North Highland Archive
Newsletter 16 Spring 2003
New Archivist for the North Highland Archive!
The beginning of February saw the arrival of Phil Astley as the new
North Highland Archivist. Phil has made the short hop across the
Pentland Firth from Orkney where he was Assistant Archivist for eight
years. During his spell in the Northern Isles, Phil undertook the
Society of Archivists’ Postgraduate Diploma in Archive Administration
and established a strong working relationship with the Hudson’s Bay
Company Archives in Winnipeg, Canada, where he worked for two months in
the summer of 2001. He is looking forward to working closely with local
heritage groups and developing the role that the Archive has to play in
the wider community. Phil, his wife Doreen and their 18 month old twins,
Lauren and Andrew, will be living in Lybster.
Thanks to Gail!
Now that staffing levels are back up to full strength, Gail Inglis is to
be congratulated for “holding the fort” so capably during the interim
Network Computer Goes “Live”
NORTH HIGHLAND ARCHIVE
Wick Library, Sinclair Terrace, Wick, KW1 5AB
The North Highland Archive has
become the most recent recipient of a computer system granted by the
Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) project. The system is now “live” and
available for public use in the archive material in Scotland by ensuring
that each of its 52 participating archives are equipped with a
state-of-the-art Internet-ready PC, which will provide visitors to
Scottish archives with access to a wide range of Scottish and historical
information via the project’s website, which can be found at
launched on 30 November 2000, the website also grants users free access
to a knowledge base of Scottish history covering such diverse topics as
shipbuilding, witchcraft and emigration.
Regular users will be aware that the Archive was closed to the public
for three weeks between 31st March and 22nd April for our first ever
stock-check. It was a resounding success, enabling the records in
the strong-room to be placed in a more logical order, thereby making
them more accessible, while the public searchroom has also undergone
something of a minor ‘face-lift’. We would like to express our
gratitude for everyone’s patience during the time that we were closed
and are confident that any short term inconvenience will be made up for
in long term benefits for the Archive and its users.
As always, we are extremely grateful to our dedicated band of volunteers
engaged on their various projects:
Garry Robertson continues to plough her way through
the Northern Ensign births, marriages and deaths, and has now reached
1870. Thanks also go to Glynis MacKay and Frank Campbell at Rhind House
for their continued work in typing-up Garry’s work. Margie Miller
soldiers ‘womanfully’ on with the Tongue and Farr parochial records,
undaunted by the scale of the task. Daniel Parsons has been continuing
with the indexing of the 1861 census, and appreciates more than ever
what a big parish Latheron is! Peter Bruce has been sorting the recently
deposited Reay Parish Church Records, while Harry Gray has been busy
with the scissors and Pritt-Stick compiling the local history files from
the various newspapers.
Second Caithness Heritage Fair
Following the success of the first event two years ago, the weekend of
the 4th and 5th October 2003 will see the Second Caithness Heritage Fair
held at the Assembly Rooms in Wick. This celebration of the culture and
heritage of the county will be a memorable occasion, so be sure to keep
that date free in your diary and watch out for forthcoming promotional
Among the more notable items to de deposited are the following:
P450: Copy of an account (dated 4th March 1850) of sums of money
expended by W.J.J.A. Sinclair of Freswick in improvements on the estate
of Freswick, covering improvements at Dunbeath, Freswick, Duncansby,
Stroma and West Greenland. Deposited by Dr. Eric Voice of Thurso.
P454: Two boxes of fascinating
correspondence, legal and miscellaneous papers relating to the
administration of Reay Parish Church. Deposited by Una Vivers, Reay.
P456: Donald Bain MacKenzie family
photographs and papers together with printed material regarding
Freemasonry. Deposited by Jessie Gunn MacKenzie, Toronto.
Top Ten Websites for Local and Family History
Scottish Archive Network. A gateway to the written history of Scotland
The National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office), containing an
online catalogue (PROCAT) to an amazing 9 million files.
The official government source of genealogical data for Scotland.
Free access to a fully searchable index of over 350,000 Scottish wills
and testaments dating from 1500 to 1875 (soon to be extended to 1901).
Test and improve your palaeography skills, including online tuition.
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.
Invaluable for information on buildings and ancient monuments.
A major learning and research resource for everyone with an interest in
the language, culture and history of the Scottish Highlands and Islands
Family history research tool, containing access to the International
National Archives of Scotland, soon to contain an online public access
Accounts of Scottish life from the 18th and 19th centuries