The Genealogy MOWG

Yesterday the three of us gave the first of what is likely to be many presentations to the Genealogy MOWG in the Council Chamber in Stornoway. The MOWG (Members & Officers Working Group) is a Comhairle group chaired by Cllr Kenny Maciver that also extends to the wider heritage community bodies of the Western Isles. The group were instrumental in the establishment of the Hebridean Archives project and so naturally have an interest in what we are up to. A videolink to the Uists allowed colleagues there to also join in the meeting and there were representatives from Butt to Barra in attendance.  
 Register of Oaths of Councillors of the Burgh of Stornoway
 Our presentation outlined the project’s purpose, activities to date and where we were heading in the future. We stressed the importance of the outreach role of the project, working with heritage partners to enhance accessibility to their archive collections and gathering information on what is held where. It was warmly received and it was clear that there was a great deal of support for the project amongst both Council Officers and the Elected Members. The display of Comhairle related archives, including the signed swearing of oaths of the elected members for Stornoway Burgh (shown above), also generated great interest after the meeting.

The meeting was held in Gaelic with simultaneous English translation although our presentation was delivered on the whole in English. This was my first experience of such a bilingual meeting and felt slightly surreal at times but it did emphasis the importance of Gaelic language and culture to the project and the Western Isles. It was probably quite fitting that my first conversation Gaelic lesson was held last night – hopefully at the next meeting I won’t be quite so dependant on the earphones.

Tioraidh an drasta!

About David Powell

Project Manager and Archivist with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar
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