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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Reduced Prices on 1841, 1851, 1861 Census Transcriptions at Borders Family History Society and Northumberland & Durham Family History Society

There was little welfare available before the 20th century, so people had to find work and that might have entailed moving.

Agricultural workers were usually hired at a hiring fair for 6 months, re-hiring by the same farmer could not be relied upon.

Workers might hear that a different farmer was a better employer or they might discover that the parish they lived in was an ungenerous provider of welfare so it made sense to move, if they could.

If you have ancestors in Berwick or North Northumberland, they may well have lived or worked in Scotland, too, most probably in the Scottish Borders, with Berwickshire and Roxburghshire being the most likely counties.

Borders Family History Society have a special offer on most of the 1841, 1851, 1861 Census Transcription booklets they sell but extremely limited stocks at the special offer reduced prices.

More details on their Publications Sales List.

Northumberland & Durham Family History Society are also advertising special offers on Northumberland and County Durham Census Indexes.

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.