Saturday 27 April 2013

RNIB Archives Collection Makes its Home at LHSA

The Lothian Health Services Archives have added the records of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to their collections, held at the University of Edinburgh. 

The RNIB started as a charity known as the Edinburgh Society for Promoting Reading Amongst The Blind on Moon's System (a braille-like reading system). The Edinburgh Society helped blind persons who were not living in institutions. The RNIB archives shows that many relied on additional income from various activities such as hawking, knitting, selling tea, housekeeping or music. 

The archive collection consists of annual reports and conference reports covering more than 130 years. The aim of the LHSA is to make this collection available to researchers. 

The Lothian Health Services Archives can be found at:


Tuesday 23 April 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Symbolism

During my visit last year to the Glasgow Necropolis, I was taken by the symbolism in the monuments. Of course there were the standard ones (Celtic):

But others were less obvious in their meaning. Like these ones, for example:

While these two appear to have been vandalized, they were, in fact, planned this way. The symbolism here is that the person for whom the monument was erected was "cut down in the prime of his life" One being only 37 at the time of his death!

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Records of Scottish Bakers Union

The records for the Scottish Bakers and Confectioners Union (Aberdeen Branch) are among the holdings of the University of Aberdeen. The records available include:

  • Minutes 1922 - 1948
  • Contribution books 1922 - 1949
  • Cash books 1922 - 1944
  • Insurance benefit records 1950 - 1954

Sharing Family Stories, Photos and More

One of the great ways to keep in touch and to gather family stories, photos, memories, recipes etc is through social media. There are a couple of websites dedicated to making this happen. One is MyHeritage: While this is primarily a "wiki" of cloud storage for your family tree MyHeritage also allows you to create a family website where you can invite other family members to share via photo uploads, share family news and print off the family tree. In someways it serves as an online family newsletter. Members must be invited to join the site, keeping it private.
  • MyHeritage is free to use. However, the capacity of members on  your family tree at the free level is 250. My grandfather fathered 21 children, so you can imagine how useful that capacity is.
  • MyHeritage offers a free record match. I have less than a handful of people who were or are in the US, yet all 79 record matches are US records.
  • MyHeritage is a huge conglomerate. Since their launch 10 years ago, they have been in the business of acquisition, most recently acquiring FamilyLink and Geni.
The other website is Rootsy is also private where people are required to login after receiving an invitation to join. Rootsy is new and, by their own admission, run by a small group of entrepreneurs. I'm guessing this group are Google aficionados. The pages are very simplistic. Nothing is clickable. There is no way to upload a Gedcom, meaning a big make work project for people who are actually interested in genealogy. It takes an inordinate amount of time to log in. I have yet to find where or how to upload photos, videos, share recipes, invite others, share news.....

Maybe one day, someone will launch a site that actually allows families to easily and quickly stay in touch and to share.

Tombstone Tuesday

In keeping with today's theme, here is a tombstone from the Glasgow Necropolis. It is for a stage actor. Such a wealth of information contained within the monumental inscription.

This headstone is a "testament" to a stage actor.
Here you can see the "curtains" on the stage
The obituary and to some degree, the eulogy,
is contained within the words on this amazing tombstone.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Museum of Freemasons Online Collection

The Library and Museum of Freemasonry is digitizing and making part of their collection available online. The first step is the Masonic Periodicals. Access to searchable digital copies of the major English Masonic publications are available at: 

Other digital items held by the museum are searchable as well. A simple search (author, title, subject) can be done at:


Wednesday 10 April 2013

Whytock & Reid Cabinet Makers Archives

From the Centre for Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph comes news that the archives for Whytock and Reid are being put online. Whytock and Reid are Edinburgh's oldest and most prestigious cabinet makers and upholsterers. They held a Royal Warrant for 150 years after first being commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1838.

Currently online are photographs and audio files for the Company. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland hold the records of Reid family who were at the helm for 5 generations.

The online collection can be viewed at: 

Enquiries about employee records can be made to the RCAHS at:
RCAHMS, John Sinclair House, 16 Bernard Terrace, Edinburgh EH8 9NX or online through their online form at:

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Celebrating Our English Roots Day at QFHS

The Quebec Family History Society will be hosting a "Celebrating Our Roots Days  on April 17th from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm at the QFHS Heritage Centre and Library, 173 Cartier Avenue, Pointe-Claire. 

This month's "Celebrating Our Roots Days," theme is England! Drop by anytime during the afternoon for a cuppa tea, coffee, sweets and a "chin wag" about England and our ancestors who came from there.  

Come browse the display of books from our English collection. If you are new to genealogy, talk to our members about how to start researching your family history.  Bring a coffee mug, a friend, your own favourite books and resources on Irelandthat have helped you in your research, or just bring yourself. Open to our members and the public. Admission is free.


Sunday 7 April 2013

Scotland Bound

Four weeks from now I will be landing in Glasgow ahead of this year's Genealogy Research Trip in Edinburgh. Having finalized the details for the tour participants, it is now time to finalize my own "to do" list.

While in Glasgow, I hope to once again tap into my taphophilia by visiting a few cemeteries. One in particular that I hope to get to this year is the Bent Cemetery in Hamilton, where my Carrick ancestors are buried. My 3x great grandfather is buried there along with his son. The two were killed together in a mining accident. Although there is no grave marker, I would like to visit the cemetery itself. The tragedy often plays on my mind and I hope to gain some perspective once viewing their final resting place.

My "to do" list also contains a number of archives I would like to visit in order to get some more of the social history details of my ancestors.

As a group, we will be attending the SAFHS conference in Galashiels so our "free time" to visit distant or ancestral lands will be on the Sunday and Monday. Having regularly paid visits to the Borders region, I find the northwest once again calling me. Fort William where my grandfather died? Mallaig? The Small Isles? Who knows what those two days will hold.

And of course, I am looking forward to seeing the progress that has taken place in Quartermile since last year's visit. To walking through Grassmarket and enjoying the rich history of that area of Edinburgh. And most of all, the peace that comes with being "home" - if only for a short time.

Saturday 6 April 2013

It's National Tartan Day!

It's National Tartan Day. A day for all of the Scots Diaspora to proudly show their colours. Many people think that you must be able to determine the clan or clan sept, (a sept is simply a list of surnames of people who are considered to have the “authority” to wear the clan tartan) associated with a surname in order to wear a specific tartan. In reality, you can wear whatever tartan suits your fancy. No permission is required with the exception of the Balmoral tartan, worn only by the Royal family and with the consent of the Queen. Another exception is a tartan that is specifically identified as being the tartan for the Clan Chief. So, wear your tartan. Wear it proudly and if it gives you a greater sense of belonging to stick with the tartan of your surname, carry on!

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Canadian Gravemarker Gallery

I just recently became aware of this free gem: The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery. From their April newsletter, comes the following description: 

"The Main Objective of the Canadian Gravemarker Gallerywebsite, is to collect and process COMPLETELY PHOTOGRAPHED CEMETERIES from across Canada. We place the photos online as a valuable free-access resource for genealogists, both professional and amateur. In addition though, we have found that genealogical societies, government agencies, monument companies, consulates, cemetery owners, funeral homes, and curious descendants of those buried also show a keen interest in our online cemeteries. 

The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery shows over 1,247 completely photographed cemeteries and over 711,073 photographs from across Canadaare searchable online.


1. Ontario, Northern Ontario, Kenora District, Dryden, Municipal Cemetery- Catholic Block.
2. Ontario, Southern Ontario, Halton Regional Municipality, Oakville, Bethel Cemetery.
3. Ontario, Southern Ontario, Halton Regional Municipality, Oakville, Bronte Cemetery.
4. Ontario, Southern Ontario, Halton Regional Municipality, Oakville, Cox Estates Cemetery.
5. Ontario, Southern Ontario, Halton Regional Municipality, Oakville, Knox Presbyterian Church 16 Cemetery.
6. Ontario, Southern Ontario, Halton Regional Municipality, Oakville, Munns United Church Cemetery.
7. Ontario, Southern Ontario, Halton Regional Municipality, Oakville, Palermo Cemetery.
8. Ontario, Southern Ontario, Halton Regional Municipality, Oakville, St. Lukes Anglican Cemetery.

The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery is the oldest and largest website in Canada displaying ONLY COMPLETELY PHOTOGRAPHEDcemeteries. This non-sponsored and free National Site is proud to announce that we are in our 14th year of providing a free access operation.  

If you have family or friends ANYWHERE in Canada, who may be interested in photographing their local cemeteries, please inform them of the availability of The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery. 

At the Canadian Gravemarker Gallery, we can accommodate unlimited numbers of photographs of grave stones from anywhere in Canada. The photographers and/or organizations are given credit on the website for their dedication and hard work." 

Here is the link to the Canadian Gravemarker Gallery: 

The Canadian Gravemarker Gallery also has a facebook presence. Their main page can be accessed at:   

as well, there are individual Facebook Groups for :

York County, Ontario, Gravemarker Gallery.
 Durham County, Ontario, Gravemarker Gallery.
 VictoriaCounty, Ontario, Gravemarker Gallery.
 Halton County, Ontario, Gravemarker Gallery.
 Peterborough County, Ontario, Gravemarker Gallery.
 Haliburton District, Ontario, Gravemarker Gallery.
 Peel County, Ontario, Gravemarker Gallery. 

These can be accessed through the search bar at the top of your Facebook page.
Happy searching!