Thursday, March 29, 2012

West Linton Churchyard

What, you might well ask, has Tweeddale Community Transport got to do with the Borders Family History Society ?  Well it's the reason that I've nearly finished transcribing the monumental inscriptions in West Linton Churchyard.  One of our regular jobs is to collect a number of the older residents of the parish and take them to their Tuesday Afternoon Club.  This involves a wait of around 1½ hours right beside West Linton Church.  It occurred to me that this would be an ideal opportunity to make start on West Linton MIs.  Almost 3 years on there are only about 15 stones left to complete.  The most intractable ones of course.  The Tuesday Afternoon Club doesn't meet in the summer but I hope I'll finish by the end of the year.

I've been helped a lot by West Linton and District History Association who surveyed the stones in the churchyard in 2003 as part of Historic Scotland's Carved Stone Decay project in 2003.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More about Witches

Our first talk of the current season was given by Mary Craig talking about the witch trials of the Scottish Borders.

A bit later I discovered that there was a Survey of Scottish Witchcraft and having downloaded the database that 42% were from Berwickshire, 31% from Peeblesshire, 20% from Roxburghshire, but only 7% from Selkirkshire.

There's a recent video Scottish Witchhunts from the National Library of Scotland in which Nicola Stratton talks about some of the many recent publications on witchcraft including modern reprints of Malleus Maleficarum which she likens to a Dummies Guide to Witchhunting and James VI's Daemonologie.

She makes some interesting insights and points out that to understand the witchhunts, we need to know about the social history of the period and the legal procedures by which witches could be prosecuted.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Alnwick Castle Archives and the Earls of Northumberland

Alnwick Castle Archives and the Earls of Northumberland
is the title of the talk at the annual general meeting of Friends of Berwick & District Museum and Archives.

Lord Joicey will give an update on Flodden and then the speaker is Chris Hunwick, Archivist at Alnwick Castle.

It takes place on Friday 23 March at 7.00 pm at Berwick Parish Centre, The Parade, Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 1DF, England. Map. It's next to Holy Trinity Church. Entrance is through the churchyard. The suggested car parking is in the car park next to the churchyard.

Everyone is welcome. Admission free.

Coldingham Monumental Inscriptions has been published. More information.

Read our Kith & Kin column every week in the Border Telegraph and Peeblesshire News newspapers.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cataloguing Finds from Flodden 500 Fieldwalking

Flodden 500 is a project that supports lots of other projects and activities working towards the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden, which took place on 9th September 1513. Part of this project has been to examine the archaeology of the supposed battlefield and the surrounding fields; comprising digs, metal-detecting and fieldwalking. More information about the Flodden 500 project including pictures and descriptions of the finds.

I spent a very interesting St Patrick’s Day (17th March) identifying and cataloguing objects that had been found while fieldwalking.

The sorting and cataloguing session was held in Etal village hall in Northumberland.

There were about 15 people there including two archaeologists, Jenny Vaughan and John Nolan, to help us when we were mystified. I was one of the least experienced volunteers so it was useful to get an introduction to different types of pottery – Roman, Medieval, 17th century, 18th century, and later.

Sometime last summer, field 18 was divided into 100 square metre squares, and the fieldwalkers had picked up everything that looked interesting and bagged it – one bag per square with the square’s reference on the bag.

Our task was to identify each artefact in the bag and write its description on a record sheet, later to be entered into a computer. It sounds more daunting than it was.

Everyone is very friendly and happy to help identify things. A lot of the material that I handled was bits of 18th and 19th century pottery and a few bits of miscellaneous medieval pottery. I would like to think that my expertise with coins helped others.

I also had musket balls, a fragment of lead bullet, some buckled lead sheet, part of a bronze leg of a yetling (a cooking vessel on three legs that stands over a fire), a clay marble, bits of 19th century window glass, fragments of clay tobacco pipes, small bronze and pewter buttons, bits of glass bottles, part of the ramrod holder for a muzzle-loaded gun, polishing stones in sandstone and quartz, a flint microlith (a small bit of waste from stone age tool manufacture), a bit of lead used to repair a pottery vessel, some wire, a medieval pin, a possibly Romano-British tile, and some coins – mostly George III and Victorian halfpennies, but also a Charles I or Charles II copper Scottish twopence.

Most of these artefacts have nothing to do with a battlefield but everything to do with what people used the fields for; perhaps much of it for dealing with waste.

There was tea and coffee to drink and very nice biscuits. I learned a lot, handled some very interesting things, and I’m looking forward to the next sorting and cataloguing day. I just hope that I’ve correctly identified the things that I handled.

Although few people have traced their family history back to that period, the artefacts found provide a wealth of interesting information on our ancestors’ lives, and we feel that it is so important that we’ve started a new Flodden 1513 forum, to which anyone can contribute.

Read our Kith & Kin column every week in the Border Telegraph and Peeblesshire News newspapers.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Free Access to Swedish Records on 17th and 18th March

Another chance from ArkivDigital, a Swedish provider of digital records, to get free access to Swedish records this weekend. Remember that Sweden is 1 hour ahead of GMT.

I blogged about this ArkivDigital and my family history in Sweden last August. ArkivDigital now say they have close to 34 million color images in over 138 000 volumes online.

You will need to register, download and install their software.

I'm certainly going to try it out again.

If you find this is useful to you, you may want to take advantage of their discounted membership offer at 995 Swedish Kroner (about £93) instead of 1195 Swedish Kroner (about £112). The offer is open until 1st April.

Do let me know how you get on by clicking the 'comments' link below.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Huge Problem Replying to People with AOL Addresses

Over the past few months, it's become more and more difficult for us to respond to members and the general public who have an AOL email address, for example, or

That's because AOL seems to be blocking our replies to your emails or responses to messages sent using the form on our Contacts page, the Forum, or when registering for Surname Interests.

No doubt, this is due to an over-zealous Spam filter on AOL's mail-servers.

It's not a problem that we can do anything about, because we cannot communicate with AOL; emails from us are ignored or if we write from a email address, are blocked.

However, we think you can ensure that messages get to you, by adding our email addresses to your AOL address book/safe senders list.

All email addresses are made up of a mailbox and a domain joined by an'@' sign.
In the examples above the mailbox is xyz123 and the domain is or

I don't want to put our email addresses on this blog, otherwise the nasty Spambots roaming the Internet looking for email addresses will collect ours, so you'll need to add the mailbox to the domain with each of the mailboxes below from which you expect to get messages.

Just in case that seems too difficult, we'll send an email to our members with the full email addresses.

Our mailboxes are as follows:
Emails from me: pmunro

Emails from contacts: webmaster

Emails from the forum: forum-webmaster

Emails about the archive/sales/research: bfhssales

Emails about Surname Interests: iwebmaster

Emails about: Gravestone Recording: rmorrison

Emails about Membership: membership

Emails from the Chairman: chairman

Emails about the 2013 conference: safhs2013

If you use Hotmail, or Earthlink, I think you may have problems similar to our members with AOL addresses, but as we don't get error messages to tell us that our email to you has been blocked, we can't be sure.

Oh, if anyone from AOL, Hotmail, or Earthlink reads this and is willing to resolve this, we'll be happy to hear from them and be happier, if we could tell the world that the problem has been resolved.

Monday, March 12, 2012

SAFHS Conference - Crops, Cloth, Cod 'n Coal - Sat 21st Apr 2012

Conference will be held at the Bonar Halls in Dundee. Talks will be on the Agriculture, Weaving, Fishing and Mining industries in Scotland. Borders FHS will be there among the many other FHS's, Archives and genealogy societies. My "must see" talks are Crops, as many of my family were Ag Labs and herds and the Cod talk, to learn more about the fishworkers and where they travelled to follow the fishing fleets. It's a great opportunity to see the best sources of information and to meet the experts.

The conference will be hosted by Tay Valley FHS and Fife FHS.

Please come along and say hello

More info from

Friday, March 9, 2012

New Monumental Inscriptions volume for Coldingham, Berwickshire

Our latest volume of Monumental Inscriptions, for the parish of Coldingham, Berwickshire is now available.
Much of the recording, carried out by members of Borders Family History Society and the Friends of Coldingham Priory, took place in 2010 when we managed to get a few lovely summer days.

The Priory has a rich and colourful history being one of the many hidden gems of the Borders. It has been a site of worship since 1100. The first church was destroyed in 1216 and rebuilt as a much larger cross-shaped church. The north and east walls of the choir are still forming part of the present day church. Monastic remains of the cloisters and south transept can be seen outside. The priory estates of 'Coldinghamshire' stretched from the boundaries of East Lothian to Berwick on Tweed and into the Merse at Swinton.

Coldingham, a popular holiday destination for many, has a new Luckenbooth post office and visitor centre, which opened in November 2011. Over the next couple of months, the Luckenbooth will become home to a permanent exhibition of artefacts, photographs and information on the parish, Priory and village with displays on touch screen terminals. Contributions of photographs and reminiscences will be welcomed and added to the information on the terminals so that the resources for the parish and village will continue to grow and improve. The Priory is usually open to visitors on Wednesday afternoons (2.00pm - 4.00pm) and on Sundays in July and August at the same times.

There are over 600 surnames (and their variants) on the memorials with the surnames Wilson, Nisbet, Aitchison, Purves, Hood, Thorburn, Johnston, Gray, Robertson, Cowe, Wood, Paterson, Patterson, Scott, Craig, Allan, Bell, Chisholm, Cockburn, Smith, Henderson, Rae being the most recorded. In this volume of the Monumental Inscriptions, we have included a more detailed index which lists the Surname, Other Surname, First Names and Date of Death wherever these are available. Many of the stones are of local stone and have become very worn and illegible and like so many of our cemeteries, the weather can cause considerable damage. Details are not available for several stones which have fallen and in this year's winter gales, another two memorials, an 1886 obelisk and a large 1881 stone, have both been badly broken.

Included in the Coldingham MI volume is the 1694 hearth tax, the 1801 militia lists with the militia families vouchers of 1809, 1812 and 1813. Over 1090 memorials are listed, including the war memorials and rolls of honour from St Abbs and the Priory.

The surnames included in the gravestone inscriptions are: Aernaldus, Affleck, Aikman, Aire, Aitcheson, Aitchison, Aitken, Aldred, Alenshaw, Alexander, Allan, Allanshaw, Allenshaw, Allison, Anderson, Armstrong, Atkin, Auld, Baillie, Baird, Barber, Barclay, Barnes, Barrie, Baynes, Beattie, Bell, Bennett, Bentall, Bertram, Binnie, Birne, Bishop, Bissett, Blaabjerg, Black, Blackhall, Blackie, Blair, Blues, Bogue, Bolan, Bolton, Bonner, Bookless, Borthwick, Boyes, Brack, Braidford, Bremner, Broadhurst, Brodie, Broun, Brown, Bruce, Brydone, Budge, Buglas, Buglass, Bullen, Burgon, Burns, Cairnie, Cairns, Calder, Cameron, Campbell, Cant, Capstick, Carfrae, Carr, Carruthers, Carson, Caverhill, Cessford, Chambers, Chapman, Cheverton, Chirnside, Chisholm, Chisomme, Chrystal, Clark, Clazie, Cleghorn, Clement, Clerk, Clinkscale, Close, Coates, Cockburn, Collin, Collins, Colven, Comb, Common, Connel, Connor, Cook, Cookson, Cooper, Cormack, Cossar, Coulson, Couser, Cow, Cowan, Cowe, Cowling, Craig, Craik, Craise, Craw, Creck, Crombie, Crooks, Crosbie, Crow, Crowe, Cullen, Cunningham, Currie, Curry, Dalgliesh, Damborg, Darge, Darling, Darrie, Davidson, Davidson, Davie, Dean, Deans, Denham, Denholm, Dewar, Dickinson, Dickson, Dippie, Dodds, Dods, Donaldson, Dougal, Dougall, Douglas, Drummond, Duckworth, Dun, Dunbar, Duncan, Dunlop, Dunn, Dunse, Dykes, Dysart, Edgar, Edge, Edington, Edminson, Edmunds, Elliot, Ewart, Fair, Fairbairn, Fairley, Fairlie, Falconer, Farlie, Feairlie, Fell, Fender, Fife, Fish, Fish, Fisher, Fleming, Ford, Forsyth, Fortune, Foster, Foulis, Fowler, France, Francis, Fraser, French, Frizzel, Fulton, Fyfe, Gallagher, Gardiner, Gardner, Gargett, Geddes, Gibson, Gilchrist, Gillan, Gilles, Gillespie, Gillie, Gillies, Gilroy, Gladstone, Goldie, Goodall, Gordon, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greenfield, Greenlaw, Greig, Greive, Grey, Grierson, Grieve, Griffiths, Grundy, Gunn, Guthrie, Guy, Haig, Hair, Hall, Halliday, Hamilton, Happer, Hardie, Hardwick, Hardy, Harvie, Hastie, Haugh, Hay, Headland, Henderson, Hendry, Henry, Heriot, Herkes, Hermiston, Herriot, Hewit, Higgins, Hill, Hindhaugh, Hindmarch, Hiscock, Hislop, Hogarth, Hogg, Holywell, Home, Home Stirling, Hood, Hope, Horsburgh, Hosick, Houliston, Howden, Howgate, Howie, Howieson, Hoy, Hudson, Huildie, Hume, Humphrey, Hunter, Hutchison, Hutton, Inglas, Ingles, Inglis, Innes, Innes-smith, Jacobsen, James, Jamieson, Jeffery, Jeffrey, Jenkins, Jensen, Johnson, Johnston, Johnstone, Jollie, Jolly, Kay, Kemp, Kerr, King, Kirk, Kirkpatrick, Knox, Laidlaw, Laidlie, Laing, Lamb, Lambert, Lamberton, Lamont, Landell, Landels, Landles, Lark, Larsen, Lauder, Laurie, Law, Lawrie, Leckie, Lee, Leiper, Leitch, Leith, Lendel, Leslie, Liddle, Lidgate, Lillie, Lindores, Lindsay, Livingston, Lockhart, Lockie, Logan, Lorain, Loraine, Lothian, Lowry, Lugton, Luke, Lumisden, Lumsden, Lunam, Lyall, Maben, Mabon, Macbeath, Mcaulay, Maccallum, Mccarthy, Maconachie, Mccandlish, Macdonald, Mcdonald, Macdougal, Mackdwgal, Mcdougal, Mcewen, Mcgall, Mcglashan, Mcgregor, Mcgraith, Mcghie, Mcguire, Mcivor, Mackay, Mckay, Mackenzie, Mckenzie, Mclauchlin, Mclaughlin, Maclaurin, Mclean, Mclellan, Mcleod, Mcmurchie, Mcqueen, Mculay, Macvie, Mack, Mair, Malcolm, Manson, Marshall, Martin, Mason, Mason, Mathewson, Maunder, Mavor, Mearns, Megechen, Mein, Meins, Melros, Melville, Menan, Menzies, Mescer, Michie, Middlemass, Middlemiss, Middleton, Millar, Miller, Millican, Milliken, Mills, Milne, Milne Home, Mitchell, Mitchelson, Moar, Moffat, Moffet, Montgomery, Moody, Moor, Moore, Morrison, Mortensen, Mortimer, Mosley, Mossman, Muir, Munro, Murray, Nairn, Napier, Neilson, Nelson, Nesbet, Nesbit, Nicholson, Nicol, Nicoll, Nisbet, Noble, Oliver, Ord, Orzrel, Ostergaard, Pairman, Paterson, Paton, Patterson, Paxton, Penfold, Petersen, Pettigrew, Polwart, Ponton, Porter, Portir, Pratt, Prentice, Pringle, Purdie, Purvas, Purve_, Purves, Purvis, Pybus, Quarry, Queenan, Radulphus, Rae, Rawdon, Rawnsley, Rayner, Rea, Reddin, Redpath, Reid, Reith, Renton, Riber, Richardson, Rintoul, Robertson, Robson, Rogers, Romanes, Romer, Rose, Rule, Runciman, Russel, Russell, Rutherford, Rymer, Samson, Sanderson, Sandison, Sanson, Schuphaas, Scott, Scougal, Scougall, Service, Sey, Shanks, Shearer, Shearlaw, Sheill, Sheirlaw, Shepherd, Sheriff, Shiel, Shiell, Shiels, Shierlaw, Shirlla_, Shirllaw, Shirreff, Simpson, Sinclair, Skeldon, Skene, Slight, Smart, Smettem, Smith, Somers, Souness, Spark, Sparks, Speedy, Spence, Spiers, Spoues, Spriggs, Spring, Stavers, Steele, Steen, Stevenson, Stewart, Stirling, Stobie, Stodart, Stoddart, Storey, Story, Stradsman, Strauchan, Stuart, Summers, Sutherland, Swan, Swann, Swanston, Sword, Syminton, Tait, Taylor, Tear, Telford, Temple, Tendel, Thompson, Thomson, Thorburn, Towle, Trotter, Troup, Tuck, Tulloch, Turnbull, Turner, Tweddle, Tweedie, Umpherston, Unthank, Vanko, Veitch, Vetch, Vetter, Waddell, Waddle, Wagnert, Wait, Waite, Walker, Wallace, Wanko, Waterer, Waterston, Watson, Watt, Weatherly, Webster, Wedderburn, Weir, Welsh, Welsh, Wemyss, Westgarth, White, Whitecross, Whitehead, Whitelaw, Whitford, Whyte, Wight, Wightman, Wilis, Willis, Willsher, Wilson, Wingfield, Winram, Wood, Wright, Young, Younger.

Our thanks go to everyone, members of Borders Family History Society and Friends of Coldingham Priory, who helped with the recording and checking of the inscriptions, for the many contributions of information and photographs and for the assistance in putting the publication together.

The publication is available on CD, priced at £10 plus postage can be obtained from us at 52 Overhaugh St, Galashiels, TD1 1DP, Scotland, or via our Contacts page using the contact type Order for Publications.

From the Poorhouse to the Knighthood

Our next meeting, on Sunday 25 March 2012, will be at the Evergreen Hall, Laidlaw Terrace, Hawick, TD9 9QJ when Marjorie Gavin will be presenting a fascinating story of a family’s journey down through the generations starting with the death of an old man in the Poorhouse in Jedburgh and finishing with a well-respected figure knighted in the late 20th century.

Starts at 2.30pm. Free admission, open to all. Come and meet others interested in family history in the Borders – lots of our publications will be available. Teas & coffees.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

WDYTYA handouts

Just seen that the Society of Genealogists have notes and handouts from the speakers at the Who Do You Think You Are (WDYTYA) Live 2012 event held a couple of weeks ago. There are some really interesting and helpful notes

Saturday, March 3, 2012

February 50-50 Club Draw Results - Jackpot Prize Not Yet Won

The letters drawn in the February 2012 draw were D, L, P.

There were no winners.

The jackpot, the 1st Prize Fund, stands at £91.25, and the 2nd prize fund at £36.

It costs only £1 per month to have a chance of winning.

Find out more and join our 50-50 Club.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Edrom Parish - Certificates of Character

Have been delving into a booklet just published by Scottish Genealogy Society entitled “Edrom Parish - Certificates of Character - Given and Received” The given certificates cover the years 1797 to 1815 and those received, the years 1796 to 1854.

On moving, whether because of family reasons, employment or otherwise it was necessary before being admitted into the Church in the new parish to produce a certificate of good character signed by the minister of the Church from which one was moving.

The certificates issued give the date, the name of the person, the minister who issued the certificate and the parish whence they came.

Most of those were fairly local but there were a number from further afield and I noticed for instance new communicants to Edrom coming from such places as Strichen, Largo, Mauchline and also from Yorkshire.

What I found of particular interest was a record of new certificates issued to persons taking communion for the first time, invariably members of families already resident in the Parish. These records show the farm of residence and are in many ways ‘coming of age‘ certificates and it is interesting to trace members of the same family as they ‘reach maturity’.

The gravestones at Edrom were transcribed by the Society last summer and we are hoping to be able to publish reasonably shortly.

One of the ministers who issued (and received) certificates was the Rev. John Hastie (1797 to 1822). The Rev Hastie left a diary which was published by the Society in 2004 and is still available to purchase (price £6.50) As well as giving much background information on the day to day life of a Parish minister at this time there is also in the diary a considerable amount of genealogy not contained in the Parish records.

The booklet, a copy of which is available for consultation within the Society Archive, can be purchased from the Scottish Genealogy Society at a price of £3.50 plus postage.

Ronald Morrison

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February 2012 Issue of Borders Family History Society Magazine Just Out

The latest issue of our 44 page Borders Family History Society magazine was posted to members on 27th and 28th February.

Although the first issue of the calendar year was previously in March, the editor has decided that February is more suitable.

This issue contains articles about

  • new maps at the National Map Library
  • Coldingham monumental inscriptions
  • the memoirs of George 'Celery' Taylor
  • Borders surnames
  • the family of William Oliver (1812 - 1888) and Elizabeth Turnbull (1813 - 1887) who emigrated from Southdean, Roxburghshire to South Australia
  • a pair of silver sugar tongs
  • Andrew Currie, Border sculptor
  • the remaining part of the talk "Granny's Bawbees" about Scottish coinage that I gave on 29th May 2011 (including an illustration of a halfpenny-sized advertising token below issued by John Pringle & Co of Kelso)
  • an intriguing story titled "What might have been"
  • 17th century Border witchcraft
  • Cadwallader Colden
  • Gunsgreen House, Eyemouth
The cover shows the Mungo Park Memorial at Selkirk.