Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors

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"I can recommend this handbook unreservedly to anyone interested in public records or in Scottish family history and in particular to anyone interested in both. This fine book touches so closely on the work which occupied much of my time and energies during the 1980s that I must declare a sort of special interest.

I believe I must review it first subjectively in the setting of my own concerns and then more objectively for the guidance of all readers of Familia. In the 1960s and 1970s I worked on the history of my family in County London­derry and of their Ulster-Scot Presbyterian friends and neighbours.

Allowing for all the well-known difficulties and shortcomings I managed to sketch the back­ground of my people as far back as the early 1600s in the Limavady-Magilligan­ Coleraine area. Then in the 1980s I decided to complete the task - as I imagined - by tracing my people back further to their undoubted origins in Southern Scotland."

This article combines a review of the book Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors with some relevant personal experiences from the author.

John Andrew Oliver

John Andrew Oliver, public servant and writer,(October 25 1913-May 28 2006)
He contributed enormously to radical reforms in the province's regional planning and local government structures during the turbulent decade after 1963.
Born in Belfast, student at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (Inst) and at Queen's University, Belfast, where he took a degree in modern languages. He pursued his academic career at universities in Bonn, Königsberg and Geneva during the 1930s, and in 1954 graduated again, from the Imperial Defence College.

He joined the Northern Ireland civil service as an assistant principal in October 1937, and was soon setting up the Northern Ireland social service council.

In 1983, aged 70, he gave up all his committee memberships to make room for younger people. But his natural curiosity continued to seek an outlet, which he found in writing and in exploring his family roots around Magilligan, on Ireland's north coast. He wrote short stories and articles based on his genealogical studies, travels and observations of Ulster life

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