Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Telephone Scam ?

Actually I suppose it isn't new, but it is new to me.
It's essentially a different way of presenting an old trick that I nearly fell for it, and I'm blogging it to prevent you falling for it.

Last week I was phoned by a lassie with a very pleasant Scots accent - somewhere in the Central belt, I think, but not Glasgow or Edinburgh.

She said she was conducting a survey on behalf of Genealogy UK magazine to find out about the family historian audience in the UK.

That's believable, though I hadn't heard of the title, there are probably lots of magazines I don't know.

She said she would ask me several questions and she asked me to indicate the answers by pressing numbers on my telephone so that they could be captured automatically and stored in a database.

The first question was "How long have you been researching your family history ?"
0 for not yet started
1 for less than 1 year
2 for 1 to 3 years
3 for 3 to 5 years
4 for 5 to 10 years
5 for more than 10 years

I was just about to press 5, when it occurred to me that whatever number I pressed, I might be connected to a premium rate line, so I just put down the phone.

The BT 1471 service told me "We do not have the caller's number to return", which I think means that the call originated outside the UK.

I wouldn't have blogged this at all, had it not been a genealogical pretence, however, a friend who has not researched their family history, also had a similar call.

I've since discovered that there is no Genealogy UK magazine.

Have you had such a call ?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Start Your Family Tree Week - 26 December to 1 January

Next week, apparently, is Start Your Family Tree Week, a celebration which escaped my attention last year. It seems to have been started in Ireland, last year.

To celebrate this week, and no doubt to jump on the holiday season competition bandwagon, FindMyPast will provide tips and hints next week, and is running a competition.

There are lots of prizes:

  • A day with Else Churchill at the Society of Genealogists including return travel by train to London and two nights' accommodation in London
  • Subscriptions to the British Newspaper Archive, Who Do You Think You Are? magazine, family history societies, Family History Monthly magazine,
  • Family Tree magazine
  • Tickets to Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE 2012
  • Family Historian family tree software packs

You'll need to be quick off the mark, though, as you need to visit their Facebook or Twitter page for a new question to answer every day between 26 December and 1 January, and then send the answers by email by 10 January 2012.

More information on FindMyPast's competition.

However, the real winners will be the people who start researching their family tree or who make progress with it. Good luck !

Win a Family History Guide

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine is offering the chance to win an expert research guides.

The five books to be won are:

  • Tracing Your Family History on the Internet by Chris Paton
  • Tracing Your Legal Ancestors by Stephen Wade
  • Tracing Your Liverpool Ancestors by Mike Royden
  • Tracing Your Naval Ancestors by Simon Fowler
  • Tracing Your Rural Ancestors by Jonathan Brown
More about the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine competition.

The closing date is 13 January 2012.

Good luck!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hawick Heritage Hub - Changed Opening Hours

If you're planning a visit to the Hawick Heritage Hub (Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Centre) from 19th December, please note the changed hours.

  • Monday 19 December 10am - 4:45pm
  • Tuesday 20 December 10am - 4:45pm
  • Wednesday 21 December Closed
  • Thursday 22 December 10am - 4:45pm
  • Friday 23 December 10am - 1pm 2pm-4.45pm
  • Saturday 24 December Closed

The Hub will be closed for Christmas and New Year from 24 December 2011 and re-open on Thursday 5 January 2012.

Their new opening hours (from 5th January 2012) will be:
  • Mondays 9:30am - 1pm 2pm-4.45pm
  • Tuesdays 9:30am - 1pm 2pm-7pm
  • Wednesdays Pre-booked groups and school groups only
  • Thursdays 9:30am - 1pm 2pm-7pm
  • Fridays 9:30am - 1pm 2pm-4.45pm
  • Saturdays 10am - 2pm

There's been positive reaction from several people, one of whom said that the new hours are more convenient, another said that she'll make more use of the facilities because she can get in straight after dropping her daughter at school.

50-50 Club Draw Results

The letters drawn in the November draw were Z, U, O.

There were no winners.

The 1st Prize Fund stands at £74.25 and the 2nd Prize fund stands at £19.

Find out more and join our 50-50 Club.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Maps Implemented on our Parish Pages

Yesterday, I added maps for the majority of our parish pages.

I have now added maps for these parishes:
Castleton, Kirkurd, Langton, Manor, Mertoun, Newlands.

One tip - you can't accidentally remove or spoil the map. If the map disappears, or you've resized it or moved it around and you want to look at the original again, just refresh the page.

Maps Implemented on our Parish Pages

At the Scottish Borders Tourism Industry Conference on 1 December 2011, Martin Ogg mentioned Visit Scotland's intention to geo-web some of their pages.
I thought it would be nice to do that for our parish pages but I didn't know how, so I didn't mention it as one of the ideas.

After looking at the new additions to digital six-inch maps of Scotland, I noticed that the National Library of Scotland have created a Maps API (application program interface) which makes it possible to put their maps on our website.

I've used this to put maps on to the Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire parish pages for the following parishes:
Ancrum, Abbey St Bathans, Ashkirk, Ayton, Bedrule, Bowden, Broughton, Glenholm & Kilbucho, Bunkle & Preston, Caddonfoot, Cavers, Channelkirk, Chirnside, Cockburnspath, Coldingham, Coldstream, Crailing, Cranshaws, Drumelzier, Duns, Earlston, Eccles, Eckford, Eddleston, Edgerston, Ednam, Edrom, Ettrick, Eyemouth, Fogo, Foulden, Galashiels, Gordon, Greenlaw, Hawick, Hobkirk, Hounam, Hutton, Innerleithen, Jedburgh, Kelso, Kirkhope, Kirkton, Ladykirk, Lauder, Legerwood, Lilliesleaf, Linton, Longformacus, Lyne & Megget, Makerstoun, Maxton, Melrose, Minto, Mordington, Morebattle, Nenthorn, Oxnam, Peebles, Polwarth, Roberton, Roxburgh, Selkirk, Simprim, Skirling, Smailholm, Southdean & Abbotrule, Sprouston, St Boswells, Stitchill, Stobo, Swinton, Teviothead, Traquair, Tweedsmuir, West Linton, Westruther, Whitsome, Wilton, Yarrow, Yetholm.

I haven't yet added maps for these parishes:
Castleton, Kirkurd, Langton, Manor, Mertoun, Newlands because the API method I'm using doesn't work for these parishes, however I hope to rectify this in the next week.

The maps appear below the Magazine Articles listing.
The maps used are the Quarter-inch to the mile, Scotland, 1921-1923 and/or the One-inch to the mile, Popular edition, Scotland, 1920-1930.
You can use the control at the top left of the map to zoom in or out and drag the map left, right, up, or down as you wish.

If you've looked at these pages before, you may need to refresh the page once or twice in order to see the map.
Please let me know if you have problems or if you see a mistake.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Another Isle of Man Collection Added to Family Search

I've just discovered a family member in a new collection indexed by Family Search.

They now have 4 sets of vital records for the Isle of Man though there's a warning for the first 3 collections that only a few localities are included and the time period varies by locality.
All in all, there's over 300,000 records included, and that must be good.

There's also a full list of all 891 of the Family Search collections.

The family member I found was Hamlet Lowe who married Catharine Ware at Braddan, Isle of Man, on 08 Jan 1788, though, of course, I still need to check that he is the correct one. I wonder where she was born, as there's no mention of her birth in the Isle of Man.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Additions to Digital Six-inch Maps of Scotland, 1892-1960, at National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland have made available a full range of the Six-inch 2nd and later edition maps of Scotland, 1892-1960.

That's just what we've been waiting for. It was revised for Scotland from 1892-1907, and then updated regularly until the 1940s. You can zoom into the detail of the OS six-inch maps using an interactive index map, and search by county, parish and a gazetteer of place names.
You can order digital images and prints.

Use the maps link or the county links below, click the sheet on the map that you want, then at the left select the actual map you want.





Saturday, December 3, 2011

Free Access to American World War II military records

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the defence against the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Ancestry are offering their entire collection of 58 million World War II military records for free access until midnight ET on 7th December (which I think means 5am GMT on 8th December).

You can search and get a skeleton overview for nothing, but to get the details you'll need to register for (or sign in with) a free account.

It doesn't say so, however their records seem only to relate to people that lived in America or who were in the United States forces. This does include Scots born here, so it may still be worth while searching. There's an illustrated PDF research guide available for download.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Scottish Borders Tourism Industry Conference on 1 December 2011

I went to the Scottish Borders Tourism Industry Conference today, organised by Visit Scotland and Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership held at the Buccleuch Arms Hotel, St Boswells. There were about 50 delegates.

I didn't know what to expect and I thought it wasn't likely to be useful particularly as I had intended going to the monthly Scottish Borders Social Enterprise Chamber Business Group meeting.

I'm glad I attended, and fortunately the Salmon Room at the hotel was warm on arrival.

I was very inspired by Professor John Lennon's talk on 'Tourism businesses and how to survive in a recession'. Although Borders Family History Society is a charity and not a tourism business that needs to make a profit, much of what Professor Lennon said was valid for us, too. It's also important that as a charity we generate a surplus to help us remain sustainable and improve facilities for our beneficiaries. We're also members of Ancestral Scotland and we think it's so important that we have the Ancestral Scotland logo on our home page.

I got some good ideas from Martin Ogg's presentation on the new Visit Scotland website and the work that the website team are undertaking.

I didn't understand a lot of the Marketing presentation but there were some stunning images in their new campaign, and as a regular user and reviewer for Trip Advisor , I was interested that there was a widget available (though it costs £200) for tourism businesses.

Nice buffet lunch especially the tomato soup.

After lunch, David Taylor told us about the Year of Creative Scotland set up to 'celebrate and promote Scotland’s cultural and creative vibrancy, shine a spotlight on our creative assets, provide a test-bed for new initiatives and a launch platform for activity to support Year of Homecoming in 2014 .'

I also attended the Accessible Tourism session after the main conference, telling the fewer people that remained about the importance of accessibility and how to improve. I think this session should have been in the main conference.

We were told the slides for the presentations will be on the Visit Scotland corporate site, and I found them useful.

Here are the ideas and inspirations I took away from the day:
  • It would be nice to show equivalent prices in euros and US Dollars for the sterling prices on our website
  • Put testimonials by users of our services on the website
  • Put highlights of our Annual Report on our blog
  • Put the top 10 surnames in the Gravestones Index on our parish pages

Scott's Selkirk - 3rd and 4th December

Just a reminder that it's Scott's Selkirk in Selkirk (Scotland) on 3rd and 4th December !

This annual event is loads of fun, people in old-fashioned clothes walking around, decorated shops, stalls in the High St with interesting things to taste and unusual presents you can buy for Christmas presents.

It commemorates Sir Walter Scott, and there's re-enactments of him presiding in the Court-house; but there'll also be tours of the prison under the main road, the A7, music in the streets and the Square, childrens activities at Halliwell's House museum and fireworks to finish the festival off.
According to the website there's tours of Haining House (with mulled wine) but that's not mentioned in the program.

More info about Scott's Selkirk.

I try to go every year, however the weather caused its cancellation last year.

Even though there's snow on Soutra, I hope it's going ahead this year.

See you there ?