Saturday 10 November 2012

Hawick Heritage Hub - ScotlandsPeople access

At the last meeting a question was asked about the ScotlandsPeople computer system and where access may now be possible in Scotland. The system has been accessible for a while at Edinburgh (obviously!), but also at the Mitchell Library  in Glasgow and the Burns Monument Centre in Kilmarnock. There was something of a question mark about the Heritage Hub at Hawick (, in that there was a Government announcement about this gaining access in June, and Fiona Hyslop was there for a launch, etc. All then seemed to go quiet for a bit and I was told by one person that this had been a bit of a pre-announcement and that they weren't quite ready!

However, I have just contacted them to ask what the situation is currently, and now have an update. The system is available at Hawick - but only on Thursdays and Fridays. It is actually even more restrictive than that, in that you can only gain access via two sittings between 9.30pm - 12pm, and then 2pm - 4.30pm (closed for lunch apparently). You can pay £15 for access to the morning session, and if the computer is free in the afternoon, you can continue to use it after it opens again. If booked for the afternoon, you lose your spot. If you choose to book an afternoon session only, it will still cost you £15. This is considerably less favourable access than Glasgow and Kilmarnock.

One other thing to note about the system outside of Edinburgh is that it does not include access to the digitised Roman Catholic records from the SCA, and from memory I think the records of Arms may also be missing (best to check in advance on that one!).

I was informed by a student the other night that Falkirk also had access - however, I called the archive there a couple of days ago and they denied all knowledge.

If anyone is aware of access being granted elsewhere in the country, please let me know and I will happily share the information.


Friday 9 November 2012

Matheson Dome closure at ScotlandsPeople Centre

From Monday December 3rd the ScotlandsPeople Centre's Matheson Dome is to be closed permanently to public access. The centre's website ( states that "All access to the Search Rooms in General Register House from the archivist's garden will be via the ramped west side entrance".

(With thanks to Chris Halliday @Scotsgen)

Sunday 4 November 2012

Beyond 2011: Alternatives to the Census

The Beyond 2011: Alternatives to the Census initiative was mentioned at our meeting in Largs yesterday. Essentially the Government has already signalled that it believes the traditional method for gathering the census has reached its natural end, citing the high costs for carrying out a decennial census. It is now looking for alternatives across the UK for the forthcoming exercise for 2021. A general page on this is for the situation across the UK is available on the NRS's GRO page at

The ONS in England has cited eight possible examples of what might replace the current set up down south, which it has outlined at In summary:

Census options
Option 1: Full Census
Option 2: Short and Long Form Census
Option 3: Short Form Census plus continuous survey
Option 4: Rolling Census

Survey options
Option 5: Address register plus survey

Administrative data options
Option 6: Administrative data - aggregate
Option 7: Administrative data - full linkage
Option 8: Administrative data - partial linkage

There's a Scottish event for genealogists to provide an input on the morning of November 8th 2012 at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh - full details at Applicants were asked to register by October 19th if they wished to attend, but God loves a trier - if you are interested in joining in, it might be worth trying to register late!

Welcome to the Scottish Genealogy Network blog

Welcome to the new Scottish Genealogy Network blog!

The Scottish Genealogy Network was first established at a meeting in the Hand and Flower Pub in London's Kensington district, when a group of independent Scottish based genealogists met up for a drink whilst attending the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show in London in February 2012. So useful did they find it as a means to get to know each other, and to share experiences, that they decided it would be a crime to make it a one off event.

Since then, the group has continued to meet on a monthly basis and to expand its membership - and it is still on the hunt for new members. If you work professionally within the Scottish genealogy industry, or in an associated discipline such as an archive or as a librarian, we would love to see you!

The next meeting will be held in Glasgow on Saturday December 8th 2012, and we hope will include an archive visit. Further details will be announced in due course, but if you would like to attend, please contact us via scotsgenenet @