05 Feb. 2000 - Stirling, Scotland
The Scottish Genealogical And Historical Research Trust
It's with great excitement that I tell you all about The Scottish Genealogical And Historic Research Trust. The trust isn't quite formed, as we are awaiting a non profit tax status certification from the government, but that should come shortly.
This trust is being formed to provide a place for historic materials and research information to be managed in Stirling Scotland. The trust has been of special interest to me because of the tremendous amount of information Clan Stirling has received just in the last six months, let alone the last two years. One of the participants in this trust is Bob McCutcheon, whose historic collection regarding the Stirling area is extensive. Thanks to Bob, I have used manuscripts, books and other materials some of which are the only copies known to exist to conduct research on the Stirling family. Not all of us can come to Stirling, and many of these items are centuries old. How do we provide a way for them to be used and maximized for all of us?
The main focus of the trust is to provide a way and means for this information to be made available to not only family historians and genealogy researchers, but to also provide educational opportunities for children all over the world. Their are over twenty-five million Americans of Scottish descent, many of which don't know truly what it means to be Scottish. One of the trustees in a meeting on Friday summed it up better than anyone else -
"It's a spiritual experience to be Scottish."
To some that may be hard to understand, but to anyone that has felt the stirrings in their bones when hearing a set of Scottish bagpipes, or gone to a highland games, or been here in Stirling and walked and felt the feelings will immediately understand. It's not a coincidence that Wallace fought his famous battles just down the road from here, or that Stirling has been a focus of Scottish culture for centuries. As I've said before, history and genealogical research is NOT about who begat who, it's much, much more than that. The trust will focus on that as well as providing materials and tools to assist in research.
Computer systems and the Internet are a central focus of the trust, utilizing tools and technology to empower others to find their ancestors, to learn more about Scottish history, and to find materials to share their feelings and experiences with others. It will also be a state of the art facility for archiving historic documents and materials. Book publication, Maps, Analysis tools on CD's, photographs, etc. are all aspects of this project. Once the paperwork is finalized I will introduce to all of you the people involved with this effort, they are a top notch team of people here in Scotland with tremendous expertise and experience.
What does this mean to you? It means whether you live down the road in Denny, Scotland or in Australia, New Zealand, Austria or Seattle the research materials will be available. It means that new software tools for conducting that research will be developed, enabling you to find things faster, and with more detail. It means our children will have educational packets available for schools to teach CORRECT Scottish history. It means there will be a place with the expertise to archive the information for future generations. It means that a lifetime of research and history experience will not reside in one persons head, available only to those that are lucky enough to meet one of these special bards who have spent their lives filling up with information, but that a place for this knowledge to be developed, enhanced; and made available at the speed of technology.
It will be a place to house the research and information you are gathering and sending to Clan Stirling, so the information will not someday be lost because it sits on a stack collecting dust, unknown and unused. It took 20 years to find some of the information on my own Stirling roots. It shouldn't take that long for all of us.
But most of all, it will be a place to learn about being Scottish or being of Scottish descent.
Like any trust, it will ultimately succeed due to the support it receives. That support is extensive, and growing all the time. Some will support the trust financially with contributions. Some will support the trust with contributions of materials. Some will be corporations that donate their products and services, and some of us will donate our time and talents.
The Stirling family for over 800 years has been a leading family in Stirling. We are all "of Stirling" at some point in our history, we once again have an opportunity to take action. I'm asking you to all get involved when the time comes, I know you won't be disappointed.
Tomorrow - A Walk About Stirling.