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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Berwick 900 Family History Festival, 11am to 4pm, 3 to 4 October, Berwick-Upon-Tweed

The Family History Festival runs from 11am to 4pm in Berwick Town Hall, Marygate, Berwick-Upon-Tweed,TD15 1BN and admission is free. Map.

will be there to help you research and understand your family history and record your family stories.

There’s an interesting programme of talks throughout both days:

There’ll be an opportunity to ask questions after each talk.

Look at the displays on local families, the last 2 Scottish governors of Berwick Castle, cross-Border marriages, the former Peel Hospital near Galashiels and the Eyemouth fishing disaster.

There is a giant family tree associated with the Greenses starting with John Burgon who was married to Catherine Whillis (both were born in 1730) and their descendants to the present day. Can you help us add to this tree, please ?

We’re also trying to find stories and information on people who lived in the Greenses and Ravensdowne.  Come and see what we have already and add to it.  We need your stories and help. 

There will be activities for children: colouring in and upstairs in the old prison area on Saturday, there’ll be workshops for all to help create sections of a 900 metre-long sculptural rope that will be woven around the town at the end of October. 

While we’re keen to hear or receive more family stories of people associated with Berwick, we’re even keener to help you start your family history, help you solve a family mystery or suggest how you can get more information. Therefore we’re offering one-to-one family history 20 minute sessions with local experts in English and Scottish family history between 11.30 am and 3pm each day.
Booking is essential in advance for a family history session.

To book,send an email and tell us whether you need help with English or Scottish family history.
 There are still some slots which can be booked.

If you are interested in family history or just want to know how to get started, come along and meet people who will be able to help you.

Free Concert Tickets, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Saturday 3 October

Join Berwick 900 to celebrate the wonderful musical heritage of Berwick-upon-Tweed in a free concert featuring some of the region’s finest musicians. 

The concert takes place on Saturday 3 October, 4pm at Holy Trinity Church, The Parade, Berwick-upon-Tweed and is expected to go on until 6.30 pm. 
There will be an interval.

The programme includes new arrangements of traditional folk songs and rediscovered compositions found in the archive of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers Regiment arranged just for this concert by Samuel Reed, Anthony Walker and Eleanor Walker. 

The concert will also feature new compositions inspired by Berwick 900 specially commissioned for the occasion by Alistair Anderson, Ailie Robertson, Bob Wilkinson, Samuel Reed and Dominique Le Gendre. 

Performances by Berwick Concert Band, The Golden Square Singers, Tweed Music Centre, The Thursday Singers, Holy Trinity Church Choir, The Small Hall Band, The Northumbrian Ranters, Berwick Arts Choir, The Earl Grey Saxophone Quartet, The Pilot Inn Pub Ceilidh Band, The Palace Green Quartet, Alice Burn and Arthur Cross.

 Tickets are free but booking is essential through the Maltings Box Office: 01289 330999 or book online at the Maltings Theatre.

If you're coming to the concert, make a day of it and come to the Berwick 900 Family History Festival on the same day from 11am to 4pm at Berwick Town Hall.

Friday, 18 September 2015

A Photo of Ann Davy, wife of William Turnbull

From Alan Turnbull, USA

I'm fairly certain that this photo is of Ann Davy, born Wooler, Northumberland,
wife of William Turnbull, my great grandfather. 
It would date from about 1870.

No picture of William survives.
He was struck and killed by a Northwestern Railway passenger train in Highwood, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, USA, in 1859.

A Turnbull Emigrant Family in USA

From Alan Turnbull, USA:

My great grandfather, William Turnbull, (born around 1813) emigrated in 1834, sailing from Berwick to Canada, accompanied by his wife, Ann Davy, of Wooler, and his slightly older brother, Thomas.

William is said to have been born in Yetholm, Roxburghshire, and in US census records he reports his birthplace as “Scotland”, while Thomas claimed Chillingham, England.

Both boys attended school together, perhaps in Chillingham, or somewhere nearby.  Some of their school exercise books have survived, and doodles on the inside cover show several place names, Chillingham being the most prominent.  I am trying to establish who the brothers’ parents were.  The trio did not stay in Canada, but moved on, ending up in Illinois. William died in 1859.

I’m aware of one ship that sailed from Berwick to Quebec in 1834 -The Good Czar, but I have not found a passenger list.

About the Davy family of Wooler, I know quite a lot, but the Turnbulls have been elusive.

Are you related to this family ?

Do you know which ship, William sailed on ?

If you do, please tell us in the comments below.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Mysterious Berwick Lady on the Poster for the Berwick Family History Festival on 3 and 4 October

People have been asking if we know who the enigmatic lady on our poster is or if we know her name.

She's Ellen McKay known as Nellie, aged 25, born about 1878 in Ireland.

Descending under her chin, there are 4 other photos:

A family photo taken in Easter 1902 - see The McKay Family of Berwick-Upon-Tweed.

We think the other photos are of
  • Constance (Connie ) McKay
  • Nellie and Maud McKay in a group of females
  • Nellie McKay and Winnie McKay
and are described on More Berwick-Upon-Tweed McKay Pictures.

Did you know the family ?

Are you related to them ?

If you can help us in any way to help track down descendants, please do get in touch on 01289 301865 or leave a comment below.  

Bookings for our family history surgeries are trickling in.

The surgery sessions are on Saturday 3 October and Sunday 4 October at 11.30 am, 12 noon, 12.30, 1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm and 3pm each day with local experts, to help you start your family history, identify records for you to look at, help you scale that brick wall or solve a knotty family history problem.

We have only 16 sessions on offer, and already two are taken.

Booking for these surgery slots is essential (first come, first served), please email us at the address below stating which day and time you prefer and if possible, whether your query is about Scottish or English family history.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Use FindMyPast for Free this Weekend

From 12pm BST on Friday, 18 September  to 12pm BST on Monday, 21 September, you can access lots of family history records and historic newspaper pages at FindMyPast for free.

Access includes:
  • Ireland census records from 1821, 1831, 1841, 1851 and 1911
  • Poverty relief loan records that give an insight into the darkest days of Irish history
  • Military records from conflicts such as the Battle of Waterloo, Crimean War and World War 1
  • Travel and migration records
  • 7 million historical Irish newspaper articles
  • Over 11 million British newspaper pages from 1710 onwards

Extend your family history with FindMyPast's free weekend offer.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

More Medieval Laws (Statutes) of Berwick-upon-Tweed Guild

This follows on from James Evans article about the Statutae Gildae (Guild Laws); here are my translations of a few of the Guild laws.

Note that these laws are of the laws of the Berwick-upon-Tweed Guild; other guilds probably had similar laws but may have had other laws different to those of the Berwick guild.

In the first 2 examples below, each law is stated in medieval Latin, followed by medieval Scots, then comes my translation, for the third law, I could find only the Latin in a 19th century book..

Law 5        Of trespass by a brother of the Guild against another

We have ordained that if any of our brothers trespass against another through slander, walking from the guild, or duelling in the guild, or coming to the guild, he shall pay 40 pence the first time, the second time, the third time.
 40 pence was a huge fine, it would have bought 40 chickens or 30 gallons of ale.

Law 10    Of forfeits belonging to the Guild light

If any urinate in the entrance of the guild or the wall of the guild, he shall pay 4 pence in compensation.

Law 21   Of Burgesses being without a horse

We ordain that any burgess having £10 in goods shall have in his stable a seemly horse worth at least £2. And if he be deprived of his horse by any chance, death, sale, gift, or in any other manner, he shall within 40 days provide another.    If not, he shall be fined eight shillings to the Guild.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

More Medieval Burgh Laws of Berwick-upon-Tweed

Saturday 23rd May was the date of the annual general meeting of The Court of Deans of Guild of Scotland and was held in Berwick this year as part of the Berwick 900 festival. 

A Dean of Guild was originally the head of the Guild in a Scottish royal burgh but over the years the role developed into a burgh magistrate responsible for enforcing burgh law and resolving trade disputes; in the 19th century they became responsible for enforcing a burgh's building regulations; a process that’s now carried out by the Council.

The Court of Deans of Guild of Scotland incorporates the Guildry organisations of Aberdeen, Arbroath, Ayr, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Brechin, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lanark, Perth and Stirling.

Nowadays, the Court’s role is both charitable and ceremonial. The Lord President of the Court of Deans of Guild of Scotland for 2014/2015 was Captain James Evans, who was Chairman of the Guild of Freeman of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

The Presidency rotates each year over the 11 localities. My tiny part in this year’s celebration was to translate some of the laws of the burghs and the Guild into modern English.

There's much more to learn about Leges Quattuor Burgorum (the Law of the Four Burghs) but here are my translations of a few of the laws. In the examples below, each law is stated in medieval Latin, followed by medieval Scots, then comes my translation.

Law 9    Of merchandise that arrives by ship

All merchandise that arrives by ship shall be brought to land except salt and herrings which shall be sold on board.

Law 16 Of strange merchandise

 No strange (non-burgess) trader may buy wool, hides or other merchandise outside the burgh, unless it’s from a burgess.

Law 20 Of making of cloth and dyeing of wool

 Only a burgess shall buy wool to dye or make into clothes or to cut up.

Law 36 Of annual rent of brewers

 Whosoever will brew throughout the year will pay the alderman 4 pence, and for half a year, 2 pence.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Family History Festival, Town Hall, Berwick-upon-Tweed on 3 & 4 October

Advance notice of our Family History Festival which will be held in the Town Hall, Berwick-upon-Tweed on 3 & 4 October, from 11am to 4pm.

Come along and find out about tracing your family history in England and Scotland.

Meet local family history societies and record offices; so far confirmed are Berwick-upon-Tweed Record Office, Borders Family History Society, Northumberland & Durham Family History Society, Scottish Genealogy Society.

There'll be a program of talks from 12 to 3pm each day.

We'll also be holding family history surgeries at 11.30 am, 12 noon, 12.30, 1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm and 3pm each day with local experts, to help you start your family history, identify records for you to look at, help you scale that brick wall or solve a knotty family history problem.
Booking for these surgery slots is essential (first come, first served), please email us at the address below stating which day and time you prefer and if possible, whether your query is about Scottish or English family history.

There will be family history displays on local families, the former Peel Hospital near Galashiels, the last 2 Scottish governors of Berwick.

Bring along your local family trees and help us extend the Burgon family tree and add to our knowledge of families in the Greenses and Ravensdowne.

We'll also have activities for children and there'll be Great Performing Rope workshops for all in the prison area, upstairs on Saturday.

As always, we want to hear your family stories, too.

Update: Download next 2 month's programme of Berwick 900 events.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

More about John Clay and Sarah Clay

Yesterday's article about Clay and Glynne Emigrants to the USA from Susan Johnson drew a flurry of responses.

Val Glass emailed me about John Clay, a Scottish farmer, an online biography of John Clay that mentions daughter, Sarah Clay, later Glynne.

That biography says "John Clay was bom at Dykegatehead, a farm in the parish of Whitsome, in the county of Berwick, on November 5, 1824" and that his portrait used to hang in his daughter, Sarah's house in Castle Terrace, Berwick-on-Tweed.

Val also said "I went to a talk about 10 years ago on the Clay family by, I think, Trevor Swan of Coldstream. All about their lives in USA. It is probably the same family who emigrated." and Tom Esk commented "I seem to remember that Trevor Swan gave a talk about a Clay family, possibly around March 2005 and it might have been in the Borders Family History Society magazine."

They're both right, and a search of the Borders Family History Society Article Index for 'Clay' shows a long article in issue 58 (which I think is June 2005) titlled 'The Purves, Clays, and the Crimean War' by Will Murray and Trevor Swan; the article is the text of the authors' talk to the Society titled 'James Charles Purves: a Coldstream Lad at the Charge' on 20th March 2005 about one of the participants in the charge of the Light Brigade, the battle, and some of James' family.

Trevor rang me this morning and confirmed that it is the same family that he has been researching, so I've sent an email from him to Susan and I hope that she'll be in touch.

If you know know more about this family or related families, please add a comment.

Does anyone have any pictures ?

Friday, 4 September 2015

Clay and Glynne Emigrants to the USA

From Susan Johnson, USA:

My great-great grandparents emigrated from Berwick in the 19th century. My great-great grandmother was Sarah Clay, daughter of the farmer, John Clay. John managed several farms within his lifetime. Their family farmed in the area for generations. Their last farm, is still in existence, as a horse farm.

Sarah marred John Glynne and emigrated to New York City. John Glynne was a farm hand we think. We don't know where exactly he came from. My cousin found that Glynne was younger than Sarah, and they may have eloped. This could be around 1875 or so. I have dates somewhere.

Their oldest son was Darling John Glynne, my great grandfather.
He might have been born in Berwick, or New York City.
There may be some painted portraits of Sarah and the Clays somewhere in Berwick.The younger John Clay wrote a book about his father in Berwick, "John Clay: A Scottish Farmer", which he published in 1906.

I have several interesting stories about the Clays. John Clay's son, John, also emigrated to USA, and wrote several books about his father as well as his own new life in Wyoming. John Clay the younger was a cattle rancher and a significant figure in the development of the western frontier in Wyoming.

The younger son of Sarah and John Glynne, Michael Glynne, grew up to be a vaudeville impresario in New York. One of his theatres in Long Island, has been restored.

2 years ago, I met a long-lost cousin of my grandmother. He is younger than me ! It turns out the youngest child of Sarah and John Glynne was a girl who married an Italian in New York. She was disowned (although it seems Sarah kept in contact). She had ten children, the youngest of which became the father at a late age, hence my long-lost cousin !  In any case, meeting him is particularly important because my grandmother died in 1969, and had lost both her parents and her sister to the flu within a week in 1929.

My mother, Margaret Glynne Korth Johnson, and her sister, Joan, both had red hair. My grandmother had dark violet eyes, and so it was a family joke as to where the red hair came from. Of course, it was Berwick-upon -Tweed. We don't know Sarah's colouring, but chances are there are plenty of red genes. My brother and sister both have auburn hair, while I am dark gold.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Hattles and Burgons in Fishing Families of the Greenses, Berwick-upon-Tweed

From Alan Hattle of South Africa:
Further to the focus on the weekend of 18/19 July  on the fisher families of the Greenses, Berwick-upon-Tweed, I am hoping that someone will be able to give me clarification on the Burgon(e) side of my family tree.

My great-grandfather John Hattle married Isabella Elspeth Burgon(e) in Berwick in 1865, and her birthplace (November 1844) in censuses is given as Sunderland. Several descendants after that were given the middle name of Burgon (my father, born 1914 in South Africa) was John Burgon Hattle.

My research notes were all lost in a fire, so I need to follow this line up again, but I suspect the following:
Isabella Elspeth Burgone was the daughter of James Burgone and Elizabeth Douglass, and had siblings Mary (born 1840), Peter (born 1846) and possibly Elizabeth (born 10 years later in 1856).

James Burgone was possibly the son of John Burgon and Mary Fowlerton (I have copies of family letters from the early 1950s in which my grandfather and some siblings try to unravel the family tree, and comment that they believed Isabella Burgon(e)'s father was a James, and that her grandmother was a Mary).

And I suspect John Burgon was one of the sons of Peter Burgon and Ann Elliott, whose line down through other sons seems to be well-documented.

I have no knowledge of the ancestors of Elizabeth Douglass, other than her mother was probably a Sarah.

Regarding the name Burgon/Burgone, I have a copy of a 1954 letter to my grandfather from his sister, Mary Burgon Hattle (then living in Edinburgh) in which they discuss the difficulties of tracing the family tree, and at one point, Mary writes,
"By the way Mother's birth and marriage lines as she always told us it should be and we copied on her headstone - Burgone. The E she said gradually got dropped - perhaps considered locally "Swank", though her Rothesay cousins went a step further and added the Y - Burgoyne. French ? extraction which may add a thrill to .....'s (I can't make out the handwriting) imagination. I remember Alice was keen for me to join Edin. P O savings bank lent me 2/6 and to put Mary "Burgoyne" but at Ber got matters put right told them Burgon these things can be very awkward later on."

Alice was one of Thomas and Mary's sisters - great aunt Alice married Alexander Duncan late in life (1927 at age 49) in Hartington Gardens, Morningside District, Edinburgh.

If you can help Alan, please put a comment below.