Category Archives: Learning from Others

Turning the tables !

Today the tables were turned as I was invited along to New Cumnock Primary School to be interviewed by pupils of Primary 6 on the families they have been researching.

Sharing information

Sharing information

Having collected vital data from the headstones the class visited the Burns Monument Centre (BMC), Kilmarnock a few weeks ago to access vital resources to aid their research.

Each team has since created a ‘spider’ diagram with key information on their subjects spreading out from the centre of their diagram . They prepared questions to be used during our interview with the view to me helping them fill in some the gaps.

The interviews were conducted in a very professional manner and began with introductions and a polite request to ask questions. With 10 interviews we had to work to a five minute schedule per interview and while one team asked the questions with microphone in hand, there was excellent team-work on show when a member of another team took control of the video.

Bank House - Home of the Hyslop Family

Bank House – Home of the Hyslop Family

Many of  the questions clearly demonstrated great ownership of their chosen subject and the development of their research from the day at the kirkyard to the visit to the BMC. During the interview team members took the opportunity to show some of the records and the photos they had brought from their day at Kilmarnock.

Hopefully I was able to fill some of the gaps, including a promise to forward more specific information, and add to their ‘spider’ diagram. Certainly, the process helped fill gaps in my knowledge and yet again I thoroughly enjoyed another rewarding day with Primary 6 – thank you for a great day!

Finally, look out BBC Scotland, ….. 10/10 for interviewing skills at New Cumnock Primary School.

From recording to researching

Following on collating data from headstones of ministers and soldiers buried or remembered in the Auld Kirkyard a trip to the Burns Monument Centre, Kilmarnock was arranged to access their wide range of resources.

Scotland’s People

Mary and Ian check out Scotland's People

Mary and Ian check out Scotland’s People

  • Old Parish Records – baptism records from 1706 are available for the parish of New Cumnock
  • Birth, Marriages and Death from Statutory Records from 1955 onwards
  • Census Records -1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911

Newspaper Archives

Helen and Mattie reel through the Cumnock Chronicles

Helen and Mattie reel through the Cumnock Chronicles

  • The BMC hold numerous Newspaper reels with of course the Cumnock Chronicle the paper of choice


Archivist Christine gives an overview of the archives

Archivist Christine gives an overview of the archives

  • Our focus was on Ayr Presbytery Records and ministers of the parish of New Cumnock
  • Here is a snippet from the record of Reverend James Young and his ordination on 3rd May 1758.

Reverend James Young ordination record

Reverend James Young ordination record

Thank you to all at Burns Monument Centre, Kilmarnock for another fascinating day.

  • Why not pay them a visit here

School (trail) blazers

Primary 6 at the New Cumnock Mural

Primary 6 at the New Cumnock Mural

New Cumnock Primary School blazed a trail for other schools outwith the Kilmarnock area with a visit to the marvellous Burns Monument Centre (BMC). Heritage Services officer Ross McGregor said: “It’s the first time a school outside the Kilmarnock area has travelled to visit the BMC. The children have been able to look into our archives and handle very old texts, maps and photos in this wonderful setting”.

Follow their fantastic day on the Burns Monument Centre here

Living Kirkyard Event

heritagepngThe Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) is a new Heritage Lottery funded project which aims to conserve, enhance and celebrate the unique landscape and cultural heritage of the Clyde and Avon Valleys.

Living Kirkyard Event

  • Saturday 20th April 1pm to 3pm
  • Paterson Church, Lawrie Street, Stonehaven, ML9 3LN

The CAVLP are hosting a Living Kirkyard Event and invite people to come along and find out about the burial grounds of the Clyde Valley, what makes them special and how we might conserve them for the future.

Local Footnote: Now working with CAVLP is Sarah Sall, who of course until recently worked with East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative and was actively involved in the fantastic work on the New Cumnock Path Network.

Learning from Mauchline Burns Club

Burns' House Museum, Mauchline

Burns’ House Museum, Mauchline

Andrew Bell and Ian Lyell of the Mauchline Burns Club were kind enough to invite Ian Howat (chair of New Cumnock Liaison Group) and Bobby Guthrie ( New Cumnock Auld Kirk and Village Heritage Trail project leader) to the Robert Burns House Museum, Mauchline to share their experiences on the wonderful work undertaken at Mauchline Kirkyard, where many of Burns’ contemporaries rest.

Mauchline Kirkyard plan

Ian Lyell, Ian Howat and Bobby Guthrie with the Mauchline Kirkyard plan

Although a native of Mauchlie, Mr Lyell will be well known to many New Cumnockians having taught in schools there for many years. Here he is showing the location plan of notable headstones in the kirkyard.

Andy Bell, Ian Howat and Ian Lyell

Andy Bell, Ian Howat and Ian Lyell

Ian Lyell points out a headstone of interest to Ian Howat, while Andy Bell looks over teh  resting place of Willie Fisher ‘Holy Willie’ .

Gavin Hamilton's resting place

Gavin Hamilton’s resting place

Gavin Hamilton’s resting place illustrates the use of the grave markers detailing name, year of birth to year of death , significance to Burns and the coding letter ‘U’ for use on the location map. The cobbles round the headstone have been place there purposefully to prevent damage from strimmers or chemical sprays used in the maintenance of the kirkyard.  ( Check out Gavin Hamilton’s link with New Cumnock here ).



The use of gravemarkers is well illustrated and ties in well with the theme of ‘blue plaques’  in the Mauchline Burns Club Trail in the village.

A big thank you to Andy and Ian and the Mauchline Burns’ Club

Mauchline_burnsclubThen let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a’ that,)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.
For a’ that, an’, a’ that,
It’s coming yet for a’ that,
That Man to Man, the world o’er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that.