Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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

The letters drawn in the January 2012 draw were I, L, J.

There were no winners.

The jackpot, the 1st Prize Fund, stands at £85.50, and the 2nd prize fund at £30.25.

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

Find out more and join our 50-50 Club.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Digging Up Your Roots Podcasts

I've already blogged about the new series of BBC Radio Scotland's popular Digging Up Your Roots family history programme.

I’ve now found out that podcasts of the Digging Up Your Roots programmes can be downloaded. The podcasts are available for 30 days after broadcast, so I think the first programme will be available until 7th February 2012, and the subsequent programmes correspondingly later.

The first programme includes one of our members, Marjorie Gavin, talking about Dr John Leyden, the famous poet and orientalist from Denholm. I’m still able to listen to last year’s Digging Up Your Roots podcasts so I’m presuming that once they’re downloaded you’ll be able to listen to them over and over again.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

20 Most Common Surnames - New Feature on Parish Pages

I've always been fascinated by the diversity of surnames and their geographical distribution, and my mind takes a leap when I speak to somebody with a surname new to me. This week's new names were DRAGE, ABLITT and QUICKFALL.

When I was a child holidaying in West Mersea, Essex, the dominance of particular surnames was really obvious; MUSSETT by a long way the most common, other common names being PAYNE, COX, CLARKE.

There is a new feature on our parish pages that shows the 20 most common surnames in the burial places that we've recorded and published. For example, on the Galashiels parish page, the 20 most common surnames on gravestones recorded by us in the Galashiels - Eastlands and St Peter's monumental inscriptions volume are (number of gravestones in brackets): SCOTT (132), BROWN (109), THOMSON (71), WILSON (69), MURRAY (67), DAVIDSON (57), ANDERSON (54), SMITH (53), HENDERSON (53), ROBERTSON (48), SANDERSON (47), TURNBULL (41), BELL (41), DOUGLAS (39), STEWART (38), DICKSON (37), WOOD (37), HALL (35), McLAREN (35), WELSH (35),

and the 20 most common surnames on gravestones recorded by us in the Galashiels - Old Ladhope monumental inscriptions volume are (number of gravestones in brackets): BROWN (29), SANDERSON (21), SCOTT (20), ROBERTS (14), PATERSON (13), HALL (13), MURRAY (12), THOMSON (10), WALKER (9), WILSON (9), DICKSON (9), MARK (8), CAIRNS (8), SIME (8), LAIDLAW (8), CLARK (7), HEWAT (7), HOGARTH (7), MAXWELL (7), ANDERSON (7).

Some of our monumental inscriptions volumes include burial grounds in more than one parish, for example, Channelkirk and Legerwood . As the composite index for the volume is included in the Gravestones Index, the parish pages for these parishes show the 20 most common surnames in the composite index.

We've created this list for each of our publications and we'll add more lists as we revise or issue new monumental inscriptions books and CDs. See our parish pages for the parishes that interest you.

However, it’s not a totally accurate guide to the popularity of surnames in a parish. Obviously, the surnames of people for whom there is no gravestone aren’t included, and the burials in each cemetery are over a long period of time, so some surnames might have been more common in the 1820s than they were in the 1920s.

Maps Workshop at the National Library of Scotland

There's a Maps for Family and Local History workshop at the National Library of Scotland on 29th February at 2pm where you can find out about the range of historical maps available. The workshop includes an introduction to the Maps Reading Room.


Family History Workshops at the National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is running family history workshops in Edinburgh on 21st February 2012 at 6pm and 19th March 2012 at 10am.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Breaking Stones for Road-Mending and the Stone Project

I went to a very interesting talk in Maxton, Scotland on Monday evening by Jake Harvey, emeritus Professor and former head of Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art, about the international Stone Project.

He talked for well over an hour, with interesting slides and videos, about quarrying and stone working techniques, sculptors and stone workers, sculptures, and exhibitions.

For me, one of the most astonishing views was that of a female quarry worker in Peenya Quarry, India, breaking up stone using a 15kg (33 lbs) hammer. She must have tremendous strength and I wonder if her back aches too ? She has no protection from chips on splinters, not for her bare arms, feet and ankles, or her head, particularly not for her eyes. I suspect her sari is pretty thin and chips could easily fly through thin cloth. I also wondered if she had ever hit her feet, a blow from that hammer would surely break foot bones.

When Jake said she was breaking stone for road repairs, I immediately thought of the women described in the poor registers (for example, Widow Davidson of Jedburgh, Scotland, aged 45, who 'breaks down stones into sand, and makes about 3d a day'), and in the poorhouse at Jedburgh engaged in breaking stones.

There's more about Widow Davidson of Jedburgh in our publications, Jedburgh Parish (1852-1874) and Jedburgh Parish (1875-1893).

I wonder how Widow Davidson was attired, whether she had any protection, and whether she did the work at home or in a quarry, and whether she was supervised. I haven't managed to find any detailed descriptions of this type of work.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Digging Up Your Roots

Just been catching up with the first programme of the new series of Digging Up Your Roots which was broadcast on Radio Scotland on Sunday 8th Jan. A listener was querying the surname Leyden and possible connections with the city of Leiden in the Netherlands. Marjorie Gavin was featured on the programme, recounting the life and achievements of John Leyden, the famous poet and orientalist from Denholm.

The programme is available on the BBC iplayer until Saturday.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

East India Company Family Networks and Identities in Roxburghshire

The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 is a 3-year research project ending in August 2014 funded by the Leverhulme Trust, led by Professor Margot Finn of Warwick University.

The project will look at the routes by which Asian luxury goods (for example, ceramics, textiles, metal-ware, furniture and fine art) found their way into the homes of Britain’s governing elite in the Georgian and early Victorian periods, and examines
what these exotic objects meant in these domestic settings and in wider national and international contexts.

The project builds upon historical research produced by family and local historians, curators, academics and other researchers into a wider collaborative research project that illuminates Britain's global material culture from the eighteenth century
to the present.

Dr Helen Clifford will play a leading role in orchestrating the project’s engagement with local and family historians, working together with the project's full-time postdoctoral research fellow, Dr Kate Smith.

Ms Ellen Filor will be funded by the grant to complete a doctoral dissertation on East India Company family networks and identities in Roxburghshire (1780-1857) as an integral part of the larger research team.

Express your interest in the East India Company at Home project.

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

The letters drawn in the December draw were B, H, S.

There were no winners.

The jackpot, the 1st Prize Fund stands at £79.75 and the 2nd Prize fund stands at £24.50.

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

Find out more and join our 50-50 Club.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Correction to Channelkirk Parish Page

My thanks to Harry Watson for telling me that the Channelkirk page had started displaying a Shetland map again.

Unfortunately these maps depend on an interface with the National Library of Scotland's map library, so if their change affects us, we have to change our page.

I've now resolved the problem and the Channelkirk page is now showing the correct map.

You may need to refresh the Channelkirk page in your browser a couple of times in case your browser has cached the page.