Tuesday, July 24, 2012

June 2012 Issue of Borders Family History Society Magazine

The latest issue (June 2012) of our 44 page Borders Family History Society magazine was posted to members on 7th and 8th July.

This issue contains articles about
  • Our Patron, the Earl of Lauderdale
  • Postcards as heirlooms and their importance in family history
  • Alexander Linton, born 1829 in Kirkhope, and his life as a policeman
  • Who inherited property left by people who didn't make a will
  • A summary of the talk by Jim Lyon on 29th April about Adam Clark, born 1811, who supervised the construction of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge over the Danube between Buda and Pest, Hungary
  • Jessie Miller, daughter of Susan Miller who died in 1853 at Lightfield on the Mellerstain estate
  • A book published in 1848 by Alexander Somerville, born 1811
  • The first part of the talk 'Saving, Spending and Family History' that I gave on 26th February 2012. There are nice colour illustrations of some of the coins in my talk.

The cover shows the Queen meeting our Patron, the Earl of Lauderdale on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee.

Join Borders Family History Society to get future magazines, discounts on our publications and Scotland's People vouchers.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Transcribing at Eyemouth

A very successful day transcribing at Eyemouth.

While the turn-out was perhaps just a tad disappointing a great deal was achieved.

To prove that sometimes the sun does shine the above image was taken overlooking the old cemetery as we enjoyed our picnic lunch.

Not many stones too apparent but they are down both the right hand and left hand walls and the wall to the rear - 77 in all and each, almost without exception, very challenging in its own right.

The area is now in many ways a public open space the stones having been relocated round the boundaries, some years ago, by the Local Authority. Unfortunately many were lost in this process and almost all are now very weathered and/or overpowered by vegetation.

The graveyard became full around the time of the Eyemouth Fishing Disaster of 1881 (to which a monument has recently been erected) and a new cemetery was opened off the Coldingham Road. to which we repaired after lunch. Transcribing was just so much easier and substantial progress was made.

The next transcribing day is 18th. August when we are back to Peebles

Ronald Morrison

Friday, July 20, 2012

William Wallace, the 'Guardian of Scotland' - new exhibition and talks

There's going to be a new exhibition about William Wallace, the'Guardian of Scotland', in the Parliament in Edinburgh from 10th August to 8th September (closed 12th and 13th August and Sundays). Opening times are 10am to 5pm (except 9am to 6.30pm on 4th to 6th September.) Admission will be free. 

The centrepiece of the exhibition will be the letter of 1300 from the King Philip IV of France to his agents at the Papal Court in Rome asking them to assist Wallace in his business before the Pope and the 'Lübeck letter' issued in 1297 in the names of William Wallace and Andrew Moray or Murray, inviting the ports of Lübeck and Hamburg to resume trade with Scotland. 

This is a chance to go beyond the fictionalised version of William Wallace and Scottish history portrayed by the 'Braveheart' film and discover the story behind the real William Wallace. Oddly for such an important man, Wallace's family history isn't clear. I find it difficult to believe that he would have achieved as much as he did without being a good soldier or having personal followers and that's not likely unless he was born into a landowning (and probably noble) family.

Associated with the exhibition is a free talk 'The Attempted Restoration: Wallace's Support of King John, 1299-1302' by Dr Amanda Beam-Frazier of the University of Glasgow. She will talk about the efforts to restore John Balliol as king of Scots after his abdication in 1296 and reflect on Balliol's motivation to return, as well as the political and diplomatic context from 1299 to 1302. The talk is on 24th August at the Parliament from 10am to 11am. Online bookings for 'The Attempted Restoration: Wallace's Support of King John, 1299-1302 or on 0131 348 5405.

There's another event from 11.30 to 12.30 on the same day, 'Sir William Wallace, Scotland and the wider world' - a debate by a panel that includes Dr Fiona Watson, Professor Michael Prestwich and other historians. Members of the audience will get the chance to quiz the panel about Wallace and the momentous decades for Scotland from 1286 to 1306. The debate will be chaired by the Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick, MSP. Online bookings for Sir William Wallace, Scotland and the wider world or on 0131 348 5405.

The exhibition and these two talks are part of the Festival of Politics at the Parliament taking place from 17th to 25th August, and there are other talks, exhibitions, concerts. You can download the whole Festival of Politics programme.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Come to the East India Company at Home Study Day, Edinburgh

In January, I wrote about Warwick University's East India Company at Home project which will examine how luxury goods from Asia (mainly India) arrived in wealthy homes and their significance.

The project is holding a Study Day on Friday 7th September from 11.30am to 5pm at the University of Edinburgh Library.

The purpose of the event is to bring together academics, curators, heritage sector professionals, local and family historians who are interested in Scottish families, houses and objects with East India Company connections. The event is a follow-up to a study day they held at the British Library in London earlier this year although the focus is different.

The focus in Edinburgh will be on family history and literary sources (poems, stories, family letters and other manuscripts) and will also spend some time looking at the collection of manuscripts brought back by Company servants in order to consider how East India Company officials collected, read and exchanged books. It will also discuss the different ways in which East India Company officials and their families used ideas of family, home and the domestic space when navigating their imperial experiences.

The Study Day is free of charge and lunch will be provided. If you would like to go, email Ellen Filor (who is interested in East India Company family networks and identities in Roxburghshire between 1780 and 1857) at East.India.Company@warwick.ac.uk.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Series of Digging Up Your Roots in January 2013

The popular family history programme 'Digging up Your Roots' is set to return to BBC Radio Scotland for a brand new series in the New Year.

It will start at noon on Sunday, 6th January 2013 and continue weekly to 24th February.

As in previous years, podcasts of the programmes will be available.

The presenters are keen to hear from listeners who are also trying to delve into the past.  If you have a family mystery you want solved or have a burning question about the life of an ancestor then let their team of genealogists help!

If you want to get in touch you can write to:
Digging Up your roots, BBC Scotland, Beechgrove Terrace, Aberdeen, AB15 5ZT, Scotland or email Laura Seawright  at diggingupyourrootsATbbc.co.uk

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

First Official (New) Train on the Waverley Route

I enjoyed myself at the opening of the Border Union Railway Line http://wrha.org.uk (part of the former Waverley Route) at Whitrope Station (in Castleton parish) on Sunday 1st July; accompanied by two friends, one of whom is a son of a former engine-driver on the route.

It was an auspicious date, chosen to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Hawick to Carlisle railway line.

The opening was performed by John Lamont, MSP and Madge Elliot .

Although they have about a half-mile of track, the bridge positioned after the first 300 yards hasn't had its certification yet, so the train (a railbus) made two return journeys of 300 yards back and forth for each set of passengers.

I chatted with Ian Crooks, the chairman, during the short journey.

They've made amazing progess since the last time I visited in August, 2009.

Not only have they laid a lot more track, painted carriages, made a nice station, they've also found time to improve the exhibition.
There's more dates to visit the Waverley Route Heritage Centre at weekends until the end of October, and ride on the train in July and August. Timetable.

It was nice to see several of my ex-colleagues from Scottish Borders Council, two of whom are volunteers, as well as several fellow members of Borders Family History Society.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gardens Open Glen House Innerleithen

Garden Open Day Glen House Innerleithen

Society members prepare prior to "le deluge"

Garden Open Days are perhaps not renowned crowd pullers especially on damp thundery days in a remote location somewhere in Peeblesshire.

Sunday at Glen House, near Innerleithen however proved the exception - for further information on the house see our pre-event blog dated 25th. June.
Without doubt a successful day beyond all expectations.

The reason; perhaps because this was the first time this a particular Garden had been open in 60 years or again perhaps word had got out that Society Secretary, Davina Smart who had done such a grand job at our Jedburgh coffee morning was in charge of catering.

While figures are not to hand at least 300 people turned up on the day and at one point the gates to the grounds had to be closed.

 The whole event was staged to raise funds for various charities and the Society was pleased to assume catering responsibilities and the small team pictured above were literally quite run off their feet, trying and just about managing to cope.
We did though manage to promote the Society and explain how we are working on the house archives which should be available for consultation in due course and we like to think we might have influenced a few to join.

Afterwards we were rewarded with a personal conducted tour of the house - not normally open to the public and were able to admire the architecture of David Bryce and Robert Lorimer, particularly perhaps the magnificent ceilings, to absorb the homeliness and intimacy of the house and to appreciate the fine period fittings and so many fine furnishings and paintings.

 Ronald Morrison