Find My Past add to Scottish Records

What an exciting week it has been for genealogists, family history researchers and anyone with an interest in Scottish online family history records. For the last couple of years, the Scottish Genealogy Society and a number of Scottish family history societies have had their volunteers putting together what has now been added to the largest collection of Scottish records online. I was invited as a guest to join a live Zoom launch hosted by last Thursday evening (29thJuly) and was pleased to be able to take part. The evening begin with Tamsin Todd, CEO of Find My Past opening the event with around 220 people by introducing international film star, Dundee born Brian Cox the actor. Brian is notoriously passionate about his Scottish and Irish heritage as I am, we share the same ancestors!

In short, Brian is my late father's first cousin on dad's maternal side. So my 'wee gran' as she was known to me, was 'Auntie Jeanie' to Brian. My earliest memory of meeting him was at 'Auntie Jeanie's' when Brian was performing in the King's Theatre in Edinburgh. My own aunts egged me on to ask him, Anna Calder Marshall and David Burke who he was co-starring with for their autograph (I didn't even know what that was) I was rewarded with a happy smile drawn by Anna but I have absolutely no idea what happened to that bit of paper.

Years later, Brian came for lunch at my parents house. Realising that I was running late to get back to school after lunch, Brian offered to drop me off. I was heading back to rehearsals for the seniors school opera 'Orpheous in the Underworld' where I was playing a nymph in the chorus! Brian wanted to come in and watch the rehearsal but I was mortified. I can still to this day see the look on my drama teacher's face when I told him that I had not invited him in!

My 'wee gran' was propelled to the dizzy heights of TV when Brian asked her to be an extra in 'Shoot for the Sun' with himself and actor Jimmy Nail. It was a sordid tail of addicts and drugs being filmed in and around Leith. The family were completely amazed when she agreed to take part. When it was on we all sat round the TV waiting to see her and her friend, Mrs McDonald from the church, message bags in hand and headscarves clamped on, going up the escalator in the Coop in Bread Street in Edinburgh.

A few years ago, I was asked to assist in the research for an exhibition in the Scotland's People Centre. The exhibition centred round eight great Scots of which Brian was among those including racing driver Jackie Stewart and comedy legend Billy Connolly. Their researchers had hit a 'brick wall'! Was it was the same brick wall I had come across earlier in my own research? It was, and thanks to the earlier release of the 1911 census I was able to share this information with the chaps at the National Records of Scotland. My family were invited to the opening of the exhibition in the Dome room of New Register House, a building purpose built to house the Scottish birth, deaths and marriage records. It felt quite strange indeed to see part of our family tree on display with documents and photographs of some of my relatives and ancestors from Dundee.

This huge record collection will give us genies plenty to go on for now. Sadly it has been reported that the 1921 census has not yet been indexed despite the records all having been digitised. The work to index the records has only just gone out to tender which means it could be the end of 2022 or longer before we can get our hands on it. So it is a waiting game for now.