Thursday 29 June 2023

Sketch Map of Stromness Harbour

 Well. This is just extremely pleasing... (click to enlarge)

Orkney Archive Reference D2/7/3 - Undated sketch chart for soundings at Stromness Harbour 

Monday 5 June 2023

Hoorah for Volunteers!


It is volunteers week and this gives us a chance to celebrate our wonderful band of helpers without whom, the archives would be so much poorer.

The Orkney Archive is heaving at the seams with historical data and yet a collections catalogue and dewey decimal sorted photographic archive can sometimes only scratch the surface for a researcher. The archive staff only really have time to give an idea of what a document can contain. It takes time, lots and lots of time, to really squeeze all the infomation out of each document.

This is where our volunteers step in.

For example: many of our visitors are looking for information about parents, grandparents or other relatives who spent part of their military service in Orkney. We do not hold any war diaries or individual military records (these are held at the National Archives), but we do have issues of the Orkney Blast which detail engagements, sporting events and other little mentions of folk, some snap shots taken of service personnel during their down time, grocery credit lists etc.

So we set up our Service Personel Database, in which our volunteers enter the name, rank and any other information about anyone they find mentioned in items dating from either World War.

Our beautiful Service Personnel Database 

This means that if your great grandfather came third in a darts competition at Ness battery or your granny got engaged at a New Years party at HMS Tern in 1942, then there may be a record of it in our SPD!

Another project which several volunteers are working on is the Photo Index database. This involves entering detailed information about each photo we hold such as people in it, location, objects and date (if we have them). This makes it much easier for visitors to search for individual images as we were restricted to searching by subject matter before.

The exquisite Photo Identification Database

But fear not! It is not all endless databasing - our own Balfour Blogger is a longstanding volunteer who has spent many hours of her life sorting, dating and, more importantly, identifying blogable snippets for us from the enormous Balfour collection:

We have a few volunteers helping to work through this collection.

These are just a few examples of the many projects volunteers have assisted with over the years and we are extremely grateful for all of their hours spent sorting, numbering, transcribing, summarising and compiling.

Our volunteers are not paid but we do make sure to try and feed them tea and cake now and then with coffee morning/afternoons to keep up their strength and to express our gratitude for their diligent work.

Three cheers for volunteers!

Hip, hip, hooray! 

Hip, hip, hooray! 

Hip, hip, hooray!