Tag Archives: Scotland

Smart resource for finding Southern Scottish ancestors (and visitors)

I’m developing a couple of blog posts about a few people who lived and worked at various times both sides of the English/Scottish border.

I’ve used the Scotland’s People website for a few years, but I used a different site today for the first time when a search engine flagged it up:  Maxwell Ancestry.  I’d been vaguely aware of it as the Maxwells are quite active in Scottish genealogy, but I’d not used it before.

I think this would be really useful if you have discovered someone, eg from England, visiting southern Scotland and need to access a census record; scans of the actual forms do not display in Ancestry and aren’t even suggested to me in my FindMyPast search returns.

One feature I loved was for a census record I found: there were links to both modern and ancient maps – brilliant for my work today as it identified the village school which the schoolteacher I was researching may have worked.

It looks like they have other specialist sources which I’ll have a browse of, but I really like what I’ve seen so far and the site is really clean and fresh looking.  No one website has every record, but I would definitely recommend having a look at this one for southern-Scotland and English border country families.

Lynne Black, 25 January 2015

Who Do You Think You Are Live – Glasgow

This is a week of three cities for me: Stirling yesterday, Dundee tomorrow, and today it was Glasgow, with a great trip through to the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre to see Who Do You Think You Are Live – Scotland.

It took me about 90m to get from home to the venue, so I was so chuffed they’ve come to Glasgow. And so much cheaper than the trip to London I made in February to see Who Do You Think You Are 2014 for its last show in Olympia!

Last time I was in Glasgow it was for the Commonwealth Games, and we needed to make a 20m walking detour from the SECC railway to the SECC itself – I managed it in 5m today via the walkway, luxury!  No crowds this time, but also no sunshine.  But hey, the walkway was covered.

What I liked about the London show was that so many local family history societies were represented.  I could get such a variety of local knowledge and information in one place for so many areas, saving me a lot of travel, searches, emails and phone calls.  It was the same with this one – I came home with info from Argyll, Renfrewshire, various Glasgow parishes, the Borders and even Northumberland (they’d hopped up for a visit).  Hopefully there will be a return to Scotland next year, and if so it would be nice to have more of a presence from Highland organisations.

So I picked up about 3 reams of paper in the shape of Alan Godfrey historical maps, leaflets, flyers, more maps (no such thing as too many maps!) and discs with various collections of local monumental inscriptions, registers, oh and some Ancestry jellybeans!

I sat in on Bruce Bishop’s interesting talk on kirk session and burgh records, which managed in 40 minutes to cover a variety of sources and cheerfully feature both fines for fornication and the town layouts of burghs.  Lots of research ideas to follow up! And I caught various bits of various other talks as I walked in circles, well, squares, round the venue, with the big Ancestry banner being the only thing preventing total disorientation for most the morning.

As I use a lot of public transport and had a distance to travel I wrapped up well.  I was almost wilting by mid-afternoon!  The SECC staff were friendly, and of course everyone on the stands were really helpful.

I do feel almost dazed with the amount of information and sources I now know are out there somewhere.  One of those days that you really appreciate that the more you learn, the more you find there is still out there to discover.

#52Ancestors #30 Margaret Turner – on the record in 19th century Argyll

Tayvallich from Kintallen, Argyll

Tayvallich from Kintallen, Argyll

Margaret Turner would never have had the opportunity to go off the grid.

Born in 1836 in the small village of Bellanoch, in North Knapdale parish, Argyll, Scotland, she was the lawful daughter (ie born in wedlock) of John Turner and his wife Lillias (nee Stewart). John was a teacher in Bellanoch and I have recently discovered that he was also a registrar.

Later, by the 1841 census, her father was teaching and living in Tayvallich, North Knapdale.  In 1859, aged 22, she married Donald McCalman, also a teacher. Perhaps she come across him as her father’s new colleague.  Actually I suspect it would have been a small enough place for everyone to know everyone else’s business, whether they worked together or not.

Signature of Margaret Turner

Signature of Margaret Turner

Nine months later Margaret Jnr, their honeymoon baby, arrived.  She was followed fairly regularly by Lily Ann, John, Donald Jnr, Mary, Catherine, Stuart, Isabella and Annie, born 1876.

Donald was also a local Registrar.  After he died in 1880 the role was passed to Donald Jnr.  Donald Jnr had the pleasure of recording his sisters marriages: Lily Ann’s to William Govan in 1883 and Isabella’s to James Ferguson in 1900.

52 ancestors logoAfter Donald Snr’s death Margaret stayed close by to Tayvallich School, working as a crofter and receiving an annuity from her husband’s work.  She was described on the 1905 Valuation Roll as a farmer who had to pay an annual rent of £12 [2005 equivalent rate is £688].  By 1911 she was living with her daughter.  Her Registrar son Donald Jnr had sadly died in January 1911 so the 2 April 1911 census identifies Margaret’s daughter Mary as the Registrar.  Nice one Mary, a bit of responsibility for a woman in the early 20th century, but a huge shock having to take over the reins just before a census whilst still in mourning.

Grave of Donald McCalman, Margaret Turner & Donald McCalman, Inverlussa Church, Archnamara, Argyll

Grave of Donald McCalman, Margaret Turner & Donald McCalman, Inverlussa Church, Archnamara, Argyll

I’ll have to wait until the 1921 census is available online before I know more about Margaret’s twilight years, but she lived to the good old age of 88, dying in a nursing home in Rothesay on the Island of Bute.

She did, however, return to Argyll when she was buried with her husband in the church in Inverlussa in Achnamara, across the loch from Tayvallich.

By the time of her death, her life had been formally recorded by her father, husband, son and daughter.

© Text copyright Lynne Black 5 August 2014
First published:
https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/margaret-turner/

Climbing back on the bike

When my son was born, a long time ago (apparently) at the end of the 20th century, I swapped trips to New Records House in Edinburgh for trips to the local Toddlers Group.

My family history research was always there, in the back of my mind, in the back of a cupboard, waiting for the time when it could be picked up again.

And I’ll be eternally grateful to Ochils Landscape Partnership for giving me the impetus to start it up again. Their work to celebrate the people, history and landscape of the Ochil Hills (near Stirling & Alloa in Central Scotland) is broad-ranging and their team enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

So I’ve been plugging away, starting to explore the myriad of easily-accessed and totally obscure info out there. It’s going to be a long path but I’m definitely addicted once more to the journey…