Category Archives: General

General posts

Scotland trip – May 2017 – day 7

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.

Hopetoun House

I spent much of a day in the archives at Hopetoun House, South Queensferry, near Edinburgh. I was looking into my WALKER ancestors, who were tenant farmers on the Hopetoun Estate through from the mid 18th to the end of the 19th century, and into the farms where they lived and worked.

Among other things, there are bits in the Walker family history, originally written by my Grandfather in the 1950’s, which I don’t know any original sources for. So I was hoping that I might find some of those in the Hopetoun archive records.

The archive room at Hopetoun House

I had previously been in contact by email with the volunteer archivists at Hopetoun, so they knew that I planned to visit. I arrived at Hopetoun House at 10:30am, as it was opening to public visitors. I went in to the lower ground floor reception, to the right of the main staircase up to the front door (where most public visitors go into the house). I was soon met by one of the archivists, Richard, who took me up through service stairs and corridors, to an archive research room on an upper floor.

Document bundles in the Hopetoun Archives

I spent several hours there, looking through a number of bundles of old documents; lease agreements (tacks), etc, and was permitted to photograph anything I saw that looked to be of interest. Each bundle has a reference number, and is catalogued in the National Register of Archives for Scotland (NRAS). All the papers in the Hopetoun Archives appear to begin with the catalogue reference “NRAS888/”. In the archive room I was able to search this catalogue, on a computer, to identify the catalogue entries that looked to be of most interest.

(Unfortunately on the internet the full catalogue does not appear to be available! When I search the NRAS Register, it only gives the “top level record” for the papers of the Hopetoun Estate; NRAS888. The individual records, which I was able to search for in the archive room at Hopetoun House, do not appear to be available to search for online!)

Among the papers I saw, there were estate copies of two or three of the same documents that I’ve already posted copies of onto AFamilyHistoryBlog from among the WALKER family papers that I have.

My STAR FINDS from among the papers that I saw at Hopetoun House were plans of Hiddlefaulds (which was demolished in the 1890’s) and of the farm buildings at Kilpunt – both plans dated 1841, along with notes which confirmed that the WALKER family became tenants at Hiddlefaulds in (or slightly before) 1745.

A printed document about the rental income from the estates of “Pumpberston, Illieston, and Kilpunt”, (associated with the sale of these estates at the time that Lord Hope acquired them, circa 1760), details that William WALKER was the tenant in Hiddlefaulds in 1745, but a David KER was the tenant in 1740. A handwritten footnote on this page says that “when Will Walker took Hiddlefaulds he was promised a Tack [a lease agreement] but never got it.“! So the original paperwork was never done!

In total, I took over 170 photos of the documents I saw, that looked to be of interest to me in my family history. These came from the following NRAS catologue numbers (with partial descriptions);

  • NRAS 888/16/Bundle 4; miscellaneous papers – including “lease of Kilpunt – 1843”
  • NRAS 888/28/Bundle 8; “papers relative to lease of Newmains, Overtoun and Kilpunt” – 1834
  • NRAS 888/28/Bundle 10; Tacks and Papers as to Kilpunt and Illieston, 1760 – 1830″
  • NRAS 888/40/Bundle 3; “papers relating to the lease of Kilpunt – including sketches for farm buildings – 1842”
  • NRAS 888/1879; “sketch of lands (of Kilpunt) – 1757”.

Its worth noting that the NRAS catalogue descriptions tend to identify the titled estates (such as Kilpunt), but not individual farms (such as Hiddlefaulds).

Its going to take me some time to process all of this, and I know that if I ever get the time and opportunity to go back to the Hopetoun Archives, there is quite a lot more of interest to look at there.

From what I heard the archivist saying, I gather that they have had very few people, like me, visiting the Hopetoun archives to do family history research into the tenant farmers on the estate. But from what I’ve seen, the Hopetoun archives must be a great resource for anyone who is researching a family history with this kind of connection to the Hopetoun estate.

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Scotland trip – May 2017 – day 6

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 took the train to Kirkcaldy, in Fife, where I went first into the museum and gallery, next to the railway station. I had a good look round the museum, and then the gallery, where there was a painting on display by my Great-grandfather, Sir William Oliphant Hutchison, of his wife Margery (Walton) and their two sons, Peter and Robert.

I then went into the local and family history room to see what I could find there. The librarian looked out for me a book titled “The Hutchisons of Kirkcaldy; A History of the Family and the Firm”. No author was identified for this text! But it looks likely to me to be by “J. Douglas Hutchison”, who complied the Hutchison family tree that I have a copy of (dated 1987), which traces the family (descendants) of the corn merchant and founder of Hutchisons Mill, Robert Hutchison, and his wife, Mary Oliphant. Title page

After looking through some of this book, I asked the librarian if I could copy some of it, using the camera on my tablet to turn it into a PDF file. But due to copyright principles, I could only copy a small portion of the book! So I focused on the start of the book, which dealt a little with some earlier generations of the Hutchison family, and with Robert Hutchison’s life up to the point of his marriage to Mary Oliphant in 1837. I would be very interested to obtain a copy of the whole document. If anyone can provide me with a copy, or knows where I can get one, then please leave a comment below, or use the Contact Page to get in touch. Thanks.

When I left Kirkcaldy Galleries, I went to have a little look round the town. Looking in the graveyard of Kirkcaldy Old Kirk, I found and gravestones with inscriptions to several members of the OLIPHANT and HUTCHISON families which I took photos of. These inscriptions included Robert HUTCHISON, and his wives; Mary OLIPHANT, and Jessie THOMSON. Another gravestone named Mary OLIPHANT’s Great-grandparents; “Robert OLIPHANT” and “Janet BETT”, “set up by” Mary’s grandfathers; “William and Henry OLIPHANT”. OLIPHANT gravestone in Kirkcaldy old kirkyard

Scotland trip – May 2017 – day 5

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.

General Register House, from North Bridge, Edinburgh.

National Records of Scotland, General Register House, Edinburgh.

I spent a large part of the day in the National Records of Scotland, Historical Search Room at the General Register House. I arrived before their doors opened at 9am. When I got into​ the search room I was immediately handed 3 of the “Kirkcaldy Burgh Register of Deeds” books that I had requested when I registered​ on Friday.

So I began by looking in the oldest of ​these books, at a record involving “Issobel WYSE”, the wife of “James OLYPHANT”, and her sister, “Janet WYSE” (wife of John [S~~irkar]). The old writing is difficult to interpret, so I got permission to photograph the pages that I was interested in, so that I can work on them from the photos, more carefully, later. James OLIPHANT and Isobel WYSE are the first (oldest) couple that I have in my OLIPHANT / HUTCHISON family tree (my 8x great-grandparents). So this entry in the “Register of Deeds of the Burgh of Kirkcaldy”, adds the names of Isobel’s parents.

I then turned to the latest book of Deeds, containing several entries that I wanted to look at. First was the “Trust Disposition and Settlement by Henry OLYPHANT, in favour of George DOUGAL, and others”.

Next; the “Disposition and Deed of Settlement by Henry OLIPHANT, to His wife”; img; 9868 – 9873, followed immediately by the “Deed of Agreement among (Henry’s) widow & children, and Mutual Discharge”; img; 9867 – 9884 (9885).

There was a lot in all this! More than I can process in a day! So by 1pm, I had had enough of the Kirkcaldy Burgh records! The first book had already confirmed for me the names of Isobel WYSE’s parents (something I think I had a suggestion of from searching the IGI, but this is the first confirmed source!).

So then I turned to some pieces that I wanted to look at, about the BARRON family in West Lothian. I had ordered 2 off-site records to look at; the marriage contract of Janet BARRON and Henry HARDIE, in 1684, then a collection of papers from c.1708, apparently about a dispute between Janet BARRON and one of her sons; Henry HARDIE. I photographed these. There may well be evidence in there to connect them to Elizabeth BARRON (m. William WALKER!)! I then ordered some of the documents about the BARRONs of Preston, and it appears to confirm my suspicion that there is NO link between these two families, proving Hardy Bertram McCall to have been wrong about this.

By 2:30pm I had had enough, so wrapped up what I was doing, handed back the documents I had out, and left the Register House to find some lunch in the nearby Waverley Mall.

After lunch, between about 3 & 4pm I had a wander around the National Gallery, where I saw one painting by E.A.WALTON, among several other by the Glasgow Boys. I then went to the Edinburgh Central Library for about an hour, between 4 & 5pm to look at some OPR micro-films.

Scotland trip – May 2017 – day 4

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 got a train from Edinburgh, and spent a day exploring Glasgow. This is the first time that I’ve ever been into Glasgow.

From Glasgow Central station I headed first to see the Glasgow School of Art (GSA), walking up Hope Street, & along Renfrew Street. My great-grandfather, Sir William Oliphant Hutchison, was Director of the GSA, from 1933-1943. When I arrived at the GSA, I bought a ticket for the next “Macintosh at the GSA tour”.

Model of the Macintosh building at the GSA

The tour is about 45 minutes long. It was very focused on Charles Rennie Macintosh and his design of the old GSA building, which is currently in scaffolding, under restoration following a fire in 2014. Boards around the building site explain some of the GSA’s history. Restoration is expected to be finished and the old building reopened in 2019 – so it is on my bucket list to return, to see it once restored. The tour also looked at C.R.Macintosh’s art, and his later furniture design, along with some of his wife’s work, all within the GSA’s modern (2014) building, across the street from the C.R. Macintosh building.

GSA Macintosh building in scaffolding

After leaving the GSA, I headed towards the Kelvingrove, stopping in Kelvingrove park to eat some lunch. When I reached the Kelvingrove museum I found the fine central hall filled with music from its organ being played. I enjoyed looking round the galleries, especially the Glasgow Boys gallery which was very good, with several paintings there by my 2x great-grandfather, E.A.Walton. I also liked the gallery of work by the “Scottish Colourists” a lot, and a gallery of Joseph Crawhall’s work (who was one of the Glasgow Boys). Kelvingrove is definitely a place I’d like to spend more time looking round.

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 )
ELLIOTT 2 1
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
KEY 2
WALTON 2 4 4 2 2
HENDERSON 2 4 6 4 4 4  +3 gens
SWAIN 2 4
HART 2 1 (? 4 ) (? 2 ) (? 4 )
TWITE 2 3
MAWER 1 2
Total;
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 .

Using Note Apps for Genealogy

Last week I was looking at some of the “New Genealogy Blogs” highlighted by the GeneaBloggers blog.

The first post on one of the new blogs; Krista’s “The Great Ancestor Dig”, was all about how she uses the Evernote App for her genealogy research. She also linked to Colleen Greene’s website which has a series of posts about using Cover artEvernote for Genealogy. I was interested in this idea. I’ve used Evernote a little over the last couple of years, but hadn’t thought of using it particularly for genealogy before!

I have been thinking a little, recently, about upgrading my genealogy software. I currently have a very old version of Family Tree Maker. Partly with a trip to Scotland in the summer in my mind, I want something which will work on both Windows PC, and Android tablet/phone, and be accessible off-line, but which won’t automatically publish everything publicly on-line! I’ve looked at a few programs, and downloaded a couple of free trial versions. But nothing has yet struck me as being quite right!

So as a result of Krista’s blog post, I began to have a look at how I might use Evernote (or other similar note-taking apps) for this purpose. There is a wealth of material, articles, etc, out there about how people use apps like this for their genealogy. I soon found that Evernote wasn’t quite right for me, due to the use of its free account being limited to 2 devices! I might want to use it on 3 devices! But looking at the alternatives, I soon found that Evernote’s main competitor, Microsoft’s OneNote might Cover artwork for me. I would normally prefer the independent, open-source option! But the limits placed on using a free Evernote account drove me towards OneNote!

There is just as much online about people using OneNote for genealogy as there is about using Evernote. One great list of various articles is www.CyndisList.com/organizing/onenote/. I went through a number of the articles there, and decided to give OneNote a try. So I’ve just started putting some of my genealogy notes into OneNote notes.

I hunted online for any templates that I could use, to help me get started. And while I picked up a number of useful ideas (from advocates of both Apps), I didn’t find any template that I thought was quite right for me! I joined the “OneNote for Genealogy” Facebook group, hoping to find lots more ideas and advice about how to use the App. But I was disappointed by the relative lack of activity in that group!

So that means that for now, I’m starting with OneNote from scratch and trying to work out my own way of using it, incorporating some of the useful ideas that I’ve read about. How I use it will no doubt evolve and change over time, and at some point, when its more developed, I’ll try to write something more about how I use OneNote, and how I organise my genealogy notes with it.

Tagging images

Here is a useful tip which occurred to me, and I thought I would share it. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before!

Last night we had two ladies talking to my local Family History Society about their Local History projects in nearby villages, and how such projects could be helpful to people researching their family history in a location.

During the questions session at the end of the meeting, one of the ladies was demonstrating how she could find images/photos of particular people or subjects on her computer, because she had tagged her photos with the relevant names and key words. The penny dropped that I should be doing this; tagging my family history images, scans of old documents, etc.

06For a couple of years I’ve been tagging all my digital photos with useful details, subjects, names, places, etc, and I now have most of my digital photos tagged. Why haven’t I done the same thing with the old family documents, etc, that I’ve been scanning to post on to this blog? It’s something that I should be doing, which will make it much easier in future to search my computer to find images about a particular person, place, or subject.

Here’s a reasonable YouTube video that I’ve found, explaining the basics of what I’m talking about. This shows exactly the software and process that I use to tag photos. (Other methods and software are available).

The tags that I’ve used in posts onto this blog will a be useful guide as to what tags I’ll give to images that I’ve included in those posts.