Saturday, November 27, 2010

Surname Saturday - Slaven/Slavine/Sloan

Since starting to research my family history I've discovered that we shouldn't be to precious about how we spell or pronounce our names as in the long run it will help us break through more brick walls.

Take the Surname Slaven, now there are several generations of these in my family and at the moment I have two families both called Slaven who only seem related through marrying into my Shields family. However tracking some of them down has proved rather tricky.

The first influx of Slavens came from Ireland originally as Slavines. Most of them adopted the Slaven spelling but a few went with Slavin and due to some who couldn't write I also have Slavan, Sleven and on one census I think his handwriting must have been awful as they are recorded as Sloan.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday

This time a gravestone from my Cowie side of the family. My Greatgrandparents George and Isabella Cowie on my fathers side. This was taken in Burnside Cemetery at Rathven outside Buckie in Banff.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday's Obituary - Patrick Shields

The Buteman and Rothesay Express - Friday 15 August 1963, Page 5.

Mr. Patrick Shields

Rothesay lost a well-known and respected citizen with the death last Thursday of Mr. Patrick Shields, Mary Cottage, Hillhouse Road, one of the last surviving "Pointing Porters" of Rothesay Pier. He was 89.

In his earlier years Mr. Shields, who was noted for his friendliness and good humour, is thought to have saved the lives of almost 30 people from drowning, and he was the recipient of the St. John of Jerusalem Medal for services to humanity - one of the highest civilian awards obtainable. It was presented to him in 1924 at Kelso Royal Agricultural Show by the then Prince of Wales (now the Duke of Windsor).

Mr. Shields was also awarded numerous certificates for life-saving by the Royal Humane Society. He was the first captain of Rothesay Swimming Club and gained a prize medal for captaincy at the first annual competition in July, 1894. He retained the swimming club cup, being the first person to win it three times in succession.

Mr. Shields often returned to the baths in later years and on his 81st and 82nd birthdays he enjoyed a dive from the springboard.

He retired as a pier porter at the age of 65 and, until about ten years ago, conducted a licensed brokers' business with a store in Ladeside Street. During the first world war he served with the 51st Highland Division.

Mr. Shields is survived by his wife, two sons Matthew and Charles, and four daughters Mrs Isobel Lachlan, Mrs Margaret McLean, Mrs Christine Lavery and Mrs Mary Slaven.
The Funeral was on Saturday to Rothesay Cemetrery from St. Andrew's Church.
One correction to this should be that his sister Isobel had the surname Locklin not Lachlan.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sorting Saturday

Having this week off work has been great and mean't I could spend some time sorting out my genealogy files and try to find a better way of organising the information I already have and try to remember where I've found things.

At the moment all my census returns and certificates are in two ring binders. The first binder is for my direct ancestors and is divided into families by marriage so all the birth/marriage/death certs and census returns relating to each couple (and their unmarried children) are in there with a family group record sheet at the front.

The second binder is sorted the same way but for siblings and descendants of my direct ancestors. It also holds certificates of people I've found, who may or may not be related, until I can add or remove them from the tree.

I also have plastic document wallets with other certificates, id cards, medical cards, photos but they're not sorted at all.

Then there are my computer files that are meant to be sorted into the four main surnames Cowie, Shields, Duncan and Smith with documents, images, photos and information as subfiles. That's where it breaks down, is a certificate a document or an image if I found it online or worse just information, some certificates like marriage certs refer to more than one surname so do I store it twice, once in each folder. Same with photos. I have ended up with duplicates of a lot of information and sometimes they even have different file names. I need help :)

The information parts are the most trouble some as sometimes I find things online and bookmark them to find later but that never seems to work as now I have hundreds of bookmarks under genealogy but I cant remember why I bookmarked which one, or what I'm looking for when I go back to that page.

So finally this week a partial breakthrough that seems obvious when you know it but I've been researching for 10 years and didn't think of it myself so I'm sharing it in case anyone else is like me :)

Above is a link to GenealogyGuy's Online Genealogy Information Gathering Method called Gather, Dump Store. It is split into 3 parts and it's well worth watching all of them. The basics are using Cut and Paste to copy information and, I know if you've been using a PC at all in the last couple of years that you know how to cut and paste but trust me, this seemingly simple idea has helped me start to reorganise and actually find stuff again.

He also has various other videos and a website full of tutorials and ideas at Treasure Maps

The one change I did make was instead of using Google Docs I've taken a tip from DearMrytle and signed up for Dropbox you can read more about it on DearMyrtles site here if you would like to sign up you can either click the referral link on Dear Myrtles page as I did or click here on mine :) Thanks.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Follow Friday - Surfing route to my own lost page

Ok this is my first attempt at Follow Friday and is a bit mad but go with me, I want to tell how I found my long lost geocities family tree page totally by accident today.
  • While searching Facebook for that group today, I found an 'interest' page just Genealogy.
  • That took me to his blog and todays entry about it being a year since Yahoo closed down Geocities and how all that information may not be lost after all.
  • He goes on to mention a site called Reocities which manged to salvage quite a lot.
  • On the Reocities home page it explains they have saved millions of pages and to find them just change the address on any of your old links from geocities to reocities.
I had tried to back up the pages from Yahoo before they shut down the site but could never find a way to reopen the files or access the information in them so I love the fact that someone else thought all that information was worth keeping too.

As family historians and genealogists we love finding things our ancestors chose to keep and lament the things they didn't or were unable to keep. As we move to ever more digital information someone else gets to choose what will be kept. Maybe we should think about how our descendants will find our information in the future if its only ever digital.

If you had a geocities account its well worth checking out Reocities and the Making of page is great reading.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Matthew Shields

My grandfather Matthew Shields,
early 1930's Terratorial Soldier with Royal Garrison Artillary

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday

I've decided I need to be more regular in my blogging. To try and help me keep me on track I'm going to use some blogging prompts from so for today its the turn of Tombstone Tuesday.

This is a photo of the first gravestone I found when I started my family tree research.

When my grandfather died in 1995 we were clearing out cupboards and I found various photos and documents including birth and marriage certificates, old newspapers and lair records.

Later, while visiting the cemetery to see my Grandfather's headstone, I used the details on the lair records to find my great grandparents headstone (pictured left).

In Memory of Patrick Shields
Died 7th March 1963, aged 89
Beloved Husband of
Janet Cunningham
Died 23rd Dec, 1970, aged 92.
also their children
Patrick & Jenny
also their Daughter
Isabella Shields
Died 26th Feb, 1984, aged 82
Beloved wife of James Locklin
Lost at sea HMS Hood 1941.

This stone was a great starting point for my research and gave me lots of information for my initial family tree.

The red glow on this photo is not ghost related but due to light getting into the film in my camera in the days before digital.