Thursday, 30 July 2015

Perth and Kinross' Local and Family History department

Yesterday I was in Perth for a meeting, and whilst there I managed to pop into the A. K. Bell Library to make a quick foray into the local archives. Upon entering the building I discovered that the upstairs local studies section has had something of a revamp, with a much more focussed steer towards local and family history, and all sorts of new technological gizmos and new arrangements for the materials available for consultation.

Whilst there, I was very kindly given a wee tour of the facility by Dr. Nicola Cowmeadow, Perth and Kinross Council's local history officer, who explained that the revamp took place about a year ago (I've not been up in a while!), and that it has seen a fair improvement in the numbers using the facility. Here's a few pics:

One of the snazzier new additions are three new readers for microfilm, which once the film is loaded, project the image up digitally onto a screen. This then allows for digital manipulation, and, I was told, can even OCR some of the text. Clearly I now want one for Christmas!

Nicola has presented a great history of Perth in a video that can be found on YouTube at, and which is embedded below:

For more information on Perth and Kinross Archives, visit, whilst for the Local and Family History service, visit

Perth is a very special place to me in Scotland, not just because it hosts my favourite archive service, but it is because it is where generations of my Paton family originally hailed from, with my lot fairly entrenched in Craigie for many years in the 18th and 19th centuries (with some relatives still in the city there today), and in surrounding parishes such as Dunbarney and Kinclaven for many centuries.  As such, just for good measure, I took another opportunity to visit Greyfriars Cemetery again to rephotograph some headstones (the weather was glorious!), including one for my four times great uncle Dr William Henderson (1784-1870), a bit of a family hero of mine (see right).

Here are a few of the other images taken at the cemetery:

Go visit Perth - you'll love it! :)

(A huge thanks to Nicola at Perth Local and Family History, and to Steven Connolly at Perth and Kinross Archives)


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

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