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The Scottish Association of Family History Societies

Patron: Dr Joseph J Morrow, Lord Lyon King of Arms
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Family History Discovery Day
A Family History Discovery Day will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:Edinburgh on 10th October 2015.

Registration 8.30-9.30am, welcome 9.30-9.45am and presentations start 10.00am.

Programme outline:
  Roots Tech 2015 video recordings
  Your Family Tree: Drop in and make a start
  Family History, How do I begin? New to family history
  Adding Memories to your Family Tree: photos, stories, documents and audio
  Cemetery Records Coming Alive Billion-Graves, Find-A-Grave
  Tracing Military Ancestors
  Where there’s a will: Wills and Testaments
  ScotlandsPeople and other records of the National Records of Scotland
  Indexing Makes Records Searchable Online:watch how and have a go

There will also be Society displays and children's activities.

Crawford Family Convention
A Crawford Family Convention will be held on Saturday May 7th 2016 at the George Hotel, 19-21George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PB for the purpose of electing a person to be appointed by the Lord Lyon as Clan Commander of the Crawford Family, as the first step towards the appointment of a Clan Chief.

The Convention will be held under the supervision of Mrs. Yvonne Holton, Dingwall Pursuivant, representative of Lord Lyon.

Membership of the Convention will be restricted to members of the Crawford family or those with a significant connection to the family. Invitations to the Convention have been sent out to a number of members of the Crawford family.

In the absence of an invitation, applications for membership of the Convention should be made to the Vice-President of the Clan Crawford Association, Dr. Joanne Crawford ( by March 7th 2016. Late applications may be accepted at the discretion of the Vice-President.

Scottish Records Association Conference - On the Move
Scottish Records Association Conference - On the Move: Researching the lives of Scottish migrants and immigrants to Scotland. The A K Bell Library, Perth. (Scottish Records Association)

Fife Grave Stones Conference, 14 November 2015, Kirkcaldy
Gravestones and graveyards offer fascinating insights into past lives and the ways in which different societies have dealt with death and burial over the years. The sixth Fife Grave Stones Conference which takes place in Kirkcaldy on 14th November brings together half a dozen experts whose insights are guaranteed to be informative, thought provoking and entertaining.

This year’s speakers and their topics include Dr. Margaret Bennett: ‘Regional variations in Scottish burial customs’, Martyn Gorman: ‘For the security of the dead’, Dr. Richard Fawcett: ‘Scottish Medieval Canopied Tombs’, Thomas Elliott: ‘Scotland’s Epidemics’; and Frank Hay & Len Saunders: ‘The Briggers – Forth Bridge casualties’.

In addition to the talks, there will be an exhibition where a dozen stallholders will be offering books, CDs and other relevant products for sale.

The conference takes place at Kirkcaldy Auld Kirk, Kirk Wynd, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1EH on Saturday 14 November, from 10.00 a.m. till 4.00 p.m. The cost for the day, which includes lunch and coffee as well as attendance at the talks, is only £15. To book a place, please contact Anne McIntyre, 73 Harcourt Road, Kirkcaldy KY2 5HF. Please make out cheques to Kirkcaldy Civic Society. For further details phone 01337-831403 or email or go to

The event, which has taken place every 2-3 years since 2004, is organised by Kirkcaldy Civic Society and Fife Family History Society, with support from Fife Council and Crosbie Matthew Funeral Directors.

At the SAFHS AGM on Saturday 7 March 2015, Bruce Bishop stood down after 8 years as Chairman. His service to SAFHS was acknowledged by the representatives in attendance, but you will be pleased to know he isn’t actually leaving the SAFHS Executive, and has taken on the post of Publications Manager.

The new Chairman of SAFHS is Janet M Bishop (ASGRA and AGRA representative). Janet has been a member of the SAFHS Executive for almost 9 years, during which time she has been Editor of the SAFHS Bulletin. For the time being, Janet will continue as Editor until a replacement can be found.

The Executive now comprises:
    Chairman: Janet M Bishop
    Deputy Chairman: Stephen Benson
    Hon Secretary: Kenneth Nisbet
    Hon Treasurer: John W Irvine
    Publications Manager: Bruce B Bishop

At the SAFHS Council Meeting on Saturday 7 March 2015, Council agreed, on the recommendation of the SAFHS Executive Committee that, with immediate effect the SAFHS Bulletin will go out electronically.

There will still be a short print run of hard copy for distribution publicly outwith SAFHS, but from this coming edition in April, all societies will receive the Bulletin by email, which will allow them to pass this on to all their members, something strongly encouraged by the SAFHS Executive.

The Bulletin is also available to download or read on the SAFHS website.

This is partly a cost-saving measure, which has allowed the Executive to avoid an increase in subscriptions for the foreseeable future.

Survey of Graveyard Recording and MI Publication
At the last meeting of the National Committee on Carved Stones in Scotland, I was asked to survey the SAFHS Membership with regard to their recording, archiving and publishing of Monumental Inscriptions. This follows the suggestion for a similar survey of English and Irish MI recording, which is still in progress. Progress is well under way in Scotland to complete the surveying of the over 3500 burial grounds identified in the SAHS Graveyard Survey.

Responses have been received from 12 Societies, and from 5 other organisations involved in the recording of Monumental Inscriptions.

The SAFHS Burial Ground Inventory compiled in 2008-2009 revealed that there are 3531 burial grounds in Scotland a further 12 additional sites have been added to the list.

Many of the earlier recordings, dating from the 1980’s and earlier, record the inscriptions in abbreviated form, with no attempt being made to standardise the abbreviations. Most of the more recent recordings will comprise a full transcription, often some comments on the tombstone itself, and in more and more cases there is also a photographic records. Almost all publications contain a site plan in some form. Some groups records War Memorials, especially where these are situated within the burial ground.

Some recording groups do not attempt to clean the stones in line with current methodologies, and only record the clearly visible sections of each tombstone. Only three of the groups which responded research and record buried tombstones in line with the current methodologies.

Publication of the results is usually in booklet format, although some groups are now using CD format, especially where photographs are included.

Of the 3543 sites across Scotland, the inscriptions in 2587 have been published, there are 475 unpublished records, usually where the site is too small to warrant its own publication, or where the transcriptions are in the process of being checked. Work is known to be in progress on 71 sites across Scotland. This shows us that out of the total of 3543 sites. Some 3133 have either been completed or are currently being researched.

Sadly some of the earlier MI publications are now out of print, but most Family History Societies hold a collection of MI books in their own library, generally comprising their own publications and also others of possible local interest. The societies which have informed SAFHS that they have regular opening hours and welcome researchers to their libraries include:
    Aberdeen and North East Scotland FHS
    Borders Family History Society
    Family History Society of Buchan
    Buckie & District Fishing Heritage Centre
    Dumfries and Galloway Family History Society
    Lanarkshire Family History Society
    North Perthshire Family History Group
    The Scottish Genealogy Society
    Shetland Family History Society
    Tay Valley Family History Society
    East Ayrshire Family History Society
    Highland Family History Society
    Largs and North Ayrshire Family History Society
    Lothians Family History Society
    Orkney Family History Society
    Renfrewshire Family History Society
    Troon @ Ayrshire Family History Society

The Scottish Genealogical Society Library in Edinburgh holds 2359 MI publications, and has on file the unpublished inscriptions for a further 345 sites. National Records of Scotland has 849 published MI books in its Library Collection, mostly in the Dundas Room in New Register House. Obviously there is considerable duplication between these two collections. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) also has numerous MI books in its own collection, but a figure for this collection is not available.

This brief survey suggests that the Monumental Inscription is all but 412 burial grounds throughout Scotland have been recorded, in some way, at various times up to the present day. If Family History Societies know of sites which have not been recorded, it may be a good idea to do these in the relatively near future. Maybe a target of the year 2020, to complete all of the Scottish Burial Grounds, may be worthy of consideration.

Bruce B Bishop
8 March 2015

32nd International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences
The 32nd International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from Wednesday 10 August until Saturday 13 August 2016.

This is the most prestigious congress in our field, organised under the auspices of the Academie Internationale de Genealogie and the Academie Internationale d'Héraldique. It is a biennial event, dedicated to topics of heraldic and genealogical interest, and bringing together scholars and other interested persons from around the world.

Recent Congresses have been held in St Andrews (2006), Quebec (2008), Stuttgart (2010), Maastricht (2012) and Oslo (2014). The Oslo Congress programme is still available online, and will give a favour of the event (

Register your interest for Glasgow 2016 at - more Programme details will emerge, and there will be a Call for Papers on the theme of "Origins and Evolution".

For the first time, students of Genealogy and Heraldry will be encouraged to offer Poster Presentations.

Dr Bruce Durie

Population Explosion
With grateful thanks to all contributors, a new set of Pre-1841 Population Lists has been prepared and uploaded to the SAFHS website.

The catalogue, now with more than 600 entries, covers the whole of Scotland, and ranges from population lists for Anstruther, Fife, from 1578-1583 through to ‘Heads of Household’ and ‘Lists of Inhabitants’ from the 1830’s, and later.

Click here or select Pre-1841 Population Lists from the sidebar menu.

National Records of Scotland - Estates Review
National Records of Scotland have published more information regarding their current Estates Review, in it they say “Although there are no immediate plans for NRS to move out of General Register House or New Register House, these buildings do not feature in our core estate over the long-term.”

Click here to read the full statement.

1911 Census for Scotland
The 1911 Census for Scotland taken on the the 2nd of April 1911, was made available for Family historians on the 5th of April 2011.

One of the unique bits of information on the 1911 Census which has not been seen on previous census is the Fertility information this shows for a married couple the number of children both living and deceased from that marriage.

The pages have also been digatised in colour for the first time, they became available from the 5th of April both at the Family History centre in Edinburgh and on the Scotland's People web- site.

You cannot scroll through an entire district, only the enumeration district, or institution you have gone into, whereas in previous census you could go through an entire district by going forwards or backwards and paying the appropriate number of credits. With this census you would have to find an entry in each enumeration district and then go forwards or backwards. An example would be Nairn Parish, which has 13 enumeration districts or Cawdor Parish, which has 6. This is relevant to those persons doing local history projects or for doing the history of a street where the street might fall within 2 enumeration districts. The Free Headers will give you a description of the enumeration district and can be found on page 2 of the header.

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