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Saturday, 21 May 2016

Learn about the pre-1855 Parish Registers of the Roman Catholic Church

Donna Maguire, archivist and records manager to the Bishops Conference of Scotland, is giving a talk on ‘The pre-1855 Parish Registers of the Roman Catholic Church'.

The talk takes place at the Corn Exchange and Ormiston Institute, Market Square, Melrose, TD6 9PN at 2.30pm on Sunday, 29th May. Map.

The talk will be preceded by Borders Family History Society's Annual General Meeting but that's usually over quickly.

I’m eagerly looking forward to this talk.
Donna is going to tell us about the Catholic registers for parishes that were founded before 1855, the six Scottish dioceses and the records of the Bishops Conference of Scotland and its agencies.

You may attend the talk and the AGM whether you are a member or not.
Doors open at 2pm; the AGM begins at 2.30pm.

Knowing how to find Catholic records is vital in family history, even if you think you have no Catholics in your family, you may be wrong, as I was, especially if you can’t find the birth of one or more your ancestors.

I suggest you go early to get a good seat.
They'll have a range of family history publications available to buy, and there’ll be light refreshments (donation expected) available after the talk.

 If you have a problem with your family history, please discuss it (no charge) with one of their volunteers.

The talk was previously advertised for last October but did not take place then due to illness.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Did You Have a Red Cross Volunteer in Your Family ?

At the outbreak of war in 1914, the Red Cross formed a Joint War Committee with the Order of St John, raised funds, organised volunteers and paid staff to provide equipment and services in the UK and the theatres of war. Everyone was trained in first aid, some trained in nursing, cookery, hygiene and sanitation.

Most of the women became nurses, initially in hospitals in Britain, but as the casualties mounted, more were sent overseas to casualty stations on or near the battlefield or to hospitals. Many people offered their houses as convalescent homes for the wounded or as auxiliary hospitals; some town halls and primary schools were used too.

There were over 3,000 auxiliary hospitals across the UK. They were staffed by a commandant, a quartermaster, a matron, a cook and nurses. Local GPs often volunteered for work in the hospitals in addition to their ordinary work. The nurses were all volunteers, often they were too young or old or had family commitments to serve full-time. Male volunteers usually drove or accompanied the ill or wounded to and from hospitals, many acted as stretcher-bearers, a lot were sent to France as ambulance drivers, some being wounded in enemy action.

Volunteers also collected clothing and books for soldiers in hospitals, raised funds, made bandages and splints, acted as cooks, store-keepers, worked in the offices and just as importantly, provided food and cigarettes to soldiers arriving by ambulance train. One of my great-aunts married a soldier she met on such duty.

A lot of people were displaced by the war, in 1915, volunteers started visiting hospitals looking for people who had been recorded as missing; work that the Red Cross is still involved in. By the end of the war in 1918, 90,000 volunteers had worked in the UK or abroad. There were lots of famous volunteers including Agatha Christie and Vera Brittain, perhaps some of your family were volunteers.

To find out, use the index of World War I Red Cross volunteers..

You can search by forename, surname, location or hospital or role.

Be careful when searching by location. I found that searching for Berwick-upon-Tweed found no results, for Berwick-on-Tweed there were 33 results, for Berwick there were 118 results including some in Sussex and those for Berwick-on-Tweed.

The initial search takes you to a search results page that shows name, county, date of engagement, age when engaged. Clicking on the name takes you to a detailed page about that person.

The information provided comes from record cards and may include name, address, age, character, service dates, hospital, rank, pay, duties, commission, honours awarded. Pictures of the cards are also included. Annoyingly, first names weren’t always recorded, some just gave initials.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Dorothy Young of the Greenses, Berwick; Who Emigrated to Canada

From Margaret Dougherty, a descendant of the Youngs of the Greenses:

My grandmother, Dorothy Young (1889-1967), set out from Berwick-upon-Tweed on her own for Canada as an 18-year old girl looking for adventure in September 1908. Perhaps you see something familiar in her features in this photo of her when she was about 30.
Dorothy Young (1889-1967)
Dorothy was the second eldest daughter of Robert Alexander Young (1854-1915) and Isabella Knox (1862-1937) of the Greenses. She originally went to Canada for a nanny position in small-town Ontario, but quickly grew bored with that, and for a time worked as a cook in a Northern Ontario lumber camp where she was the only woman, before settling in Montreal by 1911, where she worked as a servant. There, she was part of a circle of other Berwick immigrants, as I’ve found in news items in old issues of the Berwick Advertiser.

I have documented my grandmother’s lineage, which in addition to Young and Knox, includes Patterson/Pattison, Wedderburn/Weatherburn, Cowe, Clark, Melvin/Milvin, Edminson, Brack, Johnson, How and Spiers ancestors.

Dorothy returned to England in August 1915 to marry my grandfather, John Matheson, in London, while he was on a short leave from the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

They had met in Montreal, where John had emigrated in 1909 from Aviemore, Scotland. She remained in Berwick throughout the First World War, seeing my grandfather when he had leave. My mother, Isobel Young Matheson, was born in Berwick in May 1919. In August of that year, my grandmother and mother sailed for Montreal. Dorothy never returned to Berwick, but exchanged many letters with her mother and sisters.

I am still looking for any descendants of Dorothy’s siblings who stayed in England: Margaret Knox Young who married a distant cousin, George Young; Henry, Robert, William and Peter. Dorothy’s sisters Lizzie, Aggie and Izzie came to Canada as well, but Aggie and Izzie ultimately returned to Berwick, I believe.

After my mother died in 1979, we lost touch with her Berwick roots.
If you have any information about these, please add a comment below.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Celebrate Shakespeare with Ancestry's Free Access to Parish and Probate Records Today

Ancestry.co.uk are offering free access to their parish and probate records today (Saturday 23 April) to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

The collection includes 39,000 records from Roxburghshire, Scotland and 6,500 records from Selkirkshire from the early 1500s to the mid- to late-1800s, National Probate Index (Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories) for Scotland, 1876-1936.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Were Your Ancestors Fishermen in Berwick ?

Were your ancestors fishermen or their wives in Berwick ?
Were they involved with fishing, for example, selling fish, smoking fish, running a general store ?

Find out about families and their properties.

On Sunday, 17th April there’s a guided walk around the Greenses area of Berwick hearing stories of the fisher folk.

The walk will be led by Linda Bankier, Archivist, Berwick Record Office.

The walk is free and begins at 2.30pm.

This walk was over-subscribed last year and booking is essential –
ring Berwick Tourist Information Centre on 01670 622155 to book a place and find out the starting point.

Berwick 900 Family History Day - Saturday 16th April 2016 at Berwick-upon-Tweed - Updated Programme

Family History Day is almost upon us !

Building on the success of the Berwick 900 Family History Festival held on 3rd and 4th October last year, we’re holding a Family History Day from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 16th April 2016 at Berwick Town Hall, Marygate, Berwick-upon-Tweed. Map.

Like last year, it’s free and there will be exhibitors, talks, displays about the research carried out, talks, refreshments, one to one family history surgeries where you can find out how to start your family history or overcome a problem.

There’ll be activities for kids and their parents, and the opportunity to see the Burgon family tree – please bring along your research, birth and marriage certificates and see if you’re connected.

Exhibitors
Berwick Freemasons Lodge
Borders Family History Society
Lothians Family History Society
North East War Memorials
Northumberland Archives
Northumberland & Durham Family History Society
Scottish Borders Council Archives (Hawick Heritage Hub)
All the above exhibitors are keen to help you with your family history.

Jura Consultants and Spence & Dower - Proposals for Berwick Barracks

Talks Programme
10am Northumberland & Durham Family History Society – North Northumberland branch
11am Ralph Holmes – My Weird & Wonderful Family
12 noon Paul Jardine and Tina Gough – Berwick Barracks Re-awakened
1pm Linda Bankier – The Berwick 900 Our Families Project
2pm Bill Stewart - A Century of Boatbuilders in Berwick and Eyemouth
3pm David Pye – Berwick War Memorial – personal stories of soldiers

Family History Surgeries
20 minutes with a specific expert in a quiet room to discuss your family history problem or interest.

We now have a fully booked schedule of family history surgeries.
However, there might be a cancellation, so if you need help and none of the exhibitors can help you, please ask at the Welcome Desk.

Maltings Youth Theatre Dramas - A Step Back In Time (to 1911)
11am Part 1 - outside the Town Hall (weather permitting)
11.45am Part 2 inside the Town Hall (upstairs in the Court area)
12.30pm Part 3 - outside the Town Hall (weather permitting)

Posh ancestors in Berwick ?

Were your ancestors among the posh in Berwick ?

Find out about families and their properties.

On Friday, 15th April there’s a guided walk along Ravensdowne and Quay Walls in Berwick. Ravensdowne has lovely Georgian houses. 

The walk will be led by Linda Bankier, Archivist, Berwick Record Office.

The walk is free and begins at 2.30pm.

This walk was over-subscribed last year and booking is essential –
ring Berwick Tourist Information Centre on 01670 622155 to book a place and find out the starting point.