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North Highland Archive Newsletter
July - Sep 2001

North Highland Archive  


Welcome to Harry Gray, Gail Inglis, Angela Lewis, Kirstin Mackay, Anna Rogalski and Kathy Wares, who have all work as relief archive assistants, covering the desk in the absence of permanent staff. Amongst the projects they are working on in quiet periods are an index to the 1841 census for Caithness (a long job, but it will be invaluable to family historians); listing our ongoing pamphlets collection; and sorting the growing collection of newspaper cuttings covering a variety of local history topics.

Paul Simonite has found full-time work elsewhere after many hours work on the Tongue and Farr Parochial Board correspondence. Margie Miller has kindly taken over to keep the project going. There is a 100-year closure period on this material, but many of the letters are now available for issue. Peter Bruce is continuing his transcriptions from the shipping registers, and these are now available on www.caithness.org. (Note - We have them at Caithness.org but as yet they are not on the web site) Thanks to Bill Fernie and his team. Thanks to Bill also for donating the maps used for the recent census. 

Edna Morrison is listing the Hetty Munro collection. Besides the notebooks and transcript of her war diary, Hetty Munro collected a number of original 19th century documents and letterheads, along with several rare printed books and pamphlets. She also produced a number of witty character sketches and scrap books. It is hoped to complete and type up the list shortly.

Shipping registers. Peter Bruce is nearing the end of the fourth volume of shipping registers. The index to shipping names has only been completed to end of the third volume. The file may be searched by staff for boat numbers or personal names prior to production of a hard copy index. The year range of the transcribed material is now from 1869 to the early 1900s - an extensive source.

All of the lists on our computer may now be requested and sent free of charge by e-mail.

Births, death and marriages notices - Northern Ensign

Garry Robertson has now completed a transcript of these for the years 1850-1856. Death notices for most of this period have been entered and indexed, and Frank Campbell at Market Square is close to completing births and marriages.

Wick Players scrapbooks are temporarily out of the archive. Members are busy compiling name labels for the photos, making a fuller historical record for the future.




George Watson has brought in some letterheads from Weydale Quarry.

New secondary material.

ADDITIONAL STORAGE has been found in the Bruce building (next door). This is being used for items too recent to issue and some duplicate material.

Robert Bain, Peter Bruce, Angela Lewis and Katherine Finlayson, Paul Simonite, Kirstin Mackay, and any others I may have forgotten. Thanks also to staff at Market Square for additional clerical support during this period; all the regular visitors who have regularly offered advice, second opinions or the loan of arm muscle; and Iain Sutherland of the Wick Society for assistance with enquiries. This has all helped to keep things running as smoothly as possible.

New accessions

We have received more education material - admission registers and lesson plans from Halkirk and Shebster primary schools delivered to us by Mr and Mrs Holmes of Halkirk. Fuller details of education material now available here can be obtained from archive staff. Beside material from individual schools, we have a good collection of minutes from Caithness Education Authority, and the school boards/educational trusts of individual parishes.

An Edinburgh University Caithness Student's Association minute book 1929-1937 has recently been received from Margaret Rosie.

A manuscript joiner's account book 1858-1860, received from Murray Sinclair.

Newly available secondary material includes 6" maps for Sutherland (2nd edition OS - 1906) plus a few 25", all courtesy of the Highland Council Archive in Inverness. Clive Richards at the John O'Groat office has brought back the Northern Ensign for 1898-1899 following a sort-out. We are glad to have it back as 1898 covers the founding of the Carnegie library on this site. Also coming in are family trees and items for the pamphlet collection, including magazines of the Edinburgh John O'Groat (later Edinburgh Caithness) Association, brought in by Moira Bremner, for the years 1964-1996.

Sorting, cataloguing and indexing, including voluntary work. A draft list of plans of schoolhouses will shortly be available. One or more plans are here from: Brabster, Banniskirk, Barrock, Braemore, Canisbay, Castletown, Dounreay, Dunbeath, Janetstown, John O'Groats, Keiss, Lybster, Melvich, Murkle, Pulteneytown Academy, Reay, Spittal (coal shed only!) Stroma, Tain, Thurso West Public, Watten, Wick High, Wick North.

Paul Simonite has been cleaning, flattening and sorting correspondence of the Inspector of the Poor in the Tongue and Farr Parochial Board. This is under the 100-yr closure normal for all parochial records, but much of it goes back to the 1840s onwards (see back page) and is fascinating, including letters regarding paternity suits and requests for extra payments from the paupers themselves. It is not intended to list and index every letter, but a list of files giving covering dates and matters of particular interest is planned.