Family history members say thanks to Anne

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THE Family History Society of Buchan met for its 2011 annual general meeting recently.

After her report, the current chair, Cllr Anne Allan, sadly announced that due to her forthcoming election commitments, she would be standing down from the role.

Anne has been chair of the group since its formation in 2008. She chaired the initial steering group that established the society before going on to chair the society for the next three years.

In her first year of office Anne guided the committee through the process of producing a constitution and helped the society gain charity status. During her time leading the FHSB, the society has held dozens of open meetings with a myriad of diverse and interesting presentations. Under her leadership the society has grown from less than a dozen members to its current, 200.

The FHSB then elected Alan Fakley as the new chair. Alan who has lived in Peterhead for ten years and is married to local lass Shona. Formerly the society’s treasurer, Alan has also been involved with the society since its inception in 2008.

In his acceptance speech, Alan listed all the wonderful achievements accredited to Anne and stated that the best accolade he could make was that “without Cllr Anne Allan there would be no Family History Society of Buchan”.

Anne was then presented with an engraved crystal vase as a token of the society’s appreciation for all her efforts. As a further mark of appreciation, the membership unanimously voted Anne as their first honorary president.

Following the AGM, Fiona Watson from the Northern Health Service Archives presented an excellent and highly informative lecture on the historic hospital records and family historians. This presentation weaved though 300 years of local, social, medical and family histories which gave a great insight to hospital care over this period.

Fiona explained the origins of healthcare in the area from the establishment of the Aberdeen Infirmary in 1739 through to the modern NHS. She explained which records were available to genealogists and information they could reasonably expect to find.

During her presentation Fiona gave an insight into conditions that the patients endured within the local hospitals. The hospital and health care establishments ranged from 19th century poorhouses to the former lunatic asylums and the modern cottage hospitals.

After her presentation Fiona generously donated a 1920s copy of a medial dictionary, which will be an invaluable tool to the society’s members when trying to decipher death certificates and other medical records.

A highly enjoyable meeting concluded with Fiona answering questions from members during refreshments.