Tracking down your ancestors is fun and if you think they might have come from South-West Scotland then there is plenty here to help you find them.
I first moved to Dumfries from Glasgow when I was 14 and as far as we knew we had no family connections to the town. It was only much later when I began researching my family tree that I discovered that my Granny was born here in 1889.. You’ll be surprised at what you find out!
But before you begin it’s important that you gather together as much of the information as possible to help you find out more and get the most from the resources available:
- Note down important names, dates and locations
- Think about where/when people lived, were educated or worked
- Look out copies of relevant birth, death and marriage certificates
- Talk to your family about anything they might know
- Look through heirlooms such as photographs or personal letters
Then go on-line at Scotland’s People www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk where you’ll find a wealth of material most notably, births, deaths, marriage and census records – all free to view (although you do have to pay if you want copies).
Once you have got some basic information why not come to the Dumfries, visit the region’s wonderful Archive Centre at the Ewart Library and do some hands on digging yourself.
The Ewart has masses of fascinating material including old parochial records (up to 1855) of births, deaths & marriages, graveyard inscriptions and burial records, indexed newpapers going back to the 18th century, valuation rolls (some medieval), sasines (documenting transfer of property), wills, poor records, kirk session records, trade directories, local maps and much more. www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/16940/family-history-and-genealogy to find opening hours and a fuller list of what is available.
Also in Dumfries is The Family History Centre which aims to promote the study of family history and is run entirely by helpful volunteers who are there to give you a hand with your quest. www.dgfhs.org.uk.
Maps are another useful resource. The National Library of Scotland (NLS) holds a vast collection from OS maps (c 1845 onwards) to estate plans (c 1700-1880) all available to view for free at www.maps.nls.uk/.
But beware, all this researching can become very absorbing. As I was putting this blog together I got side-tracked by the NLS site and spent a happy hour looking at old maps – for no particular reason other than pure interest and enjoyment.
If you’d like to come and find your own ancestors then the Flat is perfectly situated – just 10 minutes drive to the Archive Centre. Call Sue on 01387 770348 or email email@example.com to book