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The ScotlandsPeople August 2013 Newsletter



August 2013

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Dear ScotlandsPeople Customer,

The Edinburgh Festival – from an exhibition on the history of bagpipes-making to a Hendrix-inspired street show with flaming bagpipes
Now that we're into August, the folk in the ScotlandsPeople Team are planning their trips to shows and exhibitions at the Edinburgh Festival, the Fringe, the Free Fringe and the Book Festival. Although, unlike last year, we haven't noticed any shows with a family history theme (though perhaps Sarah Millican will be talking about her discoveries on 'WDYTYA?' in her show at the Stand?) there are some terrific exhibitions and talks that we're planning to attend.

bagpipesOne such show is the exhibition about the history of bagpipes-making, which is on at St Cecila's Hall in the Cowgate, from 1 to 31 August. It sounds a fascinating exhibition and, with free admission, is the perfect event for canny Scots and those with Scots-canniness ingrained in their ancestral DNA.

Although there are 100s of terrific events taking place, sometimes the best things are free. For instance, just walking down the Royal Mile we saw a piper who had flames shooting out of his pipes. How pipers manage to do this amazing trick we do not know (a trade secret, we imagine), but it's a spectacular sight – and it's grand to see that the muse of Jimi Hendrix has inspired the busking pipers in 'Auld Reekie'.

If you know of any Festival or Fringe shows which have genealogy as their main theme, please give us a shout on Facebook or Twitter.

The Battle of Flodden – a commemoration exhibition at the National Records of Scotland, from 27 August
floddenThe 9th September 2013 sees the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden. A special display of rarely-seen contemporary documents will be going on show in the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh from 27 August for several weeks. Some of the earliest wills available at ScotlandsPeople are of men ("The Flowers o' the Forest") who died at Flodden.

For further details of 'Flodden: a Commemoration', visit the National Records of Scotland website (please note that the dedicated web page for this exhibition will soon be updated with further details).

'He made the people happy' – the centenary of Bill Shankly's birth, Glenbuck, 2 September 1913

  • 'Son, you'll do well here as long as you remember two things. Don't over-eat and don't lose your accent' - Bill Shankly's words to Ian St John when he signed for Liverpool from Motherwell.
bill shankly

Bill Shankly, the former Carlisle United, Preston North End and Scotland right-half and manager of Carlisle United, Grimsby Town, Workington and Huddersfield Town and Liverpool, was born in the Ayrshire village of Glenbuck on 2 September 1913.

To mark the forthcoming centenary of Bill Shankly's birth, we thought we'd highlight his birth record. From this record, we can see that he was born at Manse Place at 2am, and that his father (who was present at his son's birth) was a 'letter carrier'. We believe that this Manse Place address is the official name for the row of Auchenstilloch Cottages (known locally as "Miners' Row" or "Monkey Row").

Sadly, the mining village of Glenbuck no longer exists – indeed, it was already in decline when Shankly was born. The spirit of Shankly and Glenbuck lives on, however, and there is a Shankly memorial close to the spot where the village used to stand. (The photos of Bill Shankly and the Shankly memorial at Glenbuck appear courtesy of the Muirkirk Enterprise Group and The British Newspaper Archive .)

N.B. when viewing the birth record of Bill Shankly on the ScotlandsPeople website, just click on the image to enlarge it even further.

'Family History Day' - the John Gray Centre, Haddington, Saturday 31 August; and 'Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors' - a talk by Dr Tristram Clarke
The John Gray Centre in Haddington, East Lothian, will be hosting a 'Family History Day' on Saturday 31 August, from 10.30 to 17:00. Dr Tristram Clarke will be attending this event to give a lively and entertaining talk entitled, 'Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors'.

Family History DayIn his talk, Tristram will reveal the best Scottish family history sources and how to use them. His talk will also explore the ancestral ties of some well-known Scots with East Lothian links, such as John Bellany, and some others whose local links will come as a surprise. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers at the end of his talk.

Tristram edits the official genealogy guide, Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors (Birlinn), now in its sixth edition. He works in the National Records of Scotland and has more years of experience of Scottish historical records than he cares to think about.

Several interesting workshops about doing family history research will also take place, and there will be rolling sessions in the computer room about how best to use the ScotlandsPeople website. Admission to this event is free.

ScotlandsPeople at the 'Tayroots Family History Day' at the Brechin Mechanics' Institute – Friday 13 September
Family History Day The ScotlandsPeople team will be attending the 'Tayroots Family History Day' at the Mechanics' Institute in Brechin (DD9 6JQ) on Friday 13 September, from 10am to 4pm.

Also attending the event will be The British Newspaper Archive, Angus Archives, Aberdeen & NE FHS and the Tay Valley History Society - so it promises to be quite a gathering. The list of guest speakers includes family history experts, Dr Nick Barratt, Dr Bruce Durie, Chris van der Kuyl and Fiona Scharlau.

The event is FREE and everyone is welcome to attend, although booking is required for the talks/workshops. So if you're in the Brechin area that day, it'd be great if you could drop in on the ScotlandsPeople stand and say 'Hello'.

'National Family History Month' in Australia and New Zealand – 1 to 31 August 2013
Family History monthOrganised by the AFFHO (Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations), 'National Family History Month' (NFHM) takes place in Australia and New Zealand from 1 to 31 August. There are lots of great events taking place in Australia or New Zealand – we especially like the sound of the 'lock-ins' in libraries and archives! To see the full listing of events, just click on the countries and regions listed in the top right corner of the NFHM homepage.

James Alexander Gordon retires from reading out the classified football results
james alexander gordonIf you've ever closed your eyes while listening to the classified football results and, paying great attention to the changing pitch and tone of the reader's voice, tried to guess the results (hope we're not alone in this?!), then you'll be interested (and saddened) to learn that James Alexander Gordon is retiring from his post at the BBC.

James was born in Edinburgh in 1936 and has been reading out the classified fitba' results for 40 years. Sadly, after receiving treatment for cancer, James's voice is no longer strong enough for reading out the results – hence his retirement. We wish James all the best with his recovery, and also wish him a long and happy retirement.

News and events

  • South Lanarkshire Local and Family History Fair - Saturday 24 August, 10am to 4.30pm, Motherwell Concert Hall and Theatre, FREE admission;
  • Historic boat crossing link between St Kilda and Uig on Skye is restored;
  • Descendants from Canada, USA and Australia visit Strath of Kildonan in Sutherland to attend a ceremony marking the Clearances of August 1813;
  • Texan descendant of Saint Margaret makes a pilgrimage to St Margaret's Cave in Dunfermline to pay homage to her ancestor;
  • Exciting times ahead as Boring in Oregon and Dull in Perthshire become twin towns;
  • Archaeologists discover the world's oldest calendar in a field in Aberdeenshire;
  • The Scots' word, 'scunner', becomes the inspirational muse for the name of a 'Pacific Rim' monster;
  • How ice cream used to be dished out in Scotland in the 1930s - via an ice cream bike.

Fox news - wildlife in the Archivists' Garden at General Register House and New Register House in Edinburgh
mister foxAt the heart of the ScotlandsPeople Centre is the Archivists' Garden, located in the courtyard between General Register House and New Register House. In the garden you can find 57 plant species, all connected in some way to Scotland's collective memory, whether through myth and folklore, heraldry, or association with famous Scots.

The garden is very popular with visitors - both of the 2-footed and 4-footed variety. One of the more exotic visitors to the garden this week was this gallus fox. In no great hurry to leave ('consider the lilies' seemed to be his motto), we're told that Mr Fox had a long dander round the garden before deciding to grace some other Edinburgh location with the pleasure of his company. Many thanks to Glynis Laurence for sending us this photo.

Poetry Corner – Hugh McDiarmid's 'Glasgow, 1960'
Hugh McDiarmid (aka Christopher Murray Grieve) was born in Langholm on 11 August 1892.

glasgow1960We thought we'd belatedly celebrate Hugh MacDiarmid's birthday by highlighting his utopian euology to 'the dear, green place': 'Glasgow, 1960'. He wrote this poem in 1935, then wondering if, perhaps one day, poetry would usurp football as "the working people's ballet" in Glasgow. We're sure that Glaswegians, and those with Glaswegian ancestors, will enjoy reading this poem.

Oh, and if you missed it in our May 2013 newsletter, you can view the 1895 Valuation Roll entry that includes Hugh McDiarmid's father, James Grieve – like his son, McDiarmid Senior was also a 'man of letters'.

All the Best,
The ScotlandsPeople Team




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