Alloway and Southern Ayrshire FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY Robert Burns Cottage, Alloway, Ayr
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Monday, 19 October 2009

15 Oct 2009 - "Glasgow University Archives"

Our speaker this evening was Clare Paterson from Glasgow University Archives. We were treated to an extremely interesting and practical account of the full range of the resources held there for family and local history research. Not only does the University hold matriculation records from 1850, lists of students from 1451, and information about lecturers and professors, but its archives can also tell us about student life by means of University Calendars and student society publications.

Clare currently works with the business archives lodged at the University and it was on this area that she concentrated. We were all amazed to hear her description of the variety held there. Examples are:

  • In shipbuilding, the records of John Brown and Lithgow.
  • In heavy industry, the records of the North British Locomotive Co. Ltd.
  • In Tea production, the estate records of James Finlay and Co.
plus those of companies involved in engineering, coal mining, banks, sweetie making, and records of Scottish trading worldwide. For a full list see their website.

Provided your ancestor was a manager or assistant manager in the company, his career would be well documented, since the owners had made a big financial investment in him. Particularly relevant to those with Glasgow ancestors would be records of the Friendly Societies attached to companies, the records of Wylie and Lochhead Department Stores, Army and Navy Stores catalogues and, of course, Wylie and Lochhead’s funeral records. The possibilities seemed endless. Even if we never find a mention of our ancestor by name in these business archives, they are obviously a marvellous source of social information about the times and conditions in which he lived.

We have already indicated to Clare that, as a result of her presentation, she should expect to see a stream of inquiries and visitors from Alloway and Southern Ayrshire Family History Society - but visits will have to be postponed until their refurbishment is complete... See their website

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