passing them on to the regional archives. As you’d imagine the result can be variable.

I ended up in an interesting discussion with another visitor about the nature of evidence and just what constitutes adequate proof of a link. In the end most of us have only to satisfy ourselves although adopting a fairly rigorous approach will reduce the likelihood of making preposterous claims. This particular gentleman’s daughter was a historian and her standards were clearly more rigorous than his.

Wandering round the stands I discovered that:

  • Developments in DNA profiling mean that mitochondrial (m)-DNA which is inherited by both men and women from their mothers might be capable of establishing possible links over a few generations. At present m-DNA operates at a tribal level and there very little variation between people of Western European descent.
  • Kirk Session Records for parishes in the Scottish Borders have been transferred to the Heritage Hub (aka the Scottish Borders Archive) from the National Archives of Scotland (NAS). They have retained the NAS reference number which is given on the parish pages on our web site.
  • You can get access to the SCRAN archive of historical photographs via the Scottish Borders Library web site. There’s no charge if you wish to use the images for private purposes and there’s little impediment to using them talks etc – acknowledging the source and formal permission to use the images is the most that is likely to be required for any non-commercial use..

This year the conference was organised by the Scottish Genealogical Society – it will be our turn in 2013 and there hopefully we can learn some lessons from today’s event.. There were 150 paying delegates and a large number of visitors to the exhibition which had 50 exhibitors.

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