Minutes of AGM 30/5/13 Present Jenny Ashmore,Denis Binns, William Johnston, Keith Kerrison, Elliott Lyndsley, Marian Makins, Trish Margonari, John Simpson, Victor Wilson
Apologies Alex Berrie, Eileen Cook, Janet Foreman, Jack Fortune, Nancy Aitken, Alastair Penman, Pam Vaughan
The President welcomed those present, with a special welcome to Jenny and Elliott, who were attending a meeting for the first time.
The President’s report was circulated, and the President reiterated her thanks to all those in the Society who work so hard for it.
President’s Report 2012/13 This year, as ever, it is satisfying that our knowledge of the village has continued to grow. The chief aims of the Society, as set out in our constitution, are to research the history of our area and to make information available to everyone interested. After 13 years, we have a considerable archive, and interest in the history of our village and surrounding area seems never to flag. Our membership now stands at 65, only a small number of whom live in Auchencairn. There are members in many other parts of Scotland, and some in England, Canada, America, and Europe.
A major reason for many who join is a desire to trace more of their family history, and our website now provides easy access to enquirers whose ancestors had a connection with our village. All such enquiries are dealt with by Dennis Binns, our Archivist, and their volume seems to be increasing. We are most grateful to Dennis for his painstaking and helpful response to family history enquiries, which involve considerable work in a variety of sources. Dennis recently explained how he researches these requests, under the very suitable title of ‘Chasing Shadows’, and a copy of this is now included on the website. It makes interesting and informative reading. We are not a family history society, but often these enquiries do lead to new information about the area.
As always, the Newsletter remains the principal item through which we maintain contact with members and publish some of our latest research. The Newsletter is not merely parochial; this year’s articles have covered diverse topics, including witchcraft in SW Scotland, the Little Ross Lighthouse, Robert Heron’s journeys, and childhood memories of a Polish lady who escaped the Nazis. At a more local level we have, for instance, items about Hassburn Cottage, and the annual Lifeboat exercises at Balcary Tower, which many of us remember. These are only a few of the many items submitted by our members and I must thank everyone who has contributed this year. It is the variety of your material which maintains the interest of the Newsletter. Our thanks go to Dennis Binns, who edits and publishes the Newsletter, as well as contributing regularly to it.
Our archive continues to grow, with donations of photos, post cards, books, and maps.
A major acquisition was the ‘Peter Reid Collection’. Peter had for many years collected old local post cards and he copied all those showing Auchencairn and presented them to the Society. These are now also available as A4 prints, and as a set on the website.
Keith Kerrison has continued to develop the website which is now a considerable asset to the Society. More of our current material, such as the annual accounts, have been made available, as has the majority of the pictorial archives, and access to material is easy and swift.
An important development has been made in our oral interviewing technique. This was previously done laboriously by recording and then typing up from tapes. Keith has now used a videocam, and the resulting interview with a local resident was shown to members recently. This is a significant step forward, and one which we should all take advantage of to enlarge our archive of oral history.
Thanks also go to our Treasurer/Membership Secretary, John Simpson, for his valuable work. John keeps the membership records up to date, and prepares and presents his very clear financial reports at each meeting. This involves considerable work and I am most grateful to John for undertaking it on our behalf.
Finally, as ever, I would like to thank you, the members, for your continuing support and interest, with which the Society could not exist.
Treasurer’s Report and Annual Accounts
The Treasurer circulated the Annual Accounts. He explained that the main difference in revenue between this year and the previous one lay in membership subscriptions, and was because some members had earlier paid for 2 or 3 years. This difference, plus slightly fewer sales of Monographs, had caused the difference in the annual revenue. There was thus a small deficit of £75, but overall the finances of the Society were very healthy with a balance of £1438.
Election of Office Bearers
There being no nominations, the existing office bearers agreed to stand for another year. Trish Margonari offered to help with any administrative tasks and her offer was gratefully accepted.
Minutes of Quarterly Planning Meeting
Elliott Lyndsley, a member who lives in Millbrook, NY State, was invited to address the meeting and tell members of his interest in Dumfries and Galloway. He explained that some of his ancestors had farmed on the Range, and he has researched their life there. His great grandmother had left for America in 1860, sailing on the Great Western from Liverpool. Elliott and his wife spend a part of every year in Kirkcudbright, and he volunteers at Threave House. He is a member of about 15 history societies, and he remarked on the quality of publications produced by the AHS.
The President and members thanked Elliott for his interesting account.
Minutes of Previous Meeting: Matters Arising
1/ Marian had written to Frances Wilkins requesting permission to quote from her book in the Newsletter, but no reply had been received.
2/ Dennis had researched a family history enquiry from Eleanor Pike, and discovered connections with Little Forest and Hazlefield Cottage. He had emailed photos to her.
4/ Keith reported that in the building work on the site beside the Old Bakery, allowance had been made for the old drain cover so that it has been preserved.
The Treasurer circulated the financial summary. He drew attention to the fact that income in the previous quarter was up, and considered the financial position to be very satisfactory. The bank balance stood at £1567. Some subscriptions were still due to come in.
1/ Dennis reported that the post cards received from Eileen Cook had reproduced very well
2/ Mary Gordon had donated a post card showing a painting of Balcary Bay, c1930.
3/ Thanks to the present owner of Hazlefield House, a copy of John Mayne’s notes on its history had been received.
4/ Five books of Scottish interest had been donated by Patricia Wiff.
5/ Patricia had also donated an Atlas of Scotland, reprinted in 1832 (original edition 1807). This is a rare item and is in excellent condition. Members were interested to examine it, and there was discussion as to its possible value and exposure. Keith suggested that it could be scanned and copies made available for sale. He would follow this up.
6/ Alastair Penman had donated a Communion Token inscribed R (Rerrick) 1828, and J.T. (Minister’s initials). Thanks were expressed and there was some discussion about the use of these tokens.
6/ Victor had brought a shell case dating from c1955 to show to members. This had stood in his grandmother’s house in Spout Row, as an ornament.
7/ Kit Norris had donated copies of two articles originally from Davie Gordon’s papers.
8/ Victor reported on research carried out by Andy Nicolson, Council Archaeologist, which showed that iron from Auchenlek mine was highly valued for its quality by the Vikings.
Jenny raised the possibility of an exhibition of the Society’s archive material, and there was discussion of this. Exhibitions had been held in the past, in Kirkcudbright and Castle Douglas as well as in Auchencairn, but mounting a professional looking exhibition requires considerable work. Keith pointed out that the material is now all on the website so it can be viewed there. There was, however, some enthusiasm for an informal display of material, perhaps in conjunction with another event being held in the Murray Hall, such as a Guild coffee morning.
Dennis reported that he had no material at all for the autumn Newsletter as yet. Contributions would be most welcome, and should be sent to him by September.
Keith emphasised the importance of the website as our portal to the world; members were grateful that the website is kept so well updated by Keith. A new facility for sales of publications had now been added. Tessa Ellison’s story has been added in pdf format.
Keith reported that he had changed to a new host company, the previous one now charging about £70 to register a domain name. The beneficial result is that hosting is now free, as the Society is a registered charity.
Keith also reported on a project to photograph and record all gravestone inscriptions, which he is considering volunteering to take part in. Dennis mentioned that a record of some local inscriptions already exists.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING THURSDAY 29 AUGUST