Any one with connections to Montrose may be interested in a new book, published by Montrose Basin Heritage Society, on the history of the town and surrounding area. It is the third history book produced by MBHS, and will be  officially launched on the 23rd October 2012. Called Vikings to Victorians - Eye-Witnesses to Montrose History, and retailing at £8.99, it will be available from both the MBHS and commercial retailers. More details can be found on the MBHS website, where their is also information about the two earlier books.

Previous jottings have reported on free access to the 1911 census for England and Wales on which is due to end on 2nd November. The Genes Reunited site is offering free access to transcriptions of the same census until 18th November, though you have to pay to view the images. You have to register first, but that too is free.

My last Jotting also said that was the only one of the findmypast group of sites not to offer a world subscription. That has now changed, and you can buy one here.

PS Shortly after uploading this note, I received an email announcing that has the same offer for the 1911 census as Genes Reunited.

Some new pages have been added to the TVFHS website in the last week.

In the public area, there is a Useful Links page, which I hope will really be useful - a link to it appears in The Society drop down menu. I am still adding to it and plan to have an index to the various sections at the top of the page.

In the private Members' Area, there are three new pages:

  • Registration Renewal, where current members can renew their subscription online at the reduced rate for prompt payment. If you do not already have a password to access the Members' Area, then you should request one by the end of November to make sure you receive it in time to re-register before the end of the year..
  • Out of Print Books. A number of books published by the Society, but no longer available in print form, can be downloaded (free) here. They contain some fascinating information about people, even if you are not connected to those mentioned.
  • Tay Valley Strays. A list of people who have wandered from their native Scotland to faraway places stretching from Jarrow to Auckland.

I hope they lead you to many interesting discoveries.

More news on free access to censuses on Ancestry.

All US Federal Censuses, 1790-1940, are free until midnight ET on 3rd September. Apologies for not getting this up sooner.

If this means the end of free access to the 1940 census, then it is still free on Family Search and

The free access to the 1911 census for England, Wales etc on is due to end on 2nd November. and have followed in providing a world wide subscripttion, but the original site,, still has access only to UK records.

The AGM was held in Abertay University on the evening of 15th August. About 30 members attended.

Murray Nicoll presented his Chairman's report and also read the Treasurer's report on behalf of Ron Thoms who could not be there.

Murray, Bob Sutherland (Deputy Chairman) and Ann Martin (Hon. Secretary) had all completed their terms of office. There were no nominations to fill these posts. To ensure continuity, Standing Orders require that these three senior office bearers should not all be replaced at one time. As Bob and Ann have other commitments which prevent them continuing, Murray agreed to carry on as Chairman; the other two posts remain vacant for the time being. Caroline Makein and and Ruari McNaught stood down as Members of Council, and the nominations of Constance Kinnear and Iain Naylor as Council Members were accepted. The Hon. President, The Earl of Strathmore & Kinghorne, and the Hon. Vice-Presidents, David Dobson and Doug Soutar, have agreed to continue in these positions. The meeting approved all of these appointments unanimously.

Mr Alan Beat has indicated that he does not wish to continue as Independent Examiner.

The present levels of subscriptions are to remain for another year.

The 200 Club draw was made.

At the conclusion of the formal Society business, Archie Lumsden gave a fascinating talk entitled "The Lumsden DNA Project". Archie outlined the origins of surnames and in particular where Lumsdens came from. He showed how Y-chromosome testing could determine whether men with the same surname were actually related. Other tests can determine to which haplogroup a person belongs - all those in one haplogroup are descended from an individual who lived many thousands of years ago. Testing of mitochondrial DNA, inherited by both women and men from their mother, also determines a person's haplogroup on the female line. The effects of invasions and human migration, e.g. due to the advance and contraction of the ice ages, can be seen in the distribution of haplogroups within geographical areas. The talk was awarded by a warm round of applause.

The meeting ended with a cup of tea and biscuits for those who did not rush home to watch "Who Do You Think You Are".


24 August 2012

The latest ScotlandsPeople newsletter has brought to notice some events of interest.

Those living in the Tay Valley area, particulalrly Angus, may be interested in the first Angus Heritage week which is taking place from 7th to 14th September 2012. Details can be found here. One of the events during the week is a Genealogy Fair at Hospitalfield House, Arbroath, on Friday 7 September. Details can be found on the ScotlandsPeople and Angus Heritage sites.

If you are closer to Edinburgh, there is a Family history session with ScotlandsPeople on Thursday 13 September, 9.30 am to 12.30pm,  at the ScotlandsPeople Centre, General Register House, Edinburgh. A brief presentation about the ScotlandsPeople Centre is followed with a taster session using the computer search system. To round off the event, there is another short talk about the records that are held in the Historical Search Room. Light refreshments (included in the ticket price) are provided during the session. There is a charge of £5.00 per place and seats must be booked and paid for in advance. For further information and to reserve a place, please call 0131 314 4300 (option 1) or email the ScotlandsPeople Centre at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For those of you in more distant parts, the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) is holding its annual conference from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 September 2012. The conference takes place at the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in Ottawa, and the main theme of this year's conference is tracing Scottish ancestors. As 70% of Canadians have Scottish ancestry, the conference might well resemble a gathering of the clans. To learn more about the conference, visit the BIFHSGO website.

If you visited the ScotlandsPeople webpage from the link in the first item, you may have noticed a link to a page about Scottish Olympians of the past. There are a variety of interesting stories, like the one about John Suttie Smith - the middle distance runner who trained by running up and down tenements in Dundee. He got little time off to compete in the 1928 Amsterdam games, just a long weekend. He finished work on Friday evening and started again on Wednesday morning. Changed days for most modern Olympians. Speaking of whom, commiserations to those overseas members whose adopted countries did not perform as well as expected. However, those of you who share our Scottish heritage can celebrate with us the success of the Scots medalists in Team GB.

In my last jottings, I noted that had free access to the 1940 US Census. Access is still free, but now the name index has been completed for the whole USA. Another "freebe", on, is full access (index and images) to the 1911 Census for England, Wales, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. This is for an unspecified limited time. The 1911 Scotland Census remains available online only at ScotlandsPeople.

BBC Radio Scotland's genealogy programme, Digging Up Your Roots, returns early next year. If you have an interesting story or brickwall relating to Scottish ancestors, the programme makers will be interested to hear from you. Contact details at If you live outside Scotland or even outside the UK, you will be able to listen to the programmes online, either at the time of broadcast or catch up during the following week.


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Our series of video talks continues with the next talk, the eigth, now available, with Q&A on 27th June, by our President, Mr Iain Flett. Details are on the Members' Noticeboard. This is on 'The Kirkmaister of Dundee'...

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:

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The Historian, Issue 122, June 2022

The Historian, Issue 122 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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