The Scotsman Digital Archive

The Scotsman first appeared on 25 January 1817 in Edinburgh and was published once a week. It upset the city establishment. Some people began surreptitiously obtaining copies so that they were not seen purchasing it and it was read behind closed doors. It was a liberal publication with rising readership. You can find a more detailed history of The Scotsman on their website.

The home page says “Here you can search every newspaper published between 1817 and 1950.” You can find a timeline on the home page that shows all the events covered in The Scotsman from 1817-2005. You can go into the timeline and read the articles that are mentioned on it.

It is free to search the digital archives but to view a page you will need to subscribe. The rates are quite reasonable starting at £7.95 for 24 hour access to £159.95 for a full year pass. You can view a sample page for free on the home page.

When you do your search you get a small clip of the page that really does not provide much information. You also get a relevance percentage which may help. On the side you get the date, section, page and word count. The first three items will help you create your citation for anything you find.

When you have found an article you want to view you have a couple of choices. You can show the full page or open the article. You can “add to clippings” to save the image on the website. You will still need to pay to see the clipping. When you use this option the article is clipped with information that reminds you why you clipped it, the date you clipped it and relevant information about the edition the clipping came from originally. They are stored in the Members Centre and can be accessed from anywhere. You also have the option of saving the article in PDF format.

One thing to remember while you are doing your search is the frequency of publishing. The Scotsman was published weekly from 25 Jan 1817 – 28 Dec 1822, twice weekly from 1 Jan 1823 – 29 Dec 1858 and daily from 1 Jan 1859 onwards. It has never been published on a Sunday.

They have a good search tips section so go in and read it ahead of time.

If you have nothing to do on a rainy afternoon why not go in and spend some time searching the Scotsman database. The cost for 24 hours access in Canadian dollars on today’s exchange rate is $13.00 not bad for an afternoon’s entertainment.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

A Vision of Britain Through Time

A Vision of Britain Through Time is a very interesting website. It is a snapshot of Britain from 1801 to 2001 and includes maps, statistical trends and historical descriptions.

Whenever I go to websites like this I put in Stalybridge in Cheshire. It is a small village and a good test for this kind of site. There is a small map showing its location in Cheshire. You have subtopics of location, historical writing, units and statistics, related websites and places names. There is a link to the website Ancestral Atlas.

Location provides a small map and an entry from John Bartholomew’s Gazetteer of the British Isles from 1887. There is a note that suggests the information for the modern district of Tameside should be examined. The area of Stalybridge has changed and this is where additional information may be found.

If you click on the map you are taken to a page with links for ten topographic maps, thirteen boundary maps and three land use maps. The first part of the page contains the links and then there is a table of the maps with more details, thumbnail pictures and links below. If you click on the thumbnails you get a larger searchable map.

Using the link to Tameside you get historical statistics such as population, industry, social class, learning and language, agriculture and land use, life and death, work and poverty, housing and roots and religion. These links are the most useful to the family historian.

You will find a boundary map, unit history and boundary changes and related higher and lower level units.

Back to Stalybridge under historical writing you find descriptive gazetteer entries and entries found in travel writing. Under travel writings you find an entry from John Wesley, 1744-45.

Under units and statistics you have election results for three constituencies for Stalybridge. You will find six different administrative areas for Stalybridge and historical statistics with the same topics as Tameside. If you click on the area you want to examine it takes you to another page. There is a note above the table to be careful as a unit may cover a town, village or larger surrounding area. Units with the suffixes of RD or RSD may exclude the place they are named after.

Related websites had one entry for Genuki with two links to different pages. Then there are links to other websites that have information that is geo-referenced and covers Stalybridge. I chose Flickr where you find some photographs relating to the general area of Stalybridge. They are modern photographs and provide a look at the village today.

Place names provide the different references for the village. There is a link to the travel writing or descriptive gazetteer where the place name is found. There is a listing of names found in administrative units which are associated with Stalybridge.

Other general topics include statistical atlas, historical maps, census reports, travel writing and learning resources. Statistical atlas contains the same topics found in Tameside under historical statistics but it is more general in nature. Historical maps contain maps from places such as England, Wales, Scotland, Great Britain and Europe.

Census reports cover the years 1801 to 1971. Each year contains different statistical information but it would be worth investigating to find out more about your geographical area of interest.

Travel writings cover England, Scotland and Wales. The works of James Boswell, Samuel Johnson and John and Charles Wesley, amongst others, can be found under this heading. The writings range from Gerald Wales description of Wales in the 1190s to George Borrow’s trip through Wales in 1854.

The last general topic is Learning Resources. Here you can view E-learning tutorials for agricultural changes, travelling, mapping boundaries, census taking and changing constituencies.

This website will provide family historians with a good idea of how their ancestors may have lived and the times in which they lived. The maps are a good resource to help you with your research and the notes on boundary changes are invaluable.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

Historic Hospital Records Database for London and Glasgow

The Historic Hospital Records database is the “home of 19th century children’s hospital records.” They provide historical background, academic resources and links to help with your research. A searchable database is also available. You can register for free and have access to more detailed information along with the ability to download and print the results of your searches.

The databases provide searchable Admission Registers for the following hospitals: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (London) 1852-1914, Cromwell House (London) 1869-1910, the Evelina (London) 1874-1877/1889-1902, Alexandra Hospital for Hip Disease (London) 1867-1895, Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Glasgow) 1883-1903.

You will find a section with general articles which includes an index. It provides background information on the subject of health and health care in Britain in the 19th century. Another useful tool is the Glossary of Medical Terms to help you understand the medical terms found in the records.

For those with connections to London and Glasgow it is well worth searching these databases to see if any children can be found in their records.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

Robbie Burns Day

Today celebrations are going on throughout Scotland and the around world in honour of the 252nd birthday of Robbie Burns.

Robbie Burns is known as “Scotland’s favourite son” and “The Bard.” He is Scotland’s favourite poet and wrote in the Scots language. It is on this day that we have a wee dram, a piece of haggis and remember Robbie Burns.

I remember going to the local British shop and buying a haggis for my Grandmother. She loved it and they had small ones in a freezer. You can now buy haggis in a can and with different flavours such as curry. There is no problem if you do not eat meat because there is a vegetarian version. I wonder what Robbie Burns would think of that turn of events.

Haggis was peasant food in Scotland. The wealthy got the best parts of the beast and the rest went to those who could not afford anything more. They got creative by making a filling and nutritious meal to feed their families.

Haggis contains oatmeal, mutton suet, lamb or venison liver, sheep heart, liver and kidney, an onion and some spices. These are all minced and put together in a sausage casing then boiled 4-5 hours.

Traditionally Haggis is served with tatties and neeps (potatoes and turnips) and a shot of whiskey.

Happy Burns Day everyone!

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

Happy Hogmany!

Happy Hogmany everyone!

Hogmany is the Scottish word for the last day of the year and it is the start of what can end up being a three day party.

A tall dark man is supposed to be the first person to cross the threshold into a home in the New Year. They bring coal, salt and other items to bring luck to the family of the house.

The traditional song for this time of year is Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne* ?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
and gie’s a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.


This version of the song came from Wikipedia and you can find out more about the history of Auld Lang Syne here.

If you are interested in finding out more about the history of Hogmany in Scotland look here.

All the best for 2011!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7