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The ScotlandsPeople Newsletter - May 2012


May 2012

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Dear ScotlandsPeople Customer


Results from the survey on the publication of the Valuation Rolls
graphic for ScotlandsPeople website A big thank you to everyone who answered the question in our survey for the Valuation Rolls (VRs). On top of answering the question, many of you also added some very helpful and thoughtful comments regarding the VRs and the ScotlandsPeople website. We appreciate your feedback and will review the comments made.

Here is the question we asked in the survey: ‘Which Valuation Rolls would you like to see published next?’

1. Earlier: from 1905 to 1855 (i.e. every tenth year), starting at 1905;
2. Later: from 1920 to 1955 (i.e. every fifth year), starting at 1920.

In reply, 70% of you said you would like the earlier VRs to be published next, with 30% of you preferring the later VRs. So your clear preference is for the earlier VRs to be published next. We hope to announce the timetable for the next release of the VRs in the very near future.

Case studies from the Valuation Rolls for 1915 – the great estates at Balmoral and Breadalbane
In the April newsletter, we highlighted some case studies from the Valuation Rolls. As these proved to be popular, we’ve included some more examples. As we’ve fallen under the spell of ‘Downton Abbey’, we thought it would be interesting to look at the VRs for two famous estates in Scotland: Balmoral and Breadalbane.

We really like reading about all the people (above and below the stairs), houses, land, fixtures and fittings that make up these famous estates. In particular, we love the mention of the telephone wire at Balmoral – a sure sign that the estate was at the leading-edge of technology. If you enjoy rummaging about in other people’s big country houses and gardens, then you’ll like reading these Valuation Roll case studies.

valuation roll for Balmoral Estate       valuation roll for Breadalbane Estate

Family history sessions with ScotlandsPeople - Monday 25 June, General Register House, Edinburgh
photo of general register house
The next ScotlandsPeople family history event takes place at General Register House on Monday 25 June, 9.30 am to 12.30pm. Starting with a brief presentation about the ScotlandsPeople Centre, this is followed with a taster session using the computer search system. To round off the event, there is another brief talk about the records that are held in the Historical Search Room. Light refreshments (included in the ticket price) are provided during the session.

These informal events are ideal for people who are new to genealogy or the facilities at the ScotlandsPeople Centre. Attendance costs £5.00 to cover the cost of refreshments, and places and seats must be booked and paid for in advance. For further information and to reserve a place, please call 0131 314 4541 (option 1) or email the ScotlandsPeople Centre at enquiries@scotlandspeoplehub.gov.uk.

Hibernian v Hearts - the Scottish Cup Final of 1896
In case you've been out of the country and didn't know about it, Hearts play Hibs in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park on Saturday. It's very much a 'Brigadoon'-like event, as this is the first time since 1896 that the two Edinburgh sides have met in a Scottish Cup Final.

At the SAFHS event in Dundee in April, we met a descendant of Alex King (a Fife miner), who scored a goal for Hearts in the 1896 final. Suitably inspired by this impressive ancestral tale, we thought we'd use ask some of our contacts in the archive world if they had any interesting documents and stories for the 1896 final. In response, we managed to obtain a photo of the 1896 final from the Hibernian Historical Trust and match reports from The British Newspaper Archive.

So, if you like the whiff of brilliantine/woodbines, the sound of rattles, the sight of bunneted crowds and goals celebrated with a firm handshake and a restrained, muted, 'Well done, lad' - then we think you'll enjoy viewing this dedicated page on the 1896 final.

valuation roll for Balmoral Estate valuation roll for Balmoral Estate

The Appin Murder, 14 May 1752 – the will and testament of Colin Roy Campbell
graphic for the will of Colin Campbell Colin Roy Campbell of Glenure was shot in Lettermore Wood in Appin on 14 May 1752. As anyone who has read RL Stevenson’s novel, ‘Kidnapped’, will know, suspicion fell on the Jacobite Stewart Clan, and James Stewart (‘James of the Glen’) was executed for the crime on 8 November 1752.

As ScotlandsPeople is planning to launch the Wills and Testaments for 1908 to 1925 later this year, we thought we’d have a look at the will and testament of Colin Roy Campbell (aka ‘The Red Fox’). Although this document, dated 12 July 1753, does not reveal the identity of the murderer (you need to ask a member of the Stewart Clan to share that secret!), it still makes for very interesting reading.

Mary Shelley in Dundee – from 1812 to 1814

graphic for wee article on Mary Shelley page On 7 June 1812, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin boarded the packed ship, ‘Osnaburg’, in London, and set sail to Dundee. As recounted in her introduction to ‘Frankenstein’, she had very fond memories of her time in the city, and waxed lyrically about it being an ‘eyry of freedom’. As it’s almost exactly 200 years since she lived in Dundee, we thought we’d publish a short article to mark this quirky bicentenary.

The Robert Browning bicentenary - celebrating His Scottish ancestry
graphic for article on Robert Browning's Scottish ancestry
Along with Charles Dickens, Robert Browning is another bicentennial man in 2012. Although Browning was born in London on 7 May 1812, his mother, Sarah Weidemann (ahem, there are various spellings of the surname!), was Scottish and hailed from Dundee.

We did a quick name search on ScotlandsPeople for Browning’s mother, and found the record of her birth in the Dundee Parish Records for June 1772. We then did some more digging around and discovered that Browning’s ancestry is a fascinating mix of genes - including Dutch, Jewish, Creole, Scottish and English lineage. To learn more about Browning’s family history, read this short article.

Ancestral stories about Scots at the Olympic Games

We’ve been doing some reading about Scottish athletes who have taken part in the Olympic Games. The stories range from the awe-inspiring Eric Liddell winning a gold medal in 1924, to the quirky triumph of Wyndham Halswelle in the 1908 Games.

It’s not just athletes, though, as we recently learned that Alfred Conan Doyle carried out medical duties at the 1908 Games, and was one of the people who helped the marathon runner, Dorando Pietri, when the exhausted Italian fainted near the finish line.

As the Conan Doyle story was news to us, we thought that there must be other Scottish stories about the Olympics, just waiting to be told. So if you have any interesting Olympian ancestral stories to share, then please give us a shout at press@scotlandspeople.gov.uk.

Lost images of India found in a shoe box (size 9) in the RCAHMS archive
graphic of RCAHMS websiteWe're always interested to learn about other digitisation projects. But we have a special place in our hearts for digitisation projects that get started because somebody found something amazing in an old shoe box while rummaging about down in the vaults. So we love this story about the wonderful, old photos of India that RCAHMS stumbled upon in their archive.

P.S. If you recognise the description of the shoes (from 1914), then RCAHMS would like to hear from you.


All the Best,
The ScotlandsPeople Team.


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