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Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - AROUND BRITAIN -

This month, we have the 1839 Aberdeen Al­manacc cour­tesy of ge­neal­ogy sup­pli­ers my-his­tory.co.uk. Es­sen­tially an early direc­tory, most of its 300+ pages list peo­ple hold­ing an of­fice or fol­low­ing a trade. It has fas­ci­nat­ing de­tails of ev­ery­day life from prin­ci­pal fairs to post­mas­ters and stage coach times. It lists no­bil­ity, clergy, MPs, mil­i­tary of­fi­cers and more, in­hab­i­tants of Aberdeen, plus the coun­ties of Banff, El­gin or Mo­ray and Kin­car­dine

Spe­cial col­lec­tions

While the burgh records form one of Ruaraidh’s favourite record sets, he also has an­other clear favourite col­lec­tion from the county at large. “Our as­sessed taxes records for north Aberdeen­shire are some of the most com­plete in Scot­land, with a large col­lec­tion from 1799 to 1832, at which point the tax­esta were ef­fec­tively scrapped.

We have an ex­ten­sive run of r ecords doc­u­ment­ing win­dow ta ax pay­ments, horse taxes, dog ta axes, clock taxes and var­i­ous oth­ers.o As well as list­ing those li iable to tax­a­tion, they of­ten con­tainc some ex­tra­or­di­nary de­tails,d such as whether peo­ple werew us­ing hair pow­der or not!”

Al­though a name-rich source forfo ge­neal­o­gists, the po­ten­tial forfo lo­cal his­tory re­search from th he records is also some­thing forfo which Ruaraidh is a keen ad­vo­cate.a “When you look at th he big­ger pic­ture from what the r ecords re­veal, you can see the ef­fectse of in­dus­trial boom-and­bustb cy­cles in parts of the county, anda the eco­nomic ef­fects of the NapoleonicN Wars, while we can also see how the names of places emerge and evolve over time.”

As well as en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to visit the ar­chives to carry out their re­search, Ruaraidh also high­lights cur­rent ef­forts to form work­ing re­la­tion­ships with the lo­cal com­mu­nity at large. In Au­gust, the ar­chives signed up to the Scot­land’s Ur­ban Past Pro­ject ( rcahms.gov.uk/rc­ahm­spro­jects/scot­lands-ur­ban-past), a five-year ini­tia­tive launched by His­toric En­vi­ron­ment Scot­land to en­cour­age in­di­vid­u­als to help record their built her­itage, while an­other pro­ject has been at­tempt­ing to con­nect lo­cal schools with their early 20th­cen­tury his­tory.

“We have been in­volved in a pro­ject called Hard Vrocht Grun, which pro­vided a se­ries of re­source packs de­signed to help school­child­ren un­der­stand the im­pact of the First World War on north-east Scot­land. It was not just about ex­am­in­ing who fought and died in the con­flict, but also var­i­ous aspects such as the rituals of re­mem­brance that orig­i­nated, those who were ex­empted be­cause of con­sci­en­tious ob­jec­tion, and to un­der­stand is­sues such as poverty in wartime.”

The re­source packs for the pro­ject are avail­able on­line at

nefa.net/hvg/in­dex.htm.

A 1930s rail­way poster ad­ver­tis­ing the fish­ing town of Fraser­burgh. The rail­way al­lowed the town‘s fish to be ex­ported around the globe

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