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Curios about the past? - January 2013


Local residents with connections to Portsoy and the parish of Fordyce are being offered the chance to take part in an imaginative project led by Aberdeen University researchers.  The aim of CURIOS is to preserve local heritage in rural communities through the use of digital media designed to share information about their cultural heritage.


The CURIOS team is working in partnership with Portsoy Salmon Bothy and a selection has already been made of local families based on gravestones in the cemetery at Portsoy.  A wealth of additional information relating to the same people is already held in the form of census data, photographs, newspaper reports and other types of records.  The success of the project now depends on finding folk willing to bring together all the available material.  Volunteers will work in small teams and each team will focus on just one family, collating relevant records for inclusion in a database which eventually will form the basis for a website dedicated to the history of Fordyce and Portsoy. 

“This is an unmissable opportunity for anyone interested in the history of our area”, said Alison Smith, genealogy co-ordinator at the Salmon Bothy.  “Everyone involved will be contributing to a unique resource which has the potential to put Fordyce and Portsoy on the map for family and local history”. 


The initial focus will be on just a few families:
James Badenoch (1839-1916) and his wife Mary Sutherland
Alexander Chalmers (1845-1927) and his wife Margaret Godsman
Charles A. Goodall (1882-1966) and his wife Margaret Rhind
George Gray (1889-1963) and his wife Ellen Robertson
James Irving (1854-1940) and his wife Maggie Wood
Herbert Laird (1900-1968) and his wife Elizabeth Russell
Alexander Leys (1850-1920) and his wife Marjory Merchant
Alexander McKenzie (1856-1947) and his wife Jane Robertson Gravestone
William Milton (1840-1935) and his wife Elizabeth Ingram
Charles Nicol (1843-1903) and his wife Ann Wood
John Russell (1829-1915) and his wife Elizabeth Horne
Charles Watt (1850-1913) and his wife Jessie Gauld


“All the details collated will eventually be published online” added Alison,   “so we’d welcome help from anyone with a connection to these families.  Apart from contributing to a remarkable resource, everyone who takes part stands to discover long-lost relatives.” 


This innovative project is now ready to move onto the next phase, which will require volunteer input.  If you’re willing to get involved, please get in touch by phone (01261 842951) or by emailing



A Monumental Task Completed - November 2012


A group of dedicated volunteers from Portsoy Salmon Bothy have had their efforts rewarded with the publication of a set of three booklets which will be welcomed by family historians with Portsoy connections.  Back in the summer of 2009 work began on recording the inscriptions on gravestones in the graveyard in Portsoy, in association with Aberdeen & North East Scotland Family History Society.  The initial transcription phase was followed by further painstaking work to check the accuracy of each record, with volunteers turning out at regular intervals and in every weather.


“This publication represents a tremendous achievement by all those people who took part in the project”, said Alison Smith, Genealogy Co-ordinator at the Salmon Bothy.  “The results of their work will benefit family historians all over the world, so that, by purchasing these booklets, anyone whose ancestors were recorded on gravestones at Portsoy will have access to the full inscription on each stone.”

Portsoy graveyard

There are three booklets in the full set, which represents over 1,000 gravestones dating from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. 


Customers will be able to purchase them at the Salmon Bothy during museum opening times, and they will also be on sale via the Salmon Bothy online shop.






If you're looking for guidance on researching your ancestry in other areas of North-East Scotland, an excellent starting point would be the online directory of local resources compiled by Aberdeen & North East Scotland Ancestral Tourism Partnership new website available from beginning of May.


It is estimated that globally there are between 25 and 100 million people who make up the Scottish Diaspora. The developing interest in discovering your roots is being met by a growing range of resources and facilities and we are proud to have created a further such resource at the Salmon Bothy.


Our team of volunteers has been given training in helping visitors to explore their roots and the facility includes PCs where online investigation can be carried out. Additionally the museum will house a steadily increasing library of information and photographs about the history of the area, providing that all important extra dimension by which our visitors can discover what life was actually like for their antecedents.





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gene genie


If you would like assistance in your family search, Qualified Genealogist, Alison Smith is available by appointment. Get in touch with her here.


Catalogue of Ancestor Charts

As we build up our resources library, the focus will be on collecting material with specific relevance to the local area, i.e. Portsoy and the parish of Fordyce.


family history


One of the tools we intend to create for genealogical research will be a catalogue of ancestor charts. Anyone with an ancestral link to Portsoy is invited to complete a family tree, so that other researchers sharing the same ancestors can make contact and exchange information of mutual interest