A look back at 2018

It’s the end of the year, so a good time to take a look back at what’s happened in 2018. We’ll start of with our collections. Although our number of accessions has been down this year, we’ve still added some interesting items to the Archives. In June we welcomed a collection of documents from the Unicorn Preservation Group (GD/X1411). We have also had lots of deposits of school records. We are planning to catalogue these records next year. This will mean that we can put lists of what we hold on our website. This will make them easier to find and more accessible to the public. To find out more about School Records, please see our webpages.

An interesting little collection of WW2 documents came to us from Broughty Ferry. The bundle includes some correspondence with a Polish soldier and invitation cards for Polish Combatants’ Association dancing events in Broughty Ferry (GD/X1428). A member of the Friends of Dundee City Archives, kindly donated an album of black and white photographs taken by her late husband. The album is an interesting snapshot of Dundee in the late 1960s and early 1970s. We hope to digitise the photographs in the near future. Another interesting photograph was bought for the Archives by the Friends. It is a large framed image and shows the Dundee Police Band in 1913 (GD/X1437). Handily the names of the men are recorded underneath it. Watch this space for more information about this photograph.

The Dundee Police Pipe Band 1913 (GD/X1437)

One major piece of work this year was the review our Reference Collection. We have sorted and organised our collection of published and secondary materials, such as books and pamphlets, in a more easily accessible way. We now have more books in the searchroom, and they have been sorted by topic. We have even put handy markers onto the shelves to help people find them. So shuffling in our stores has also meant that we are now able to store the rest of the collection together – making books easier and quicker to find. A list of our reference collection will be made available on our webpages soon.

Speaking of our webpages, over the last few months we have been working hard to reorganise and review these. We have tried to sort them into a more user friendly way and get more information online. This includes our research guides, our subject index, how to get copies of documents and more information about the documents we hold. We do not have an online catalogue yet but we are working toward this.

Welcome Sign Tinsel
Our new welcome sign, complete with festive tinsel.

We’ve been very pleased to see that the number of people visiting the searchroom has been up by at least 10% – and the year is not yet over (or at least when I write this in mid December). That’s almost 2000 visits to the Archives. Our volunteers have also been very generous with their time, spending over 700 more hours at the Archives this year. We would like to thank them for all of their hard work over the past 12 months.

This year has seen the completion of the Harris Academy indexing project. The indexes list all of the pupils in the admission registers from 1885-1918. The index should be available on the FDCA website in the first few months of 2019 – we do have a few checks to do first to make sure its all correct. On the back of this we have also been indexing other school admission records up to 1918. The aim of this is to have a master index of all school admissions up to 100 years ago. This should make it easier for people to find their ancestors in the records. Make sure you follow this blog to keep up to date with any volunteer projects.

We have also just begun a major review of the Vehicle Registration register (GD/VR) indexes. The collection is 27 volumes which list the vehicles registered in Dundee and Forfarshire between 1903 and 1981. This is a massive job that will take a lot of patience and a keen eye for details. At the moment we have two volunteers working on this project but we hope to recruit some more.

Home Front Book Launch
Linda Nicoll signing books at the Launch of ‘The Great War: Dundee & the Home Front”

Last month we were pleased to attend the launch of Linda Nicoll’s book “The Great War: Dundee & the Home Front”. This has been a massive project for Linda over the past few years and we would like to congratulate her on an excellent book. It has proved very popular and many copies have already been sold. If you would like a copy please email us or pop into the Archives. Copies cost £9.99, plus a charge for postage and packing. Find out more about the book.

Of course we must mention the continued success of this very blog. So far it has been viewed almost 19,000 times. Some of our most popular posts from this year have included the story of Scotland’s First Submarine Base, the Railway Stations of Dundee and the 1905 Blacklist. But we must not forget the other posts, like the story of the Dundee Flower Show and the creation of the Burgh of Dundee. Why not follow this blog to make sure you never miss a story. Hits on our Flickr site have gone up by a whopping 30%. We think this is largely due to the success of our twitter feed. We are (as I write this) fast approaching 1400 followers on twitter, which is amazing! Its the best place to keep up to date with what’s happening at the archives.

So now lets look forward to 2019. This year the Archives will celebrate its 50th birthday and the Friends of Dundee City Archives will be 30 years old. So look out for news on some exciting events taking place at the Archives in 2019!

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