Intrigue and mystery with Scotland’s People in Alloa

Scotland's People area at the Speir's Centre, Alloa

Scotland’s People, Speirs Centre, Alloa

What do you mean, where’s Alloa?! It’s in Clackmannanshire.  What do you mean, where’s Clackmannanshire?!

A few months back Clackmannanshire Council Registry Office made Scotland’s People available in their family history section in the historic Speirs Centre building.  Normally I buy Scotland’s People cards from a library to use as credit for online searches at home.  However I was curious to check out the facilities and I had a lot of records to look up so thought I’d just spend a couple of hours searching for information about the lives of my ancestor’s brothers and sisters.  This is something which I wouldn’t necessarily do online as it would use up credits too easily, but having the time to do unlimited searching was great.

The building, formerly a sports and community centre, was recently refurbished and the Registrar’s Office is on the top floor.  It’s really light and airy, and there can’t be many Scotland’s People Centres where wooden dragons in the rafters keep an eye on your searches.  The searching system is straightforward and there are many local resources, although these weren’t relevant to me as the people I was researching lived in the Borders and in Argyll.

I discovered a few tantalising Kirk session entries including “The Elders rebuked them for their irregular marriage and exhorted them to behave better in time to come” and I also discovered Arthura had her son baptised named Thomas; his father, a surgeon, being abroad she took the vow herself…  Intriguing!  These stories are building up into a fine family saga.

So the Registry staff were lovely and approachable and knowledgeable, and I’ll be back when I want to spend time blitzing the family.  The one negative that really shocked me was that I couldn’t download documents and save them on a data stick.  Really!?  But it was not policy, despite the team being in support of this activity.  Council bosses, go on, go on, go on!  It’s what the customers want…

Lynne Black
14 February 2015

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