Members are reminded that the Annual General Meeting of the Tay Valley Family History Society will be held in the University of Abertay, Room 3004, Bell Street, Dundee on Wednesday, 21st May, 2014 at 7.15 pm.

Following the meeting there will be a talk by Forbes Inglis on Murders and Misdeeds - a tale of murders and public hangings in Dundee and Angus between 1765 and 1900. Forbes Inglis is a freelance writer based in Montrose. He has a wide range of writing interests and his work, both text and photographs, has appeared in newspapers and magazines in the UK, the USA and Australia.  In his home town, he contributes to the Montrose Review Gable Ender column and to Montrose FC match programmes. In addition, he is the author of three books: Phantoms and Fairies: Tales of the Supernatural in Angus and Dundee (2010); The Sea Enriches: A Gable Ender's Trawl Through Time, (2012); Murders & Misdeeds: Angus and Dundee 1765-1900 (2013).

It promises to be a most interesting evening.

SAFHS Conference 2014

A final reminder that the 25th Annual Conference of The Scottish Association of Family History Societies takes place in Dunfermline next Saturday, 26th April, 2014.  The theme is A Matter of Life and Death.

The associated Family History Fair opens to the public at 9.30 am. While attendance at the main conference lectures is restricted to registered delegates, there are a number of talks which can be booked on the day – the conference programme can be downloaded here.

22 April 2014

Here in the northern hemisphere, days are now getting longer than nights and, in Europe, daylight saving comes into effect this weekend (a couple of weeks behind North America), lengthening daylight in the evenings even more. With longer days and better weather (we hope), outdoor events for the Year of Homecoming Scotland 2014 are getting under way.

Tartan Day Scotland 2014

Tartan Day is celebrated around the world and marks the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath at Arbroath Abbey on 6th April 1320. Many consider that this historical occasion sowed the seeds of modern day democracy and the document was used as a basis for the American Declaration of Independence. On the 6th, there will be a medieval encampment in the Abbey grounds where visitors will be able to enjoy various craft demonstrations including calligraphy, a working forge, medieval combat and juggling. At 12.30, massed Angus Pipe Bands will lead a parade from Arbroath’s Kirk Square to the Abbey.

Also taking place on Sunday 6 April is Angus Heritage’s Tayroots Family History Day in the Webster Memorial Theatre, 64 High Street, Arbroath, DD11 1AW, from 10am to 4.30pm, admission free. TVFHS is one of the organisations which will have a stand. There are also a number of talks for which places should be booked in advance – for more details click here.

To celebrate Tartan Day, Angus Council has arranged a festival of events from 5th to 13th April, with a ceilidh on the 4th April, the eve of the festival. They take place indoors and outdoors. To find out more, go here or download a leaflet here

Digging Up Your Roots

Digging Up Your Roots is BBC Radio Scotland’s family history programme. It is to return during the Commonwealth Games (23rd July to 3rd August) with a one-off hour-long programme looking at the Scottish diaspora. We have received an email from the programme’s producer, Rhona Brudenell. She said:

I wonder if your Family History Society members can help please? We are looking to feature a number of stories of people who have researched their family history and uncovered interesting tales of Scots who left their homeland to seek new lives elsewhere (in particular for this programme to countries which are now part of the Commonwealth).  Or perhaps you have members who live overseas and their family history research brought them back here to Scotland? Either way, we would love to hear from you!

Her direct contact details are: Tel:   01224 384881; Email:  rhona.brudenell (at) (change (at) to @ and leave out spaces).

Who Do You Think You Are? Live Scotland

An offshoot of the popular BBC Television genealogy programme Who Do You Think You Are? has  been the WDYTYA Live family history shows. As part of the Year of Homecoming celebrations, the event will take place outside London for the first time at the SECC in Glasgow from Friday 29th to Sunday 31st August, 2014. See where more details will appear.

The Muriel Sheldon Award is presented annually to the authors of the best articles appearing in The Tay Valley Historian of that year. For the fourth year running, the winners have been selected by Fife writer, Barbara Millar. The top articles from the 2013 issues have a common factor – jute.

The number one position has gone to Stuart Hay for his article on the life of a distant relative, William Westwood. From Hawkhill to the House of Lords appeared in the June edition. William, born in 1880, started his working life in the jute industry in Dundee before moving on to a variety of other occupations. He became active in the trade union movement and the Labour Party and his administrative skills in supporting the World War II Coalition Government led to him being created Baron Westwood of Gosforth – he had moved to the North of England with his second wife.

Jute also figures in the article which has been awarded second prize, Flax and Jute: Dundee and Angus, Ron Scrimgeour’s piece in the February issue. Ron’s comprehensive history initially takes us back to Biblical times to explain the origins of textile terminology in the Middle East. He then switches emphasis to the development of the flax and jute industries in Dundee and Angus, focusing particularly on the efforts of William Baxter and Peter Carmichael.

The third article, again from the June edition, is The Forgotten Grey Lady of Dundee by Suzanne Zeedyk. The article is about Mary Lily Walker who spent her life making life better for the families of the jute workers in Dundee’s slums. She became the founder of Scotland’s first infant health service, instigator of Dundee’s first women’s hospital, author of a ground-breaking report on the health of the city’s children and one of the first two women elected to serve on Dundee’s parish council. She also founded the Grey Lodge settlement in 1888, the community centre she bequeathed in her will to the city of Dundee. Suzanne has requested that her prize be donated to The Mary Lily Walker Project.

Congratulations to the winners and our thanks to all the contributors to the Journal throughout the year. Special thanks to Barbara for agreeing to adjudicate the competition yet again. Her full adjudication can be found in the February 2014 issue of the Historian. Members who would like to read the winning articles again, but have mislaid their copies, can login and download the issues at

3 March 2014.

The Research Centre will be closed on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th March, 2014, in order to rearrange the layout and redecorate some areas.

A floor plan of the new layout will be posted in the Centre

4 March 2014

Dundee City Council website has the following announcement:

Albert Street/Princes Street/Victoria Street closed from Lyon Street to Blackscroft and Dens Road to Princes Street for electricity/telecommunications/resurfacing works from Monday 3 March for 3 weeks.
Works to be carried out in separate phases.

The last comment suggests that the three streets may not all be closed at the same time. Closing Princes Street and Victoria Street at the same time would cause major disruption to traffic to and from the east along Arbroath Road.

For the latest news on the closures, go to Dundee City Council website.

For information on bus services affected by these road closures, go to National Express Dundee or Stagecoach East Scotland (and select Dundee in the dropdown menu).

17 February 2014

Further Update

Monday 24th  March - Victoria Street (Arbroath Road to Dens Road) remains closed for up to one week - see Dundee City Council website and National Express Dundee.

24 March 2014

 Latest News

Webmaster's Jottings 03-10-2021 When contacting centre

 Tay Valley Family History Society continues our series of online talks for our members, of which this is the sixth, with a double-bill! This two-part talk is by Ron Scrimgeour, previously Deacon of the Weavers' Incorporation of Dundee. The Wark o the Weavers Part One is at and Part Two is at

Part One gives a tour through the history and development of weaving in the areas of Dundee, Angus, Perthshire and North-East Fife, and the links with elsewhere, in particular Bengal. It tells how jute came to be so important here. Part Two gives much about the people involved with the Weavers' Trade, and the circumstances of their lives.

There is a Q&A zoom on this one, for which registration is available on our Members Noticeboard. Passed talks are also available on the Members Noticeboard. For access to this, you will be required to use your members access password to log in.

 Also, here is a video from David Dobson, our vice-president, promoting his new book on doing Family History, entitled "Scottish Genealogy: The Basics and Beyond". This is also on Youtube so you can view it at this link:

Doors Open Days 2022 - Continue Reading

The Historian, Issue 121, February 2022

The Historian, Issue 121 eJournal has been uploaded to the website (Members Section) and will be sent out to those who have requested the electronic version. We have been experiencing problems with our outgoing email, specifically btinternet addresses. If you do not received it shortly, please email [email protected].

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