Wigtown: “What an unexpected find in a Scottish bookshop – top-class academics coming out of the university to talk to people – it was great!”

Digital Panopticon representatives have returned from their public engagement adventures at The Open Book, Wigtown (22nd – 25th February 2017).  Following press coverage in the local newspaper, The Galloway Gazette, the team offered public talks at the book shop on Scottish Convict, Hannah Holiday (Lucy Williams, Wednesday 22nd February)  and on how to use criminal records to make family and social history (Barry Godfrey and Emma Watkins, Thursday 23rd February).  Aoife O’Connor also led a very popular family history surgery on Saturday 25th February, which offered free access to the Findmypast website. Reflecting on the success of the family history surgery, Barry Godfrey commented, “We ran it from 9.30am to 5.30pm without a break. If we had more room or more helpers we could have doubled the sessions.”

Here are some responses from participants:

Barry Godfrey with a visitor at the Open Book

“What an unexpected find in a Scottish bookshop – top-class academics coming out of the university to talk to people – it was great!”

“Excellent – and very moving account of an individual’s story.”

“Wonder who we will find in our family? Such a moving presentation – history taking the statistics and turning the figures into real people. Social history at its best.”

“I really enjoyed finding some unexpected facts (to be confirmed!) about my family. Thanks!”

“It was brilliant to find what I had long expected to be the case really is fact. Thank you so much.”

“The searches that were undertaken brought up a number of new relations and subsequent avenues to search. I also learnt that there was a site for Irish naming patterns…Thank you.”

“I had no idea that this kind of thing was even possible. Setting the individual stories in their broader context is a fascinating way of bringing history to life. How wonderful to do it in a bookshop.”

Please click here to see a Wigtown bookshop poster,

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