Haggis helper: N.S. museum adopts new computer program for genealogy research
Published Wednesday, June 3, 2015 11:21AM ADT
Haggis is on the menu at a museum in Pictou, N.S. but it’s not the well-known Scottish delicacy. It’s the name of a new computer program designed to make researching your family tree a lot easier.
The McCulloch Heritage Centre holds unique photographs and collections of historical significance, with emphasis on the arrival of the Scots in 1773.
Haggis allows the material to be digitized and posted on the centre’s website.
“It opens our doors worldwide. Before, we were limited to people that were just walking in the door,” says museum curator Michelle Davey.
“Now it gives us a worldwide access, so if you’re looking for any material about Scottish immigration to Canada, or Nova Scotia, there’s a portal online which opens the doors free to the public to research their Scottish ancestry to Canada.”
It’s a long, slow process for museum staff, who must scan and read materials such as census records, diaries, photographs, wills, deeds and newspapers.
Staff say the work has opened a window to the past and shed some light on some very interesting legal instructions.
“I was surprised when they would leave someone 25 cents, but then when I thought back, like 200 years ago, 25 cents was worth a lot of money,” says volunteer contributor Judy Cormier. “A lot of times they would leave the daughters a cow and a few sheep, but that might be all.”
Staff from Halifax’s Pier 21 were on hand Tuesday to examine some of the Scottish artifacts in person and expressed the value of having an online presence.
“So it makes the world smaller and it brings people together quicker and so we can find out more about each other and ourselves at a faster rate than we used to be able,” says Cara MacDonald, the manager of reference services at Pier 21.
There are still hundreds of thousands of documents waiting to be transcribed and put into the system, with more coming into the museum all the time.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh