Saturday, March 28, 2015

Researching Scottish Emigrants and Ancestors with FamilySearch

FamilySearch, Scotland, Emigrants, Ancestors, Vital Records, Wiki, Research
FamilySearch is more than a database you can use to search for emigrants and ancestors. The FamilySearch Wiki allows people - like you and me - to share research tips and information about sources, not just at FamilySearch, but anywhere. As these pages are updated by users, pages for some subjects and localities may be more complete than others. There are pages for individual counties, for example Ayrshire and Inverness-shire. They have few pages devoted to topics in Scottish history like, Scottish Emigration and Immigration or research skills, like Scotland Handwriting. Most FamilySearch Wiki pages are devoted to records, for example Scotland CensusScotland Church Records and Scotland Statutory Registers - Vital Records.

To find more leads to books and documents that can help you find your target emigrant or ancestor, use the search box at the upper right hand corner of the page. If you have information to add to a page, be brave and do it. In order to edit a page, you must first be a registered user of FamilySearch and to use the rich editor box, you must have the most recent version of Firefox.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Blogging History in Dornoch

dornoch, emigration, fraser, croick church, glencalvie, minister
The HistoryLinks Museum in conjunction with the Centre for History at the University of the Highlands and Islands publishes historylinksdornoch: The history and archaeology of Dornoch and district. The blog is maintained by Dr. Elizabeth Ritchie of the Centre for History and features frequent guest posts by students and scholars. 

The articles on the blog cover a variety of topics relating to the history of the region, many of which will be of interest to historians, both academic and family. A few of the posts that caught my eye include:
dornoch, emigration, fraser, croick church, glencalvie, minister
Map showing the approximate location of Dornoch.

  • Isabella's Story. This four part series details the life of Isabella Fraser Sage, the daughter and wife of a Highland minister. This story provides glimpses of a woman's life and an example of how a ancestor's biography might be written.
  • The Mysteries of Croick Church: The post relays the plight of the people of Glencalvie who sought refuge in the churchyard after having been evicted from their farms.
  • War Diary of Captain Ronald Rose: Follow Capt. Rose's experiences in the First World War in this series of posts.  
  • A Highland Quest, 2014: In this post, Professor Eric Richards shares highlights of the three months he spent at the University of the Highlands and Islands as a Carnegie Visiting Professor. Dr. Richards is best known for his work on the Highland Clearances. 
  • Kildonan & Red River: The bicentennial of the emigration of people from Kildonan in Red River Canada was marked by posts by Professor Marjory Harper of the University of Aberdeen here and by Professor Emeritus James Hunter of the University of the Highlands and Islands here.

Photo Credits:
"Dornoch Cathedral (August 2013)" by Marion Timperley - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 
"Sutherland UK location map" by Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Gaelic Everywhere You Look

A group album has been sitting quietly on Flicker, steadily documenting the use of Gaelic in Scotland. Gaelic Signs in Scotland (Soidhnichean Gàidhlig ann an Alba) contains pictures of signs of all kinds of signs that contain even a smidgen of Gaelic. For those of you who don't speak Gaelic, the signs can be an introduction to the language. You can also try and see if you can "match up" the English and Gaelic. For those of you who do speak Gaelic you mind be amused by the photos in the group album Droch Ghàidhlig (Bad Gaelic).

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Bursaries from the Scottish Historical Review Trust

Need to find emigrants for an academic project? Need funding? Then apply for bursaries from the Scottish Historical Review Trust by 31 March 2015. These awards are aimed at students within the final year of completing their Master's Degree or PhD and independent scholars. Application forms and more details are here.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kirk, Fairies, and Henderson

If you are in Glasgow the evening of Thursday 5 March and need something to do, go hear Lizanne Henderson speak at the Glasgow Theosophical Society. Her topic will be 'Fairies, Angels and the Land of the Dead: Robert Kirk's Lychnobious People'. Henderson, a lecturer at the University of Glasgow, co-authored Scottish Fairy Belief: A History with Edward J. Cowan.

Robert Kirk was minister of the church in Aberfoyle and a folklore scholar. He also wrote about fairies in his best known work The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies. Kirk died in 1692, shortly after its publication. Apparently, the fairies were displeased at having their secrets revealed. At the top of Doon Hill in Aberfoyle is a Scots Pine, the Fairy Tree, in which Kirk's soul was imprisoned by the fairies. Today people tie strips of cloth representing their wishes or leave other offerings at the Fairy Tree. When I visited Doon Hill many years ago, I had no strips of cloths for wish-making, so had to content myself with photographing other people's wishes. 


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