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For over a year now, I have been hoping to reproduce for study the MAUCHLINE PARISH KIRK SESSION book from the 1780's here, which will be of great interest to students of Burns, as well as enthusiasts of social history. Such is the writing, that time is required to decipher and interperet the old style writings. A copy is available for study at Ayrshire Archives so far as I am led to believe, but they have no real on line presence sadly, even in 2013.

Last year, around September time, I asked in writing for permission to reproduce in full, the session book from the 1780's. Nine months later, a letter showed up, granting permission to reproduce certain Burns related pages only!!

This was nothing other than a major disappointment both for researchers of social history, and Burns enthusiasts. From a personal point of view I feel the church should have nothing to hide in a book that is 230 years old. There can not possibly be any references to anyone living's relatives unless they are many times great. My own Great Grandfather died in Mauchline in 1933. To go back to 1783, would make any relatives mentioned many more times great. If they were fornicators, or sheep rustlers, I doubt that anyone is going to be offended, but rather most interested.

I am of the opinion that all the old session books should be scanned in full in high res and made available on line for study. I shouldn't really need to to go into detailed reason here these days, as the benefits of using what was once called modern technology (some 15 years ago) are quite obvious. But such is the level of understanding of the benefits of such work, I certainly feel the need to explain a few basic pro's and con's.

First and foremost, we will deal with actually reading the book. If you look at the small sample we were allowed to publish, the writing is of a style that is relatively difficult and somewhat tiresome to decipher. Therefore, much more time is required for study than a few hours in a museum. A pdf / ebook call it what you like, is so much more convenient, when anyone with a web connection the world over can access the file. Home study, reading as much or as little at a time is therefore made possible. It is not everyone in even Ayrshire that can get to the Archives centre, never mind worldwide. And even when foreign visitors are on holiday in Scotland, they may not wish to spend what precious little time they may have available sitting in a museum in study.

Having such a high res scan, saves wear and tear on the original, if reference is required. A high res print out of course is made possible by a decent scan, rather than 1980's style poor quality photocopies.

One only has to compare some of the Google newspaper archives from the early 1900's with some of the Muirkirk Advertisers that I have uploaded in the last few years to see that a high res scan brings these reproductions into the 21st century. The days of microfische should be well and truly in the past, yet that very dated system is still in use in museums across the country!!

There are many other reasons that these historical items would be far better off having high res scans made of them, and placed on the web for the world to see and appreciate. I shall add more text here as time permits.



JUNE 2013


After some time, we have again been updating ayrshirehistory.com. More comments to be made later this week, but time has not been on our side in the last while, and as this is sadly a spare time style of archive, I can offer no apology if items are delayed at getting on line. Every now and again, there will be a sudden fury of updates. That is the way of the world in the voluntary category.

I still scan and archive contributions, ready for a time when there is more time to work at the web site.

Someone who has been contributing finished articles is Jimmy Davidson. He has contributed at least the following articles. The Mauchline War Memorial page somehow was not in the main Mauchline Index, and perhaps is not well read.







Anyone wishing to contribute an article or articles, do get in touch. So long as all the text is written in a machine readable format, or even a notepad file, we can sort the formatting to suit ayrshirehistory.com




April and May were very busy months for us here at ayrshirehistory.com. We had some presence at Mauchline Holy Fair this year, in the form of a slideshow of Auld Mauchline. The week leading up to Mauchline Holy Fair had an automated slideshow running in the Burns House Museum.

As ridiculous and unbelievable as it may sound, despite us being volunteers, and bringing folk into the East Ayrshire Council's museum, EAC in their wisdom announced that they didn't have "funding" for tea, coffee and a biscuit for 10 or 12 head, who were members of the ah.com team, Mauchline Burns Club and the three councilors. Funding?? A few quid?? Come off it. At the end of the day one person funded the costs along with Heather at Poosie Nansie's, so some pleasant chatter and throwing around of ideas could be done in comfort.

Such was the rude attitude of EAC re a simple hospitable cuppa, I think I would have second thoughts about helping their museum numbers in the future. A real arrogant display of attitude!! I wish they had stated their lack of interest in having a slideshow before work had started in the preparation. I ask as a final question on the subject. Can that be classed as serving the public properly??

HOLY FAIR DAY: On the Saturday of Holy Fair day, there were two slideshows running in Mauchline Kirk, at high noon, and 4pm. The attendance for the mid day show was far more than the 4pm show. Who can compete with Donny Monroe of Runrig though ..LOL....

Yet as has happened in the past, we had a surprise at the end of the later showing. A donation to the archives was made by Maureen Leggat of a first edition Mauchline and Catrine News from 1908, Issue 1, 3 and 4 of The Cumnock Express from 1934, and a 1934 Standard. Gees the Standard was a big paper to try and read on a train for example!! These will be reproduced here on this web site.


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