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North Highland Archive Index  



JUL-SEP 2002

New Archive Assistant

We are pleased to announce that Gail Inglis has just officially joined the archive staff, after working part time since last October. She introduces herself inside.

New NHA web-site - address and details on back cover


Just a short note to say hello to you all, and to say how pleased I am to be part of the Archive team. My husband, Robin, and I have lived at Skirza, Freswick for almost 18 years, and before that in Golspie, Forsinard and Perthshire.  His grandmother was a Mowat from Freswick, and we live in what used to be her cousin, Maggie Mowat's shop at Skirza. We keep bees, and our honey is getting quite a reputation for being so delicious - we're one of the largest employers in Caithness with one and a half million workers (bees)!! My own main family connections are Inverness-shire and Glenshiel (Ormiston), Glasgow (Lindsay), Dumfries (Forfar), Hertfordshire (Rodwell) and London (Rogerson).  You'll guess from this that I've done quite a lot of family research on my own account, but I also play handbells, sing in the Caithness Gaelic Choir, and enjoy needlecrafts.. I look forward to having contact with you and helping you, when you need it, to the best of my ability. For those of you who need research done, I'm doing most of the written enquiries now, so you may contact me by e-mail: gail.inglis@highland.gov.uk

New accessions

We have received another deposit from Hugh Davidson of Bermuda and Keiss, relating to J H Davidson of Buckies, Thurso, and the farm at Old Hall, West Watten. Also includes farm accounts from Ham (Dunnet parish) and bills for personal items to J H Davidson. There are two photographs of James Davidson, soldier in WW1, and sketches by architect William Davidson.

Another box of material has been received from solicitors D W Georgeson’s. Sorting the major deposit earlier in the year is still ongoing, but progressing well.

Original material from St Fergus lodge has been received from Jessie Mackenzie of Canada via Alice Mackenzie in Scrabster. Includes membership card and certificate of Donald Bain McKenzie, with numerous books and pamphlets on the lodge and freemasonry generally.

Secondary material
Wick Library have deposited some rare books including a full set of the first Statistical Account of Scotland.

The arrival of the microfilmed Caithness landward valuation rolls, which has been delayed once or twice, should now be imminent as the work is almost complete.

Volunteers - indexing and cataloguing

Customs and Excise records - Peter Bruce

Begun by Gail Inglis and completed by Peter Bruce, we now have a list of each vessel covered by this 20th century customs paperwork deposited recently by Iain Sutherland. Typing was completed by another volunteer, Kirstin Mackay. Each vessel is listed with a resume of the documents held on it, which can include a host of paperwork such as builders certificates, declarations of ownership and (occasionally) additional correspondence. As with all lists, we can send copies by e-mail on request.

Northern Ensign births and death notices - Garry Robertson
This work is continuing, and typing for the births has now reached 1863. The index to births for the John O’Groat Journal completed some time ago and held in the library goes up to 1860 only, so even where notices were put in both papers this is a vital additional resource.

Also still ongoing is sorting of original documents of the Tongue and Farr Parochial Board, the huge project undertaken by Margie Miller, and the list of obituaries in the John O’Groat Journal by Kirstin Mackay.

The ‘Wick and Caithness buildings’ mini exhibition series in our display case on the landing of Wick library is
continuing, currently featuring school buildings. We would welcome any other suggestions. No major exhibitions are planned for the summer, which is our busiest time in the reading room, but we are hoping to produce a ‘World War II’ display in November. This will include Hetty Munro’s diaries and sketches; personal histories from John Nelson (Wick airfield) and John Dallas (aircraft design and Germany in the 1930s); photographs of squadron men at Castletown, extensive newspaper cuttings, and any items people might be kind enough to loan to us for the occasion.

Scottish Day at Market Square
The archive will be holding a stall at this event on the 27th July, with information about the archives generally and a small ‘taster’ of the World War II exhibition planned for later in the year. You are welcome to come along with any queries you might have about our services.

Now online - Wick Harbour Trust minute book
The first hundred pages of the first Wick Harbour Trust minute book are now ‘live’ on
www.scan.org (the web-site of the Scottish Archives Network). Caroline Brown of SCAN also visited recently as part of their survey of Scottish archives and their contents. She is putting information on various collections onto their site, which is fully searchable. We have been given a searchable CDRom version for consultation in the reading room.

NHA web-site. We are now finally online, at the address www.northhighlandarchive.org. This was very kindly set up for us by SCAN (the Scottish Archives Network, a project run in conjunction with the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh). We intend to update the site on a regular basis to give up-to-the minute information on new deposits, forthcoming exhibitions, etc. We would be grateful for feedback on this new venture.

Visitors to the Caithness Community web-site on www.caithness.org will have seen the new features on Caithness schools. Original records also survive for many of these, and Bill Fernie will be indicating which schools have admission registers or school log books held within the North Highland Archive. And, talking about education…


New department
The archive is now part of Education, Culture and Sport. Educational groups are obviously always welcome, and talks can be given by prior arrangement. County councillors are planning to visit the archive shortly following a suggestion made by Councillor Graeme Smith. Community councillors are also hoping to visit.

North Highland Archive, Wick Library, Sinclair Terrace KW1 5AB

01955 606 432 Brenda.Lees@highland.gov.uk / gail.inglis@highland.gov.uk.