Monthly Archives: May 2017

Scotland trip – May 2017 – day 3

I’m aiming to write and post a little bit each day about the family history research I’m doing, and what I find, during a week staying​ in Edinburgh. But for personal privacy, the posting of these travels on AFamilyHistoryBlog will be delayed by a few days, and will not necessarily be in day by day order! Some of these posts may be given later tweets, with added photos, etc.

On Saturday morning I attended a class at the Scottish Genealogy Society’s family history library in Edinburgh. The subject was “Kirk Session Records”, led by Bruce Bishop. I found this very interesting and informative, and learnt a lot about the Scottish Kirk, how it functioned, what kind of records were (and weren’t) kept, and the limitations of those records. It was very useful in understanding how to make good use of these records in family history research.

During the afternoon I used the Edinburgh Central Library, to look at the OPR microfilm for Kirknewton parish – looking for the WALKER family at Overtown. I made some notes and printed off some images from the records, but I didn’t identify anything particularly new there!


Scotland trip – May 2017 – day 2

I’m aiming to write and post a little bit each day about the family history research I’m doing, and what I find, during a week staying​ in Edinburgh. But for personal privacy, the posting of these travels on AFamilyHistoryBlog will be delayed by a few days, and will not necessarily be in day by day order! Some of these posts may be given later tweets, with added photos, etc.

I began the day by going to obtain a readers ticket for the National Records of Scotland Historical Search Room. I arrived at the General Register House just before their doors opened at 9am. The registration process was quick and easy (as I had come fully prepared). So I was done and out again in just 20 minutes.

General Register House, from North Bridge, Edinburgh.

My plan is to return to the Historical Search Room later during my week in Edinburgh, to see some records I’ve identified from the National Records of Scotland catalogue, that look to be of interest to me. Some of these records are listed as being “off site” and need to be ordered in advance. So before leaving I made my request for those documents, so that they will be available to view on the day that I plan to go back there.

I then headed to a bus stop and caught a bus out to explore a bit of West Lothian. My first stop was Kirkliston where I had arranged to meet Joe Henderson, who was able to open the church building for me to see inside. I have visited the Kirkliston churchyard a couple of times before, but not previously seen inside the church. Joe appears to know a great deal about the history of Kirkliston church and the parish. He gave me a copy of “Kirkliston; A Parish History” by Donald Whyte, and I gave him a copy of the history I have about my WALKER family.

After a little while inside the church, we went out into the churchyard, where I went particularly to look at the WALKER family gravestones there, and to take some new photos of them. Unfortunately (as you will see from the photo – below) a bush has been allowed to grow up right in front of the oldest gravestone – that of “William WALKER, late tenant in Hiddlefold, who died on Jan.1st 1768, aged 73″. But I was able to pull the branches away enough to check the inscription, which is still readable.

3 Walker family gravestones in Kirkliston churchyard; the oldest (on left) of William Walker, d. 1/1/1768, aged 73; on right, William’s son and daughter-in-law, James Walker & Janet Flint, and centre, James & Janet’s grandson, also James, his wife, Margaret Johnston, and several of their children.

Joe was then able to give me a lift to Kilpunt. I had a good look around there, taking a number of photos, and wandered down to the nearby site of Hiddlefaulds, where the Walker family had farmed from about 1745. There is now just a pile of stones on the site of Hiddlefaulds (which I believe was demolished in the 1890’s), and all the farm buildings at Kilpunt have been converted into houses.

View of Kilpunt, from the south

From Kilpunt I went on to Broxburn, then Livingston. In the afternoon, on route back to Edinburgh, I got off the bus in Kirknewton, where the Walker family also farmed, to have a look at the old graveyard there. I didn’t really expect to find any Walker gravestone inscriptions there, but thought I’d have a good look anyway! So I looked, but didn’t find anything of family interest there!

Scotland trip – May 2017 – day 1 – traveling

I’m off to Scotland where I’m staying for a week with a relative in Edinburgh, and going to do some research, in Edinburgh, West Lothian, Glasgow, and elsewhere. Then I’m going on to a big family gathering (on the HUTCHISON side of my family), staying in Ayrshire.

I aim to write and post a little bit each day about what I’m researching and what I find during my stay in Edinburgh. But for personal privacy, the posting of these travels on AFamilyHistoryBlog will be delayed by a few days, and not necessarily in day by day order!

I set off this morning from my home in Norfolk, by bus to Peterborough, then by train (on a pre-booked ticket) to Edinburgh.

I expect to be doing some research on both the WALKER and HUTCHISON sides of my family, but probably with the greater focus on the WALKERs who came from the West Lothian area.

Markers of know places of birth of my ancestors in the WALKER and CADZOW branches

Using Note Apps for Genealogy – follow up

In March I wrote about using note apps for genealogy, and how I was planning to use OneNote to organise my genealogy in preparation for a trip to Scotland where I plan to do some research. I’ve been quiet here on AFamilyHistoryBlog over the last couple of months largely because I’ve been trying to organise my notes, etc, ready for this trip.

Well I haven’t gotten on with OneNote as quickly as I had hoped! I began by creating a few notes about people in my family tree, starting with the earliest known members of my Walker family line, and their relatives, which worked OK. But when it came to creating a “Genealogy Index” (as suggested in the various examples of using note apps for genealogy that I had read about), I found that OneNote struggled to cope with things like copying large spreadsheet indexes of ancestors into it!!!

Alongside OneNote, I had started a spreadsheet (initially in Excel) of my known ancestry, at first to help me work out the Dollarhide reference system (with some tweaks of my own to that system). This spreadsheet has expanded to include details of persons; dates, places,  note of sources, etc. After a while I copied the spreadsheet into Google Sheets, which I can save/access on a smartphone/tablet so that I can access it while on my travels. Having done that, I’ve continued to work on the spreadsheet in Google Sheets, and its working very well.

The spreadsheet has let me see clearly where the most recent gaps in my ancestry begin to occur, which prompted me to have a look into some of these, to see if I could fill any of them! Several of these gaps are parts on my family tree which I have not actively looked into before. I soon found clear details, that were new to me, about several lines of my ancestry, which take me back another 2 – 4 generations in those lines. I have already updated the CADZOW tree on the site, with my finds in that branch of the family, and posted some comments onto my Facebook feed. Other parts of my ancestry still need to be updated on the website!

The spreadsheet has also allowed me to analyse how many ancestors I know in each generation and the date-range of each generation (which is something that I’ve thought of trying to do for a while). So below is the present (May 2017) snapshot of what I know about my ancestry.

This shows the number of ancestors in each generation that I have forenames for. I don’t necessarily have women’s maiden names, or dates of birth/death for the oldest generations in any line. Numbers in brackets “(? x)” represent a total which includes possible ancestors that I’m not yet certain of! And “x / x” represents the number of individuals / and the number of places in my ancestry that they occupy (i.e. where cousins married, therefore their grandparents each occupy two places in the ancestry. So “2 / 4” = two grandparents, occupying 4 places in the ancestry, the effect of which doubles each generation further back you go).

SURNAMEs of Matt’s 2x Great-Grandparents; 3x Gt [iii] 4x Gt [iv]    5x Gt   [v]    6x Gt   [vi] 7x Gt [vii] 8x Gt [viii]
Generation no. > 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 futher gens.
WALKER 2 4 2 (? 4 ) 1
JOHNSTON 2 4 6 4 2
CADZOW 2 4 2
BLACK 2 4 4 (? 6 ) 4 (? 8 )
FRY 2 4 8 4 6 6  +6 gens
EYRE 2 3 2
BUCKNALL 2 4 4 2
HUTCHISON 2 4 8 4 / 8 4 / 8 2 / 4
WALTON 2 4 4 2 2
HENDERSON 2 4 6 4 4 4  +3 gens
HART 2 1 (? 4 ) (? 2 ) (? 4 )
Known Individuals / (Places on tree)
31 49 (?52) 46 (? 52) 25(?29)/ 33(? 37) 19 / 23 12 / 16 15
Total; Possible Individuals; 32 64 128 252 504 1,008 2,016
Total; Places on tree; 32 64 128 256 512 1,024 2,048
Birth Date Range; 1772 – 1832 1731 – 1803 c.1694 – 1779 1683 – 1749 1622 – 1723 1587 – c.1704
Death Date Range; 1840 – 1925 1795 – 1883 1768 – 1854 bef.1728 – 1839 1688 – 1813 1688 – 1780
Mar. Date Range; 1816 – 1856 1766 – 1824 1728 – 1798 1732 – c.1769 1678 – 1746 1615 – 1722

Another thing that I’ve begun to try and do with Google, and the help of the Google Sheets, is to map where my ancestors come from. I’ve created a Google Map, on which I’ve started placing markers for the place of birth of each ancestor (where I know it). Its a good way to visualise where my ancestry is from. Due to my forthcoming trip to Scotland, I’ve begun by focusing on the Scottish branches of my family, and to show an example below, this is what I get for the WALKER and CADZOW sides of my family (my paternal Grandfather’s ancestors); very concentrated in and around West Lothian.

Last week I took up an offer of 1 month’s subscription to Find My Past – for £1 (the usual monthly subscription is about £10.). Once subscribed, I made sure to disable the”auto-renewal” on the site, and I’ll double check this before the month expires – because I don’t want to be charged £10 every month hereafter!

I thought that the Find My Past subscription might come in useful while on my forthcoming Scotland trip. Then having subscribed, I decided to blitz trying to find all the census records that I can for my ancestors. So this is what I’ve spent much of last week doing.

Here​ the Google Sheets came in useful again. On sheet 2, where I’ve listed all my ancestors in Dollarhide number order, with separate columns for birth, death, and marriage details, notes, and source details, I added columns for each available UK census date. Then against each ancestors I coloured in the relevant cells to indicate which census dates I might find them recorded in. This made it easy to see who to look for and when. I began searching for the census records on Find My Past, working down the Dollarhide list, beginning with one grandfather who was born before 1911.

As I worked my way down the list I found a lot of records, some of which added new details about people, and in one or two cases added new people to my ancestors. I downloaded all the scanned images that I could, and copied transcription texts into word DOCs which I saved on my computer. In the spreadsheet I changed the colour of the relevant cells to indicate where I’d found records, and noted whether I had found images, transcriptions, or both.

There are still gaps where I’ve not found the records. But I’ve now got a good spread of census records, which I’m pleased with. So with that I’m going to have a lot of things to update on my family tree pages on AFamilyHistoryBlog .