I am a member (former council member) of ASGRA and, as such, have passed stringent assessments, thus proving my competency as a professional researcher. Part of my work involves continuous professional development, where I attend courses and lectures and visit new repositories. This is extremely important in order to keep abreast of new developments in the genealogy field.
I have been researching family history for more than 25 years now, initially looking at my own family's
history. There were very few online resources then and everything took much longer to find! I have now built up my experience in this field by utilizing numerous
resources such as the National Records of Scotland (formerly the National Archives of Scotland), the National Library of Scotland (including their map library), Edinburgh City
Archives, Glasgow City Archives, Glasgow University Archives, local archives all over Scotland, local newspapers and local history libraries. My enthusiasm has not diminished through the years
and I view each new commission as a real challenge. If there is something to be found, I will utilise all my skills to find it!!
There are a great number of records for genealogists which can be sourced online, but many of these contain information which may not be accurate and require to be verified. This is very important. Numerous records cannot be sourced online, however, so it is only by visiting the repositories in person that one is able to gain a full insight into the family's history. Most importantly, part of the professional researcher's skill is in knowing which additional records are available and where to find them.
Courses taken: Edinburgh University:
Scotland's Long 19th Century 1815-1914;
The Scots Abroad 1750-1950
Member and former Editor of West Lothian Family History Society journal - The Oak Tree
Member of Scottish Local History Forum
Articles written for several publications, including History Scotland and Family Tree
I am a member of the West Lothian Family History Society. I have also carried out voluntary work for the society, which includes assisting at various road shows and workshops in the community to educate individuals on family history, and transcribing documents. I have been the editor of the journal - The Oak Tree for 8 years and enjoy writing about all aspects of family history.
I am a member of the Scottish Local History Forum, whose aims include advancing education and research in Scottish local history.
Oral History Interviewer:
I worked as an interviewer for the oral history project on the paper making industry in Linlithgow, in order to preserve information relating to this for posterity. Although paper-making was an important industry in Linlithgow for over 150 years, it held a more insignificant place in local folk memory than the other important industry of shoemaking. As there was a lack of written records and photographs of the paper mills, this project was a way of recording some of its history before there were no surviving employees. West Lothian Local History Library (based in Linlithgow) now has a substantial amount of material on the paper mills.
This project appealed to my love of social and local history.