Saturday, March 30, 2013

Free Access to 1901 and 1911 UK Census Collection Until 1st April

Ancestry's Easter offer is for free access to 1901 and 1911 censuses for the UK until one minute before midnight on 1st April.

As well as England, Scotland and Wales this includes Isle of Man and Channel Islands censuses.

There's no access to the images for Scottish censuses, but images are available for the others.

Search 1901 and 1911 censuses now.

(My thanks to Marjorie Gavin for the tip-off.)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Talk, Useful Free Websites for Family History Research, Today, Will Take Place

My talk, today, about Useful Free Websites for Family History Research will be taking place as planned in the Volunteer Hall, St John Street, Galashiels, TD1 3JX.

There will also be an exhibition of photographs that will help you date your own photographs. This exhibition is based on a collection of 19th century photos donated to the society by Douglas Bain and collated and researched by Ian and Morag Carter and laminated by Davina Smart. 

Unlike many people in Cumbria, Dumfriesshire, and other parts of Scotland, the Borders seems to have escaped most of the snow.
The Met Office website says that no severe weather warnings have been issued for soth-west Scotland, Lothian or the Borders.
Main roads to Galashiels are free of snow, though there may be the remnants of snow on roadsides.
The traffic cameras at Soutra, Earlston, Hawick, Terrona, Houndwood, Carter Bar and Mosspaul all show snow-free roads.

There's no snow at St Boswells though the Eildon Hills look very pretty with their scattering of snow from last week,

It is still cold and the strong winds have eased a bit.

So I hope to see you at today's talk but I quite understand if you don't feel like travelling to Galashiels.

Please don't travel if the conditions are worse where you are and please don't take risks.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Survey for Wha's Like Us ?

Stirling Council's Libraries, Information and Archives are in the planning stages of Wha's Like Us? - a family history event in 2014. They are planning a fun interactive event that will give attendees a chance to meet other people interested in family history research and will include a lively selection of talks and workshops by local and national experts, aimed at unearthing the stories and experiences of this kind of research.

Answering the Wha's Like Us? survey commits you to nothing but offers you the opportunity to get details of the event via email.

This year, come to our Migration themed Conference on 11th May 2013 in Galashiels, Scotland.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Free Access to Passenger Lists, Border Crossings and Passports

To celebrate St Patrick's Day, Ancestry is offering free access to their collections of passenger lists, border crossings and passports this weekend (presumably till midnight US time on Sunday).

Search Passenger Lists.

Search Border Crossings and Passports.

There's also a video 'Tracing Your Irish Ancestors Back to the Homeland'.

If you're interested in migrants, come to our Migration themed Conference on 11th May 2013 in Galashiels, Scotland.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Useful Free Websites for Family History Research

How much do you know about your great grandfather or another member of the family in his generation ? Or, if he was recently alive, somebody in the previous generation ? Family history is about much more than dates and places of birth, baptism, marriage and death, it is about their and their family’s lives, what they did at work, their interests, the history of the period in which they lived and so on. However, unless yours is one of the few families that kept meticulous journals, you probably won’t know much about them.

I’m giving the Society’s next talk on March 24th.  This talk is being held in the Volunteer Hall, St John St, Galashiels, so that we can have internet access for me to demonstrate the use of websites for my talk. Even for those that are experienced users, I hope to show things you haven’t previously considered. I want to encourage you to broaden your family history research so I’m going to demonstrate some search techniques and show some useful free websites, drawing upon my family tree. My family tree seems to have so many 'brick walls' that I have reason to hope that I can help you overcome some of yours.

There is another reason for coming along and that is to see an exhibition of photographs that will help people date their own photographs. This exhibition is based on a collection of 19th century photos donated to the society by Douglas Bain and collated and researched by Ian and Morag Carter.

If you need advice about any aspect of your family history, please do ask.

As usual, the doors will open at 2.00pm and the talk starts at 2.30pm.

Admission is free and we’ll have usual sales tables and refreshments (donations welcome) after the talk. I hope to see you there. Map.

As always, there’s a remote possibility that the speaker will need to be changed at the last minute. Where possible, we’ll put changes on our What’s On programme.

Book now for our Conference on 11th May 2013 in Galashiels, Scotland.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

An Independent Scotland and the European Union

I went to a very interesting seminar this evening at the Royal Society of Edinburgh - the first of a series titled 'Enlightening the Constitutional Debate'.

Next year, in the autumn, Scotland will get a referendum to decide whether to become an independent nation again, and this seminar was part of 10 leading up to the referendum.

Few Scots were permitted to determine the union of the parliaments, over 300 years ago in 1707 and I've wondered which way my ancestors would have voted if they had had the choice. Like most people I haven't got that far back in my family history so the question is moot. My maternal grandparents, who died more than 20 years ago were fiercely divided about the independence question.

This evening was about Scotland and the European Union (EU). The Royal Society's president, Sir John Peebles Arbuthnott opened the proceedings and the seminar was presented by Prof Diana Panke, Professor of Political Science, University of Freiburg; Prof Neil Walker, Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations, University of Edinburgh; Graham Avery, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford & European Policy Centre, Brussels and chaired by Peter Jones, a freelance journalist for The Scotsman, The Economist and The Times. There were about 160 people present and Sir John Arbuthnott said that they could have filled the rooms twice over.

We heard from the presenters about the legal position regarding Scottish membership of the EU and the terms and political issues; the process by which and independent Scotland would become an EU member state and the influence of small states in the EU.

The proceedings and the questions videoed and will be made available on the Royal Society of Edinburgh's website, and this will happen for future events too.

I met people from The Czech Republic and Poland, and I heard French and Spanish being spoken so clearly this decision is important not just for the Scots but also for our immigrants, too.

If you're interested in family or local history or migration, take part in our Conference on 11th May 2013 in Galashiels, Scotland.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Finding Your Irish Roots

There’s a new charitable organisation, Ireland Reaching Out, set up by the Irish government to boost tourism (or as they say to welcome home the Irish diaspora to their ancestral parishes) by encouraging people of Irish extraction to find out about their roots. 

One of their main aims is to identify people who left Ireland, and trace them and their descendants worldwide and their other main aim is to help people researching their Irish ancestry to find an elusive gravestone, the location of their ancestor’s dwelling, make contact with living relatives or discover more about a community. 

They’ve recruited an army of volunteers covering over 500 Irish parishes and they’re offering their services free but they offer the opportunity to make a donation too.  It’s organised at the parish level so you need to know which parish an ancestor came from, and then you can register and add details about the ancestor that you want to research. There are links to family history societies, archives, and other resources. 

Whatever the origin of your roots, find out more from the exhibitors at our family and local history fair on 11th May 2013 in Galashiels, Scotland.