As we look to celebrate the poems and songs that Robert Burns composed (and recomposed - for he loved embellishing the work of those weel-kent songsmiths, Mr and Mrs Traditional), we thought it the perfect time to highlight some NRS documents about Scotland’s über-lad-o-pairts.
Also included in this newsletter are details about forthcoming events and exhibitions, a note about the statutory images for the new years, a profile of the Registrar General, George MacKenzie, and an invitation to join ScotlandsPeople on Facebook and Twitter.
Robert Burns in the National Records of Scotland
One of the most important letters about Robert Burns was discovered in 2010 by Dr David Brown, a senior archivist in the National Records of Scotland (NRS).
It is a letter from John Mitchell, Collector of Excise in Dumfries, describing in moving terms how Burns made an arduous journey to the Excise Office on 14 July 1796, in order to collect his salary. He recorded Burns’s understated summary of his creative output since he first published his poems:
“I’m only 36, 10 of which only I have been in the world &, in that time, all I shall say, My good sir, I have not been idle.”
NRS also holds the salary book which contains Burns’s last four signatures and, poignantly, each signature is more feeble than the last.
To see a digital copy of the original letter on the ScotlandsPeople website, click here. You can read more about this letter and other free historic documents concerning Burns, on a dedicated page on the National Records of Scotland website.
‘Who Do You Think You Are? Live’ 2012
The next event that the ScotlandsPeople Team will be attending is the ‘Who Do You Think You Are? Live show. The biggest family history event in the world, ‘WDYTYA Live’ takes place at the Olympia Centre in London, from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th of February.
We will be attending ‘WDYTYA Live’ to help people who are looking to trace their Scottish roots, and also to give demos of the website. ScotlandsPeople will be at stand 407, and the National Records of Scotland will be next door at stand 409.
To find out more about this event, click here.
'Digging Up Your Roots’ - BBC Scotland Radio Programme on Genealogy
The sixth series of the Scottish family history programme, ‘Digging Up Your Roots’, has just started again on Radio BBC Scotland. Presented by Bill Whiteford, the show offers great tips and advice for people who are looking to trace their Scottish ancestors. The programme is broadcast each Sunday at 12.05pm.
The programme on Sunday 29 January will feature a visit to New Register House, Edinburgh, to explore the ScotlandsPeople Centre and the National Records of Scotland. This feature on NRS and ScotlandsPeople lasts for 30 minutes, and starts at 12.30pm.
If you live outside Scotland, you can still listen to the most recent show via the BBC iPlayer.
The Statutory New Images Are Now on ScotlandsPeople
The statutory images for the new years were added to the ScotlandsPeople website on 1 January 2012. The new images comprise records from the Statutory Register of Births for 1911, the Statutory Register of Marriages for 1936, and the Statutory Register of Deaths for 1961.
ScotlandsPeople on Facebook and Twitter
You may have noticed the fantoosh (modern trans: blingy) icons in the top right corner of the newsletter. Aye, we admit it, we’ve finally succumbed! But we think that social media gives us scope to post some very useful and interesting content on the web. In short, we think that Facebook is a great notice-board and Twitter is an excellent notification system.
Recently, we’ve posted content about some family history events that are taking place in the UK, as well as some interesting archive exhibitions and an online lecture. The lecture is by Professor Tom Devine, and is entitled 'To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland's Global Diaspora' - covering the period, 1825 to 1938.
So if you think that posts like these would be useful to you and others, then it’d be great if you could give us a ‘like’ and a ‘follow’ (and maybe even the occasional retweet) on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
George MacKenzie - the Registrar General for Scotland and Keeper of the Records of Scotland
George MacKenzie has been Keeper of the Records of Scotland (Chief Executive of the National Archives of Scotland), since January 2001. Following the retiral of Duncan Macniven in August 2011, George has also been Registrar General for Scotland. You can read a full profile for George on the ScotlandsPeople website. We wish George good luck in his new-ish post, and also wish Duncan all the best for his well-earned retirement.
'Discover My Past Scotland' Magazine
The Jan/Feb edition of 'Discover My Past Scotland' is now available. Published by brightsolid online publishing, this 40-page magazine is packed with special features and how-to guides to connect you with your Scottish heritage. The main features in this issue are:
Arctic convoys - did your ancestors sail in them?
Researching your Catholic connections,
Scottish school records - top resources for your research,
Coopers - masters of an ancient art,
Spotlight on Dalkeith,
In addition to the feature articles, there is a round-up of family history news and event listings. To find out more about 'Discover My Past Scotland', visit the website.
Antarctic and Arctic Expeditions
As it is exactly 100 years since Captain Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition, we’ve listed below two exhibitions currently taking place in Scotland about Scott’s journey. Just to balance things, we’ve also included a link to a page that contains information about a Scottish scientific expedition to the Arctic in the 1890s.
All the Best,
The ScotlandsPeople Team.