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The Scotlands People Newsletter, November 2012 - Further Examples from the Wills & Testaments and Family History Taster Sessions



November 2012

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Dear ScotlandsPeople Customer,

Further examples from the Wills and Testaments, 1902 to 1925 - Donald Stewart, Lord Kelvin and Margaret Baillie/Bailley (nee Donoghue)
The recently-launched Wills and Testaments (1902 to 1925) are proving to be very popular with visitors to the ScotlandsPeople website. These new online records (and accompanying inventories) make for fascinating reading, and offer terrific insights into the lives and relationships of the people who lived in Scotland during this era.

If you have never used the Wills and Testaments records, then this is the perfect time to give them a go. The highly comprehensive indexes are free to search and, as we have recently changed the payment and pricing method, they are now available to view for only 10 credits (which is roughly 2.33 GBP) per document.

In the last newsletter, we highlighted the wills and testaments of Andrew Carnegie, Sir John Murray and Thomas Millie Dow, and also the last letters written by World War One soldiers. As these examples attracted a lot of interest, we thought we'd post some more examples from these new online records.

Donald Stewart (1826 to 1909), Head Gamekeeper at the Balmoral Estate
One of the wills we've been looking at is that of Donald Stewart, who was the Head Gamekeeper at Balmoral Palace for over 50 years, and who acquired a number of gifts from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert during his lengthy service. In the example pages below from Stewart's will, we can read about these royal presents and what became of them following his death.

Lord Kelvin (1824 to 1907)
We've also been reading the will and inventory of the world-famous scientist, Lord Kelvin (aka William Thomson). When he died in December 1907, Lord Kelvin had amassed a fortune of £128,000, which would be worth around £10.2 million in today's terms. From reading his will we learned how much he valued education, as he left £5,000 (this would be worth £400,000 today) to the University of Glasgow, so that it could promote teaching and research in 'Physical Science in connection with the Natural Philosophy Class'.

the will of Donald Stewart the will of Donald Stewart the will of Lord Kelvin

Example page 1 from the Will of Donald Stewart

Example page 2 from the Will of Donald Stewart

Example page from the Will of Lord Kelvin

Margaret Baillie/Bailley, nee Donoghue (1849 to 1904) - Craiglockhart Poorhouse, Edinburgh
As a result of the Small Estates Act of 1894, which made it easier and simpler to record testaments, the Wills and Testaments (1902 to 1925) also include people who were extremely poor. So we've also been reading the inventory of Margaret Baillie/Bailley (nee Donoghue - her maiden name was probably the more conventional Baillie, but had somehow segued into Bailley by the time of her death), who died in Craiglockhart Poorhouse in 1904, aged 55.

Her estate amounted to £16 and 16 shillings, which would be about £1,400 in today's terms. While her inventory is not extensive, the interesting point is that somebody who died intestate in a poorhouse can still be included and have an inventory recorded. So despite her lowly social position of being a poorhouse inmate, the new method for collecting records at this time ensured that the name of Margaret Baillie/Bailley was not one 'writ in water'.

the inventory of Margaret Bailley the inventory of Margaret Bailley the inventory of Margaret Bailley

Page 1 of the inventory of Margaret Baillie/Bailley

Page 2 of the inventory of Margaret Baillie/Bailley

Page 3 from the inventory of Margaret Baillie/Bailley

Family history taster sessions with ScotlandsPeople - 13 December 2012 and 22/29 January 2013, General Register House, Edinburgh


The next ScotlandsPeople family history taster sessions will take place at General Register House on 13 December 2012 and 22/29 January 2013. All three events will start at 1.00pm and finish at 4.30pm.

photo of Register House, The sessions will start with a brief presentation about the ScotlandsPeople Centre, followed by a taster session using the computer search system. To round off proceedings, 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 sessions. These informal events are ideal for people who are new to genealogy or the facilities at the ScotlandsPeople Centre.

There is a charge of £5.00 per place, which must be paid in advance, and seats can be booked by telephone from Wednesday 28 November (9am) onwards. For further information and to reserve a place, please call 0131 314 4300 (option 1).

Gift vouchers for the ScotlandsPeople website
scotlandspeople gift voucherWith Christmas just four weeks away, you might be looking to the Present-Buying Muse to provide you with some divine inspiration for your Christmas shopping (and you might also be pondering the diplomatic dropping of hints to family and friends about possible gifts for yourself). If you're presently in this pleasant predicament, then you might be interested in buying some gift vouchers for the ScotlandsPeople website?

For a minimum price of £7, you can buy a single gift voucher worth 30 website credits. You can also buy packs of ScotlandsPeople gift vouchers worth £14 (60 credits), £21 (90 credits), £28 (120 credits), and so on - increasing by steps of £7 and 30 credits each time. When buying gift vouchers, you can pay by cheque or credit card.

The gift vouchers make grand presents for genealogy-loving researchers of all ages. To find out more about ScotlandsPeople gift vouchers, click here.

'Christmases Past' - how Scotland has celebrated Christmas
photo of old Scottish Xmas card If you're in Edinburgh in December, then you might like to view a small display of Christmas documents at General Register House. 'Christmases Past' is a display of fascinating documents from the National Records of Scotland, which trace how Scots have celebrated Christmas, or not, over the centuries. The display is free to attend, and runs from Monday 3 December to Friday 18 January - the opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9.00 to 4.30.

'Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors' - revised reprint is now available
scotlandspeople gift voucherA revised reprint of the sixth edition of the classic official guide is out now. Covering the records available for family history in ScotlandsPeople and the National Records of Scotland, the book has been updated to take account of the latest releases of NRS records online and in the search rooms. It is packed with information about how to trace your Scottish roots in the unique treasure trove of Scotland's national archives.

Edited by Tristram Clarke, the book is published by Birlinn Ltd and is priced at £12.99. To find out more about the book or to order a copy, click here.

'Who Do You Think You Are Live' 2013 - Olympia, London, 22 to 24 February 2013
ScotlandsPeople will be attending 'Who Do You Think You Are Live' Show in London, from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 February 2013. As was the case last year, we'll be helping people with their family history searches and will be giving demos of the website.

graphic for who do you think you are live 2013Through the grapevine, we've heard that the organisers of the WDYTYA Show are currently offering special deals on tickets for the show via their free email newsletter. To be eligible for these offers, you need to be signed up to the WDYTYA email newsletter. So if you're interested in learning more about these offers, it might be an idea to register for the WDYTYA newsletter - registration is free and only takes a few seconds.

We'll be posting further info about WDYTYA Live 2013 nearer the time of the event. Oh, and while we're on WDYTYA, the final episode in the current series - featuring the Liverpudlian comedian, John Bishop - will be broadcast on BBC1 on Thursday 6 December.

Family history road shows in Edinburgh's libraries - Muirhouse, McDonald Road and Oxgangs
As part of "Scotland's History Festival", the ScotlandsPeople Team are still doing family history road shows in the libraries of Edinburgh. These events are free and no booking is required - so you can just turn up on the day. Listed below are the details for the remaining road shows:

  • Muirhouse Library: Monday 26 November, 2pm to 4pm;
  • McDonald Road Library: Tuesday 27 November, 2pm to 4pm;
  • Oxgangs Library: Wednesday 28 November, 2pm to 4pm.

The 50+ Show in Glasgow

photo of scotlandspeople team at the fifty plus showThank you to everyone who dropped in on us at the 50+ Show in Glasgow, back in early November. We had a braw time of it and greatly enjoyed helping many of you with your family history searches.

You can see photos of the smiling ScotlandsPeople Team (don't we look well after a hard day's work on our feet all day!) at the show on our Facebook page.

Recovery of stolen WW1 medals - the police in Elgin search for the owner…
photo of stolen WW1 medalsWith this wee news item, we're just sending a message in a bottle out into cyberspace, in the hope that it washes up on a friendly shore.

The police in Elgin are looking for the owner of two First World War medals, which were recently recovered after the police arrested a man who had carried out various thefts in the areas covered by Northern Constabulary (i.e. Aberdeen, Moray, Inverness, etc). So if you know who these two medals might belong to, please give Grampian Police a shout.

Wee snippets of stuff we liked over the past month...

All the Best,
The ScotlandsPeople Team




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