Monday, May 27, 2013

Free Access to US Military Records on MyHeritage

To celebrate US Memorial Day (the last Monday in May), MyHeritage is offering free access to the US military records they hold until midnight on 28 May. For those of us in Scotland, I think that will be until early morning on 29 May.

Memorial Day is like our Armistice Day in that it's the day that Americans remember especially family members who are serving in the military and those killed or injured while serving in the armed forces. It's a public holiday, and many treat it as a holiday long weekend.

Their US military records seem to include Revolutionary War pension records, various Civil War records, various World War II records and some post-World War II records.

Search the US military records.
Be aware that your search results may contain results relating to records that aren't free.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Someone to Watch Over Me: Kirk and Community - Sunday 26 May

Our next meeting is on Sunday 26th May at 2.30pm in the Corn Exchange, Market Square, Melrose, TD6 9PN, when we have Margaret Fox, whose talk is titled 'Someone to Watch Over Me: Kirk and Community’.
See this map for directions.

I think her talk will give a fascinating insight into the influence of the Kirk in Scottish society over the centuries. It will examine the Kirk’s wide-ranging influence over people's everyday lives including how the poor were helped and how people perceived as sinners, were punished.  She will also reveal how the Kirk looked out to the wider world at the same time as focusing on local issues.

For genealogists, the talk will demonstrate how Kirk records are easily one of the best resources for fleshing out the lives of our Scottish ancestors.

You might remember that Margaret Fox and Catherine Maxwell Stuart delivered a very interesting talk with nice slides to us, last October at Innerleithen, about their book 'A Family Life Revealed: The Stuarts at Traquair 1491 – 1875'.

The talk is preceded by our AGM at which I’ll be reviewing our year.

I warmly invite you to attend the talk and the AGM whether you are a member or not, though you cannot vote if you’re not a member.

The doors will be open at 2pm; the talk begins after the AGM, which usually takes about 25 minutes. Admission is free, so we hope to see lots of you there.

We'll have a range of family history and other publications to buy.

As usual there’ll be tea, coffee, and biscuits available after the talk. We’ll also be making the monthly 50-50 draw at the meeting. If you have a problem with your family history or you need advice about any aspect of your family history, please discuss it (no charge) with one of our volunteers.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Come and Visit Us at Bygone Borderlands This Weekend (18 & 19 May)

This weekend, 18 and 19 May, there’s a local and family history weekend organised by Berwick Record Office celebrating the heritage of the Scottish and English Borders and commemorating the battle of Flodden in 1513. 

The weekend event is called Bygone Borderlands and takes place in the Guildhall, Berwick on Tweed, England. 
On Saturday it runs from 10am to 4pm and on Sunday from 11am to 4pm. 

This is a very popular event with displays about the history of North Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, talks and exhibitors. 
Saturday’s talks are: 

  • 10.15    An Introduction to the Battle of Flodden     Chris Burgess
  • 11.00    Rebuilding Berwick’s Town Hall – recent discoveries    Jim Herbert 
  • 12.00    A Glimpse into the Archives at Paxton House     Martha Andrews and Chris Pawson
  • 1.00    Wilson’s Tales of the Borders : Berwick’s Forgotten Heritage. The Tales; The Man and their historic context    Andrew Ayre
  • 2.00    James IV – who was he?     Matthew Rooke 
  • 3.00    Family History Resources in the Berwick Record Office and the Heritage Hub at Hawick    Linda Bankier and Paul Brough

Sunday’s talks are: 
  • 11.15    An Introduction to the Battle of Flodden     Chris Burgess
  • 12.00    Women and the Battle of Flodden    Clive Hallam Baker
  • 1.00      Berwick’s  Medieval Walls    Jim Herbert
  • 2.00      Mauchlineware and Flodden    Jane Bowen
  • 3.00      The Alnwick Muster Roll, February 1514    Chris Hunwick, Archivist to the Duke of Northumberland
There'll be an archaeological tour of the jail area of the Town Hall, led by Jim Herbert at 12 noon on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday.

 Exhibitors include:
  • Borders Family History Society
  • Glendale Local History Society 
  • Lowick Heritage Group 
  • Northumberland and Durham Family History Society 
  • Norham and Ladykirk Local History Society 
  • Old Parish of Bamburgh
Entry is free and tasty refreshments will be available.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Discount on Annual Subscriptions to the British Newspaper Archive

I've commented several times about how useful newspapers are in fleshing out your family history and in my case, at least, in discovering new ancestors.


Lots of other British newspapers can be found in the British Newspaper Archive

If you come to our History Fair in Galashiels on Saturday, 11th May, you can get 15% off the British Newspaper Archive's annual subscription saving you almost £12.

Entrance to the fair is free !

Did Your Ancestors Migrate to Britain in the 19th Century ?

The English National Archives has announced a collection of 7,000 naturalisation records about foreigners who settled in Britain and who became British citizens through the process of naturalisation. Although there are some records for the period 1801 to 1843, the bulk of the records date from 1844 to 1871; 1844 being the date of the Naturalisation Act which required foreigners residing in Great Britain with intent to settle to send a memorial to the Secretary of State stating their age, trade and duration of residence. There's an example image of a memorial for Paul Julius Reuter , a guide to naturalisation and British citizenship  and a lot more on their blog.

Information on these records may provide nationality, occupation, family details, date and place of birth, year arrived in Britain, address, character references.

I haven't found any ancestors or family members in the records but that's probably because they immigrated in the 18th or 20th centuries.

Search the 19th century immigrant naturalisation records for yourself.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ScotlandsPeople working on Digitising the 1895 Scottish Valuation Rolls

ScotlandsPeople's newsletter today announced that they're currently working on digitising the 1895 Scottish Valuation Rolls and they will be launched soon on their website.

These Valuation Rolls could help you to corroborate information about people in the 1891 census. The 1905 Valuation Rolls and the 1915 Valuation Rolls are already available.

They're looking for people whose ancestors appear in the 1891 Census, but have disappeared from that address in the 1901 Census so that they can cite them as interesting examples when they launch the 1895 Valuation Rolls.

They'll try and find those ancestors for you, by searching the 1895 Valuation Rolls.

So if you think that the 1895 Valuation Rolls might well contain a missing ancestor of yours, then please drop them a brief email at press AT

Come and see ScotlandsPeople at our History Fair on 11th May 2013 in Galashiels, Scotland.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Family History Conference and Fair - Online Booking about to Close

Please note that online booking for our Family History Conference and Fair has closed.

More information about the Conference programme.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Less than a Week to our Family History Conference and Fair

If you’re reading this blog for the first time, you might not be aware that our big day is next Saturday, 11th May when we’re holding a family history conference (delegates only - online booking has closed) and a history fair. Admission to the history fair(family history, local history, social history) is free. The conference starts at 9am and the fair at 10am and both events finish at 4pm. Both events take place at the Scottish Borders Campus (and Heriot-Watt University), Nether Rd, Galashiels, Scotland, TD1 3HE. We have an interesting group of 6 speakers for the conference.

From early modern times, people from Scotland were on the move to England and all over Europe, but from the late 17th century they sought new trading and emigration opportunities across the Atlantic in North America.  Within a couple of generations, their outreach extended around the world. In his talk ‘Scotland and Migration’, Dr Wotherspoon will explore why people left Scotland, what they achieved and talk about their legacy.

Shepherds and livestock sellers needed to replenish their herds and sell at markets, and move them between summer and winter pastures. Before the advent of metalled roads and trains, the only way to do this was on foot along well-known routes near pasture and with water available. These routes were known as drove roads but many have disappeared over time. Dr Ian Roberts will be talking about droving and drove roads in Northumberland.

Ken Nisbet will be discussing emigration and immigration records on the internet and Andrew Armstrong will be exploring the Buccleuch Archives.

Jenny Bruce is both an accomplished artist and has been doing research into her native county, Caithness. She'll be talking about Border shepherds who went to Caithness, some presumably walking their flocks there over drove roads. She has an exhibition with photographs of the shepherds, their families, maps and photographs of Caithness and Sutherland, famous collie dogs and Thomas Telford and she’ll be promoting her new book, a Genealogy of the Border families.

Sheila Asante will be talking about some of the migration stories at the National Portrait Gallery, discussing interesting objects and what they tell us about Scotland's migration history.

For those of you coming to the fair, there are now 40 exhibitors including Family Search, ScotlandsPeople, ScotlandsDNA, DeceasedOnline, the British Newspaper Archive, local archives and Scottish and English family history societies. 

It’s quite common for exhibitors at fairs to have special offers on the day so remember to put a bit extra in your wallet or purse. It’s also a good time to join those family history societies that cover the areas in which your ancestors lived. 

There’s an optional talk, 'The Heritage Hub and Developments in Archives', at lunchtime for fair visitors by Paul Brough, the new Archivist at the Hawick Heritage Hub. Paul was previously Family History Archivist for Highland Council. He will outline the changes which are altering the way family history is approached in Scotland, with particular reference to the Hub and the Scottish Borders. Attendance is limited to about 30 and there’s a charge of £2.50 for the talk. 
It’s first come, first served, so book for the talk when you come in.

We’ll have 2 prize quizzes; a picture quiz and anagrams of Scottish Castles.

I hope to see you there !

Please note online booking ends on 6 May.