New Melrose one-place study site, and blog moving too

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I’ve just created a new Melrose one-place study site, to give a more structured and organised version of my online resources. It is a WordPress-based site, and the blog has also been moved to be part of the new site directly. Though copies of the old blog posts will also remain on the old blog site, but no new posts will be made there.

Please visit the new site and feel free to sign up for the new blog there to continue to receive new Melrose one-place study blog posts. If you click on “Blog” at the top of the new site (or just go here) you will be taken to the blog posts directly, and can subscribe from there.

Thank you!

Slides for talk about Melrose regality court in 17th century – a well used Scottish local court

Just put online slides from a talk I gave about 17th century Melrose some years ago.

Viv's Academic Blog

I’ve been spending much time in the last week in the 17th century, transcribing a lengthy poem about a corrupt court judge at Melrose in the 1680s. Doing that reminded me of the talk I gave in September 2013, at the conference of the Economic and Social History Society of Scotland, held in Inverness. I thought it would be nice if I put the PowerPoint slides from that online, so have done that – link here. It was a 20-minute talk, as is usual for academic conferences, so I was limited in how much I could say. But I covered a lot in the time allowed.

My talk was titled “Glimpses into a time of turmoil: examining the regality court records of Melrose, Roxburghshire, 1657-1706”, and was based on the dissertation for my taught MPhil degree at Dundee. I studied the voluminous local court records for Melrose regality…

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Major update to Melrose WW1 soldiers list

Today I’ve uploaded a new version of my list of Melrose WW1 servicemen. This is a major update, adding over 100 names of new soldiers to the list, taking the total to nearly 350. Significant numbers of soldiers who were born in Melrose but lived and enlisted elsewhere have been added, as well as new soldiers from and in Melrose itself. In addition new information has been found out about many of the previously known soldiers.

The online list will continue to be updated over the coming years. The next goal is to incorporate the names of the soldiers recorded in the town’s Roll of Honour in the Ormiston Institute. I hope to collect these names later in 2016, and add them later this year, or more likely in 2017. And I would also research any extra names, to find out as much as possible. This Roll of Honour includes men who survived as well as those who died. Though it will omit many who had moved away from Melrose, but were originally from the town.

Smallpox references in Roxburghshire, from my one-place study and personal family history

Just blogged about references to smallpox in Roxburghshire records, and in particular in Melrose records. Both parish registers and memoirs of a childhood inoculation at Toftfield near Darnick, probably in the 1780s.

Viv's Ancestry Blog

Reading a recent blog post by Emma Maxwell of Scottish Indexes re finding smallpox references in unusual places reminded me of some references to smallpox I’ve seen in my genealogical research.

Firstly from my Melrose one-place study the Melrose parish registers include a burial register from 1781 onwards which includes causes of death, including many cases of smallpox.

Melrose burials registerNames, addresses and ages at death are also given. The pre-1820 Melrose parish registers have been transcribed and indexed, and a PDF version of the resulting Scottish Record Society book is readily downloadable from archive.org. I intend to analyse these burial registers more fully soon as part of my one-place study, including analysing the causes of death as given.

I also have a nice reference to smallpox from my own family history. In his memoirs my distant uncle Andrew Usher (1782-1855) who founded the whisky distilling dynasty in Edinburgh recalled his smallpox…

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1911 excavation report of Trimontium Roman fort available freely online

Although this one-place study focuses on the period with documentary evidence that can be studied and transcribed, especially before 1820, there is also an interest in the wider chronological history of Melrose and the surrounding area. And that includes extending far back in time before documentary evidence is available.

One of the most famous sites in the Melrose area is the Roman fort of Trimontium, which was excavated in the early 20th century. There is now a permanent Trimontium museum in the town, and the Trimontium Trust promotes the site and its history.

So I’m pleased to be able to say that the 1911 excavation report for Trimontium is available freely online. See here, in particular the link to the PDF page. PDFs of individual chapters are available, or a single 400+ page PDF of the whole book can be downloaded.

Pulling out list of RHP plans for Melrose parish from NRS catalogue

I’ve been using the National Archives of Scotland (previously Scottish Record Office) online catalogues for many years. Now it’s part of the National Records of Scotland, and I’ve just been trying some more catalogue searches, and found something new for me. The NRS has lots of plans for places in Scotland in the past, including maps, sketch plans of places, and architectural plans. And these seem to be largely tagged by place.

Searching for the place tag for Melrose parish finds 228 of these RHP maps and plans, from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Check out the list to see if any might concern your ancestors, depending on when and where they lived. Contact the NRS for further information on accessing these records, including arranging photocopies or digital copies.

First working list of Melrose WW1 servicemen online

I’ve previously announced a WW1 project associated with the Melrose one-place study.

The working list of servicemen traced has now been put online. This will grow over time, especially after I have a chance to study the Roll of Honour of 454 serving Melrose men that is held in the Ormiston Institute. This Roll of Honour includes men who lived as well as those who died. In this first working version of the servicemen list relatively more men who died than lived are included. This should change over time.

To see the list, and please remember that it will be updated, see here.