Saturday 29 October 2011

National Health Services Archives

If you are looking for archived hospital records for ancestors in the Glasgow or Paisley area you need to know that these are available through the holdings of the University of Glasgow Archives. This constitues the largest holding of medical records in the UK. You can search the website to determine the availabilty of the records in the archives, but the actual records need to be ordered through a request made to the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Archivist

As always, Happy Searching!

Do You Have Military Ancestors?

Some great images of Scottish soldiers over on the Scottish Military Research Group's blog. They are looking for help in identifying some of the soldiers in the photographs. Why not have a look and see if any of the photos might be of your ancestors?

Sunday 23 October 2011

Blantyre Colliery October 1877 - Scotland's Worst Mining Disaster

On October 22, 1887, 207 men were killed in the worst mining disaster in Scotland’s history. Of these men, several were teens, with the youngest being two boys twelve years old, James Clyde and Archibald McKillop. The disaster occurred when firedamp ignited. Firedamp is the name given to a gas known to be present in any mine. Firedamp is a mix of gasses, primarily methane and carbon monoxide, both of which are by-products of hacking away at the bowels of the earth. If a miner lit a torch or ignited dynamite to blast the coal seam, then this would cause an explosion. This was always a very real danger in any mine, particularly in days before proper ventilation.

Blantyre Colliery consisted of three pits. Pit one was owned by James Dunlop & Company. Pits two and three, where the explosions occurred, were owned by William Dixon Limited. Numerous complaints of unsafe conditions at Blantyre Pits had been made over the previous years. Nothing was done to alleviate the safety concerns that were expressed and the ultimate test came on the morning of October 22, 1877 when an explosion was heard from Pit 2 followed by a raucous explosion and thick plumes of black smoke emanating from Pit 3.

One of the pit shafts was blocked by debris. The other was partially open and men from the village, who were not on shift, ran to assist with the rescue. They were halted several times due to alleged safety concerns.

The death of these 207 miners meant that 250 children were now fatherless. 190 women were now widows. Some families lost several members. And aging parents who could no longer work and who were dependent upon the men in the mines were now on the verge of destitution.

An immediate call was made to the rest of Scotland for financial aid, with thousands of pounds being sent to assist. But perhaps the saddest outcome from a social history standpoint was that six months after the disaster, Dixon Limited called 34 widows to their offices. These women were still residing in the miner’s houses that had been rented to their husbands as a condition of employment. The women had stayed as they had nowhere else to go. At this meeting, they were served with eviction notices which were then carried out two weeks later.

For the story of the accident:

Monday 17 October 2011

Titanic Survivors List

Not a lot of talk of the Scots who were aboard the Titanic, either as passengers, or more likely as crew. Here is a listing of all of the survivors. In the drop down box, you can also search by first, second or third class passengers, servants of passengers, crew lists, children, engineers, postal clerks, restaurant crew and orchestra members. Victims are also listed and these are broken down further to those recovered by Minna and those recovered by Mackay Bennett.
The list provides the passenger's name, age, ticket number, passage paid, where they embarked. If you click on the passenger's name, you will be shown their destination, the boat they were rescued on, the year they died and a biography. There is often also a photograph.

Happy Searching!

Thursday 13 October 2011

If Your Roots Stem from Orkney

So often we wonder what the "old world" was like. Where did our ancestors live. What did the place look like? Well, for those with Orkney ancestry, wonder no more. Here is a great website for old photographs of Orkney

Happy Searching!

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Deceased Online Has Added Digital Maps

From DeceasedOnline:

"Detailed digital maps have been added to Deceased Online showing the exact locations of graves (lairs) within cemeteries and burial grounds in the Scottish county of Angus
The Angus cemeteries and burial grounds where maps are now available are:

- Airlie Churchyard
- Arbroath Eastern Cemetery
- Arbroath Western Cemetery
- Barry Churchyard extension
- Brechin Cemetery + extension
- Guthrie Churchyard
- Kirriemuir Cemetery
- Newmonthill Cemetery + extension
- Sleepyhillock Cemetery extension"

For the full story click here

Saturday 1 October 2011

Were Your Ancestors Accused of Witchcraft?

The University of Edinburgh has a database which "contains all people known to have been accused of witchcraft in early modern Scotland—nearly 4,000 of them. There is information on where and when they were accused, how they were tried, what their fate was, and on a wide range of themes relating to social and cultural history"

On the search page, you can search by name, you can search for cases of witchcraft by characterisation and date, you can search by trial date or you can search by the people involved.

I searched by name. A list of 6 possible ancestors came up (none were mine, sadly). For each person listed, the year they were accused is listed. On the personal details page, the following is given:
  • last name
  • first name
  • alias
  • sex
  • place of residence by parish, presbytery and county
  • marital status
  • any notes on the accused
On the bottom of each personal details page, you can click on the name of the individual. A new page opens with the details of case, the names of other people involved and their relationship to the accused, trials associated with the case, "qualifications" (what was used to determine the validity of the accusation, including such things as witches meetings, folk culture and diseases/illnesses) and references - where the original information is recorded.

Even without witches and warlocks in your tree, the site is worth a look, even if just for the social history of the times.

Happy Searching!