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Friday, 18 March 2016

Berwick 900 Family History Day - Saturday 16th April 2016 at Berwick-upon-Tweed - Revised Programme

Building on the success of the Berwick 900 Family History Festival held on 3rd and 4th October last year, we’re holding a Family History Day from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 16th April 2016 at Berwick Town Hall, Marygate, Berwick-upon-Tweed. Map.

Like last year, it’s free and there will be exhibitors, talks, displays about the research carried out, talks, refreshments, one to one family history surgeries where you can find out how to start your family history or overcome a problem.

There’ll be activities for kids and their parents, and the opportunity to see the Burgon family tree – please bring along your research, birth and marriage certificates and see if you’re connected.

Berwick Freemasons Lodge
Borders Family History Society
Lothians Family History Society
North East War Memorials
Northumberland Archives
Northumberland & Durham Family History Society
Scottish Borders Council Archives (Hawick Heritage Hub)
All the above exhibitors are keen to help you with your family history.

Jura Consultants and Spence & Dower - Proposals for Berwick Barracks

Talks Programme
10am Northumberland & Durham Family History Society – North Northumberland branch
11am Ralph Holmes – My Weird & Wonderful Family
12 noon Paul Jardine and Tina Gough – Berwick Barracks Re-awakened
1pm Linda Bankier – The Berwick 900 Our Families Project
2pm Bill Stewart - A Century of Boatbuilders
3pm David Pye – Berwick War Memorial – personal stories of soldiers

Family History Surgeries
20 minutes with a specific expert in a quiet room to discuss your family history problem or interest.

Surgeries are currently available starting at 10.30, 11.00, 12.00, 12.30, 13,00, 13.30, 14.30, 15.00.
Book your preferred starting time now by email to

Please state brief details of your problem or interest, whether it’s English or Scottish and preferred time slot and provide your landline phone number.

Maltings Youth Theatre Dramas - A Step Back In Time (to 1911)
11am Part 1 - outside the Town Hall (weather permitting)
11.45am Part 2 inside the Town Hall (upstairs in the Court area)
12.30pm Part 3 - outside the Town Hall (weather permitting)

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Are you a Riddell and Interested in Your Family Tree ?

A lady in New Zealand named Gail Riddell and an apparently unrelated Jim Riddell in America are joint administrators for the Riddell/Riddle/Ridley/Ruddell DNA project with an American based firm called FamilyTree DNA. .

Gail's family were mostly from the Roxburghshire area but were also in Berwickshire and Lanarkshire (not to mention all through the Lothian area), depending on the lands they purchased/versus where their money was "made". Jim's forebears were from Lanarkshire in the late 16th Century and are thought to have left at the time of the Covenanters.

Gail wrote "I have many men from New Zealand, Australia, USA, one from South Africa and a few from UK who have been excited by what they have learned as a result of testing their Y-Chromosome.  They have worked hard in order to raise sufficient funds for me to be able to offer totally free, a number of  Y-37 tests for any man living in Northumberland, the Scottish Borders, Yorkshire or lowland Scotland who has this surname and who has a family tree of his paternal ancestry back to around 1800 or earlier.

The bottom line is to extend and "prove" our genealogy in a way that paper trails have been unable.  By that, I mean if we go back into history, especially the 1600s (as an example) and look at the deaths, followed by pestilence, followed by famines and we soon begin to realise that not everyone who bears a particular surname is actually of that stock.  I say this because many young women with wee ones to feed were made widows and frequently joined up with a "protector" who thus gave his name to those
wee ones.

For those who are anxious about DNA testing - the medical genes are not considered in the test that I am offering as a "freebie".  The test itself needs just two separate cheek swabs.  "

If you're a Riddle (whatever the spelling), and you've got a family tree on the paternal side back to 1800, and you would be willing to take the test, please contact Gail at the email address below.
If you want help building your family tree, there are still a few family history surgeries available (booking essential) on our Berwick 900 Family History Day on Saturday 16th April 2016 at Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Free Access to FindMyPast's Irish Records till 7 March

Perhaps it's the thought of St Patrick's Day or perhaps more of us have ancestors that came from Ireland than we thought.

Anyway, FindMyPast claims to have the largest collection of Irish Records and they're offering free access until 7 March.

Start your search of Irish Records.

If you need help with an English or Scottish family history problem, there are still some free family history surgeries available (you need to book in advance) on Berwick Family History Day on 16 April.