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Thursday 23 February 2017

News: Sir James Black is our next Famous Scot

The National Archives of Scotland (NAS) is pleased to announce the second 'Famous Scot' in our exhibition series: Sir James Black's family history is the subject of a free exhibition in the ScotlandsPeople Centre from 30 March until 22 May 2009.

Sir James Black is one of the outstanding medical scientists of the modern era. He is renowned as the developer of beta-blockers, of treatment for ulcers, and of other important therapeutic drugs in everyday use around the world.

Homecoming Scotland 2009 logo

The exhibition traces James Black's roots and looks back to his father's ancestors in the Lanarkshire pits and his mother's family, who came from the banks of scenic Loch Tay.

James Black's family were coalminers for at least five generations - his father was working at the coal face, aged just thirteen. Coalmining and the mining communities will be a major feature of the exhibition.

The exhibition also uses the story of Sir Jame's mother's ancestors to highlight life in rural Highland communities at the turn of the 19th century, where small farmers, often Gaelic speakers, struggled to retain their tenancies in the face of a drive for agricultural improvement.

Kirk session record of Balquhidder parish (General Register Office for Scotland ref. OPR 331/3 37v-39r)

Kirk session record of the parish of Balquhidder, written by John Reid, session clerk, who would become Sir James Black's great-great grandfather. Like many other Scottish dominies, he earned extra income by combining the post of session clerk with his main duties as parish schoolmaster (General Register Office for Scotland ref. OPR 331/3 37v – 39r).
A transcript of the above record can be downloaded below.

(GROS ref. OPR 331/3 37v-39r Acrobat PDF - 183KB, opens in new window)

This section of Famous Scots opens to the public in the ScotlandsPeople Centre, on Monday 30 March and will run until Friday 22 May.

In the months that follow, staff in the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) and the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) will be delving into the ancestry of four further celebrities, and the rolling exhibition will show visitors how easy it is to trace their own Scottish family history.

Visitors to the exhibition can enjoy the extraordinary venue in the heart of New Register House, surrounded by over half a million hand-written registers going back more than 400 years - a sight to inspire people to use the resources of the ScotlandsPeople Centre and the NAS.

For more information about the Famous Scots exhibition please visit the ScotlandsPeople hub website. The link can be found under 'Other websites' on the left-hand side of this page.



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