Friday, 15 February 2019

Discover Your Ancestors 8 now on sale

The eighth annual bookazine Discover Your Ancestors is now available for sale.

The 196 page bookazine contains new in-depth articles, research advice, social and general history, 'how to' features, case studies, places in focus, and much more! It is ideal for both experienced researchers and those just starting out.
  • Fascinating features about life in the past
  • Different types of records explored
  • Explore Edward's Era - meet the Edwardians at home and at play
  • How to research: Methodists & Dissenters, Scots criminals and family myths
  • George Eliot: 200th Anniversary
  • Celebrity genealogies: Emily Blunt and Michael Caine
  • Over £170 of FREE resources! Including a 6 Month Gold Subscription to leading website TheGenealogist (worth £44.95!) and a 12 Month Subscription to the monthly online magazine, Discover Your Ancestors Periodical.
  • Lots of other downloadable resources and much more!
To order a copy visit https://genealogysupplies.com/user/basket/

NB: This edition includes articles by me on researching Scottish ancestors in times of crisis, and on researching Irish birth, marriage and death records - enjoy!

(With thanks to Andrew Chapman)

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

FindmyPast adds Scottish irregular marriage index

FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk) has uploaded a useful resource for irregular Scottish marriages this week:

Scotland, Irregular & Cross-Border Marriage Index
Did you have ancestors' that eloped to be married or had an irregular marriage in Scotland? Search over 13,000 records spanning 1624 to 1898 and covering places such as Gretna Green, Coldstream, and Lamberton Toll to find details of their marriage in this collection. Marriage by a declaration in front of two witnesses was legal in Scotland, however, in 1753 a law was passed in England which banned such irregular marriages and this led to many couples eloping.

An irregular marriage in Scotland did not require the ceremony to be carried out by an ordained minister or to be preceded by proclamation or Banns. Parental permission was also not required for the marriage to be recognized as being legal. Irregular marriages were disagreed with in principle by the churches, they were however tolerated as the churches feared that if the law did not recognize such relationships, the couple would end up 'living in sin.'

Source: not listed.

[NB: My books Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition) and Discover Scottish Civil Registration Records cover irregular marriages in both the pre-civil registration and civil registration eras - see https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. The final form of irregular marriage in Scotland, marriage by habit and repute, was not abolished until the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 - for more, see my blog post at https://scotlandsgreateststory.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/abolition-of-marriage-by-habit-and-repute/]


Also released this week:

Scotland, Edinburgh Field Officers From Almanacs 1758-1800
The Edinburgh Field Officers from Almanacs 1758-1800 is an excellent resource for anyone researching their ancestors' military history and want to understand more about their military life.

United States Marriages
Over 23 million additional marriage records covering 46 states have been added to the collection. These new additions span nearly 450 years of American history, containing records dating all the way back to 16th century Massachusetts.

Arkansas First Draft Registration Card, 1940-1945 Image Browse
Do you have ancestors from the state of Arkansas who were drafted during WW2? Explore over a million draft cards to learn facts such as their birth date, address, place of employment, relative's names, physical description and more. Browsing allows you to explore images of original draft cards from beginning to end.

New records from the Dominican Republic
Over 677,000 new records from the Dominican Republic are now available to search. These new releases consist of 5 separate collection covering civil registrations, baptisms, marriages and deaths between 1666 and 1924, including:

Dominican Republic Civil Registration, 1801-2010
Dominican Republic civil death registration, 1801-2010
Dominican Republic Marriage Index 1743-1929
Dominican Republic Death Index 1666-1862
Dominican Republic Baptism Index 1726-1924

British And Irish Newspaper update
This week we have added 128,578 new pages to The Archive. We are excited to welcome two brand new additions to our collection – the much requested Long Eton Advertiser and the Runcorn Guardian. We also have updates to six our existing titles, including three of our Irish publications, as well as the Middlesex County Times, the Manchester Evening News and the Lennox Herald. This week sees substantial additions to our twentieth century holdings, including an extensive run of 1930s titles, featuring the Middlesex County Times and the Long Eaton Advertiser.

For further details see https://blog.findmypast.co.uk/findmypast-friday-2629023080.html

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Free access to Irish and UK records on Ancestry

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) is offering free access to its Irish and UK collections until Monday:


 *Access to the records in the featured collections will be free until 23:59 GMT on 18 February 2019. To view these records you will need to register for free with Ancestry.co.uk with your name and email address. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using an Ancestry.co.uk paid membership. To see a full list of the records in the featured collections please click here.

Have fun!

NB: Ancestry is one of the websites I'll be discussing in my next Scottish Research Online course on March 11th - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102 for details!

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Ancestry adds London Poor Law Hospital Admissions and Discharges records

Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk) has finally added a new English collection to its site, the first in some time.

London, England, Poor Law Hospital Admissions and Discharges, 1842-1918
https://search.ancestry.co.uk/search/db.aspx?dbid=61711&key=U
(Source: Board of Guardians records held by the London Metropolitan Archives, London, England)

About London, England, Poor Law Hospital Admissions and Discharges, 1842-1918

Historical Context

After the Poor Law Act of 1834, workhouses became the main vehicle of assistance for the poor. Conditions were very hard and many of those who entered workhouses needed medical care. Infirmaries attached to workhouses, and administered by the Poor Law Unions were used to provide some relief for the impoverished elderly, chronically ill and anyone who suffered from one of many ailments prevalent at the time.

The role of the Workhouse infirmaries steadily expanded over the 19th century and by 1900, they were used to treat and care for not only Workhouse inmates but non-paupers as well; some were even operating as private hospitals.

This Collection

Users may find the following details for individuals found in the registers (where available):

Name
Gender
Admission Date
Age
Death Date
Discharge Date
Poor Law Union

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

West Norwood Burial Records now on Deceased Online

From Deceased Online (www.deceasedonline.com):

West Norwood Burial Records now on Deceased Online

Burial records from the historic West Norwood cemetery in Lambeth, London, are now available on www.deceasedonline.com. This beautiful cemetery, one of the 'Magnificent Seven' Victorian cemeteries, was founded in 1836 and is home to a great many listed monuments. The cemetery maintains a place in the English Heritage National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, and is recognised as a site of nature conservation value within Lambeth.

Among the notable famous people of the past buried in West Norwood cemetery lie John Dwight Doulton and his son Sir Henry Doulton. John Doulton, who died in 1873, was the founder of the firm that would become known as Royal Doulton. Originally the firm existed as a partnership with Martha Jones and John Watts, and was known as Jones, Watts, and Doulton. They specialised in industrial ware, brown stoneware, and stoneware bottles for liquid chemicals. Jones withdrew from the partnership in 1820 and, following the retirement of Watts in 1853, Doulton merged his company with his son Henry's company, Lambeth pottery, to become Doulton and Company. Henry's love of literature and the arts channelled the production of Doulton towards the manufacture of Art Pottery, for which Royal Doulton has become famous. Sir Henry was interred in a mausoleum at West Norwood cemetery made from red pottery tiles and bricks from the Doulton Works, and this has become a Grade II listed building.

Isabella Mary Beeton, author of the 1861 work Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, is also resting in West Norwood cemetery after dying in 1865 of puerperal fever at the young age of 28. Mrs Beeton worked extensively with her publisher husband, Samuel Beeton, revitalising the The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine with Isabella listed as 'co-editress'. Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, a collection of 24 articles from the The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, became one of the major publishing events of the 19th century. It was immensely well received by critics of the time and sold over 60,000 copies in its first year. It is still in print today.

English architect and designer William Burges, among the greatest of the Victorian art-architects, rests in West Norwood cemetery in the tomb he designed for his mother. Burges was described by contempories as eccentric, over-indulgent, and unpredictable, but his sense of humour and lively conversation won him many friends. He was well known for his opium addiction and party-batchelor lifestyle, which some have speculated was at least partly responsible for his early death in 1881, at the age of 53. Burges left behind an incredible body of work in architecture as well as designs in metalwork, sculpture, jewellery, furniture, and stained glass. His most notable works include Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral in Cork, Cardiff Castle, Gayhurst House in Buckinghamshire, and the Church of Christ the Consoler in Yorkshire.

The 165,000 records available on Deceased Online cover 1837 to 2005 and comprise microfiche scans of the original burial registers, information showing the other occupants of the grave, and maps showing the grave's approximate location in the cemetery.

Records from West Norwood crematorium are also available on Deceased Online.

Other Magnificent Seven cemeteries available on Deceased Online:
Kensal Green Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery
Nunhead Cemetery
Brompton Cemetery

(With thanks to Deceased Online via email)

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

RootsTech announces keynote speakers

From RootsTech (www.rootstech.org):

RootsTech 2019 Announces Lineup of Keynote Speakers and Entertainers

RootsTech_2019_Keynote_Speaker_Collage.pngSalt Lake City, Utah (13 February 2019), RootsTech 2019, the world’s largest family history conference, announced its full lineup of keynote speakers and entertainers, including Saroo Brierley, Patricia Heaton, Derek Hough, Jake Shimabukuro, and Steve Rockwood. Fueled by the popularity of DNA genealogy, social networking platforms, and related mobile apps, RootsTech 2018 had over 50,000 in-person and online attendees. Hosted by FamilySearch International, the conference will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 27 through March 2, and select content is broadcast live online.


Keynote Speakers

RootsTech 2019 kicks off on Wednesday, February 27, with classes on topics such as DNA research, photo preservation, and using social media to preserve family legacies. Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, will be the featured keynote speaker on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. mountain standard time.

Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Heaton takes the stage on Thursday to share stories of faith and family. Heaton is most recognized for her role as Deborah Barone on the hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond (1996–2005) and more recently as Frankie Heck in The Middle (2009–2018). Heaton is also the author of two books. Her most recent, a recipe book, is Patricia Heaton’s Food for Family and Friends: 100 Favorite Recipes for a Busy, Happy Life, and her humorous collection of essays about life and family, published in 2003, is Motherhood and Hollywood: How to Get a Job Like Mine.

Saroo Brierley, whose story is recounted in the international bestselling autobiography A Long Way Home, will be the featured keynote speaker on Friday, March 1. Brierley’s remarkable family reunification story was depicted in the 2016 film Lion.

On Saturday, March 2, world-renowned ukulele musician and composer Jake Shimabukuro will take the stage. Shimabukuro’s records have repeatedly topped Billboard world music charts. Shimabukuro will speak about his efforts to honor his heritage through music and will perform live for the RootsTech audience.

Derek Hough, professional ballroom dancer and choreographer, will perform during the Friday evening event, Connecting through Music and Dance. Hough is widely recognized for his work on the ABC dance-competition series Dancing with the Stars, where he has won a record six seasons.

Classes

RootsTech 2019 offers more than 300 classes and activities for families and individuals with varying interests and skills. Select classes will be broadcast live (see https://www.rootstech.org/salt-lake/live-stream-schedule). RootsTech also offers a Virtual Pass, which provides access to additional online recorded sessions from the conference. Learn more or register for the event at RootsTech.org.

(With thanks to RootsTech via email)

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Ulster Historical Foundation programme 2019

From the Ulster Historical Foundation (www.ancestryireland.com):

2019 Family History Programmes - Update

For those interested in attending one of our 2019 events please note that our October programme is now at capacity. However there are still spaces available for our June and September programmes. Crucially, for the research enthusiast, you can choose to spend the whole of these events researching in the Belfast and Dublin archives with our team of genealogists or you can spend your time touring famous historic sites


Irish Family History Experience – 10–15 June 2019

This six-day programme offers you the opportunity to spend three days learning from the experts in the classroom and researching in the Public Record Office Northern Ireland (PRONI) followed by the option of three days of tours or further assisted research.

For more information visit https://www.ancestryireland.com/family-history-conference/summer/


Tracing your Irish Ancestors - 04-11 September 2019

Our classic eight-day programme offers you the opportunity to tour famous historic sites and cultural attractions, such as Kilmainham Gaol, Giant’s Causeway and the Knowth passage tomb at Brú na Bóinne as well as visit to the picturesque town of Enniskillen situated in Co. Fermanagh's beautiful lakelands, or a mixture of both tours and research – the choice is yours.

September 2019 "Early Bird" Registration - Ends soon

For those of you who register before 10 March 2019 the cost to participate in our conference is just £899.99. Reserve your place now, with a deposit of only £350 (GBP) per person! After this date the full price for attendance will be £949.99 (GBP).

For more information visit https://www.ancestryireland.com/family-history-conference/autumn/

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Monday, 11 February 2019

MyHeritage Live 2019 to be held in Amsterdam

From MyHeritage (www.myheritage.com):

Following the resounding success of MyHeritage LIVE 2018, our first-ever user conference, which took place in Oslo, we have decided to host it again in 2019! We are happy to announce MyHeritage LIVE 2019 which will take place on September 6-8, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.


Our second MyHeritage user conference is sure to be one of the most memorable genealogy events of the year, bringing together MyHeritage staff, internationally renowned genealogy and DNA experts and speakers, and our users. As with last year, we anticipate hundreds of genealogy enthusiasts and MyHeritage users from around the world to join us and attend.

Conference details

MyHeritage LIVE 2019 will take place on September 6-8 2019 at the Hilton Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The hotel is located south of central Amsterdam, near the museum district, and we have arranged a special rate for guests who choose to stay at the hotel.

In addition to a plenary session from MyHeritage Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, there will both genealogy and DNA lecture tracks and hands-on workshops to walk attendees through MyHeritage tools and features step-by-step.

Conference tickets include access to lectures, workshops, coffee breaks, lunches on Saturday and Sunday, a Friday night drink reception, and the celebratory MyHeritage party on Saturday night, all of which you don’t want to miss!

Guest speakers

We’ve lined up an excellent array of speakers and we’ll announce the full list soon once we complete receiving all confirmations.

Further information is available at https://blog.myheritage.com/2019/02/announcing-myheritage-live-2019.

(With thanks to Daniel Horowitz)

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

More on FamilyTreeDNA and privacy issues

Some more posts of interest on the recent development with FamilyTreeDNA is allowing law enforcement agencies access to its database (see https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/2019/02/familytreedna-is-now-working-with-fbi.html).

Philip Grass has written an interesting blog post about the situation at https://learnalittleeveryday.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/opinion-familytreedna-must-decide-if-they-are-for-genealogists-or-law-enforcement-agencies/.

Elsewhere, the legal genealogist Judy G. Russell and DNA expert Debbie Kennett give their thoughts on the situation in a podcast at https://blog.insito.me/the-insight-show-notes-season-2-episode-13-is-the-fbi-watching-your-dna-571c92f9fc3.

And some reassurances form other DNA firms about privacy can be read at https://www.genomeweb.com/applied-markets/genetic-genealogy-firms-reassure-clients-about-data-privacy-after-ftdna-divulges-fbi?utm_source=addthis_shares#.XGACWrjgqUl.

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Friday, 8 February 2019

FindmyPast adds Scottish newspaper death announcements

The latest records on FindmyPast (www.findmypast.co.uk):


Lancashire Wills & Probate 1457-1858
Over 38,000 additional records taken from the Lancashire Archives Probate Index for the Archdeaconry of Chester have been added the collection. The new additions span the years 1700 to 1799 and consist of Supra wills. Surpa wills were wills where the deceased's estate was valued at over £40.

Scotland, Newspaper Death Reports
Uncover details surrounding your Scottish ancestor's death amongst more than 72,000 death notices printed in Scottish newspapers between1807 and 1990. Discover more about your relative's life, while searching these publications you may be able to find out the date of their death and the names of their parents or spouse.

The titles and publication years covered by this collection include:

Inverness Herald (1839-1846)
Inverness Journal & Northern Advertiser (1807-1823)
Northern Ensign & Weekly Gazette (1850-1855)
The Aberdeen Journal (1823-1839)
The Scotsman (1852-1854)
The Shetland News (1885-1963)
The Shetland Times (1872-1990)

Scotland, Renfrewshire, Paisley Poll Tax 1695
Did your ancestors that lived in Paisley? Search these Poll Tax records from 1695, the tax was introduced to raise funds to pay off debts such as pay arrears of pay due to the army. During the reign of William and Mary Poll taxes were imposed in 1694, 1695 and twice in 1698, the funds raised from the tax would be used to pay off debts, funds overseas wars and the defence of the kingdom. The amount of tax due by each individual varied, it was based upon rank and means, however the very poor and children were exempt from paying the tax.

United States Directories & Almanacs
93 volumes of New York City Directories spanning the years 1786 to 1923 are now available to search. These new directories record the names and addresses of city residents, businesses, churches, schools, police stations, courts, and other government offices, as well as the names of individuals associated with those institutions. They also feature images, including maps, illustrations of buildings, and advertisements.

New World Collections from Mexico
Findmypast is going global! In the first of many new global releases, over 55 million transcripts of Mexican baptisms, marriages and burials spanning 390 years of Mexican history between 1560 and 1950 are now available to search. These new records were brought to Findmypast through the International Genealogical Index and will be joined by a wide range of new collections covering Central America and the Caribbean in the coming months.

Our new Mexican baptisms list birth year, baptism date, location and parent's names. Marriages will reveal marriage dates, locations as well as the residence and parent's names for both the bride and groom. Burials list year of death, place of death, place of burial, date of burial and relative's name.

British & Irish newspaper update
This week we have made available 164,440 new pages to view. We are delighted to welcome two brand new titles to the collection: the Middlesex County Times and the Sunday Independent (Dublin). We also have significant updates to some of our existing titles, including The People, where added years span 1881 to 1980, and the Penny Illustrated Paper. There are also updates to the Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough and the Yorkshire Evening Press.

Further details are at https://blog.findmypast.co.uk/findmypast-friday-2628290723.html

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

TheGenealogist adds Second World War Casualty Lists

From TheGenealogist (www.thegenealogist.co.uk):

Press Release: Second World War Casualty Lists released

TheGenealogist is adding to its Military Records collection with the release of more than 1 million entries for people recorded in the Second World War Casualty Lists. Sourced from collection WO 417 held at The National Archives, these documents contain records from the war years of 1939 to 1945 and list casualties sustained by the British Army during the Second World War. There are volumes for Officers and Nurses, with separate volumes for Other Ranks. The Casualty Lists were compiled from daily lists that had been prepared by the War Office Casualty Section and cover the various expeditionary forces deployed in different locations across Europe, Africa and Asia as well as for personnel at home.


WW2 Casualty Records will give family history researchers details of ancestors’ names and regiment as well as ranks and service numbers for those recorded. The World War 2 casualty lists contained more detail than their WW1 counterparts and often list the date of the casualty (as well as the list date), plus other information such as the unit a soldier had been serving in at the time.

Included in these lists are those who had been unaccounted for by the military, been dangerously ill or injured, captured as a Prisoner of War or died. The records include troops who had been serving in a number of places across the world, but also cover personnel who had lost their lives, were injured at home or were serving at an overseas station outside the theatres of war. Updates and corrections appear in the records as new information was received by the War Office.

These records allow a researcher to use TheGenealogist’s unique SmartSearch by simply clicking the magnifying glass at the bottom of the transcript. This will automatically search for any other records relating to that person. For example, if they were a Prisoner of War this will return other records from TheGenealogist’s military collection, including PoW records that reveal what camp that soldier had been recorded in.

If a person had died, you also get a smart link to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) which brings up details of their war grave, with further information.

Use the WWII casualty list records to:

* Find ancestors who were Missing, Wounded, Killed in Action or Prisoners of War

* Discover army personnel seriously ill or accidentally killed serving at home or overseas

* Check an ancestor’s rank and service number

* Find the theatre of war in which your ancestor was serving when they became a casualty

Read our article: WWII Casualty Lists finds two motor racing aces executed by the Nazis, - see
https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/2019/wwii-casualty-lists-finds-two-motor-racing-aces-executed-by-the-nazis-1059/

(With thanks to Nick Thorne)

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

FreeProbate site development - questionnaire

From the Free UK Genealogy (https://www.freeukgenealogy.org.uk) team:

Do you use wills in family history research? We're developing a new website (FreePROBATE) and want to know how you would like the databases to be indexed. Let us know which fields you would like the search engine to have on our questionnaire here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd1teRSOMfEwwE69W5mT8ZzCIwwlOoHnHFVH6lvu6xXq5N_aw/viewform

And from the questionnaire:

Are you familiar with using wills in family history research? Please help us design the search engine for our new website.

At this stage, we're NOT asking about typography, layout, colours etc. We simply want to know what fields you would like to be able to search by, and an idea of how important you judge them to be.

Sounds like a potentially great expansion from the team that has already brought us FreeCEN, FreeREG and FreeBMD!

(With thanks to @FreeUKGen)

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

The oncoming death of Google Plus

Google+ will soon cease to be, as outlined on my blog a couple of days ago (see https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/2019/02/google-plus-will-cease-to-be-on-april.html). 

I had hoped to continue sharing posts to the platform until it was switched off, but in fact Google has just made this more difficult:

Following the announcement of Google+ API deprecation scheduled for March 2019, a number of changes will be made to Blogger’s Google+ integration on 4 February 2019.

Google+ widgets: Support for the '+1 Button', 'Google+ Followers' and 'Google+ Badge' widgets in Layout will no longer be available. All instances of these widgets will be removed from your blog.

+1 buttons: The +1/G+ buttons and Google+ share links below blog posts and in the navigation bar will be removed.


On the back of this, I will no longer be distributing material from this blog onto Google+.

Please do consider signing up to my Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest feeds instead, or by subscribing to my daily email digest, using the Subscribe via email link found to the right side of this blog page. (I am also looking at Instagram as another possible way to distribute)


RIP Google+


Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Men and Arms back in stock at the Ulster Historical Foundation

From the Ulster Historical Foundation (www.ancestryireland.com), news of a useful resource for those with Plantations based ancestry in Ulster:

Men and Arms: The Ulster Settlers, c.1630 is back in print

Men and Arms: The Ulster Settlers, c.1630, the bestselling volume in the critically important R.J. Hunter Collection is now back in print and available to purchase on Booksireland for £19.99.

Men and Arms is essentially the first ‘census’ of English and Scottish settlers in the nine counties of Ulster in the early seventeenth century. The edition includes extensive additional information on the settlers drawn from a variety of contemporary sources.

For more information visit http://www.booksireland.org.uk/store/all-departments/men-arms-ulster-settlers-c-1630

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Latest FamilySearch indexed records additions

FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org) has added or updated the following index collections:

Australia, South Australia, Will and Probate Records
England, Hampshire Parish Registers, 1538-1980
France, Haut-Rhin, Civil Registration, 1792-1919
France, Vienne, Civil Registration, 1792-1913
BillionGraves Index
Russia, Samara Church Books 1748-1934
New York, Church and Civil Deaths, 1824-1962
Wales, Marriage Bonds, 1650-1900

Full details are available at https://media.familysearch.org/new-historical-records-on-familysearch-week-of-february-4-2019/.

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Monday, 4 February 2019

ScotlandsPeople computer issue at Glasgow genealogy centre

I have just returned from a day's research in Glasgow at the genealogy centre in the Mitchell Library (https://www.glasgowfamilyhistory.org.uk/DiscoverLearn/GettingStarted/Pages/Registrars.aspx), and whilst I was successful in my research objectives, it was again despite some serious issues with the current ScotlandsPeople computer system access at the facility.

On a previous visit last week I was deeply frustrated by the centre's computers constantly playing up, they being very glitchy, slow, and at times returning returning search results displaying no images available. The staff were very helpful, but apart from a brief respite in the afternoon, it was a tortuous affair. I bumped into a genealogist friend at the centre today who advised me that this problem has in fact been ongoing since December.

Having also visted the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh last week, I experienced no problems at all with the same system there. My understanding is that the problem in Glasgow may be something to do with a new IT contract at the Mitchell Library, but whatever the reason is, it seriously needs to be addressed. I was invited to leave feedback last week about the problems, but assuming it may have been an issue on that day alone, I elected not to - I had no such reservations today, and have asked for feedback as to why this situation is happening. As soon as I receive a response I will post it here.

In the meantime, if you are planning to carry out research using the ScotlandsPeople system in Glasgow, I can advise that it is workable, but you will need to constantly refresh the pages as you are searching. I will be heading back later in the week, but do note that there are several other centres offering access to the same system, in Edinburgh (https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/visit-us/scotlandspeople-centre) and in Kilmarnock, Hawick, Inverness, Alloa (see https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/local-family-history-centres).

Here's hoping for a quick resolution.

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

FamilyTreeDNA responds to criticism on terms changes

The president of Family TreeDNA (www.familytreedna.com), Bennett Greenspan, has responded to criticism of the news that the company has suddenly changed its terms of service, and announced that it is allowing the FBI access to its database for law enforcement purposes (see https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/2019/02/familytreedna-is-now-working-with-fbi.html and https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/2019/02/do-familytreednas-new-terms-of-service.html):

Dear Customers:

I am writing to address the news that our Gene-by-Gene laboratory, which processes genetic tests for several commercial clients in addition to all of the FamilyTreeDNA tests, has processed a handful of DNA samples for cold cases from the F.B.I. In many cases, the news reports contained false or misleading information.

Let me start with this categorical statement:

LAW ENFORCEMENT DOES NOT HAVE OPEN ACCESS TO THE FTDNA DATABASE.

They cannot search or “dig through” FTDNA profiles any more than an ordinary user can. As with all other genetic genealogy services, law enforcement must provide valid legal process, such as a subpoena or search warrant to receive any information beyond that which any other user can access.

I have been an avid genealogist since I was twelve years old. FamilyTreeDNA is not just a business, it is my passion. I fully understand your privacy concerns on a personal level.

Law enforcement has the ability to test DNA samples from crime scenes and upload the results into databases, like any other customer can, and it appears they have been doing it at other companies for the past year. The distinction is that, according to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, we expect the FBI and law enforcement agencies to let us know when they submit something to our database. We moved to something transparent, rather than having them work in a stealthy way. Other than that, nothing changed that affects the privacy of our customers.

FamilyTreeDNA has always taken your privacy seriously and will continue to do so. We’ve remained steadfast, always, refusing to sell your data to pharmaceutical companies and other third parties.

One of the key reasons law enforcement wanted to submit their samples to us is the same reason many of you have: out of all the major companies, FamilyTreeDNA is the only one that has its own lab, and our customers’ samples never leave our company.

As previously stated, law enforcement can only receive information beyond that which is accessible to the standard user by providing FamilyTreeDNA with valid legal process, such as a subpoena or a search warrant. Again, this is specified in FamilyTreeDNA’s Terms of Service, just as with all other companies.

ABOUT OUR TERMS OF SERVICE

The Terms of Service were changed in May of 2018 to reflect GDPR requirements, and we informed our customers about the update at that time. Those changes included a paragraph that required law enforcement to receive our permission to enter the database and since it was a part of the overall update, notice was sent to every FTDNA customer. Without infringing upon our customers’ privacy, the language in the paragraph referring to law enforcement was updated in December, although nothing changed in the actual handling of such requests. It was an oversight that notice of the revision was not sent to you and that is our mistake. Therefore, we are reverting our TOS to our May 2018 version, and any future changes will be communicated to you in a timely manner.

This is the May 2018, GDPR-compliant version, communicated to you at that time: “You agree to not use the Services for any law enforcement purposes, forensic examinations, criminal investigations, and/or similar purposes without the required legal documentation and written permission from FamilyTreeDNA.”

WE WILL DO A BETTER JOB OF COMMUNICATING WITH YOU.

I am genuinely sorry for not having handled our communications with you as we should have.

We’ve received an incredible amount of support from those of you who believe this is an opportunity for honest, law-abiding citizens to help catch bad guys and bring closure to devastated families. We want you to understand, as many of you already do, that you have the same protections that you’ve always had and that you have nothing to fear.

We’ve also heard from supporters offering ideas and solutions to make the FamilyTreeDNA experience a more comfortable one in light of this new information.

We are listening. Our plan is to create a panel of citizen genealogist advisors who will work with us as we focus on how to make your FamilyTreeDNA experience the best one available.

Sincerely,

Bennett Greenspan
President
FamilyTreeDNA.com

(Original source - https://mailchi.mp/familytreedna/letter-to-customers)


COMMENT: Just... wow.

Communication is one thing, but the question still stands as to whether the company's actions actually breach GDPR in the EU. A complaint has apprarently now gone into the Irish Information Commissioner's office - it will be interesting to see a member state of the EU's response.

(With thanks to @debbiekennett via Twitter)

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Pharos genealogy courses for February 2019

The following short genealogy courses from Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd in February 2019 still have spaces available:

So You Think You Know FamilySearch - A Guided Tour (206)
Course Length: 4 weeks
Start Date: 04 Feb 2019
Cost: £41.99
Tutor: Barbara H. Baker

Introduction to One-Name Studies (901)
Course Length: 5 weeks
Start Date: 12 Feb 2019
Cost: £49.99
Tutor: Julie Goucher

Full details at https://www.pharostutors.com/coursesmainsd.php

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

FindmyPast updates New York Roman Catholic records collections

The latest additions to FindmyPast (www.findmypast.com):

New York Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms
Over 329,000 additional baptism records have been added to our collection of New York Roman Catholic Sacramental registers. The new additions cover nearly 60 parishes across the diocese and span the years 1787 to 1916.

New York Roman Catholic Parish Marriages
Over 95,000 Sacramental register entries from 65 New York Catholic parishes have been added to the collection. Marriage records are an excellent way of adding new branches and previous generations to your family tree. Spanning the years 1819 to 1916.

New York Roman Catholic Parish Congregational Records
Hundreds of new records have been added to our collection of New York Roman Catholic Parish Congregational Records. The new additions cover the parishes of SS Joseph & Thomas in Richmond County (1910), St Columba in Orange County (1895 – 1915) and St Peter in Ulster County (1860).

Lincolnshire Registers & Records
Over 500 additional images have been added to our collection of Lincolnshire registers and records.

British & Irish Newspapers
This week at the British Newspaper Archive we are celebrating passing the 30 million image mark, with the addition of 143,974 new images to the Archive. As well as now having over 30 million searchable pages this week, we have a bumper crop of newly updated titles (fifteen in all), covering England, Scotland and Ireland and spanning the years 1849 to 2005.

The full list of recently updated titles includes:

West Surrey Times - 1876, 1882-1887, 1893, 1895, 1899-1910, 1913-1914
Sunday Life - 1988-1997
Heywood Advertiser - 1877
Lloyd's List - 1912
Leicester Daily Post - 1879, 1887
Buckingham Express - 1869
Evening Herald (Dublin) - 2005
Daily Herald - 1957
Express and Echo - 1881-1888, 1890-1895, 1899-1900
Belfast Telegraph - 1917
Gloucestershire Chronicle - 1849-1851, 1855-1864, 1866-1870
Huddersfield Daily Examiner - 1872, 1886, 1891-1895, 1901-1904
Worcester Herald - 1859-1860
Perthshire Advertiser - 1933-1935, 1987
Carlisle Journal - 1882, 1884, 1886-1888, 1890, 1893, 1895

Further details at https://blog.findmypast.co.uk/findmypast-friday-february-1st-2627629109.html

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Google Plus will cease to be on April 2nd

I have received the following email from Google about the forthcoming demise of its Google+ (https://plus.google.com) social media platform:

You've received this email because you have a consumer (personal) Google+ account or you manage a Google+ page.

In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers' expectations. We want to thank you for being part of Google+ and provide next steps, including how to download your photos and other content.

On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted. You can download and save your content, just make sure to do so before April. Note that photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.

The process of deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts, Google+ Pages, and Album Archive will take a few months, and content may remain through this time. For example, users may still see parts of their Google+ account via activity log and some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted.

As early as February 4th, you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events.

See the full FAQ for more details and updates leading up to the shutdown.

If you're a Google+ Community owner or moderator, you may download and save your data for your Google+ Community. Starting early March 2019, additional data will be available for download, including author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community. Learn more

If you sign in to sites and apps using the Google+ Sign-in button, these buttons will stop working in the coming weeks but in some cases may be replaced by a Google Sign-in button. You'll still be able to sign in with your Google Account wherever you see Google Sign-in buttons. Learn more

If you've used Google+ for comments on your own or other sites, this feature will be removed from Blogger by February 4th and other sites by March 7th. All your Google+ comments on all sites will be deleted starting April 2, 2019. Learn more

If you're a G Suite customer, Google+ for your G Suite account should remain active. Contact your G Suite administrator for more details. You can also expect a new look and new features soon. Learn more

If you're a developer using Google+ APIs or Google+ Sign-in, click here to see how this will impact you.

From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place. We are grateful for the talented group of artists, community builders, and thought leaders who made Google+ their home. It would not have been the same without your passion and dedication.


COMMENT: I must admit, I have never liked Google+, as I never really saw what it could do that wasn't already being done elsewhere. Nevertheless, I have been sharing content from this blog onto Google+ for some time, more out of habit than anything, at the same time as sharing posts onto Twitter (@genesblog) and Facebook (click here).

I will continue to do so until the demise og Google+ , but if this is the only means by which you have been accessing content from this blog, please do consider signing up to my Twitter or Facebook feeds, or by subscribing to my daily email digest, using the Subscribe via email link found to the right side of this blog page.

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Do FamilyTreeDNA's new terms of service breach GDPR?

Following the news that FamilyTreeDNA (www.familytreedna.com) has suddenly changed its terms of service, and announced that it is allowing the FBI access to its database for law enforcement purposes (see https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/2019/02/familytreedna-is-now-working-with-fbi.html), the Legal Genealogist, Judy G. Russell, has posted a fairly damning critique of the news at https://www.legalgenealogist.com/2019/02/01/opening-the-dna-floodgates/.

Noting that she has long been a fan of FamilyTreeDNA, Judy states that the development "may have brought that enthusiasm to a screeching halt". She adds that "At one time here in America, we thought that privacy existed whether or not our homes, papers or effects might contain evidence the police might be interested in — and whether or not we might have crime suspects in our family trees … or in our DNA match lists. Apparently, not any more."

In fact, there is quite a range of opinions in the comments following Judy's post, some for the development, some against, but one point of interest that has been raised is whether the new terms and conditions from FamilyTreeDNA in fact breach the new European wide GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) regulations, designed to give EU citizens more control over the use of their personal data.

Judy states "My own personal view is that changing these TOS in this fashion would not accord with the GDPR. It remains to be see what, if anything, the EU regulators will conclude."

GDPR was designed to strengthen the right to privacy. This is definitely one to watch.

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Friday, 1 February 2019

FamilyTreeDNA is now working with the FBI

Testing company FamilyTreeDNA (www.familytreedna.com) is working with the FBI in the United States, by allowing its vast DNA database to be used by the agency to solve violent crimes. The new arrangement raises privacy questions about the rights of users to their own genetic information.

The full story is available online at https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/salvadorhernandez/family-tree-dna-fbi-investigative-genealogy-privacy.

Commenting on Twitter, US based genealogist Megan Smolenyak stated "Suspect majority of genealogists will be OK with this, but am still disappointed that FamilyTreeDNA would do this. Customers should be able to opt out without losing cousin-finding ability." 

TheDNAGeek has also noted yesterday that terms and conditions were changed by FamilyTreeDNA to allow such usage without customers receiving any notification - see https://thednageek.com/ftdna-opens-the-door-to-the-cops/.

FamilyTreeDNA's official press release is available at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/familytreedna--connecting-families-and-saving-lives-300788024.html. In this, Bennett Greenspan, President and Founder of Gene-by-Gene Ltd. and FamilyTreeDNA, states:

"We came to the conclusion," says Greenspan, "that if law enforcement created accounts, with the same level of access to the database as the standard FamilyTreeDNA user, they would not be violating user privacy and confidentiality. In order for the FBI to obtain any additional information, they would have to provide a valid court-order such as a subpoena or search warrant."

"Working with law enforcement to process DNA samples from the scene of a violent crime or identifying an unknown victim does not change our policy never to sell or barter our customers' private information with a third party. Our policy remains fully intact and in force." 

I suspect this may not go down well with a lot of subscribers.

(With thanks to @megansmolenyak and @debbiekennett on Twitter, and to Leah Larkin, The DNA Geek)

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Irish Family History - forthcoming talk in Beith

On Wednesday February 20th 2019, I will be giving a talk on the subject of Irish Family History to Garnock Valley Family History Group at Beith Townhouse in North Ayrshire. The session starts at 7.30pm, with the session being free for members, and with a small charge for non-members.


In my talk I will be looking at records from across the island of Ireland that can be accessed online from here in Scotland, but will also briefly discuss some records available offline in repositories within Ireland itself, including the closest facility, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast.

The venue, Beith Townhouse, has its own dedicated website at www.beithtownhouse.co.uk.

I look forward to hopefully seeing you there!

Chris

My next Scottish Research Online course starts March 11th 2019 - see www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Details of my genealogical research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk. For my Scottish and Irish themed books, visit https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/p/my-books.html. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

Scotland's Fencible Regiments - Part 2: Breadalbane's Fencibles

Yesterday I placed an article online about the Fencible Regiments from Scotland, which were drawn up towards the end of the 18th century (see https://britishgenes.blogspot.com/2019/01/scotlands-fencible-regiments-part-1.html). Now, for a more specific example!

In this post I am providing a case study about one member of Breadalbane's Fencibles, my four times great grandfather Private William Paton, who was a handloom weaver in Perth. It will help to illustrate the kind of information that you can derive from estate records, in this case being mostly derived from a series of papers called the Breadalabane Muniments, the archive of the Campbell Family, Earls of Breadalbane, which are held at the National Records of Scotland (www.nrscotland.gov.uk) in Edinburgh, catalogued under GD112. William is a bit of a hero of mine - he refused to go to Ireland in 1798 to put down the United Irishment rebellion, along with many in his batallion.

If you have a research enquiry about a fencible soldier, and I can access the relevant records, I may be able to help! Details of my research service are available at www.ScotlandsGreatestStory.co.uk.

In the meantime, here we go!

Case Study: William Paton, Breadalbane's Fencibles

William Paton was born during the reign of the British king George III at Sconieburn, Perth, on Thursday, March 11th 1779 (OPR:387/7):

Sconieburn March Seventh One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Nine was born William Paton, Lawfully procreated betwixt John Paton weaver and Ann Watson his spouse and baptized March Eleventh by the Revd Mr Ian Moody Minr at Perth.


As a young child, William grew up in Sconieburn watching his father John working as a weaver on a handloom, and ended up taking up the profession himself, which he worked at until the age of 19.

But in 1797, everything changed. William joined up to become a soldier in Breadalbane's Fencibles, a Perthshire regiment raised in 1793 by the Earl of Breadalbane, to replace the troops in Britain who had gone off to fight the French.

William was recruited by Sergeant Robert Mckay of the Second Battalion on Saturday, March 25th 1797, a fortnight after his nineteenth birthday. From the battalion's recruitment book (NRS: GD112/52/544), we get a detailed physical description of William. It tells us that he was aged 19 and born in the city of Perth in the County of Perth. He was five feet, eight and a half inches tall, had black hair, brown eyes, a fair complexion, and was a weaver by trade.

The fact that William was a weaver caused Sergeant McKay some real problems. William signed up with four other gentlemen on the same day - George McKay, John Garvie, John Herres and James McLagon - and it appears that most of these gentlemen were weavers too. They were recruited on the 25th, but they told Sergeant McKay that they were not going anywhere until they had finished the webs they were currently working on. The rules of recruitment which McKay was working to included the following note (NRS: GD112/52/538/10):

III: You must take care not to inlist any indented Apprentices, without previously getting up their Indentures discharged. Nor are you to inlist Deserters from other Corps, nor any Weavers engaged with an unfinished web, unless he agrees to purchase it out of his bounty, previous to his being attested.


The lads were obviously not going to buy their own webs! Sergeant McKay was under some pressure to get them to the battalion's headquarters in Edinburgh. He received two letters from Captain J. Roy in Edinburgh Castle, instructing him to hurry up in getting the problem sorted. McKay wrote the following letter to Roy explaining the problem:

Perth, 24th March 1797

Sir,

I had the honour to receive your two letters and in answer to the first letter, I wrote the commanding officer mentioning that the most of my party were weavers by trade and some of them were committed to stay until they should find security to finish and work the webs they had in the looms at the time they were inlisted; and indeed the greatest part of them had webs incurring fines at that period, which they were obliged to finish therefore I could not get them away until all these points were settled; but now I think it will be in my power to march 8 recruits from here on the 28th March to head quarters, and I expect they will arrive there in due time.

I have the honour to be

Sir, your humble servant

Robert McKay,
Sergeant 2nd Battalion, 4th Fencibles


The problem was obviously sorted quickly, and on the following day, the 25th, William became a private. Before he could join, he had to have a physical examination by a local qualified surgeon, and was then given a bounty of money by Sergeant McKay as part of his enlistment.

On Monday, March 27th, 1797, Sergeant McKay was able to report in his weekly recruiting return that he had sent William and the other four weavers to Edinburgh, in the charge of a Corporal Stewart (NRS: GD112/52/499). Curiously, all five of the weavers were listed in the return, but only William has his age, height and birthplace listed again, the details for the other four remained blank.

On arriving in Edinburgh at the battalion headquarters, the new recruits had to be kitted out in uniform, which they had to pay for themselves out of their recruitment bounty. Again, the recruiting orders describe the uniform necessary:

XIII: Each Recruit must purchase out of his Bounty, Necessaries according to the List annexed; the Recruiting Officer reserving the sum of 3 Guineas out of the Bounty Money, for which the recruit will be supplied with Slop Cloathing, immediately on his joining at head quarters.

List of Slop Cloathing and Necessaries to be furnished for each recruit out of his bounty:

Slop clothing: scarlet jacket with white cuffs, collar and buttons; a twilled white Flannel waistcoat; a pair of flannelled drawers; a bonnet and feather

Necessaries: three shirts with frills; two pair of hose; two pair of shoes; a comb; a pair of brushes and black-ball; a black leather stock and buckle; a leather rose; a haversack


William was stationed in Edinburgh Castle for several weeks, where he was taken as a private into Captain William Maine's Company, a company within which he was to serve until his eventual discharge. He is recorded as being present in the castle in the monthly return on May 27th 1797 (NRS: GD112/52/338). On June 17th, he is again found listed there, in the "Return of the Country age, size and time of service of Captain Maine's in Edinburgh Castle" (NRS: GD112/52/339). In this, he is described as aged 18 (not 19), 5ft 8inches tall, and born in Scotland, with the column for duration of service left blank. On the monthly return dated June 28th 1797, William is again listed in the castle at Edinburgh (NRS: GD112/52/340).

At some point in the next three months, William and his comrades were ordered on a march to Fife. In the regulations on marches, we get an idea of how this would have occurred (NRS: GD/112/52/538).

The evening previous to a March, the men are to parade in marching order, with every article of necessaries in their Knapsacks, which must be packed with uniformity according to the order fixed for the battalion.


After this initial review, and a night's sleep, the men would be ready to march off on the following morning, with the baggage train ahead of them and the officer in charge at the front. The way the men marched was equally disciplined:

The March in open column is invariably to be adhered to, the division to contain as many files as the breadth of the road will conveniently admit.


William is next recorded in the monthly company returns to headquarters for October 1797, in which we learn that he has now been billetted in St. Andrews, Fife, as part of Captain Maine's Company. Then, in the battalion muster at Kirkcaldy in April 6th 1798, we learn that William had been sent to St Andrew's, where he was detached as a private, from between June 24th until December 25th 1797. William's battallion had some 149 privates in it, and was under the command of a Captain David Williamson. From the adjutant's rolls at the National Archives in Kew, near London (TNA: WO13/3811), we learn that from 25th December 1797 to 24th May 1798 William was again quartered at St Andrew's, receiving an average monthly pay of one pound and eleven shillings.

During this period, William must have had a brief leave to return to Perth, although no such leave is listed in the battallion furlough book (NRS: GD112/52/560). But on Wednesday, 7th February 1798, he married Christian Hay in the Gaelic Chapel (St.Stephen's) in Perth. From their OPR record:

FEBRUARY 1798

Perth the Third of February One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety eight contracted William Paton, Soldier in the second battalion of Breadalbanes Fencibles and Christian Hay, Daughter to the Deceased Lauchlan Hay, Resident in Perth, Parties both in this Parish Elder Thomas Robertson

The Persons before named were regularly proclaimed and married the seventh day of February said year by Mr Duncan MacFarlan Minister of the Gaelic Chapel in Perth.


The Kirk Session records for Perth also give a note of how much they had to pay to the church for the privilege, by way of pledge money, which would have been returned to the couple upon the marriage being completed, minus a small donation for the poor (NRS: CH2/521/26/485):

7 March 1798 Contract Money

From William Paton and Christian Hay Three shillings and fourpence


The wedding took place in St.Stephen's Gaelic Chapel in Perth. This particular church was built in 1788, after a fund raising drive by the town's other parishioners. The population of the town at that time was mushrooming due to economic prosperity, and one of the results of this was an increase in the number of Gaelic speaking Highlanders being attracted to the town from the surrounding countryside.

Two and a half weeks after his wedding, the Times newspaper of February 21st records that the Second Battalion of the Breadalbane Fencibles had given a voluntary donation of 500L to the fund for national defence, in response to an appeal that had recently been made by the Prime Minister William Pitt. The General Order Book of the battalion in February outlines how each soldier, including William, had donated one day's pay each month towards the fund, and that the money raised from his battalion had been the highest within the various Perthshire corps.

Although quartered in St Andrew's in Fife, on 6th April 1798, the battalions of the regiment were mustered at Kirkcaldy in Fife, and from the muster roll we learn that there were 149 privates in total in the Second Battalion; 35 were absent on leave, or sick, leaving 114 present for the inspection. William is listed as "William Paton, private, detached".

From Friday, 25th May 1798 to Sunday, 24th June 1798, we learn that William was not on duty, and presumably returned to Perth for a brief period of R&R. But in June, upon his return to duty, his regiment left Fife and marched to Glasgow, marching through Queensferry, Bathgate and Airdrie, and by Sunday, August 19th had reached Ayr, where his company was reviewed by General Drummond. The reason for the move was in case British troops in Ireland needed back up in countering the United Irishmen rebellion. But by June the rebellion had been crushed.

On Wednesday, 22nd August, the regiment heard news that a French force had landed at Killala, Ireland. Volunteers from the regiment were asked to go on an expedition to Ireland to help counter this, but only half of them took up the cause, receiving a commemorative medal from Lord Breadalbane himself, who had been inspired by their zeal. They set sail for Ireland on Wednesday, September 12th 1798, arriving at Carrickfergus, and from there, marching on to Donegal. But it has now become clear from the surviving battalion muster rolls at the Public Records Office in London and the Scottish Records Office in Edinburgh that William did not volunteer to go, and instead stayed behind in Scotland.

What had happened was a major political realisation on the part of William and the others who refused to go that they were not simply chattels, and that they did have the right to do as they believed was correct. These were the days when France and the United States had already rebelled against their rulers and had created republics for themselves after violent revolutions, and the same political thought was running riot throughout Britain. The rebellion in Ireland was a part of this political awakening. But William and his colleagues knew that their regiment had not been drawn up to put down the Irish - it had been created as a form of home guard to defend Scotland in the advent of invasion. They weren't going anywhere.

The following description in George Penny's "Traditions of Perth", recorded in 1836, outlines the reaction to both William's and his colleagues' refusal to go to Ireland (p.76):

These troops having been only raised as Scotch Fencibles, when disturbances broke out in Ireland, no argument could induce them to serve in that country. Lady Breadalbane, who had taken great interest in these proceedings, was so incensed at their obstinancy, that she is reported to have declared, that she would raise a regiment that would march to the devil if she desired it. A third regiment was accordingly embodied to serve in Ireland. By this time the new doctrines of the Rights of Man had been extensively spread through the country, and produced an important change in the public mind. The officers who had formerly been in the service, now found it a different business to deal with the men. They had acquired a knowledge of what was their due, and courage to demand it. One of the battalions of Breadalbane Fencibles, had not received their arrears of pay and bounty: on the morning on which they were to march, the regiment was drawn up in front of the George Inn; when ordered to shoulder arms, each man stood immovable! The order was repeated, but still not a man stirred. Upon enquiring into the cause of this extraordinary conduct, the officer in command was informed, that not having received their arrears, the men were determined not to leave the place till these were settled. This was a dilemma as great as it was unexpected. The paymaster had no funds at his disposal, and the Earl of Breadalbane was not at hand. After much argument and entreaty, they were prevailed upon to march to Kinross; the officer pledging himself that every thing would be settled there on the return of an express from the Earl. A mutiny broke out some time afterwards in the first battalion; in consequence of which two of the men were shot, by order of a general court martial.


In the muster roll for Saturday, August 25th to Monday, September 24th 1798, William is listed as quartered for eleven days only - possibly he was either redeployed to another location or perhaps sent on leave again? The next five adjutant's book's entries list him as "in Scotland" only, until Sunday, February 24th 1799. From Monday, February 25th to Saturday, March 24th, William was "detached in Beith".

From the book A Military History of Perthshire, we learn that the volunteers to Ireland from the regiment returned to Scotland at the beginning of March 1799, and rejoined "the detachment from Ayr" towards the end of the month (p.162). They had returned somewhat disillusioned that they were about to be asked to journey to the continent to campaign. This went against their ethos, they were created to be a sort of "Dad's Army", whose duty was to protect Scotland in the advent of invasion. Their trip to Ireland went above and beyond this call, and having basically worked as policemen, which was not what they had expected to do, they had decided that enough was enough, and the order was given to return to Scotland for disbandment.

On their return to Scotland, on April 2nd 1799, the battalion marched to Paisley from Ayr, and on the following day, the battalion's final muster in the town recorded that there were 552 soldiers of all ranks in the regiment, some 34 below establishment. Two weeks later, on April 18th 1799, the two battalions of Breadalbane's Fencibles were disbanded. The disbandment order obviously came as a sudden surprise to the regiment, as noted in the General Order Book, and Lord Breadalbane himself seems to have had not much prior warning of such an event happening. The medals he had promised to the volunteers to Ireland were not ready by the time the disbandment order was given, and details of the volunteers forwarding addresses had to be taken so that the medals could be sent on when they were ready. The final adjutant's book, dated 24th April 1799, records that Private William Paton was "discharged, the battalion being disbanded".

(c) Chris Paton

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