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Friday, 4 July 2014

Family History at The Mitchell Library (Glasgow)

First stop on our week away was Glasgow, Scotland’s second city. 

We spent most of our first day at The Mitchell Library which is one of the largest public libraries in Europe. The Mitchell is a beautiful building but bizarrely is next to a motorway (yes, really – though obviously the building is older than the motorway!). 

There is a dedicated family history centre at the library which houses not only Glasgow’s city and NHS archives (both free) but also the Registrar’s Genealogy Centre – where for a fee of £15 per day you can search online Scottish records for the following:

Statutory Birth, Death & Marriage Records for the whole of Scotland (1855 - 2010)
Civil Partnership records (2005 - 2010)
Scottish Divorces (1984 - 2010)
Old Parochial Records (1553 - 1854)
Census including Street indexes (1841 - 1911)
Catholic Registers

Upon arrival at the genealogy centre, you are allocated your computer for the day and are introduced to the records and the search system by one of the registrars. Anyone who has used the Scotland’s People website will be familiar with the layout of the system and it offers a substantial saving to the Scotland’s People site if you are searching lots of names and want to look at many records to check they are “your” ancestor.

If you want to print out copies of certificates an A4 page costs 50p (there are restrictions on very recent certificates being printed, but all certificates can be viewed). Unlike the Edinburgh Scotland’s People centre copying on a USB stick is not allowed, which is a shame as copies can easily get lost on a trip. The computers didn’t seem to allow standard internet access either, which was another annoyance – I had my iPad with me, but wifi is not yet available on all floors of the library, so I could only access my ancestry information via the app and could not carry out additional research online without going downstairs to the café. There are plans however for wifi to be extended throughout the building when refurbishments are completed so perhaps we just visited at the wrong time!

The café on the ground floor provided a nice place to venture to for some lunch, and there are toilets right by the genealogy centre for comfort breaks, as well as throughout the building. Lockers are provided for the archives (they are not needed if only visiting the registrars), and there is also a shop selling notebooks, pens and pencils. There is also some vending machines and sofas outside the genealogy centre if you want a quick break.

Our day at the centre provided some new leads, new information and a chance to see what was available . As always, I wish I had been more organized and regimented with my research whilst there to get the most out of the day (I wish for example I had made an appointment to view some records in the Glasgow NHS archives) but maybe that means a return visit is in order…?!


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