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The People of Medieval Scotland Catalogs Over 20,000 People

Hat tip to stv.tv for the article about The People of Medieval Scotland, a new site that catalogs people — the Web site describes them as “all known people of Scotland” — in documents dated from 1093 to 1314. It’s available at http://www.poms.ac.uk/

People of Medieval Scotland

You can search the database by factoids, sources, places, or people. You can also adjust the date range for your search. I did a search for Campbell and got
15 results, from Arthur Campbell, knight (father of Arthur) to Thomas Campbell, knight. The names are clickable; doing so takes you to a small preview window. Clicking that takes you to a list of “factoids” where that person is mentioned, divided into tabs.

For example, you might look at Patrick the Archer and review his mention in three associated factoids, including what looks like the transfer of his lands to someone else: “King Edward [I] establishes to Robert [de Keldsik], abbot of Holm Cultram, land worth 300 marks yearly, namely in Grieston, the lands of the late Robert de Ros of Wark, a rebel; in Scotland, the lands of Richard of Glen, Patrick the Archer…”

I said “what looks like,” because this is a very academically-oriented database and I’m not up on my Scotland history. An “Information” tab on the site has an excellent FAQ, with pointers to a glossary, a timeline of this period in Scotland, royal family trees, and some educational resources. There’s an “interactive labs” section for schools which unfortunately I could not access despite using Chrome (one of the supported browsers.)

Open the glossary in one tab and have a browse. And I hope you have more luck with the labs than I did.

National Library of Scotland Post Office Directories Collection

Doing some research in/about/for Scotland? The National Library of Scotland has the Scottish Post Office Directories site at http://digital.nls.uk/directories/index.html. This site has over 700 digitized directories spanning 1773 to 1911.

The directories are browsable so you can, if you wish, page through them, but searching is available as well. I found the online browser mechanism slow, but the NLS also offers the ability to download the directories. And that is why I have a copy of “Pigot & Co.’s new commercial directory of Scotland for 1825-6″ sitting on my desktop, but man, that 169MB was a slow download. (You can also download high-quality individual pages as well, if you don’t have hours to hang around.)

Search allows you to search the first several letters of a last name, a place, and a year. (There is an advanced search as well but I thought the basic search enough, as long as you can narrow down by year or place.) A search for Cal, covering 1871-1889, found 821 results. Results are presented in a gallery with a thumbnail of the relevant directory, and a link to take you to the page where the partial name is found. Click on that link for a larger version.

What you’ll get depends on the directory. Looking at the Inverness County Directory from 1887 I found names, addresses, and yearly rent or values, while looking at the County Directory of Scotland from 1872, I found names, addresses, and in many cases occupations. For the most part the scans were excellent and easily readable, but I did have a problem with the “Royal national commercial directory and topography of Scotland” from 1872, as it was pretty faded. Downloading a high-resolution single page fixed that, however.

If you just want to get a sense of what’s available in the collectoin, the NLS has put together a few goodies for you. There’s a pointer to several pages of advertising in a Glasgow directory, a page from the 1809 Dundee directory, and a directory title page. An about the directory section gives you a good overview of what you might find (and why it might be wrong.)

A fascinating collection. Worth a browse but I recommend downloading anything you want to do a lot of research on.

Records of Children’s Hospital Treatment, 1883-1903

There’s a new a Web site of records that chronicle the treatment of children at the Glasgow Hospital for Sick Children from 1883 to 1903. The site is part of the Historic Hospital Admission Records Project and is available at http://hharp.org/.

The site now has about 120,000 records, of which the recently-added Glasgow Hospital records are one-tenth. At the front page you can do a first and last name search as well as a year of birth (exact or a range). I did a search for John Smith, no birth date. I got 60 results, of which 20 were available (all are available if I register/log in. Registration is free.) Search results include admission date, age, name, health issue, registration district, and the institution (the key for registration abbreviation is available at the top of the search results.) Some search results had case notes associated with them but you have to be logged in to view those.

I took a look at an 8-year-old John Smith who was admitted with rheumatism. The details page included personal details, details about the admission and length of stay, information about the health issue, admission date, and the outcome (in this case cured.) If you’re logged in and can view the case notes, they’re viewable page-by-page on the site or which can be downloaded as a single PDF file.

For more background on the records behind this site, check the About page, but also take a look at the Academic Resources page, which will give you pointers to some historical context, and the extensive and fairly well-annotated Links List.

New Online Database for Gaelic Place Names

Thanks to HeraldScotland.com for the pointer to a new guide on Gaelic place names.

The National Gazetteer of Gaelic Place Names is located at http://www.ainmean-aite.org/ and is available in English and Gaelic. Currently it contains information on about 1000 Gaelic place names throughout Scotland. You can do a simple search by keyword, and advanced search (across several fields) or view all place names from A-Z.

I did a search for Glasgow. I got an information page showing the Gaelic name (Glaschu) and meaning, along with information about the location including location and local authority, elements (“G/P glas, ‘green, grey’ + *cu, ‘hollow’”), and pointers to external resources and more information.

In addition to the Gaelic names database the site also has some Gaelic maps, guidelines to Gaelic place names and orthography, a link list, and a blog (with one entry so far.)

Scottish Architecture and Archaeological Database Available

A database of information about 280,000 Scottish archaeological and architecture sites has been updated with some interactive features. I’m glad to learn about it, because I’d never heard of it before. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland has its database, Canmore, available at http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/ .

The front page has a simple keyword search available or you can use an extensive advanced search form that allows you to search by location, site type, ID, online collections only, and more.

I stuck with the simple site search and looked for castle, restricting my results to online items only. I found 1,482 results. Results (it looks like you can get only 500 at a time) are listed 20 to a page, with a thumbnail of the site, site name, site type, council, and collection items. There are two types of collection items: those that are online (those are listed first) and those that are available in the search room (and those may be images, maps, manuscripts, etc. There is information about how to order them but they are not available online.)

Each listing has its own page; here’s the one for Castle Tioram.There are some images available for the site as well as architectural and archaeological descriptions and book citations. Visitors are invited to submit their own sites and images as well.

If you’re less interested in browsing the database and more interested in looking at the images, you might want to check out the RCAHMS Flickr stream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/24880758@N02/. There are 228 images here covering everything from distilleries to castle ruins to rock carvings.

Great Reform Act Plans for Scotland Now Online

If you read that headline and thought, “I didn’t even know Scotland HAD any great reform plans,” they don’t, not as related to this selection. You’re about 175 years off. This collection is from 1831-1832 and includes plans of 75 Scottish towns as well as a facsimile of a report to the House of Commons where the plans were published. The collection starts at http://www.nls.uk/maps/towns/reform/index.html.

You can choose to browse a map that shows the town locations or just get a list. I took a look at the list and took a look at Glasgow. Admittedly the summary page isn’t very exciting — it’s basically a thumbnail of the map with some basic information about the map as it relates to the report — but click on the map itself.

You’ll get a popup window with a larger version of the map that you can zoom and pan. (You can also choose to view the map with a plugin, but I thought the switches on the window were fine.) You can zoom in ridiculously close to see map details; actually the zooming would occasionally run away with me a bit and I’d have to go back to the “full size” and start over.

While you’re having fun with the map don’t forget that the original map page also has a link to the report, which are scanned pages that you view in much the same way you viewed the map (they’re typewritten and easy to read.) The report includes details about the town like population along with analysis on the current boundaries and how they can be revised. The reports are interesting but a little annoying; you have to turn to each report page on the information screen, then zoom in on it and read it. You can’t just read all the pages at one time.

Great look at history which would be even better if the reports were easier to read.

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