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The Family History Shop, 158-164 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5BD [e] [email protected] [t] 01224 646 323 Membership fee: £15 or the equivalent in dollars (US, Canadian, NZ, Australian] Committee: Chairman - Jim Illingworth; secretary - John Urie; treasurer - Alan Adie Research centre: at the above address, open Mon, Wed, Thu 10am-4pm; Tues & Fri 10am-4pm and 7pm-10pm]; Sat 9am-1pm.

The Aberdeen & North East Scotland FHS is something of a ground-breaker: it opened the country's first dedicated research centre. The centre, on King Street in the heart of Aberdeen, is open six days a week, and forms the hub of the society's many activities.

It's been a roaring success and is seen as a local asset: in the recent Aberdeen & Grampian Tourist Board awards, the society received a 'highly commended' certificate.

The group boasts around 4,500 members, 1,400 of them overseas, and grows by as many as 600 each year. Monthly meetings are held in Aberdeen, Elgin, Glasgow and even in English West Midlands.

The research centre, open only to members, is the largest library of its kind in Scotland, with more than 2,500 books. The centre is well equipped with microfilm and fiche records. Society members will carry out research for postal members at a nominal charge.

The group started back in 1978. Chairman Jim Illingworth explains: "The Scottish Genealogy Society, founded over 50 years ago, was the only group in Scotland. They decided to spread the word and sent disciples to the 'hinterland'. As a result, a number of local interest groups were gradually formed, of which ours was one."

There's a newsletter, of course, which is published four times a year. The last issue had more than 50 pages on subjects such as The last harbour-master, Death by dangerous driving, 1835 and Wartime memories of Grandholm.

The group is active in its archive work - most notably through its huge monumental inscriptions project. This aims to record and publish every inscription in North-East Scotland. Some 70 collections have already been published and several others are in draft. They have all been indexed and together cover well over 60,000 names. There are around 100 collections still to go -a team of around eight people, coordinated by Edna Cromarty, is slaving away. "And about 25 people will often turn up to a graveyard visit - we do one kirkyard at a time," says Jim.

The group is also indexing the 1851 and 1861 Censuses for the whole of Banffshire, and has

The journal has more than 50 pages on subjects such as... Death by dangerous driving, 1835 and Wartime memories of Grandholm"

already completed the 1695 poll tax index and the poor law index for Aberdeenshire.

All of these publications - as well as membership applications - are available online through the society's website, managed by Dave Anderson for around eight years. "I have been a programmer for 35 years, so that was how I got involved, Dave told us. "Unfortunately, that also meant I got involved in everything else which had the 'computer' word associated!"

That includes running the journal (he's looking for a new editor right now), renewal notices and membership databases. When he finds the time in the busy schedule ("I have a day job, too"), he intends to implement forums and members-only areas.

The group's monthly meetings cover varied ground. "They're often about local history as well as genealogy," says Jim Illingworth. "The last one was a fascinating talk about the Den Burn, which flows through the centre of Aberdeen but is now largely culverted over. Another time we had a talk about the Doric language of lowland Scotland."

Jim says that the group also flies the flag at conferences - such as the annual Scottish Association of Family History Societies meeting. "We even go into England!" • •


Send details of your society to be on our index. Email: [email protected]. Or write to: Your Family Tree, A-Z of FHSes, 30 Monmouth St, Bath BA1 2BW

Place your query in our Seeking section for free, and see if other readers can help you track down that elusive ancestor...

Don't spend years ploughing the same furrow, trying to find the clue that will solve a family mystery, or take your family tree back a further generation. It could well be that all you need is a little extra help, and that's what our Seeking pages are for. If you're stuck trying to find information about one of your forebears, write in and we'll print your appeal for help.

Anything goes, from names, dates and places to things like military records, emigration details and confusing census entries. You can even send in a picture and ask others to help you identify the people in the shot.

This is a free resource for Your Family Tree readers - just write in following the format of the entries you see here, and we'll print your message. Do try to keep it concise, however - we can't print your entire family story, just your query. Furthermore, if you have any certificates that it turns out didn't relate to your own research, do please offer them up to others in our Certificates to Share box.

Allsopp - I am seeking relatives of Annie Catherine Allsopp (nee Williams) my great-grandmother, born Syracuse, America, in 1858. She married Alfred Thomas Allsopp in 1875 in Staffordshire and had seven children: Annie Catherine, born 1876; Nora Ethel, born 1878; Alfred George, born 1879; William Francis, born 1881; Frederick Charles, born 1883; Henry Gordon, born 1886; and Gendolene (Kitty), born 1888/89. They were all born in Staffordshire. Annie Catherine's husband died in 1891 and she remarried a William Burchill in 1893. Her last known address was Bradley, Staffordshire, where in 1901 she was listed in the census as being a publican. I'd be grateful for any help.

Niall Mallon

[e] [email protected]

Austin - I have just learned that my maternal grandmother had a half-sister. Her name was Edith Blanche Austin and she was born 3 Sept 1892 at St Andrews, Camberwell, Surrey, England to Henry Thomas Austin and Blanche Beckett. Henry Thomas Austin died 30 Nov 1888. On the 1891 Census, Edith Austin is listed with her grandfather, John Beckett, and aunt, Matilda F Beckett, in Camberwell. Edith's mother was a companion to a Dinah Saunders in Camberwell, St Giles parish.

At some point, Blanche met William George Woolford and they had my grandmother, Lily Florence Woolford at 9 Bournemouth Street, Peckham, Camberwell on 17 Sept 1895. My grandmother was raised by William Woolford's mother, Ellen Woolford, and her husband, Robert Tyler.

I do not know what became of Edith. Did she reach adulthood, marry, have children? Are there any descendants reading this message? If so, I would certainly like to hear from you. My grandmother emigrated, first to Canada then the US. She married a man who hailed from Gloucestershire and raised a family. I live in the US so any help would be greatly appreciated. Janice Falvey

87 Carter Lane, Plantsville, CT 06479, USA

[e] [email protected]

Blankley - Charles Steele Blankley married the daughter of Richard Henry Binden and Wilhelmina Mary Dyer. His brother Edward and sister Mary Sophia disappear on the 1861 Census. They were living at Pratt St, St Pancras.

Charles appears again having married Elen Susanah Binden on 13 January 1866. Both are listed as living at 2a Cleveland Rd, Sunbury. Edward and Aunt Elizabeth Blankley from Bitchfield get lost. Charles and his wife went to Gainsbrough where he is a druggist - alone, then with his uncle and cousin. Joan Dunn

8 Kimbers House, Kennel Road, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 5JD

Colcombe - I am looking for information about Elizabeth Colcombe, born in Hereford, England, about 1874. I have located her in Pontygwaith, Rhondda, in the county of Glamorgan on the 1901 Census at the age of 27. She was married to my grandfather, John Martin, who was born in Troedyrhiw, Merthyr, Glamorgan, about 1863. They had two daughters, Margret, aged 3, and Edith May at 3 months, all on the 1901 Census. From a relative I have information that she had several brothers and sisters: Thomas Colcombe, George, William and Ann.

Their family ties are in the Rhondda and Pembroke areas. Both John Martin and Elizabeth Martin passed away in Pembroke and are buried in or around Rhoscrowther in Pembroke. John passed away around 1937-40 and Elizabeth passed away in the 1950s. I have a photograph of her in 1954. I know the last years of their lives were spent in Pennar, Pembroke Dock.

Malcolm Martin 60 Fanheulog, Talbot Green, Pontyclun, CF72 8HQ [e] [email protected]

Cormack - For the last four years I have been trying to find the birthplace of my great-grandmother, Bridget Cormack. She was married in St Pancras in 1867 and on the Census gives her birthplace in 1841/2 as Chelmsford in Essex. However, she does not appear on the 1851 or 1861 Censuses for that area and I know she was in Hammersmith by 1871. I suspect she was Catholic so have tried all the churches in that area as well as the Essex FHS and the Catholic FHS. I also suspect she might have been born in Ireland but know that in that time Ireland was part of this country, so the website Moving Here would

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