Friday, February 28, 2014

What Did Your Ancestor Sound Like ?

If your ancestors came from another area of the country or if you're outside the UK, you may not be familiar with different British accents.

When I visited America, I was surprised to find that most people I met were disappointed or surprised that I did not speak with a London Cockney accent.

I was astonished that those people thought the London Cockney accent was pleasant - I don't.

On the other hand, I can't determine whether people are American or Canadian by their accent.

The BBC have a quick introduction to the range of accents in Britain but it doesn't have many Scots accents. There are some Scottish Borders people speaking on the Scottish Borders Memory Bank website but it's usually not clear which accent they have and it's difficult to find a particular accent. One set of interviews is with Mary McQueen from Thornielee, near Clovenfords between Galashiels and Innerleithen. The British Library have Walter Elliot from Selkirk but I haven't found any others.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Carving History - the Life and Works of Andrew Currie of Darnick - 11 March 2014

Melrose Historical & Archaeological Association's talk in the Upper Hall of the Ormiston Institute, Melrose on Tuesday, 11th March is called 'Carving History' and it's about the life and works of Andrew Currie of Darnick.

The speaker is Bob Johnstone, who has researched his family tree to find the link to Andrew, his great-great-grandfather. Bob will be signing copies of his book.

Admission is £3 to non-members.

Andrew Currie (1812 to 1891) is famous for his stone monuments like Mungo Park in Selkirk, the Ettrick Shepherd at St Mary’s Loch and King Robert the Bruce, erected on the esplanade at Stirling Castle in 1877; as well as other pieces in plaster, wood and marble. He was also an enthusiastic antiquary, an oral historian, and a writer who wrote colourful stories of life in the Borders of the early nineteenth century. Born to a Selkirkshire sheep farmer who fell on hard times, Andrew Currie was obliged against his will to take up a trade. He worked as a millwright until his mid forties, when his health broke. Only then did he become a sculptor, which had long been his dream.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Get Old Images of Scotland for Nothing

Do you want to see what Scotland used to look like ?
Do you need a picture for your website or publication ?

2 weeks before last Christmas, the British Library announced that they had put on Flickr over a million scanned images from books originally published in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries for anyone to use, remix and repurpose.

At the time I couldn't see a particular use for them especially as they weren't sorted or arranged into subject collections, so it would be very difficult to find a particular picture.

If you know the title of a book, you can search for that but that doesn't help to find a specific picture.

Old Scottish Genealogy & Family History have created an interactive map that links images to a map of Scotland.

It's simple to use.

You pan the map to see the area in which you're interested and if there are images available, you'll see either a blue pin with a number or a red pin.
If it's a blue pin that means there's more than one image so you need to zoom in to see the individual red map pins.
Click on a red map pin to see one or more images, then click on the image to expand it.

Although there are more than 200 pins for Scotland, there are only 19 pins for the Scottish Borders but it's a start and a week ago there were only 15.

The red map pin near Melrose shows lots of views of Melrose Abbey; here's one:

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Free Access to Ancestry's UK & Ireland Records Till Midnight 23 February

Ancestry are sponsoring the Who Do You Think You Are? fair in London and they're offering free access to their UK and Ireland records this weekend till midnight on Sunday.

Those records include the 1841 to 1901 Scottish censuses but there are other Scottish records that I've not noticed before, for example:
  • 1831 Edinburgh Almanac - Universal Scots and Imperial Register
  • A General Description of the East Coast of Scotland from Edinburgh to Cullen
  • Aberdeen, Scotland, Register of Testaments, 1715-1800
  • Extracted Parish Records for various counties including Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire
  • Parish and Probate Records for various counties
  • Celebrated Criminal Trials in Scotland 1536 to 1784
  • Charter chest of the earldom of Dundonald, 1219-1672
  • Charter chest of the earldom of Wigtown, 1214-1681
  • Charters and other Writs of the Royal Burgh of Aberdeen 1171-1804

Get free access to Ancestry.

(Thanks to LostCousins' newsletter).

Friday, February 21, 2014

Digital Map of World War I Projects

Who Do You Think You Are?  magazine has announced a digital map of World War 1 projects so that people can find out about projects near them or where their ancestors lived. They are restricting the map to projects, events, exhibitions, tours, memorials, websites, even walks run by volunteers or those managed by organisations but where most of the work is done by volunteers.
The good thing is that you can add your own project (use the Add Project link over the top of the map - don't try to open it in a different tab.) - extra publicity free.

View the map.

At the time I wrote this, only one of the several hundred projects is in Scotland (in Brora) and the nearest project to us is stated to be in Washington (Tyne and Wear) although its pin on the map is 56 miles away in north Yorkshire. It's probably a keying mistake but I've told the organiser anyway. That project is putting bronze resin poppies on houses from which men left Washington to go to war and did not return.

Clicking on the pin shows the organiser's email address and phone number. To search for nearby projects, click the Search box at the top of the map and enter your town name and or a maximum distance from your post code. The number of pins found is displayed below the search box, eg 11 entries. You'll need to close the Search form to see the map pin entries found.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Fire at the National Archives, Kew, London, Yesterday

There was a fire at the National Archives, Kew, London, yesterday, around midday.

The blaze is out and apparently no documents were damaged or people hurt and they'll reopen as normal on Tuesday.

If it can happen once, it can happen twice and next time they might lose documents, so best start doing your research there as soon as possible.

More information on the BBC and the National Archives site.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mediaeval Naming Practices

An interesting Conference coming up in which I think many might well be interested; Looks like a free lunch as well!

Personal Names and Naming Practices in Mediaeval Scotland

Day Conference. Sat 15 March, 9-5:30
3 University Gardens University of Glasgow.


Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, 'Gaelic Names and Elements in Scottish Charters 1093–1286'

Thomas Clancy, ‘Literary influences on personal naming practices in mediaeval Scotland’

Fiona Edmonds, ‘Names and political alliance: the Lords of Nithsdale and Galloway in the 12th..century’

John Reuben Davies, ‘Old Testament personal names in Scotland’

Nick Evans, 'Personal names in mediaeval Gaelic chronicles'

Rachel Butter, 'Saints and personal names'

Guto Rhys, 'Pictish Personal Names'

Matthew Hammond, 'The use of surnames in the central middle ages'

Round table discussion on the future of personal name studies in Scotland.

Lunch, tea/coffee, and wine will be provided.

REGISTRATION IS FREE but required.  -

Friday, February 7, 2014

Go to Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014 for Free

If you're not going to the Scottish Association of Family History Societies conference in Dunfermline on Saturday, April 26, 2014 or even if you are, you might like to go to the Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014 event in Olympia, London which runs 20-22 February, 2014.

Who Do You Think You Are? magazine is offering newsletter subscribers the chance to win one of 4 pairs of free tickets to Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2014, worth £22 each.

As well as signing up for their newsletter, you'll need to answer the question ' In which year was Natasha Kaplinsky's Who Do You Think You Are? episode first broadcast?'.  More about Natasha Kaplinsky.

You'll need to be quick, though; the competition ends at 11am on Monday 10 February.